Kafka – Sunday Seven

We started reading Czech author Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis in English last week and I am still trying to understand what I am supposed to make of this book. On its surface it’s quite simple – if one allows for all suspension of disbelief – a salesman goes to sleep a normal human being and wakes up a bug  and seriously what kind of life did Kafka live to have such a wild imagination. I realize we are dealing with deeper issues like an existential crisis – but still what an imagination. I decided to find interesting quotes by Kafka for this week’s Sunday Seven.

  • A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.
  • In man’s struggle against the world, bet on the world.
  • Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
  • I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.
Kafka Sculpture in Prague
  • They say ignorance is bliss….they’re wrong.
  • God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.
  • Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

And my favorite:

  • How about I sleep a little longer and forget all this nonsense.

Sunday Seven – Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is considered one of the greatest humanitarians of the 20th Century. She was a nun and a missionary who dedicated her life to helping the orphans in Calcutta (India). She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, and was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta after her death in 1997. On this Mother’s Day Sunday, I want to dedicate my Sunday Seven to her quotes.

  • A life not lived for others is not a life.
  • I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create ripples.
  • Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
  • If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
  • It is a kingly act to assist the fallen.
  • Peace begins with a smile.
  • We fear the future because we are wasting today.
  • Do ordinary things with extraordinary love.

For the love of trees – Sunday Seven.

Have you noticed how beautiful and lush trees look at this time of year? I love going for a walk on the trail near my house and walking amongst the trees – a sense of calm washes over me when I am with the trees. I decided to do this week’s Sunday Seven about trees and what they mean to different people.

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. Nelson Henderson.

Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky. Khalil Gibran.

Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven’t done a thing. You are just talking. Wangari Maathai.

When you’re outnumbered by trees, your perspective shifts. Jessica Marie Baumgartner.

What a joy it is to see, trees dancing in the rain! Charmaine J. Forde.

Things that can’t move, learn to see. Louise Glick.

Believe me, for I know, you will find something far greater in the woods than in books. Stones and trees will teach you that which you cannot learn from the masters. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop. Rumi.

(Image – Gustav Klimt, The Park, 1910 or earlier. MOMA)

Sunday Seven – Notre-Dame, Paris

On this Easter Sunday I started thinking of the magnificent Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which had a devastating fire almost a year ago. On Good Friday this year the cathedral had a small closed service. Regardless of one’s faith, the beginning of the rebirth of this medieval church from the ashes of that devastating fire, is reason enough to celebrate.

Maurice Utrillo (`1883 – 1955), Nore Dame, 1909. Musee de l’Orangerie
Marc Chagall, (1887 – 1985) Notre-Dame en gris, 1955
JMW Turner (1775 – 1851). Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, 1826. Tate, London
Jacques-Louis David (1748 – 1825). The Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and the Crowning of the Empress Josephine in Notre-Dame Cathedral on December 2, 1804, 1806-07. Musee du Louvre, Paris
Henri Matisse (1869 -1954) Notre-Dame,1900 Tate, London
Childe Hassam (1859 – 1935), Notre Dame Cathedral Paris, 1885. Detroit Institute of the Arts.
Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) Notre Dame de Paris, 1907. Whitney Museum of American Art

Sunday Seven – Elizabeth Regina

Today I heard a speech by Queen Elizabeth on TV – she was speaking to her nation to remain united and resolute in the face of the current epidemic.  What was startling for me about the speech was that she referred to a speech she and her sister gave in 1940 – that was 80 years ago!! I can’t imagine that there is any other world leader, part or present, that can say that. That got me thinking about all the brilliant, funny, and poignant things she may have said over the course of these years, and I decided that I would find some of the ones I liked and make that my Sunday Seven for this week.

  • We know, every one of us that in the end all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world a better and happier place (Radio address to the children of the Commonwealth on Oct 13, 1940).
  • It has been women who have breathed gentleness and care into the hard progress of humankind.
  • The upward course of a nation’s history is due in the long run to the soundness of heart of its average men and women.
  • I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
  • Work is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on earth.
  • It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.
  • True patriotism, doesn’t exclude an understanding of the patriotism of others.
  • In remembering the appalling suffering of war on both sides, we recognize how precious is the peace we have built in Europe since 1945.
..my strength and my stay..
  • He has, quite simply, been my strength and my stay all these years, and I and his whole family, and this, and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know. (About her husband Prince Philip).

