Daily Guide — November 2004

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 1: Progress

It’s easy for me to get lost on the road of life and lose the passions that were steering my course. But I like to think that my normal state of mind is one of freshness and vitality and that I’m naturally passionate about life. I think of them as bandits that appear in life to thwart my journey and rob me of my natural passion and my progress. The bandits of concern and worry or of a mounting frustration and anxiety are always there, hiding in the brush, ready to attack. And I know that at all times I must be ready to fend them off in order to stay the course.Day 1 Guide:Okay, it’s Monday and it’s the first day of the month, time for a fresh start. Today, I want you to surround yourself with the things you love ‘ the things that turn you on. In fact, if you haven’t already done so, it’d be a good time to make that list of the things that inspire you. The key today: surround yourself with reminders of the passionate life. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Make a CD of ten songs that inspire you.
  • Read your favorite passages from the Bible throughout the day.
  • Find a picture of something – a child, a friend, or a scene – that makes you happy or brings back great memories. Carry it with you or tape it to your refrigerator.

God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December. J.M. Barrie © 2004, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 2: The Sense of Beauty

Listen. There’s a quiet wind. Can you sense its presence? It’s there, blowing endlessly through our days.A quiet windCalled the rose,She touched a moon,She brushed the trees.She moved the cloudsBut slowly onTo break the light,To please.Day 2 Guide:Today, open your mind to your life and your surroundings. Make it an effort to marvel at the magic of nature or a relationship. That constant wind is the beauty that surrounds you. But it’s so quiet.The key here is to build the habit of a heightened awareness, to feel the constant, gentle wind and to be easily pleased by the small things. © 2004, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 3: The Principle of Beauty

I have a friend who collects antique machinist and carpenter’s tools. There’s something beautiful about those old things, not so much in their appearance but in their underlying design and purpose. A few of the tools were owned and used by his grandfather, and I imagine that for my friend they symbolize relationship and heritage. I’m sure they bring back memories of his grandfather. But for the average person it wouldn’t be uncommon to overlook the simple beauty of those old tools.Now, imagine for a minute that you are holding in your hand a carpenter’s mallet, one that is thought to have belonged to Jesus Christ. What sort of transformational value would that have? Think of the beauty that you might witness in such a thing. And then, imagine further that this was the mallet used by Jesus to nail together the cross of his own crucifixion. Just the thought of such an experience brings tears to the eyes of the believer.Many times you will find transforming energy wrapped in the beauty of ordinary things. And life changes for a while when you apprehend such beauty. At times like these it seems that life confirms its purpose, and you feel at home in a big universe. It is our deep desire, I believe, to constantly witness beauty and to know the meaning hidden behind the ordinary things of life.Day 3 Guide:Today, choose something ordinary out of your experience and seek its beauty. It could be a thing, a happening or even a person – something or someone that you would otherwise overlook. Seek in it some aspect of design or behavior that stands out. But realize, too, that the beauty you discover may be found not in the subject itself but in the further thoughts that result from your effort.The key is to discover beauty in the ordinary things of life. © 2004, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 4: Life

Driving to work in the morning I pass by a power line, which crosses a highway. Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a large group of birds gathering to perch on that line. Usually when I drive by they’re already there, side-by-side on the line, but this morning I was lucky enough to see them fly in. It seemed that all at once they landed, almost as if each one was aware of his intended position prior to folding his wings. Strangely enough, I found a bit of comfort in that sight.It helps me to know that there is a sense of order in nature, that there are cycles, intended positions, and a seeming purpose to most everything. The birds’ dance on that wire stood in stark contrast to what was going on below, where the minds of dozens of speeding drivers were focused on the unsettling acts of exiting, merging and turning. I was quickly thrown into that stir as I merged onto the highway, and my thought of the birds flew away.How important it is that we have moments to rest and enjoy the things of life! We should live not in constant toil but in the filtered light of ease amidst toil. If only for a moment, make room for Joyous Gard.Day 4 Guide:On this last day of the Joyous Gard cycle, think of how very important it is to find rest in your life. Knowing that there will not always be a beautiful sunset to help foster a sense of peace, seek the beauty in patterns, cycles, and design. © 2004, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Days 5-7: Ideas

