16 August  2016      

Hello, and thanks for dropping by today!  We sincerely hope that there's
something here in this issue that will speak to you in positive ways!

Weakness and Strength
Joseph M. Marshall III

Experiencing Your Choices
Bruce L. Doyle III

The Gift of Change
Marianne Williamson

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Words are plentiful,
but deeds are precious.

Lech Walesa

No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence.

George Eliot

What value has compassion that does not
take its object in its arms?

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

We win half the battle when we
make up our minds to take the world
as we find it, including the thorns.


Orison Swett Marden

  

Weakness and Strength
Joseph Marshall III

Our people were still living free on the prairies.  But there was turmoil because of the growing presence of the newcomers.  Many of our people had given in to the authority of the newcomers.  One band, however, was still wild and free and living in the region east of the Shining Mountains; the Big Horn mountains.

During those times of difficulty, one man rose among the people and became a good leader.  He was a courageous warrior on the battlefield, and in his village he counseled with his elders and made good decisions on behalf of the people.  So, of course, the people came to him because they trusted his judgment, and over the years his village grew.

One day a young man came to the village of this wise leader.  The young man's village had been attacked by the newcomers, and many had been killed or captured.  All the young man had were the clothes he wore, his weapons, and his horse.  He asked the wise leader if he could join him.

The wise leader looked at the destitute young man and said, "We are happy to have you live among us.  But first you must do one thing."

"Yes," replied the young man.  "Tell me what to do."

"Find the poorest family in the village," the wise leader instructed.  "Give your horse to them."

The young man was devastated.  He had already lost his friends and relatives, and now he was being asked to give away his most prized possession.

"Uncle," said the young man, "I cannot.  Except for the clothes I wear and the weapons I carry, my horse is all I have."  Sad and confused, the young man went away.

"Why did you ask that young man to give away his horse?" asked one of the men in the village council.

"Because I wanted him to learn that he could have become part of something larger than his own troubles," replied the wise leader.  "We have many horses in our village and I would have given him one from my own herd.  But first I wanted to see if he could surrender some of his pain, and make the sacrifice I asked of him.  In these times we all must make sacrifices for the good of everyone.  Perhaps, after he has thought of it awhile, he will return."


"So," said Jeremy, "that young man's weakness was selfishness."

"Yes," replied Old Hawk.  "And if he could have overcome it, he would have received much more than the value of the horse.  Not only would he have been given another horse, but the entire village would have embraced him."

"So how do we overcome our weaknesses?" Jeremy asked.  "They're as much a part of us as our strengths."

"Sometimes we cannot," said Old Hawk.  "Remember, to our people, balance is essential and it should be important to everyone.  It is a reality in the natural world.  Night and day, life and death, hot and cold, wet and dry, up and down, male and female, and left and right, for example.

"Weaknesses and strengths are necessary for balance.  No one or no thing is only weak or only strong.  But some of us overlook our weaknesses, and even deny that we have them.  That can be dangerous, because denying there is a weakness is in itself a weakness.  Likewise, accepting that we have weaknesses becomes a strength.  And by the same token, overestimating strength is a weakness.  You should not be blinded by your strengths.  The feeling of strength is not the same as having strength.

"Neither should you ignore your weaknesses.  Know them well, too.

"When all is said and done, accept who you are in the moment you are living.  In the end, wisdom is born of weakness as well as strength."
  
  

From best-selling Native American writer Joseph M. Marshall III comes an inspirational guide deeply rooted in Lakota spirituality.

When a young man’s father dies, he turns to his sagacious grandfather for comfort.   Together they sit underneath the family’s cottonwood tree, and the grandfather shares his perspective on life, the perseverance it requires, and the pleasure and pain of the journey.  Filled with dialogues, stories, and recollections, each section focuses on a portion of the prose poem “Keep Going” and provides commentary on the text.

   

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Experiencing Your Choices
an excerpt
Bruce L. Doyle III

When I was young and things got difficult at home--usually between my mother and me--I would run off to my grandmother's house.  It wasn't much of an investment in courage because it was only two blocks away.  It did, however, provide me with immediate refuge from whatever situation I was escaping.  Mom-Mom, as I called my grandmother, was careful never to take sides and always had chocolate-chip cookies in the owl-shaped cookie jar on the kitchen stove.  She also let me sit in her cozy lap while we listened to the radio.

Mom-Mom always had a lot of food in the house, and it was readily available.  She always said, "You can take as much as you want, but you must eat everything you take."  She didn't like wasting anything, especially food.  That rule seemed fine with me and helped me remain guilt free as I topped off my pockets with cookies and candy every time I left the kitchen.

