Friday, May 30, 2014
Why is it that some people seem to live a charmed life, receiving exactly what they want? Why do other people never seem to fulfill their desires? How can the same universe be benevolent in one case and seemingly indifferent in the other? The truth is, it is the same universe. The difference is in the thoughts of the person who expects to have what they want or the one who expects disaster at every turn. Listen to your own thoughts … are you a positive thinker? Do you expect the best or worry about the worst? You can learn to be a positive thinker, enabling you to call upon powers greater than your own conscious mind. We each have the ability to imagine, thus creating the life we desire for ourselves. When we become intentional creators, we learn that we are a part of something much greater than ourselves. All the forces of the universe are on our side and draw to us seemingly mystical and magical experiences. We can learn to understand these universal forces called Universal Laws. They are universal because they apply to anyone, anywhere, any place. When you read books by or about successful people, you will find that whatever field of endeavor the notable person pursues -- business, art, music, science, religion, communication -- the same principles work. People who accomplish their ideals are cooperating with the Universal Laws whether they know it or not. Just as gravity functions even if someone does not know how it works, the Universal Laws operate with or without one’s conscious awareness. Have you ever been in the right place at the right time for something great to happen? Is this a divine accident or a response to some mysterious plan? What causes a coincidence? How do seemingly miraculous events take place? The action of attraction is one of the forces at work! Attraction is a universal principle, the drawing together of aggressive and receptive energies. It is the divine principle of love. This is why, when people are in love, they glow. They become more attractive. It is why, when someone is doing work they love, or creating a project they love, they become radiant. Attraction seems magical and mysterious. Yet, there is a science that causes it to work. Understand the science and you can wield the attractive power of your mind anytime, anywhere, at your will. It starts with a thought that you create in your conscious mind. A clear, complete and detailed thought form is like a seed. This can be a thought like, “I really want to understand my dreams” or “I am full of energy” or “I want to develop loving and spiritual friendships.” Then you nurture your seed idea with love and attention, acting on what you want to accomplish. The love and attention you give to your desire is like sunshine. It warms your seed idea and helps to draw into your life people who have similar desires. When you act on your desire, you are attracted to people and places who will help you manifest what you want. If you desire a new job, go out on job interviews. If you want spiritual friendship, go out and meet new people. The physical activity is like water. Just as you water a seed in the ground, you move in the direction of your developing thought form when you act on it. As your thought form grows in the fertile soil of your subconscious mind, it attracts other energies and minds similarly conditioned. This is the cause of the principle, “Like attracts like.” It is an expression of the Law of Attraction. Your thought form is like a mental broadcast. It reaches out with thought waves to the entire universe. There is a universal mind in which all of our minds connect. It is like a web, a universal place where energies meet and merge and interact. There are always other people, other minds, with desires and needs compatible to your own. What you need, someone else wants to give. You want to give what someone else needs. These other minds are also creating visualized thought forms which reach out into universal mind. This dance of corresponding needs sets up attraction. When these similar thought forms meet, the attraction produces a match. Like seeds growing in rich, fertile soil, a thought form that is developing in the subconscious mind is imperceptible to the physical senses. When a seed is within the earth, you tend it and care for it although you cannot yet see, touch, feel, or smell it. In the same way, there is a time to watch expectantly for a developing thought form to manifest in physical form. Knowing that you have created a clear and complete image, you watch for the signs that your desired object is coming to fruition. The Law of Attraction operates even when you do not know exactly how you will fulfill a desire. It ensures that you will be in the right place at the right time for things to “click” into place. If you want to become one of those “charmed” people who know how to attract what they want into their life, you can study to develop your ability to visualize, to form clear thoughts, and to learn how to be receptive to the opportunities that are being attracted to you! Lisa Ekanger
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 8:58 PM
Principle #9: The Principle of the Neutral Universe By Bill Harris, Centerpointe Research Institute There is a Zen story of a great enlightened master who, upon hearing of his own master's death, began to cry uncontrollably. His followers were shocked to see him cry. "Why are you crying? You're enlightened. You're supposed to be beyond suffering. What will people think?" He composed himself as best he could, and turning to them he said, "What can I do? My eyes are crying. They are so sad that they will never again see this teacher I loved so much." As this story so poignantly points out, sorrow upon experiencing loss is a normal part of being human - even if we are an "enlightened" master and supposedly not subject to desires and attachments and the suffering they can create. The "Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism point out that all life involves suffering, that suffering is caused by desire, or attachment, and that suffering can be ended by giving up attachment (the fourth Nobel Truth is the method of doing so). The Four Nobel Truths are based on an obvious, often overlooked, but fundamental reality of human existence: all things exist "in time" and eventually pass away. It's pretty obvious that not getting what you want (or getting what you don't want) involves suffering, but it's equally true that getting what you want involves suffering. Why? Because the thing you wanted is, like everything else, transitory. This month you're Employee of the Month, but next month you aren't. You love playing with your baby daughter, but she will grow up. You are alive now, but someday you will die. I vividly remember the first time I experienced this truth. I was four years old and my mother had bought me an ice cream cone. As I began licking the sweet and creamy ice cream off the top of the cone, I was in heaven. But when I'd eaten about half the ice cream, the realization hit me that this wonderful experience was going to end. While I certainly enjoyed the rest, the experience was definitely tainted by the fact that I knew the experience would soon be over. Even in the midst of my pleasure, I suffered. The fact is, being overly attached to particular outcomes (like the ice cream cone lasting forever) causes pain and suffering. And yet, we are trained to believe that happiness is tied to specific events or, especially in our culture, to specific things. All around us are messages that connect positive emotions to things we do and own. The children playing with this year's hot toys are happy. The couple standing beside their new car are in love. The extended family sitting around the dinner table eating canned pasta sauce are united in their humor and