Excerpts

In no particular order, we present you with some excerpts from
some of the books that have meant so much to us. . . .

the second page of excerpts

  
An excerpt:

The best way I have found to follow my true desires is to pay attention to my intuitive sense.  We all have great wisdom within us, a part of us that knows exactly what we need at every moment.  We are born with this intuitive sense, but most of us are quickly taught to distrust and ignore it.  We have to relearn something that should come naturally.  Fortunately, it's not too difficult; it just takes some practice.

Following your intuition is not some lofty mystical experience.  In fact, it is simple and practical -- it is learning to trust your gut feelings.  It's important to practice with the seemingly small things in life.

A friend recently described this experience to me:  She was working on a writing project in her home office when she realized she was feeling quite depressed.  A friend called, and when she mentioned how she was feeling, he asked her "What would lift your spirits?"  She instantly felt, "I'd love to get my dog and take a walk in this gorgeous weather."

Immediately she felt guilty, knowing how much work she had to do.  She forced herself to work two more hours, but got little accomplished.  Finally she took the walk, felt much better, and was inspired to complete the project in time.

This is a simple and beautiful example of how, when we can trust and follow our intuitive feelings about what we need moment by moment, things have a way of working out smoothly.  When we don't, we often end up feeling blocked, frustrated, or depressed.

Creating True Prosperity.   Shakti Gawain
An interesting look at the concept of prosperity in our lives, and what the term truly means to each of us.  Shakti's perspective is that prosperity is available to all of us, as long as we're willing to shift our perspectives and change our ideas about what prosperity means.  Money, power, inner strength--she examines the different aspects of our inner and outer wealth.
    
   

An Excerpt:

Here is a great definition of enlightenment:  to be immersed in and surrounded by peace.

Your highest self only wants you to be at peace.  It does not judge, compare, or demand that you defeat anyone, or be better than anyone.  It only wants you to be at peace.  Whenever you are about to act, ask yourself this question:  "Is what I am about to say or do going to bring me peace?"  If the answer is yes, then go with it and you will be allowing yourself the wisdom of your highest self.  If the answer is no, then remind yourself that it is your ego at work.

The ego promotes turmoil because it wants to substantiate your separateness from everyone, including God.  It will push you in the direction of judgment and comparison, and cause you to insist on being right and best.  You know your highest self by listening to the voice that only wants you to be at peace.

Manifest Your Destiny. Wayne Dyer
This book provides a fascinating perspective of the world and our place in it. Just how much of our lives is under our own control? More than we think, Dyer says.

  
  
  
An Excerpt:

"Site to Be Developed."  When you see this sign you know someone is preparing to put up a building of some kind.  It may be an improvement over what currently exists on the site, or it may do more damage than good.  We have all seen nature destroyed in the name of development.

Think of yourself as a site to be developed.  Remember that different sites are suited for different types of development.  What is your goal?  What resources are available, and what will best fit your site?  Look yourself over and get a feeling for your site.  Ask for help from developers and landscapers.  Then begin construction.  Don't worry about what the sidewalk supervisors think about the structure you are building.  This structure is going up on your property and you decide what it will be, or you will find no joy in the life you construct.  It will be someone else's building and you will be stuck in it.

A project under development.  A white canvas or a hunk of potter's clay.  I offer metaphors to remind you that you can change yourself and create a more fulfilling life -- if you remember my mother's advice to make the decisions that will make you happy.  You can create and re-create.  This is not about selfishness, but about authenticity.

   

  

Prescriptions for Living
Bernie S. Siegel

A nice look at life from a formerly anal-retentive doctor who shaved his head, changed his name from "Dr. Siegel" to Bernie, and actually started caring for his patients. He learned more from the change than they did.

How much can you do with yourself?  No one knows.  I know you can be happy.  You can be loving.  You can take part in creation and live and work in your heart zone.  There are no limits.  What will happen then?  No one knows the details, but I do know you will have what you need, peace and joy.
  
  
Do One Thing Different (excerpt)
Bill O'Hanlon

Some years ago, several family therapists were watching a news program that showed protestors on both sides of the abortion debate screaming at each other across barriers.  They suddenly realized that the opposing sides were a lot like the families they were seeing in family therapy.  These families cam into therapy polarized, usually doing a lot of yelling and very little listening.  Family therapy is, in part, the art of getting people who are angry and alienated to sit down in the same room and begin to relate respectfully to one another.  Usually, once that happens, we therapists can help these families solve the problems that brought them in.

