by Dianne May, president and CEO
I collect quotes. It sounds a little strange to say it that way, but it started quite a few years ago when I read something I didn’t want to lose. Now I have a folder on my computer called “inspiration.” Some of the quotes are from famous historic figures and though I might have a name, I don’t necessarily know anything about the individual. And a couple of quotes are even from fortune cookies!
I think what I like about keeping these quotes is that, for me, they illustrate ideas and values that I hold dear. Values like kindness…“When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” Abraham Heschel (1907-1972)
Fairness…“The only way to be just is to judge your own actions by the best part of you, and to judge the actions of others by the worst part of you.” Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986)
Self-discipline…“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.” Mikhail Baryshnikov
Humility…“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Harry S. Truman (1884—1972)
Leadership… “If you’re leading the herd, look back now and then to see if they are still there.” Cowboy wisdom
Happiness… “It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which bring happiness.” Thomas Jefferson (1743—1826)
What words or ideas inspire you?
When he was five years old, I had to explain to my son, that while God gave me many good gifts, he didn’t give me the gift of a singing voice. With the compassionate heart of a child my son quickly assured me that my singing was beautiful. I know better but, I still like to sing.
The memory of that conversation makes me smile. I think acknowledging shortcomings and being able to laugh at our fumbles and foibles is a wonderful road to acceptance. Sure, there are values and ideals that we hold dear and for which we should always strive. But, how many times do we place unnecessary, even impossible expectations on ourselves and others?
What would happen if the house wasn’t vacuumed today or the car washed before the weekend? What would happen if we looked at life with new eyes? If we learned to say, “Oh well, let’s give it a try anyway and see what happens!” When was the last time that you laughed at the project that didn’t go according to plan?
Laughter can have great healing power for the soul and the body. The great American painter Grant Wood said: “I found the answer (to how and what to paint) when I joined a school of painters in Paris after the war who called themselves neomeditationist. They believed an artist had to wait for inspiration, very quietly. And they did most of the waiting at the Café du Dome or the Rotonde with brandy. It was then that I realized that all the really good ideas I’d ever had came to me while I was milking a cow. So I went back to Iowa.
Give it a try, roll with the punches, laugh when it doesn’t turn out exactly right and know how good that laughter feels. Good for the soul and the body.