affection. The women just given the diamond is young and beautiful. Because we live in a mass culture where meaning is centralized, we are used to having others interpret our lives for us. We have become passive observers of our own experience, waiting for other people to tell us what it means. Outside influences direct our attention to what we should care about and what we should strive for so often that the truth of our own power escapes us. You are the Author and the Artist I want to suggest another idea. It's not original with me. It is basic to the transformational mystical teachings of most cultures (Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, Zen, Native American, Sufi, and others). Instead of believing that there is an absolute value and meaning to reality, a "reality code" that young people learn to decipher, I want you to consider an alternative view: As a conscious human being you give your world, and each event that happens, any and all the meaning it has. There is no intrinsic meaning to anything. In most cases, we did not consciously choose these meanings we give to things. Rather, they were taught to us, according to the conventions of our culture and our family, when we were too small to know any better. The great news is that we could consciously choose these meanings if we wanted to, and that, in fact, is just what people who are continually happy and peaceful have learned to do. This means, of course, that you are the creator of your own reality. In contrast to how you may have been conditioned to think, you assign meaning and significance (for most people, based on unconscious programming) to what happens to you and then, based on that meaning, choose (again, usually unconsciously) what your response will be. This principle has a corollary: you will be able to make wise and resourceful choices to the extent that you live consciously rather than unconsciously. If you have become an automatic response mechanism, unthinkingly adopting those responses chosen for you by your cultural, societal, family, and species background, then your inner journey will be stalled. Your individuality and creativity will remain stillborn. What is more, you will spend a lot of time suffering. If, on the other hand, you are able to wake up and become more aware of what moves and motivates you, you will see that you have picked up the paintbrush; you are painting the shapes of your feelings on that blank canvas. Because you are the artist and the author, you can paint anything you like. What you are painting is as ephemeral as anything else in life, but the lines your draw, the shapes you form, and the colors you choose are what give your life meaning. While we are all influenced by the cultural and personal settings in which we live, some people are able to become independent artists who can express the dictates of their own heart, and some become proponents of schools run by others. The implications of living this way as a conscious being are staggering. Here is one of them: Since you create the world you inhabit, pain and suffering really can be optional. Only when you acknowledge your role in your life - and understand your own power - is there the possibility of improving your situation or creating a different story. If you see yourself as a passive character who is acted upon by (and then reacts to) external forces you can neither understand nor control, then you become a helpless victim. Along with this idea of self-agency comes another one. What is, is. You have some ability to change what is, but there are real limits to what you can do. Your power instead comes from how you respond to what is, not from misguided attempts to control what is. How things are for you is to a great extent the product of how you feel about what is happening - and how you feel is the result of the meaning you have placed on what is happening. And most of the time, if you are living with conscious awareness, you will be happy and peaceful because you have consciously placed a meaning on what it happening that creates happiness and inner peace. It is a very interesting exercise to stop whenever you feel other than happy and peaceful and ask yourself what meaning you have placed on the people or events that seem to be causing your suffering, and then to consider what meaning you could give things that would allow you to be happy. Are you so attached to a meaning that causes suffering that you are unwilling to let it go and change it to one that creates happiness and peace? If so, that is your choice, but do realize that it is a choice, not something thrust upon you. This new meaning (the one leading to happiness) is no more real or intrinsic to the situation than the first meaning (the one leading to suffering). This is, again, because nothing has any intrinsic meaning. But if you're going to place a meaning on what is happening, which would you want, the happiness meaning, or the unhappiness meaning? It's your choice, though most people don't realize it's a choice. This whole discussion, and the idea that you could really choose to be happy and peaceful, may sound very utopian and unrealistic to you. Becoming conscious enough to notice when you are suffering, to notice what meaning you have placed on a situation, and to consciously change that meaning, does not come easily. Those who can do this have generally spent years meditating, or pursuing some other arduous spiritual practice, to gain this degree of conscious awareness. One of the incredible benefits to the Centerpointe program is that it creates this kind of awareness in those who use it, and does so in a relatively short period of time. Using Holosync offers you a view from a higher spot on the mountain, one allowing you to consciously make new and more resourceful choices. When I first bring up this idea, that nothing has any intrinsic meaning, people often think I'm saying life is "meaningless." That's not at all what I'm saying. Whatever meaning your life has now, you created it, whether you consciously realize it or not. The people and situations of your life did not come pre-packaged with meaning. You placed these meanings on things in your life, based on programming you for the most part did not choose. If you're ecstatically happy with your life and the meanings all the things in it have for you, terrific. If not, you could give everything in your life any meaning you want, at any time. If you find that hard to do, well, keep listening to those Holosync soundtracks, and the conscious awareness necessary to do so will come. I promise. Be well. Lisa Ekanger
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 7:46 PM
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size But when I start to tell them, They think I'm telling lies. I say, It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. I walk into a room Just as cool as you please, And to a man, The fellows stand or Fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, A hive of honey bees. I say, It's the fire in my eyes, And the flash of my teeth, The swing in my waist, And the joy in my feet. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Men themselves have wondered What they see in me. They try so much But they can't touch My inner mystery. When I try to show them They say they still can't see. I say, It's in the arch of my back, The sun of my smile, The ride of my breasts, The grace of my style. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Now you understand Just why my head's not bowed. I don't shout or jump about Or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing It ought to make you proud. I say, It's in the click of my heels, The bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, The need of my care, 'Cause I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Maya Angelou Lisa Ekanger!
