27 September 2016
do not force their way with great strife. Flowers
to perfection slowly in the sun. Don't be in a
spiritual matters. Go step by step, and
be very sure.
To try to extinguish the drive for riches with money is
like trying to quench a fire by pouring butterfat over it.
All prosperity begins in the mind and
is dependent only upon the
of our creative imagination.
a Deep Breath, Decide to Enjoy Life, and Feed the
Time to take a deep breath — a deep breath, then pause.
There. Feel better already, don't you? Close
your eyes. Tight. Count to 10. Slowly.
Afterwards — eyes still closed, mind you — think of a
particularly upbeat something that you did this
year. Call up an image of this episode. Why is
it memorable? How long will you remember?
You say this year hasn't been an especially upbeat year
for you? That happens. No problem. Go
back two, three years — more if you need to — until
you come upon an image that makes you smile. The
important thing is to stay in the game.
When in doubt, feed the birds.
Write a letter. The exercise will benefit your
immortal soul and absolutely floor the recipient, who
probably hasn't received a letter from anyone since Earl
Butz was secretary of agriculture. Teach yourself to
tie a few good knots. While you're at it, knit up the
raveled sleeve of care. Allow ten minutes extra for
everything. When worried, just remember the words of
Bernard de Clairvaux: "Hey, babe, chill. Things
could be worse."
Feed the birds.
as the tea kettle whistles. Watch it steam up the
Write down Grandmother's recipe for
potato pancakes Parmesan, before you lose it again.
Avoid throngs. Laugh out loud when you feel like
it. For one day, leave your wristwatch at
home. Learn to whittle; throw shavings into the
fireplace, where they will do some good.
Break the mold.
Drive a different route to work. Say "good
morning" to those glowering faces in the elevator
(don't worry: Most people don't bite). Be
aware of the fact that that rock salt on sidewalks can
kill grass. Watch dawn arrive; see how many colors
the sky turns.
Take a deep breath.
Count your blessings.
Harboring a grudge against someone? Has it
helped? (Didn't think so.) Sing, if only in
the shower. Get older family members to tape their
reminiscences. Wiggle your toes. Next time you
make chili, add extra spice. Whistle while you
work. Go for a good long walk; stretch those legs,
including those important Achilles tendons, so easily
forgotten in the hectic pace of today's living.
Take the dog.
Remember what my father used to say. When I was a
boy, and about to head off somewhere or other, my father
always used to say, "Don't do anything dumb!"
Remember to feed the birds.
Take a chance now and then. Look for a new
Telephone an old friend. Seize the moment.
Believe in yourself. If you keep kicking yourself,
you're going to fall down. Davey Crockett, he of the
long rifle and wild frontier, said: "Make sure
you're right, then go ahead," which put it nicely.
A carpenter says: "Measure twice, cut
Take your choice.
Breathe deeply. Let your memory slip back to that
summer when you were quite small, at the beach with your
family, and your father hoisted you onto his shoulders and
waded into the lake until his knees were covered.
You had never seen so much water. You trusted your
Close your eyes. Squint hard, relax. How long
ago was that first date with the person you later married
— 25 years? 30 years? More? Certainly a
long, long time. Just as certainly, a very short
time. How can it be both?
I've no idea. But it is.
Smile. Give a loved one a good, strong hug, just on
general principles; because we never can tell, can we?
Don't forget to feed the birds.
Think about this for a moment. Humans are said to be
the only creatures with a time sense, including an ability
to contemplate such a thing as the future. Does it
follow that humankind is the only species able to deal
with the concept of hope? I suspect that we are. I
do believe that the capacity for hope can help us meet
Open the bedroom window a crack at night; sleep in fresh
Take a time-out now and then as a way of reducing stress.
It works for sports teams, long-distance truckers and
troublesome toddlers; so why shouldn't it work for you?
