25 August  2015      

Welcome to our final issue of August--autumn is making its way to us
slowly but steadily, and soon those of us in the northern hemisphere will
be treated to cool days and lovely colors as leaves lose their green!
But we still have almost four weeks of summer left, so enjoy them
as much as you possibly can!

Thanksgiving, Not Complaining
John Marks Templeton

Butterfly Living
David J. Pollay

What We Believe
tom walsh

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To be without some of the things you want
is an indispensable part of happiness.

Bertrand Russell

When the heart speaks, the mind
finds it indecent to object.

Milan Kundera

Down in their hearts, wise people know this truth:  the only way to help yourself is to help others.

Elbert Hubbard

Gratitude helps you grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of those around you.

Eileen Caddy

  

Thanksgiving, Not Complaining, Attracts People to You
John Marks Templeton

It was the four-year-old's birthday.  Around the room were strewn heaps of wrapping papers and tangles of ribbon.  Everyone smiled expectantly when the mother said, "Dear, what do you say now?"

The child answered, "Where are the rest of my presents?"

That may be typical behavior for a four-year-old, but how many of us still ask similar questions?  "Is this all I get?"  There seems to be an expectation of more--of something better, newer, faster, hotter, colder, bigger, grander.  We can be grateful for the things we have, or we can focus on things we don't have and make ourselves and others miserable.  Our mind has the power to determine if we'll be satisfied or left wanting more.  What is it we want so badly?  What is this emptiness we may be trying to fill?

Winston Churchill loved to tell the story of a little boy who fell off a pier into deep ocean water.  An old sailor, heedless of the great danger to himself, dived into the stormy water, struggled with the boy, and finally, exhausted, brought the lad to safety.  Two days later, the boy's mother came with him to the same pier, seeking the sailor who rescued her son.  Finding him, she asked, "Are you the one who dived into the water and rescued my son?"

"I am," the sailor replied.

The mother then quickly demanded, "Well, where's his hat?"

One might wonder how a hat could have such importance when a child's life had been at stake, but the story depicts how many people focus on what wrong rather than what's right.  One of the great truth principles is that the feeling of gratitude is a mighty energy that attracts all manner of good things to us.  When we make an effort to practice gratitude as a regular activity, it becomes obvious that life can be good, very good, and the expansively good!  The universe responds regularly to gratitude by providing more opportunities, friends, activities, and means for one's life to grow and expand.  Keep centered in the feeling of thanksgiving.  Your thanksgiving is a celebration of the truth, which can become an assurance of a continuity of blessings, leading toward happiness for you.

With great courage, give thanks also for the challenges in your life, for through them you can grow stronger and more aware.  The limitations of the realm of appearances often stand in the way of those who do not know this great law of increase through praise and thanksgiving.

One man who had reached the state of consciousness of being grateful for everything in his life was talking with some friends one day and commented that, if given a nucleus, even though it appeared useless, he could produce something without the use of capital.  His friends challenged him to prove his statement.  They found a pile of scrap tin which was about to be disposed of, chided him to begin with that worthless pile, and then left the shop laughing.

The man looked at the pile, concentrated his mind on the tin, and said, "I am grateful for this opportunity to open my mind to spirit.  This tin can tell me what it can do, what it can shape and form, and what can come out of it."  Then he sat quietly for a few minutes, holding a piece of tin in his hand.  There came to his mind a picture of a little matchbox.  So, he began to cut and bend and pretty soon he had shaped a matchbox.  The man called to a boy who was passing by and asked the lad to take the matchbox and sell it for forty percent commission.  The boy sold the matchbox for twenty-five cents.  The man, from his share of the profit, bought a bit of paint with which to decorate other matchboxes he had made.  Several neighborhood boys were then recruited to sell the colorful tin boxes.  Over the course of several weeks, the man's friends were shown the results of considerable capital which had been realized from the small and seemingly worthless pile of tin scraps.  The man demonstrated the capital of creative ideas coupled with an attitude of gratitude.