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 6:18 AM
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
There is anger in my soul that is building. The anger is toward my alcoholic sister. Her disease is so offensive (and it is so all consuming) that I am not sure I have ever known the real person she is. Never mind the 3 C’s that Ala-non teaches. What about the 4 D’s? Is it her disease that makes her~ Deviant, Dishonest and Disrespectful? Or was she all of those things (and due to the pushback from society) she turned to alcohol to cope with the 4th D and that’s her own Disappointment in herself? For more than 20 years, my relationship with her has consisted of mostly that she calls me when she either A) needs something B) she’s in trouble or C) she wants to complain about her life or other family members. I read so many things about alcoholism and the one resounding thought that keeps swirling around my head is what about us? What about the people she abuses, relationships she damages and the spirits she crushes with her thoughtless words, actions and decision making process? How long are we supposed to take this abuse? How long are we expected to care? 20 years ago she called in the middle of the winter (and the middle of the night) to tell me that my Moms car was stolen. A few years later I received a call (in the wee hours of the morning, when I was 9 months pregnant) from my devastated parents telling me that she was in a drunk driving motorcycle accident. That was her first boyfriend…the one who drove drunk with her on the back of the bike with no helmut. Next up her first husband who later we found out was a con-artist…the one who always got robbed (always right before rent was due)…the one who hid the fact that he had a child from another relationship and was 40k in arrears in child support. We also think he may have been responsible for her near death ‘accident’ that happened right after she returned home from a vacation with my Mom. She made so many terrible choices, and she wasn't always drunk when she made them. There was that time they wore pantyhose on their heads while smashing in the windows of a first floor apartment where they had lived because the owner wouldn’t return their deposit money. They had such awful fights that 911 was called more than once…her weapon? A frying pan up against the side of the head. It worked with the first boyfriend, but her husband convinced the EMT that he was the victim and so she was hauled off for a 3 day weekend in the county jail. The crazy incidents are too many to mention. The rotten, unethical, unapologetically rude attitude and behavior she displays have destroyed all feelings I have for her. At one time, 15 years ago, when I used to pity her for having this disease, I believed she had some good redeeming traits. Now, after what she’s put all of us through (last month she said to my Dad, can’t wait to see you in your casket!) I feel nothing but complete contempt for her. I don’t love her and I have written her off. The worst part is, she has 2 little kids that are adorable, but in my eyes already a lost cause due to the 7 years they have been exposed to this horrible dysfunction. Again, what about the victims of the alcoholic? AA, Instead of telling me about all of the things I can do to help…how about tell me about all of the ways I can make a clean and complete break from this person who has spent 2 decades torturing everyone around her?
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 7:12 PM
PAUL HARVEY'S LETTER TO HIS GRANDCHILDREN We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about: ~Hand me down clothes and ~Homemade ice cream and ~Leftover meat loaf sandwiches...I really would ~I hope you learn humility by being humiliated and ~That you learn honesty by being cheated ~I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car...and ~I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen ~It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep ~I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in ~I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister and ~It's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him ~When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him/her ~I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and ~That you live in a town where you can do it safely ~When you want a sling shot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one ~I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books ~When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head ~I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy / girl and ~When you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like ~May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove & stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole ~ ~I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it... And if a friend offers you dope or a joint I hope you realize he/she is not your friend ~I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle ~May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays ~I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and ~That she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand ~These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness ~To me, it's the only way to appreciate life ~Paul Harvey Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 12:02 PM
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
1. They’re not afraid to admit their vulnerabilities 2. They never fail to ask what you’re up to 3. They often tell you why they love you 4. They call just to say “hi” and ask how you’re doing 5. They’re not afraid to share their ideas, even if you’re in the same business 6. They genuinely want to know what you think 7. They never hesitate to extend themselves for what you think is important 8. They don’t mind if you act crazy occasionally 9. They are genuinely thrilled by your accomplishments 10. They answer honestly when you ask their opinions 11. They don’t get offended if you call them out on something 12. They don’t need to man the controls in your relationship 13. They make us laugh Lisa Ekanger !
