8 December  2015      

Good day!  Another week has come into our lives, so it's time for another
issue of our e-zine.  As we make our ways towards the end of this current
year, we hope that you're able to end your year in very positive ways, and
that you're able to enter the new year with hope and love and peace of
mind and heart.  Please make the end of your year a very special time!

Success:  A Worthy Destination
Earl Nightingale

 Creating and Living Your Ideal Legacy
Steve Brunkhorst

Strategies for Making Your Season Bright
tom walsh

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I am motivated simply by my awareness of the impact today's actions have on tomorrow's circumstances.

Chase Streetman

You will find more in woods than in books.  Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from the masters.

St. Bernard

The joy of all mysteries is the certainty which comes from their contemplation, that there are many doors yet for the soul to open on her upward and inward way.

Arthur Christopher Benson

When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength.  Give thanks for your food and the joy of living.  If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

Tecumseh

  

Success:  A Worthy Destination
Earl Nightingale

The stories of people achieving unusual success despite all manner of handicaps never fail to capture our attention.  Theyíre inspirational to be sure.  But theyíre much more than that if we study them closely.  The boy whose legs were terribly burned and who was told heíd be lucky to ever walk again becomes a champion track star.  The woman blind and deaf from infancy becomes one of the most inspirational figures of the century.  And the poor children who rise to fame and fortune have nearly become commonplace.

In this age of unprecedented immigration, we see examples of people who start off in this world with virtually nothing and within a surprisingly short time have become wonderfully successful.

What sets these people apart, people with vast handicaps such as not knowing the language, not knowing the right people, not having any money?  What drives the boy with the burned legs who becomes the champion runner or a Helen Keller, blind and deaf who becomes one of the most inspirational figures of our time?  The answer, if fully understood, will bring you and me anything and everything we truly want, and itís deceptively simple.  Perhaps itís too simple.

The people weíve talked about here and the thousands currently doing the same thing all over the world are in possession of something the average person doesnít have.

They have goals.  They have a burning desire to succeed despite all obstacles and handicaps.  They know exactly what they want; they think about it every day of their lives.  It gets them up in the morning, and it keeps them giving their very best all day long.  Itís the last thing they think about before dropping off to sleep at night.  They have a vision of exactly what they want to do, and that vision carries them over every obstacle.

This vision, this dream, this goal, invisible to all the world except the person holding it, is responsible for perhaps every great advance and achievement of humankind.  Itís the underlying motive for just about everything we see about us.  Everything worthwhile achieved by men and women is a dream come true, a goal reached.  Itís been said that what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Itís the fine building where before there was an empty lot or an old eyesore.  Itís the bridge spanning the bay.  Itís landing on the moon.  And itís that little convenience store in Midtown Manhattan.  Itís the lovely home on a tree-shaded street and the young person accepting the diploma.  Itís a low golf handicap and a position reached in the world of business.  Itís a certain income attained or amount of money invested.  What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

We become what we think about. And when weíre possessed by an exciting goal, we reach it.  Thatís why itís been said, ďBe choosy, therefore, of what you set your heart upon.  For if you want it strongly enough, youíll get it.Ē

Americans can have anything they want.  The trouble is they donít know what they want. Oh, they want little things.  They want a new car; they get it.  They want a new refrigerator; they get it.  They want a new home and they get it.  The system never fails for them, but they donít seem to understand that it is a system.  Nor that if itíll work for a refrigerator or a new car, it will work for anything else they want very much, just as well.

Goals are the very basis of any success. It is in fact the definition of success. The best definition of success Iíve ever found goes like this, ďSuccess is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.Ē Or in some cases the pursuit of a worthy ďideal.Ē Itís a beautiful definition of success. It means that anyone whoís on course toward the fulfillment of a goal is successful.

Now, success doesnít lie in the achievement of a goal, although thatís what the world considers success; it lies in the journey toward the goal.  Weíre successful as long as weíre working toward something we want to bring about in our lives.  Thatís when the human being is at his or her best.  Thatís what Cervantes meant when he wrote, ďThe road is better than the inn.Ē  Weíre at our best when weíre climbing, thinking, planning, working. When weíre on the road toward something we want to bring about.

With our definition, success being the progressive realization of a worthy goal, we cover all the bases.  The young person working to finish school is as successful as any person on earth.  The person working toward a particular position with his or her company is just as successful.  If you have a goal that you find worthy of you as a person, a goal that fills you with joy at the thought of it, believe me, youíll reach it.  But as you draw near and see that the goal will soon be achieved, begin to think ahead to the next goal youíre going to set.  It often happens that a writer halfway through a book will hit upon the idea for his next one and begin making notes or ideas for a title even while heís finishing work on the one in progress.  Thatís the way it should be.

