There’s a Saying in Gaelic, “Céad Míle Fáilte”…

“Walls for the wind, 
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks beside the fire –
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire!”
– Irish Blessing
McGann's Doolin
Inside McGann’s, Doolin’s local pub

In many ways, it was like a scene right out of a movie. We had entered into a small local pub, tired and hungry from a long day of traveling in the cold, rainy winds of an Irish November. We had stumbled blindly through the dark, a five-minute walk from our hotel along a narrow, winding road set amidst rolling hills.

There were just two other people in the pub, visitors, like us, evidenced by the large, worn backpacks towering next to their table. The bartender greeted us warmly and we asked if he had a menu for food.

“We do, but the kitchen is about to close,” he said. “We only have homemade beef stew and seafood chowder.” We ordered one of each, two pints of Guinness and sat down at a tableside fire for what was to be one of the most memorable stops on our two-week long journey. Read more

In Other Words: Life Lessons from Peyton Manning’s Retirement Speech

Peyton Manning retirement speechThere are many reasons to applaud football icon Peyton Manning for the speech he delivered earlier this week announcing his retirement from the NFL.

Delivered with grace and humility, it stands in stark contrast to the dastardly dialogue and vindictive language that we continue to hear during what is bound to be one of the most significant presidential elections in American history.

For football fanatics, his speech was a testimony to the greatness of the game and the ability of any player to rise, against any and all odds, on any given Sunday. For Peyton Manning’s fans, it was bound to confirm their fervent admiration and respect for an athlete who has role modeled hard work, dedication and integrity throughout his 18-year career. Read more

Waiting for a Ship from Spring

2016 presidential campaign

The icy cold waters of winter are breaking up, spring is on the near horizon, the final episode of the final season of Downton Abbey has almost aired…and the presidential candidates are steaming ahead to Super Tuesday.

Change is in the air.

“When the Ship Comes In”
by Bob Dylan, 1963, from the album The Times They Are A-Changin’

Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathing.
Like the stillness in the wind
‘Fore the hurricane begins,
The hour when the ship comes in.

Oh the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking.
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking. Read more

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Ronald Reagan quotes on freedom“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.” –Ronald Reagan (40th President of the United States of America)

See also a reflection on the 2016 Presidential race and some thought provoking quotes from Thomas Jefferson

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love is the energizing elixir of the universe,
the cause and effect of all harmonies,
light’s brilliance and the heat in wine and fire,
it is the aroma of perfumes
and the breath of the Divinity;
it is the Life in all being.”
–Rumi (Persian poet, 1207-1273)

Quotes on love

“The thought manifests as the word,
The word manifests as the deed.
The deed develops into habit.
And the habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care.
And let it spring from love,
born out of concern for all beings.”
–Buddha

Valentines Day quotes

Love is a treasure, yet nothing to possess.
Love is a way, a way of being in the world.”
–Ingrid Goff-Maidoff (poet)
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged cupid painted blind.”
–Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Try some royal Valentine’s Day recipes and winter cocktails to warm your heart (and cheeks!)

A Blue’s Melody for the January Blues

Please note: This piece was also published in OnBeing.

Following the sparkling glimmer of a light-infused season, the month of January can sometimes feel as if a heavy, wet blanket of snow is descending upon us. It’s a time when the body can feel overindulged and earthbound, a time when we dispiritedly plod through the weight of winter days.

January Blues

Sliding from the high notes of the holidays to the low notes of mid-January, nature’s force ushers us unwittingly from the warm cheer of family and friends to a still and penetrating solitude. Even our music changes tune, as the festive good tidings of December songs give way to introspective, tranquilizing melodies that help carry us away from the sluggish, gray days of January. Read more

Adele: More Than Words

Please note: this piece was also published in On Being.

Adele news articlesWhen it comes to Adele, it’s difficult to find something new to say. She has broken nearly every music record imaginable, received close to 100 music awards and has proven with her latest album, 25, that she is not just a one-hit wonder – that her talent runs exceedingly deep, touching something poignant in the hearts and souls of a fan base that increasingly defies categorization.

Yet, for all the interviews and articles on her music, approach, style and personality, capturing the essence of Adele and her music is surprisingly difficult. To string together a list of adjectives, to make comparisons and analogies, to use memes, gifs, videos or quotes somehow seems inadequate.

Her music is soulful, heartfelt, rare and real – and is undoubtedly “once in a generation” material – but it is also so much more, forcing us to reckon with an unattainable, mysterious quality that only adds to its allure. Read more

The Lion

C.S. Lewis Quotes

“He’ll be coming and going…[o]ne day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis (British novelist, 1898-1963)

Opening The Mind for a Greater Understanding

“What each generation is can be best discovered in its relation to the permanent concerns of mankind. This in turn can best be discovered in each generation’s tastes, amusements, and especially angers.” –Allan Bloom (1930-1992)

The Closing of the American MindWhen the present times are in a state of chaos and upheaval, as they currently are with the student protests on college campuses, and seem to be lacking in reason and understanding it never fails to consult the past in search for clues that may shed some light on how we got here in the first place.

Allan Bloom’s book, subtitled “How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students”, offers some clues that are indeed very enlightening.

The Closing of the American Mind is that rarest of documents, a genuinely profound book, born of a long and patient meditation on questions that may be said to determine who we are, both as individuals and as a society”, wrote Roger Kimball in a 1987 article about Bloom’s book for the New York Times. Read more