25 October 2016      

Good day, and welcome to October's final issue!  A week from now we'll
be in November, with only two months left in this year.  We hope that you're
able to end October well and accomplish all you wish to accomplish--and
even some things that you don't even know yet you want to accomplish!

 from The Measure of Our Success
Marian Wright Edelman

Personal Philosophy Is like the Set of the Sail
Jim Rohn

The Yearning for Silence
tom walsh

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Laughter lifts us over high ridges and lights up dark valleys in a way that makes life so much easier.  It is a priceless gem, a gift of release and healing direct from Heaven.

Alan Cohen

A loving person lives in a loving world.
A hostile person lives in a hostile world:
everyone you meet is a mirror.

Ken Keyes, Jr.

The place in which you find yourself isn't
nearly as important as where you place
your attention while you are there.

Stephen C. Paul

  

from The Measure of Our Success
Marian Wright Edelman

Lesson Four:  Never work just for money or for power.  They won't save your soul or build a decent family or help you sleep at night.  We are the richest nation on earth, yet our incarceration, drug addiction, and child poverty rates are among the highest in the industrialized world.  Don't condone or tolerate moral corruption whether it's found in high or low places, whatever its color.  It is not okay to push or use drugs even if every person in America is doing it.  It is not okay to cheat or lie even if countless corporate or public officials and everybody you know do.  Be honest.  And demand that those who represent you be honest.

Don't confuse legality with morality.  Dr. King noted that everything Hitler did in Nazi Germany was legal.  Don't give anyone the proxy for your conscience.  And don't confuse morality with fairness.  The policies that took tens of billions of dollars from the poor and middle class and gave them to the very rich in the 1980's as tax loopholes and capital gains were legal.  But they were not just. . . . Somehow we are going to have to develop a concept of enough for those at the top and bottom so that the necessities of the many are not sacrificed for the luxuries of the few.  I do not begrudge billionaires or millionaires their incomes as long as children's basic needs of food and health and shelter and child care and education are met.

But something's out of balance when the number of millionaires in the 1980s almost doubled and the number of poor children increased by three million--almost 30 percent--and children and the poor still face a vastly uneven playing field in the budget process compared with the military and the wealthy. . . .

Lesson Five:  Don't be afraid of taking risks or of being criticized.  An anonymous sage said, "If you don't want to be criticized don't say anything, do anything, or be anything."  Don't be afraid of failing.  It's the way you learn to do things right.  It doesn't matter how many times you fall down.  What matters is how many times you get up.  And don't wait for everybody else before you do something.  It's always a few people who get things done and keep things going.  This country needs more wise and courageous shepherds and fewer sheep.

As a young civil rights lawyer in Mississippi, I remember wanting to provide solace to a beleaguered Dr. King, who was being attacked by friend and foe alike for speaking out against the Vietnam War.  I mailed him Theodore Roosevelt's statement:  "It's not the critic who counts.  Not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of great deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.  whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood.  Who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again.  And who, while daring greatly, spends himself in a worthy cause so that his place may be not among those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

My youthful gesture of encouragement was not needed by a man who answered his critics in The Trumpet of Conscience with such clarity of mission and courage:  "For those who ask the question, 'Aren't you a civil rights leader?'--and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace--I answer by saying that I have worked too long and hard now against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concern.  Justice is indivisible.  It must also be said that it would be rather absurd to work passionately and unrelentingly for integrated schools and not be concerned about the survival of a world in which to be integrated."
   

Edelman passes on the values of hard work, service, responsibility, and faith that her parents not only preached, but also lived. Her 25 lessons for life eloquently distill the essence of her rich heritage. Intended for her sons as they approach adulthood, the book is uniquely applicable to all races and creeds. The author's style is warm, personal, uplifting, and easy to read.

   

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Personal Philosophy Is like the Set of the Sail
Jim Rohn

In the process of living, the winds of circumstances blow on us all in an unending flow that touches each of our lives.