Itís estimated that about 5% of the population achieves unusual success.  For the rest, average seems to be good enough.  Most seem to just drift along, taking circumstances as they come, and perhaps hoping from time to time that things will get better.

I like to compare human beings with ships, as Carlyle used to do.  Itís estimated that about 95 percent can be compared to ships without rudders, subject to every shift of wind and tide.  Theyíre helplessly adrift, and while they fondly hope that they will one day drift into some rich and bustling port, for every narrow harbor entrance, there are 1,000 miles of rocky coastline.  The chances of their drifting into port are 1,000 to 1 against them. Our state lottery is a tax on such people.  So are the slot machines in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.  Someone wins from time to time to be sure, but the odds are still there. . .  stacked steeply against them.

But the 5 percent who have taken the time and exercised the discipline to climb into the driverís seat of their lives, whoíve decided upon a challenging goal to reach and have fully committed themselves to reaching it, sail straight and far across the deep oceans of life, reaching one port after another and accomplishing more in just a few years than the rest accomplish in a lifetime.

If you should visit a ship in port and ask the captain for his next port of call, heíll tell you in a single sentence.  Even though the captain cannot see his port, his destination for fully 99% of the voyage, he knows itís there.  And then, barring an unforeseen and highly unlikely catastrophe, heíll reach it.  If someone asks you for your next port of call, your goal, could you tell him?  Is your goal clean and concise in your mind?  Do you have it written down?  Itís a good idea.  We need reminding, reinforcement.  If you can get a picture of your goal and stick it to your bathroom mirror, itís an excellent idea to do so.  Thousands of successful people carry their goals written on a card in their wallets or purses.

When you ask people what theyíre working for, chances are theyíll answer in vague generalities.  They might say, ďOh, good health or happiness or lots of money.Ē  Thatís not good enough.  Good health should be a universal goal.  We all want that, and do our best to achieve and maintain it.  Happiness is a byproduct of something else. And lots of money is much too vague.  It might work, but I think itís better to choose a particular sum of money.  The better, the clearer our goal is defined, the more real it becomes to us, and before long, the more attainable.

Happiness comes from the direction in which weíre moving.  Children are happier on Christmas morning before opening their presents than they are Christmas afternoon.  No matter how wonderful their presents may be, itís after Christmas.  Theyíll enjoy their gifts, to be sure, but we often find them querulous and irritable Christmas afternoon. Weíre happier on our way out to dinner than we are on the way home.  Weíre happier going on vacation than we are coming home from it.  And weíre happier moving toward our goals than even after theyíve been accomplished, believe it or not.

Life plays no favorites.  Yet of one thing you may be sure, you will become what you think about.  If your thinking is circular and chaotic, your life will reflect that chaos.  But if your thinking is orderly and clear, if you have a goal thatís important for you to reach, then reach it you will. One goal at a time.  Thatís important. Thatís where most people unwittingly make their mistake.  They donít concentrate on a single goal long enough to reach it before theyíre off on another track, then another, with the result that they achieve nothing.  Nothing but confusion and excuses.

By thinking every morning, every night, and as many times during the day as you can about this exciting single goal youíve established for yourself, you actually begin moving toward it and bringing it toward you.  When you concentrate your thinking, itís like taking a river thatís twisting and turning and meandering all over the countryside and putting it into a straight, smooth channel.  Now it has power, direction, economy, speed.

So decide upon your goal.  Insist upon it.  Demand it!  Look at your goal card every morning and night and as many times during the day as you conveniently can.  By so doing, you will insinuate your goal into your subconscious mind.  Youíll see yourself as having already attained your goal, and do that every day without fail, and it will become a habit before you realize it.  A habit that will take you from one success to another all the years of your life.  For that is the secret of success, the door to everything you will ever have or be.

You are now and you most certainly will become. . . what you think about.

   

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Creating and Living Your Ideal Legacy
Steve Brunkhorst

A legacy is more than a gift that lives on after you.  Certainly, a legacy is a contribution to humanity.  A legacy provides value to future generations.  However, if you are creating your ideal legacy, it will also make your heart bubble with passion and excitement today!

Louisa May Alcott wrote:

"When Emerson's library was burning at Concord, I went to him as he stood with the firelight on his strong, sweet face, and endeavored to express my sympathy for the loss of his most valued possessions, but he answered cheerily, 'Never mind, Louisa, see what a beautiful blaze they make! We will enjoy that now.' The lesson was one never forgotten and in the varied lessons that have come to me, I have learned to look for something beautiful and bright."

