Grand Entrance Stairway in the McKim Building of the Boston Public Library

The McKim Building of the Boston Public Library doesn’t fail to grab your attention whenever you are in Copley Square.

But there are more surprises and treasures inside. Let me just focus on one for now, the grand entrance stairway.

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Aside from the marble floors and walls, it is a gallery in itself, with murals done by the French artist, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes.

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It is easy to miss the works of art on the walls.

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Oftentimes in our daily rush we fail to notice the beauty around us.

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Our Public and Private Atlas

In Greek mythology, Atlas was tasked by Zeus to carry the sky and celestial bodies for eternity as punishment for siding with the Titans (who lost to the Olymplans).

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(Lee Lawrie’s sculpture of Atlas at the Rockefeller Center, NY)

This public image of Atlas “carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders” seems heroic and even admirable.

Since no one is immune from personal burdens, sometimes this image is translated to one’s personal circumstances, the ability to persist and carry the load.

“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” Atlas was said to have begged Zeus.

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(A sculpture at The Breakers, Newport, RI)

But sometimes this can go too far. Oftentimes nobody is punishing us except ourselves.

“Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself so seriously.”
– Norman Vincent Peale

These are words of wisdom worth bearing.

New York State of Mind

Some folks like to get away,
Take a holiday from the neighborhood
Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood
But I’m takin’ a Greyhound on the Hudson River line
I’m in a New York state of mind

It comes down to reality, and it’s fine with me cause I’ve let it slide
I don’t care if it’s Chinatown or on Riverside
I don’t have any reasons
I left them all behind
I’m in a New York state of mind
– Billy Joel, New York State of Mind

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