19 January  2016      

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The Art of Living with Ourselves
Wilferd A. Peterson

 Six Behaviors That Increase Self-Esteem
Denis Waitley

Compassionate People
tom walsh

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All it ever takes to step from the ordinary and into the magical is your undivided attention.

Stephen C. Paul

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

To visualize is a form of prayer.  It is the sending out of a dynamic positive desire which does not have to be put into words.

Ambrose Worrall

I love being by myself.  As I grow older, I love that more than anything else.  There are so many things to think about and work out.

Gwendolyn Brooks

  
The Art of Living with Ourselves
Wilferd A. Peterson

Wrote the poet and mystic Maeterlinck:  "The thoughts you think will irradiate you as though you are a transparent vase."  We radiate what we are and so it is more important to be than to get, to become than to possess.  People tune in to our inner wave length.  There is much wisdom in the old Hindu saying:  "Beware, beware, what goes forth from you will come back to you."

As a boy I learned a little rhyme that I have never forgotten:  "Don't be a veneer stuck on with glue, be solid mahogany all the way through."

Our first task then, in living with ourselves, is to be ourselves, to be genuine and sincere, to go forth to others as the persons we truly are without sham or pretense.  Beyond this our task is to grow in mind and spirit.

While driving on the Ohio Turnpike I saw a sign exhorting drivers:  "Stay Awake, Stay Alive," it cried.  These words, it seems to me, have even deeper significance as a way of life.  The more awake we are to what goes on around us the more alive we will be.  Being wide awake opens the way to experiencing the infinite riches of body, mind, heart and spirit.

We do not sufficiently use the senses God has given us.  The magazine ETC, the quarterly review of the International Society of General Semantics, devoted a full issue to the subject of LSD and other psychedelic drugs.

Editor S.I. Hayakawa made this vital point:  "Most people haven't learned to use the senses they possess.  I not only hear music, I listen to it.  I find the colors of the day such vivid experiences that I sometimes pound the steering wheel with excitement.  And I say why disorient your beautiful senses with drugs and poisons before you have half discovered what they can do for you?"

The great mystics did not fog up the windows of heaven with drugs.  They did not distort their visions with poisons.  They found their own senses and their perceptive ad intuitive powers sufficient to experience the Presence of God.

To make the most of ourselves we must become aware of the miracles all around us.  We must open our eyes, ears, minds, hearts, spirits.  We must think about great ideas such as space illimitable, time everlasting, energy inexhaustible.  You have the magic power within yourself to broaden your horizons, to lift your consciousness, to live more abundantly.

To learn to live with ourselves we must often get away by ourselves so we can find quiet, solitude, and time to think and meditate.

The poet Robert Frost stressed the importance of separateness.  He told a group, of which I was a part, that we must be careful that we do not homogenize society as we homogenize milk. . . so the cream at the top disappears.  The heart and the lungs work together, he explained, but they are also separate organs.  A person, he said, should endeavor to achieve separateness in his or her thinking, even amidst the pressures of the crowd.  And often we may experience a greater feeling of togetherness with people when we are separate and alone, rather than with others.  We must learn to live together, but we must not lose the precious gift of separateness.

The growth of the self, however, is not accomplished only in solitude and isolation.  Aloneness must be balanced with contacts with people and the world.  There is need to try out our ideas on others, to sharpen our minds, to contend with those who disagree with us.  We can learn from our enemies as well as our friends, and often those who are hardest on us contribute more to our growth than those who make things easy for us.

I have always liked these words attributed to Walt Whitman:  "Have you learned lessons only of those who admired you and were tender with you and stood aside for you?  Have you not learned great lessons from those who braced themselves against you, and disputed the passage with you?"

The self needs the spur of conflict, competition, even defeat, for out of those come strength and character.

Heed these words by Epictetus:  "So when the crisis is upon you, remember that God, like a trainer of wrestlers, has matched you with a tough and stalwart antagonist--that you may be a winner at the Great Games."

The art of living with ourselves also requires that we be resilient and flexible so we will not break ourselves against the hardness of life.  I learned this important lesson from a naturalist in Bryce Canyon, Utah.  I asked him about the gallant lone pines on the mountaintops that survive the full sweep of wind and storm.

I was told that the pines are called Limber Pines.  To demonstrate, the naturalist took a branch of a Limber Pine and tied it into a knot.  In a few minutes he untied the knot and the branch immediately sprang back to its original position.

