National Coaches Day began in 1972 with the statement, “”Coaches are highly qualified teachers—in highly specialized fields. But more than that, they are friends and counselors who help instill in their players important attitudes that will serve them all their lives.” See https://nationaltoday.com/national-coaches-day/
Who are your favorite coaches? Who inspired you to be your best in a specific field?
“These are the paths to enlightenment. Those who arrive at their destination teach those who are still on the path, while those still on the path are sources of wisdom for their teachers.” See Tao Te Ching – A New Translation & Commentary by Ralph Alan Dale (c) 2002, p.55
“World Animal Day dates as far back as 1925 when Heinrich Zimmermann organized the first celebration in Berlin. Zimmermann, the publisher of a German animal lovers’ magazine, “Man and Dog,” launched the event to raise awareness and improve the welfare of animals. The date of October 4 is also known as the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron Saint of animals.” See https://spiritoftheholidays.org/animal-holidays/world-animal-day/
As highlighted in a 2020 announcement, there are (at least) “seven acts of kindness to animals” we can consider:
James Alfred Wight (3 October 1916 – 23 February 1995), better known by his pen name James Herriot, was a British veterinary surgeon and author.
“He is best known for writing a series of eight books set in the 1930s–1950s Yorkshire Dales about veterinary practice, animals, and their owners, which began with If Only They Could Talk, first published in 1970. Over the decades, the series of books has sold some 60 million copies.
“Wight’s obituary confirmed his modesty and preference to stay away from the public eye. “It doesn’t give me any kick at all,” he once said. “It’s not my world. I wouldn’t be happy there. I wouldn’t give up being a vet if I had a million pounds. I’m too fond of animals.” By 1995, some 50 million of the James Herriot books had been sold. Wight was well aware that clients were unimpressed with the fame that accompanied a best-selling author. “If a farmer calls me with a sick animal, he couldn’t care less if I were George Bernard Shaw,” Wight once said. See “James Herriot Dies at 78; Wrote ‘All Creatures Great and Small'”. The Buffalo News. 24 February 1995. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
Today’s humble haiku – Happy Birthday James (Wight) Herriot
Known as the “Father of the Nation” of India, Mohandas Gandhi was also called Mahatma (Great Soul) or Bapu (Papa). Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October, is celebrated in India as a national holiday, and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence.
“Gandhi grew up in a Hindu and Jain religious atmosphere … which were his primary influences, but he was also influenced by his personal reflections and literature of Hindu Bhakti saints, Advaita Vedanta, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, and thinkers such as Tolstoy, Ruskin and Thoreau… At age 57 he declared himself to be Advaitist Hindu in his religious persuasion but added that he supported Dvaitist viewpoints and religious pluralism.” (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi)
And here’s a provocative poem from “the Bard of the Yukon“:
My Guardian Angel by Robert William Service
When looking back I dimly see The trails my feet have trod, Some hand divine, it seems to me, Has pulled the strings with God; Some angel form has lifeward leaned When hope for me was past; Some love sublime has intervened To save me at the last.
For look you! I was born a fool, Damnation was my fate; My lot to drivel and to drool, Egregious and frutrate. But in the deep of my despair, When dark my doom was writ, Some saving hand was always there to pull me from the Pit.
A Guardian Angel – how absurd! I scoff at Power Divine. And yet . . . a someone spoke the word That willed me from the swine. And yet, despite my scorn of prayer, My lack of love or friend, I know a Presence will be there, To save me at the end.
Known as the Little Flower who practiced the Little Way, Marie Françoise-Thérèse Martin was born in Alencon, Orne, France and died twenty-four years later in Lisieux, France. In her very short life, cut short due to tuberculosis, she composed her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, which, after extensive editing, went on to become a highly circulated publication. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therese_of_Lisieux)
Singer/songwriter Billy Joel released his hit song “Only the Good Die Young” in 1977. His lyrics may provide a hint of the significant influence of the Little Flower on young Catholic women of the 20th Century.
For her part, St. Therese wrote:
“I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way – very short and very straight little way that is wholly new. We live in an age of inventions; nowadays the rich need not trouble to climb the stairs, they have lifts (elevators) instead. Well, I mean to try and find a lift by which I may be raised unto God, for I am too tiny to climb the steep stairway of perfection. […] Thine Arms, then, O Jesus, are the lift which must raise me up even unto Heaven. To get there I need not grow. On the contrary, I must remain little, I must become still less.”
Saint Thérèse de Lisieux (2012). The Story of a Soul (L’Histoire d’une Âme). The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux with Additional Writings and Sayings of St. Therese.
My humble haiku response is: Happy Day, St. Therese
Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, more popularly known simply as Rumi, was born on this day in 1207 in present-day Afghanistan. He later died on December 17, 1273 in present-day Turkey. He was a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi Mystic. Rumi’s influence transcends national borders and ethnic divisions. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and he has been described as the “most popular poet” and the “best selling poet” in the United States. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumi)
Rumi was a firm believer in the use of music, poetry, and dance as a means of approaching God. His poetry is divided into common themes: mystical, passion, and life and death. Madonna and Philip Glass are among his many admirers: Madonna recorded readings of Rumi’s poetry, and Glass’s “Monsters of Grace” is based on Rumi’s art. (See https://nationaltoday.com/rumi-day/)
Rumi’s poetry speaks of love which infuses the world. Rumi’s longing and desire to attain the ideal of Love is evident in this excerpt from his book the Masnavi:
“I died to the mineral state and became a plant.
I died to the vegetal state and reached animality.
I died to the animal state and became a man,
Then what should I fear? I have never become less from dying.”
Confucius, or Master Kong, was born on September 28, 551 BCE and lived for nearly 72 years before dying in 479 BCE. Known as a philosopher and master teacher, Confucius presented himself as a “transmitter who invented nothing” yet considered himself a transmitter of values which emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity.
“His teachings require examination and context to be understood. A good example is found in this famous anecdote:
When the stables were burnt down, on returning from court Confucius said, “Was anyone hurt?” He did not ask about the horses.
By not asking about the horses, Confucius demonstrates that the sage values human beings over property (which animals seem to represent in this example); readers are led to reflect on whether their response would follow Confucius’s and to pursue self-improvement if it would not have.” (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucius)
There is an annual Japanese holiday which remembers deceased ancestors. The actual date varies by region but usually falls between mid-July to mid-August. It is not an official holiday, rather a religious and traditional holiday which includes using lanterns to guide the dead, making food offerings to temples and celebrating with dancing. See https://www.jrailpass.com/blog/obon-festival-in-japan
Here is today’s humble haiku which recognizes this holiday, past and future, yet also celebrates the life still happening on this side of existence.