17 November  2015      

Hello, and thank you much for dropping by today!  We sincerely hope that
you're able to find something in this issue that speaks to you in a personal
manner, and that helps you in some real way in your life!

 The Wisdom of Why (an excerpt)
Anna Quindlen

 Commitments Must Be Made (an excerpt)
Robert Schuller

A Piece of Advice
tom walsh

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Success is not measured by how well you fulfill the expectations of others, but by how honestly you live up to your own expectations.

Linda Principe

Do not inflict your will.  Just give love.  The soul will take that love and put it where it can best be used.

Emmanuel

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.

Cicero

You are always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.

Richard Bach

  

The Wisdom of Why (an excerpt)
Anna Quindlen

When we were in college one ubiquitous bumper sticker read, QUESTION AUTHORITY.  It was a good piece of advice, but at the time we interpreted it too narrowly:  don't trust the power structure, the politicians, the parents.

Today we have a fuller, more satisfying sense of the meaning of those words.  We're unlearning so many lessons, about how we should live, be, work, feel.  We hold our fingers up to the prevailing winds of custom and behavior and think, nope, that's an ill wind.  It's not that we question authority, it's that we question who gets to be an authority in the first place.  The notion of what it means to be a woman, a mother, a father, even a human being, has changed so much during our lifetimes.  For every incarnation there was a set of shalt nots, and as each became obsolete, we became more skeptical about the commandments.  Who says?  By what authority?  Why this way and not that one?

For me, one of the greatest glories of growing older is the willingness to ask why and, getting no good answer, deciding to follow my own inclinations and desires.  Asking why is the way to wisdom.  Why are we supposed to want possessions that we don't need and work that seems besides the point and tight shoes and a fake tan?

Why are we supposed to think new is better than old, youth and vigor better than long life and experience?  Why are we supposed to turn our backs on those who have preceded us and to snipe at those who come after?

It's a sure bet that when we were small children we asked "Why?" constantly.  Why is the sky blue?  Why does the stove burn?  Why can't we eat grass?  Then, of course, it was a constant voyage of discovery, parsing the known universe by inches.  Asking the question now is a matter of testing the limits of what sometimes seems a narrow world, a world of unrealistic expectations, of conventional wisdom.  One of the useful things about age is realizing that conventional wisdom is often simply inertia with a candy coating of conformity.

It's funny how this works.  When we're little we want to do what we want to do when we want to do it.  Slowly but surely we learn to set our body clocks to some standard time.  Then a moment arrives when we learn to say "Why?" again, and to balk if the answer is unsatisfactory.  Maybe it's because we know there's no heft behind the consequences; at this point if someone says to me, "You can't do that," I'm perfectly capable of smiling, shrugging, and going full speed ahead.  The hard-and-fast rules don't seem so hard and fast.  That's how we get a handle on what we want to keep and what we can afford to jettison.  There's a fearlessness to our lives now that comes from knowing that the authorities we can accept and trust are close to home:  the people who went before us, the friends who confide and support, the voice inside that says, Ah, go ahead.  What have you got to lose?
  
  

In this irresistible memoir, Anna Quindlen writes about a woman’s life, from childhood memories to manic motherhood to middle age, using the events of her life to illuminate ours. Considering—and celebrating— everything from marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, parenting, faith, loss, to all the stuff in our closets, and more, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen uses her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages.

   

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Commitments Must Be Made
Robert H. Schuller

You're about to set a goal.  That's called commitment!

Possibilities have been weighed.

Priorities have been swayed.

Plans have been laid. . . and now

Commitments must be made.

It's your turn to step into the exciting circle where the seeds of success germinate and sprout.  Commitment!  This is where your positive possibility leaves the womb, where your dream takes on a life of its own.

A commitment has three necessary components:  vision, value, and voice.

* Vision.  You have it.  A dream has taken form and shape, moving out of your fantasy into reality.

* Value.  Your vision has profound value in your head and heart.  You're willing to die for it.

Voice.  The newborn life utters its first cry.  You make your commitment; you express your hope.  "Ask and you shall receive!"  It's time to communicate your commitment to creative power-persons.

