Daily Guide — January 2005

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 3: Thought

It was thirty years ago that my neighbor, Bryan, and I were outside playing basketball and saw a strange round object flying slowly through the sky. It looked sort of like a moon, but it was much closer, like an airplane.

We originally thought that it might have been a weather balloon, but as we stood there watching, the object appeared to be break into pieces as it flew, much as it if were disintegrating. That night on the six o’clock news there were reports of others seeing the object, but there was no explanation. And to this day, the flying ball remains a mystery. For us thirteen year olds it was the neatest thing to have actually seen a UFO.

Young people, especially, like to ponder mysteries. How were the Egyptian pyramids built? What was Stonehenge all about? What about those weird patterns and pictures seemingly carved on the desert floor and visible only from an airplane?

It’s refreshing to think that there is something more, something beyond one’s own life. And I’m sure there are many people like me who find a sense of satisfaction in looking up at the heavens, pondering her origins and her great expanse – thinking of her order and symmetry and of her endless motion.

Our minds should take us beyond. They should help us to escape the myopia of daily life and carry us well above the chores and the seeming tendency of things to enter a disordered state.

Day 3 Guide

For many of us, this is the first workday of the New Year. It’s a fresh start and an opportunity to consider our lives as part of something much greater.

While things around you may seem to fall apart, know that your efforts aren’t in vain and that you are part of a beautiful plan. Continue striving to build relationships, love your family and friends, and sprinkle those endless chores with things that truly do have lasting value. Today, call or write someone who hasn’t heard from you in a while. It’s good to feel that your influence reaches well beyond the small circle.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Thought, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 4: Accessibility

The southern humorist Lewis Grizzard was a talented sportswriter and columnist for The Atlanta Journal. He became a best-selling author, recognized for his “poking fun” at the South, though his writing made clear his love for the Georgia Bulldogs, small towns, and the southern life-style.

Twenty-three years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Grizzard; I had known one of his best friends, Warren Newman, who died tragically in an automobile accident, and I was interested to meet him and hear about his friendship with Warren. I found Grizzard to be smug and indifferent, and I remember thinking that he certainly wasn’t the “good ole boy” that he made himself out to be in his books and columns.

Twelve years later Grizzard himself died at the young age of forty-seven due to complications associated with a congenital heart defect. As he neared the end of his life, Grizzard must have softened; his calloused wit seems to have been lost to a higher voice, one that was even sensitive. Listen to these words from a column written not long before his death:

“My mother’s words were so simple. Be sweet. But we aren’t sweet. We don’t honor sweet. We don’t even like sweet. Sweet is weak. Respect me or I’ll shoot you. Sweet is weak. No. No. Be sweet. Be kind and gentle. Be tolerant. Be forgiving and slow to anger. Be tender and able to cry. Be kind to old people and dogs. Be loving. Share. Don’t pout. Don’t be so loud. Hold a puppy. Kiss a hand. Put your arms around a frightened child. Make an outstanding play and then don’t do the King Tut Butt Strut to point to the inadequacies of the vanquished. Be sweet. The wonders that might do. The wonders that just might do. I can still hear you, Mama.”

Day 4 Guide

We don’t have much time on this earth, do we? Open yourself up and speak of the things you hold dear and most important. Insolence blinds the passages of Joyous Gard. Be accessible, talk to people, be kind.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Accessibility, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 5: Sympathy

In the late sixties and early seventies Peachtree Road in Atlanta, Georgia was a favorite meeting place for hippies. I remember as a young boy being amazed at the sight of all these people with their long hair, dressed in wild looking tie-dyed clothes. I remember the music and the smell of incense that filled the air, and I remember the symbols of peace and love that were plastered everywhere. Listen to one of the songs from that era made popular by the group “The Fifth Dimension:”

“Age of Aquarius”

When the Moon is in the Seventh House, and Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace shall guide the planets, and love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius ….

Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more forces of derision
Golden living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revelations
And the mind’s true liberation

For the younger generation this was the time of acceptance and sympathy and freedom. But it was also a time of rebellion and war. To say the least, it was a strange time in this country’s history when the very ideas of life and conduct were in upheaval. It was the Age of Aquarius.

Day 5 Guide

It’s hard to enjoy some of today’s popular music. And if you’re like me, you probably feel that the tastes and general ideas of young people are out of sync with your own.

