Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Don’t do it! Don’t Go Back to Normal


This wonderful statement by Sony Renee Taylor has been circulating around lately, and it’s surely a wake up call –

“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.”
You can find out more at the Facebook page Over Grow the System

And from Brenna Quinlan on her Facebook page….

The first step towards creating something is imagining it. We imagine the smell of fresh bread as we tend our sourdough starter. We imagine the taste of ripe tomatoes as we plant out our seedlings. When we lay down the first stone, we imagine laughter and stories from future meals shared in our new home. The ability to create, in our minds, a possible future, is what gives that possibility a chance of being realised.

If all we imagine is business as usual, then that is the world we will create. But if we draw on our curiosity and creativity, we can hold in our minds something much greater than the world we are in. And once that happens, we can begin to act. Find out more about Brennan here.

Neuroscience Study Shows Gratitude Pays Off, Rewires Your Brain


Mountain Spirit New Zealand

Half-way through my Outward Bound career, I starting introducing the concept of gratefulness by asking my students to name five things for which they were grateful. The five things didn’t have to be from their wilderness trip, it could be anything.  It was an eye opener to see how some of them had a difficulty finding things in which to be grateful. They were just out of practice. So was I. These days, it’s been a daily question in our family, sometimes at the dinner table or while driving. It puts things in perspective, and not only for our 8yr-old.

Echkart Tolle states in his book Power of Now, “When you honor, acknowledge, and fully accept your present reality — where you are, who you are, what you are doing right now — when you fully accept what you have got, you are grateful for what you have got, grateful for what is, grateful for Being. Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is true prosperity. It cannot come in the future. Then, in time, that prosperity manifests for you in various ways.” (There’s more of this excerpt here.)

If quotes from Tolle aren’t convincing enough, a recent UCLA study should give you something to think about…

Neuroscience Reveals: This Is How Gratitude Literally Rewires Your Brain to Be Happier
From: Real Life Pharmacy
By Justin Brown

We often hear about the power of gratitude for creating a more positive and happy mental state. But did you know that gratitude literally transforms your brain?

According to UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude literally changes the molecular structure of the brain, keeps the gray matter functioning, and makes us healthier and happier.

When you feel happiness, the central nervous system is affected. Read more….


Living Well


Summit Silouete - Mt Baker, USA

“We don’t beat the Grim Reaper by living longer, we beat the Reaper by living well and living fully, for the Reaper will come for all of us. The question is what do we do between the time we are born and the time he shows up. It’s too late to do all the things that you’re gonna kinda get around to.”
Randy Pausch

Citizenship, and the Tenacity of Pursuit


Teddy Roosevelt on "Staying in the Arena"

What does it mean to be a good citizen these days?
Teddy Roosevelt had some definite ideas on the subject. Below is an excerpt from his speech Citizenship in a Republic.
And from where does the term Tenacity of Pursuit come?
Kurt Hahn
, the founder of Outward Bound considered “the tenacity of pursuit” to be one of his key outcomes of a good education.

Kurt Hahn

Says Hahn,  “I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion.”

TR’s life shows us that hard work, tenacity, and a desire to do the right thing can get you far in life. In the most memorable section of his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech, Roosevelt captured his life philosophy in just a few sentences. “The Man in the Arena” tells us that the man we should praise is the man who’s out there fighting the big battles, even if those battles end in defeat. In our day, when cynicism and aloof detachment are considered hip and cool, TR reminds us that glory and honor come to those “who spend themselves in a worthy cause.”

The Man in the Arena
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

The Invitation


I have read this to many a program participant around camp in the mountains, and thought I’d share it here.

Hitchhiking in Labrador

The Invitation, By Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive. (more…)

Americans Who Tell the Truth


It's About Time

Dutton has published Americans Who Tell The Truth, the book of the first fifty portraits in this series printed in beautiful color with short biographies and an essay by Robert Shetterly about the intent of the project. The book is suitable for all ages, but its target audience is middle and high school. We have published a free curriculum here on this website for teachers to be able to teach American history through the lives of these people.

This book has won the 2006 award of the International Reading Association for intermediate non-fiction.  The Children’s Book Council has named Americans Who Tell the Truth a 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Read more here

David Korten hit a chord with Agenda for a New Economy and its call for abolishing Wall Street. In his new revised and greatly expanded edition, David fleshes out his vision for a replacement—a decentralized economy based on resilient communities, local businesses, and ecological systems.

Greed is Out - Localism, In

Global greed is out. Local sharing is in. The Wall Street system failed us; this book is a great guide as we build the alternatives.

“… our economic crisis is, at its core, a moral crisis. Our economic institutions and rules, even the indicators by which we measure economic performance, consistently place financial values ahead of life values. They are brilliantly effective at making money for rich people. Our children, families, and communities, and natural systems of Earth have paid an intolerable price.”
Read more on Korten at Yes Magazine

Sir Edmund Hillary Museum, New Zealand


Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at Aoraki Mt. Cook Inspires, Gives Glimpse into Hillary’s Character

Hillary Museum in NZ

By Randall Richards
We passed through the Aoraki Mt. Cook area, on New Zealand’s South Island, and made our way through the fancy Hermitage Hotel to find the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. I knew of Hillary the climber, but the display, video presentations, memorabilia and photos portrayed a humble man with astounding climbing ability, a self depreciating style and sense of humor.

