2 February  2016      

Welcome to February!
The newest month of our lives has arrived, and we hope that you're able to see
it in well and enjoy it for all that it's worth, using its gift of days and hours and
minutes to be creative, productive, encouraging and encouraged, and restful.
How you spend the days of this new month is completely up to you, and we hope
that you're able to find ways that will make it one of your best months ever!

 The Leveled Life
Sue Patton Thoele

 The Joys of Living
Orison Swett Marden

Discouraged, but Not without Hope
tom walsh

Please feel free to contact us at info at livinglifefully.com (no spaces, replace "at" with @),
or on our feedback pageLiving Life Fully home - e-zine archives - Daily Meditations
Don't forget that you can receive an e-mail reminder each time that our e-zine is published,
a free e-mail of our daily quotations and/or our weekly Digest.  Click here to learn more!

   

Unquestionably, it is possible to do without happiness; it is done voluntarily by nineteen- twentieths of humankind.

John Stuart Mill

No one is useless in this world who
lightens the burden of it to anyone else.

Charles Dickens

The joy of all mysteries is the certainty which comes from their contemplation, that there are many doors yet for the soul to open on her upward and inward way.

Arthur Christopher Benson

Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation, then deciding what you're going to do about it.

Kathleen Casey Theisen

  
The Leveled Life
Sue Patton Thoele

People who are emotionally dependent often carry an unspoken feeling that life is passing them by, that they have missed their personal boat somewhere along the way.  Life, which had promised to be so exciting, full of joy and surprises, has turned out to be as level and barren as the salt flats.  The truth is, if life feels flat, it probably means we're letting others define what our life should be and haven't taken the risk to find out who we are and what we want.

Children are natural-born risk takers.  They move out into the world and toward others with their arms wide open.  For children, life is full of mountains and valleys waiting to be explored.  There's nothing level about the life of a healthy, spontaneous child.  One moment she'll be rolling around in a fit of glee, and the next moment she's grabbing aggressively for her doll and sobbing.

When we see a child acting level and flat, we take her temperature.  Why, then, do we feel it's okay for us to ooze through life on a boring, uniform plane?  What, after all, is enthralling about a life that's safe but lacks wonder, enthusiasm, passion, and joy?  What's normal about living from an apathetic place within ourselves that knows no spontaneous gratitude, sense of rightness, and harmony with the scheme of things?

Often we fall into the habit of living blah lives so gradually that we aren't aware of how flat and bland our lives have become.

When my first husband left me, I realized how level my life was.  When the shock wore off, I experienced an explosion of emotions.  I'd be low, then I'd skyrocket into a frenzy of rage and desire for revenge.  I'd be thinking of suicide, then I'd be giddy with fantasies about the possibilities that lay open before me.

During the years it took me to heal those wounds, I experienced the widest range of feelings that I'd had since I was a teenager.  Becoming aware of how painful my life was because of its flatness, I decided to do something about it.  One of my first, fleeting reactions was, "I'm never going to let myself be hurt like this again.  Never, never, never!"  To protect myself, I locked myself up in an emotional bubble-dome, out of reach and invulnerable.  But that didn't last long because I gradually began to understand my own role in the breakup:  how my emotional dependence and low self-esteem had helped level my life.

During my first marriage, I was unwilling to be aware of what was going on inside of me or in the relationship, for that matter.  It was simply too scary.  As a defense mechanism, I became funny on the outside, covertly and ineffectually venting my anger by telling funny but barbed stories.  Later, when I was able to see my actions with love and forgiveness instead of flinching, I chose to act differently.  I changed my promise never to be hurt again to two affirmations that I still live by.

The first was I choose to live my life fully.  For me, that meant a commitment to risk taking and to experiencing all of my feelings, whether joyous, painful, or indifferent.  It also meant a commitment to honor dreams long shelved.  I had tried to avoid risk and pain for years.  Now I was learning that in order to live my life I had to embrace life's whole package:  the pain as well as the joy, the risks as well as the certainties--the entire gamut of emotions and possibilities.  It wasn't a decision I made lightly or easily.

