Tag Archives: motivation

Motivational Monday: Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep

By Mary Elizabeth Frye 

Do not stand at my grave and weep 
I am not there. I do not sleep. 
I am a thousand winds that blow. 
I am the diamond glints on snow. 
I am the sunlight on ripened grain. 
I am the gentle autumn rain. 
When you awaken in the morning’s hush 
I am the swift uplifting rush 
Of quiet birds in circled flight. 
I am the soft stars that shine at night. 
Do not stand at my grave and cry; 
I am not there. I did not die. 


Motivation Monday: The Charge of the Light Brigade

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred!

But Mom, I want a gold medal too!

The Olympics are the only sporting events that I truly enjoy watching.

Granted, I’ve taken in a few Buffalo Sabres games with my mother and some Sunday NASCAR races with my father, but sports only snare me once every four years.

However, with this global celebration of athleticism comes the imminent and overwhelming gloom of inadequacy.

Photo credit: Huffington Post
Photo credit: Huffington Post

Watching, slack-jawed, as 15-year-old Russian figure skater Julia Lipnitskaia dominated the women’s team short program, filled me with warring waves of awe and indignation.

I interrogated myself mercilessly, compiling my brief list of teenage accomplishments but discounting them quickly for one reason or another.  Somehow “Making high-honor roll every quarter” still doesn’t match up to the grandeur of “Winning top honors at the Olympics before I had my driver’s license.”

As I sat on my parent’s couch, cat in my lap and frown furrowing my expression, I realized something.

Accomplishment is relative.

Yes, Miss Lipni—too many consonants— may end up with this gold circle to love and cherish for the rest of her life. BUT, that achievement was most likely her only focus since she triple-axeled out of the womb.

For someone like me, a recent college graduate with a severe lack of job prospects, finally finding paid work was enough to throw a block party, ya know, if I wasn’t broke. For someone recovering from serious addiction, accomplishment could be waking up, showering and making it through the day without relapsing.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

See what I mean? It’s all relative.

So, before you sit there berating yourself for your lack of pre-pubescent metallic medallions, remember that everything you do is important. Whether it’s mailing the bills on time, submitting the last draft of a dissertation, or finally proposing to your significant other—your efforts matter.

Keep pushing yourself. Find a goal, and motivate yourself to achieve it.

You’ve got this, so keep going.

Write on!

5 Pieces of Inspiring Writing to Start 2014 off Right!

We all know New Years resolutions are easier said than done, but here are some short, quick reads to keep your chin up and motivate you toward all your personal goals!

1. Still I Rise

By Maya Angelou

This great, inspiring poem tells readers to embrace themselves just as they are– no exceptions. Angelou challenges the audience asking if “this” and “that” offends them, repeating “still I’ll rise.”

Listen to the author, or read it here! 

2. Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

by Emily Dickinson

This short, vivid poem depicts hope as a bird that nestles in the readers soul and feeds the flames of inspiration and motivation. A worthy read for anyone.

Listen to it or read it here!

3. The Charge of the Light Brigade

by Lord Alfred Tennyson

A personal favorite of mine, this adventure story/ quasi-elegy remembers the heroic charge of 600 riders into the Valley of Death. It’s exciting language and fast pace draws the reader in,  motivating and encouraging them with each passing line.

Listen to this really epic recitation or read it here!

4. If

By Rudyard Kipling

This list of hypothetical questions invited the reader to a series of scenarios where they’ll be forced to make difficult and challenging decisions. But, if the reader can handle this, Kipling ends with the promise that “if” the reader can face these moments, then they will have reached manhood.

Listen to it read by Sir Michael Caine  or read it here!

5. Invictus

By William Ernest Henley

This classic, inspiring poem proves to the reader that even in the darkest of times,  they are still the owners of their souls.

Listen to it read by Morgan Freeman in a scene from the movie Invictus, or read it here.

Remember, your New Years resolutions may be challenging, but keep your head up and your heart strong! Keep pushing for a better year and a better you.

Write on!

From The Cry of the Children

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

“The old man may weep for his to-morrow
Which is lost in Long Ago;
The old tree is leafless in the forest,
The old year is ending in the frost,
The old wound, when stricken, is the sorest,
The old hope is hardest to be lost:”