It’s a popular fact that 90 percent of the brain is not used, and like most popular facts, it is wrong…It is used.  One of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary, to turn the unusual into the usual.  Otherwise, human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing a stupid grin, saying “Wow” a lot.  Part of the brain exists to stop this from happening.  It is very efficient, and can make people experience boredom in the middle of marvels.

Terry Pratchett in Small Gods

I arise in the morning

Torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world.

That makes it hard to plan for the day.

E. B. White

Some people are uncomfortable with the word “joy.” Perhaps the thought of “being happy” makes your eyes roll as if you’re being asked to wear a permanent smiley face.  Maybe it brings to mind syrupy TV ads of couples skipping through meadows of daisies.  Don’t worry.  Truly happy people are not happy all the time.  Being sad and angry and feeling the whole range of human emotions is part of being alive.  I’m not talking about adopting a Pollyanna attitude or living in denial.  What I’m calling joy is a general feeling of aliveness and well-being that is characterized by meeting the ups and downs of life with authenticity and perspective.

Awakening Joy: 10 steps that will put you on the Road to Real Happiness by James Baraz & Shoshana Alexander

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

Stop thinking this is all there is…Realize that for every ongoing war and religious outrage and environmental disaster, there are a thousand counterbalancing acts of staggering generosity and humanity and art and beauty happening all over the world, right now, on a breathtaking scale, from flower box to cathedral.

Mark Morford, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 18, 2002

When I rise up,
Let me rise up joyful
Like a bird.
When I fall,
Let me fall
Without regret
Like a leaf.

Wendell Berry

Is the glass half full or half empty? Happy people will say the glass is both half full and empty.  Life is about coming to terms with both perceptions of the glass.  Happiness is the result of our conscious responses to both the wonderful and the tragic components of life.  They would tell you what creates a happy life cannot be reduced to a single cause—happiness is multi-faceted.

How We Choose to be Happy:  The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People—Their Secrets, Their Stories by Rick Foster & Greg Hicks

Faith is the bird
That sings to the dawn
While it is still dark.


When it’s over,
I want to say:
All my life
I was a bride
Married to amazement.

By Mary Oliver

Dear God,
So far, today, I’ve done all right.  I haven’t gossiped or lost my temper.  I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, or self centered.  I’m really happy about that so far.  But in a few minutes I’m going to be getting out of bed and then I’m going to need a lot of help.  Thank you!   Amen


What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

An excerpt by Mother Theresa

Gentle me,
  Holy One,
into an unclenched moment,
a deep breath,
a letting go
of heavy experiences
of shriveling anxieties
of dead certainties
that, softened by the silence,
surrounded by the light,
and open to the mystery,
I may be found by wholeness,
upheld by the unfathomable,
entranced by the simple,
and filled with the joy
that is you.

From:  Guide Me into an Unclenched Moment by Ted Loder from Guerillas of Grace

A contented person is one who can

Enjoy the scenery along the detour.

Because These Failures Are My Job

This morning I failed to notice the pearl-gray moment
just before sunrise when everything lightens;
failed also to find bird songs under the grinding of garbage trucks,
and later, walking through woods, to stop thinking, thinking,
for even five consecutive steps. Then there was the failure to name
the exact shade of blue overhead, not sapphire, not azure, not delft,
to savor the soft squelch of pine needles underfoot.
Later I found the fork raised halfway to my mouth
while I was still chewing the last untasted bite,
and so it went, until finally, wading into sleep’s thick undertow,
I felt myself drift from dream to dream,
forever failing to comprehend where I am falling from or to:
this blurred life with only moments caught
in attention’s loose sieve —
tiny pearls fished out of oblivion’s sea,
laid out here as offering or apology or thank you

~ Alison Luterman