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 3:37 PM
Monday, May 19, 2014
Transcendentalism is a very formal word that describes a very simple idea. People, men and women equally, have knowledge about themselves and the world around them that "transcends" or goes beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch or feel. This knowledge comes through intuition and imagination not through logic or the senses. People can trust themselves to be their own authority on what is right. A transcendentalist is a person who accepts these ideas not as religious beliefs but as a way of understanding life relationships. The individuals most closely associated with this new way of thinking were connected loosely through a group known as The Transcendental Club, which met in the Boston home of George Ripley. Their chief publication was a periodical called "The Dial," edited by Margaret Fuller, a political radical and feminist whose book "Women of the Nineteenth Century" was among the most famous of its time. The club had many extraordinary thinkers, but accorded the leadership position to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Sarah Margaret Fuller Margaret Fuller played a large part in both the women's and Transcendentalist movements. She helped plan the community at Brook Farm, as well as editing The Dial, and writing the feminist treatise, Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Emerson was a Harvard-educated essayist and lecturer and is recognized as our first truly "American" thinker. In his most famous essay, "The American Scholar," he urged Americans to stop looking to Europe for inspiration and imitation and be themselves. He believed that people were naturally good and that everyone's potential was limitless. He inspired his colleagues to look into themselves, into nature, into art, and through work for answers to life's most perplexing questions. His intellectual contributions to the philosophy of transcendentalism inspired a uniquely American idealism and spirit of reform. The theory of books is noble. The scholar of the first age received into him the world around; brooded thereon; gave it the new arrangement of his own mind, and uttered it again. It came into him, life; it went out from him, truth. It came to him, short-lived actions; it went out from him, immortal thoughts. It came to him, business; it went from him, poetry. It was dead fact; now, it is quick thought. It can stand, and it can go. It now endures, it now flies, it now inspires Precisely in proportion to the depth of mind from which it issued, so high does it soar, so long does it sing. -Excerpt from The American Scholar, Ralph Waldo Emerson The Transcendental Club was associated with colorful members between 1836 and 1860. Among these were literary figures Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Walt Whitman. But the most interesting character by far was Henry David Thoreau, who tried to put transcendentalism into practice. A great admirer of Emerson, Thoreau nevertheless was his own man — described variously as strange, gentle, fanatic, selfish, a dreamer, a stubborn individualist. For two years Thoreau carried out the most famous experiment in self-reliance when he went to Walden Pond, built a hut, and tried to live self-sufficiently without the trappings or interference of society. Later, when he wrote about the simplicity and unity of all things in nature, his faith in humanity, and his sturdy individualism, Thoreau reminded everyone that life is wasted pursuing wealth and following social customs. Nature can show that "all good things are wild and free." Excerpt from "Walden" "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever." "Still we live meanly, like ants; though the fable tells us that we were long ago changed into men; like pygmies we fight with cranes; it is error upon error, and clout upon clout, and our best virtue has for its occasion a superfluous and evitable wretchedness. Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quick sands and thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, simplify." – from Walden (1854), by Henry David Thoreau As a group, the transcendentalists led the celebration of the American experiment as one of individualism and self-reliance. They took progressive stands on women's rights, abolition, reform, and education. They criticized government, organized religion, laws, social institutions, and creeping industrialization. They created an American "state of mind" in which imagination was better than reason, creativity was better than theory, and action was better than contemplation. And they had faith that all would be well because humans could transcend limits and reach astonishing heights. Lisa Ekanger !
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 7:01 AM
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Darian Worden | March 22nd, 2013 Henry David Thoreau tells us that “all good things are wild and free.” These words are found in his lecture “Walking,” which he delivered numerous times, beginning in 1851. The connection between wildness and freedom is seen throughout Thoreau’s writing. To him, the good life required balancing the civilized and the wild, and his idea of nature informs his idea of liberty. For Thoreau, the wild holds numerous individual and social benefits. It is a place where a person can discover and renew oneself. It is a place that allows for experimentation. It is a place that can bring radical regeneration or even a restructuring of society. Thoreau’s life in the Walden Woods, though he was somewhat isolated, was a kind of social experiment that he conducted on himself. Its goal was personal as well as social regeneration. Thoreau’s views of wildness and freedom underlie his original and relevant libertarian philosophy. It is individualist and social. It is grounded in an understanding of nature and a desire to or figure out one’s place within it. Thoreau’s belief in acting on principles also gave him a practical attitude toward political violence and helped him make a persuasive case for peaceful revolution. Nature “Walking” begins, I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil—to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school committee and every one of you will take care of that.  With nature there is an absolute freedom, which is not the same as a freedom merely civil. It is of vital importance to retain an element of wildness. I would not have every man nor every part of a man cultivated, any more than I would have every acre of earth cultivated; part will be tillage, but the greater part will be meadow and forest… Balancing culture and wild was seen early in Thoreau’s life. He was born on July 12, 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts. As a boy he excelled in academics as well as wandering. In Walden he describes hunting and fishing as important parts of his education. While he continued to fish, he began to think of hunting as something good for boys so long as they outgrew it. Thoreau graduated from Harvard in 1837. He soon began discussing philosophy among the Transcendentalists, who were centered in Concord around Ralph Waldo Emerson. He also explored nature, often with his brother John until John’s death in 1842. For Thoreau, the wild is source of vigor and strength. He says “in Wildness is the preservation of the world” and “from the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind.”  