Monday, May 27, 2013

The Spring Blooming of Inspiration

Inspiration is one of the many blooms of spring and early summer. No where are the blooms more abundant and spectacular than at commencement ceremonies now taking place across the continent.

Some of the best commencement speeches with their notable quotes can be found at graduationwisdom.com. The co-ordinates for the best 2013 speeches are: http://www.graduationwisdom.com/speeches/best-commencement-graduation-speeches-with-inspirational-quotes-2013.htm

That page also links to the best speeches of other years.
Maria Shriver

A 2012 speech that attracted much attention was given at the University of California Annenberg by Maria Shriver of the Kennedy clan and former First Lady of California through her marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The speech was entitled The Power of the Pause and urged students to change the state of our communication, which she believes is out of control.

An excerpt: "Change it from criticism and fault-finding to understanding and compassion. Change it from nay-saying and name-calling to acceptance and appreciation. Change it from dissembling and dishonesty to openness and explanation. Change from screaming to speaking."


Monday, May 20, 2013

Reflections from a Campfire


Thoughts on the May 24 holiday weekend. Excerpted from the newest book Bears in the Bird Feeders: Cottage Life on Shaman's Rock.

   The cottage campfire is a magical thing, especially in a society driven half-mad by cell phones, texting, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other quick hits of less-than-thoughtful communication.
   Slip out of the darkness and take a seat on the log where a dozen people are gathered, staring pensively into the flames dancing inside the circle of granite stones. The first thing you will notice is the silence. People are in no hurry to talk. When someone does speak, it is not in the short, sharp pings so common in today’s wired society. It is often slow, measured, and even thoughtful.
   A campfire’s magic slows people’s heartbeats, thought processes, and their tongues. The flames are speed bumps along the path between grey matter and lips. It is hard to imagine hearing around the campfire the tactless snippets of comment that zip daily across omnipresent blogs. The campfire draws people into itself and absorbs the heat from over-spinning minds, redistributing it as reflection, focus, and warm good feelings.
   As complicated as the world has become, the campfire has remained the same over the millenniums since fire was discovered. It is the same at St. Nora Lake as the campfires that flicker along the coast of the Great Australian Bight, the Congo jungle, or somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan.
video

Bears in the Bird Feeders link: http://www.dundurn.com/books/bears_bird_feeders