I was helped immensely by this passage from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises
     was often filled with your tears
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,
the more joy you can contain.

My second affirmation was I will never give myself away again.  Giving myself away had depleted me so much I no longer felt there was a "me."  To counteract that void, I decided to explore my boundaries, beliefs, and desires.  What did I want to do with my life?  Whom did I want to do it with?  What behavior was acceptable to me?  What could I do to increase my independence and my ability to love others?  How could I be a supportive yet firm parent?  What dreams longed to be fulfilled?  What did I need to heal in order to resist the temptation to give myself away again?

As a result of my inner exploration, I finalized the divorce, went to graduate school, and learned to become a better parent and friend to myself.

   
   

Sue Patton Thoele continues her quest to help readers enhance their self-esteem and tap into their core emotional strength. Geared to women who too often find themselves meeting the wants of others at the expense of their own needs, the book provides necessary tools to help readers transform their fears into the courage to express their own authentic selves. By sharing her own journey and the journey of other women, Thoele helps readers learn to set boundaries, change self-defeating behavior patterns, communicate effectively, and become a loving and tolerant friend to themselves.

   

welcome page - contents - gallery - obstacles - quotations - the people behind the words
our current e-zine - articles and excerpts - Daily Meditations, Year Two - Year Three
     

Sign up for your free daily spiritual or general quotation
~ ~ Sign up for your free daily meditation

  

New for you!
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.

    

    

The Joys of Living
Orison Swett Marden

LIVING TO-DAY--IN THE HERE AND NOW

Happy the man and happy he alone
He who can call to-day his own;
He who's secure within can say,
To-morrow do thy worst, for I have lived to-day.

-DETDBX

"There  never was a land so dear
But found its hallelujah here."


If an inhabitant of some other planet were to visit America, he would probably think that our people were all en route for something beyond, some other destination, and that where they happen to be living is merely a way station where they unpack only such of their luggage as they need for a temporary stay.

The visitor would find very few people actually living in the here and the now.  He would find that most people's gaze is fixed upon something beyond, something to come.  They are not really settled to-day, do not really live in the now, but they are sure they will live to-morrow or next year when business is better, their fortune greater, when they move into their new house, get their new furnishings, their new automobile, get rid of things that now annoy, and have everything around them to make them comfortable.  Then they will be happy.  But they are not really enjoying themselves to-day.  Our eyes are so focused upon the future, upon some goal in the beyond, that we do not see the beauties and the glories all about us.  Our eyes are not focused for the things near us, but those far away.  We get so accustomed to living in our imagination and anticipation that we lose much of our power of enjoying the here and the now.  We are living for to-morrow, to-morrow, and yet, "When tomorrow comes it still will be to-morrow!"

We are like children chasing a rainbow.  If we could only reach it, what delight!  We spend our lives trading in "futures," building air-castles.  We never believe that we have yet reached the years of our finest living, but we always feel sure that the ideal time of life is coming.

Most of us are discontented, restless, nervous, and unhappy.  There is a far-away look in our eyes, which shows that we are not content with to-day, that we are not really living here and now, that our minds are on something away beyond the present.

The great majority of people think that the proper thing to do is to live almost anywhere except right here and now.  Many people dwell on the past with its rich but lost opportunities, its splendid chances which thay have let slip; and while they are doing this, they waste the precious present which seems of little account to them to-day, but which to-morrow will begin to take on a new value in their estimation.  It is astonishing what new virtues and forces we are able to see and develop in regretful retrospection, the moment these have passed beyond our reach.  What splendid opportunities stand out after they have gone by!  Oh!  What could we not do with them if we had them back!

. . . . If we are ever happy, it will be because we create happiness out of our environment with all its vexations, cares, and disheartening conditions.  He who does not learn to create his happiness as he goes along, out of the day's work with all its trials, its antagonisms, its obstacles, with all its little annoyances, disappointments, has missed the great life secret.  It is out of this daily round of duties, out of the stress and strain and strife of life, the attrition of mind with mind, disposition with disposition--out of this huckstering, buying and selling world--that we must get the honey of life, just as the bee sucks the sweetness from all sorts of flowers and weeds.

