29 September  2015      

Good day, and welcome to our newest issue!  We find ourselves at the end
of September and the beginning of autumn, and we sincerely hope that you're
able to end the former well and begin the latter wonderfully!

Take a Deep Breath, Decide to Enjoy Life,
and Feed the Birds      Brian Dickerson

How to Change the Life You're Giving Yourself
Guy Finley

Listen Closely
tom walsh

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Remember that you are all people
and that all people are you.

Joy Harjo

All prosperity begins in the mind and is dependent only upon the full use of our creative imagination.

Ruth Ross

Flowers do not force their way with great strife.  Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun.  Don't be in a hurry about spiritual matters.  Go step by step, and be very sure.

White Eagle

To try to extinguish the drive for riches with money is like trying to quench a fire by pouring butterfat over it.

Hindu proverb

  

Take a Deep Breath, Decide to Enjoy Life, and Feed the Birds
Brian Dickinson

(A note:  This is an article that we revisit from time to time, for its message and its sources are important to anyone who wishes to live their lives fully.  That a man in his position was able to write such positive and uplifting words is truly remarkable.)

Time to take a deep breath--a deep breath, then pause. There.  Feel better already, don't you?  Close your eyes. Tight.  Count to 10.  Slowly.  Afterwards--eyes still closed, mind you--think of a particularly upbeat something that you did this year.  Call up an image of this episode.  Why is it memorable?  How long will you remember?

You say this hear hasn't been an especially upbeat year for you?  That happens.  No problem.  Go back two, three years-- more if you need to-- until you come upon an image that makes you smile.  The important thing is to stay in the game.

When in doubt, feed the birds.

Write a letter.  The exercise will benefit your immortal soul and absolutely floor the recipient, who probably hasn't received a letter from anyone since Earl Butz was secretary of agriculture.  Teach yourself to tie a few good knots. While you're at it, knit up the raveled sleeve of care.  Allow ten minutes extra for everything.  When worried, just remember the words of Bernard de Clairvaux:  "Hey, babe, chill. Things could be worse."

Feed the birds.

Listen as the tea kettle whistles.  Watch it steam up the kitchen windows.  Write down Grandmother's recipe for potato pancakes Parmesan, before you lose it again.  Avoid throngs.  Laugh out loud when you feel like it.  For one day, leave your wristwatch at home.  Learn to whittle; throw shavings into the fireplace, where they will do some good.

Break the mold.

Drive a different route to work.  Say "good morning" to those glowering faces in the elevator (don't worry:  Most people don't bite).  Be aware of the fact that that rock salt on sidewalks can kill grass.  Watch dawn arrive; see how many colors the sky turns.

Take a deep breath.

Count your blessings.

Harboring a grudge against someone?  Has it helped?  (Didn't think so.)  Sing, if only in the shower.  Get older family members to tape their reminiscences.  Wiggle your toes.  Next time you make chili, add extra spice.  Whistle while you work.  Go for a good long walk; stretch those legs, including those important Achilles tendons, so easily forgotten in the hectic pace of today's living.

Take the dog.

Remember what my father used to say.  When I was a boy, and about to head off somewhere or other, my father always used to say, "Don't do anything dumb!"

Remember to feed the birds.

Take a chance now and then.  Look for a new friend. 

Telephone an old friend.  Seize the moment.  Believe in yourself.  If you keep kicking yourself, you're going to fall down.  Davey Crockett, he of the long rifle and wild frontier, said:  "Make sure you're right, then go ahead," which put it nicely.  A carpenter says:  "Measure twice, cut once."

Take your choice.

Breathe deeply.  Let your memory slip back to that summer when you were quite small, at the beach with your family, and your father hoisted you onto his shoulders and waded into the lake until his knees were covered.  You had never seen so much water.  You trusted your father totally.

Close your eyes.  Squint hard, relax.  How long ago was that first date with the person you later married-- 25 years? 30 years?  More?  Certainly a long, long time.  Just as certainly, a very short time.  How can it be both?

I've no idea.  But it is.

Smile.  Give a loved one a good, strong hug, just on general principles; because we never can tell, can we?

Don't forget to feed the birds.

Think about this for a moment.  Humans are said to be the only creatures with a time sense, including an ability to contemplate such a thing as the future.  Does it follow that humankind is the only species able to deal with the concept of hope?  I suspect that we are. I do believe that the capacity for hope can help us meet stiff challenges.

Open the bedroom window a crack at night; sleep in fresh air.