When I was a boy the world impressed me with its largeness. Was it the same for you? Didn’t things just seem really big? But as I grew older, things started to shrink, even the contents of my imagination. My earlier fears of things that ‘go bump in the night’ diminished, and the fascination that I had with big things, like roller coasters and airplanes, waned. But I didn’t forget the largeness of those feelings, feelings that are still easily aroused in me by sensing the fullness of life and its beauty.As an adult, I find myself moved by the beauty of nature, love, relationships and connections. Meaningful conversation interests me now, and I enjoy connecting with others who share common interests and desires. I enjoy laughter, and music still thrills me.Joyous Gard is the place in your mind reserved especially for those large feelings. It is the place to which you should often retreat in order to restore that youthful sense of wonder. You’ve been there, haven’t you? Sometimes, a song will take you there, a poem, or a story. The retreat to Joyous Gard is a habit that will gild your days and give you a greater sense of happiness. I think it’s a great habit to work on.Day 5-7 Guide:Try this weekend to identify the various ways to help you locate the doors of Joyous Gard. What is it that inspires you? What moves you? The key here is to find ways to help you control your experience. © 2004, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 8: Poetry

In the early morning the common background noises of the day are mostly absent, and there’s a peaceful stillness in the air. For me, it’s the perfect time and space in which to think. I’m comfortable in the arms of morning.As dawn approaches, familiar sounds begin to trickle in, a train horn, a passing car, the bird’s first song. They have an uncommon charm against the stillness and quiet of the morning. They are settling reminders of life’s constant beat.A quiet heart and a calm spirit are priceless possessions, aren’t they? The darkness and stillness of the morning help me to find that peace.Day 8 Guide:Today, think about what it is that quiets your heart. What is the balm for your restless mind? I believe it is essential for the adult to set aside a daily time of solitude – a time to think or to pray, a time to reflect and find the balance and the beauty that are so terribly important.Consider today how and where you would find this time. Think that somewhere in the day those quiet moments are waiting for you. © 2004, Levi HillDaily Text: Poetry, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 9: Poetry and Life

Do you remember your first kiss? I was in the seventh grade when I was filled with those wonderful feelings of (puppy) love. I remember how I felt when I first learned that this pretty little girl with whom I’d exchanged glances actually liked me. I had to pinch myself: ‘She really liked me! Me!’ It was almost too good to be true.She had big brown eyes and long beautiful hair. And that, along with her fair complexion and delicate smile, made her the perfect girl for me. I thought that I was in heaven. And even now, so many years later, my memory serves me well and allows me to enjoy the feelings associated with that time.I remember going to the local fair with her over thirty years ago. Together we rode the ‘Himalaya,’ a super fast ride that would take you up and down and around. With the music blasting and the lights blinking to the beat, the ride would start slowly and then speed up until the person sitting on the inside of the car was pulled tightly against the outside person (me). Boy, I thought that was really great.That same local fair is in town right now. And the ‘Himalaya?’ Yep, it’s still there. And just the sight of it stirs in me the feelings associated with that night so many years ago. It makes me want to turn up the music.Day 9 GuideToday, I want you to choose a time or an event in your life that ushered in great feelings. Write about the event, capturing as much detail as you can. Memory is one of the most important corridors of Joyous Gard, and the key here is to build the habit of using it as a source of mental energy.© 2004, Levi HillDay 9 Text: Poetry and Life, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 10: Art

