[REPOST] Translation: A Passage in a Japanese Textbook for Middle Schoolers

I was not a figure skating fan before. But stumbling upon a video of Yuzuru Hanyu’s nearly flawless performance in a pre-Sochi Olympics competition instantly made me a huge fan of the young athlete from Japan. The initial admiration for his talent was quickly transformed into deep respect and awe as I learned more about his journey. I always look forward to his performances. Win or lose, I find that he unfailingly leaves a mark — often subtly but powerfully imparting life lessons worth learning.

This article is just one of the many about him that I find truly inspiring. I teared up reading it.

 

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U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven’s University of Texas Commencement Speech

Admiral McRaven shares beautiful and inspiring life lessons in his commencement address to the University of Texas class of 2014. It puts struggles, suffering, and failures in greater perspective. And how the inability to give up can bring positive changes – for yourself and the people whose lives you may touch at some point.

Source: Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World

Excerpt:

“I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years.  But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California.

Basic SEAL training is six months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable.

It is six months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL.

But, the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships.

To me basic SEAL training was a life time of challenges crammed into six months.

So, here are the ten lesson’s I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection.  It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

During SEAL training the students are broken down into boat crews.  Each crew is seven students—three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy.

Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surfzone and paddle several miles down the coast.

In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in.

Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain.  Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach.

For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle.

You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.

If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Over a few weeks of difficult training my SEAL class which started with 150 men was down to just 35.  There were now six boat crews of seven men each.

I was in the boat with the tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up of the the little guys—the munchkin crew we called them—no one was over about 5-foot five.

The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish America, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the mid-west.

They out paddled, out-ran, and out swam all the other boat crews.

The big men in the other boat crews would always make good natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim.

But somehow these little guys, from every corner of the Nation and the world, always had the last laugh— swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us.

SEAL training was a great equalizer.  Nothing mattered but your will to succeed.  Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.

If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.

Several times a week, the instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection.  It was exceptionally thorough.

Your hat had to be perfectly starched, your uniform immaculately pressed and your belt buckle shiny and void of any smudges.

But it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat, or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt buckle—- it just wasn’t good enough.

The instructors would fine “something” wrong.

For failing the uniform inspection, the student had to run, fully clothed into the surfzone and then, wet from head to toe, roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand.

The effect was known as a “sugar cookie.” You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day—cold, wet and sandy.

There were many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that all their effort was in vain.  That no matter how hard they tried to get the uniform right—it was unappreciated.

Those students didn’t make it through training.

Those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill.  You were never going to succeed.  You were never going to have a perfect uniform.

Sometimes no matter how well you prepare or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie.

It’s just the way life is sometimes.

If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

Every day during training you were challenged with multiple physical events—long runs, long swims, obstacle courses, hours of calisthenics—something designed to test your mettle.

Every event had standards—times you had to meet.  If you failed to meet those standards your name was posted on a list and at the end of the day those on the list were invited to—a “circus.”

A circus was two hours of additional calisthenics—designed to wear you down, to break your spirit, to force you to quit.

No one wanted a circus.

A circus meant that for that day you didn’t measure up.  A circus meant more fatigue—and more fatigue meant that the following day would be more difficult—and more circuses were likely.

But at some time during SEAL training, everyone—everyone—made the circus list.

But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list.  Overtime those students-—who did two hours of extra calisthenics—got stronger and stronger.

The pain of the circuses built inner strength-built physical resiliency.

Life is filled with circuses.

You will fail.  You will likely fail often.  It will be painful.  It will be discouraging. At times it will test you to your very core.

But if you want to change the world, don’t be afraid of the circuses.

At least twice a week, the trainees were required to run the obstacle course.  The obstacle course contained 25 obstacles including a 10-foot high wall, a 30-foot cargo net, and a barbed wire crawl to name a few.

But the most challenging obstacle was the slide for life.  It had a three level 30 foot tower at one end and a one level tower at the other.  In between was a 200-foot long rope.

