FIRST LINES: Nature’s Way – Native Wisdom for Living in Balance with the Earth

Read first lines from Nature’s Way – Native Wisdom for Living in Balance with the Earth

By Ed McGaa, Eagle Man

Image

ONE

WISDOM THROUGH OBSERVATION

Lesson of Eagle

Eagle is the symbol of observation. The Sioux consider it to be the creature tat best syumbolizes immense wisdom. It learns from all that it sees. It is the eyes f the all-seeing Wakan Tanka,the Great Spirit, the mysterious unknown entity that created all things. When the Sioux see an eagle flying, they are reminded of Wakan Taka’s observation of their actions—both what they do and don’t do, both good deeds and bad. Those actions are stamped into the memory of time and within your memory and mine, and within the memory of others whom we have helped or harmed. The memories of all those others have “observed” us.

MEMORY IS OUR SPIRIT

The Sioux believe that lies, deceit, greed, and harm to innocent others will never be erased, and neither will good deeds of generosity and caring. Dominant Society, on the other hand, leans toward the “forgiveness” theory which claims that bad deeds can be purged. Daily life seems to bear out the Sioux perspective: victims do not readily forget horrible atrocities committed against them simply because the perpetrator has somehow been “forgiven”. With greater consciousness of the long-term consequences of human decisions, the Sioux avoid a host of problems. We do not harvest natural resources beyond reasonable need or without replacing them. We do not enter into commitments (such as parenthood) without a clear intention to make good on them. We treat others with dignity and compassion, recognizing that any enemy can become our ally over time. Realizing that we will be answerable for all our harmful acts—at least in the Beyond World, where all have memories—we strive always to be tolerant and considerate.

THE CONSISTENCY AND PURPOSEFULNESS OF NATURE

Nature, with its seasonal parade of events, demonstrates to us that it is both repetitive and consistent. When we go out into Nature and take a walk, when we observe and enjoy the world around us, we know that we can trust and depend on Nature’s actions. We know that although occasionally the Earth will shake, we will not fall off it. Within the boundaries of where they have risen before, the rivers will continue to flow. And only if we live near one of the few active volcanoes will we have to worry about the mountains posing any threat to us; they will continue to collect the life-giving rains and send them down to us. Nature’s beauty is a gift we can enjoy: we might feed a squirrel or just look at one, we might observe a flock of geese or a flight of ducks; we might sit on a park bench or drive a thousand miles  to Yellowstone Park or the Black Hills of South Dakota; we might do a mask and snorkel and put our head under water and look at reef fish , marveling at life in another natural medium. Ahhh! What spellbinding, amazing observation: a joyous, colorful reef!

© 2004 by Ed McGaa

HarperCollins

ISBN 0-06-075048-0

You can read the Introduction and selected chapters of Nature’s Way on Amazon.com.

NOTE: I would like to mention that I bought this book in 2007 at The National Museum of the American Indian in New York, after spending practically the whole day there. I wanted to carry back home part of the wisdom and sustainable worldview of Native Americans, and this book seemed a good symbol of that as any I could find in the museum shop.

The first lines may not do it justice. Not only is it a great book to read from the beginning to the end, but it is also a great one to just turn to any page and read; there is so much goodness in there. So do enjoy.

And don’t forget to browse the museum collections if you visit the website~ Your Editor 

FIRST LINES from Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Read FIRST LINES from Perfume:The Story of a Murderer
By Patrick Suskind

PerfumeByPatrickSuskind

PerfumeByPatrickSuskind

1

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an ear that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His story will be told here. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name—in contrast to the names of other gifted abominations, de Sade’s, for instance, or Saint-Just’s, Fouche’s, Bonaparte’s, etc—has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, to wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were r estricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent.