Life is crazy, isn�t it? For some people there just seems to be too much going on but for others, not nearly enough. Children complain of being bored sometimes: �nothing to do,� they say. But I love those rare moments when there�s nothing do, don�t you? In fact, wouldn�t it be great if the roles of parent and child could be reversed and that occasionally you were sent to your room for an hour or two? I would welcome the solitude.Beauty is quiet. She never jumps out and wrestles you to the ground. But she�s always there � waiting patiently for you to turn your head. She�s in nature and its light, in the wind and the sands of time. Beauty is the seeming order amidst chaos; she is the binding love. Beauty is all around us, and we have only to stop and turn our heads to find her. Sounds easy, doesn�t it? But it�s one of the hardest things to do. We need constant reminders of her presence.Art is just that: a reminder of the beauty that, at times, we all witness. It is only by virtue of his talent that the artist seems to �produce� the beauty. The greatest collection of art is actually in the minds of average people like you and me. The artist�s hand leaves only the cue, or the pathway, that leads the observer to the apprehension of beauty.Day 10 Guide:Imagine yourself to be the artist in front of a blank canvas. What will you paint today? What reminder will you leave others to turn their heads toward greater things?�© 2004, Levi HillDay 10 Text: Art, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 11: Art amp; Morality

In the WorldYesterday, I visited a friend who had recently been admitted to the hospital. As I was parking my car, I noticed a sign that read, �Free Valet Service.� It was a pretty day and I didn�t mind walking, so I parked myself.Just before I entered the hospital, the valet, stationed near the front door, greeted me with a warm, �hello.� I thought that was nice. And then, the receptionist, who was stationed just inside the front door, greeted me in the same friendly manner, as did two more employees that I saw on my way to the elevators. That was four �hellos� in less than five minutes. I love to see organizations that are run so well.Another example of friendly service is at our local Chick-Fil-A restaurant. All of the employees are very pleasant. After a customer places an order in the drive-through line a voice responds: �We look forward to seeing you at the window.� Then at the window, the attendant thanks you and tells you to �come back again.� If you happen to thank him, he�ll respond with, �It was my pleasure.� I just love that response, don�t you?; The founder of Chick-Fil-A, Truitt Cathy, is a great man, and I�m sure that his influence is an important element in the company�s success. Great leadership is an art.Art, Morals amp; TeachersIn my opinion, great art invites you to approach and enjoy its spirit. It makes you want to hold on to someone as you enjoy its essence. Sharing such an experience with someone you love would be a quite normal desire, I think.In the same way that an artist is able to turn your spirit, great teachers open doors and illuminate the passages of Joyous Gard. They make things interesting and demonstrate the integrated design of various subjects. Under their teaching, boundaries are erased, and knowledge seems to flow as one complete body. Great teachers leave you with a beautiful feeling: that everything is interconnected, whole and meaningful.All of the things above have to do with the beauty of design and organization and their effects on the minds and the practical affairs of men. Here are a few vital questions: Do artists teach? Are teachers artists? Are morals, business practices and common grace forms of art?Day 11 Guide:Today, think about the design in your life � your business, your home and your family. What are you teaching? What is your art?�© 2004, Levi HillDay 12 Text: Art amp; Morality, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Days 12-14: Interpretation

Does life to you ever seem like a trip in the pouring rain? I know the feeling: of a downpour so hard that you can barely see to drive. And it just keeps coming, with no end in sight.A few years ago we took a trip to Florida and drove through such a rain. For hours, it seemed, we were caught in the deluge; the driving was especially intense. But after a long period of heavy rain constantly beating the windshield, the storm finally passed, and we saw a patch of blue skies. Oh, how wonderful it was to see those blue skies! I remember well that feeling of relief. But I was also exhausted.And then, magically, as if specifically intended to restore our spirits, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the eastern sky � the prettiest one we�d ever seen, covering what seemed like miles of farmland. We talked for a good while about her beautiful light and her shape, and once again, we felt excited about life and our trip. The simple things even tasted sweeter. Thank God for rainbows.I�ve seen a rainbow end to endThen watched it fade away,Colors of the fallen leaves,An evening sky, a bride�s bouquet.Days 12-14 Guide:The apprehension of beauty has an awesome restorative power. There�s great energy bound up in those special moments when you sense a higher meaning and purpose. Focus this weekend on finding such beauty. It�s so easy to overlook.�© 2004, Levi HillDays 12-14 Text: Interpretation, Joyous Gard.