Nature was something to study and be inspired by, but most importantly to experience. The essay is called “Walking” after all. In Walden, Thoreau describes nature as satisfying a need for infinite discovery. At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor… We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.  Walden Life Thoreau chose a natural setting for his life at Walden Pond. This was to be an experiment and a source of regeneration. In late March of 1845 he began building a cabin near the shore of Walden pond, just outside Concord. He moved into the cabin on July 4 and would live there for about two years and two months. The experimental purpose of this living situation becomes clear in first chapter of Walden, titled “Economy,” where Thoreau described his living expenses and needs. The second chapter “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” gives a fairly direct answer. I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.  He wants to live deliberately – to be less carried away by the affairs of others and follow his own way, partly so he can have a quiet space to write. He wants to deal with the essential facts of life – a process of discovery. He wants to learn – to see what he will find living closer to nature. And he wants to live – to not only know what life was about but to experience it. Thoreau intends to cut away the details to get to the real substance of life, and if “it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.” This brings up Emerson’s idea of having an “original relation to the universe.” Thoreau did not try to go back to primitive origins, but tried to take the fruits of civilization to arrange them in an original way, to make an original combination. He got Emerson’s permission to use part of his land, bought scrapwood and secondhand windows, cut pines with a borrowed ax, built himself a cabin, and planted two and a half acres, mostly with beans. This was not an experiment in primitive living, but an experimental setup to improve modern living. As Gandhi said, “Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and withal a most practical man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practise in himself.”  Simplicity Simplicity is important for Thoreau. It helps him discover the essential facts of life and maintain control of his life to enable space for discovery. Simplicity is at the heart of the social dimension of the Walden project. In Walden, Thoreau denounces luxury and excess – perhaps excessively so, but it is instructive. An ambition to simplify balances the ambition for expansion and accumulation. In the conclusion of Walden, he writes, I leaned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours… In proportion as one simplifies his life, “the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.”  Simplicity had a political dimension for Thoreau. “Civil Disobedience” contains a passage describing how it is easier to live a principled life when one has less property for the government to steal. But Thoreau goes further. But the rich man — not to make any invidious comparison — is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; and it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it. It puts to rest many questions which he would otherwise be taxed to answer; while the only new question which it puts is the hard but superfluous one, how to spend it. Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet. The opportunities of living are diminished in proportion as what are called the “means” are increased. The best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor.  In Walden, he describes how he didn’t lock his door, but left his cabin open to visitors. Despite being outdoors often he only ever missed one thing: a small volume of Homer’s writing. I am convinced that if all men were to live as simply as I did then, thieving and robbery would be unknown. These take place only in communities where some have got more than is sufficient while others have not enough.  A lot hinges on the phase “as I did then,” since he then lived in experimental circumstances. Near the beginning of the book he cautions, I would not have any one adopt my mode of living on any account; for, beside that before he has fairly learned it I may have found out another for myself, I desire that there may be as many different persons in the world as possible; but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way and not his father’s or his mother’s or his neighbor’s instead. Thoreau gains a sense of liberation and truth from his life in the woods. It was part of his self-emancipation from the quiet desperation of conformity and overwork. It was also an opportunity to discover his sense of self as well his as connections with the rest of the world, an inspiring prospect. Individualist and Social For most of Thoreau’s life, he lived with other people, either with his family at Emerson’s home. During his 26 months at Walden he lived alone, but he often met with other people. Walden notes that Thoreau’s cabin was about a mile and a half south of Concord. This was not a major trek for a proud saunterer like Thoreau, who remarked that “every day or two” he strolled to the village. Walden also recounts many visitors to the woods: woodchoppers, icecutters, hunters, escaped slaves, and good friends. Thoreau’s cabin was perfectly placed on the fringes of civilization where culture and nature met. He was close enough to participate in the social life of nearby towns but far enough away to study nature and to be considered odd by many contemporaries. Many people seem to not understand this about Walden. They have an idea of an isolated, possibly misanthropic hermit who would disapprove of anyone who came near his secluded home. And if they find out that he did not live in the middle of nowhere, which he never claimed to, then he gets branded a big phony. Sometimes a big deal is made of him having meals with his family in Concord, but considering Thoreau’s contributions to the family pencil-making business over his lifetime, his obvious skill at craftsmanship, and the meals that he served visitors at Walden, his alleged mooching appears to actually be a sign of social involvement and reciprocity. Thoreau was a social individualist who hoped that his discoveries could be applied by others who wished to live better lives. While he did want to have some quiet writing space at Walden, he was not seeking to cut off society but to find ways to improve it. The nearby wild afforded him the liberty and the clarity of vision to see life in a new way. Outrage Thoreau expresses outrage against injustice as crime against humanity and an offense against nature. He delivered an address called “Slavery in Massachusetts” at an anti-slavery celebration in Massachusetts on July 4, 1854, shortly after a fugitive slave named Anthony Burns was convicted in Boston. Again it happens that the Boston Court-House is full of armed men, holding prisoner and trying a MAN, to find out if he is not really a SLAVE. Does any one think that justice or God awaits Mr. Loring’s decision? For him to sit there deciding still, when this question is already decided from eternity to eternity, and the unlettered slave himself and the multitude around have long since heard and assented to the decision, is simply to make himself ridiculous. We may be tempted to ask from whom he received his commission, and who he is that received it; what novel statutes he obeys, and what precedents are to him of authority. Such an arbiter’s very existence is an impertinence. We do not ask him to make up his mind, but to make up his pack.  