Seize the moment. Make it your own. One never
has quite enough moments, although we don't know this when
we are young. Then, if we look ahead, we see an
endless stream full of moments, so many that we could
never count them, and all of them ours for the
taking. Before we know it, though, the stream has
shrunk dramatically and the available moments are growing
scarce; and we wish that we had gone after them more
assiduously when the stream was full.
So, we say again: Seize the moment — while you
As long as you are seizing moments, use the opportunity to
divest yourself of all that residual guilt you're carrying
around. Guilt gives us warts and yellow teeth, among
other things, and never did anyone any good. Gather
up your guilt, wrap with care and send it Federal Express
to my cousin Pearl in Bayonne, who can never get enough of
Forgive. Smile. Walk. (Oh, do walk when
you can.) Share. Reach. Laugh.
Teach. Learn. Run. Believe.
Lift. Climb. Understand. Explore.
Give. Appreciate. And, since you can never do
it all, savor the small moments that, aggregated, become
great. Stay in the game — oh, and do remember to
look after the birds.
* * * *
Dickinson was a Providence Journal editorial writer
who stirred thousands of readers with his masterful,
elegant columns long after Lou Gehrig's disease left him
with the control only of his eyes. He died at the
age of 64. For
nearly a decade, helped by a series of remarkable computer
devices, an array of medical machines and the constant
attention of his family, Mr. Dickinson worked at his
writing daily, even though he could neither speak nor move
his arms, hands or fingers. To read a feature on
Dickinson written during his last days, click
We make a point of reprinting this article every several
people behind the words
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as a Reflection
in our lives reflects our consciousness. Our
beliefs, attitudes, expectations, feelings, and
emotional patterns are all mirrored in the circumstances
and events of our lives. For example, if I am very
critical of myself, I'm likely to attract and be
attracted to people who mirror that internal process by
being critical of me as well. The more I love and
support myself emotionally, the more likely I am to
attract loving, supportive behavior from others.
If I feel that life offers me few opportunities,
I'm likely to find that to be true in reality. If
I have confidence in my abilities, on the other hand, I
will probably discover many opportunities to use them.
Money can represent many things to us:
financial circumstances will reflect how we feel about
the qualities we consciously or unconsciously associate
If on a deep level we feel unworthy of success or
happiness, we may unconsciously prevent ourselves from
having much money. Or, if we are deeply insecure,
and money represents power and status, we may be
compulsively driven to accumulate wealth in the hope
that it will bring us the security and validation we
yearn for. Yet, at some point, we may lose it
all. Seemingly a disaster, this may in fact be our
soul's way of setting up an opportunity to become
conscious of our deep feelings of inadequacy so we can
heal them. Money, or the loss of it, can be a
powerful catalyst for our growth and healing.
How does this differ from the popular New Age idea that
if we become aware of our negative thoughts and beliefs
about money and change them, our financial circumstances
will shift to reflect our changed consciousness and we
will become wealthy?
First, I am not talking about simply "changing our
thoughts." For a real shift to take place in
our lives, we must become aware of our core beliefs and
our deep emotions--especially the ones that have been
unconscious. We must be willing and able to heal
ourselves, not just on the mental level, but on the
spiritual, emotional, and physical levels as well.
Healing ourselves on the spiritual level involves
developing a strong connection with our soul. We
heal ourselves on the mental level as we become aware of
our core beliefs, release those that limit us, and open
to more supportive ideas and greater
understanding. Emotional healing takes place as we
learn to accept and experience the full range of our
feelings. And we heal ourselves on the physical
level when we learn to honor and care for our bodies,
and for the physical world around us.
Most of the limiting patterns in our lives are rooted in
deep emotional wounds that require a certain amount of
time and attention to heal. Even more profound is
the spiritual emptiness many of us feel when we
experience disconnection from our soul. We can
only heal this emptiness by finding a way to reconnect
with our spiritual essence.