Sunday Seven – For All My Teachers

I am dedicating today’s Sunday Seven – with some teacher quotes I found on Instagram – to all my teachers. We have gone from classrooms to online learning without skipping a beat – and I can just imagine the herculean effort this has required on all your parts. Hats off to all of you – you are amazing!!

  • Parents saying they’re now “teachers” is like saying you’re a carpenter after putting together IKEA furniture.
  • I hope the phrase “just a teacher” disappears after all of this. Teachers are rock stars.
  • Dear Educators, Together my wife & I have four college degrees and 40 years’ experience working with children. We have three elementary-school kids, two jobs, two computers, an old iPad, and slow internet. We. Are. Still. Overwhelmed. A Parent.
  • After a week of “Home School”…the teachers have been lying to me all these years. THEY ARE NOT A PLEASURE TO HAVE IN CLASS. A Parent.
  • Don’t ask school leaders and teachers if they are happy to “have time off.” No, we are not happy and our hearts ache for our students. We want to be at school. We want to see our kids. We want to meet their needs. We want our normal back. A Teacher.
  • Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour an 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week. A Parent.
  • Shout out to all of the amazing teachers doing everything they can to continue teaching during the quarantine. You are heroes. Ellen DeGeneres.
  • AND MY FAVORITE:  My professor is 74 and he isn’t confident using Zoom so he’s prerecorded the rest of our classes. Today, I watched the first one. He has a Pinocchio doll in the front row because he isn’t comfortable teaching to an empty room. I’m social distancing for this man and this man only. @macho_montana

Sunday Seven – Persian New Year

I was supposed to go to a Persian friend’s New Year part but that was cancelled. The Persian New Year or Nowruz is on March 20th.  Every year Nowruz coincides with the arrival of spring – it is a celebration of the links between humans and nature.  In honor of the Persian New Year I decided to do quotes by Persian poets for this week’s Sunday Seven.

Whatever is produced in haste, goes hastily to waste. Saadi Shirazi (1210 – 1291).

Have patience, all things are difficult before they become easy. Saadi Shirazi.

Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself. Rumi (1207 – 1273).

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. Rumi.

Raise you words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. Rumi.

Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor. Rumi.

I died a lot to love a little with you. Yaghma Golrrouee

Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends. Hafiz (1315 -1390)

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you. Hafiz.

It does not matter where I am. The sky is always mine. Sohrab Sepehri (1928 – 1980).

Sunday Seven – the Surreal Spring of 2020

In these uncertain times when people all over the world are suffering immeasurably, the only thing that is giving me hope and joy is nature.  The skies look clearer, the birds are chirping – telling us to hang in there – and flowers are blooming everywhere. For this week’s Sunday Seven I want to write about the beauty and hope that comes with the arrival of spring, so we all remember that even the toughest and darkest of times are followed by spring.

  • The deep roots never doubt spring will come. Marty Rubin.
  • If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • We sat in silence, letting the green in the air heal what it could. Erica Bauermeister.
  • Despite the heart numbing frost, my soul is blooming like spring. Debashish Mridha.
  • You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming. Pablo Neruda.
  • Even the hardest of winters fears the spring. Lithuanian proverb.
  • April…hath put a spirit of youth in everything. Shakespeare.
  • Is the spring coming? he said. what is it like?…It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine… Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Sunday Seven – for Women

On International Women’s day – some of my favorite quotes about how strong women really are.

  • Our backs tell stories no books have the spine to carry. Rupi Kaur.
  • Though she be but little she is fierce. William Shakespeare.
  • We are the granddaughters of the witches you weren’t able to burn. Unknown
  • She wasn’t looking for a knight. She was looking for a sword. Atticus
  • You had the power all along my dear. Glinda the Good Witch, Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.
  • I am both war and woman and you cannot stop me. Nikita Gill.
  • They whispered to her, “You cannot withstand the storm,” she whispered back, “I am the storm.”
  • A people is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Cheyenne saying.

Sunday Seven – Walt Disney

Last week at a debate tournament, the impromptu speaking event was based on Walt Disney’s quotes – which seemed too perfect to not use them for this week’s Sunday Seven. These quotes make you realize what a happy and positive person Walt Disney really was.

  • I only hope that we will never lose sight of one thing – that it was started by a mouse.
  • All our dreams can come true, if we have courage to pursue them.
  • When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are.
  • It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.
  • There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.
  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
  • We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
  • When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.
  • When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably. The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.