One evening at dinner, I put much more food on my plate than I could eat.  As Mom-Mom put it, "Your eyes were bigger than your belly."  Even with my pleading, she would not back down.  She made me sit there until my plate was clean.  It took several hours, and I was very ill.  It was an experience I will never forget.  That was the last time I made a pig of myself at Mom-Mom's house.

Little did I realize that that incident was a prime example of how we live our lives.  It was about making choices we have to live with.

The real choices we make in life are the thoughts that we think and the beliefs that we hold as truth.  Our thoughts and beliefs exist as minute waves of energy that operate in the universe to create the situations, circumstances, and relationships we experience as our life.  And the universe is just like Mom-Mom--it gives you no slack.  If you put thought energy into the universe, you must experience it.  "As ye sow, so shall ye reap," says the Bible.  And, as you know, at times it can be very uncomfortable experiencing your own creations.

The good news is that once you recognize that you are the source of your own experiences, you gain control over your life.  Being the source, or cause, means that you can change situations that are giving you difficulty rather than blaming someone else or some other power.

It's a very simple concept once you understand it.  But it is startling news for many, because it clearly says that we are all responsible for our own life situations.  At first, many of us are not ready for such responsibility.  When I was first introduced to the concept that "beliefs determine experience," I certainly didn't believe that I was responsible for all the seeming disasters that happened in my life.  But there is nothing like good old experience to get one knowing the truth.

Most of us can see the results of the conscious choices that we make in our lives and, with a little contemplation, can recognize the link between our choices and the resulting experience.  What's unknown to most of us is that every moment of our lives, we are also making choices from beliefs that we are not consciously aware of.  These subconscious beliefs, in many cases, adversely impact what we are consciously choosing.

Here, as a reminder, is the simple technique that will help you shed some light on the subconscious beliefs that may be getting in your way.  Ask yourself, "What would I have to believe to have that experience?"  Continue asking and answering this question for yourself until you reach an answer that feels like an "aha."  When you have a sudden realization--it will probably have emotion associated with it--you've reached the deep-seated, root-cause belief that is generating your undesirable experience.  As you take responsibility for both your subconscious and conscious choices, you'll feel more confident and motivated to ferret out your limiting beliefs.

You deserve to experience all of your desires.  Continue removing those restrictive limits, and let your power shine through.
   
   

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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade wind
in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.

unattributed

   
The Gift of Change
an excerpt
Marianne Williamson


Life as we knew it is passing away, and something new is emerging to take its place.

All of us are playing a part in a larger transformative process, as each of us is being forced to confront whatever it is we do, or even think, that keeps love at bay. For as we block love's power to change our own lives, we block its power to change the world.

Humanity is moving forward now, though in some ways we are doing so kicking and screaming. Nature seems to be saying to all of us, "Okay, it's time. No more playing around. Become the person you were meant to be."

We would like to, but it's hard. The problems of the world today seem larger than they have ever been before, making it easy to succumb to cynicism, fear, hopelessness, and despair. Until, that is, we remember who we are.

For who we really are is a power bigger than all our problems, both personal and collective. And when we have remembered who we are, our problems -- which are literally nothing other than manifestations of our forgetfulness -- will disappear.

Well that would be a miracle, you might say. And that is precisely the point.

This book is about learning who we are, that we might become agents of miraculous change. As we release the fear-based thoughts we've been taught to think by a frightened and frightening world, we see God's truth revealed: that who we are at our core is love itself. And miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.

It is said in Alcoholics Anonymous that every problem comes bearing its own solution. And the gift being borne by our current challenges is the opportunity to make a large leap forward in the actualization of our own potential. The only way the world can make a quantum leap, from conflict and fear to peace and love, is if that same quantum leap occurs within us. Then and only then will we become the men and women capable of solving the problems that plague us. As we leap into the zone of our most authentic selves, we enter a realm of infinite possibility.

Until we enter that zone, we are blocked, for God cannot do for us what He cannot do through us. To say He has the solutions to our problems is to say He has a plan for the changes each of us needs to go through in order to become the people through whom He can bring forth those solutions. The most important factor in determining what will happen in our world is what you decide to let happen within you. Every circumstance -- no matter how painful -- is a gauntlet thrown down by the universe, challenging us to become who we are capable of being. Our task, for our own sakes and for the sake of the entire world, is to do so.

Yet for us to become who we most deeply want to be, we must look at who we are now -- even when what we see doesn't please us. This moment is driving us to face every issue we've ever avoided facing, compelling us to get to some rock-bottom, essential truth about ourselves whether we like what we see there or not.