Take a time-out now and then as a way of reducing stress.  It works for sports teams, long-distance truckers and troublesome toddlers; so why shouldn't it work for you?

Seize the moment.  Make it your own.  One never has quite enough moments, although we don't know this when we are young.  Then, if we look ahead, we see an endless stream full of moments, so many that we could never count them, and all of them ours for the taking.  Before we know it, though, the stream has shrunk dramatically and the available moments are growing scarce; and we wish that we had gone after them more assiduously when the stream was full.

So, we say again:  Seize the moment-- while you can.

As long as you are seizing moments, use the opportunity to divest yourself of all that residual guilt you're carrying around.  Guilt gives us warts and yellow teeth, among other things, and never did anyone any good.  Gather up your guilt, wrap with care and send it Federal Express to my cousin Pearl in Bayonne, who can never get enough of the stuff.

Forgive.  Smile.  Walk.  (Oh, do walk when you can.)  Share.  Reach.  Laugh.  Teach.  Learn.  Run.  Believe.  Lift.  Climb.  Understand.  Explore.  Give.  Appreciate.  And, since you can never do it all, savor the small moments that, aggregated, become great.  Stay in the game — oh, and do remember to look after the birds.

   
* * * *
   

Brian Dickinson was a Providence Journal editorial writer who stirred thousands of readers with his masterful, elegant columns long after Lou Gehrig's disease left him with the control only of his eyes.  He died at the age of 64.  For nearly a decade, helped by a series of remarkable computer devices, an array of medical machines and the constant attention of his family, Mr. Dickinson worked at his writing daily, even though he could neither speak nor move his arms, hands or fingers.  To read a feature on Dickinson written during his last days, click here.
   

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How to Change the Life You're Giving Yourself
Guy Finley

We meet life, with all of its complex relationships, through what we know. Each daily event, with its dozens of unsuspected twists and turns, challenges us to come up with our best answers. Once our most suitable answer is at hand, we launch it and ourselves into action and watch to see what happens. With each situation this challenge and response process is repeated over and over again, until the condition resolves itself for us, either favorably or not.

At any given moment we always do what we know. This may seem very obvious, but with closer examination, especially in light of the fact we wish to elevate ourselves and what we are getting from this life, we will discover something very astounding.

Read the next three sentences very carefully. I have separated this trio of important ideas for ease of reading, but they are very much connected to each other. Each higher idea leads to the next one, and when they are absorbed all together, they will tell you a great secret.

Before you can get anything different from this life, you must first do something different.

Before you can do anything different with your life, you must first know something different.

Before you can know anything different, you must first suspect and then confirm that it is your present level of understanding that has brought you what you now wish you could change.

Now let's reverse the order of these right ideas so that we can see how they work from the other way around.

Until you know something different you cannot do anything different.

Until you do something different you will not get anything different.

And until you really get something different from your life you cannot know what you have missed and how much more there is to understand.

Here's the point. Trying to change what you get from life without first changing what you know about life is like putting on dry clothes over wet ones and then wondering why you keep shivering. You must stop trying to change what you are getting for yourself and go to work on changing what you are giving to yourself.

It is vital for you to realize that life has not held back its riches from you. The truth be known, which it will be, you have been held back from real life by a false nature which thinks life is meant to be suffered through and that all there is to insulate it from a harsh world is what it can win and possess for itself.

While there is no denying our world is becoming more and more cruel, there is also no denying that we are the world. Neither our individual world nor the global one can change until the connection between what we experience and who we are is no longer denied.

This is why we must have a new knowledge. Spiritual knowledge isn't something mysterious or out of this world. In fact, spiritual understanding is the most important and practical knowledge a person can possess. It is ultimately what we know about ourselves, about who we really are, that determines the quality of our life.

The truth is we cannot separate our answers from our actions and our actions from their results. They may appear to be individual in their operation because they often occur at different times, but they are really one thing. Intellectually we already know this important concept, but its deep significance hasn't yet become clear.

Let's look at the old adage, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." Here we can see a new significance in this New Testament teaching. What you sow is seed or, in this metaphor, your knowledge. What you reap is the crop, or your results. This spiritual knowledge shows us the great importance of reconsidering what we think we know. Life is trying to reach us and teach us, through our experience of it, that we need new and true answers. These higher answers serve as a special kind of personal shelter that effortlessly keeps out what is harmful and keeps in what is healthy and life-giving. That is its nature.