It is not through never bending that the trees survive.  It is in never failing to spring erect again after the gale has passed that victory is achieved.

Resiliency is also an important factor in the art of living with ourselves.  The winds of life--the conflicts, pressures, changes--will bend us, but if we have resiliency of the spirit they cannot break us.  To courageously straighten up again after our heads have been bowed by defeat, disappointment and suffering is a supreme test of character.

To learn to live with ourselves, to make the most of ourselves, to achieve wholeness of personality, to grow into more effective human beings--this is the first vital step in the art of living.

* * * * *

To learn more about Wilferd A. Peterson, click here.

   

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Six Behaviors That Increase Self-Esteem
Denis Waitley

Following are six behaviors that increase self-esteem, enhance your self-confidence, and spur your motivation. You may recognize some of them as things you naturally do in your interactions with other people. But if you don’t, I suggest you motivate yourself to take some of these important steps immediately.

First, greet others with a smile and look them directly in the eye. A smile and direct eye contact convey confidence born of self-respect. In the same way, answer the phone pleasantly whether at work or at home, and when placing a call, give your name before asking to speak to the party you want to reach. Leading with your name underscores that a person with self-respect is making the call.

Second, always show real appreciation for a gift or compliment. Don’t downplay or sidestep expressions of affection or honor from others. The ability to accept or receive is a universal mark of an individual with solid self-esteem.

Third, don’t brag. It’s almost a paradox that genuine modesty is actually part of the capacity to gracefully receive compliments. People who brag about their own exploits or demand special attention are simply trying to build themselves up in the eyes of others—and that’s because they don’t perceive themselves as already worthy of respect.

Fourth, don’t make your problems the centerpiece of your conversation. Talk positively about your life and the progress you’re trying to make. Be aware of any negative thinking, and take notice of how often you complain. When you hear yourself criticize someone—and this includes self-criticism—find a way to be helpful instead of critical.

Fifth, respond to difficult times or depressing moments by increasing your level of productive activity. When your self-esteem is being challenged, don’t sit around and fall victim to “paralysis by analysis.” The late Malcolm Forbes said, “Vehicles in motion use their generators to charge their own batteries. Unless you happen to be a golf cart, you can’t recharge your battery when you’re parked in the garage!”

Sixth, choose to see mistakes and rejections as opportunities to learn. View a failure as the conclusion of one performance, not the end of your entire career. Own up to your shortcomings, but refuse to see yourself as a failure. A failure may be something you have done—and it may even be something you’ll have to do again on the way to success—but a failure is definitely not something you are.

Even if you’re at a point where you’re feeling very negatively about yourself, be aware that you’re now ideally positioned to make rapid and dramatic improvement. A negative self-evaluation, if it’s honest and insightful, takes much more courage and character than the self-delusions that underlie arrogance and conceit. I’ve seen the truth of this proven many times in my work with athletes. After an extremely poor performance, a team or an individual athlete often does much better the next time out, especially when the poor performance was so bad that there was simply no way to shirk responsibility for it. Disappointment, defeat, and even apparent failure are in no way permanent conditions unless we choose to make them so. On the contrary, these undeniably painful experiences can be the solid foundation on which to build future success.

* * * * *

Reproduced with permission from the Denis Waitley Newsletter.  To Subscribe to Denis Waitley's Newsletter, visit him at deniswaitley.com. 

   

   

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There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying
about things that are beyond the power of our will.

Epictetus

   

 

Compassionate People

Isn't it a shame that the compassionate people of the world don't tend to make the headlines?  It seems strange to me that our newspapers and news broadcasts tend to be full of people who practice deviant behaviors, such as hurting or killing other people, stealing money, deceiving people for their own gain, and other such things.  If I were a stranger to this planet and I were to pick up a copy of most of the papers that are published, I might even think that there is no compassion in this world, or at least so little that few people valued it.

I know for a fact, though, that our world is full of compassionate people.  There are many human beings who focus strongly on helping and serving others, who love and care deeply for others.  I know that there are people who give constantly out of a sense of compassion, and not out of a need to have others think they're generous.  There are many people who listen to the problems of others, who help out people who have been hurt, who have a very strong sense of compassion for their fellow human beings, for animals, for the planet we live on.

   

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness
of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all
part of one another, and all involved in one another.