Today, turn on the radio and listen to “their” music – even the “rap” if you can stand it. Listen to the lyrics and try to understand what this generation considers important. In every era there’s a generation gap. Try to identify that nature of today’s gap and remember that the youth are the future leaders of this country.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Sympathy, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 6: Science

Love is

Of all the human emotions, love, I think, is the hardest one to explain or understand. The mysterious connection binding lives one to another is of the spirit — invisible and weightless. I believe that love is not something for us to try to comprehend but to enjoy. Simply put, love is.

Day 6 Guide

Today, enjoy the mystery of the love that so moves your spirit. While the business of the day tends to rule and overshadow the greatness of love, fight its force. Love is far more important.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Science, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Days 7-9: Work

…and here comes in the faith that I have in Joyous Gard. I believe that day by day we should clear a space to live with minds that have felt, and hoped, and enjoyed. That is the first duty of all; and then that we should live in touch with the natural beauty of the earth, and let the sweetness of it enter into our minds and hearts; for then we come out renewed, to find the beauty and the fulness of life in the hearts and minds of those about us.

— Work, Joyous Gard, Aurthur Benson

My college roommate and I were, and still are, great friends. We had a lot of fun at the University of Georgia, though sometimes we did have to study. I’ll be first to admit that I was more inclined toward the “fun” part of school, and I really didn’t like hanging around the studious type.

It was our senior year that my roommate decided to ramp up his studying a notch; he planned on attending graduate school in order to earn his Masters degree. I thought that was a fine ambition, but certainly unlike mine. I was eager to just graduate and go to work.

During that year it became my roommate’s habit that following class he would go to his room, close the door and begin studying. I didn’t understand the “closed door” policy. After all, it was just the two of us in the duplex. Why shut the door?

To express my disfavor with that annoying habit, I waited until he was in class one day and enlisted the help of my neighboring friends to unhinge the door and take it to their duplex. We hid it under a bed or in a closet and waited for my roommate to come home that afternoon.

As usual, he went to his room, put his books down, and immediately noticed the absence of that precious door. Oh, it was a priceless moment to see the look on his face. Of course, he instantly figured out what had happened and began inquiring about the door. For a while I played dumb. But eventually I gave him back the door. And while it didn’t completely break him of the habit, I don’t think he ever closed that door without thinking about that day.

Days 7-9 Guide

Today, keep your doors open. Make yourself available to friends or family who want nothing more than to enjoy your company. And don’t give up on those who’ve shut the door on you. Keep knocking, and be prepared to unhinge a door if necessary.

This is the last in the “Behavior Toward” series of the Joyous Gard Cycle of Days. On Monday we’ll start our move to “Higher Things.”

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

— Flora Whittemore

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Work, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 10: Hope

The Wider Road

Take me from this huddled mass

Of thinking small despair,

And put me on the wider road

Make me full aware.

Rescue from these petty woes

My bruised and fettered soul,

And move me to the wider road

Lift me from this hole.

Free me from the unbelief

That so entraps the light,

And take me to the wider road

Restore me full aright.

Day 10 Guide

Don’t let the weights of pettiness and paltriness drag you down. There are those on that “wider road” who need the hope that is within you. Today let your light shine.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Hope, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 11: Experience

When I was young I couldn’t wait to get older, but now that I’m older I look back on those days wondering why I ever wanted to rush them. In a nutshell my experience was this: when I was a pre-teen I was looking forward to my teenage years; when I became a teenager I was looking forward to driving; following that, I was eager to be a high school senior, and then in college I was anticipating graduation.

Sometimes anticipation makes it hard, especially in the younger years, to fully enjoy the present and living experience. The desire to mature is a natural urging that moves us forward. Children don’t want to remain children.

But now, having a bank of experiences from which to draw, and having passed into marriage, family, and career, I find that it’s easier to stop and smell the roses. I’m able to better enjoy my present experience with less of that blinding desire to move forward and get on with things.

I feel that the quality of my present, living experience is determined by my thoughts of both the past and the future, which are the products of my memory and my imagination. And I find that cultivation of these two mental faculties enhances my experience and makes me come alive.

Day 12 Guide

Plan for a nice evening tonight. Give yourself a reward and a reason to live fully energized and excited. Make a list of the things you want to accomplish today and forge ahead. And this evening, reflect. Look back on your day. Look back in your memories and write about the sweetness of a great time.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Guide, Experience, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 12: Faith

When I was a young boy I was interested in magical and strange things, the things that spoke of a reality beyond common belief: mind over matter, ESP, alien encounters, and Big Foot. I suppose that I wanted to believe in something more than I could see or touch. It wasn’t enough for me to think of my own life as a miracle or to consider the common flight of a bird as something lovely and interesting.