We often look for things outside ourselves to satisfy our deepest hungers.  We might hope for fame to fill our desire for belonging, or we may believe that money can bring satisfaction to our cravings.  Some may turn to drugs to alter their senses so they don't have to be conscious of failure and hopelessness.  These things result from the belief that we don't have what we need to be happy and productive.

"I can work better when I'm making more money," someone may say.  In truth, better work brings greater rewards, and the best work is done for the joy of working.  A great reward is a sense of having been of service to others and doing the job well.  "When I'm famous, everyone will love me," we may tell ourselves.  But fame doesn't bring true love.  One is loved for who one is, and everyone on the face of the globe is worthy of being loved.  This sense of being loved and lovable is the thing that attracts people to us.  When we know we're lovable, we can be alone without being lonely.  Knowing our true worth can be the best defense against the empty feelings that often lead one to mind-altering substances.  Being grateful for who we are and what we have puts a smile on our face and gives us a radiance that attracts even greater things to us. . . .

Praise, not complaining, increases the good and the blessing in whatever it is directed toward.  When we speak words of praise as our consistent, joyous response to life, we increase the good and draw out the best in others.  Isn't that the energy we want to program into our daily livingness!

  
  

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Butterfly Living
David J. Pollay

A few years ago, when Dawn and I were in Key West for a long weekend, we found ourselves on a street corner, poring over a map with our three- and four-year-old daughters at our side.  The map was spread open, and as we went back and forth about what to do next, our girls jumped right in and told us exactly what they wanted to do.

"We want to go to a museum of butterflies," said Ariela and Eliana.

Dawn and I had never been to a museum of butterflies.  We looked at the map, and sure enough there it was:  a museum of butterflies.  How our girls knew about the place, we had no idea.  It was near the end of Duvall Street.

Dawn and I looked at each other and said, "Let's go."

When we arrived at the museum, I bought tickets, and we were directed to a special pressurized entrance (you know the kind--the suction is so strong you get a new hairstyle on the way in) at the center of the museum.  And as soon as we walked into the main area we were immediately surrounded by thousands and thousands of butterflies, all flapping their multicolored wings.  They were absolutely beautiful.

I looked down at our girls.  They were jumping up and down and clapping their hands.

I knew we had made the right decision to come to the museum.  They were having so much fun.

I turned to our museum tour guide--just because I was curious--and asked, "How long do butterflies live?"

She said, "About ten days."

I thought to myself, "Ten days.  What can you do in ten days?"

So I asked her, "What do butterflies do in ten days?"

The guide stopped, looked at me, and said, "They make the world a more beautiful place."

"Wow," I said.  "I never thought about butterflies like that.  Thank you."

After we said goodbye, I couldn't stop thinking about what the guide had said.  She was right:  We all have something to offer the world with the time we have.  When we focus our natural gifts on taking care of each other every day, we fulfill the Third Promise.

We Make a Difference.

Appreciate the impact you have on your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors.  Like a butterfly, you have your own way of making the world a little better for everyone.  Embrace the opportunity to contribute to others.  Your life matters.  Make it a point in coming days to demonstrate the impact you have on others by offering a hand to people in need.
  
  

In his blockbuster book The Law of the Garbage Truck David J. Pollay showed how to deflect the negativity that derails our goals and leaves us stressed and miserable. Now, in this inspiring follow-up, Pollay explains how making three simple promises to yourself—“to find joy every day, do what you love, and make a difference”—can radically enhance every aspect of your life. Illustrating his points through memorable, personal stories, Pollay makes it simple to practice transformative strategies that help us achieve fulfillment.

   

   

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For years, the people of Canyon Bluff have shared the stories of the Nogglz, their own version of the monsters in the closet. "If you don't behave, the Nogglz will come and get you and carry you down into the mines," they've told their children. Of course, they were just stories. Nobody could have stayed alive in an old mine for six decades. But when one of their own is brutally murdered one cold November night, it may be time to come to terms with the sins of their fathers and their own ties to the town's dreadful past. And for the sheriff and his deputy and the state troopers who are called to the town to deal with the murder, an ordinary day becomes an extraordinary battle for simple survival.
 