You had to climb the three tiered tower and once at the top, you grabbed the rope, swung underneath the rope and pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end.

The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began training in 1977.

The record seemed unbeatable, until one day, a student decided to go down the slide for life—head first.

Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down, he bravely mounted the TOP of the rope and thrust himself forward.

It was a dangerous move—seemingly foolish, and fraught with risk.  Failure could mean injury and being dropped from the training.

Without hesitation—the student slid down the rope—perilously fast, instead of several minutes, it only took him half that time and by the end of the course he had broken the record.

If you want to change the world sometimes you have to slide down the obstacle head first.

During the land warfare phase of training, the students are flown out to San Clemente Island which lies off the coast of San Diego.

The waters off San Clemente are a breeding ground for the great white sharks. To pass SEAL training there are a series of long swims that must be completed.  One—is the night swim.

Before the swim the instructors joyfully brief the trainees on all the species of sharks that inhabit the waters off San Clemente.

They assure you, however, that no student has ever been eaten by a shark—at least not recently.

But, you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position—stand your ground.  Do not swim away.  Do not act afraid.

And if the shark, hungry for a midnight snack, darts towards you—then summons up all your strength and punch him in the snout and he will turn and swim away.

There are a lot of sharks in the world.  If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them.

So, If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks.

As Navy SEALs one of our jobs is to conduct underwater attacks against enemy shipping.  We practiced this technique extensively during basic training.

The ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy harbor and then swims well over two miles—underwater—using nothing but a depth gauge and a compass to get to their target.

During the entire swim, even well below the surface there is some light that comes through.  It is comforting to know that there is open water above you.

But as you approach the ship, which is tied to a pier, the light begins to fade. The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight—it blocks the surrounding street lamps—it blocks all ambient light.

To be successful in your mission, you have to swim under the ship and find the keel—the centerline and the deepest part of the ship.

This is your objective.  But the keel is also the darkest part of the ship—where you cannot see your hand in front of your face, where the noise from the ship’s machinery is deafening and where it is easy to get disoriented and fail.

Every SEAL knows that under the keel, at the darkest moment of the mission—is the time when you must be calm, composed—when all your tactical skills, your physical power and all your inner strength must be brought to bear.

If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.

The ninth week of training is referred to as “Hell Week.”  It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and—one special day at the Mud Flats—the Mud Flats are area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slue’s—a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors.

As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some “egregious infraction of the rules” was ordered into the mud.

The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads.  The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit—just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold.

Looking around the mud flat it was apparent that some students were about to give up.  It was still over eight hours till the sun came up—eight more hours of bone chilling cold.

The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything and then, one voice began to echo through the night—one voice raised in song.

The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm.

One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing.

We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well.

The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing—but the singing persisted.

And somehow—the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope.  The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan—Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.

So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.

Finally, in SEAL training there is a bell.  A brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see.

All you have to do to quit—is ring the bell.  Ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock.  Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the freezing cold swims.

Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs, the obstacle course, the PT—and you no longer have to endure the hardships of training.

Just ring the bell.

If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.

To the graduating class of 2014, you are moments away from graduating.  Moments away from beginning your journey through life.  Moments away starting to change the world—for the better.

It will not be easy.

But, YOU are the class of 2014—the class that can affect the lives of 800 million people in the next century.

Start each day with a task completed.

Find someone to help you through life.

Respect everyone.

Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if take you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today and—what started here will indeed have changed the world—for the better.

Thank you very much.  Hook ’em horns.”

[Repost] Over the hill and picking up speed by Jim Paredes

Jim Paredes is one of the local artists I admire since my teenage years. But I used to associate him only with the music he and his co-APO Hiking Society members make. A few years back, however, I had an opportunity to be part of his Tapping the Creative Universe class which the company I worked for arranged as part of its leadership training courses. It was then that I began to appreciate that beyond the music, Jim Paredes is a treasure-trove of stories, insights, and inspirations. I’ve since followed his writings and musings whenever I can.