It is not surprising that Thoreau would be outraged by the maintenance of slavery. He was a man of principle who had personally experienced the humanity of slaves in the course of his activities in the Underground Railroad. But his understanding of nature underlies the way in which he expresses outrage. The whole trial is an absurdity. The question of whether the accused is a man or a slave has already been decided. The unlettered slave has assented to the decision, and the judge looks ridiculous when he refuses to assent to it. Later in the address Thoreau says that it would make as much sense for the government to declare a man a sausage as it would to declare him a slave. He does not spare the State of Massachusetts from its responsibility for this outrage. Massachusetts sat waiting Mr. Loring’s decision, as if it could in any way affect her own criminality. Her crime, the most conspicuous and fatal crime of all, was permitting him to be the umpire in such a case. It was really the trial of Massachusetts. Every moment that she hesitated to set this man free — every moment that she now hesitates to atone for her crime, she is convicted. Thoreau is so outraged that even his walks are affected. “The remembrance of my country spoils my walk. My thoughts are murder to the State, and involuntarily go plotting against her.” Thoreau cannot help but plot murder against the state. But being Thoreau, he cheers up when he sees a certain flower, and he celebrates the white water lily as a symbol of purity and sweetness that can rise from slime and muck. Conscience Thoreau’s political views are rooted in conscience, something that resides in the individual but is often concerned with the treatment of others. “Civil Disobedience,” his most influential political work, is thoroughly individualist and grounded in social responsibility and justice. Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then?  Once again, Thoreau is resting his case on an appeal to nature: each person has a conscience and there is no reason for him to disregard it and let the legislator decide things instead. He is not saying that it is “human nature” to act a certain way, but he is encouraging his audience to choose to embrace and exercise a characteristic that is within their nature. But what to do then? It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even the most enormous wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man’s shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. The only time Thoreau met with the government face to face was when it taxed him. My civil neighbor, the tax-gatherer, is the very man I have to deal with — for it is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I quarrel — and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government. How shall he ever know well what he is and does as an officer of the government, or as a man, until he is obliged to consider whether he shall treat me, his neighbor, for whom he has respect, as a neighbor and well-disposed man, or as a maniac and disturber of the peace, and see if he can get over this obstruction to his neighborliness without a ruder and more impetuous thought or speech corresponding with his action? Individuals acting on their consciences is at the heart of Thoreau’s idea of peaceful revolution. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, “But what shall I do?” my answer is, “If you really wish to do anything, resign your office.” When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned his office, then the revolution is accomplished. Peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. This is direct action which Thoreau understood through practice. “Civil Disobedience” was written about Thoreau’s own experience refusing to pay a poll tax that he saw as supporting slavery and an aggressive war to expand slavery into territory captured from Mexico. He was imprisoned for a day until someone else, probably a relative, paid the tax. But Civil Disobedience continues. But even suppose blood should flow. Is there not a sort of blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man’s real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now. Thoreau’s willingness to accept violence is consistent with his later impassioned defense of John Brown’s attempted insurrection in 1859. I do not wish to kill nor to be killed, but I can foresee circumstances in which both these things would be by me unavoidable. We preserve the so-called peace of our community by deeds of petty violence every day. Look at the policeman’s billy and handcuffs! Look at the jail! Look at the gallows! Look at the chaplain of the regiment!”  Thoreau defended Brown’s raid at a time when many – including many abolitionists – considered Brown too extreme, even insane, and disassociated from him. Thoreau compared Brown’s execution to Christ’s martyrdom. Revolutionary War heroes Ethan Allen and John Stark were less impressive, for they “could bravely face their country’s foes,” but Brown “had the courage to face his country herself, when she was in the wrong.” It was his peculiar doctrine that a man has a perfect right to interfere by force with the slaveholder, in order to rescue the slave. I agree with him… I shall not be forward to think him mistaken in his method who quickest succeeds to liberate the slave. Even Walden is not free from references to violence, though they may be wrapped in humor. As for the Pyramids, there is nothing to wonder at in them so much as the fact that so many men could be found degraded enough to spend their lives constructing a tomb for some ambitious booby, whom it would have been wiser and manlier to have drowned in the Nile, and then given his body to the dogs.  