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 15: Education

I loved my second grade teacher, and I remember thinking that she was so pretty. On Valentines Day, years ago when I was in her class, I asked my mother to send her flowers from me. I figured she�d like that. And just like it was yesterday, I remember when those flowers arrived. We were in the middle of class when there came a knock at the door. With a surprised look of delight, my teacher accepted the colorful delivery and promptly read the card. It was then that I felt a tinge of oncoming embarrassment, and she asked me to come to the front. With a nice, warm smile, she thanked me and kissed my cheek. What a great moment!When I returned to my desk, a couple of my friends noticed the shadow of lipstick on my cheek. And at the recess bell, I rushed to the bathroom and saw in the mirror that faint reminder of a great moment. I felt then that everything in the world was okay.Oh, how important it is to write such beautiful moments on the tablet of experience! It is an important part of education, don�t you think? As I see it, lives are built on experiences and memories of them. We live not by seconds and minutes but by events. The present is fleeting and slippery, like quicksilver, but memories of past times and our hopes and dreams of the future stay with us forever. Our present joy manifests by delighting in the past and anticipating the future.Day 15 GuideToday, think of your life as a filmstrip and consider each frame to be an experience or an event. Write about a couple of your experiences. What are the things that give you hope? What do you anticipate or look forward to?�© 2004, Levi HillDay 15 Text: Education, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 16: Knowledge

Richard Feynman was the curious character known outside the scientific community as the man who discovered the cause for the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. A Nobel Prize recipient, Feynman served on the commission to investigate the explosion and uncovered the causal clues of the tragedy by dipping pieces of rubber gasket material into a glass of ice water.The gasket was one among many of the possible culprits for the explosion. Its purpose was to seal a main joint on the shuttle�s fuel tank. Film documents some of the commission�s proceedings and shows that while most members seemed to have their heads buried in the technical and analytical data, Feynman was considering some of the more obvious things. He was doing as a child might do, seeing what would happen if the rubber was dipped into freezing cold water.Fenyman�s reasoning was simple: It was unusually cold on the morning of the launch, so maybe that had something to do with cause of the explosion. By dipping the rubber into the ice water, he was simulating conditions of that morning and discovering the effects of low temperature on the material. And to everyone�s surprise, but in typical Feynman style, his tact proved successful. The final cause of the explosion was determined to be the gasket�s loss of elasticity at low temperatures.Feynman�s unusual style of thinking and teaching made him one of the world�s most popular figures for softening the complexities of physics and opening up that branch of knowledge for the average person. He wrote a great many books explaining, in common language, some of the most complex theories of physics, and he opened the doors of knowledge for people with basic questions.Day 16 GuideWe are fortunate in this time to have so many ways to relieve of the complexities of knowledge. We have only to be curious in order to start a life-long journey of learning. So where does that journey begin for you? What are your interests? What more would you like to know?Today try to identify areas of interest that you�d like to know more about; the local bookstore is a great place to start. There you can shuffle through all kinds of ideas while enjoying a cup of coffee.�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text, Knowledge, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 17: Growth