We are unlikely to achieve real prosperity, financial or
otherwise, until we are able to feel comfortable in our
physical bodies and know how to operate in the material
world, as well.
So there are many aspects to the healing process.
This kind of transformation is no simple matter.
In fact, it is a gradually unfolding process that lasts
our entire lifetime. For most people, it is not
enough just to say positive affirmations about
prosperity, although that may be one very good step.
I have a problem with the idea that if we only believe
it possible, we can all have unlimited wealth.
Perhaps this is true in some ideal, theoretical
way. I believe, however, that our souls choose to
come into physical life in order to learn and develop in
certain ways, and that each of us has a unique
journey. Some of us may have chosen to experience
extreme physical limitation in this life through an
illness or disability, in order to deepen a certain
aspect of our strength and wisdom. Similarly, some
of us may choose to experience financial limitation at
times in our life, or for an entire lifetime, in order
to develop certain other aspects of our character.
Often these choices are made on a soul level and we are
completely unaware of them. On the level of
personality, we might feel quite frustrated and unhappy
about the circumstances of our lives until we've done
enough healing and consciousness work to begin to
understand how our soul's choice is serving us.
Remember that no matter what our level of income, we
have the opportunity to develop an experience of true
prosperity. Generally, both our relationship with
money and our experience of prosperity will develop as a
reflection of our healing and growth on all levels.
pioneer Shakti Gawain presents her definition of
prosperity: not bankrolls and material
possessions, but rather a fulfilled heart and
soul. She challenges the Western tendency
to equate money with happiness, encouraging
readers to examine their longings honestly,
follow them to their roots, and separate them
from false desires or addictions. Gawain
shows readers how to create true prosperity in
satisfying relationships and the kind of
happiness not dependent on possessions or
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need to find God, and he cannot be
found in noise and restlessness. God is
the friend of
silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grow in
see the stars, the moon and sun, how they move in
Silence. . . . The more we receive
in silent prayer, the
more we can give in our active life. We need silence
able to touch souls.
Do You Value?
like the word "value," for it's a pretty
strange word when all is said and done. We use it
for shopping, of course, and who among us doesn't try to
find "a great value" when we go out to buy
things? Advertisers tell us that we can find the
best values at their stores or with their
products. The word also implies worth, as in being
worthwhile, or being worthy, and being of higher
quality. A cheaper product is of no worth to us if
it breaks apart an hour after we buy it; therefore, the
more expensive product probably would have been the
better value (though experience tells me that higher
price almost never automatically means higher quality).
But the word is also a verb, which we use when we want
to say how much we appreciate and care about
something. When I say that "I value his
friendship," it means that the friendship is very
important to me. If I change the wording slightly
and say that "I value him as a friend," then
I'm acknowledging his importance to me--he is what I
value most greatly, not necessarily the friendship.
values are those by which a life
can be lived, which can form a people
that produces great deeds and thoughts.
It's when we use the word as a verb that we truly can
get an idea of ourselves and other people, for when we
understand what people value, we understand much more
about them as people.
When I find out that someone values honesty very highly,
I'm attracted to that person, for I've learned through
experience that I can trust such people quite deeply,
and trust is very important to me. And because I
value trust, a person who values dishonesty in his or
her life isn't at all attractive to me--I'll always keep
such a person at a bit of a distance. It's a
protective instinct that causes me to do so, since I
don't want to end up being a victim of another person's
dishonesty. It's happened before, and I want to
try to avoid allowing it to happen again.
But what are the qualities that we truly value?
And once we find them, do we truly live by what we
value? If I value peace of mind but I constantly
put myself in situations that rob me of that peace, am I
allowing myself to live my life fully? Or am I
creating cognitive dissonance, a feeling inside that
something isn't right, a lack of comfortable connection
between what I know to be right for me and the reality
society's values are being corrupted by advertising's
on the equation: Youth equals popularity,
equals success, success equals happiness.
