Just Because This is Lovely

I’m no expert on Dylan Thomas but they say he wrote Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night about his father’s descent into old age and death.  It is a beautiful poem and to me, as well as being about the inevitability of death, it is also about the need to try, to ‘rage’ until the bitter end.  In everything.  In the full knowledge that death is inevitably coming this is a plea not to surrender.  Ever.  To keep on going.  Keep on raging.  Until the absolute end.

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

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Newsflash – doing stuff takes effort…

Spider and messy web.

I have a confession to make – I don’t like doing things that I find difficult.

Recently I took a bed apart and moved it to another room. This may seem like a fairly paltry achievement to most of the world – and indeed it is – but ordinarily I keep these annoying, awkward and screwdriver wielding jobs for my long suffering husband.

He never complains. He never says things like, “Am, for a feminist you aren’t that forthcoming when it involves messy/exerting/difficult jobs, are you?” My logic (excuse) is that I had the babies and that that means I am in credit in the messy/exerting/difficult department.  This is quite robust logic as he doesn’t (usually) suffer too much pain of the being-torn-limb-from-limb-by-a-giant variety while moving furniture, cutting grass or fixing stuff.

So, I tell myself I do plenty of other things and that I don’t need to do (more) stuff that’s hard for me.

But it’s not true.

I do.

We all do.

There is so much unnecessary suffering in the world that things really need to change.

The likelihood is that we all need to do the messy/exerting/difficult jobs – whatever they happen to be for us as individuals – if that is to happen.

As always, nobody says it better than Anon –

Love conquers all, but if love doesn’t do it, try hard work.


Shout it Out

Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, conducted an experiment where they split several hundred people into three different groups and then asked them all to keep diaries.

The first group was told to record all events – good and bad.

The second group was told to record only their unpleasant experiences.

The third group was asked to make a daily list of the things for which they were grateful.

At the end of the study the third group – the grateful group – was found to be more alert, enthusiastic, determined, optimistic and energetic.  They also had lower levels of stress and depression, were more likely to help others, took more exercise (!) and made more progress towards attaining personal goals.   In general those who practice gratitude were also found to be more creative, to recover faster from problems, have a stronger immune system and better relationships. Overall, it seems that practicing gratitude can increase our happiness levels by around 25%.

The authors of the study point out that saying we are grateful doesn’t mean we ignore our problems, just that alongside facing our problems we count our blessings.

So, on reflection, for what – or who – are you grateful today?

Watch a great soulpancake video here – Shout Out


To see things in the seed, that is genius. Lao-Tzu

Educate Girls and Change the World

There is no tool for development more effective than the education of girls.
Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General

I can’t say it better than that – or this –


The Tale of the Iron Fish

Anemia is a serious problem throughout the developing world and it has serious consequences for the health of women and children in particular.   After he graduated from the University of Guelph, in Canada, and while awaiting the start of his post-graduate studies, Chris Charles took a summer job in Cambodia.

Much of his work concentrated on was trying to persuade villagers to increase the amount of iron in their diet. Charles and his team tried to persuade the village women to cook in iron pots or put chunks of iron into their pots while cooking as the iron transferred into the food can help combat anaemia.  But the women refused – the pots were too heavy and the chunks of iron were – well, probably just too ugly.

Undaunted, Chris Charles and his team kept working on the problem. They tried all sorts of iron shapes to no avail until they hit on the idea of making a shape that looked like a local fish that was considered lucky.  This time it worked.  The women liked the 3-4 inch lucky fish and began to cook with it in their pots.

As it happens, the iron fish really was lucky, at least insofar as it brought health and well being to the villagers.  Within a short time the use of the iron fish helped anaemia levels to plummet.

This is an example not only of innovation but also learning to – figuratively – speak the language of the people with whom they were working.  When the development workers offered the iron fish in a way that could be understood by the locals, they heard what was being said and participated in the process of helping themselves.

Deceptively simple.


Photograph – University of Guelph grad student Chris Charles with the iron fish that  women in Cambodian villages now put in their cooking pots to help raise the levels of iron in their bodies.

Why Does This Make Me Cry?

This video seems to make me cry – but in a good way!


And now for something completely different…

In July 2009, Jill Petersen and Kevin Heinz posted a video of their wedding on YouTube so that their families could see it – within 48 hours 3.5 million people had watched it.  By August 2011 68 million people had watched it.


Definitely.  But then they did something really constructive.  They used the attention to raise money for charity.  To quote Jill and Kevin –

We hope to direct this positivity to a good cause. Due to the circumstances surrounding the song in our wedding video, we have chosen the Sheila Wellstone Institute.

Sheila Wellstone was an advocate, organizer, and national champion in the effort to end domestic violence in our communities.

We are so grateful for all the love, kind words, and joy that have been shared with us from around the world. It has moved us deeply and filled our hearts.

By October 2010, they had raised almost $35,000 for the Sheila Wellstone Institute.

I wasn’t one of the 68 million people who saw this video until recently – I first saw it thanks to sufilight at Love is the Answer – http://dancewithtruth.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/a-wedding-entrance-that-will-guarantee-a-smile/

If you’ve seen it before you might like to watch it again.

If you haven’t seen it, watch and enjoy!

Work to Rules.

Three Rules of Work: 

Out of clutter find simplicity;

From discord find harmony;

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

– Albert Einstein


Photograph – Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. Casting new parts for lorries from broken scrap in France.’
This photograph is a posed scene to illustrate all the stages involved in casting machine parts. On the left, men are packing sand around the patterns to make the moulds. To the right, a man is making holes in the mould to pour in the metal and release gas. In the centre, two men are pretending to pour metal, although the crucible is empty. In front of them is an open mould with a complete casting.

Sand-casting is still commonly used in the production of small machine parts. The sand has to be very fine and slightly moist so that it retains the shape of the pattern. It is a very quick method of making a lot of the same type of part.


I’ve heard there are troubles…

It’d be nice to think life is always easy.

Nice but unrealistic.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to take it lying down…

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!*

Photograph – Fort Wayne Daisies player, Marie Wegman, of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League arguing with umpire Norris Ward : Opalocka, FloridaDate: Photographed on April 22, 1948. Series Title: (Department of Commerce collection.)General Note: Accompanying note: “Umpire-Player Argument: For all the head-to-head ‘ferocity’ player Marie Wegman, 22, Cincinnati, Ohio, meekly asks umpire Norris Ward, ‘sure you’re right about that play?’ Wegman is 6’2”. She plays infield and 2nd base for Ft. Wayne, last year played for Rockford club.”Repository: State Library and Archives of Florida, 500 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250 USA. Contact: 850-245-6700.Archives@dos.state.fl.us >
Persistent URL: www.floridamemory.com/items/show/56235