Tapping the Creative Universe group photo
Tapping the Creative Universe group photo

TTCU2

Here’s another inspiring piece that I decided to repost here. Because I’m all for capturing the things that resonate to me. And this is one of those.

—————

Over the hill and picking up speed
by Jim Paredes

“If you think you will be too old when you finish if you take up a new study or course or anything now, well, guess what? You will still get old even if you do not take up whatever it is… 
Just effing do it if it needs to be done. Time is slipping by.
 Maybe some of you needed to hear this.”

I posted this message on Facebook and got immediate positive responses. A lot of people related to it instantly. Many reposted it. Some who are in their 30s, 40s and 50s talked about being back in school or taking online classes, and looking forward to doing something new.

I notice as I get older that as much as I am thinking more and more about my age, I am also thinking less and less about it. While it is true that I take care of my health so that I can live strong, sane and trouble-free for as long as I can, I do not necessarily think of it as a factor when I am pursuing things I like to do. As the creator of Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz, said, “Just remember, when you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed.”

That’s exactly how I feel.

Last week, I traveled to two places in five days —Lagen in El Nido and Naga City. I will be going to Bali in a few days. I really enjoy traveling with my camera on hand. I am always thrilled to be in a new place and on the lookout for that scenery and moment that is waiting to be captured digitally and experientially. I can sit with people I’ve just met and get a terrific conversation going. I am totally fascinated by the stories shared by strangers I encounter. I feel that my understanding of human nature and the human condition expands after meeting new people, and I am easily inspired.

There are young people who are of the mindset that if they don’t “make it” early in life, if they don’t get the trappings of success, the good job, the high position, the prestige, etc. before they reach 30, it will be too late to succeed in the greatest possible way. I find it sad that they are so hard on themselves.

I believe that while it is good, or even great, to have a job or a career, one must also have passion for what one is doing. You may have the most glamorous high paying job but if your heart is not really in it, you will not be able to sustain it or be truly productive.

Something will eventually have to give. If it is the job that has to go, it’s a small price to pay in the pursuit of happiness, and being free from something that does not sustain your entire being. But if you keep the job to keep the money coming, it is your soul that you could lose, and that would be a tragedy.

When I was growing up, my mother told me that it did not matter what I wanted to be. What mattered was that I would try to be the best in my field. Together with that advice was the suggestion that if I loved what I chose to do for a living, my passion for it would make me excel.

One of the benefits Australia offers to its people is the availability of education at any age. Aus Study, as it is called, allows anyone to pursue studies later in life. And since returning to school and studying may not be financially easy, they offer a stipend of about 700 Australian dollars (AUD) to help adult enrollees through.

But while that is available, sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a mad rush among Aussies to go back to school, which gives truth to the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t force it to drink.”

Age does not have to be a hindrance or an excuse to avoid pursuing new interests or learning new skills. There are opportunities for anyone who is interested. Everybody will get old physically, but not everyone has to have an old, inflexible mindset.

Sophia Loren once remarked that, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

Understanding and internalizing this is probably one of the best life skills everyone, young or old, ought to learn. There are young “old people,” and there are old “young people,” if you know what I mean. The point is to be ageless, and not let physical age matter too much.

What really matters is becoming alive to your own life, to live and be so interested and absorbed with life that you want more and more of it so that you feel more expanded and see enchantment in everyday living.

Grandma Moses, one of America’s painting icons, started her career as an artist when she was in her 70s. Picasso never stopped painting, and ever so playfully, until he died. Paul McCartney at 71 is still writing songs, cutting records and touring the world doing concerts.

The late radio and TV writer Andy Rooney pointed out, “It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”

The world has had a wrong view of what aging is all about. But I personally feel I do not have to live my age in stereotypical fashion. To age does not mean to just slow down one’s intake of life, even if one does not have the health and the strength left to do it. Knowing that “the end” will eventually come makes it imperative that if there is still something you want to do, you must not wait too long to do it.