It's time to move from secret dreaming to open sharing.  Connect with a carefully selected circle of positive-thinking friends, colleagues, and counselors.  Share your dream honestly and openly.

But be wise:  expose your vision only to positive-thinking persons.  And be careful:  never share a rewarding but risky vision with those who would have a conflict of interest.

Announce your intention to make a commitment to move ahead.  Brief your wise advisers and counselors on the goal-setting process you're going through.  Discuss how, when, and where you intend to begin and end.  Explain that you aren't driven by irresponsible folly.  Admit that your architecture of management has provided for exits, in case your colleagues advise you to detour your dream; explain your exit plans to reassure them.  As you take these steps, know that the plans you're laying have moved the dream from a silent secret in your mind to the public decision-making phase.

Commitments must be made.  That's where you are now.

Your mission statement will be honored if you make this first step:  commitment.  Your mission statement will be compromised, on the other hand, if you fail to commit to begin.  So here you go!

  
  

 

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, putting roadblocks of negative thinking in the path of life.Robert H. Schuller, author, motivator and host of the popular television show Hour of Power,  here illustrates his potent personal message of possibility thinking. Full of Dr. Schuller's infectious enthusiasm and down-to-earth practicality, If It's Going to Be, It's Up to Me,  details how you can tap into "dynamic divine energy" that leads to personal and spiritual success in any field. Dr. Schuller knows from his own experience, "If you can dream it, you can do it!"

   

   

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In our rough and rugged individualism, we think of gentleness as weakness,
being soft and virtually spineless.  Not so!  Gentleness includes such enviable
qualities as having strength under control, being calm and peaceful when
surrounded by a heated atmosphere, emitting a soothing effect on those
who may be angry or otherwise beside themselves, and possessing tact
and gracious courtesy that causes others to retain their self-esteem and
dignity.  Instead of losing, the gentle gain.  Instead of being ripped off
and taken advantage of, they come out ahead!

Charles Swindoll

   

 

A Piece of Advice

I'm always amazed when I hike down into the Grand Canyon and see the ways that people decide to hike.  I see all sorts of clothing and shoes, from flip-flops to dress pants to high heels to dresses that definitely weren't made for hiking.  Many of these people already are a mile or two down the trail and haven't yet turned around to make the grueling trip up to the top, so they still haven't learned about the mistakes that they're making.

I'm also amazed at the incredibly small amounts of water that people bring with them.  I've seen entire families of five or six people with just one small water bottle between them.  Many people go down a mile or two without any water at all--after all, they can buy water when they get back up to the Village.

All of these people are ignoring well-publicized advice from people who have a lot of experience in dealing with the results of people hiking into the Canyon poorly prepared.  There are signs and posters all over the place telling people to bring plenty of water and to dress appropriately, but while many people take the warnings seriously, many others ignore them completely.  I recently saw a couple with two kids stop at a sign on one of the trails that warns about not taking water.  "They could use our pictures for that sign," the woman said to her husband.  "Right down to the not having any water."  She seemed to think it was pretty funny, but their two kids looked pretty thirsty and weren't laughing.

Quite a few people get extremely sick each year, and several die for one simple reason--they've chosen to ignore advice from people who truly know what they're talking about and who truly care about everyone's well-being.

Why is it so easy for us to ignore advice?  I know that in my life, I've gotten a lot of advice from people who really weren't qualified to give advice.  Most of them give it because they think that their ways of doing things somehow are the best, and that others would be well off to do things the same way.  Most of it is well intentioned, but when people don't take into consideration that each of us must find our own ways in life then their advice simply falls flat.  I've received relationship advice from people who have terrible personal relationships, money advice from people on welfare, professional advice from people who aren't very well regarded in their professions, and marriage advice from people who never have been married.  As the amount of advice grows, it becomes easier and easier to take it with that grain of salt and ignore it, choosing instead to follow my own ideas about how something should be done or searching out more credible sources of advice.