In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, t he courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of moldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spoiled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlors stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamber pots. The stench of sulfur rose from the chimneys, the stench of caustic lyes from the tanneries, and from the slaughterhouses came the stench of congealed blood. People stank of sweat and unwashed clothes; from their mouths came the stench of rotting teeth, from their bellies that of onions, and from their bodies, if they were no longer very young, came the stench of rancid cheese and sour milk and timorous disease. The rivers stank, the marketplaces stank, the churches stank, it stank beneath the bridges and in the palaces. The peasant stank as did the priest, the apprentices as did the master’s wife, the whole of the aristocracy stank, even the king himself stank, stank like a rank lion, and the queen like an old goat, summer and winter. For the eighteenth century there was nothing to hinder bacterial busy at decomposition, and so there was no human activity, either constructive or destructive, no manifestation of germinating or decaying life that was not accompanied by stench.

Translation of Das Parfum
© 1986 by Alfred A. Knopf
ISBN: 0-394-55084-6
http://www.vintagebooks.com
Vintage ISBN: 0-375-72584-9

You can read selected chapters of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer on Amazon.com.

FIRST LINES: 360 Degrees of Success

Read the first lines from 360 Degrees of Success
Money.Relationships.Energy.Time: The 4 Essential Ingredients to Create Personal and Professional Success in Your Life
By Ana Weber

360DegreesofSuccessbyAnaWeber

360DegreesofSuccessbyAnaWeber

Part I: MONEY—MASTER OR SERVANT?
Starting With The Three P’s

 I learned at a very young age that money could not be a source of stress. Instead, money had to become my friend, or I simply would not survive. So I chose to make friends with money. Sounds funny, doesn’t it?

I found out that attitude was everything, and when I changed my attitude toward money, doors opened to me that I never could have imagined as a small girl working alongside my mom in the kiosk in Romania, or as a student living with other poor children and orphans in a Kibbutz Mossad.

Happiness is very closely related to your relationship with money. And it is important, when establishing a positive friendship with money, to realize that money as a stand-alone commodity cannot make you happy. The real power is in your relationship with money.

© 2014 Ana Weber | Morgan James Publishing
ISBN 978-1-61448-910-8

You can read selected chapters from 360 Degrees of Success on Amazon.

FIRST LINES from: On Two Feet and Wings

Read first lines from On Two Feet and Wings
By Abbas Kazerooni

TEHRAN

ONE

It was typically hot in Tehran the day my life was turned upside down.

I was completing my homework in my bedroom which always stayed cool because of its very high ceiling. It was a spacious room, much too big for me, with very few things. My small bed stood in one corner, next to the radiator; I loved it there in the winters, where I could squeeze my toes in between the rails to warm them. Above my bed was a huge window, nearly upto the ceiling. It looked out on our back garden that led to an orchard, divided into sections, each with different types of trees. There were orange trees, apple trees, cherry trees and pomegranate trees; it is the orange trees I remember best because they would fruit every year without fail, the oranges hanging like bright balls on the heavy, dipping branches. On hot summer days, when the sun was too strong for me to play outside, I would jump onto my bed and gaze at the trees, their leaves shining golden in the sunlight.

First published as The Little Man by Tate Publishing USA in 2008.
Ebook published by Hachette India http://www.hachetteindia.com
(Text) Copyright © 2011 Abbas Kazerooni
Illustrations © 2011 Hachette India
ISBN: 978-93-5009-268-2
ISBN: 978-93-5009-388-7

Read selected chapters of On Two Feet and Wings on Amazon.

FIRST LINES from Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream

Read first lines from: Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream By Whitney Johnson

Dare Dream Do Cover

Dare Dream Do Cover

PART ONE: DARE. Why Dreaming is Essential

1. To Make Meaning of Life

When I was seventeen, my parents divorced. In retrospect, it’s not so much the divorce that was painful, it was everything that it meant—that my parents didn’t really love each other, that maybe they never had (my mom was pregnant when they married), that they weren’t happy. As their oldest child, I wondered if perhaps things might have been different if only I’d been brilliant enough or attractive enough. Or would they even have married if I hadn’t been born?

