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Thread: Happy Birthday, Henry!

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Happy Birthday, Henry!

    The ultimate simple-liver and author of one of my top 3 simple living books is having a big birthday today--Henry David Thoreau, born 200 years ago!

    Walden is just a treasure trove of wisdom, and if my house were burning down and I only had time to grab a few books, that would be one of them.

    A couple of favorite passages:

    Simplify your life. Don't waste the years struggling for things that are unimportant. Don't burden yourself with possessions. Keep your needs and wants simple and enjoy what you have. Don't destroy your peace of mind by looking back, worrying about the past. Live in the present. Simplify!

    You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.



    Here's an excerpt from the conclusion:

    However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as rom the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring...... Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old, return to them. Things do not change: we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. God will see that you do not want society

    Every one has heard the story which has gone the rounds of New England, of a strong and beautiful bug which came out of the dry leaf of an old table of apple-tree wood, which had stood in a farmer's kitchen for sixty years--from an egg deposited in the living tree many years earlier still, as appeared by counting the annual layers behind it; which was heard gnawing out for several weeks. Who does not feel his faith in a resurrection and immortality strengthened by hearing of this? Who knows what beautiful and winged life, whose egg has been buried for ages and under many concentric layers of woodenness in the dead dry life of society...may unexpectedly come forth from amidst society's most trivial and handselled furniture, to enjoy its perfect summer life at last!

    Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.

    Do you have any favorite Thoreau quotes?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  2. #2
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    "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Geila's Avatar
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    That was very nice Catherine. Thank you.

    I haven't read Thoreau so I don't have any quotes. But lately I've had this thought running through my mind... "Life is for living." Meaning, it's for experiencing, not analyzing, worrying, ruminating, fantasizing, planning, etc.... I think one of the drawbacks to man's thinking brain is the tendency to exist in the mind at the expense of the body.

    I have a tendency to worry about outcomes, past mistakes, future happenings, etc... But so what? So what if things don't turn out perfectly? Is that even possible? A perfect live? Just do the thing, whatever that is, and live your life. These are the thoughts that prompt me into a more present mindset. I feel happier sweeping the porch than thinking about sweeping the porch. So why not do it? And stop thinking so much!!!

    Sorry, I don't mean to derail the thread. I guess my point is that Thoreau's words echo my thoughts lately. And these new thoughts have been bringing me happiness. So, Happy Birthday Henry!

  4. #4
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    thank you for sharing this, it came at just the right time

  5. #5
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    Thoreau is my hero.

  6. #6
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Thanks catherine. That was very uplifting!

  7. #7
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    Worth another read, thanks

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