Here are five examples of how these higher answers can work for you. You'll see how each one also suggests a new action and promises a new result. Remember that each complete section, one through five, represents a whole action. In reality, you cannot separate your answers from your actions and your actions from their results. Just as warmth must follow sunlight, so must a higher, happier life follow when inner-light is allowed to flourish.

1. Your New Answer: Real strength is the refusal to act from weakness.

Your New Action: See where you have been calling inner-weakness an inner strength; such as calling anxiety concern, or anger righteousness. Dare to live without these false strengths.

Your New Result: The end of your confusion and pain over why your strength so often fails you. At the same time you will realize the birth of a new and true strength that never turns into its weak opposite.


2. Your New Answer: Have the courage to proceed even while knowing that you are afraid.

Your New Action: Dare to take one shaky step after another.

Your New Result: Freedom from a life of fear because fear cannot exist whenever insight is valued above feeling frightened.

3. Your New Answer: Forgiveness is the personal understanding that except for circumstance there is no real difference between you and your offender.

Your New Action: In spite of all the inner-screams to the contrary, dare to treat your trespasser as you would want to be treated.

Your New Result: When you stop punishing others for their weakness, you will stop punishing yourself for yours.


4. Your New Answer: Compassion is the conscious refusal to add to another person's suffering, even though it may seem to increase yours.

Your New Action: Dare to shoulder one hundred times the mental and emotional weight you think you can carry.

Your New Result: Contained right within the suffering is the glimpse that there is no sufferer.

5. Your New Answer: Real hope is the fact that there is always a Higher Solution.

Your New Action: See that any time you feel pained or defeated, it is only because you insist on clinging to what doesn't work. Dare to let go and you won't lose a thing except for a punishing idea.

Your New Result: A new life that fears no inner or outer challenge since defeat can only exist in the absence of a willingness to learn.


Now that you have reviewed these five new and true answers, you may wish to write down some of your own. This is highly profitable for accelerating your inner growth. Don't be discouraged if at first you can't come up with any new ideas. There is great gain in your efforts because even the smallest attempt to find new answers is a new answer! The more you work with truthful principles, the more they will work for you.

Always remember when you work with powerful higher ideas such as these that there are many temporarily unknown parts of yourself that may try to mislead you. They know that your growing true spiritual insight will lead you away from their harmful influence and deliver you to true safety. No matter what the harmful voices within may say, whosoever puts the Truth first will never lose anything except for that which was never real in the first place.
  

With more than 200,000 copies sold, Guy Finley's message of self-liberation has touched people around the world. Discover how to extinguish self-defeating thoughts and habits that undermine true happiness. Exploring relationships, depression, and stress, his inspiring words can help you let go of debilitating anxiety, unnecessary anger, paralyzing guilt, and painful heartache. True stories, revealing dialogues, and thought-provoking questions will guide you toward the endless source of inner strength and emotional freedom that resides within us all.

   

   

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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.

   

Children learn about the nature of the world from their family.  They
learn about power and about justice, about peace and about compassion
within the family.  Whether we oppress or liberate our children in our
relationships with them will determine whether they grow up
to oppress and be oppressed or to liberate and be liberated.

Desmond Tutu

   

 

Listen Closely

There's a talent that I wish I had more strongly than I do.  There are times when I'm a very good listener, but there are other times when I do much more talking than I do listening, and I think I lose a lot when I do that.  I lose the opportunity to learn from other people, I lose the chance to find out how others are feeling, and I lose the chance to allow someone else to vent their feelings and let some important things out.

I think my biggest problem is that I'm a teacher by profession, and as a matter of course, we're always expected to have answers, no matter what.  So I get used to speaking and sharing my thoughts, and I get out of practice with my listening, and learning from other people's thoughts.

   

Listening is not merely not talking, though even that
is beyond most of our powers; it means taking a
vigorous, human interest in what is being told us.

Alice Deur Miller

   
But when I do listen, I find that allowing others to do the talking is one of the most rewarding experiences around.  Sometimes I can almost see people grow as they share more and become more confident, more aware that someone is showing them the respect of listening to their ideas and thoughts.

When we listen to others, we validate the importance of what they think, what they believe.

When we listen to others, we show them respect, and respect adds to their feelings of dignity.

When we listen to others, we hear new ways of perceiving things, often things that we take for granted.
    

Sainthood emerges when you can listen to someone's tale of woe
and not respond with a description of your own.