He was the first to reach Everest’s summit for a reason. His solid climbing skills, drive and competitiveness all put him in the position with Tenzing Norgay to be the first summiteers on Chomulungma.

Multimedia Displays, with Norgay/Hillary

The reason this story made its way onto this blog, is he seemed to have also been truly a nice guy.  He was loved by his fellow Kiwis. He took care to leave the world a better place than he found it by creating a foundation that built schools and educated those in the Everest region.  One leaves with a good feeling about Sir Ed, after strolling among old photos, his book collection and accounts of his relationships with family, friends and of course his sherpa Tenzing Norgay.
I have a greater respect for Mr. Hillary after having learned more about him at this Alpine Centre Museum dedicated to his life and acheivements.

From the Centre’s Website:

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”

Hillary, His Early Days

“A tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary, humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world’s greatest explorers, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region, its people and its place in the universe.

Designed to educate and entertain, the centre features a spectacular state-of-the-art 3D movie, New Zealand’s first full dome digital Planetarium and Museum which documents the pioneering heart of the region and features the impressive Hillary Gallery.

The Hillary Gallery depicts Sir Edmund’s longstanding connection with the region and touches upon his achievements, expeditions and life’s work.  It was here he climbed his first major mountain, achieved a number of impressive first ascents including the difficult south face of Mount Cook, and trained for his Everest and Antarctic expeditions.

Located adjacent to The Hermitage Hotel in the majestic Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is an opportunity to explore and connect to the national identity and celebrate the cultural characteristics New Zealanders hold dear.”


‘Rebuilding’ the ruins of Machu Picchu

Inca ruins get 'The Treatment'

Inca ruins get 'The Treatment'

By Amanda Richards

Peruvian authorities in charge of archaeological sites seem to have a voracious appetite to ‘rebuild’ the Inca ruins. They seem to think that the ruins need to be ‘reconstructed’ in order for them to become worth something more – ‘puesta en valor’ as the signs tell us.  The ruins in themselves are just not enough.

As we explored the ruins,we realized just how much had been ‘reconstructed’ and continues to be.  At Macchu Pichu for example, you can’t even see the ‘most beautiful wall in the world’ (as described by Hiram Bingham) as it is currently under ‘reconstruction’ and the area is only open to workers carrying bags of cement. It felt strange to watch the ‘ruins’ being rebuilt and made to look ‘tidy and new’.

Building a 'new' Inca wall

Building a 'new' Inca wall

Peter Frost raises this issue in his book ‘ Exploring Cusco’ hoping to ignite some discussion as he argues that there has never been a debate in Peru about this.  No one has ever questioned the authorities. And so the rebuilding of the old ruins – ‘The Treatment’ as Frost describes it, continues unimpeded.

I have to admit that on one hand there is something nice about seeing the ruins ‘new and rebuilt’ like the beautiful, big terraces at Moray for example.  However, I agree with Frost that this theme park approach takes away the ‘mystery, allure and enchantment’ that only our own imaginations can add to the experience of being there at these intriguing and mystical ruins.

Generosity in Peru


By Amanda Richards
We had been invited for lunch at the  home of Guillermo’s parents-in-law who live in the upper hills of Cusco. Although I had not met them before, Ernistina and her husband were all smiles and welcomed us with hugs and kisses when we arrived.  They appeared very humble and live in a simple home.  Although spartan and with dirt  floors it was clean and comfortable. We sat down to eat and were served soup followed by a lamb stew. The food was delicious and the thing that struck me was that we were given what seemed to be the best meat and they went without any meat at all in their stew. I was a stranger and yet they gave the best of what they had.  It reminded me of being on a train in India when complete strangers who obvioulsy had very little, offered me their food and bought me chai, refusing to accept any payment from me.  There is still this idea that having guests is an honour and it makes me  wonder if this concept is being lost in our western culture.

After lunch we sat outside and again were given the ‘best’  as our chairs were placed in the little bit of sun that was shining in the courtyard. It was a gracious act.

‘We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give’
Winston Churchill

There is no beautifier of complexion, or form, or behavior, like the wish to scatter joy and not pain around us. ‘Tis good to give a stranger a meal, or a night’s lodging. ‘Tis better to be hospitable to his good meaning and thought, and give courage to a companion. We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

This Just In Dept.




A prayer for the  Thanksgiving dinner table or any day.
“This food is a gift of the entire universe — the Earth, the Sun, and much hard work. May we live in a way that makes us worthy to receive it. May we be mindful of our actions and the effect we have on others, and may we be grateful for all that we have.”

From a  retreat weekend with Thich Nhat Hahn
Thanks to former MSI board member John Herrington for supplying this prayer.