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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

You’re alone, walking along the shoreline and enjoying the sunshine and the warm sand between your toes, when suddenly you see it:  a bottle with a piece of paper in it, lying on the sparkling beach.  You open the cork and read the contents and there it is… a message for the ages… words of wisdom that promise to give your mundane world new meaning and passion…  or perhaps a connection to another kindred soul on the planet.  Ah… if only it would happen like this. 

If such life-changing messages are to be found, they’re not lying there on a sunny shore, waiting to be chanced upon.  There’s a price to be paid for their discovery.  More likely, they’re to be found on a rainy day among plastic bottles and broken lobster traps in a heap of storm debris.

They may be enmeshed in a mass of wet seaweed, recently thrown up on the shore by crashing waves.  It may be winter when the sky is grey and oppressive, and you’d much rather be indoors than outside with the cold wind biting at your face and fingers.

If the message carried within the bottle is truly magnificent, you can bet the glass vessel is  lying close to the edge of the water, destined to be pulled out to sea again if you don’t act quickly enough to pick it up.

Anyone who has ever valued wisdom or soulful connections with others knows that these are treasures you have to find for yourself.  Neither can be passed from one person to the next.  Likewise, the person who finds the bottle on the shore is the one destined to acquire its contents. 

‘I always believed the sea could bring surprises and joy.’  So said Hsiao Wei-chen of Taiwan, who recently found a message in a bottle thrown into the sea 3,000 nautical miles away by container ship seaman Oliver Hickman.  His note wished the finder health and happiness and also said the world is full of fun, love and beauty.  Apparently, Hickman makes it a regular practice to throw bottled messages into the sea.  For more on the story, see Times Live.

The world is indeed full of fun, love and beauty.  It’s also full of wonder.  You just have to get out there and discover it for yourself.

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baby spiders2

Spiders seem to be everywhere I look these days:  on the beach, along the trail, in the yard and in the house.  Clusters of baby spiders hang from the vines near the front door where they’ll make their home.  In the evenings, they’ll have plenty to eat as insects are attracted towards the front light. 

baby spiders

A fear of spiders, arachnophobia,  is common among humans.  Among phobias, it shares top billing with fears of death and public speaking.  I’ve never understood this fear, as spiders do us such a tremendous service by consuming a large number of insects.  

spider on deck

An ancient myth tells the story of how a maiden with an amazing talent for weaving caught the eye of Athena, goddess of wisdom and skills.  The girl, Arachne, refused to acknowledge her teachers and proudly stated that she was better than everyone, including Athena.  She boldly accepted a challenge to out-weave the goddess.  Though her work was excellent, she used her skill to mock the gods and her defiance cost her dearly.  Her master work was torn to shreds by the angered goddess and she was driven to hang herself in despair.  Taking pity, Athena changed her into a spider so that she and all generations after her could continue their weaving work.

What if, instead of fearing spiders, we saw them as reminders of Athena’s lessons:

  • don’t define yourself by your work, and 
  • the greater your talent and skill, the more important it is to practice humility.

spiders and stones

The story of Arachne can be found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book VI

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