Little Lessons

A Taste of the Past

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 24, 2020 4:30:00 AM

teacup
“The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.” – Jessamyn West

Anyone who knows me knows my love of coffee. Whether it’s from my favorite coffee shop, or Dunkin Donuts, or instant coffee heated over an open fire. No sugar or cream, just hot, black coffee. It’s the perfect way to start the day or end a meal.

Then there are afternoons when my cravings take me elsewhere. To a cup of tea. Now in my favorite teacup, featuring a “Penny Black” stamp. Printed in England in 1840, the Penny Black was the first adhesive postage stamp.

Whenever I drink tea, the flavor pulls memories from hidden corners of my mind. My father and uncle having tea on Sunday afternoons after dinner. My mother making the tea, even though she preferred coffee. My mother-in-law enjoying her cup with a spot of honey. A visit to the Bath Postal Museum to see an actual Penny Black.

The gift of this cup.

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Topics: inspiration, love, memories, mother, story, listen, moment, joy, little lessons, time, father, parents

Memorial Day Will Be Different This Year

Posted by Mark Fallon

May 22, 2020 4:45:00 AM

Flag and marker
“Green sods are all their monuments; and yet it tells a nobler history than pillared piles, or the eternal pyramids.” - James Gates Percival

My earliest memories of Memorial Day are watching my father march in a parade with the American Legion. He looked very sharp in his uniform.

When I was a teenager, I marched in Memorial Day parades as a member of two drum corps – the Immaculate Conception Queensmen and the Middlesex County Guardsmen. I remember how silent it became when we entered the cemeteries – just the beat of a single bass drum to keep the entire corps in step.

After my father died, I began marching on Memorial Day again. This time, as a member of the American Legion – a long circle completed.

This year will be different. No parades. No large gatherings at monuments. No readings of veterans’ names at cemeteries.

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Topics: reflection, inspiration, love, values, veteran, family, memories, people, little lessons, emotions, father, parents, honor, service, compassion

A Trip to Coney Island

Posted by Mark Fallon

Feb 21, 2020 5:00:00 AM

cyclone
"A day without laughter is a day wasted." - Charlie Chaplin

PS – There’s a bonus “little lesson” at the end of this post.

After finishing a productive day at a client in Brooklyn, New York, I needed to decompress. I took off my tie, hung the suitcoat in the back seat, and pointed the car due south. To the tip of the island – to Coney Island.

In the late 19th century, an amusement park opened in this seaside resort. There were rides, food stands and sideshows. The Coney Island boardwalk and beaches transformed the peninsula. Every weekend, throngs of people rode the trains from New York City to escape the confines of the tenements.

This was Thursday, not the weekend, so I didn’t expect any crowds. In fact, that was essential to my plan. I was going to ride the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster – The Cyclone.

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Topics: dreams, inspiration, love, story, happiness, joy, little lessons, emotions, wonder, balance

Seek Out Inspiration

Posted by Mark Fallon

Dec 27, 2019 5:00:00 AM

earth rising
“When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.” - Viktor E. Frankl

On New Year’s Day, many of us make resolutions to improve ourselves in the coming year. We may want to lose weight, quit smoking or continue our education. Or maybe, save money to take that trip we’ve always dreamed about.

Whatever the resolution, we challenge ourselves. Of course, that undertaking is added to the others we face at work and in our personal lives. How can we overcome all these challenges?

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Topics: inspiration, challenge, little lessons, letters, social media

No Medals

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 22, 2019 5:00:00 AM


Lake Rounds
"The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself--the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us--that's where it's at." – Jesse Owens

The older gentleman entered the dining room with a beaming smile. Before he had a chance to sit down, the server asked, “How did your son do?” The enthusiastic response, “He made it with 6 minutes to spare!”

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Topics: success, hard work, goals, persistence, inspiration, motivation, journey, marathon, people, challenge, little lessons, help, wins, walking

Fast Pace/Slow Pace

Posted by Mark Fallon

Sep 13, 2019 5:01:00 AM

meadow
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” – W.B. Yeats

It was a perfect September day. Warm sun on our shoulders, with a slight breeze cooling our faces. We sat on a bench enjoying an ice cream, a defiant act to the calendar’s declaration that summer was over.

At first glance, the meadow just looked like an overgrown field. The longer we sat, we could see the butterflies roaming from one plant to another, performing the pollinating ballet. Following their flight, we could see the multitudes of distinct colors of the flowers – purples, yellows, browns and so many shades of green.

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Topics: reflection, inspiration, little lessons, time, social media, beauty, nature, perspective

Why This Time is Different

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 16, 2019 5:01:00 AM


mark-dolores-aug-2019
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
-Robert Frost

In January, my wife and I made what we hope is our “last move”. With an eye to the future, we bought a small house with everything on one level. We remodeled the bathroom with an emphasis on “universal design” – meaning easy access, a walk-in shower with bench, and grab bars.

The last few years, we have lost close relatives, including our parents. That meant cleaning out houses with decades of accumulated belongings.

It was exhausting. Not just physically, but emotionally. We don’t have children. When we died, did we want to add this burden to one of our nieces or nephews?

So, we decided to take a different path.

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Topics: inspiration, little lessons, parents, service, volunteer, empathy, walking

The Answers Within are Found Outside

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 9, 2019 5:01:00 AM

Bass River Sunrise
“Clearings. That’s what I needed” Slowly my brain righted itself into spaces unused for months.” – Helen MacDonald

Last year brought a lot of changes to my life. I was forced to stop running and had to face my fears when having major surgery. I was fortunate to have an amazing doctor and access to a teaching hospital. My surgery went as planned, and my doctor was impressed with my “quick recovery.”

Of course, what was “quick” for him was “painfully slow” for me. I had followed the pre-operation workout routine and completed the exercises assigned by the physical therapist afterwards. But I didn’t feel as strong as I thought I should. A walk to the end of the driveway and back felt like a 10k run. Not exhausting, but a workout.

The longer the recovery took, the older I felt.

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Topics: improvement, inspiration, fear, attitude, positive, little lessons, future, expectations, beauty, nature, perspective

Don’t Fear the Four-Letter Word

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 26, 2019 5:01:00 AM


love sign

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." – Confucius

Last week, a couple of my friends were having a tough time. One was facing a health scare, and the other’s mother passed away. We shared some long phone conversations. Each call ended with “I love you, brother.” And the response – “I love you too”.

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Topics: inspiration, love, learning, support, growth, happiness, joy, little lessons, kindness, father, parents, compassion

The Never-Ending Search

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jun 7, 2019 5:00:52 AM

www.markfallon.comhubfsimagessupernova
“For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and hour to hour.” – Viktor Frankl

As I was reading Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, one thought kept crossing my mind – “How have I never read this book before?”

In college, my major was history, with a minor in philosophy. Additionally, my literature courses included books by twentieth-century existentialists like Camus and Sartre. I was assigned to read Freud’s The Future of an Illusion as part of my capstone course in philosophy. But Frankl? I’m not sure he was even mentioned.

A friend told me he had recently re-read Frankl, as part of a discussion about what makes us human. His passion when describing the book was intriguing. A visit to a university bookstore prompted me to look for Frankl’s works. When my search in the philosophy section turned up nothing, I remembered that my friend is a psychologist. Moving over a few sections, my hunt was successful.

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Topics: reflection, Reading and Books, inspiration, love, attitude, reactions, little lessons

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