Time is precious. It is wiser to spend it doing something new than wasting away and not doing anything at all.

(Source: here)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty on Living a Fulfilling Life

“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” ~ Sean O’Connell in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber

This movie made me think that perhaps a good question to constantly ask ourselves would be: When was the last time you were deeply moved by the beauty of anything that you see and experience?

Everyday, it is easy to get lost in the many details of our existence. It is only in the moments we consciously or inadvertently immerse ourselves into that we see the beauty of our lives.

No matter how boring we think the life we live, the opportunity for adventure and discovering more about ourselves is always there. All we need to truly live, do meaningful work, and find joy is to put our heart and soul into the things that we do.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a beautiful and poignant film. LIFE at its best. What a great way to remember that life is good, all is well, and there’s so much to be thankful for. Also, it just made me want to just go and travel to anywhere.

“The Geese Bath”: Flight of the Wild Goose

(click image for source)

“It is said that during autumn nights, a wild goose will cross the seas from far up north with a branch on its beak. During that long journey, with no islands to rest its wings on, it drops the branch on the sea and stands on it to get rid of fatigue in order to keep flying again. Once it reaches the shore, it drops the unneeded branch, and keeps flying south. Once springs comes, it goes back to the shore, picks up it’s branch, and goes back to the north countries.

…For you, who’s about to fly into a greater world.
…it’s important to rest your wings sometimes just like “The Geese Bath” Rakugo piece.” ~ Iryu Sousa, Ep. 6

I came across the story of “The Geese Bath” while watching Iryu Sousa. It’s said to be a rakugo piece that tells a tale of a wild goose’s journey south in search of a warm place to wait out the passing of long and harsh winter months.

Geese flying in V formation has always been awe-inspiring for several reasons. It’s even one of the popular analogies used in different leadership courses as a prime example of synergy. But it’s the first time I heard of “The Geese Bath”. I don’t know if a wild goose would really carry a branch during its entire flight, drop it on the water, and perch on it whenever it gets too tired to fly. But it doesn’t seem far fetch given the wisdom of geese.

There are things that can take their toll on even the most enduring and persevering souls. It won’t hurt to hold on to something that can be used to stand on when running (or flying) close to empty. Because recharging is a must especially when venturing out to a better place somewhere beyond a vast and unfamiliar ocean.

The wild goose had it all figured out. It reached the south tired, but alive to enjoy the warmth. Because it flew out determined to reach its journey’s end.

The Healthy Living Manifesto

This is a timely find. Because some days seem to make slipping and slacking easier.

Here’s to getting back on track and loving it.

(click image for source)

Ugly’s love

I came across this post on Tumblr with it’s original source pointing to 4chan. It’s a sad read for several reasons, but oddly compelling.

There’s been many stories on the Internet that moved people yet later found to be made-up tales. I don’t know if Ugly’s story is real. But it’s something worth reading.

Here’s that cat’s story (reposted from here):

(photo credit: http://miclift.tumblr.com)

Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat.

Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and shall we say, love. The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly.

To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been was a gaping hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot has appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner. His tail has long since been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch. Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs.

Every time someone saw Ugly there was the same reaction. “That’s one UGLY cat!!”

All the children were warned not to touch him, the adults threw rocks at him, hosed him down, squirted him when he tried to come in their homes, or shut his paws in the door when he would not leave.

Ugly always had the same reaction. If you turned the hose on him, he would stand there, getting soaked until you gave up and quit. If you threw things at him, he would curl his lanky body around feet in forgiveness. Whenever he spied children, he would come running meowing frantically and bump his head against their hands, begging for their love. If you ever picked him up he would immediately begin suckling on your shirt, earrings, whatever he could find.

One day Ugly shared his love with the neighbors huskies. They did not respond kindly, and Ugly was badly mauled. From my apartment I could hear his screams, and I tried to rush to his aid. By the time I got to where he was laying, it was apparent Ugly’s sad life was almost at an end.

