Robbie Burns and Fickle Fate

Good one!  Be here now.  Awaken to the moment because it is all we really have.

Speed Bump

There is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, and was included in the Kilmarnock volume. According to legend, Burns wrote the poem after finding a nest full of mice during the winter.

Robbie Burns talks about the futility of trusting foresight in the face of fickle fate in his note to a mouse:

To a Mouse
, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough:
 But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,

And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward,
though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

The first stanza of the poem is read by Ian Anderson in the beginning of the 2007 remaster of "One Brown Mouse" by Jethro Tull. Anderson adds the line "But a mouse is a mouse, for all that," at the end of the stanza, which is a reference to another of Burns' songs, "Is There for Honest Poverty", commonly known as "A Man's a Man for A' That".

 My spell checker doesn't like Gaelic...

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

  Standard English translation
Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
O, what a panic is in your little breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With argumentative chatter!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startle
At me, your poor, earth born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;
What then? Poor little beast, you must live!
An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I will get a blessing with what is left,
And never miss it.

Your small house, too, in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December's winds coming,
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel plough passed
Out through your cell.

That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
Without house or holding,
To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!


A Man's A Man For A' That

Type: Song
Tune: For a' that.
Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'ersae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
Butan honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunnafa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.


Quotes about FICKLE: http://quotes.dictionary.com/search/fickle
"Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate."
-Emily Dickinson
 Even the most fickle are faithful to a few bad habits.
- Mason Cooley

The passion for money is never fickle.
- Mason Cooley


 Fame is fickle, but Obscurity is usually faithful to the end.
 - Mason Cooley

We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


 Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate, and where no opportunity for the forming of opinions exists , there may be moods--moods of the masses and moods of individuals, the latter no less fickle and unreliable than the former--but no opinion.  -- Hannah Arendt

Young men have strong passions and tend to gratify them indiscriminately. Of the bodily desires, it is the sexual by which they ar e most swayed and in which they show absence of control...They are changeable and fickle in their desires which are violent while they last, but quickly over: their impulses are keen but not deep rooted.
-- Aristotle

Only when human sorrows are turned into a toy with glaring colors will baby people become interested--for a while at least.  The people are a very fickle baby that must have new toys every day.   -- Emma Goldman

Gratitude is a fickle thing, indeed. A person taking aim presses the weapon to his chest and cheek, but when he hits, he discards it with indifference.

--Franz Grillparzer

 All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

 -- Gerhard Manley Hopkins


[fik-uhl] Show IPA
likely to change, especially due to caprice, irresolution, or instability; casually changeable: fickle weather.
not constant or loyal in affections: a fickle lover.
before 1000; Middle English fikel, Old English ficol  deceitful, akin to fācen  treachery, fician  to deceive, gefic  deception

Related forms
fick·le·ness, noun
un·fick·le, adjective

1. unstable, unsteady, variable, capricious, fitful. 2. inconstant. 1, 2. Fickle, inconstant, capricious, vacillating describe persons or things that are not firm or steady in affection, behavior, opinion, or loyalty.

implies an underlying perversity as a cause for the lack of stability: the fickle seasons, disappointing as often as they delight; once lionized, now rejected by a fickle public. Inconstant suggests an innate disposition to change: an inconstant lover, flitting from affair to affair. Capricious implies unpredictable changeability arising from sudden whim: a capricious administration constantly and inexplicably changing its signals; a capricious and astounding reversal of position.
Vacillating means changeable due to lack of resolution or firmness: an indecisive, vacillating leader, apparently incapable of a sustained course of action.
Dictionary.com Unabridged



Van Gogh Sunflowers

Life is a state of consciousness.      - Emmett Fox

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

"Failure isn't the opposite of success. Its a stepping stone to success."  

 The pessimist see problems in every opportunity. The entrepreneur see opportunity in every problem. 

 "It doesn’t matter much what the subject is. Find a real teacher, and you may open yourself to transformation" 

 Mae West once said that “Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly”

Woody Allen once said, "I'm not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens." 

"If you want to know where technology is headed, looks at how artists and criminals are using it." William Gibson

"If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule - never lie to yourself." -Paulo Coelho

Think long-term. There are no shortcuts, no tricks, no hacks. It's all about hours, days and years applied to your craft, to your passion.
"No matter how great your dreams or destiny, the greatest thing you can do on any one day is a small act of kindness."