Andrew V. Mason

    
Some of the most important conversations in my life have been those in which I've said little to nothing, but in which I've listened closely to what the other person has had to say.  And instead of trying to put in my two cents' worth or sharing my experiences or ideas, I've asked questions based on what the other person has said.  This focus on the other person and what he or she has been saying has been beneficial to both of us, and I've walked away from those conversations a richer person.  Some of the most important classes that I've taken have been the ones in which I've simply sat and listened, and perhaps asked a question or two for clarification or more information.  Asking such questions demonstrates that one has, indeed, been listening, and that what someone else has said is valuable.

Douglas Noll, a California lawyer who specializes in "peacemaking and resolution of intractable conflicts," puts it this way:  "We rarely have the experience of being deeply heard by others.  Most of the time, others tune out while we speak.  When we can listen to others, especially in deep, intractable conflicts, we learn about ourselves and our capacities for positive good.  When we are listened to, we feel honest respect and appreciation.  Conflict cannot exist in such an environment and harmony flourishes."

   

God speaks to us every day
only we don't know how to listen.

Mohandas Gandhi

   
Think about your last conversation.  How much do you remember of what the other person said?  How much could you write down as a summary?  And how much have you forgotten?  If you're like most people, you spent much of your time thinking about your own responses rather than listening to the other person.  If you can break that habit, you'll definitely be a richer person.

By the way, listening to other people isn't the only way that listening can make you richer.  When was the last time you stopped to listen to the wind blow through the trees?  Or stopped to listen to a river as it flowed past you, or the crickets and frogs and other living things as they make their music?  When was the last time you listened--truly listened--to a favorite song, paying attention to the lyrics, the drums, the rhythm, the guitars or strings?  How about the sound of your own breathing, or your heartbeat?  There are so many things that we can listen to regularly, but that we never take the time to stop and truly hear, that it's kind of a shame--we're robbing ourselves of a great opportunity to get a bit more in tune with the world, to hear the magic and wonder that's there all the time.

But we can hear it only if we make the conscious choice to stop and listen.

   
More on listening.

   

One of the most important elements
of living life fully is awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively. In the twelve years of livinglifefully.com's existence, this essay series has been a mainstay of the weekly e-zine--a series that has explored not just the things that exist and that happen around us, but also our reactions to those things. The first five years of the column are now available exclusively on Kindle.

   

  

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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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Calm soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city's jar,
That there abides a peace of thine,
Man did not make, and cannot mar!

The will to neither strive nor cry,
The power to feel what others give!
Calm, calm me more! nor let me die
Before I have begun to live.

Matthew Arnold

  

Relief Is Just a Pivot Away
Carol James

You’re tense, tired, edgy, perhaps even angry, hurt or feeling abused.  But before dealing directly with the source of whatever provoked your feelings, get yourself into a more balanced and resourceful state of mind.  Then you will be able to see your situation more objectively and work on a more permanent solution. Here are four easy ways to pivot:


Take a Break.
No matter how difficult the situation may appear to be, a change of pace can help you open up new ways of looking at the problem.  Stop what you’re doing and find something else to do.  Focus your mind on anything but the cause of your stress.  For example, if you’re working on a stressful task, find another task to work on.

Practice Deep Breathing
.
Breathing!  It's one of the simplest yet most effective ways to manage stress's effects on your body.  When you’re stressed, you have a tendency to breathe more shallowly and rapidly – some people even hold their breath – depriving your body of vital oxygen.  To promote a relaxation response, breathe slowly and deeply.

Work It Off Physically. 
Physical activities like stretching, walking or yoga can help relax both your mind and your body.  Even a five- or ten-minute movement break can go a long way toward helping your body reduce the tension caused by stress.

Appreciate What’s Working.
 
The more you focus on problems, the more stressed out you’ll feel.  Likewise, the more you dwell on what’s working, the better you’ll feel.  Review in your mind or make a list of everything that’s "right" with your job.  You may discover that you can’t be in a stressed out state and an appreciative state at the same time.  For this reason, appreciation can be one of the most powerful tools for easing tension and feeling better immediately.

You may find that once you release the tension and take your focus off the problem, the solution will magically appear.


* * * * * 

© Copyright Carol James  
caroljames.com
Inspired Living empowers people to live an inspired life through a chat list, newsletter, books, coaching, workshops and an extensive library of motivating articles, stories and more.

   
  

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others
only a green thing which stands in the way.  To the eyes of people
of imagination Nature is Imagination itself.  As we are, so we see.

William Blake

    

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