Have you ever seen a hot air balloon lift off? I watched one day as four people climbed into the basket of one of those colorful airships. The sky was blue and there was a slight breeze; it was a perfect day for flying.The burner was loud as it thrust flames up into the inner space that would become the balloon�s quiet engine. And with the exception of the one man controlling the burner, passengers on the craft seemed to be simply waiting, waiting to fly.And then the burner rested. There was stillness. The balloon had finally reached its moment of potential, and suddenly, it lifted off. Quickly, it ascended, and they were gone.Unlike an airplane, which is in motion prior to take off, a balloon remains totally grounded until it reaches its lighter-than-air moment. And then it�s gone. Often times, ideas will greet the mind in similar fashion, and all at once, at that one critical moment, we are changed. Our experience is suddenly altered, and we�re not the same. It�s the nature of human growth, I think, to leap at the junctures.Day 17 GuideLike eggs, ideas incubate and then, at that one critical moment of potential, they hatch. There�s a sudden change, and new life begins. It is important that you feed the process of change.Do you have time to think, read, or even keep a journal? We all need time in the day to �light the burners.� Today, consider how you might build one hour of time like this into your day.�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text, Growth, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 18: Emotion

Bill Porter is a door-to-door salesman. He�s a simple man with one simple desire: to lead a normal life. And for the most part he does, but not without difficulty. Bill Porter was born with cerebral palsy and since childhood has had a difficult time doing the most routine things, like tying his shoes, making breakfast, or walking.His speech is also impaired, and because of that you would never think that he could be a good salesman, especially a door-to-door salesman. But he is. In fact he�s a great salesman who�s been awarded top honors by his employer, The Watkins Company.His story has earned Bill Porter national recognition as an inspirational figure. And one night several years ago, I happened to see that story on television. I must have cried for an hour as I watched this poor, crippled man struggle, wanting so badly to succeed against impossible odds. And he did, in a big way.That night I was changed. While feeling emotionally broken, I was somehow made stronger as well. And to this day I am saddened by the thought of Bill Porter but also energized by his unreal persistence and desire to live. His fight is a true inspiration.Day 18 GuideEmotions are the seas on which the heart sails. Think today of something sweet in your life, remembering that sometimes the sweetness is shrouded in sadness.�© 2004, Levi HillRead about Bill Porter.Daily Text: Emotion, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Days 19-21: Memory

When I was a little boy my father would occasionally take me fishing. Looking back, he actually knew a pretty good bit about the sport; he had all the best equipment, he knew how to tie the proper knots, and he could easily fix a reel. But even with all that knowledge he wasn�t a very good fisherman; nor was I. Usually, we were happy if we caught one fish between us. Kinda sad, isn�t it? I remember one particular time, as we were returning home from a trip, yelling to my mother from the car window, �We caught one!� She gave a big smile and held her hands up, just as if we�d won the grand prize. But I could easily tell that she wasn�t very impressed.My grandfather, on the other hand, was a fisherman extraordinaire. He�d go early in the morning and stay all day. And most every time he�d bring back a cooler full of bass and brim. He kept two freezers in his basement stocked full of fish, and I�m sure that he gave away more than he ever kept.I never really fell in love with the sport of fishing. I just enjoyed being with my father. We became the best of friends, just as we are today. Those memories of my childhood are like charms on my spirit. I look back with fondness, connecting the large spans in my life and feeling like I belong � that I�m part of something greater than simply �the day.�Memories open the doors of Joyous Gard. And it�s healthy, I think, to recall with intention, thinking especially about the earlier times. Recollection helps to tighten the weave of life�s tapestry. It works to organize experience and locate the greater design of meaning. I believe that we live for a purpose and that lives aren�t merely a collection of random events. Daily trials, I believe, become the coarse threads that add strength to the tapestry.Days 19-21 GuideFriday is a great day to rest your mind, and it�s a perfect time to reminisce. Try to consider this weekend how you got to where you are today. What brought you to this point? Think about the wisdom you�ve gained through trial or adversity.The key this weekend is to hold your life up and restore meaning and connection to its unfolding.�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text, Memory, Joyous Gard.