Sometimes I write things just to tell a story, but I just can't help mentioning some life lessons, even in a novel about creatures running amok in an old mining town in the Colorado mountains.  Nogglz is available in print by clicking here, or as a Kindle e-book by using the link to the left.  Using the mining town as the setting is a tribute to my mother, who grew up in a tiny mining town herself, and who has never left there in her heart.

   

You can understand and relate to most people if you look at them--
no matter how old or impressive they may be--as if they are children.
For most of us never really grow up or mature all that much--we
simply grow taller.  Oh, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and
wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume
is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose
daily life is still best described by fairy tales.

Leo Rosten

   

 

What We Believe

I have many students in college who believe that they're not as good as the other people in the classes with them.  I've felt the exact same thing for most of my life, due to beliefs that were instilled in me when I was very young.  I learned to believe things that simply never have been true--that I'm not as talented as other people, that I'm not as worthy as other people, that my life has more limits in it that other people's lives.  Every day I run across other people who have very limiting beliefs, too--people who end up limiting themselves because of some flawed beliefs that they have about who they are and how they fit into this world in which we live.

I don't want to believe wrong things.  I don't want to believe that I'm not as good as other people, and I really do my best to battle these beliefs when they rear their ugly heads and try to limit me in my life.  It's very frustrating to know that so many of the limitations that I face are self-created because of belief systems that I've held for years on end.

It's a very difficult task, though, to separate beliefs from knowledge.  Do I know that I'm not as good as other people, or do I believe that?  Because if I believe it, the chances are that I'm actually going to act as if I weren't as good as others, right?

And if I act that way, then how are others going to treat me?  They're going to be compelled to treat me the way that I act.  And then my belief actually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

   

Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you
believe about yourself.  We cannot outperform our level
of self-esteem.  We cannot draw to ourselves more
than we think we are worth.

Iyanla Vanzant

   
It's extremely important that we not only recognize our own beliefs, but also consider them carefully to judge their accuracy and their helpfulness.  If our beliefs are flawed, then we need to know this.  If you believe that a certain act is rude but none of the people you know also consider the act to be rude, then you have to reconsider that belief.  Life changes, too, and things that we believed when we were younger are no longer valid beliefs.  It used to be rude to wear a hat indoors, for example, but that social norm has changed.  When I was young, the belief that a person was being rude by wearing a hat indoors was a logical belief based on social norms.  That same belief today, though, is completely inaccurate, as an entire generation has grown to adulthood without that social norm.  My belief that wearing a hat indoors is rude, then, is simply outdated and no longer valid.

In this case, it's important to change that belief if we don't want to constantly reach inaccurate judgments about people and their actions.

Personally, I still don't feel comfortable wearing a hat indoors, and I always take mine off when I go inside.  But I no longer look at other people and think to myself that they're doing something that's impolite, because I no longer believe that's true.  They're simply following the norms that they've learned from their culture, and they completely believe that there's no problem with what they do.

A very powerful film that I once saw is called Prayers for Bobby, about a woman whose son is gay.  She believes that this is wrong, and that he can be changed or "healed," and that his sexual orientation is deviant.  When he commits suicide, though, she's forced to confront her beliefs about homosexuality, and she becomes a strong advocate for gay rights because she's able to recognize her beliefs and actually change them.  Her beliefs contributed to the loss of her son, but by changing her beliefs she actually improves the quality of her life.  She's a happier and more fulfilled person when she doesn't feel the need to judge others for not living up to what she believes is right.
    

We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs,
but find ourselves with an illicit passion for them when
anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship.
It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear
to us, but our self-esteem that is threatened.

James Harvey

    
How many of our beliefs are ours simply because we've learned them from parents or some other authority figures?  How much do we believe simply because other people that we like believe the same things?

And how many of our friends become our friends because we believe similar things?  How many people do we reject out of hand as possible friends because our beliefs don't match up?  Shared beliefs are very comforting to us, and they definitely influence how we see other people--in fact, much of our conversation tends to be about looking for similarities in our belief systems.  As soon as someone says they agree with us about a belief, we feel more comfortable with that person, and we tend to want to spend more time with him or her.

