Posts Tagged ‘and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde’

Abe Lincoln and Inner Guidance – stay close to the “cave of the winds”

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Associaton of Lincoln Presenters Convention


“The name of the man had come to stand for what he was. In the ‘cave of the winds’ where he saw history in the making he was far more a listener than a talker. The high adventure of great poets, inventors, explorers, facing the unknown and the unknowable, was in his face and breath.” Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln

“In traveling on the circuit, he was in the habit of rising earlier than his brothers of the bar. On such occasions he was wont to sit by the fire, having uncovered the coals, and muse, and ponder, and soliloquized, inspired no doubt by that strange psychological influence which is so poetically described by Poe in ‘The Raven.’ ” Lawrence Weldon, lawyer

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde

“A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


Testing Our Thoughts in Solitude

Lincoln was smart, but many of his peers had vastly more formal education and political experience than he. Lincoln’s success was a product of being better prepared than anyone else. He prepared himself by spending time in the “cave of the winds,” pondering the elusive questions of life.

Lincoln’s time in deep reflection allowed him to sort out the priorities of his life. He could move the chess pieces in the calm of these peaceful moments, before he had to do it in real life. Each move could be precisely calculated, leaving nothing to chance.

My Cave of the Winds

In my case, I like to go for a long bike ride early Sunday mornings, while most people are still in bed and the traffic is light. At the halfway point of my ride, I stop at Harold Bell Wright Park and I jot down ideas that pop into my head, ideas that answer puzzling questions I am wrestling with about my writing, about my speeches or about perplexing issues that I have in my life. I believe that separating myself from the familiar confines of my house, combined the accelerated blood flow to my brain from pedaling my bike, allow fresh ideas to enter my thoughts.

Harold Bell Wright Park

After I write down my ideas, I walk around the shady park. I imagine that I am in a sort of paradise, as I drink in the beauty and solitude, and even more ideas flow into the old noodle. For me, my bike rides are my “cave of the winds.”

I also get guidance for my life is in the neighborhood walks with my dog, Blackie. Other times I get creative thoughts from walking around a park or even walking around my own back yard. I occasionally take a section of a book that needs tweaking, to a local coffee shop where I sit in a quiet place, like Lincoln before the fireplace, to muse, ponder, and hatch fresh ideas.

Flashes of Inner Guidance

Occasionally, an idea will flash into my brain, like a pure and unfiltered message directly from my subconscious or intuition or spirit. I treat these messages, or “gleams of light’ as Emerson says, as pure wisdom and I attempt to act upon as rapidly as possible. If I ignore it, I may miss a great opportunity. If I follow it, endless new doors of opportunity can open up to me.

For example, after I had written my first book about Abraham Lincoln, I was searching the internet for organizations where I could give a speech about my book. I came across “The Association of Lincoln Presenters.” A perfect fit! They had a convention scheduled for April. Unfortunately it was already March, and they had their speakers lined up.

A thought popped into my brain, “contact the organizer.” In response to this prompt, I sent a note to the convention organizer,

I have written a new book on Abraham Lincoln entitled, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones.” I think it is a perfect fit for the convention. I know you have speakers lined up, but if one of your speakers has to back out, I would be happy to come, at a moment’s notice.

The convention organizer responded,

We really don’t need any speakers at this point.

That was it. Short, sweet and seemingly offering no hope.

Illinois Ho!

Then, shortly before the convention, the organizer sent me another note:

Good morning; this is Abe Clymer host of the Lincoln convention in Vandalia. I have had a cancellation of one of my speakers for the convention. If you are interested please call me at area code 618-514-xxxx. I can probably allow you a 30 min. time slot at our symposium.    Honestly, Abe Clymer

Wow! I was on fire with anticipation! The convention offered no honorarium, but allowed me to sell my books at the hotel. I felt this was the opportunity that I could not pass up.

Abe and I in fromt of the Illinois State House

My son, Jason, and I jumped into the car and propelled ourselves toward Vandalia, Illinois, thoughts of adventure dancing in our minds. I made my speech at the exact State House of Representatives where Lincoln served as a state representative. Jason filmed my presentation and we sold a book to almost everyone who attended the convention. Afterwards, I posted video clips of my presentation on my blog.

That presentation gave a boost to my fledgling speaking career. It established my credibility and opened doors for other organizations to schedule me to speak. It put me on the proverbial map.

All because I followed that flash of inner guidance.


Upcoming Pesentations:

October 20, 2018. How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds and Funny Bones. Prescott Valley Public Library (7401 E. Civic Circle), 1:00 – 2:00 pm. Prescott, AZ.





Related Links

Like Abe Lincoln, Be Prepared with a “Quip” or a Bit of Humor

Emulate Abraham Lincoln: Make Each Day Count

The “Secret” Daily Affirmations of Abraham Lincoln

Always greet everyone, no matter what they look like

Employ an Affable Lincolnesque Persona

Deflect Criticism with Self-deprecating Humor

Places in the Heart

Always Say “Yes”