19 June 2018      

Hello, and welcome to our new week!  This is our final issue
for the spring of 2018, and we hope that there's something
here that you enjoy reading!

Life
Leo Buscaglia

Success Is Easy, but so Is Neglect
Jim Rohn

Here and Now
tom walsh

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Cultivating a generous spirit starts with mindfulness.  Mindfulness, simply stated, means paying attention to what is actually happening; it's about what is really going on.

Nell Newman

Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.

George Bernard Shaw

Half of our mistakes in life arise from feeling where we
ought to think, and thinking where we ought to feel.

John Churton Collins

  

Life
Leo Buscaglia

There are plenty of people going around talking about death, and despair, and misery.  If you want that, you can get it everywhere.  Read your paper.  Turn on your TV sets.  Or you can choose to say life is good, life is beautiful, let's celebrate it.

Have you ever thought about going to see what the dictionary says about a word like life?  I'm going to read you what I found because it's glorious.  "Life is the quality which distinguishes a vital and functioning being from a dead one."  Now isn't that glorious?  But it's not a lot of help, is it?  There's another one, and I love this one.  It says, "The period of usefulness of something."  I thought, if usefulness is the determinant of our being alive or dead, there are an awful lot of dead people running around the place.

The one I love the best is the third definition:  "To pass through or spend the duration."  You know, most of us are really passing through and spending the duration.  Not very many of us are really, in the real sense of the word, alive and living fully.  The thing is, I'm certain that as long as you leave your life in the hands of other people, you'll never live.  You have to take responsibility for choosing and defining your own life.

I really believe most people are afraid of life.  I don't know why it is.  We're afraid to be what we are!  We get marvelous, insane feelings and we don't act on them.  You see someone really attractive and you think, "I'm going to tell her she's really beautiful."

And then you think, "Oh, I couldn't do that."  And then she goes all of her life not knowing she's beautiful!  It's a shame because if we really don't live fully we keep other people from living fully!

We're afraid of living life, therefore, we don't experience, we don't see.  We don't feel.  We don't risk!  We don't care!  And therefore we don't live--because life means being actively involved.  Life means getting your hands dirty.  Life means jumping in the middle of it all.  Life means falling flat on your face.  Life means going beyond yourself--into the stars!

But you must decide yourself, for yourself.  "What does life mean to me?"  I'm convinced if we spent as much time--no, one quarter as much time each day thinking about life and living and loving as we do planning a meal, we'd be incredible!

But life has a wonderful way of solving this problem.  It's always very fascinating to me because when life is not being lived, it explodes in us.  It's like trying to hold the lid on when the steam is ready to blow.  Something will happen, I'm convinced of it.  You'll either turn to extremes of fear, pain, loneliness, paranoia, or apathy.  All signs that you are not alive, you are not living!  So if you're feeling any of these things, roll up your sleeves and say, "Let me live."  The minute you start getting involved in life, the steam lets off, and you're safe.  It isn't easy, but life lets us know that it must be led.  How wonderful!

People come to me and say, "You seem to have things all together.  If life is so great, how come we have death, pain, misery, and all these negative things?  Why must children suffer?  Why are there murders and rapes and wars?  Why, why, why?"

I say, "How the hell am I supposed to know?"  Greater people than I have been asking these questions for years.  But you know what I've done?  I have stopped asking the questions, and I've started living into the answers, and it's made all the difference.

more on life

   

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Success Is Easy, but so Is Neglect
Jim Rohn

People often ask me how I became successful in that six-year period of time while many of the people I knew did not.  The answer is simple:  The things I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do.  I found it easy to set the goals that could change my life.  They found it easy not to.  I found it easy to read the books that could affect my thinking and my ideas.  They found that easy not to.  I found it easy to attend the classes and the seminars, and to get around other successful people.  They said it probably really wouldn't matter.  If I had to sum it up, I would say what I found to be easy to do, they found to be easy not to do.  Six years later, I'm a millionaire and they are all still blaming the economy, the government, and company policies, yet they neglected to do the basic, easy things.

In fact, the primary reason most people are not doing as well as they could and should, can be summed up in a single word:  neglect.

It is not the lack of money - banks are full of money.  It is not the lack of opportunity - America, and much of the free World, continues to offer the most unprecedented and abundant opportunities in the last six thousand years of recorded history.  It is not the lack of books – libraries are full of books - and they are free!  It is not the schools - the classrooms are full of good teachers.  We have plenty of ministers, leaders, counselors and advisors.

Everything we would ever need to become rich and powerful and sophisticated is within our reach.  The major reason that so few take advantage of all that we have is simply neglect.

Neglect is like an infection.  Left unchecked it will spread throughout our entire system of disciplines and eventually lead to a complete breakdown of a potentially joy-filled and prosperous human life.

Not doing the things we know we should do causes us to feel guilty and guilt leads to an erosion of self-confidence.  As our self-confidence diminishes, so does the level of our activity.  And as our activity diminishes, our results inevitably decline.  And as our results suffer, our attitude begins to weaken.  And as our attitude begins the slow shift from positive to negative, our self-confidence diminishes even more. . . and on and on it goes.

So my suggestion is that when giving the choice of “easy to” and “easy not to” that you do not neglect to do the simple, basic, “easy” but potentially life-changing activities and disciplines.
  

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You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. . . .
So why bother in the first place?  Just this:  what is above knows what is below,
but what is below does not know what is above.  One climbs, one sees.
One descends, one sees no longer but one has seen.  There is an art
to conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one
saw higher up.  When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.

Rene Daumal

   

 

Here and Now

I'm just finishing up a project.  If this project pans out, then everything will be fine--I'll earn more money, I'll have other people's respect, I'll have better job opportunities, and everything will be not just fine, but great!