But doctors who have dealt extensively with emphysema or lung cancer patients advise us not to smoke--and still many people choose to smoke.  People who have dealt with the horrible effects of alcoholism advise us not to drink to excess, yet many people still choose to turn to drink as a way to "escape" their problems or situations.  Law officers who have dealt with the mangled bodies in car wrecks advise us not to exceed the speed limit and not to tailgate and not to drink and drive, yet many people do all those things every day, ignoring the advice they've been given by people who know what they're talking about and who care about it.

Some people regularly ignore advice because they feel that by taking it, they're giving other people some sort of control over their lives.  This is untrue, though--no one has power over our lives or over who we are.  We may allow people to have influence over us, but that doesn't give them any power over who we are as human beings.

Personally, I know that I don't have enough time on this planet to study and to learn everything there is to know.  Therefore, I want to take advice from people who know much more than I in areas outside of my expertise.  I try to take the advice of doctors concerning food and nutrition and exercise, and I try to take the advice of financial experts when I need to figure out what to do with my money.  I try to take the relationship advice of and follow the models of people who have happy, successful relationships.  And I try to make sure that any professional advice that I follow comes from someone who is successful and well respected in the field.

We get advice all the time, even from people we don't know--marketers and advertisers, for example, who advice us to buy things or to use certain services--and every time we get advice we face a decision whether or not to follow it.  Many people are losing their houses now because they took the advice of lenders to take out variable interest rate loans--even though the lenders giving the advice had much to gain when their customers followed it and took out such a loan.

We can become effective at taking advice by asking ourselves some simple questions when we get it.  Who's giving it?  If this person isn't an authority on the subject, has no real interest in me as a human being, or will gain personally if I take the advice, then I want to think twice or thrice before taking it.  Does it concern something that concerns me?  Someone may be advising me to buy stock in a certain company, but since I'm not actively involved in the stock market and I've done no research on it, then this advice is irrelevant to me.  What can happen if I don't follow it?  If I don't take water into the Canyon, there could be some very serious health-related consequences.  If I don't buy a new stereo for my car, the consequences most certainly will be limited.

Taking advice--or not taking it--is simply a matter of choice.  But let us choose intelligently, with full consciousness of what we're doing and where it may lead us.  Only then can we say that we're doing the most with the lessons that so many other people have learned in their lives. 

   
   

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The Toltec tradition tells us that we surrender a portion of our life force when we dwell on any unhealed wounding event from our past.  The unprocessed emotions surrounding these events burden us and weigh heavily on our hearts.  They must be dealt with if we want access to all of our vitality.  Ultimately, what we will find is that forgiveness is the key to reclaiming all the life force locked in past hurt.

Debbie Ford

  
The one thing that carries people furthest from their spiritual center is negative thoughts.  Negative thoughts are unloving thoughts rooted in the downward passions of anger, ego, attachment, greed, and lust.  They're false thoughts that are divorced from clear reality.  We're not talking about pleasant fantasies and daydreams over which you have control, but mental scenes and confrontations that are riding on your back, yapping in your ear.  And try as you might, you can't shake them.  Negative thoughts are also just plain conversations and scenes, unresolved from the past or anticipated for the future, that keep playing over and over in your mind.  And try as you may, you can't change the tune.  You're a captive audience to this broken record. . . .
   As you become more aware of your mind's tendency to rule you with negative thoughts and scenes, don't go into a reaction mode and judge them.  They're merely stuck, downward energy that await resolution.  And please, don't judge yourself.  You are where you are.  Always imbibe self-love.  Furthermore, this doesn't mean that you identify with your thoughts, even thought that's what most people do.  What you can do is use your growing awareness to focus your spiritual power and reclaim the bliss that your lower mind destroys or prevents you from having.

Michael Goddart
Bliss
   
  

If we pretend to be more enlightened than we really are, we will
miss an opportunity to heal ourselves.  Admitting our limitations
can make us feel vulnerable, yet it is very freeing.  We just have
to be ourselves as we are now, accepting the mixture of enlightened
awareness and human limitation that is in each of us.  Through this
self-acceptance, we find a deep peace and self-love.

Shakti Gawain

    

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