“Serene in glory”

Posted by jlubans on May 22, 2021  •  Leave comment (0)


This sets forth how an idea about “ambiverts” turned into a story about serenity by way of sublimity.
My first step in this story was perusing a taxonomy of ambivertism.
Perhaps you don’t know this term? (I didn’t)
We all know about the loud extrovert and the quiet introvert. But that’s a pretty wide span from braggadocios-ness to self-effacement.
We can’t all be at one end or the other, can we?
You can guess that the ambivert is someone – perhaps you - who can swing with the “life of the party” types and also feel at home amidst the wallflowers.
The ambivert, we are told, moves along a personality scale and has the ability to combine the best from both extremes.
Neither an absolute extrovert nor a pre-eminent introvert, ambivertism got me thinking about my own personality.
Now, permit me to stray some more.
Down the highway east from where I live you’ll see a sign for the town of Sublimity.
Named in 1852, it was so baptized because of its "fine vista and sublime scenery".
Located not far from Oregon’s capital, I’d guess most Sublimites (?) work in Salem or in agriculture.
Also, the town is a gateway to Silver Falls State Park
with its cascading waterfalls. And, the town features a gem of an Italian restaurant – best pizza and bread sticks this side of Chicago – Panezanellie.
OK, Why am I going on about this town?
Well because whenever I drive past it, I recall what a Latvian friend and colleague noted about my persona as a teacher.
She used the word “serene”.
No doubt, she had other words to choose from: deadpan, impassive, and inexpressive, but she chose a much nicer term.
How would my friend know?
Well, as my translator, she’s observed me in a professional capacity more closely than just about anyone.
Here’s how I lead workshops in Latvia: I talk briefly and stop and she translates what I’ve said. Then I start up again.
Obviously, she has to pay attention to what I am saying and how I am saying it.
Alexander Pope used the word:
“shining bright and steady
the moon, serene in glory”
It suggests an unperturbed, unruffled, and lofty something.
I can see why she chose the term. It may well be the persona I project in my workshops.
I am no evangelist hoping to salvage and re-direct lost workers. I do not regard myself as a savior, even if one or two change for the better.
Nor do I make much effort in entertaining workshop participants. I have a sense of humor, but to have them “rolling in the aisles” is not what makes a good workshop.
Nor am I the hard-nose expert who knows the answer to any and all leadership scenarios – “just follow (if you have the ability) my lead and you’ll be A-OK. Any questions?”
Much of nature is serene. Trees are serene.
A sunrise is serene and sublime. A sunset likewise.
How you respond to that serenity, is up to you. You can do something or nothing.
For example, I’ve been part of an outdoor personal development workshop in which participants go off in nature and literally hug a tree.
A short while later, we reconvene and do a go around about the experience. The tree does not speak; but what do you sense in that private moment?
What enters your mind as you cling to the tree?
Some participants are moved, others not so much. A pity, but don’t blame the silent tree.
Look deeper and puzzle over what you don’t hear and why that may be.
What’s retarding your imagination, creativity?
There’s the parable of the sower whose seeds do not grow until they fall onto “good soil”.
Some participants are prepared better, they are more open and ready, than others to receive and nourish whatever seeds I may be serenely sowing.
Alas, I am not always serene.
I am not serene when traveling – it’s high anxiety all the way.
Nor am I serene when talking to customer service.
Or, doing my taxes. Or, just about anything else in life!

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© Copyright all text John Lubans 2021

"A Pleasant Sensation"

Posted by jlubans on May 17, 2021  •  Leave comment (0)

Now and then in my addiction to early detective fiction I come across a knock-out quote.
This one from 1913, apropos of today’s wokeness, is by Edgar Wallace*.

“It is a pleasant sensation, this of superiority. It enables one to mix freely with inferior humanity and take no hurt.”

*Excerpt From: Edgar Wallace in his horse racing and crime novel, “Grey Timothy.” 1913.

Ernest Griset’s THE WOLF AND THE SHEPHERDS* Redux.

Posted by jlubans on May 12, 2021  •  Leave comment (0)

Caption: Griset’s (1844-1907) very own illustration.

A Wolf peeping into a hut where a company of Shepherds were regaling themselves on a leg of mutton, exclaimed, "What a clamour these fellows would have raised if they had caught me at such a banquet!"
Men, forsooth, are apt to condemn in others what they practice themselves without scruple.
I first posted this fable – all about hypocrisy - in late 2019.
Have you noticed that much of the daily parade of commentary on FCBK and other anti-social media - whenever it strays from cats, dogs, grandkids, flowers and vacation photos - is, as I put it a while back, “ignorant, one-sided, negative, absolutely certain, ill-humored, repetitive (think ‘meme’ and ‘sharing’) and unforgiving?”
Today’s moral, “Men, forsooth, are apt to condemn in others what they practice themselves without scruple” is especially relevant right now.
I can justify objectionable behavior by people I like but become outraged when it’s perpetrated by people I despise.
Aesop speaks to this in his Jupiter and the Two Sacks fable. We each wear two sacks – one visibly on the front of other’s people’s faults and a sack on the back – out of sight - full of our own failings.

*Source: Aesop's fables by Aesop; Griset, Ernest Henry, 1844-1907
London ; New York : Cassell, Petter, and Galpin 1874

© Copyright John Lubans 2021


Posted by jlubans on May 04, 2021  •  Leave comment (0)


A CERTAIN man invited a neighbor to dinner, not without an ulterior purpose.
He was fond of music, and he entrapped his neighbour into his house to listen to his choir.
The honest fellows began to sing, each on his own account, and each with all his might.
The guest's ears began to split, and his head to turn.
"Have pity on me!" he exclaimed, in amazement.
“What can any one like in all this ? Why, your choristers bawl like madmen."
“It's quite true," replied the host, with feeling.
“They do flay one's ears just a trifle. But, on the other hand,
they are all of irreproachable behaviour, and they never touch a drop of intoxicating liquor.”
But, I say, in my opinion you had better drink a little, if needs be: only take care to understand your business thoroughly.
Another translation offers this for the above moral:
Better to drink a bit, I say.
But do things the right way.”

Like karaoke - which I am told gets better the more drinks consumed – the neighbor suggests the impresario stop excluding choristers who drink.
If they drink but sing magnificently, take the latter and worry less about the former.
If a teetotaler can’t sing, why have him or her in the choir?
So, it can be at work.
We may have a co-worker with an annoying habit or shortcoming, but if he or she is a good worker, a team player, say “So, what?”

*Source: Krilof and his fables, by Krylov, Ivan Andreevich, 1768-1844; Ralston, William Ralston Shedden, 1828-1889. Tr. London, 1869

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© Copyright all text John Lubans 2021