Thomas Merton

   

It's kind of interesting sometimes to try to recognize compassionate people, to try to recognize acts of compassion for what they are.  I like to see people helping other people, for it makes me feel a sense of hope, as well as a desire to act in the same way.  When we act compassionately, someone else benefits from our feelings and our actions, and usually it's someone who has a pretty strong need to be on the receiving end of compassion.

And the question must be asked:  How can we be consistently compassionate ourselves?  What kinds of things can we do, how can we act, so that other people can feel the benefit of our compassion?  First of all, obviously, it's important that we take our focus off of ourselves.  Many of us tend to be so involved in our own lives that we don't recognize the needs of others.  And that's easy to have happen--after all, the work needs to be done, the bills need to be paid, and our own problems must be resolved, right?

    

Spiritual energy brings compassion into the real world.
With compassion, we see benevolently our own human
condition and the condition of our fellow beings.
We drop prejudice.  We withhold judgment.

Christina Baldwin

    

While these things are true, that doesn't mean that 100% of our focus needs to be on our problems and needs.  In fact, the more we learn to trust life, the less we need to focus on taking care of the more trivial matters, and we can notice that the person we work with has been doing a weak job recently not because she's an awful worker, but because she and her husband are having problems with their relationship.  And we can realize that the person who was rude to us in the store was rude because one of his children is very sick, and he's very preoccupied.

Compassion can be shown by a simple smile and a compliment, by listening rather than talking, by offering to do something that has nothing to do with the other person's problems, but may allow them to get caught up in some other areas.  We can show compassion by being there for someone and not taking off at the first mention of a problem.  Compassion isn't always about sending checks or dealing with the bigger issues in people's lives--it more often is about the smaller things, and these smaller things mean a great deal to a person going through them.

   

Until we extend the circle of our compassion to
all living things, we will not ourselves find peace.

Albert Schweitzer

   
Who needs to feel compassion in your life now?  Can you share your compassion with that person by finding some appropriate and useful ways to help him or her?  Perhaps you can be the light that shines, the example that other people would like to follow, just by finding out the needs of someone else and fulfilling a small portion of those needs.  The world has many, many compassionate people in it, people who never will be on the news or on the front page of the paper.  One of my biggest hopes is that when I die, someone who's mentioning my name will find the word "compassionate" when they're describing me.  For that to happen, of course, I need to act in ways that will make someone think of that particular word.

   
More on compassion.

   

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The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it.  A new thought often seems like a feature of the landscape that was there all along, as though thinking were traveling rather than making.

Rebecca Solnit

  
Tomorrow
Edgar Guest

He was going to be all that a mortal should be tomorrow.
No one should be kinder or braver than he tomorrow.
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it, too;
On him he would call and see what he could do, tomorrow.

Each morning he stacked up the letters he'd write, tomorrow,
And thought of the folks he would fill with delight, tomorrow.
It was too bad, indeed, he was busy today,
And hadn't a minute to stop on his way;
More time he would have to give others, he'd say, tomorrow.

The greatest of workers this man would have been, tomorrow.
The world would have known him, had he ever seen tomorrow.
But the fact is he died and he faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was through
Was a mountain of things he intended to do, tomorrow.

Remember the Small Things

Some of my sisters work in Australia.  On a reservation, among the Aborigines, there was an elderly man.  I can assure you that you have never seen a situation as difficult as that poor old man's.  He was completely ignored by everyone.  His home was disordered and dirty.

I told him, "Please, let me clean your house, wash your clothes, and make your bed."  He answered, "I'm okay like this.  Let it be."

I said again, "You will be better still if you allow me to do it."

He finally agreed.  So I was able to clean his house and wash his clothes.  I discovered a beautiful lamp, covered with dust.  Only God knows how many years had passed since he last lit it.

I said to him, "Don't you light your lamp?  Don't you ever use it?"

He answered, "No.  No one comes to see me.  I have no need to light it.  Who would I light it for?"

I asked, "Would you light it every night if the sisters came?"

He replied, "Of course."

From that day on the sisters committed themselves to seeing him every evening.  We cleaned the lamp, and the sisters would light it every evening.

Two years passed.  I had completely forgotten that man.  He sent this message:  "Tell my friend that the light she lit in my life continues to shine still."

I thought it was a very small thing.  We often neglect small things.

Mother Teresa

   
  

I got a simple rule about everybody.
If you don't treat me right--shame on you!

Louis Armstrong

    

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