Well, I brooded and pondered and wondered and thought about different ways to approach today's Heads or Tails Tuesday post hosted by Skittles. I thought about writing about the Fool in the Tarot Deck, about the Native American "wise fool" heyoka, similar to the court jesters of the Middle Ages. I had a couple of other ideas, but all of them required more effort than this poor fool was willing to put into it, so I decided to go for quotes, especially because I also wanted to talk about something totally not related to fools. But lets get the fools out of the way first. Here are some wonderful quotes on the subject for your entertainment:
“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” - Mark Twain
Abraham Lincoln said much the same thing: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."
"Only a fool tests the water with both feet." - African Proverb
“Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction.” - Albert Einstein
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever” - Chinese Proverb
“I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.” - Theodore Isaac Rubin
Theodore Isaac Rubin also said this, which I thought was very wise: "The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem."
"Even a fool knows you can't touch the stars, but it doesn't stop a wise man from trying." - Harry Anderson
I add this one with some bitterness, although I didn't vote for the current non-elected president either time he stole the office: "Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country." - Ambrose Bierce
"A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees." - William Blake
"The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep. " - Chanakya
"The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month. "
- Fyodor Dostoevsky
"Mix a little foolishness with your prudence: It's good to be silly at the right moment." - Horace
"Our wisdom comes from our experience, and our experience comes from our foolishness." - Sacha Guitry
I love quotes and I could go on and on, but I'll stop here because there are more important things to talk about.
It's Autism Awareness MonthMy very wonderful and very wise young friend Linda (aka Snoopmurph) whose blog These are the Days is well worth reading on any day, for it's gentle wisdom and its reflection of the beautiful soul who writes it, is writing this month on Autism Awareness. She is the mother of a young cute, sweet young son with Autism and is on a learning journey of how to best nurture and nourish the spirit of young Connor and also be fair to her older son Ian, who is not autistic. From what I can see, she and her husband are awesome parents on all fronts. I hope you'll join her on this month's exploration of Autism.
Oddly, the subject of autism came up right here in my little house in Hancock this morning in conversation with the kind gentleman who supplies me with food. I always try to respect synchronicity, so I'll share the story here as best I can and hope that it was given to me for some purpose.
A little background: Eight years ago, when I was living in Arizona, a friend of mine out there had a son - the magnificent Nicholas - who has a form of Autism called Asperger's Syndrome. Nicholas and I became great friends during my 18 months in Arizona. I practice a kind of healing called reiki and I sometimes use my voice in something called (or that's what I call it) "toning," when I reiki certain people. Nicholas loved reiki and he especially loved the sound. When I decided to move back to New York State, Nicholas was a bit upset, so I put some of my toning on a tape for him. I had that tape running this morning though I almost never listen to it - synchronicity again - when Tom, the Schwann's man, arrived with my groceries. I discovered a while back that Tom makes and plays Native American flutes and we have talked about that on a number of occasions. When he heard the tape and said - "oh, your listening to flute music" (How's that for a cool compliment?) - I told him the story behind the tape and he told me the following story from his days on the Pow Wow circuit. He gave me permission to share it. I will do so here as best I can, but know that I have not really done it justice.
Years ago, Tom was selling his flutes at a Pow Wow in Oklahoma He was sitting playing one of his flutes to entertain himself and pass the time for a while, and also watching the people coming and going. He noticed one young couple and their young son as they walked along. He said he could tell that the boy was a little different in some way from the way - he wasn't sure how - from his body language, probably. Anyway, the boy was just following along with his parents, but not really seeming engaged in the world around him. As the family neared Tom's booth and the sound of the flute became audible, the little boy stopped dead in his tracks, clearly mesmerized by the sound, completely focussed and absorbed. His parents were thrilled by this and explained to Tom their son was severely autistic and that it was always exciting for them when their he made that kind of intense connection. When Tom stopped playing, the boy didn't want to leave (Tom tells this story so much better than I do) and so he played a bit more and then on impulse, asked the parents if he could give their son one of his flutes. They were thrilled to accept since they couldn't afford to buy one themselves. He said the boy just stood there and hugged that flute like it was the most precious thing in the world. He didn't try to play it, but stood there hugging it and hugging it, looking ecstatic. And then - I was already crying at this point - he ran around the table, threw his arms around Tom and shouted "Thank You!" - the first words he had spoken in three years, according to his parents.
This story speaks to me in so many ways. It speaks of the pain and isolation of autism and how hard it must be for parents to have their beloved children locked away from them. It speaks of the power of music. And of course, it speaks to me of the power of simple acts of kindness and the power of love.
I don't really know very much about autism. I know that my young friend Nicholas has as heart as big as the world. I'm learning a bit more as I read Linda's posts about her son Connor and the journey she and her family are taking along with him. Autism is so prevalent these days that I doubt anyone reading these words doesn't know an autistic child or have a friend or family member who is living with and loving an autistic child. It would be wise for all of us to learn more about this condition. I hope you will join Linda as she explores autism all this month.