I have a job interview next week.  If I get that job, then I'll be able to pay my bills, move into a nicer place, afford better clothes and food, and be able to actually go out to eat and go to the movies every once in a while.

And everything would be just fine now if that certain someone hadn't screwed me over two years ago.  I lost everything I had, and I haven't been able to recover.  Every day has been miserable since then, because I haven't had any money, I lost my job, I had to move to a much cheaper place, and I've been worried constantly about everything.

These are examples of what it means to be living in the past or the future.  These are often the ways that we think about our lives--how good they're going to be when and if something good happens to us, or how good they would have been if something awful hadn't happened in the past.  These are just the kinds of thoughts that keep us from living in the present, that keep us from noticing the beautiful and wonderful things that surround us all day, every day.

   

If we know that we are now at the point where we have always
wanted to be, we will be there. . . because we are never
there but always here, now!

Paul Twitchell

   
I know many people who spend so much time worrying about the future, thinking about how great things are going to be in the future, agonizing over things that happened last week or last year, or holding on to anger for something that happened a long, long time ago.  They're not at all happy in the present moment because their minds are trapped in the past or the future, and they're unable to see the beautiful things in their lives right here and right now because they simply aren't focused on the present.  Instead, they're focused on a different time, keeping that in their minds instead of the now.

Most of us, of course, are hoping for and working towards better things in our future.  We hope for better jobs, more satisfying work, situations in which we're greatly appreciated, times when we can take long vacations and relax somewhere special.  If those things are in our future, that's great.  If they aren't, there's really nothing we can do about it right here and right now, so our best strategy is to love the moment we're living right now, to recognize in it the beauty and the miraculous things that make each moment very special, if we just take the time and make the effort to recognize it. 
    

I've stopped thinking all the time of what happened yesterday.  And
stopped asking myself what's going to happen tomorrow.
What's happening today, this minute, that's what I care about.


Nikos Kazantzakis

    
So what can we actually do to avoid this kind of tendency?  I find that the most effective thing for me is to simply stop and look around myself, and find something that's quite beautiful and/or amazing, and look at it very closely, trying to notice things about it that I might not have noticed before.

In Walker, one of my novels, the main character finds that trees are a very good object to focus on.  At first, he has no knowledge of any language, and he finds after he learns language that his thoughts start running and running, keeping him from focusing clearly on the present moment.  At one point, he stops and looks at a tree that he had just walked past without even noticing, and he takes in every detail he can, bringing himself back to the present moment in a very positive way.

Later in the novel, another character who is special to him dies.  He becomes lost in grief, thinking about what had happened and thinking of what he might have done to prevent the death if he could have.  Again, looking at a tree brings him back to the present moment, helping him to realize that life goes on.  The tree stands there faithfully, always existing in the present moment, and the tree itself is full of life and miraculous things like leaves and insects and branches and bark--and it's not worried at all about the past or the future.  It simply is, as we could be if we could but learn how to be so, and it can remind us of the importance of the now if we but take the time to notice it and actually receive its message.
   

I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future,
but only in the present can I act.  The ability to be in the present
moment is a major component of mental wellness.

Abraham Maslow

   
Maybe it will take some effort on your part.  Perhaps when you're talking to a friend or a loved one, you'll need to stop thinking about what you need to get done later and focus on the words the person is saying and the meanings of those words.  Maybe you'll need to truly forgive someone who did something awful to you so that your mind isn't caught up in yesterday's garbage any more.  It could be that you'll need to leave your phone at home so that you can focus on the people that are here with you now instead of thinking so much about people who are somewhere else, doing something else.

I tend to believe the people who tell me that I can improve the quality of my life experience if I'm able to focus on the here and now more strongly.  And because I believe them, I want to do the best I can to actually make the changes I need to make to improve my ability to live in the present moment.  When all is said and done, of course, the present moment really is one of the most important moments of our lives, because it truly is the only moment for which we are actually alive and actually participating.  Let's make it all that we can make it!  The effort most definitely is worth it.

   
More on now.

   
   
  

   

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Somebody was saying to Picasso that he ought to make pictures of things the way they are--objective pictures.  He mumbled that he wasn't quite sure what that would be.  The person who was bullying him produced a photograph of his wife from his wallet and said, "There, you see, that is a picture of how she really is."  Picasso looked at it and said, "She is rather small, isn't she?  And flat?"

Gregory Bateson

  
Creative Listening
Wilferd A. Peterson

One of the most important habits of a creative thinker is to be a good listener.  Stand guard at the ear-gateway to your mind, heart, and spirit.

Listen to the good.  Tune your ears to love, hope, and courage.  Tune out gossip and resentment.

Listen to the beautiful.  Listen to the music of the masters.  Listen to the symphony of nature--the hum of the wind in the treetops, bird songs, thundering surf. . .

Listen critically.  Mentally challenge assertions, ideas, and philosophies.  Seek the truth with an open mind.

Listen with patience.  Do not hurry the other person.  Show them the courtesy of listening to what they have to say, no matter how much you may disagree.  You may learn something.

Listen with your heart.  Practice empathy when you listen.  Put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Listen for growth.  Be an inquisitive listener.  Ask questions.  Everyone has something to say which will help you to grow.

Listen creatively.  Listen for ideas or the germs of ideas.  Listen for hints or clues that may spark creative projects.

Listen to yourself.  Listen to your deepest yearnings, your highest aspirations, your noblest impulses.  Listen to the better person within you.

Listen with depth.  Be still and listen.  Listen with the ear of intuition to the inspiration of the Infinite.

   

  

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you
because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most
unlikely places.  Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl

    

  

   

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