1 April 2024         


Our newest day and our newest week are here right now, and we're
faced with many choices as to what we can do to make this day and
this week very special.  What can we give?  Whom can we listen to?
How can we lighten our own hearts and spirits?




What Is Your Biggest Fear?  (an excerpt)
Lucinda Bassett

Don't Tell Others What to Do  (an excerpt)
Iyanla Vanzant

I Have a Day
tom walsh



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Simple and Profound Thoughts
(from Simple and Profound)

Only when you can accept that you are alone, will you discover that you are not alone.   -Leonard Jacobson

If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change your attitude.  Don't complain.    -Maya Angelou

There really is no such thing as failure.  There is only the rearrangement of plans and surrender of ego.   -Susan Falter-Barns

Conscious faith is freedom.  Emotional faith is slavery.  Mechanical faith is foolishness.   -G.I. Gurdjieff


What Is Your Biggest Fear?
an excerpt
Lucinda Bassett

From the deck upstairs, I could hear him crying, sobbing really.  It was early evening, and my son, Sammy, six years old at the time, was playing in his sandbox down the hill.

"Don't run down there," my husband David warned.  "The doctor said if you do, he'll manipulate you with the same tactics over and over.  You can't go running every time you hear him cry."  But I was his mother and I knew that this cry was different.  It was heart-breaking and, in some eerie way, familiar to me, as if I had cried this way myself, many times.

I wandered down the steps toward the sandbox.  "Sammy, what's wrong?" I said, observing my little boy sitting Indian-style in his sandbox with his tear-drenched face dropped into his dirty little hands.

"Mommy, I just want to sit here and play," he sobbed, "and not be afraid."

"Afraid?  What are you afraid of?" I asked, wiping his face with my sleeve.

"I'm afraid that hands will come out of the bushes.  I'm afraid of monsters and witches.  I heard a noise over there."  He pointed to a tree whose leaves were blowing gently in the wind.

I brushed my hand through his soft, wind-blown hair.  He looked up at me and again he pleaded, "Mommy, I just want to sit here and play and not be afraid."

In that moment I understood his fear, his overwhelming obsession to look over his shoulder because something was "out there," something that was going to get him.  I understood because I had spent a good part of my own life living in fear; afraid of death and dying; afraid of failure and success; afraid of relationships, commitments, people's opinions, not being good enough, and the list goes on.

"It's okay, Sammy," I said in my best "mommy" voice.  "You just relax and play and I'll stay here with you.  You're safe and nothing is going to hurt you."

As I sat watching him, I thought how ironic it was that for most of my life, I had wanted exactly what he wanted.  I just wanted to live my life and not be afraid.  I wanted to stop worrying, stop living in fear of what tomorrow would bring.  I wanted to stop obsessing about everything from illness to embarrassment.

Sometimes it had seemed that my mind was spinning in endless circles, imagining every worst-case scenario.  I worried about disease, dysfunction, and disaster.  If the situation didn't kill me, the worry surely would.  Would I catch what my friend had?  Would my father's alcoholism ruin my life?  Would the world come to an end?  I was afraid that danger lurked just around the next corner, and I couldn't relax and play.  My fears clouded everything.  They kept me from doing things I wanted to do, and even when I did them, fear was always lurking in the back of my mind.

I watched Sammy let go and lose himself in the moment, soothing himself with gentle humming sounds.  I thought about the parallels between this moment and my life.  Sammy's fears were unrealistic, but then, so were most of mine.  He needed to learn to trust his surroundings, comfort himself, and stay in the moment.  And so did I.

How many hours, days, and weeks had I wasted in my life, how many vacations or nights out had I destroyed worrying about something that never came to be?  How many wonderful opportunities had I let pass because I was too exhausted from fear and the insecurity that accompanied it to go after them?

It was interesting to watch Sammy relax and trust that I would do the "watching out."  I would look over his shoulder.  He handed all that fear to me to hold, and now he could enjoy the present moment, fully and completely.

Who can do this for me?  I thought.  Who can make me feel safe and protected?  Who can reassure me, tell me that nothing will hurt me, and help me put my worries and fears into a healthy perspective?  I can, and I have. . . and I will.  And so can you.

It seems that no matter how hard we try to overcome fear, everyone is afraid of something.  Life is a fabulous adventure, but from the most powerful people in the world to those who work quietly and privately in their communities, we all are afraid of something and we suffer from our programmed responses to it. . . .

You are in control of yourself and your fears.  You have chosen to free yourself of all destructive fears and doubts.  You know you can master your fears, no matter what they are.  You are learning to trust the process of life.  You are releasing your need to control things that cannot be controlled.  You are safe and protected from anything that stops you from fulfilling your mission.  You know that your fears come from lack of knowledge and trust.

Discovering and challenging your fears boosts your energy rather than drains you.  You relax in the knowledge that you can handle whatever life sends your way.  You take full responsibility for your life.  You let go and trust that life is happening exactly as it was meant to.  Now you simply allow your life to unfold.