Emerson left future generations with a philosophy of creativity, spiritual development, and individualism.  He saw value and quality in each moment of life.  His writings continue to share the message that people have the mental and spiritual capacities to achieve their dreams.  He lived a philosophy that continues to benefit humanity.

The building blocks of your legacy are the ideas and philosophies that you live and value.  Your contributions will provide something beautiful and bright to cherish during this lifetime.  They will increase your sense of aliveness and fill you with the energy of a unique purpose for which you were born.  They make up the quality of your life now.

How can you begin creating and living your ideal legacy today?

1. Decide What You Value the Most

Write down all the things that you value, and select at least five core values:  those things that provide the foundation for your actions, beliefs, and philosophies.  Examples of values are love, health, spirituality, family, career, adventure, peace, and community.

2. Draw a Time Line of Your Life

Draw a long line and mark it by years and months beginning with your birthday.  Extend it for decades after your life will have ended.  Include all the things you have done and things you want to do.  Include the benefits future generations will experience from your contributions.  Show how your life's work will actually continue after you.  Your timeline is a very eye opening exercise.  Spend adequate time with it and fill in as many details as possible.  Then return from time to time to update your timeline and add extra details.

3. Write a Purpose Statement

Notice the themes running through your timeline.  They can help to reveal your purpose if you are not already aware of it.  A purpose statement is a simple, private statement that guides your daily actions.  For example, you might write, "I help others to live happy and healthy lives" or "I create art that brings spiritual awareness."  Do not confuse a purpose statement with a mission statement, which is a more specific way you might fulfill your purpose.

4. Focus on Today

Your timeline presented a large picture.  What is your focus just for today?  Spend sufficient time focusing on your current steps as well as on the future.  How are your actions in each moment supporting your values and contributing to your purpose?  If you are on purpose, you will feel authentically happy and fulfilled.

5. Move Forward with Gratitude

Live your ideal legacy by taking positive steps each day toward your vision for a better world.  Savor the small treasures in your relationships with people.  Live with gratitude for each contribution you have received and created.  Give thanks even for the setbacks that ultimately reveal clearer paths forward.

Evangelist Billy Graham said, "The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives."  What legacy does the quality of your life reveal today?  Envision your ideal legacy.  See your role in creating a richer humanity.  The legacy you share and live today can create a better world for future generations.


*  *  *  *

Copyright Steve Brunkhorst.

   

   

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One should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and
see a fine picture every day of one's life, in order that
worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the
beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

   

 

Strategies for Making Your Season Bright

I've written on this before.  Several times.  But one thing I've learned about life is that things change, including my ideas.  What I write this year will be different than what I would have written on the same topic five years ago because of the things that I've been through since them.  I'm the same spirit in the same body, but I have a whole new set of experiences and life lessons that will work their ways into whatever I say, and it's fascinating sometimes to notice just how much our ideas about things change as we do.

Our goals for the holiday season should include several things:  our own peace of mind and enjoyment, the peace of mind and enjoyment of others in our lives (which is something that we can only contribute to--both things come from them), and minimizing stress and anxiety.  Of course, these are good goals to have every day of the year, but since things tend to be intensified during the holiday season, it's important that we pay special attention to them over the next couple of weeks.

In my experience, one of the key elements of a happy holiday season is our willingness to let go.  Let go of the idea of the "perfect gift."  Let go of the need for other people to act the way you think people should act during the holidays.  Let go of your expectations of what gifts you want people to give you--if you don't get what you wanted, don't take it out on someone else--go and get it for yourself!  Let go of the feeling that you have to do everything--you don't.  Some things may even go completely undone--certain decorations may not be put up this year--but life will go on.  Let go of the need to make your mother-in-law happy--her reactions to everything are her deal, not yours.

   

The most vivid memories of Christmases past are usually not
of gifts given or received, but of the spirit of love,
the special warmth of Christmas worship,
the cherished little habits of home.

Lois Rand

   
Make love your primary motivation.  Buy gifts that show your love--you know what this person likes and wants, and that's more important to you than what you think this person should have.  If decorating your house is something you do for show or to impress others or because you think you "have to," then perhaps scaling back--or even eliminating--the house decorations may be in order.  If it's done out of a sense of obligation rather than out of love, then its authenticity suffers.  Love should also guide our responses to what others do for us or to us.  Sometimes the response that love demands is not the same response that disappointment encourages.