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 22: Retrospect

About a year ago I received a call from a lady concerning my childhood home. As it turned out, she and her sister had also grown up there, and they wanted to come and see it once again. Though vacant and being readied for sale, the house was still owned by my father, and I was glad to accommodate. I thought it�d even be fun to hear some of the history behind the old house. About a week later I met them there.Both in their mid-seventies, the sisters, along with their husbands, walked through the house room by room, telling stories and recalling �old times.� They said that except for the interiors, not much had changed about the house. I listened as they spoke of their mother and grandmother and about the horse that they kept in the backyard.It was interesting to hear them talk about their childhood experiences framed in the same spaces of my youth. I realized that we shared the common bond of finding the simple beauty in those old rooms. Walking through the house that day gave us all a better sense of connection to the past, and I believe that we all left that house feeling settled and contented. I�m thankful to have had that experience before the house did finally sell.Day 22 GuideAs Thanksgiving approaches, think of old times. Think about your youth and the importance of family and relationship. Love your family this week, and insure the nestling of great memories. Think of beautiful things and pay special attention to the morning and the afternoon light.�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text, Retrospect, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 23: Humor

As I parked the car, my friends entered the busy restaurant and gave the hostess our party�s name. They were immediately seated, and it was only a couple of minutes later that I walked into the large dining room to look for them. I passed by many diners, and because the room�s lights were so dim my search was deliberate. I carefully looked at the guests at each table, but tried, also, not to appear lost. Searching that dimly lit room was no easy task, and I saw a few people giving me strange looks.In a moment of frustration, I looked up and was startled by someone standing directly in front of me. I was taken aback; he looked so much like me. He stared at me. And I stared at him. The look on his face was that of utter surprise. I gestured to him with a slight smile and a nod of my head. He did the same. And then it clicked: I was standing only a few inches from the room�s mirrored wall. That surprised individual staring at me was none other than me.The room that, at first glance, appeared so large, wasn�t large after all; the mirror just made it seem so. The room was actually quite small. And there I was: poised in front of that mirror, like a fool. And to make matters worse, the only way out of the situation was to turn about-face and pass again by all of those people who now thought that I was a nut. I just couldn�t help but smile as I walked by them all, feeling like I should take a bow for the entertainment I had provided.The friends that I was looking for? Well, they, too, got a kick out of the situation, and the rest of the evening was a hoot. Thank God for laughter.Isn�t it great to laugh? I think laughter is the single most important element in maintaining one�s psychophysical health. Laughter is a release agent for the body�s own healing drugs. It�s good for the mind, the body and the soul. And it�s a relief from the mounting stress that so threatens well-being. In a seeming paradox, laughter is something to take seriously.Day 23 GuideToday, your mission is to find humor. Understand that humor is a perspective on life and that in every day there is something to lighten your heart. A good starting point is to look within. Laugh at yourself.�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Test, Humour, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 24: Visions

At times, life seems to put you in a box � six walls and no way of escape. You look around and in every direction there are only dead-ends. No amount of argument or work changes the situation; in fact, any effort to escape seems only to fortify the walls.Exhaustion, worry, anxiety – these are the mortar-joints of the stone faces that surround you and blind your view to the higher things, those things beyond the box.Beauty is a stranger to the box, refusing ever to be confined. She is total freedom, the refuge and the key to unlock wonderful visions of hope and creativity.Day 24 GuideOn this busy day before Thanksgiving, fill your mind and your surroundings with the things you love. Reach for that drop of silence to quiet your anxious heart. Find a moment to pray and ask God to strengthen you with His peace, that no matter the situation you are able to cling to higher things – those things beyond the box.Yea, through the pane, the light of dayShines bright on eyes that see.I�m here, my love, come, take my hand,And walk the road with me.Ã�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text: Visions, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 25: Thought

Isn�t it wonderful, the vitality of life that flows from family and close relationships? Just as glowing embers warm the body, so do love, great conversation and laughter warm the spirit.Day 25 GuideToday, consider it the greatest thing, the life that emanates from the natural bonds of family and friends. Refresh in its waters and enjoy the day.Happy Thanksgiving.�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text: Thought, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Days 26-28: Accessibility