But forty-three years of living have convinced me now that there is enough mystery in the simple things to satisfy my taste for strange and magical phenomena. The miracles of childbirth, love, and relationship, or the beautiful apprehension of purpose and design in one’s own life – these are the things that now satisfy my hunger for a reality beyond the senses. I’m curious and excited about tomorrow, and I have faith that it will never run astray from the greater order of a divine plan.

Day 12 Guide

Today consider the smallest elements of meaning in your life and have faith that your impact on the world is felt through simple means like words of kindness or love. Realize that a simple “thank you,” or “I love you” will forever change the world.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Faith, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 13: Progress

The Big Apple

There used to be an old grocery store near my house called Moss amp; Walls (named after its owners). As I remember, it was a great place to buy steaks or any sort of meat. There was a big butcher block behind the counter with a cutting surface that was uneven and “carved out” due to the many years of cleaving meat. There was sawdust all over the floor, and there was no air conditioning, only ceiling fans. There was also a freezer for the ice cream and shelves for the produce.

The red apples were stored in a big wooden bin, above which was always one big fresh apple hanging by a rubber band that was tied to its stem. Most every time that I went in the store the apple was spinning; it would spin in one direction for a while, briefly stop and then start spinning in the other direction. I never figured out how long that apple would spin by itself since most every time I went in the store it was in motion until I left.

But there were a few times that I found that apple to be hanging dead still. For some reason I felt that things just weren’t right in the store until the big apple was spinning. And so to make it right I’d go spin it myself. Do you ever feel like that? Like things just aren’t quite right?

When things aren’t right

Here’s how conservationist Debbie Marter explained why so few animals died in the recent Indonesian tsunami:

“Wild animals in particular are extremely sensitive,” she said. “They’ve got extremely good hearing and they will probably have heard this flood coming in the distance. There would have been vibration and there may also have been changes in the air pressure which will have alerted animals and made them move to wherever they felt safer.”

Day 13 Guide

Daily, you should fill your cup from the well of Joyous Gard. Heighten your senses, and realize that somewhere, someone or something is calling for you. Don’t let the wheels of progress get in the way.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Days 14-16: The Sense of Beauty

If you’ve ever driven on the back roads of the Southeastern United States, then you’ve probably seen it painted on the roofs of old barns or farmhouses: “See Rock City.” I’m told that my great grandfather ran a general store, and I think the “Rock City” advertisement was painted on his store’s roof as well. I’ve seen or heard those words all my life but never really stopped to seriously ask what it was or where it was. This morning my interest took me to Rock City.

During the Depression a man named Garnet Carter thought to create a destination resort on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. Carter thought the unusual outcropping of huge boulders and rocks on this part of the mountain made it a picturesque setting for a resort community. And with the help of his wife, Frieda, they began the design and construction of their vision. She planned the gardens and trails for visitors, while Carter planned a golf course. Interestingly enough, during one of the development phases Carter also had the idea of building a small miniature golf (putting) course, the first of its kind. And today, he is credited with founding miniature golf. Rock City, it’s an interesting place locked within those stone-faced mountains of Tennessee. It’s good to finally know where it is. (To find out more click here).

The world is full of interesting people and places. But it’s funny that you can be around something all your life and never really come to know it. I think familiarity sometimes leads to blindness, making you feel like the world is dull and unchanging.

I think that taking an interest in things is a key element in building a greater depth and sense of beauty. Interest drives you to question familiar things and opens the door to your discovering the rich and hidden meaning of your culture and your surroundings.

Children, having not yet been blinded by familiarity, see everything as beautiful and new; I think that’s why they’re so much fun. Wouldn’t it be great to see through the eyes of a child and find everything to be new? I think you can.

Days 14-16 Guide

This weekend, pick out something familiar in your surroundings — something that maybe you’ve seen or heard for years but have never really taken an interest in. Learn as much as you can about it.

The key here is to begin developing the habit of discovery, constantly searching for things to delight your senses and your intellect. The familiar things become new when you take an interest. See Rock City.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 17: The Principle of Beauty

Driving to work in the morning I pass by on old brick building. The paint is chipping and badly faded, and ordinarily you can see only a faint shadow of the advertisement that was painted on the exterior wall facing the street. But when the morning sun hits it just right you can see it as plain as day: “It’s the real thing. Coke.”

