Today Spring is officially here.

Today Spring is officially here.

Post by David Joel Miller.

Spring flowers

Spring is here.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

While Sunday was the day on which many people celebrated Easter, and thought about spring, today is the official start of the season of renewal.

Spring.

“Meanwhile, spring came, and with it the outpourings of Nature. The hills were soon splashed with wild flowers; the grass became an altogether new and richer shade of green; and the air became scented with fresh and surprising smells — of jasmine, honeysuckle, and lavender.”

― Dalai Lama XIV, Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

― Mark Twain

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”

― John Muir, The Wilderness World of John Muir

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

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Today is Spring.

Sunday Inspiration.   Post by David Joel Miller.

Spring.

Spring is here. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Spring is here.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

― Mark Twain

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”

― John Muir, The Wilderness World of John Muir

Today is the first day of spring. Officially, here on the west coast of the U. S., it started at 9:31 last night but it is hard to see spring after dark. Let’s hope this Spring is a good one for you.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

2012 Yearend Wrap up – End of the world, unhappiness and what comes next

12-31-12

Flower in the rain

 

 

 

 

By David Joel Miller.

This has been some year. For good or bad it is now almost over. Some awful things occurred this year and some wonderful things. Hidden in the gloom of the year past there just may have been some seeds of things to come, which were planted this year. We will need to nurture some of those seeds in the years to come.

Some of the seeds from the past, like violence, need to be weeded out of our future.

Thanks to those of you who have been reading counselorssoapbox through this year. This was the first full year for this blog. Over that year I have learned to do a lot of things that we not even on my “to do” list a year ago. Hopefully, this old dog can continue to learn a few new tricks.

Readership on counselorssoapbox has risen from one or two people a day to hundreds. Some of you have “liked” my posts and some of you have disagreed, which is as it should be.

About that end of the world stuff.

Personally, I am hoping that there was some truth to it. Clearly, most of us are still here and the planet is still spinning, but there are a whole lot of things that we need to put an end to. My thinking is that periodically an “age” comes to an end and the course of the future shifts. If we could change that future what would we need to change?

I am old enough now to know that I am not too good at changing others so If I want any change I need to start by changing me.

This last year the blog has focused on a whole lot of problems. There sure are a lot of them. I have written about mental illness, substance abuse and the struggles involved in overcoming those issues. It seems to me that it is a time for a shift.

It is easy to point to the problems, but what do we do now, where do we go from here? Some of you may have taken note that I have been working on a couple of books that I hope to release before the end of 2013. The focus of those books is on how we recover; bounce back from the events in life that knock us down. I also plan to write more about how you go about planning for more resilience and recovery in your life.

So over the next year, I want to focus more on the road to happiness and less on the pain of the past. Regardless of what issue you are dealing with, I believe in recovery. So let’s spend some time in the year to come talking about how to be well, have a happy life and avoid relapsing into the issues that we have all struggled with.

Don’t think I have all the answers. I have learned a few things so far on this journey of life but every day seems to bring new questions. Chime in here from time to time and help me out with both the answers you have found and the questions that matter to you.

So the discussion needs to swing from diseases and disorders to solutions and recovery. From time to time we may need to go back and talk about a particular problem, but I will try to stay focused on how it is that people with this or that issue still manage to have happy lives.

Some of you are making New Year’s resolutions right about now. We will talk about that in the year to come. Me, I am not big on making resolutions. I do try to make changes, always making changes; I am a work in progress, not a done deal. So for me, change happens day by day. It is not always pretty but it keeps happening.

Please stay tuned and let’s see what we find on this journey towards a happier life.

Photo courtesy of Les Lucas.

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Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Why they don’t finish college.

By David Joel Miller.

The prize does not always go to the fastest, the best or the brightest.

Recently there has been some pressure on the college system, especially the community colleges, to account for the large number of students who start college but do not finish and of those that do frequently takes far longer than the recommended number of years to finish up that degree.

This pressure makes sense when we think of what it takes to run an institution of higher learning. The public resents subsidizing students who want to keep going to school and yet never finish and start working. The objective of the community college among other things is to help people learn skills that will lead to employment so students who just keep on going but never graduate seems like an abuse of the system.

Having been one of those students and then having had the opportunity to return a few decades later to teach some classes, let me try to explain what is going on here.

So let me tell you a story. This is a story about an athletic scholarship but the principle would be the same regardless of the student’s goal. And since you may remember that I am a story-teller at heart forgive me for any inadvertent embellishment.

