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Friday, July 9, 2010

To be a Cactus

"The Almighty conceived the cactus plant.  If God would choose a plant to represent him, I think he would choose of all plants the cactus.  The cactus has all the blessings he tried, but mostly failed, to give to man.  Let me tell you how.  It has humility but it is not submissive.  It grows where no other plant will grow.  It does not complain when the sun bakes its back, or the wind tears it from the cliff or drowns in in the dry sand of the desert or when it is thirsty.  When the rains come it stores water for the hard times to come.  In good times and in bad it will still flower.  It protects itself against danger, but it harms no other plant.  It adapts itself perfectly to almost any environment.  It has patience and enjoys solitude...[it is the plant of patience and solitude, love and madness, ugliness and beauty, toughness and gentleness.]"

Other than making me want to start a cactus garden, this quote from the character of Doc in Bryce Courtney's "The Power of One," gives one hell of a blue-print to pattern a life after.  Respecting everyone while fearing no one is the only way to meet people on equal and amicable terms.  In any situation where one or the other party is intimidated by the other, the response cannot be genuine.  If I fear you, I will tailor my response to engender a favorable impression.  Only by respecting you and seeing you as an equal can my response be perfectly honest.  Whether you "like" me or not is of no concern.  Certainly I want to be liked, but if I present my authentic self and you do the same, we do not need to be overly concerned about our effect on each other.

Likewise, complaining serves nothing.  The great man is the same under difficult circumstances as he is in times of prosperity.  A certain degree of stoicism could benefit us all.  Preparing for bad times during good times is always a good practice.  My needs should stay close to the same, even if I get a raise at work.  If I am living paycheck to paycheck at $30,000 a year, I certainly should not be when my income rises to $50,000. 

Enjoying solitude is important, as this is when we sharpen ourselves.  I become more self-aware both in public and in private, but in privacy I can consider and weigh my responses, and hopefully learn from them. 

I will enjoy the good, and I will survive the bad without complaint.

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7 comments:

Juliana said...

you write them words real good. i feel inspirationed. where's my beer?

Alison said...

you get all that from a plant? green fingers definitely skipped my generation... but i will try and remember to reread when sober.

Alison said...

Upon rereading and further reflection, i think i'm more of a privet hedge.

Gaijinass said...

A nice concept, if only possible as that. I have always had an affinity for the Cactus. The Cactus and Pine trees....

Kat Argonza said...

Ah yes, That is how I live my life, because I live from assignment to assignment. Cacti are awesome, because they're prickly little pretty things that can also be quite poisonous. They're gorgeous because their form follows their function. Not unlike a venus fly trap.

That being said, I like your philosophy. Live below your means, then you'll survive the times that suck a lot better. Live spartan ;-)

Martin said...

Juuu - Here's your beer, and heeeeeere's your sign.

Alison - Private hedge? Please go on...

Gaijin - Your affinity for cacti probably comes from your marine training in death valley.

Kat - You are definitely a cactus. Small, prickly, pretty thing.

Alison said...

Good god man! Not a "private" hedge, a "privet" hedge! The absolute staple of English suburbia. A thick hedge used to mark territory, can be trimmed to any shape, used for screening off gardens to accomodate the English obsession with privacy. So to summarise, it is very common, thick, virtually indestructable once it's settled, and pretty poisonous.
http://www.hedgesdirect.co.uk/acatalog/common_privet_hedge.html

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