I think it was Coca Cola’s best campaign – simple and beautiful. Remember the hit song that went with it? A television commercial showing children standing on a hillside (actually in Italy) singing these great lyrics:

I’d like to buy the world and home

And furnish it with love

Grow apple tree and honey bees

And snow white turtle doves

I’d like to teach the world to sing

In perfect harmony

I’d like to buy the world a Coke

And keep it company

It’s the real thing.

Day 17 Guide


Less is more.



Let this week be the start of an effort to simplify your life.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 18: Life


The voice that takes my breath away

In songs the birds deliver

The light that lays its gentle hand

On quiet thoughts remembered

The days that find this soul at peace

And still the quaking water

The trees that bend in autumn’s breeze

To whisper things about her

A balm unto this aching heart

A simple phrase as this:

“I love you so, my precious boy.”

Oh dear Lord, I miss.

— Levi Hill

Day 18 Guide

Memories often times light the passages of Joyous Gard. Today, draw from that well of life to recall a special time, place or person.

This is the last of the Joyous Gard cycle of days. I consider it a day of reflection and integration, a day to gather the meaningful elements in life that define pathways to Joyous Gard.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 19: Ideas

I love the light at dusk. And it’s during this part of the day that things seem to slow down a bit. The sun is resting low in the afternoon sky, and the workday is over. To me it speaks of a relaxing pause and of a lovely transition from day to night.

In the United States, especially the southern states, dusk is rather short-lived. But in Scotland’s summer months, the beautiful muted light lasts for hours. In fact the term “gloam,” which means twilight, is of Scottish origin. There was even an old folk song made famous by the singer Sir Harry Lauder called “Roaming in the Gloaming.”

Day 19 Guide

Think today of your own personal cycle. What is your favorite time of day? When are you most inclined to recognize beauty in the world? Think of how you might use this time — possibly for reflection or to exercise your creativity. It may be a good time to write in your journal or take a brisk walk.

Sometimes you may feel that the natural course of a day owns your spirit and carries you in an unfavorable wind. Think today of how you might break away from that tendency and go “roaming in the gloaming.”

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 20: Poetry

It was sad that day to see the old tree come down. For decades the Live Oak’s massive wandering limbs had given passersby shelter from the hot sun. And for children the tree offered the perfect climbing opportunity. There was one particular limb near the ground that was especially long; it looked like a human arm reaching out to help or touch. And whenever we were near the tree, my daughter would ask me to pick her up and put her on the end of that inviting branch. Pushing the branch down to the ground it would respond by going right back up. And until I was completely exhausted, she would bounce up and down on that limb laughing all the while. I think the tree enjoyed those times as much as we did.

Day 20 Guide

Think today about the pleasure that nature provides. Think about the trees, the birds, the blue sky, and even the rain.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Days 21-23: Poetry and Life

During the summer months in the late 1970s Wednesdays meant beach music night at a local club called New York, New York. Most of the time a D.J. would spin records of the most popular shagging tunes, but occasionally the club would host a live band. One such band, The Catalinas, appeared several times, and I remember how their hit song Summertime’s Calling Me would always draw a big crowd to the dance floor. The song quickly became a beach music standard and in my opinion one of the best songs to ignite those great feelings associated with summer. Listen to the chorus:

Maybe some day soon I can feel this way year ’round;

It’s summertime, and I’m gonna stay in this town.

I wanna sit there in the sand,

And watch those golden tans go walkin’ by.

I know it isn’t fair, but do I really care,

Well, it’s different now, summertime’s calling me.

Days 21-23 Guide

Today, think about some of your great memories associated the different seasons of the year. I find myself thinking of warm weather memories in the winter months and of cool, crisp fall memories in the heat of summer. Sometimes a change of seasons is inspiring, even if it’s in your imagination.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 24: Art

Johnny Carson, father of late-night television, died yesterday at the age of seventy-nine. In addition to being a stand-up comedian and master of the monologue, Carson was also a great interviewer. His appealing face and good sense of humor calmed the nerves of many whose careers were just starting and who were lucky enough to find themselves sitting in that famous seat next to Johnny on his “Tonight Show.” Carson introduced the world to countless numbers of new talent. And to be a guest on his show was to be discovered by the world. For many it was their ticket to fame.

In my opinion, Carson had a way about him that remains unmatched. His sincere interest in his guests was palpable, and one could easily sense in his interview the desire to make them feel comfortable and at home on stage. Even in interviews with children, Johnny was easy and comfortable, and his voice was constantly working to find the most productive vein of the conversation.