Ugly lay in a wet circle, his back legs and lower back twisted grossly out of shape, a gaping tear in the white strip of fur that ran down his front. As I picked him up and tried to carry him home I could hear him wheezing and gasping, and could feel him struggling. I must be hurting him terribly I thought.

Then I felt a familiar tugging, sucking sensation on my ear – Ugly, in so much pain, suffering and obviously dying was trying to suckle my ear. I pulled him closer to me, and he bumped the palm of my hand with his head, then he turned his one golden eye towards me, and I could hear the distinct sound of purring. Even in the greatest pain, that ugly battled-scarred cat was asking only for a little affection, perhaps some compassion.

At that moment I thought Ugly was the most beautiful, loving creature I had ever seen. Never once did he try to bite or scratch me, or even try to get away from me, or struggle in any way. Ugly just looked up at me completely trusting in me to relieve his pain.

Ugly died in my arms before I could get inside, but I sat and held him for a long time afterwards, thinking about how one scarred, deformed little stray could so alter my opinion about what it means to have true pureness of spirit, to love so totally and truly. Ugly taught me more about giving and compassion than a thousand books, lectures, or talk show specials ever could, and for that I will always be thankful. He had been scarred on the outside, but I was scarred on the inside, and it was time for me to move on and learn to love truly and deeply. To give my total to those I cared for.

Many people want to be richer, more successful, well liked, beautiful, but for me, I will always try to be Ugly.

Add your thoughts here… (optional)

TED Blog

Radio host Julie Burstein has found the perfect analogy for creativity—raku pottery. A Japanese art form in which molded clay is heated for 15 minutes and then dropped in sawdust which bursts into flames, what makes this pottery so beautiful is its imperfections and cracks.

Burstein interviewed hundred of artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers for her book, Spark: How Creativity Works, and heard many of them describe their process in similar terms — that the best parts of their work came from embracing challenges, misfortunes and the things they simply couldn’t control. As Burstein explains in this talk given at TED2012, “I realized that creativity grows out of everyday experiences more often than you would think.”

In this talk, Burstein identifies four lessons that creative people should embrace:

  1. Pay attention to the world around you, and be open to experiences that might change you.
    .
  2. Realize that the…

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[Wisdom From Everywhere] Some obvious things about the weather

In 2006, Stephen Fry replied to a letter sent by a girl suffering from depression. It’s a simple yet powerful message to anyone who, at some point in time, has to deal with challenges.

Although not every day may be a good day, there’s always the assurance in the thought that things are bound to get better.

(Source: Letters of Note ~ click image for link)

Transcript (from here)

April 10, 2006

Dear Crystal,

I’m so sorry to hear that life is getting you down at the moment. Goodness knows, it can be so tough when nothing seems to fit and little seems to be fulfilling. I’m not sure there’s any specific advice I can give that will help bring life back its savour. Although they mean well, it’s sometimes quite galling to be reminded how much people love you when you don’t love yourself that much.

I’ve found that it’s of some help to think of one’s moods and feelings about the world as being similar to weather:

Here are some obvious things about the weather:

It’s real.
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.

BUT

It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.

It really is the same with one’s moods, I think. The wrong approach is to believe that they are illusions. They are real. Depression, anxiety, listlessness – these are as real as the weather – AND EQUALLY NOT UNDER ONE’S CONTROL. Not one’s fault.

BUT

They will pass: they really will.

In the same way that one has to accept the weather, so one has to accept how one feels about life sometimes. “Today’s a crap day,” is a perfectly realistic approach. It’s all about finding a kind of mental umbrella. “Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.”

I don’t know if any of that is of any use: it may not seem it, and if so, I’m sorry. I just thought I’d drop you a line to wish you well in your search to find a little more pleasure and purpose in life.

Very best wishes

(Signed)

Stephen Fry