My eighth grade algebra teacher was as mean as a snake. I�d try to hide my face in her class, thinking that she might not call on me. But at times she would. I actually managed pretty well under her, probably better than most. I knew a couple in the class who would even feel sick before entering her classroom, one claiming to have developed a stomach ulcer due to the stress of that class.Many years of teaching gave her quite an expansive reputation as the meanest teacher around. And even today, some thirty years later, her name comes up in most any conversation related to those junior high and high school years. Hers was the class that everyone dreaded, and the memory of it conjures up those old, restless feelings. If anything, her class was unforgettable.Was she a good teacher? I suppose that she was for some. But many students just could not learn in her class. They couldn�t have. Her manner put such stress on them that she was made virtually inaccessible as a teacher. And for those students, avoidance was the key to survival. If they learned anything, it was on their own.Days 26-28 GuideAccessibility is like an open invitation, a welcoming to all with their questions, concerns and expressions. I think that to be available is to honor the beauty of a relationship – whether it is between parent and child, teacher and student or employer and employee.Think today of how to improve your range of accessibility in all of your various relationships. Are you available to your children? What about your friends? Do you say and do things to create invitations, or do you put up barriers?The key today is to focus your thoughts on those who are under your influence and guidance. Open yourself up to them.Ã�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text: Accessibility, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 29: Sympathy

Some say that life is a journey. But I think of it more as a collection. The stages of life, each marked by change, are the containers for my collection. My early years of living in a great home with loving parents are followed by adolescent years of discovery and beautiful curiosity. My college years mark a transition to independence and the surprise of love. And I remember the awkward change to the �working life� following college. The entrance of marriage, a first home and of the birth of children are collected in a frame of rich maturity.Through all of these years I have held on to a certain spark of energy that has animated the stages of my life. It is the energy that I think we all can claim as that which drives us and excites us about tomorrow. It is the energy of individual personality.I now enjoy watching young people mature, seeing them pass through the stages of life, collecting memories, and being held by that personal steering force, or energy, that brings them delight. The smile of youth is most typically one of happiness and eagerness to fully engage in the things of life � a beautiful and pure desire. It�s fascinating to watch them satisfy that desire through laughter, conversation, music or sports.I never want to lose the feeling of my youth and the desire to engage in all of life. I know that the energy of my personality that brought me great joy in those early years is still alive, waiting and wanting to be used to carry me forward.Day 29 GuideDon�t let the �generation gap� be a chasm that swallows your desire. Listen to the sounds of youth and observe how they release energy. I believe that maturity is too often marked by a suppression of the natural forces that make us come alive.Laugh, converse, dance – engage in life. It�s never time to drop out.Ã�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text: Sympathy, Joyous Gard

Joyous Gard: Daily GuideNovember 2004 ~ Day 30: Science

Science:The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that by the end of 2005 between four and five hundred thousand Americans will die from complications related to obesity. On a sharp rise in the last five years, obesity will most likely overtake smoking as the leading cause of death.CDC Website: Re: Obesity

The real sadness of this particular scientific fact is in its underlying cause – something that science doesn�t well address.Supposition:Some, if not many, Americans who die from complications associated with obesity are depressed and haven�t the will or the desire to diet or exercise.The life of happiness and joy isn�t as much a matter of science as it is of Beauty and Truth. The most real things in life are beyond scientific appraisal. And yet Americans tend to be more pragmatic than romantic; we typically just want the facts and are satisfied to treat symptoms, not causes.If it�s science that we trust, then we�re in desperate need of one that leads us back to the joy and happiness that are native to the human spirit. We need often to seek the things that bring us greater peace, energy and desire. We need healthy habits of the heart.Day 30 GuideToday, look at your own habits. Are you committing the time and effort to improving your heart and your mind? Are you finding the beauty in life? Are you energized? Do you feel alive?Drink often from the well of life, and consider the habits of prayer, quiet thought, and reading.Ã�© 2004, Levi HillDaily Text: Science, Joyous Gard

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