These therapists decided to organize a project to bring together the "two sides" of the abortion debate in a respectful dialogue.  What emerged was quite interesting.  Once the opponents started listening to one another, they discovered more common ground than they thought they had.  (For example, they all wanted to keep unwanted children from being brought into the world.)  They also discovered, when they were given the opportunity to explore and converse in a nondefensive atmosphere, that many of them had more complex views than the either-or positions that they first espoused.  (For example, some of the "anti-abortion, pro-life" folks reluctantly admitted that there were circumstances in which they would support the right to abortion and some of the "abortion rights, pro-choice" folks admitted that there were some circumstances in which an abortion should be denied.)

Once they included both the possibility that the "other side" wasn't necessarily all bad or evil and the possibility that there weren't just two sides to the issue, they could begin to work on possible solutions (better prenatal care and adoption and foster care services in their area).  This is an example in which acknowledgement and inclusion helped to bring about some change in a social context.  This book, of course, is more about the personal context  than the social, but individuals who learn to accept themselves and intimate others set the stage for similar breakthroughs among groups, countries, and cultures.
  

Do One Thing Different.  Bill O'Hanlon
A lot of practical, common-sense suggestions for dealing with many aspects of your own life, such as your own perspective, co-dependencies, etc.  Quite a few step-by-step ideas for dealing with things that may be bringing you down.  His website is at possibilitycenter.com if you'd like to learn more about him or see his other books.
  
  
Taking Charge by Taking Responsibility (excerpt)
Dan Millman

While coaching gymnastics at Stanford University, I walked into a workout one day and found Jack, the team captain, lying on the mat, stretching -- grasping one of his legs and pulling it toward his chest.  As I walked by, I saw him grimace and heard him groan, "Oh, God, I hate this -- it hurts so much!"  I didn't know whether he was talking to me, to himself, or complaining to God, but I felt as if I'd wandered into a Mel Brooks movie.  I wanted to ask Jack, "Who's doing it to you?  If it hurts that bad, why don't you let up a little?"  This holds true for your life as well:  If it hurts so much, why don't you let up a little?

The moment we recognize the degree to which our difficulties are self-imposed, we begin to heal them.  We end self-sabotage only by taking responsibility for the choices and actions that created it.  Only when we stop blaming our boss or government or parents or spouse or partner or children or circumstances or fate or God can we change our lives and say with conviction, "I chose where I am now, and I can choose something better."

Of course, not every misadventure, injury, or problem is created by your subconscious owing to low self-worth.  For all we know, certain difficulties or challenges are gifts from God or arranged by our souls in order to test and temper our spirit.  As the old proverb says, "Take it as a blessing or take it as a test; whatever happens, happens for the best."  And as it happens, adversities may sometimes contain their own blessings.

excerpted from Dan Millman's
Everyday Enlightenment

Subtitled "The Twelve Gateways to Personal Growth," this book is a guide to working towards being the best person you can be.  Spirit is everywhere, in everyone, and if we can allow ourselves to see it and live it, we can reach our full potential in our lives.  The author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior and The life You Were Meant to Live, Millman is a former world-champion athlete and college professor whose focus is on the practical rather than the abstract.

  
  
A Short Excerpt:

You control the direction of your life.  Only your self-concept limits you from achieving your fullest capacity.  Since changes in behavior generally precede changes in attitude, action directed toward your vision will increase your sense of purpose and belief in the possibility of success.

How can you develop a self-concept linked to your untapped potential?  First, you can decide on the kind of life you would like to lead in ten or fifteen years.  This will give you a standard for making decisions about current activities and will reduce the inclination to compare yourself unfavorably to others.  Learn to ask, "How would I handle  this situation were I the person I hope to become?"  And then take action in line with your vision.

If an activity has no relationship to your vision, you may realize that you don't want to choose it.  Would the person that you want to be take on those extra tasks, drive a particular automobile, engage in particular business practices?  Defining your vision will minimize your indecision in making choices about matters unrelated to your goals.

Many people promise themselves that some day they are going to "let go" and do what they want to do.  Unfortunately, the day never comes.  Only when circumstances push them to a point where they have "nothing to lose" do they do what they have always wanted to do.

A Strategy for Daily Living. Ari Kiev
A nice look at sort of "putting your life in order," without being compulsive about doing so. A small, short, easy read that helps us to see the importance of our day-to-day existence.

 
  
  
 

In Creating Love, John Bradshaw provides a new way to understand our most crucial relationships: with parents and children, with friends and co-workers, with ourselves, and with God.  He shows us how we have been literally "entranced" by past experiences of counterfeit love, how we can break these destructive patterns, and how we can open ourselves to the soul-building work of real love.