We have all experienced the blowing winds of disappointment, despair and heartbreak.  Why, then, would each of us, in our own individual ship of life, all beginning at the same point, with the same intended destination in mind, arrive at such different places at the end of the journey?  Have we not all been blown by the winds of circumstances and buffeted by the turbulent storms of discontent?

What guides us to different destinations in life is determined by the way we have chosen to set our sail.  The way that each of us thinks makes the major difference in where each of us arrive.  The major difference is the set of the sail.

The same circumstances happen to us all.  We have disappointments and challenges.  We all have reversals and those moments when, in spite of our best plans and efforts, things just seem to fall apart.  Challenging circumstances are not events reserved for the poor, the uneducated or the destitute.  The rich and the poor have marital problems.  The rich and the poor have the same challenges that can lead to financial ruin and personal despair.

In the final analysis, it is not what happens that determines the quality of our lives, it is what we choose to do when we have struggled to set the sail and then discover, after all of our efforts, that the wind has changed directions.

When the winds change, we must change.  We must struggle to our feet once more and rest the sail in the manner that will steer us toward the destination of our own deliberate choosing.  The set of the sail, how we think and how we respond, has a far greater capacity to destroy our lives than any challenges we face.  How quickly and responsibly we react to adversity is far more important than the adversity itself.  Once we discipline ourselves to understand this, we will finally and willingly conclude that the great challenge of life is to control the process of our thinking.

Learning to reset the sail with the changing winds rather than permitting ourselves to be blown in a direction we did not purposely choose requires the development of a whole new discipline.  It involves going to work on establishing a powerful, personal philosophy that will help to influence in a positive way all that we do and that we think and decide.  If we can succeed in this worthy endeavor, the result will be a change in the course of our income, lifestyle and relationships, and in how we feel about the things of value as well as the times of challenge.  If we can alter the way we perceive, judge and decide upon the main issues of life, then we can dramatically change our lives.

  
*   *   *   *   *

Reproduced with permission from the Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine.
   

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As One Soweth

We must not hope to be mowers,
  And to gather the ripe gold ears,
Unless we have first been sowers
  And watered the furrows with tears.
It is not just as we take it,
  This mystical world of ours,
Life's field will yield as we make it
  A harvest of thorns or of flowers.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

   

 

The Yearning for Silence

It was beautiful here this afternoon--cool and quiet, a perfect autumn day.  The sun was shining, so it wasn't too cool, and there was a gentle breeze that was just the perfect kind for coming in the window and making me feel that all is right with the world.

And then a neighbor across the alley started clearing the leaves in his back yard with an extremely loud blower.  The silence was gone.  We had to close our windows to shut out the noise, so the beautiful breeze was gone--and we could still hear the blower.  We couldn't hear any more birds singing, and the whole feeling of the day took a different turn.  And he was out there for two full hours, destroying the silence of the day completely.

Somehow we've become a society in which other people's rights to things like peace and quiet have become irrelevant to most people.  I remember when I bought a push lawn mower because I didn't want to disturb the entire neighborhood whenever I mowed our rather small lawn.  The first time I mowed the lawn with it--a brand-new mower--my neighbor from across the street came over and asked if I wanted to borrow his power mower.  The idea that someone can want to do something in a way that doesn't disturb other people never even occurred to him.  And I still rake leaves because I enjoy the process and because I enjoy the sounds of crisp leaves being pulled up and moved by the rake; it's a sound that I never would hear at all if I were using a power blower.

   

Silence is something like an endangered species.  The experience
of silence is now so rare that we must guard it and treasure it.

Gunilla Norris

   
It used to be that noise was a thing of youth, of people who haven't grown up enough yet to realize the value in silence.  We could count on young people to make noise--listen to kids play sometime--but they would quiet down when asked to do so.  Nowadays, though, much of the noise we have to suffer through comes from adults who either don't think about the fact that they're disturbing the peace and quiet of others or simply don't care.