Carson was always willing to play the fool, relieving from his guests the burden of embarrassment for possibly saying the wrong thing. His background as a comedian gave him that perfect sense of timing, which, in the case of even the dullest of interviews, enabled him to keep the audience engaged. Like the Greek god Janus, Carson’s eyes were on two things at once: his guest and the audience. And he loved the dance of bringing the audience close to the individual.

It’s uncommon among most of today’s talk show hosts, but Johnny let his guest do the talking. His questions weren’t silly or shocking. They were personal and simple and intended to show the guest as one of us but without detracting from his or her talent or fame. Carson made sure that the spotlight was always on the guest, to whom he would give most of the interview space to talk. Never once did I see a guest have to challenge Johnny for the microphone. If the guest was talking, Johnny was listening – and so were we.

There will never be another one like him. Funny, smart, informed, charming, and warm, Johnny Carson was for many of us the voice of comfort and stability at the end of the day. He made us feel like everything was going to be okay.

Day 24 Guide

We seek comfort, but sometimes we’re blinded by the difficulties and problems that are our burden. We need a voice to remind us that things are going to be okay, that there is still love and beauty, laughter and life. Today, look for the clues that would take you back to Joyous Gard. Think today of memories that comfort you — memories of people, places or of times that make you feel warm and at home.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 25: Art and Morality

The first miracle that Jesus performed was that of turning water into wine at a wedding in Canaan. It was a miracle of transformation, of taking something with a specific identity (water) and making it something else (wine).

This particular biblical story from the book of John served as the basis for a recent sermon delivered by a Chinese preacher here in Augusta, GA. Speaking to a congregation of both Chinese and Americans, he began by introducing the traditional Chinese symbols of happiness and double happiness. Double happiness, I learned, is typically used in Chinese culture to symbolize the union of man and wife.

As I thought about it, I realized that marriage, too, is a miracle of transformation: Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they will become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24

I believe that the human spirit is perfectly at home with the idea of transformation. Just think about it: we’ve all been quickened or made alive by the sudden flash of illumination or inspiration, which makes the heart leap from darkness to light. That’s how happiness often greets us — suddenly, without intention or notice.

Day 25 Guide

Joyous Gard is the place of transforming power to which we should often return. The quietness and stillness of its passages invoke the sense of order and meaning that lead to happiness.

Today, look for elements of structure and order that urge you to contemplate God’s greater design. Look for them in nature or art, architecture or business.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 26: Interpretation

Jamaican born choreographer Garth Fagan is noted for his work on Disney’s hit Broadway musical The Lion King, which won him a Tony® Award in 1998 for best choreography. His Afro-Caribbean brand of dance is especially unique and has become known as the Fagan Technique, which he now teaches to a small company of dancers located in Rochester, NY — http://www.garthfagandance.org/ –. He and his company travel around the world dazzling audiences with their phenomenal precision on the dance floor. Mixing traditional jazz, ballet and tap with his own inventive movements Fagan creates a modern dance experience that leaves audiences stunned.

I had the privilege of seeing his company perform last week and was left with mighty feelings of energy and hopefulness. The company of performers carried out complex modern dance moves with unbelievable precision giving me the ultimate experience of possibility.


The Fagan Technique employs an array of unusual movements, sometimes presented in quiet pause on stage but often times also interrupted with sudden, punctual movements of speed. Arms, legs and torsos are used to create unusual angles as the dancers are sometimes shown as individuals and then other times as part of a more unified whole. That evening, their dance spoke to me of great opportunity.

I left Fagan’s show feeling renewed — that I had hundreds of options yet to exhaust in my own life and that by thinking creatively in my work I could find a treasure chest of unused capacity and new possibilities. I felt that I must look beyond the normal and customary to find that new, rich life that makes the future seem so bright.

Day 26 Guide

Your feelings today in many ways are a product of how you feel about tomorrow. Are you hopeful? Do you see possibilities and options in your life? Today consider the unending source of opportunities available for you.

Never on this earth will we be free from the strike of trauma, anxiety or loss. But think of the various degrees of freedom that are yours even amidst the difficulty. Think of the possibilities.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Interpretation, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 27: Education

My high school history teacher, Mr. “T,” was a good man. He had earlier retired from the military, was a veteran of World War II and began teaching high school as a second career.

He must have been in his late teens or early twenties when he was taken prisoner by German soldiers. During class he would sometimes tell us about his experiences as a POW, and I remember listening intently as he told us of the mistreatment and filthy conditions that he and the other prisoners endured. We enjoyed getting Mr. “T” off track and hearing those stories. And I could tell that he, too, enjoyed talking about the war.