You are powerful and loving, and you know that you have nothing to fear.  When you feel afraid, you focus on your strengths.  Each day, you courageously expand your comfort zone by inviting in new kinds of risk.  You find value in challenging your fears, no matter how difficult it is.  You choose to dissipate the vagueness of fear by focusing on a world of infinite beauty and joy.

more thoughts and ideas on fear


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This is a nice song--the video's not very imaginative or creative, but the song is caring and heartfelt.  I know that not everyone has a family that is kind and supportive (I never had one, for example), but if you don't, keep looking--there's a family out there for you, and it doesn't have to be the one you're born into!  My wife's family and my family in Germany have been very kind and very loving and very helpful.  Be patient--there is a family out there for you!  Aldous Huxley said that we're not necessarily born into the families we most belong in, and I've learned over the years that he's very, very right!

And I love the wonderfully cheerful sound of this song!


Catey Shaw

I am going back to my sister's house Through the mountains to the place Where I know I can take my weary soul and smile at a familiar face

And the roof that I'm standing on feels like an airplane
City streets below me moving far away What I wouldn't give to be there now I'll find my way to you somehow

So give me a blanket for my cold cold heart
You know that I've travelled far And I'll give you back a warm warm hide To keep with you when we're apart

We're family
Family We're family Family

Sure I spent one long year since I've been down here
Running in a concrete race Where I'm lonely but far from alone Just longing for a slower pace

And the roof that I'm standing on won't hide me from the rain
But I know that I will see you all again What I wouldn't give to be there now I'll find my way to you somehow

So give me a blanket for my cold cold heart
You know that I've traveled far And I'll give you back a warm warm hide To keep with you when we're apart

We're family
Family We're family Family

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Don't Tell Others What to Do
an exceprt
Iyanla Vanzant

You cannot tell other people what to do!  You can tell them what you have done and how you did it.  You can encourage them in what they are doing by sharing with them your experiences in similar situations, under similar circumstances.  However, you should hold all this information in reserve until they ask for it.  When they ask, if they ask, remember they trust you and respect you.  What you say can have a tremendous effect on what they do.  Put your fears and judgments aside and speak with a loving heart.

Until you have walked someone else's path, stumbled over the stones, fallen into the ditches and pits, felt the sunshine on your face, found your way to new paths and on new roads, you cannot tell another person what to do!  Until you have fallen, gotten up and navigated the path they are on, you really don't know what can happen.  You cannot tell them about the challenges and victories that lie ahead of them.  They are not yours to tell!  They are not yours to know!  For each of us, there are things we must see and things we must do.  There are falls we must take and things we must learn in the process of rising up from a fall.  If you try to tell someone about a path you have not walked, either they will not be able to hear you, or you could send them off in the wrong direction.

Until today, you may have thought you were being helpful when you told other people what to do.  You may have tried to steer them in the right direction.  Or you may have been trying to steer them away from harm.  Just for today, don't tell anyone what to do!  Share your experiences, your insights, your understanding, but acknowledge that all paths are not the same.  When you are sharing information about your path, always be sure to leave enough room for the other person to make up their own mind.

Living Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a place
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement.  Our articles
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do we
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live life.  Take
from them what you will, and disagree with whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you each week.


I suddenly realized how grateful I was for the absence of pain in my feet.
Then I started ticking off other absences for which I was grateful--
the absence of certain very difficult people in my life, the absence of feelings
of resentment toward those who have "wronged" me, the absence of feelings
of loss for relationships and things long gone--and on and on.
We have such a range of gratitude possibilities.

Anne Wilson Schaef



I Have a Day

The sun has risen once more, and I'm still here.  And I was able to wake up this morning, and I'm able to walk and eat and talk and think, so things are looking really good so far.  I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and I really like both cereal and milk, so that was a nice way to start the day.  I also had a very good english muffin and coffee, both of which I really like, too, so things are even better.

What can get in my way of having a good day today?  Those would be my fears and the stress that they cause me.  Those would be my worries about things that may happen, but probably won't.  Those would be my fears about the results that will come about if they do happen.  At this point--as in all points of the day--my thinking will go a long way towards determining what kind of day I'm able to make this.

And I know that those last few words express the most important element of this particular day in my life--I will make it into what it becomes, and I'm not a passive victim who simply waits to see what life will throw at me.

So I have a day today.  If I want to, I can spend the day fulfilling a project or three.  I'm working on writing a novel, so I can spend time continuing to do that.  If I do so, I have to remember that it's solitary work, and my choice to work on the novel necessarily precludes a lot of contact with other people.  The novel is very important to me, though, so it's a sacrifice that I'm often willing to make.  If I do so, though, I can't complain about the lack of contact with others on this day, because I've chosen to do something that keeps me alone.  It would be the same if I decided to clean the house or organize paperwork or other such solitary work:  I've made the work a part of my day, and the solitude goes with it.