Remember that joy is personal.  While this is supposed to be a season of joy, not everyone will be feeling that way during the season.  Don't judge people or be disappointed in them if they're not as joyful as you.  Cultivate your own joy, and don't let others take it from you.  Joy should be found on your own terms, in your own ways.  Just don't make it dependent on anyone else's actions or words.

If you need help, ask for it.  If it doesn't come, then scale back.  Is it your turn to cook the Christmas dinner for the whole family?  Then ask for help doing so, and if no one offers to help, cut out a couple of the minor dishes.  No one will starve, and your task will be much more manageable.  Are you short of time but still need to buy some gifts?  Perhaps someone else can take care of that for you.  If not, then maybe it's time to make a voucher for a certain gift, and you can take the recipient to the store yourself after Christmas to pick it up. 
    

When we work so hard at our preparations for Christmas,
we often feel cheated and frustrated  when others fail
to notice the results of our efforts.  We need to ask
ourselves why we are doing the things we choose to do.
If love motivates us--love for our families, for our neighbors--
then we are free to simply enjoy the actual process of what
we do, rather than requiring the approval and admiration
of others for the results of our labors.

Ellyn Sanna

    
Be patient.  There will be many people and situations that try your patience, but don't let them take it from you.  When difficult situations come up, ask yourself, "What is the patient response here?"  When you know the answer, respond that way.  Remind yourself that your impatience will only hurt, both you and the object of your impatience.  As always, being patient does not mean that you should be someone that others walk all over and take advantage of, but it does mean that you'll remember that not everything happens in the time frame that might have been planned.

Seek out the simple.  Especially during the holiday season, we tend to think that the more complicated something is, the more value it has.  The tree's decorations have to be elaborate.  The lights outside, also.  The meals have to have everything, and everything has to be perfect.  None of this is true.  The simple speaks with elegance, and the simple allows us to breathe easily.  There are many, many things that we can simplify during this season, and doing so will help us to enjoy the time much, much more.

Find--or make--times for relaxing and resting.  Many people tend to be constantly on the go during the holidays.  There are presents to buy, food to prepare, people to see, cards to send, packages to deliver--the list seems endless.  But everything needs recharging, and simply putting calories in our bodies in the form of food doesn't give us the extra energy we need.  We also must rest, both physically and mentally.  Find or make time to do so, time when you'll be alone in a peaceful environment where you can focus on breathing deeply and allowing yourself to relax.  Calm music can help.  The less you relax, the more likely you'll be to get stressed out and frazzled, and the more likely it will be that you say or do things that you normally wouldn't--and the less you're going to enjoy this season that deserves so much to be enjoyed.
   

We expect too much at Christmas.  It's got to be magical.  It's
got to go right.  Feasting.  Fun.  The perfect present.  All that
anticipation.  Take it easy.  Love's the thing.  The rest is tinsel.

Pam Brown

   
Finally, stay focused on why we have this season in the first place.  The Christmas holiday is based on the birth of Jesus, which Christians consider to be the birth of hope.  Hope for more love in the world, hope for eternal love, hope for the empowerment of each person on this planet to be the person that he or she was meant to be.  While Christ's messages have been adopted by Christians as a way of life and living (and yes, I know that doesn't apply to all Christians), there is much in those messages that applies to everyone on this planet, especially the messages of hope and love.  This is a season of love--it's a season of keeping in mind with a focus on love those people who are in our lives.

If we don't take care of ourselves during this season, we're much less likely to be spreading love.

   
More on Christmas.

   

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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You can't keep saying and doing the same things and expect better results.  When you see your behavior clearly you can frame new responses.  There are many techniques for increasing self-awareness.  Most involve mindfulness-- observing what's happening in the present moment:  your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations.

Joan Duncan Oliver

  

You Are a Marvel
Pau Casals

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again . . . And what do we teach our children?  We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France.

When will we also teach them what they are?

We should say to each of them:  Do you know what you are?  You are a marvel.  You are unique.  In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you.  Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.

You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven.  You have the capacity for anything.  Yes, you are a marvel.  And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel?

You must work--we must all work--to make the world worthy of its children.

   
  

Was there ever a time when you felt suddenly alive?  It was like the doors
of the world opened for a minute and you could see directly into life.
You were able to touch life directly and were not lost in your fears
and worries.  This experience may not have been during a big event like
performing in a play or playing in a championship game; it may have been while
walking in the woods or talking to a friend.  All of a sudden you felt alive, awake.
This quality of waking up, or penetrating into life, we could call mindfulness.
Mindfulness simply means being aware, being present.  When you are breathing
and know that you are breathing, that is mindfulness of breathing.

Soren Gordhamer

    

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