And James Harvey points out one of the more negative aspects of beliefs--how they cause us to be defensive as soon as someone challenges them.  How many arguments have we gotten into because we disagree with another person about something we believe in?  How many opportunities to learn have we lost because we believe something different than what's being presented to us?  How often do we refuse to read something because the headline tells us it's about something that we don't believe in?

And as he also mentions, these beliefs have been formed in ways that we're not always sure of.  Where do your beliefs come from?  How did they originate?  We need to start paying attention to their formation if we're going to be sure that our beliefs serve us properly.
   

Become aware of your beliefs and automatic default settings.  Bring
them into the light of your present, adult knowledge.  Gently
acknowledge that they are what they are.  Then accept that they
constitute what you've believed until now, and that you can
transform them into beliefs that allow you to fully express
who you really are.  Without judgment, patiently begin working
to change subconscious and limiting beliefs into true
expressions of your authentic self.

Sue Patton Thoele

   
How do your beliefs serve you?  Do they help you to grow and to learn and to become a better person, or do they limit your openness to other ways of thinking, other ways of seeing the world?  Do you hide behind your beliefs in fear of losing them?  Do they make you feel safe and secure?  Do they expand your mind and your consciousness, or do they keep it closed off to new ideas?

Where did you get your beliefs?  Did you develop your own set of beliefs based on your learning and your experience, or did you borrow the beliefs that authority figures told you that you should adopt?  Are they the result of your own thinking and your own judgment, or are they the result of wanting to fit in and be part of a certain group of people?

If we want our beliefs to be a positive part of our lives, then we need to be fully aware of what they are, where they came from, and how they affect us.  Or, on the other hand, we can decide to use the words "I don't know" much more often, and refuse to adopt beliefs until we know enough about something to make up our minds about it.  Because a very important question to ask ourselves is very simple:  Do I really need to have a belief about this?

   
More on beliefs.

   

One of the most important elements
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An expanded edition of Just for Today from Living Life Fully Publications:  Over a year of "Just for Today" passages from our popular e-mail daily quotations, and our new expanded edition includes over 180 reflections on those thoughts.  Full of ideas and focal points that you can use to help to make your day brighter and more fulfilling as you focus on different ways of giving and awareness of the blessings in your life!  Click on the image to the left for the print version.     Kindle Version

   
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Patient people enjoy the pleasure of saying to whoever is feeling anxious about delays--restaurant servers, clerks waiting on the telephone to get your credit card verified, dry cleaners who were sure your sweater would be ready--"It's okay.  These things happen."  Patience, in a rushed world, is a shared relief.  Witnesses to patient transactions, as well as participants, all get to calm down.

Sylvia Boorstein

  
One of the great heroes of Tibetan Buddhism, a man called Milarepa, once encountered a host of demons bent on driving him mad with fear.  Some of them he chased away.  Others he tamed with his huge compassion.  But the biggest, meanest, ugliest monster of all simply would not leave until Milarepa, acting either on his profound intuition or a drug overdose, walked straight up to it and lay down in its mouth.  As it swallowed him, the demon disappeared, and Milarepa achieved enlightenment.

Whenever you are contemplating a risk that is necessary to achieve your heart's desires, there will come a time when the only options are to live with a demon spirit--the ghost of a hope that will not leave you and will not die--or walk right into the thing that terrifies you most.  After going through it a few times, you'll recognize such situations sooner, and walk toward the monster with less uncertainty.  Oh, you'll still be scared.  If you're doing something really important, you'll be scared beyond description.  But you'll also feel the yearning to go on, fear or no fear.  You'll find that you can take that sweetness into the most dangerous undertakings, and that just as your terror destroys the person you used to be, someone stronger and braver always appears.  It really doesn't matter what risk you take.

Martha Beck
The Joy Diet
   
  

Tolerance is understanding.  It is open to new light.
Those who are tolerant are always eager to explore
viewpoints other than their own.

Wilferd A. Peterson

    

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