What is this blog about?

There is no such thing as an expert on the topic of Life. We all have had our battles, our suffering, and our questions. Despite the uniqueness of our personal obstacles, we have endured them. We have endured them well enough to advise those behind us as to how to do the same. I have done the research on your behalf regarding the multitude of reasons why wisdom exists. My mission is to utilize the voices of the world's greatest thinkers and heroes to compose a guideline of life's wisdom so that you don't have to experience those trials alone.

If you have any questions, please tweet them to me @JoeSielski or email me at JJSielskiJr@comcast.net

(Please title your email with the word "Wisdom" so I know it will be for this blog.)

I will do my best to try and answer every question as quickly and efficiently as possible. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Day to Be Free

I'm writing this essay as inspired by someone I encountered who needed to hear this very message.  

This is one of my favorite topics to talk about... in part because of how frequently it's experienced, and also how strong the deception of the illusion can be.  This essay is about the notion of someone having an opinion about you.

There are so many people who feel trapped by the criticism of others.  It's quite a commonality that many people feel judged by others, which in turn, causes us to criticize ourselves.  But here's the secret, and it's really quite simple:  Opinions about you are not a reflection of you.  They are a reflection of those who said it.

Here's what I mean, and again, it's surprisingly simple.   Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.   Some people will agree with you and others may not.   This is entirely normal and expected.  For this reason, when someone has a comment about you, specifically if it is negative, that information has nothing to do with who you are.   That opinion is a reflection of them.  Their opinion is theirs to express and therefore is representative of who they are... not of who you are.  If someone doesn't like your hair or your clothing or any other element of your character, it is no different than someone not liking spicy foods.   It's simply a reflection of who that individual is.  So don't ever allow that to belittle you.  Let it go.

In the end, you are free.  You have always been free from the opinions and concerns of others.  Too frequently, we allow a desire to be wholly liked to cause us to censor ourselves rather than embrace the differences.  So please take this moment, this day, this year to really enjoy the essence of You.

There is another essay that might add a slightly different spin on this topic:
A Day for Confidence

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Day to Make a Change

As a New Year approaches, many people look to the new calendar year to begin something new in their lives.   Whether it's fitness, finances, or something fun, starting something new can be intimidating.

It reminds me of the response I get when I inform people that I've written a book.  Often I hear:
"I wish I could write a book."  To which I say: "You can!"   If I can do it, anyone can, and yet people would rather list all the reasons they believe they can't.

If you haven't yet read the essay on motivation, please do:   Top 10 Things to Improve Motivation

Whatever it is that you want to do, you can.  You simply need to want it enough to begin.  You have the ability!  

I can't physically lift you out of your seat and direct your body toward your goal. I must leave that responsibility to you.  I must trust that you have the ability to pursue the next goal.  Can you trust yourself to pursue it?  Others cannot pursue it for you.  You can't be motivated and lazy at the same time.  So call out your laziness and challenge it.   It's in the way.   You only have the present moment, so please use it for something productive.  Can you agree to that?

Eventually, you'll finish reading this blog.  Eventually, you'll step away from the screen on which you're reading these words and you'll need to go out into the world... and then what will you do?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Day to Embrace Change

The holidays can be a really stressful time for many people.  The year is slowly coming to a close, families are gathering en masse, traffic picks up, and finances can become stricter.   For this reason, it can cause us to really reflect on how the year has transpired and how that translates into the New Year.  

"Great things happen where men and mountains meet."  [William Blake]

Change can be quite scary.  It takes that comfortable routine and completely disrupts it.  A lot of us simply just don't know how to react when things change.   Therein lies our fear.  In my research of the various principles and philosophies of wisdom, they all exist as a guide, assisting us to respond best to circumstances in a way that brings us the most peace.  And yet, despite my research, I'm just as susceptible and anxious when the unexpected hits.  In all circumstances, ground yourself and understand who you are.  Understand that you are separate from the circumstances and therefore strong.  Understand that the event was brought to you and may not be a representation of you.  You are responsible for your reactions.  So take a moment to address the present moment.  Make a motion to forgive that things do change and be humbled by it.  When forgiving the event, be reminded that you are also forgiving yourself.  Therefore, forgive yourself for your fear, your anger, or your worry.  Keep your chin high and continue with pride and with hope.  Hope is an act of faith.   Hope is a desire to experience gratitude for an event that has not yet occurred.  Understand that all things occur for a reason and that reason is good.  Have hope that things will work out.  Go in peace. 
"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."  [Nelson Mandela] 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Day for Togetherness

To continue with a Christmas or wintry theme this month, I would like to highlight yet another holiday classic. The story of Frosty the Snowman begins when a few children decide to build a snowman. Once it's time to dress him, they use an old silk hat they found.   And when they placed it on his head, Frosty came to life.   The children laughed and played with Frosty.  They even took him into town.   Sadly, it was a sunny day and Frosty began to melt.  He was aware of this and advised the kids to not cry and that he'd be back.