Sharing those memories is still painful, even decades after the fact; but as I get older, I recognize that some of my greatest strengths were born of that sadness. For example, my desire to have a happy marriage and a happy family life is resolute. Period. (My household is far from perfect, but we’re happy.) When someone I know is affected by a divorce, I understand. I know that the situation is complicated and that, regardless of why the marriage is dissolving, the experience is wrenching. My drive, my intense focus on improvement, is likely a means of trying to measure up, and I’m quite certain that my laser-like focus on encouraging and mentoring is my attempt to be the encouraging voice I wanted to hear.

Difficulties we don’t deserve happen to all of us. Yet, when we dream, we begin to make meaning of these challenges. We give ourselves hope, and we can hope that the sorrow and pain we’ve walked through will help lighten someone else’s load.

Bibliomotion, Inc. www.bibliomotion.com

© 2012 by Whitney Johnson

ISBN 978-1-937134-12-9

Read selected chapters on Amazon.com

FIRST LINES of Young Widower: A Memoir

Read first lines from:
Young Widower: A Memoir
by John W. Evans

How Lives Go On

The year after my wife died, I compulsively watched television. I needed distraction, to be entertained. What I could not stream online or order through the main I sought out at the local video store. I was living in a suburb of Indianapolis, about a mile from a strip mall where I could rent, in a pinch, midseason discs of The Wire, The Office, Friday Night Lights. I got to know the clerks by name, then their shifts, finally their tastes. Once, I tried to make a formal complaint against the corporate headquarters regarding the suspicious and perpetual absence of the fourth-season finale of Battlestar Galactica. It seemed unjust that the universe would conspire to deny my knowledge of its fictional origins. I worked up a good head of steam before leaving, distraught. I went back a few days later, during a different shift.

On my walks to the store, I listened to my wife’s favorite songs. She was a huge country fan, especially mid-‘90s radio country: Garth Brooks, the Judds, Randy Travis. As a child she had lived in rural, then exurban Illinois, attended college in central Minnesota. I didn’t particularly like the music, but I enjoyed that it reminded me of her and also how the emotional range of the music never ran too far from the middle. The walks, however long, seemed to go more quickly.
My wife’s death was violent and sensational. She was killed by a wild bear, while we were hiking in the Carpathian Mountains outside of Bucharest, where we had lived and worked for the last year of her life. She was thirty years old.

© 2014 by John W. Evans

Read sample pages from Young Widower: A Memoir on Amazon.

Read The Bear, by John W. Evans in Slate.

FIRST LINES from Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood

Read first lines from:

Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood by Joachim Fest.

Translated from the German by Martin Chalmers and edited by Herbert A. Arnold.

How Everything Came Together

The task I have set for myself is called recollection. The majority of the occurrences and experiences of my life have—as with everyone—faded from memory, because memory is ceaselessly engaged in casting out one thing and putting something else in its place or superimposing new insights. The process in unending. If I look back over the whole time, a flood of pictures presses forward, jumbled up and random. Whenever something happened, no idea was associated with it, and only years later was I able to discover the hidden watermark in the documents of life and perhaps interpret it.

But even then images intervene, especially when it comes to the early years: the house with the wild undergrowth at the sides (later, to our sorrow, removed thanks to our parents’ sense of orderliness); catching crayfish in the River Havell our much-loved nursemaid Franziska, who one day had to return to her home in the Lausits; the trucks which raced down the streets with a bright flag, packed with bawling men in uniform; the excursions to Sanssouci or Lake Gransee, where our father told us a story about a Prussian queen, until we began to get bored with it. All unforgotten. And once we children had reachd the age of ten, we were taken on Sunday in summer—when the band was playing and the aristocrats’ two-wheeled carriages were standing in front of the emperor’s pavilion—to the racetrack…

© Rowohlt Verlag GmbH, 2006

Translation copyright © Martin Chalmers, 2012

Read sample pages from Not I: Memoirs of a German Childhood at Amazon.