I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good
therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that
I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now.  Let me
not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

William Penn

I can also devise little projects of my own to carry out.  Perhaps this would be a good day to spread compliments, so I can make the choice early on to share sincere compliments with as many people as possible today.  Compliments are free to give, so they won't cost me anything at all, and as long as they're sincere and I don't overdo it, they can bring great benefit to the people who will receive them.

I can also share things with other people.  I can anonymously leave a small chocolate bar on someone's desk, or I can put a book that I've finished somewhere that someone else can find it and take it to read.  I can even vow to smile more this day, sharing that part of myself with other people who may be positively affected by something as simple as a smile.

On this day, I can also decide very early on how I'm going to respond when something possibly negative happens.  Am I going to get upset and angry, or am I going to take any incident in stride, realizing that things happen sometimes, and that how I react to them determines to a great deal the quality of the day I'm living today?  So much of it is completely up to me and the ways that I do things.

You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled
with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the
universe of your life.  It is yours.  It is the most precious of
possessions.  No one can take it from you.  It is unstealable.
And no one receives either more or less than you receive.

Arnold Bennett

Today I can spend listening instead of talking.  If I commit myself to doing so in the morning, then I can spend the day making sure that I hear what people are saying to me, both in their words and between their words.  If I'm constantly thinking about what I'm going to say, then there really is no way that I'm going to understand what others are trying to tell me.

Today I can organize paperwork.  I often let tasks like this build up until they're almost daunting, and I always have to find some time during some today to ge them done.  And when I do get them done, I feel a strong sense of relief and accomplishment.  They're not always that easy for me, but they are important to get done.  Do you have similar projects that would benefit from some amount of time dedicated to them?

I have an entire day to add a little something to the website, be it a quotation or two on a particular page or something more substantial.  And I don't need to know if anyone ever reads what I put on there today--the important thing is to get it on the site and to make it available for anyone who may want to read it eventually.  When we can reach a point at which we don't worry about having to see concrete results of our work, our lives become much richer and fuller.

We know nothing of tomorrow; our business
is to be good and happy today.

Sydney Smith

So what can you do today?  What positive contributions can you make to your fellow human beings on the particular day?  What things can you do in your own life that will keep you working towards specific goals and outcomes?  Life tends to become much easier when we actually are working towards something, and when we have some sort of plan for each day.  I have problems in my life, I have difficult situations, I have conflicts that I really wish would be resolved--but I also have today.  And it's just waiting for me to turn it into something positive from the get-go, because it's easier to maintain inertia than it is to turn something around and then try to get it going.  This day in my life is my day, and I'm planning on giving to it all the positive I can, while dealing with the negative in hopefully positive ways.

I hope that your day, also, will be full of positive moments of your creation, and that you make your day a wonderful one!

More on today.



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All real and wholesome enjoyments possible to people have been just as possible to them since first they were made of the earth as they are now; and they are possible to them chiefly in peace.  To watch the corn grow, and the blossoms set; to draw hard breath over plowshare or spade; to read, to think, to love, to hope:  these are the things that make people happy.

John Ruskin

Edward J. Lavin

Contentment is a balm, satisfaction is a friendly embrace, but happiness is a warm glow and tingle that arise from the health of both mind and body.

We all want to be happy, yet how many of us can with certainty declare that we are?  We all have little happinesses that raise us up out of the mire of our daily struggles.  Perhaps we should be content with these small gifts, for the quality of perfect happiness is an uncommon state.

This little caution is a warning to those whose life is a perpetual search for the perfect happiness--a holy grail that requires an immense effort.  It is not found in a clean bathroom, although the TV commercials want us to think so.  Nor is it found in money or health or friends or lovers or travel or small packages.  These may lead to small happinesses, and blessings on them all.

Perfect happiness is a well-regulated hierarchy of spirit, mind, and body.  The order is important, and anything that disturbs that order ruffles the surface of the lake of happiness.  Unregulated desire, as the Buddha knew so well, is a heavy stone dropped into the lake; equally disturbing is the tendency to forget about the spirit and to concentrate exclusively on the mind or the body.  Perfect happiness is not to be found in the leaps of aerobic movement nor in the dense concentration of scholarly research.

Yet we must not despair.  Perfect happiness is our birthright--it is only that we must work at it.

from his book Life Meditations


I feel with some passion that what we truly are is private, and almost infinitely
complex, and ambiguous, and both external and internal, and double- or triple-
or multiply natured, and largely mysterious even to ourselves; and furthermore
that what we are is only part of us, because identity, unlike "identity," must
include what we do.  And I think that to find oneself and every aspect of this
complexity reduced in the public mind to one property that apparently
subsumes all the rest ("gay," "black, "Muslim," whatever) is to be the
victim of a piece of extraordinary intellectual vulgarity.

Philip Pullman



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.