Like Frosty's story, there is another, much older tale with a similar premise.   From Russian folklore, I'd like to introduce you to Snegurochka, the snow maiden.   According to this tale, Snegurochka is the daughter of Winter, who bestows her as a gift to a childless couple.  She is born from snow as her name in Russian implies.  She is then adopted into their household as their child.  There are a few versions of this tale, even one that permits her from falling in love, but all versions share the inevitable truth that she will soon melt when winter is over.   However as Winter promised, she returns to the couple every year.  My guess is that snow happening in a Russian winter is a pretty solid guarantee.   Anyway, this tale developed to represent the celebration of new life.  Later, Snegurochka was adopted as a symbol of the New Year to accompany Father Frost (the Russian Santa Clause) in his journey.  To this day, she is a cherished symbol of Russian culture.

In their simplicity, these stories exist to highlight the fleeting nature of time.  For that reason, these stories exist to bring attention to the value of our relationships.  Frosty was a great friend to the children. Also, a couple who couldn't conceive now found a daughter in Snegurotchka.  These tales exist as a lesson in appreciation because they also serve as a lesson in how things can change.  

Address your time in the present moment and see who is around you.  Your friends, your family, be grateful for them.  Set aside time to spend with them.  Appreciate this time together.  Like snow, there is the potential that friends can grow distant or disappear. Cherish your time together, because all you have is right now.  

The fire is slowly dying, and my dear we're still goodbye'ing.
But as long as you love me so...
let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A Day to Celebrate

In this very festive season, take a moment to enjoy the "lesser known" days. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Day for Love:

In my experience, in my journey, there was one revelation that struck me as one of the most perfectly succinct interpretations of Love. Initially, I was embarrassed to reveal that it took as long as it did to learn this truth. In five basic words: You are surrounded by Love.

This concept is so simple, yet so profound. You are surrounded by Love. Love exists everywhere; it is in all of your environment and it permeates your very Core self. It is the beginning of this journey and it is the end. It is grand. In fact, it is so grand that, even during your worst moments, that cycle of love will still reach you.

"Love will find a way through all languages on its own."  [Rumi]

That knowledge and the kindness it inspires will recognize moments when you are absent of Love and will rush to accommodate that void. "I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when I don't feel it. I believe in God, even when there is silence." [an anonymous quote found on the walls of a Holocaust concentration camp cellar] 

Love is cycling around you at all times. Love exists in every stage of its cycle at all times. Whenever you think love is not present, the cycle reintroduces itself to you and begins afresh. Love never fails. So remember, forever and always, you are surrounded by Love!

A little morning inspiration:


As you wake up each morning, imagine yourself standing on the shores of your future. And as you gaze upon the ocean of your own potential, understand that you are the horizon. As the sun rises to greet your countenance, you must also rise to greet yourself.
You are your own horizon.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A moment to consider:

The Season of Compassion

Each holiday season, we get the privilege of retelling two classic tales, each with their own unique antagonist.  The two I'm referencing are Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."  By the end of their respective stories, both Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch have developed a newly found sense of compassion.   These two stories exist as both a reminder and reassurance that even the worst in us can be changed.  

Compassion comes in two parts.  The first is the prefix "com" which represents togetherness. The other half is passion.  Etymologically, compassion is the understanding that we all have a sense of passion, and it also represents that we all experience suffering.   At its core, compassion is the understanding that the suffering of another is valid and of equal importance to your own.  You may never know the degree to which someone's angst is experienced, and that isn't your responsibility to know or judge.  However, it is your responsibility to understand and to do it with compassion.  If you have an abundance where others find struggle, it is common that we can belittle the suffering of others.  