The value of silence is something that I've had to learn about through long experience, through trial and error.  I used to think that music was best loud (and sometimes, it actually is), something to be shared with others.  The way I grew up, I also used to think that music had to be constant, too--it had always been a faithful companion to me, and there was a part of me that didn't want to give up that companionship.  But time and experience have taught me that often, silence is the best thing that can happen to me.

When I find myself in silence and I feel the urge to turn on the stereo (I consider myself fortunate because I never have the urge to turn on the television), I now often weigh my options--do I really need the music, or is the silence more important to me right now?  Very often, I go with the silence, and when I do, it's a very nice feeling.  (Don't get me wrong, though--when I decide to turn on the music, that's a nice feeling, too!)  The silence allows me to think properly, with no distractions--it allows me to entertain a thought and follow through with it, without having my mind jump to the lyrics or the guitar solo in the song I'm listening to.
    

Silence stands outside the world of profit and utility.
It cannot be exploited for profit; you cannot get anything
out of it.  It is "unproductive," therefore it is regarded
as useless.  Yet there is more help and healing in silence
than in all useful things.

Max Picard

    
As far as work is concerned, silence is usually the most productive environment for me.  That depends, of course, on the work that I'm doing.  If it's something that demands highly concentrated thinking, then silence is extremely helpful.  If it's a job that's repetitive and somewhat tedious, then music helps the time to go by faster, and it helps me not to get so bored that the quality of my work slips.  I remember working in a factory that produced thousands of one particular product--my job was quality control and counting the little orange things for packaging.  There was always music on in that factory, and I was very grateful for that fact.  Of course, in the factory with the machinery going constantly, silence wasn't exactly an option.

We have a mistaken idea about silence, too--it isn't the complete absence of noise.  One of the things that I love about running is that it takes me to places that are extremely quiet.  I often run or hike for a couple of hours to get to remote lakes and streams in the mountains or deserts, and the silence that I experience there is a special treat indeed.  But it's not absolute silence.  I can still hear the breezes in the trees and the songs of the birds.  I can hear bugs and the sound of rushing water or water lapping up on the shore, but those sounds most definitely don't disturb the silence of the place--they're an integral part of the place.
   

Without silence, there cannot be any real appreciation of life,
which is as delicate in its inner fabrics as a closed rosebud.

Deepak Chopra

   
I think that silence would be a wonderful gift to give, if such a thing were possible.  I would truly love to package it up and give it to someone who needed it in their lives.  I know that it would be a valuable gift for just about anyone, except for people who fear silence--and I've met many such people.  They're unable to be alone in a silent room.  They have to turn on the television or the radio, just to have some sound in the room with them.  I feel bad for them because they're never able to experience just how wonderful silence can be.

We have friends with young children, and often we'll "borrow" their kids and take them to a movie, partly to give the kids a treat, but also partly to give the parents a chance to experience a bit of peace and quiet for a few hours.  They love their kids, of course, but it's very nice for them to have some stillness in their lives every now and then.

How do you deal with silence?  Do you make it an important part of your life, or do you neglect it and cover it up with noise?  Is it something that you enjoy, or something that you fear?  While some distractions can be enjoyable and even beneficial, it's important that we keep in mind the fact that silence, more than almost anything else, can help us to reflect and to find those deeper parts of ourselves that we tend to neglect when we're surrounded by sound and noise.  When we search out silence, we search out depth and understanding, and that can help us to lead fuller, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.

   
More on silence.

   

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Opportunities do not come with
their values stamped upon them.
Every one must be challenged.
A day dawns, quite like other days;
in it a single hour comes quite like
other hours; but in that day
and in that hour the chance
of a lifetime faces us.

Maltbie D. Babcock

  

The Trouble Tree
unattributed

The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and then his old pickup truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.  On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family.  As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.  When he opened the door he underwent an amazing transformation.

His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward, he walked me to the car.  We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me.  I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied.  "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing is for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and children.  So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home.  Then in the morning I pick them up again."

"The funny thing is," he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

Everybody needs a trouble tree.

   
  

Life is full of giving and taking.  If the giving is more than the
taking, then by just that much the individual rises towards a higher life.

Julian P. Johnson

    

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