Leading – the Tao Te Ching way!

It’s always beneficial to have our own personal, trusted coach to advice us on our performance anyday. How nice it would be if that trusted leader helped us understand how good a leader we are?

Here’s the Tao Te Ching doing just that – the following two paragraphs are reproduced from Guy Leekley’s lovely translation with just one change – have replaced “Teachers” with “Masters” in the first line:

Our greatest Masters
Are not publicly known;
The next best often
Become famous.

Some with much influence
Become feared and scorned.
If they do not trust,
They are not trusted.

So how does the Master work? Here’s the last paragraph from Steven Mitchell’s very popular and endearing translation:

The Master dosen’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
The people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

So which leader are you – are you a Master, the good and famous – or the one who is feared (but influential)? And would you like to stay that way?!!

The Guest House

The master needs no preamble. Let’s partake of Rumi’s illuminating poem “The Guest House”

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be cleaning you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each one has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

– Rumi

Song of the Rain

Its raining and the drops patter on the window. I smile in contentment, a hot brew keeping me company. At such times, the soul sings – and what better time than to savour Gibran’s celebration of rain?

SONG OF THE RAIN – KAHLIL GIBRAN

I am dotted silver threads dropped from heaven

By the gods. Nature then takes me, to adorn

Her fields and valleys.

I am beautiful pearls, plucked from the

Crown of Ishtar by the daughter of Dawn

To embellish the gardens.

When I cry the hills laugh;

When I humble myself the flowers rejoice;

When I bow, all things are elated.

The field and the cloud are lovers

And between them I am a messenger of mercy.

I quench the thirst of one;

I cure the ailment of the other.

The voice of thunder declares my arrival;

The rainbow announces my departure.

I am like earthly life, which begins at

The feet of the mad elements and ends

Under the upraised wings of death.

I emerge from the heard of the sea

Soar with the breeze. When I see a field in

Need, I descend and embrace the flowers and

The trees in a million little ways.

I touch gently at the windows with my

Soft fingers, and my announcement is a

Welcome song. All can hear, but only

The sensitive can understand.

The heat in the air gives birth to me,

But in turn I kill it,

As woman overcomes man with

The strength she takes from him.

I am the sigh of the sea;

The laughter of the field;

The tears of heaven.

So with love—

Sighs from the deep sea of affection;

Laughter from the colorful field of the spirit;

Tears from the endless heaven of memories.

If – Rudyard Kipling

Came across this Kipling poem again after a while – it seems just scripted for our times, isn’t it?….

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Delightful stuff – from a master of humor and poetry

Doing the weekend tidying-up activity, I came across a much loved book from long ago  – Shel Silverstein’s book of witty, wicked poems which would delight the child in everyone. Eagerly I looked for some of my favourites – there they were tucked into the book and as wonderful as ever. I present a few for your pleasure – beware reading will leave you with a big goofy grin!

 

First up – how do you determine if a window is open (no, we are not talking about Bill Gates’ software here!):? Here’s his poem titled “STONE TELLING”

How do we tell if a window is open?

Just throw a stone at it.

Does it make a noise?

It doesn’t?

Well, it was open.

Now, lets try another…

CRASH!

It wasn’t! 

 

Have you wondered if you are giving kids’ conflicting advice? Here’s one kid musing in a poem titled “MA AND GOD”

God gave us fingers – Ma says, “Use your fork.”

God gave us voices,- Ma says, “Don’t scream.”

Ma says eat brocolli, cereal and carrots.

But God gave us tasteys for maple ice cream.

 

God gave us fingers – Ma says, “Use your hanky.”

God gave us puddles – Ma says, “Don’t splash.”

Ma says, “Be quiet, your father is sleeping.”

But God gave us garbage can covers to crash.

 

God gave us fingers – Ma says “put your gloves on.”

God gave us raindrops – Ma says “Don’t get wet.”

Ma says be careful, and don’t get too near to

Those strange lovely dogs that God gave us to pet.

God gave us fingers – Ma says “go wash ’em.”

Bod God gave us coal bins and nice little bodies.

And I ain’t too smart, but there’s one thing for certain –

Either Ma’s wrong or else God is.

 

And finally here’s his take (from the poem EARLY BIRD) on the “Early bed gets the worm” proverb:

Oh, if you’re a bird, be an early bird.

And catch the worm for your breakfast plate.

If you’re a bird, be an early bird –

But if you are a worm, sleep late.

 

All of this (and some more awesome ones are in his “Where the Sidewalk ends” – trust that the afternoon looks sunnier already?!!