On Quitting ~ Edgar Guest

How much grit do you think you’ve got?
Can you quit a thing that you like a lot?
You may talk of pluck; it’s an easy word,
And where’er you go it is often heard;
But can you tell to a jot or guess
Just how much courage you now possess?
You may stand to trouble and keep your grin,
But have you tackled self-discipline?
Have you ever issued commands to you
To quit the things that you like to do,
And then, when tempted and sorely swayed,
Those rigid orders have you obeyed?

Don’t boast of your grit till you’ve tried it out,
Nor prate to men of your courage stout,
For it’s easy enough to retain a grin
In the face of a fight there’s a chance to win,
But the sort of grit that is good to own
Is the stuff you need when you’re all alone.
How much grit do you think you’ve got?
Can you turn from joys that you like a lot?
Have you ever tested yourself to know
How far with yourself your will can go?
If you want to know if you have grit,
Just pick out a joy that you like, and quit.

It’s bully sport and it’s open fight;
It will keep you busy both day and night;
For the toughest kind of a game you’ll find
Is to make your body obey your mind.
And you never will know what is meant by grit
Unless there’s something you’ve tried to quit.

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Today’s Reflection ~ Adversity

Sweet are the uses of adversity,
  Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
  Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
As You Like It, Act i. Sc. 3. SHAKESPEARE.

Grieving’s Great Lessons

For the past 30 days, I shared excerpts from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again. I wrote during the height of grieving not knowing if I’d ever find a way through. It’s now nearly three years since Babe died. I wish grieving on no one; yet, grieving waits for each of us on our journey. It’s not a pleasant thought. I’m happy I didn’t know what it felt like before it happened. As tough as it is, grieving has been a great teacher. Here are 10 lesson I learned on this journey.

  1. Everyone has scars, don’t compare.
  2. Everyone who grieves, hurts. Don’t judge anyone.
  3. It doesn’t matter if you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheist, or other, it hurts like hell. Anyone who grieves deserves compassion.
  4. Unpack all the good memories and be grateful for each one.
  5. Live each day as if it is the only day you have.
  6. Life isn’t fair, don’t worry about it.
  7. Life is a wonderful gift, don’t waste it.
  8. There is no answer to why, so don’t waste time looking for an answer.
  9. Don’t wait to be loved by others, reach out and connect and keep on connecting.
  10. Life wins. Love wins. Never quit. Never give up.

There are many other lessons, but these quickly come to mind. I’m grateful for the time Babe and I had together. I’m grateful for the space in which I find myself. I’m going to keep on living, keep on smiling, and keep on singing. 

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright.

Grieving Changed Me – I Knew Love Wins

Grieving Changed Me

It was nine months since Babe died. I sat with M at the coffee shop. She saw changes in me. She wanted to know if saw any changes in me. Grieving changed me. I think it changes everyone. Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again on how I was changing:

“How are you different, Ray?” M asked. “When I look at you, I see what I see. But, I don’t see everything. There are parts of you that only you know. And, there are parts of you that you don’t recognize and only God knows them. . . . What matters to you, Ray?”

“You do, M. My family does. My neighbors do. The people at the Y. The baristas at the coffee shop. The birds that come to my bird feeders. I feel myself connecting to everyone I meet, and to all of God’s amazing creations surrounding me. It is this sense of connection that is pulling me out of isolation. It is healing my open wounds. It is creating a new heart for me, one capable of loving all and receiving love from all.”

M smiled and said, “Love is leading you, Ray. Love wins. Love heals. The more you love, the greater your healing. Where love is, the door is always open.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright.

Today’s Reflection ~ Life’s Lessons

Some lessons don’t come easy
That’s the price we have to pay
Some lessons we learn the hard way ~ Melody Gardot

I Struggled To Find An Answer to ‘Why?’

I knew I was making progress in my struggle with grieving; yet, I found myself always asking, WHY? I desperately wanted an answer to my why. I spoke to M about my struggle in trying to find an answer to Why. Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“I said “I know I’m seeking answers to questions. I just can’t seem to find any answers. I keep asking why. I never find an answer. I find only anger and sadness. I might as well try to stop the tide from rising.”

M nodded, and said, “Exactly, Ray. Instead, why not choose to open the door and escape from the labyrinth of chasing after the ‘why’ questions? Why not ask questions to help you make today a better day than yesterday? Think about questions that lead you in a hopeful direction to more fully discover the meaning in your life.”

“What if my questions can’t be answered?”  . . .

M shrugged, then said, “Some questions will never have an answer in this lifetime,” she continued. “These are the questions we live. In a strange way, they are more powerful because we can’t find answers. They shape how we live through the choices we make and come to grips with them.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright.

Cares ~ Elisabeth Barrett Browning

The little cares that fretted me,
    I lost them yesterday
  Among the fields above the sea,
    Among the winds at play;
  Among the lowing of the herds,
    The rustling of the trees,
  Among the singing of the birds,
    The humming of the bees.

  The foolish fears of what may happen,
    I cast them all away
  Among the clover-scented grass,
    Among the new-mown hay;
  Among the husking of the corn
    Where drowsy poppies nod,
  Where ill thoughts die and good are born
    Out in the fields with God.

Elisabeth Barrett Browning