And until we make that breakthrough in ourselves, there will be no fundamental breakthrough in the world. The world we see reflects the people we've become, and if we do not like what we see in the world, we must face what we don't like within ourselves. Having done so, we will move through our personal darkness to the light that lies beyond. We will embrace the light and extend the light.

And as we change, the world will change with us.

We spend so much time on unimportant things -- things with no ultimate meaning -- yet for reasons no one seems to fully understand, such nonessentials stand at the center of our worldly existence. They have no connection to our souls whatsoever, yet they have attached themselves to our material functioning. Like spiritual parasites, they eat away our life force and deny us our joy. The only way to rid ourselves of their pernicious effects is to walk away ... not from things that need to get done, but from thoughts that need to die.

Crossing the bridge to a better world begins with crossing a bridge inside our minds, from the addictive mental patterns of fear and separation, to enlightened perceptions of unity and love. We're in the habit of thinking fearfully, and it takes spiritual discipline to turn that around in a world where love is more suspect than fear.

To achieve a miraculous experience of life, we must embrace a more spiritual perspective. Otherwise, we will die one day without ever having known the real joy of living. That joy emerges from the experience of our true being -- when we detach from other people's projections onto us, when we allow ourselves permission to dream our greatest dreams, when we're willing to forgive ourselves and others, when we're willing to remember that we were born with one purpose:  to love and be loved.

Anyone who looks at the state of the world today is aware that something radically new is called for -- in who we are as a species and in our relationship to each other and our relationship to the earth itself. Yet the psychological fundamentals that hold this dysfunctional world in place are like sacred cows: we are afraid to touch them, for fear something bad will happen to us if we do. In fact, something bad will happen to us if we do not. It is time to change. It is time to do what we know in our hearts we were born to do.

We are here to participate in a glorious subversion of the world's dominant, fear-based thought forms.

There are only two core emotions:  love and fear.  And love is to fear as light is to darkness: in the presence of one, the other disappears. . . .

  
  

Marianne Williamson's book
is incredibly important,
as brilliant and fresh as
Return to Love, yet written
with the urgency demanded
by our times. A truth teller,
a seeker, a mother and
a learned woman in this
scary and strange new
world, her voice is at once
strong medicine for our woundedness, warmth,
insistence, good humor,
and a little light to see by."

--Anne Lamott

   

  

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Life is so full of unpredictable beauty and strange surprises.  Sometimes that beauty is too much for me to handle.  Do you know that feeling?  When something is just too beautiful?  When someone says something or writes something or plays something that moves you to the point of tears, maybe even changes you.

Mark Oliver Everett

  
Beauty is the mysterious quality that shouts loudly, "Ah, this experience is right for me now!"  It is an abstract term that is difficult to define because it has a slightly different meaning for each of us.  But I think we will agree that when we accept or experience beauty, we intuitively know that life contains much more than we can comprehend.  Beauty always suggests something beyond--something greater than ourselves.

The search for beauty is a journey into the meaning of the universe.  The experience of something beautiful is a reward for our perseverance.  Beauty goes beyond the hardships of life and can make it all worthwhile.  When beauty finally suffuses our souls, nothing else will take precedence, because we will have discovered the essence of God.

Charles D. Lelly
The Beautiful Way of Life
Unconscious Beliefs
Leonard Jacobson

On the path of awakening,
it is necessary to become aware
of your unconscious beliefs.
It is not a difficult task.
Just become watchful.
If you are alert and watchful,
without any judgment,
your day to day life will reveal
those unconscious beliefs to you.
Be a watcher of your self.
Be an impartial observer
of who you are at the level of mind
which is programmed
with your unconscious beliefs.
It helps to have a sense of humor.

If you have an unconscious belief
that you will be abused or put down,
you will attract into your life
those who will abuse you
or be critical of you.
Your mind seeks to
be validated in this way.
"See," it will say to itself,
"I knew I was a victim.
I was right all along."
If deep down you feel unlovable,
you will attract into your life
those who are incapable
of loving you.
And even those who happen along
who are very loving,
will suddenly find themselves
being unloving towards you.

If you have a belief that the
people who love you will leave you,
then sure enough, it will happen.
Over and over again.
So you had better become
aware of your unconscious beliefs.
They are creating
your experience of life.
They are based on your past
experiences, and mostly they are
formed in your early childhood.
As long as these beliefs
remain unconscious,
there is no way to be
released from them.
   
  

We have a hunch that it is possible to live a better, more balanced, and less
stressful life, but many of us firmly believe that we don’t have the time or energy
to make the necessary changes, even though perhaps just one small change could
significantly reduce our stress levels.  Instead of striving for attainable incremental
changes, we sometimes complain as if our lives are completely out of our hands!

Gary Egeberg

    

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