Once I identify what I value, it's very important that I
try to create situations and conditions in which I can
allow those things to be guiding forces in my
life. If I value honesty but hang around with
dishonest people, then I'm not allowing the thing I
value to be an integral part of who I am. If I
value solitude but never give myself a chance to be
alone, then I'm sabotaging my chances of experiencing
something that's important to me.
For example, one of the things I value the most in life
is being well rested. I know that I work better, I
feel better, and I relate better to others when I'm not
tired. Because this is something that I value very
highly, I'm more than willing to sacrifice other things
to make sure that I get rest when I need it.
That's not to say that I don't go all out when I do
things--I often work 14-16 hour days as a teacher and
coach. But when I feel the need for rest coming
on, I honor that need because I value it so highly.
Unfortunately, one of the places where we often pay the
least attention to our values is in the field of
relationships. How often are we willing to
compromise on our values because we care for
someone? If I value honesty and I'm having a
relationship with someone who doesn't, then I have to
admit that something that is very important to me is
being pushed out of my life by my own decisions.
We see over and over again how people are willing to
push their values aside just for the chance to escape
loneliness, starting relationships without the benefit
of shared values, and these relationships very often are
are principles and ideas that bring meaning to
the seemingly mundane experience of life. A meaningful
life that ultimately brings happiness and pride requires
you to respond to temptations as well as challenges
with honor, dignity, and courage.
Which things do you value highly? Here's a good
starting list, compliments of Michael DeBakey:
success requires respect for and faithfulness to the highest
human values--honesty, integrity, self-discipline, dignity,
compassion, humility, courage, personal
responsibility, courtesy, and human service."
Here he's using these words as nouns to indicate values,
but are you able to say "I truly value personal
responsibility"? If you are, then you're
taking these nouns and making them important parts of
It's almost impossible to live our lives fully if we're
not aware of what we value, and if we don't allow
ourselves to live up to those values. It's very
easy to get caught up in life and spend our time
reacting to things that happen to us; it's more
important that we take the time to identify what we
value, and do our best to make sure that we create
situations and conditions that are favorable for living
up to them.
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
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learn about the nature of the world from their
family. They learn about power and about justice,
about peace and about compassion within the family.
Whether we oppress or liberate our children in our
relationships with them will determine whether they grow
up to oppress and be oppressed or to liberate and be
Relief Is Just a Pivot Away
You’re tense, tired,
edgy, perhaps even angry, hurt or feeling abused. But before
dealing directly with the source of whatever provoked your
feelings, get yourself into a more balanced and resourceful state
of mind. Then you will be able to see your situation more
objectively and work on a more permanent solution. Here are four
easy ways to pivot:
Take a Break.
No matter how
difficult the situation may appear to be, a change of pace can
help you open up new ways of looking at the problem. Stop what
you’re doing and find something else to do. Focus your mind on
anything but the cause of your stress. For example, if you’re
working on a stressful task, find another task to work on.
Practice Deep Breathing.
Breathing! It's one of the
simplest yet most effective ways to manage stress's effects on
your body. When you’re stressed, you have a tendency to
breathe more shallowly and rapidly – some people even hold
their breath – depriving your body of vital oxygen. To promote
a relaxation response, breathe slowly and deeply.
Work It Off Physically.
Physical activities like
stretching, walking or yoga can help relax both your mind and
your body. Even a five- or ten-minute movement break can go a
long way toward helping your body reduce the tension caused by
Appreciate What’s Working.
The more you focus on
problems, the more stressed out you’ll feel. Likewise, the
more you dwell on what’s working, the better you’ll feel.
Review in your mind or make a list of everything that’s
"right" with your job. You may discover that you
can’t be in a stressed out state and an appreciative state at
the same time. For this reason, appreciation can be one of the
most powerful tools for easing tension and feeling better
You may find that once
you release the tension and take your focus off the problem, the
solution will magically appear.
* * * * *
© Copyright Carol James caroljames.com
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