Update from Local Second Hand Bookstore

 In this edition drawing attention to our:

Outreach Program in the Vancouver Island Correctional Centre. 
This is another of our programs whose time has come. Partnering together with
Corrections Management and John Howard Society, we have already achieved success but our intention is to achieve much more. 
Together we plan to establish a leading model that engages increasing numbers of inmates and presents many of them with an offer they can’t refuse.
Supports are in place that will help them be successful when released but everyone involved knows there are many other influences out there that will impact his decisions.  

We only have time to plant the seeds, pass on some new skills and give a glimmer of hope.
Will we be there to carry on if he is not successful this time? You betcha because that’s what it takes, we are in the hope business. I am not speaking about the percentage of inmates that cannot be helped...

When people suffer abuse and trauma throughout childhood, coping and survival skills along with hyper vigilance become deeply imbedded, sometimes a set of circumstance, even if self-created, will bring unbearable fears to the surface
causing another string of impulsive choices. 
The primal need to survive is often at any cost.
Recovering and becoming well is a choice followed by a difficult process. It takes courage.

Literacy Central is a very unique organization, one of a kind. We can reach much deeper and have much more of an impact because of valuable partnerships. We are developing models within the model. Over time we hope to be in a position to share our findings, efforts, successes and challenges with other communities that feel our experiences would be helpful with their particular challenges.
...while in the midst of a cultural shift in our organization.

Projects of this nature and timeline require assembling the right team, a shared vision (enthusiasm), reason-able budget estimates, a willingness to risk “failing forward” (a tip to one of my favorite leadership thinkers, John Maxwell) and leadership from the ground up.
When staff and volunteers throughout the organization have the support and freedom to explore and test critical, independent thinking, combine it with their experience and knowledge and actively share their thoughts and suggestions, we make better decisions as a

Relationship building and trust are critical for this leadership model to succeed.  The potential  results on many levels soars above most other models, particularly in
the Not for Profit world where 'taking ownership' nurtures the soul of the organization.

Enjoy life long learning and life long adventures! 

Corrections Canada 2003 Research

Offenders without a high school diploma -79%

Offenders who tested lower than grade 10 - 82%

Offenders who tested lower than grade 8 - 65%


Source: http://www.literacycentralvi.org/newslett/sepoct09/sepoct09.pdf



You’re writing the story of your life one moment at a time.

If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse. -- Jim Rohn

If you realize that all things change, you hold on to nothing, including regret.

The question is not whether we will die, but how we will live.

“A problem is a question you haven’t yet answered to a level that has fulfilled you.” —Anthony Robbins






Worry does not help any situation to improve.

The sea like life itself, is a stern taskmaster. The best way to get along with either is to learn all you can, then do your best and don't worry especially about things over which your have no control.

- Admiral Chester William Nimitz quoting his grandfather in E.B. Potter's Nimitz

Elyn Saks: A tale of mental illness -- from the inside

In this video, we are offered many insights into mental illness by Elyn.Saks

Published on Jul 2, 2012

Elyn Saks: A tale of mental illness -- from the inside

"Is it okay if I totally trash your office?" It's a question Elyn Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn't a joke. 

A legal scholar, in 2007 Saks came forward with her own story of schizophrenia, controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. 

In this powerful talk, she asks us to see people with mental illness clearly, honestly and compassionately.

Source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6CILJA110Y


The Blue Sweater

The Blue Sweater

For the first 5,000 copies of The Blue Sweater purchased, a $15 donation per book was made to Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that invests in transformative businesses to solve the problems of poverty.

Jacqueline Novogratz left a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty and to find powerful new ways of tackling it. It all started back home in Virginia, with the blue sweater, a gift that quickly became her prized possession — until the day she outgrew it and gave it away to Goodwill.

Eleven years later in Africa, she spotted a young boy wearing that very sweater, with her name still on the tag inside. That the sweater had made its trek all the way to Rwanda was ample evidence, she thought, of how we are all connected, how our actions - and inaction - touch people every day across the globe, people we may never know or meet.

From her first stumbling efforts as a young idealist venturing forth in Africa to the creation of the trailblazing organization she runs today, Novogratz tells gripping stories with unforgettable characters - women dancing in a Nairobi slum, unwed mothers starting a bakery, courageous survivors of the Rwandan genocide, entrepreneurs building services for the poor against impossible odds.

She shows, in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking, how traditional charity often fails, but how a new form of philanthropic investing called "patient capital" can help make people self-sufficient and can change millions of lives.

More than just an autobiography or a how-to guide to addressing poverty, The Blue Sweater is a call to action that challenges us to grant dignity to the poor and to rethink our engagement with the world.


See more at: http://virl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/756116043_the_blue_sweater#sthash.hNnPS75x.dpuf

The Blue Sweater | Vancouver Island Regional Library | BiblioCommons