Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

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”

Following in Lincoln’s Footsteps: My presentation to the ALP Convention (video)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015


Participants at the 2015 ALP Convention in Vandalia

Last Saturday, I made a presentation to the Association of Lincoln Presenters Convention  entitled, “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones,” based on my book.

The presentation took place in the Old Vandalia Statehouse, Vandalia, Illinois, (Illinois state motto – Please Don’t Pronounce the “S”) in the chambers where Lincoln actually served as a state representative. I thought I could feel Lincoln’s spirit in that venerable place.

It didn’t hurt that all the Lincoln Presenters were decked out in full Lincoln contume (“with a great beard comes great responsiblity”). They were the most receptive audience I’ve ever had. I felt they all loved Lincoln as much as I did.

At the age of 28, while serving in the Illinois General Assembly, Lincoln made one of his first public declarations against slavery, in the Vandalia Statehouse. Lincoln stated,The institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy”

One historian called it “The first formal declaration against the system of slavery that was made in any legislative body in the United States, at least west of the Hudson River.”

Lincoln also received his license to practice law in the Vandalia Statehouse in March of 1837.

On Lincoln’s Trail

While in Illinois, I availed myself of the opportunity to visit the “sacred” sites where Lincoln lived and worked. I saw Lincoln’s log cabin in Lerna where I met E,D. Dowling, who worked at the site, and who also was distant relaive of Dennis Hanks, a cousin of Lincoln’s mother.

I visited Lincoln’s two-story house in Springfield, and his burial plot in Oak Ridge

Lincoln Springfileld Home

Cemetery, where Lincoln, his wife and three of his four sons are buried.

I also visited the cemetery plot of Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln. Lincoln had a storng bond with her and before he left Illinois to assume the presidency, he went back to Lerna on a sentimental journey to visit her.

In an interview with William Herndon after Lincoln’s death, his stepmother said,  “His mind and mine, what little I had, seemed to run together, more in the same channel.”

My Presentation

Here are a few highlights from my presentation to the Lincolns:

Cemetery Walk Tours

One memorable convention activity was cemetery walk tour in the Old Vandalia Cemetery. It involved actors portraying the roles of the people buried in the cemetery. It really touched my heart to hear such a vivid presentation of how their lives were changed by the civil war, and the various joys and tragedies they encountered in life.

Most moving was a slave who had been given his freedom by a kindly slave owner. After Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation,the former slave joined the Union army and following the war, led a productive life as a free man in Vandalia.

Vandalia Cemetery Walk Tour


Abe’s favorite book! (aka John Mansfield)

Newspaper Summary of Lincoln Presenter’s Convention in Vandalia  

Upcoming Presentations/Activities:

June 5th, 2015. Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy. Tucson, AZ.

 Other Lincoln Articles:

Follow Abe Lincoln’s Storytelling Example

Lincoln and Storytelling – Morning Blend Interview (video)

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Connect with People

How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Win the Presidential Nomination (a lesson for the 2016 Candidates for President)

Abraham Lincoln and Storytelling – The Story Behind the Book

What Mr. Lincoln Taught Me About the Power of Stories

7 Book Promotion Tips by Radio Host Bob Schmidt

Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Lincoln Storytelling at AZ Senior Academy and Aztec Toastmasters (Video)

Abraham Lincoln and Leadership through Storytelling

Volunteering at Pascua Yaqui Youth Career Academy Job Fair

Review of “The Hour of Peril” – 5 Abe Lincoln Anecdotes

Abraham Lincoln and the Kindergarten Class