it ever takes to step from the ordinary and into the
magical is your undivided attention.
best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be
seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.
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.
love being by myself. As I
grow older, I love that
anything else. There are so many things
to think about and work out.
Art of Living with Ourselves
Wilferd A. Peterson
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."
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."
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
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
learn to live with ourselves we must often get away by
ourselves so we can find quiet, solitude, and time to
think and meditate.
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
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.
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?"
self needs the spur of conflict, competition, even defeat,
for out of those come strength and character.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
people behind the words
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Two - Year Three
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What does it mean to live a full life? How do we
stay happy and content in a world that often seems to be
throwing more at us than we can handle? Thirty years in
the making, Universal Principles
of Living Life Fully explores different aspects of our
selves as human beings, aspects that we are able to develop and
expand when we need to in order to make ourselves more
comfortable in the world we live in. It explores 57 different
elements of who we are, from love to mindfulness to adversity to
prayer, in an effort to help you to figure out just where to
focus your energy and attention when life is being difficult for
you. Use the link to the left for the Kindle edition, or click
here for the print edition.
Behaviors That Increase Self-Esteem
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
* * * * *
Reproduced with permission from the Denis
Waitley Newsletter. To Subscribe to Denis
Waitley's Newsletter, visit him at
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x 800 - 1440
is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying
about things that are beyond the power of our will.
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.
whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness
of the interdependence of all these living beings, which
part of one another, and all involved in one another.
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
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,
energy brings compassion into the real world.
we see benevolently our own human
condition and the condition
of our fellow beings.
We drop prejudice. We withhold
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.
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
extend the circle of our compassion to
all living things, we will not ourselves find peace.
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.
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.
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rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the
passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage
a series of thoughts. This creates an odd consonance
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
traveling rather than making.
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.
morning he stacked up the letters he'd write, tomorrow,
And thought of the folks he would fill with delight,
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.
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.
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.
told him, "Please, let me clean your house, wash your
make your bed." He answered, "I'm okay like
this. Let it be."
said again, "You will be better still if you allow me
to do it."
finally agreed. So I was able to clean his house and
wash his clothes. I discovered a beautiful lamp, covered with dust. Only
how many years had passed since he last lit it.
said to him, "Don't you light your lamp? Don't
you ever use it?"
answered, "No. No one comes to see me.
I have no need to light it. Who would I light it
asked, "Would you light it every night if the sisters
replied, "Of course."
that day on the sisters committed themselves to seeing him
every evening. We cleaned the lamp, and the sisters
would light it
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."
thought it was a very small thing. We often neglect small things.
got a simple rule about everybody.
If you don't
treat me right--shame on you!
a year of one-sentence reminders
of ways that we can
make the most of our lives each day that we live.
New expanded edition!
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novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey
will remind you of all that is good in this world.
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David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
a ride west, he can't imagine the lessons he'll learn
about his life.
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and spending, we lay waste our powers," wrote
Wordsworth over 150 years ago. And we're still doing
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