This is the kind of degradation that the tonic of nature is supposed to prevent. It is easier to lose one’s freedom when there is no wildness to develop in. Thoreau’s references to manhood and manliness should not pass without notice. There has to be good feminist analyses of Thoreau’s writing, but it does not come up often. One has to wonder how women fit into Thoreau’s worldview, especially since his mother and sisters were involved in the Underground Railroad. The answers are probably found within his voluminous journals. He does remark in “Walking” that, “How womankind, who are confined to the house still more than men, stand it I do not know.” Presumably, women, like men, should follow their own way and not the ways of their fathers, mothers, or neighbors, as Thoreau counseled in Walden. Thoreau does show a practical attitude toward violence: violence is undesirable but not always evil. One of his most enduring contributions to political thought is his advocacy of a peaceful revolution and description of a means to carry it out: the citizen refuses allegiance, and the officer resigns his office. Thoreau was certainly not the first philosopher to advocate for a peaceful revolution through withdrawing consent, but he did make the idea accessible to an English-speaking audience and strengthened it with concrete examples drawn from his personal experience. Perhaps Thoreau’s practical attitude and explanation, rooted in his own experience, allowed him to make a more convincing case. Politics Thoreau discusses his political views most fully in Civil Disobedience, an 1849 essay originally titled “Resistance to Civil Government.” He begins with a very libertarian statement. I heartily accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe, — “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.  While Thoreau does not draw out a plan to prepare for government which governs not at all, his repeated appeals to conscience suggest that it requires a broad shift in principles. Experiencing the wild, of course, is an important part of individual and social improvement. After Thoreau is released from prison, he finds himself in a party of huckleberry pickers. Soon they are “in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen.”  Government was “an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone.” Yet it more often interfered with people and commerce, and the good things accomplished in America were due to the character of American society. “But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government.”  Regardless of how immediately one would ask for no government, one can appreciate Thoreau’s practicality: having no government is a worthwhile thing to strive for, but in the meantime it would be nice if the government did not start wars, hunt down innocent people to haul them to slavery, and threaten to kill anyone who resisted. Yet Thoreau’s genuine radicalism can inspire libertarians, whether or not they be of the no-government variety. Resisting the poll tax was one example of his practice of direct action. Resisting slavery was a family activity for the Thoreaus, and Henry’s thorough knowledge of the region’s woods and his knack for navigation were probably quite valuable in guiding slaves northward. In “Slavery in Massachusetts,” Thoreau criticized those who talked about distant and potential evils while ignoring nearby existing evils. He is dismayed that they talk about the possibility of Nebraska allowing slavery, yet did little to stop fugitive slaves being hauled back to slavery by Massachusetts militia and United States Marines. He decries the hypocrisy of celebrating freedom won in the battle of Concord just after a man was taken back to slavery. Three years ago, also, just a week after the authorities of Boston assembled to carry back a perfectly innocent man, and one whom they knew to be innocent, into slavery, the inhabitants of Concord caused the bells to be rung and the cannons to be fired, to celebrate their liberty — and the courage and love of liberty of their ancestors who fought at the bridge. Thoreau encouraged his audience to not limit political action to the ballot. The fate of the country does not depend on how you vote at the polls — the worst man is as strong as the best at that game; it does not depend on what kind of paper you drop into the ballot-box once a year, but on what kind of man you drop from your chamber into the street every morning.  Work Thoreau’s view of freedom included liberation from excessive work. In “Life Without Principle,” Thoreau condemns overwork and obsession with business. If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!  Within a chapter of Walden focused on his own labors, Thoreau questions the factory system and dreads the conditions of workers. I cannot believe that our factory system is the best mode by which men may get clothing. The condition of the operatives is becoming every day more like that of the English; and it cannot be wondered at, since, as far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but unquestionably, that the corporations may be enriched. Walden also describes Thoreau advocating a simple life to an Irish immigrant farm worker nearby. [I]n an hour or two, without labor, but as recreation, I could, if I wished, catch as many fish as I should want for two days, or earn enough money to support me a week. If he and his family would live simply, they might all go a-huckleberrying in the summer for their amusement.  Thoreau’s own labors were many and varied. He worked in the family pencil business, as a handyman, and as a surveyor. He seems to favor honest, quality work that the worker can enjoy with plenty of time for other pursuits. His defense of leisure time predates a number of labor leaders and social commentators. His ideas of useful, quality work and opposition toward the factory system could be connected with earlier sentiments popular among artisans resisting “proletarianization,” but in “Walking, Thoreau wonders about artisans who can sit at the workbench all day. Land Question How can one enjoy simple, independent living like Thoreau did at Walden when you have no land to plant your beans? Thoreau understood that the land he used was borrowed from a friend and did consider the question of land, but did not explore it in depth. In Walden he suggests that it is better to live in a box than be harassed by a landlord.  “Walking” attacks the type of land enclosures that obstruct wandering. At present, in this vicinity, the best part of the land is not private property; the landscape is not owned, and the walker enjoys comparative freedom. But possibly the day will come when it will be partitioned off into so-called pleasure grounds, in which a few will take a narrow and exclusive pleasure only, — when fences shall be multiplied, and man traps and other engines invented to confine men to the public road; and walking over the surface of God’s earth, shall be construed to mean trespassing on some gentleman’s grounds. To enjoy a thing exclusively is commonly to exclude yourself from the true enjoyment of it. Let us improve our opportunities then before the evil days come. Conclusion On September 6, 1847, Thoreau left his cabin at Walden, and went back to living in Concord. I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to life, and could not spare any more time for that one.  Once he accomplished what he set out to do at Walden, Thoreau began on different paths of discovery and advocacy. He continued to live deliberately, taking frequent long walks, studying nature in increasing detail, and speaking against slavery, hypocrisy, and conformity. He began to study Native American culture in his later years and compiled many pages of notes on the subject. In late 1860 he caught bronchitis, which combined with his tuberculosis to seriously damage his health. Yet he continued to explore and examine nature. He died on May 6, 1862, leaving behind literary treasures for contemporaries and future generations. Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were inspired by Civil Disobedience and respected the authenticity that Thoreau’s experience enabled him to bring to his writing. Thoreau’s life and advocacy for nature have earned him a fair claim to the title of “father of environmentalism” which some have bestowed upon him. Today the depth of Thoreau’s writing and actions counsel us to explore ourselves, to understand the world around us, and to live deliberate lives of freedom. Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 6:02 PM