There was this kid, Jess was his name or so they tell me, that lived up in the mountains. He liked to go out along the trail that led down to the old country store. He liked the hill so much he would find most any excuse to run down that hill to that store. Jess would run every chance he got just for the pure pleasure of it. Every day people would see Jess running, there goes that fool boy running again they would mutter and off he would go.

Running up and down those hills was the best thing in Jesse’s life. He did not try to run real fast, no point in that, cause he just like being out there in the woods on the trails. But he was getting stronger and stronger. Real strong runner the people in town would say.

Now down in the valley, there were these bunch of people and a whole parcel of schools. One school, in particular, they had this great big fancy running track. They had some track club run there most every weekend. This kid name of Arnold, Arnold T. Spingate, his dad took him there all the time. Arnold’s dad was a runner and he wanted his son to be one also.

So starting at age 5 Arnold T Spingate, his father signed him up for a running club. By six he was running in competitions most everywhere. And was that boy fast. He won most times he ran. Only one problem Arnold did not like to run, he only did it cause his dad pushed him. The more dad pushed the harder Arnold ran and the harder he ran the more he won. You would have thought that this would make dad proud, but no matter how much Arnold won dad pushed him some more.

Now on the other side of town lived a kid name of Lee, you were expecting the poor side weren’t you? Well, they weren’t exactly poor, not poor like Jess up in the mountains but they did not have the money like Arnold’s family. But one thing Lee had, was parents that loved him and that encouraged him. He also had an elementary school P. E. teacher that told him the way to be something someday was to go to college and the way to do that was to get a scholarship, an athletic scholarship if you could.

So Lee decided in one of them early grades he was gonna win a scholarship to a college. He wasn’t real big, no good at football and not real strong like the wrestlers, but he was passable at running and so day after day, week after week, while all the rest of the school did them team sports Lee just kept on running. He was not for sure the fastest but that did not stop him he just kept running.

So you can see where this is going, can’t you? This big fancy college down at the end of the valley, they had them some left over athletic scholarships so they set up this race and they invite the runners from anywhere about that want to come try out. Their plan was to find the best runner and offer them a scholarship to come run track for their school.

Now the week before the big race, last-minute like Jess hears about this race while hanging out at the country store. He gets some teasing bout how he was always running so he decides to give it a shot and signs up for this big race.

Arnold never had a say in it. His dad had the application all filled out and ready to sign before Arnold T. Spingate ever saw it. Arnold does not want to race, getting tired of this. His friends are all going to a party the night before the big race and he wants to go. His dad wants him to race.  So they strike a deal. Arnold can go to the party he just needs to be home by ten P. M. so he can rest up for the race.

Now Lee hears about this big race from his school coach. This is what he has been waiting for. He keeps on training as hard as he can. Lee’s family, they didn’t have much money so he doesn’t even ask them for help, but Lee does mow a couple of lawns to earn that bus fare to the school where the big race will be.

Well, the day of the race Jess shows up in a pickup driven by his uncle who bright him down from the mountain. Lee rides the bus and gets there just in the nick of time. And Arnold he shows up in his dad’s fancy new car. Arnold does bring along this great big hangover to keep him company. His dad is of course furious.

Seems Arnold was so used to winning, the way he figured it, he could stay out as late as he wanted and on this occasion, he tried drinking like his buddies. Arnold has won so many races he figures he will win hangover or no.

So who do you like to win this race? The kid whose father has had him running and winning since he could walk? Or the kid who runs day and night all over the hills, who does it for the fun of it. Or that kid who no one thought had any talent, including him but he has stuck at it for all these years working and practicing for this shot.

So if you were thinking at this point that I picked those names, Arnold and Lee and Jess because of some big name politicians, why you would be wrong. If you was figuring these was their real names, well you’d be wrong about that too.

What I hope you got is that the people who finish college are not the smart ones, they usually get sidetracked and start partying. We know F students drink twice as much as A students. The ones who go because they like to learn, they don’t always finish school either. They get bored with all those required subjects and many times they don’t know how smart they are cause they have never been told they could do anything and so they quit before long. The ones who finish college, why those are the ones that just keep going class after class till they get it done.

Who won the race you ask? How would I know? I never did hear that. You will need to figure that one out for yourself. But keep asking yourself how many others never got to race. Cause if college is only for the winners how do we know who should get the chance to race?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books