I honestly don’t remember learning a great deal of textbook history under Mr. “T,” but I learned so much more. He opened up and showed us his frailties while also demonstrating great strength in overcoming the odds. Some stories would bring tears to his eyes, and others, happiness. I learned that a man could live through even the most abusive hardship and still find beauty in the world. Over time Mr. “T” and I became good friends, and between classes we would sometimes talk about golf or share a good joke.

His best experience while serving in the military overseas was meeting his wife, an attractive German lady with strawberry blonde hair. Together they were the perfect couple. They seemed to love each other very much, and I always enjoyed seeing them together hand in hand. They’re both gone now, but my memories of them remain fresh.

Day 27 Guide

Today, think of someone who has at some point along the way inspired you and made you feel better about life — maybe a parent, a grandparent or a friend, maybe a teacher.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Education, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Days 28-30: Knowledge

Often I hear people say they do not have time to read. That’s absolute nonsense. In the one year during which I kept that kind of record, I read twenty-five books while waiting for people. In offices, applying for jobs, waiting to see a dentist, waiting in a restaurant for friends, many such places. I read on buses, trains, and planes. If one really wants to learn, one has to decide what is important. Spending an evening on the town? Attending a ball game? Or learning something that can be with you your life long?

— Louis L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man

Known best for his western novels, Louis L’Amour was an interesting man who dropped out of school at the age of fifteen and committed himself to a life of adventure. For years he traveled the world by whatever means he could find and took odd jobs along with way, feeding his primary interests in learning and reading. When he established himself as an author of fiction and until his death in 1988 he wrote three books a year for his massive audience of devoted fans.

During his life and travels, L’Amour took those jobs that would provide him the best opportunity to read. In his memoirs, L’Amour claims that reading is a fundamental element in the life-long pursuit of knowledge. For L’Amour knowledge meant power, and more was better.

Books are the building blocks of civilization, for without the written word a man knows nothing beyond what occurs during his own brief years and, perhaps, in a few tales his parents tell him.

— Louis L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man

Here’s what author and historian Daniel Boorstin said about L’Amour’s appetite for reading:

Anyone who visited Louis in his spacious study with its sixteen-foot-high ceiling with walls of specially designed bookshelves will not be surprised. For the bookshelves that Louis designed were much like the man himself. Each tall row of shelves made a kind of book-covered door that could be swung open to reveal another sixteen-foot set of book-filled shelves fixed to the wall behind. Louis was a modest man, slow to reveal what he really knew.

Louis L’Amour is the only American novelist to have received the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, both awarded by Ronal Reagan. Visit L’Amour’s website for more information: http://www.louislamour.com/.

Days 28-30 Guide

This weekend consider developing a reading plan. Think of the times and places that you might work into your schedule for reading. Think of the subjects that interest you. A good way to start is to take a trip to bookstore with a pen and note cards, and jot down areas of interest – biographies, historical subjects, how-to guides, or philosophy.

I’d be interested to hear what you come up with. Send me an email — levi@thinkinginink.com.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Daily Text, Knowledge, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
January 2005 ~ Day 31: Growth

The frame of mind we must beware of, which is but a stingy vanity, is that which makes us say, “I am sure I should not like that person, that book, that place!” It is that closing-in of our own possibilities that we must avoid.

Growth, Joyous Gard

Day 26 of the current Joyous Gard cycle was a day of Interpretation when I talked about the choreographer Garth Fagan and a recent performance of his company:

The company of performers carried out complex modern dance moves with unbelievable precision giving me the ultimate experience of possibility.

This morning I’d like to talk again about the idea of possibility. Yes, there are some things in life that seem binding — daily chores, a job, school. But it’s important to keep afloat those liberating ideas that give you options.

That is the wonderful thing about thought, that it is like a captive balloon which is anchored in one’s garden. It is possible to climb into it and to cast adrift; but so many people, as I have said, seem to end by pulling the balloon in, letting out the gas, and packing the whole way in a shed.

Growth, Joyous Gard

In an effort to control your consciousness and maintain a good and hopeful disposition, recognize first the traps that would so impound your spirit and immobilize your vision. Then, intentionally put things in your way that will constantly remind you of life’s unlimited possibility. Just as fate would seem to locate its traps in your path so too can you position elements and reminders of hopefulness that restore your spirit.

Day 31 Guide

Today think about your habits and consider the things that you are intentionally doing to maintain a spirit of possibility.

© 2005, Levi Hill

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