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Friday, May 9, 2014
Whose opinion do you trust? Whose advice do you seek? Whose numbers are the most accurate? When the question is, “How much can I get for my home?” – the answer for most homeowners in North America is still – consult a local real estate broker. Almost all home searches by prospective buyers that once began with a local real estate broker, now begin on the internet. But people who are thinking of selling look to local real estate for an opinion of value. Yes, it’s true that many people visit one of the websites that promise a price opinion (and usually deliver more spam than accurate data) – some use the old ‘ask your neighbor’ approach – and some brave souls still, believe it or not, test the market waters themselves by trying to sell by owner. But the most common method of finding out current market value is to invite three or more brokers over to the house, one at a time, to take a look and give an opinion. While the vast majority of buyers usually work with the first agent they meet, sellers are interviewing multiple listing agents before choosing. With the current inventory shortages, the competition is fierce, but it can be won more often than not if you remember three sure-fire tie-breakers. Each of these tie-breakers can put you ahead of the game, but all three in combination are unbeatable. The first tie-breaker is relationship. How many people think of you as “my Realtor,” and regularly refer you to their friends and family? As in, “Oh, you’re thinking of selling? You should talk to my Realtor!” The secret is not in how many people you know, but in how many people the people you know are willing to refer to you. That is a trust that is earned by taking really, really good care of the people you know. By always doing what you say you will do, sometimes more, just never less, to paraphrase Floyd Wickman’s Core Values. People will refer you as a favor, not to you, but to their friends and family, when you deliver what you promise. When you keep in touch. When you ask. When you prove yourself trustworthy. All things being equal, if I am competing with two or three other brokers for a listing, but I have been referred in by a friend or family member, that’s a real and distinct advantage. The second tie-breaker is bells and whistles. (I was going to just say technology, but that’s so trite, and bells and whistles sounds cooler.) Bells and whistles mean things like innovative marketing approaches. Take a good, hard look at your marketing presentation and ask yourself, “What differentiates me from my competition?” Sellers expect all the traditional marketing tools to be part of the picture, but I think they are also looking for a “wow” factor. Like a virtual tour put together on hdhat.com. Like a lead capture system. Like a web syndication. Like a network of strategic relationships. All things being equal, if I have been referred in AND my marketing plan is customized and cutting edge, that’s a double whammy to your competition. The third tie-breaker is skill. Selling skill. Realtionships have to be earned over time. Technology has to be invested in. But skill has to be developed and mastered with practice. Out of every 10 really successful people, one gets by on dynamic personality, or natural charisma, or luck, or dogged persistence alone. But 90% of the really great salespeople have added history-proven selling skills to their repertoire. Relationships and technology won’t convert leads to appointments, or put you in positive control, or show you the art of questioning to discover needs, or deliver a professional presentation, or price it right, or handle hesitations and stalls, or get signatures. Only skill can do those things for you. All things being equal, even if I am brand new and my competitors are credentialed veterans, when I am referred in AND I have a wow factor AND I am skillful at presenting, then I really have no competition. By the way, if you’re looking for a training program that will give you all of the how-to’s, and develop all three tie-breakers simultaneously, look no further than The Floyd Wickman Program. Happy listing! Lisa:D
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 5:39 AM
Thursday, May 1, 2014
My New Favorite Game ~ Cards Against Humanity...get ready to laugh until you cry...and laugh at how disgusted U R!
Verified Purchase(What's this?) This review is from: Cards Against Humanity (Toy) This is not a review about playing Cards Against Humanity, it's a review of the fallout endured from playing Cards Against Humanity. Take it as a warning, if you will. If you aren't a horrible person already, you will soon be. You will play Cards Against Humanity, and as others have said, you will be shocked, appalled, and worst of all, you will learn and adapt. You'll reach for your smartphone and search for terms you've drawn such as "The Übermensch", "Heteronormativity", and "The Three-Fifths Compromise". You will commit these and many other newly-learned words to memory. And that's where it all comes crashing down. At first, you might allow "front butt" to casually wander its way into a conversation here and there. As more of your subconscious fights to unleash the trauma, you'll find yourself uttering "nipple blades" and "mouth herpes" in the most unacceptable of times. You'll visit the Cards Against Humanity website and bomb them with suggestions for new cards like "Cutting the cheese at a funeral" and "Scissoring". Soon, you will meet up with new people to inflict Cards Against Humanity upon them and they'll be hooked. You will receive random voicemails and texts, asking for another hit of that "8 oz. of sweet, Mexican black tar heroin", and you will comply, because you're just as hooked as they are. They'll bring new friends in to freshen up the game...you will feel a rush as the look of shame crosses their innocent eyes as they win a round by playing "Amputees" against your "White People Like _____". "I was just throwing that card away!" they'll proclaim, but you know the sad truth. You will buy the expansion pack. You will host parties where you play through every card in both boxes. You'll wonder where the time went. Your face will hurt from laughing so much. Your friends will buy their own sets, and the infection will be passed on. A team of rescue workers will find you you weeks later in your closet, frazzled, emaciated, and stinking from "Soiling Yourself", because you just couldn't stop with playing Cards Against Humanity against yourself. The light of day will strike your eyes and you'll gaze up at your saviors with pensive anticipation... "Wanna play?" Lisa Ekanger
Posted by Lisa Ekanger at 12:01 PM