John Bradshaw has touched and changed millions of lives through his nationally televised PBS series and his best-selling books. His previous book, Homecoming, introduced the concept of the inner child to a vast new audience. Now he defines the "next great stage of growth"--how we can work to create healthy, loving relationships in every part of our lives.

Written for everyone who has struggled with painful relationships and is seeking hope and a new direction, Creating Love is a life-changing book.

An excerpt:

For me one of the most significant consequences of imaginatively embracing my inner child was that it gave me a way to be compassionate with myself.  When I look in the mirror, even now, the old voices of blame, comparison, and self-contempt start playing.  Even after years of hearing new voices in my friendships and community fellowship, I can hear those old posthypnotic tapes.  For years I read books that offered techniques to help one love oneself.  I stared in the mirror and  said, "I love you, John," over and over.  It helped for a few minutes and then the voices got worse.

Techniques are basically useless until one has restored social contact and self-acceptance.  We need social support and we need to emotionally embrace our rejected and split-off parts.  The image of ourselves as a child is the fastest and soundest way I have ever found to embrace these parts.

   
  
The Houdini Syndrome
Bob Welch

I am the poster boy for overcommitment.  And I'm not particularly proud of that.  We all have our weaknesses, and if I look at my life in the last decade, running too fast has been mine.  Oh, I could justify that it's nearly all good stuff that I run toward--I'm not the guy blowing two hours watching trash TV or playing two rounds of golf a week while my sons wonder why Dad never shows up for their games.

I could match my attendance at kids' games with nearly any parent and come out on top.  I could rationalize that I've never had a nervous breakdown or resorted to any sort of illicit drug--pop isn't illegal, is it?--to keep myself going.

Still, I have to face the reality that I'm far busier than I should be.

The good news is, I'm changing; the bad news is, that's like a 400-pound man saying he's going on a diet.

At times, my weeks have this Houdini quality about them:  I bind myself in handcuffs and crawl into a trunk.  The trunk is wrapped with chains.  Then the trunk is dropped to the bottom of the East River to see if I can break free and swim to the surface without drowning.

Thus far, I've gotten out of the jam every time, broken the surface of the water just before my lungs are about to burst.

But though that might equate to success in the world's eyes, it does not in God's eyes.  Because enslaving ourselves like that asks a price, though we're often so desperately trying to unshackle ourselves that we don't take time to notice.

For me, that price has been a number of things:

A subtle, but real, loss of patience:  When you're tired, anger more easily gains a foothold on you.  It may not be a four-letter-word, dog-kicking, fist-slamming barrage of anger, but I know it's there.  And I know it sometimes gets used against the people I love the most.

A subtle, but real, loss of creativity:  When you're tired, you're more apt to settle for the ordinary when, somewhere deep inside, you might find the extraordinary.

A subtle, but real, loss of control over the more mundane aspects of life:  checking accounts that need more consistent pruning, financial matters that need more plowing and planting, closets and dressers that need more consistent weeding.

But the more serious price has come in the areas that I'm called to make my priorities:  my relationship with God and my relationship with others, in particular my wife.

I've given time to both, but it hasn't been the quantity, or quality, they deserve.  Again, I look good on paper:  I'm an elder at our church, I teach Sunday school, I occasionally preach a sermon, I speak to men's groups.  But I know, deep down, that God doesn't want a resume from me; He wants a relationship with me.  And when you wedge God into your daily planner as if He were just another line on the To-Do List, that relationship suffers.

Likewise, I could point out trips I've taken with my wife, presents I've given her, dinners out we've shared.  But I know, deep down, that she'd trade such things for more consistent "ordinary" time with me, time that might be nothing more than a walk around the block but which is given with my full attention, not as some sort of parenthetical phrase in the midst of a more significant sentence.

I've come to learn that you can't have it all.  So you have to decide what you want and what you're willing to give up.  Some people decide what they want more than anything is to be successful in business and thus are willing to sacrifice their family to get there.  I'm not among them. . . .

I believe we're called to give our best to God; our work should be done with gusto and quality.  But we're also called to lives of balance, and when we get out of balance, our work becomes a legalistic going-through-the-motions, not something filled with heart.  Our work becomes more important than the people who it's intended for.  Our lives are guided by our heads and not our hearts.


In this collection of heartwarming, introspective stories, you'll find Welch's examinations of the things in life that are truly important:  the people you cherish, the dreams you share, and the talents God has given exclusively to you.  You'll be reminded of the things that make life so special:  love, friendships, and building relationships that last a lifetime.