In "A Christmas Carol," we understand that Scrooge was privileged to have money whereas Bob Cratchett did not.   However, we learned that the Cratchett's were privileged to have family and a loving home, whereas Scrooge did not.  For this reason,  it becomes a unique social responsibility to utilize one's own blessings and knowledge to alleviate the angst for those in need of it.  This changed Scrooge's heart. Consider how the Whos of Whoville responded the morning they awoke to discover their Christmas had been stolen.  They began singing.  They didn't have presents, and yet they sang.  They knew that their joy and abundance was not dependent on items, but on togetherness.  This understanding of compassion also helped the Grinch's heart to grow three sizes that day.   We are no different.   

As days come and days go, consider where you have strengths and where you experience abundance.  The spirit of generosity is strong this season, so take a moment to consider those strengths and how you can utilize them.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Wisdom of Generosity

It's December again.  Over the course of the year, we have seen many internet videos go viral and welcomed into the musical vernacular. However, I'd like to highlight a performance from 2013.  This is a classic-made-contemporary performance of 'The Little Drummer Boy' as performed by the acapella group Pentatonix. This excites me because this song is one I have both hated and revered. According to Wikipedia, the song itself was written in 1941 by Katherine Davis and was originally performed by the Von Trapp family singers. It was later became more popular 1958 by the Harry Simone Chorale. Leaping forward to the performance between Bing Crosby/ David Bowie in 1977, this song regained its popularity through Bowie's contemporary descant.

This song in particular used to baffle me as a child. I would wonder: "Why would you pound on a noisy drum for a little baby?" And at that age, I found it to be disrespectful. My interpretation was that you give presents for Christmas, because that's just how it is to be done. Jesus received treasures, and we must follow suit. No questions asked. It wasn't until I was older that its significance became evident. The song opens with the voices of the Three Kings stating that they have brought their finest gifts. So to honor Him, pa rum pa pum pum. The second stanza is the voice of the boy, who admits that he is poor. He has no gift for baby Jesus. Sadly, this poor boy feels ashamed because for many societies, it is expected to demonstrate one's wealth, for which he has none. Pa rum pa pum pum. Therefore, he asks if it is allowed that he plays his drum instead. Mary nodded. The animals appreciated it, and Jesus smiled at the little drummer boy. Pa rum pa pum pum, he and his drum.

So why did I choose to write about this song in an essay on the Wisdom of Giving? That comes back to why we even have Christmas. This holiday exists to represent that God loved the world so much that He gave, to the world, Himself in human form. We know this gift as Jesus. To the Christian faith, Jesus represents "God with us." (Emmanuel)  Later in his life, however, it is described that Jesus renounced a life of wealth, he even preached against it as he lived among the people. Here is where the spirit of generosity is made evident.

As in the song, we exist in a world where money is worshiped. But money is merely symbolic. To us, money represents time. It is a symbol for how one has spent time, effort and talent. Intrinsically, it's that knowledge, effort and talent that has the real value to us. We have simply become confused by honoring monetary values rather than humanistic ones. The Little Drummer Boy should be an inspiration to us all that we were all given the gifts of knowledge, strength, talent and kindness. These are the real gifts. These are the real treasures. Even if it takes a little boy to demonstrate that generosity is about time and making memories, pay attention to that. If you believe that God is with us, then give your Self, just as He did. Share time, share personality, share kindness. That is the spirit of giving. That is the Wisdom of Christmas.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Moment of Self-Inspiration

With holidays just around the corner, specifically Christmas, we are once again flooded by numerous holiday songs.  Earlier in the car, a lyric really stood out to me.  This is a lyric from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

As the story goes, all of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.  They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.   I'm sure many of us can relate to this experience.

But there's a little light in the end of the tunnel for Rudolph.  Santa recognized Rudolph's unique nose as a gift rather than a flaw.   For that reason, Rudolph became celebrated for that nose of his.  He led the sleigh and the other reindeer. 

Very simply, my point is that this little deer learned that his uniqueness was his greatest strength.  We are no different.  Some of the most quirky characteristics can be some of the greatest assets.   So don't allow opinions to convince you otherwise.

What is your red nose?

How can you put it to use?

Everybody is a genius. 
But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. 
[Albert Einstein]

A Moment for Responsibility

I wish....
"Somebody should do something about that."
"Somebody should write that screenplay."
"Somebody should fix it."
"Somebody would help them."
Who is "somebody" ?
You are.