“Could I mean that much to you?”

The following is an excerpt of a post from 2012 containing a favourite anecdote from The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.


A monastery had fallen on hard times. It was once part of a great order which, as a result of religious persecution … lost all its branches. It was decimated to the extent that there were only five monks left in the mother house: the Abbot and four others, all of whom were over seventy. Clearly it was a dying order.

Deep in the woods surrounding the monastery was a little hut that the Rabbi from a nearby town occasionally used for a hermitage. One day, it occurred to the Abbot to visit the hermitage to see if the Rabbi could offer any advice that might save the monastery. The Rabbi welcomed the Abbot and commiserated.

I know how it is … the spirit has gone out of people. Almost no one comes to the synagogue anymore.

So the old Rabbi and the old Abbot wept together, and spoke quietly of deep things.

The time came when the Abbot had to leave. They embraced. “It has been wonderful being with you,” said the Abbot, “but I have failed in my purpose for coming. Have you no piece of advice that might save the monastery?” “No, I am sorry,” the Rabbi responded,

I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you.

When the other monks heard the Rabbi’s words, they wondered what possible significance they might have. “The Messiah is one of us? One of us, here, at the monastery? Do you suppose he meant the Abbot? Of course – it must be the Abbot, who has been our leader for so long. On the other hand, he might have meant Brother Thomas, who is undoubtably a holy man. Certainly he couldn’t have meant Brother Elrod – he’s so crotchety. But then Elrod is very wise. Surely, he could not have meant Brother Phillip – he’s too passive. But then, magically, he’s always there when you need him. Of course he didn’t mean me – yet supposing he did? Oh Lord, not me! I couldn’t mean that much to you, could I?”

As they contemplated in this manner, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect, on the off chance that one of them might be the Messiah. And on the off off chance that each monk himself might be the Messiah, they began to treat themselves with extraordinary respect.

Because the forest in which the monastery was situated was beautiful, people occasionally came to visit … They sensed the aura of extraordinary respect that surrounded the five old monks, permeating the atmosphere. They began to come more frequently, bringing their friends, and their friends brought friends. Some of the younger men who came to visit began to engage in conversation with the monks. After a while, one asked if he might join. Then another, and another. Within a few years, the monastery became once again a thriving order, and – thanks to the Rabbi’s gift – a vibrant community of light and love.


Life-giving Turmoil – A Sermon for the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday, Matthew 21:1-11


Here is Father Mike speaking of the Holy Week. In Australia, we’re well into Wednesday, the day Judas, the betrayer in all of us, does his deed …

Originally posted on Interrupting the Silence:

Triumphal Entry, Icon, Palm Sunday, Sunday of the Passion, Matthew 21:1-11, Matthew 27:11-54, Sermon, Turmoil, Earthquake, Holy Week

Icon of the Triumphal Entry ( source )

Today is known as the Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday. (There are two gospel readings: Matthew 21:1-11 (the triumphal entry) and Matthew 27:11-54 (the passion)). I’ve been wondering and thinking though about a different name for this day. What if we renamed today “Turmoil Sunday?” Does that sound like the gospel to you? Did you show up today hoping or expecting Jesus to bring some turmoil? Is the turmoil bringing Jesus the one you want to know and follow?

My guess is that, for most of us, the answers to those questions are, “No, no,” and “no.” I can honestly say that I have never prayed for Jesus to bring me some turmoil and I’m betting most of you haven’t either. Most of us probably pray for and hope Jesus will bring just the opposite: some peace and calm, answers to…

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The only thing there is to do today

“The only thing you are going to do today is: what you do today. Therefore, the only thing there is to do today is: what you do today. That’s all there was to do when you started no matter what you thought or think.

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Feather woman


My Landmark buddies and me invent possibilities. They are possibilities for being. Sometimes, the possibility stays in existence for days or hours, others stay in existence for years. The possibility of being joy that I created in 2008 still moves me to this day.

I saw C, she of the 64 years, according to her birth certificate, the other night. She was wearing a skin tight, lime green mini-dress and long feather earrings like Pocahontas. She was lit up, magnetic, a leader. We wanted to be near her, to hear a word from her for us.

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Working with others: Respect and Admiration

“I could always tell when an organisation was in good shape. I could tell because the manager of the organisation would always be talking about how great the people in the organisation were. If the manager was talking about anything other than how great people in the organisation were, I knew that the organisation was in bad shape. The way to manage an organisation successfully is to manage it in such a way that you can be proud of the people with whom you are working. You have to find a way to interact with the people with whom you are working in a way that makes you proud of them.

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Love is …

My cousin, Helen, told me a good story about her granddaughter, Scarlet.

Scarlet is eight years old and an extraordinary child. People gasp at her beauty, and she has phenomenal poise and confidence. When I was remarking on it, as everyone does, Helen told me about an incident that occurred when Scarlet was four.

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Be listened as you’ve never been listened before

You are invited as my guest this Wednesday evening to the final session of my Sex and Intimacy seminar with Landmark. The magnificent Anne-Marie Brown is leading the guest event. She’s led to over 10,000 people and is a master at putting people at ease and hearing their greatness. You’ve never been listened until you’ve been listened by Anne-Marie.

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Walt Whitman Bursts Into Song Concerning the Civic Debate over Jets at Toronto Island Airport


Steven McCabe is making magic again …

Originally posted on poemimage:

jets 42

Come said the Muse,

  Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,

  Sing me the universal.


 In this broad earth of ours,

  Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,

  Enclosed and safe within its central heart,

  Nestles the seed perfection.

jet jet

  By every life a share or more or less,

  None born but it is born, conceal’d or unconceal’d the seed is waiting.

jets 1

  Lo! keen-eyed towering science,

  As from tall peaks the modern overlooking,

  Successive absolute fiats issuing.

jets 4

  Yet again, lo! the soul, above all science,

  For it has history gather’d like husks around the globe,

  For it the entire star-myriads roll through the sky.

jet montage 1

 In spiral routes by long detours,

  (As a much-tacking ship upon the sea,)

  For it the partial to the permanent flowing,

  For it the real to the ideal tends.

jet montage 2

  For it the…

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Love letter to Melbourne

The years leading up to 1891 were very good ones for Melbourne. The gold rush of the 1850s had seen people flock to the city from all over the world. For a time, it was the second-largest city in the British Empire, after London, and one of the wealthiest. Even now, 120 years later, you can see gold in suburban streets such as this one above, a street in Clifton Hill.

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When I’m 64


When I was 62, I was like most other people. I thought it was pretty much over; the good stuff was behind me and ahead was just a long decline. Then I did the Landmark Forum, and everything’s been different.

So says my Landmark buddy, C. Now, two years later, C is completely rewriting what it is to be a 64-year-old woman.

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