The whole world is full of unworked joymines.  Everywhere we go we find all sorts of happiness-producing material, if we only know how to extract it.  "Everything is worth its while if we only grasp it and its significance.  Half the joy in life is in little things taken on the run."

. . . . Resolve every morning that you will get the most out of that day, not of some day in the future, when you are better off, when you have a family, when your children are grown up, when you have overcome your difficulties.  You never will overcome them all.  You will never be able to eliminate all the things which annoy, trouble, and cause friction in your life.  You will never get rid of all the little enemies of your happiness, the hundred and one little annoyances, but you can make the most of things as they are.

The reason why our lives are so lean and poverty-stricken, so disappointing and ineffective, is because we do not really live in the day; we do not concentrate our energy, our ambition, our attention, our enthusiasm, upon the day we are living.

Resolve to enjoy yourself to-day.  Enjoy to-day, and do not let the hideous shadows of to-morrow, the forebodings, and the things you dread, rob you of what is yours to-day--your inalienable right to be happy to-day.

Just have a little heart-to-heart talk with yourself every morning, and say:  "It does not matter what comes or what goes to-day, what happens or what does not happen, there is one thing of which I am sure, and that is, I am going to get the most possible out of the day.  I am not going to allow anything to rob me of my happiness, or of my right to live this day from beginning to end, and not merely to exist.

"I do not care what comes, I shall not allow any annoyance, any happening, any circumstances which may cross my path to-day, to rob me of my peace of mind.  I will not be unhappy to-day, no matter what occurs.  I am going to enjoy the day to its full, live the day completely.  This day shall be a complete day in my life.  I shall not allow the enemies of my happiness to mar it.  No misfortune in the past, nothing which has happened to me in days gone by, which has been disagreeable or tragic, no enemies of my happiness or efficiency, shall be a guest in my spirit's sacred enclosure to-day.  Only happy thoughts, joy thoughts, only the friends of my peace, comfort, happiness, and success, shall find entertainment in my soul this day. . . ."

Remember that yesterday is dead.  To-morrow is not yet born.  The only time that belongs to you is the passing moment.  One might liken the sixty minutes in the hour to flowers, that live for only sixty seconds and then die.  If we get the good that belongs to us here and now, we must extract the sweetness of each passing minute while it is ours.  That is the real art of living in the to-day.

From his book The Joys of Living (1913).

   

   

Free Wallpaper!  Just click below
on the size your desktop is
formatted to, right-click on the
picture that appears in the new
window, and choose
"Set as background."
(This photo's from a spring
day in Kootenay National Park)

1280 x 800  -  1440 x 900

    

It is essential that our love be liberating, not possessive.  We must at all times
give those we love the freedom to be themselves. Love affirms the other as other.
It does not possess and manipulate another as mine. . . . To love is to liberate.
Love and friendship must empower those we love to become their best selves,
according to their own lights and visions.

John Powell, S.J.

   

 

Discouraged, but Not without Hope

Sometimes it gets difficult to remain positive in our world of today.  After all, there are many wars going on, we have an economy and political system that favor the wealthy and that have decimated the middle class, many people have lost their jobs or are working hard for wages that are barely above the poverty level, our education system is taking hit after hit as it loses money and good teachers and sees consistently raising class sizes, and our newscasts are filled with reports of crime and tragedy and death and destruction.

But of all these things, I think that what is most discouraging to me is the way that we treat each other, especially here in the states.  One of the things that always has been a hallmark of America is the fact that when times have gotten tough, we've stuck together.  We've come together as a united people and we've worked our ways through our difficulties, overcoming obstacles and trials together.

Not this time, though.  It's unfortunate, but I've never been witness to such incredibly uncivil treatment as that which I've seen over the last few years, especially in the political arena.  I've never seen so many people filled with hatred and anger of others simply because of religion, politics, national origin, or race.

   

What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean
that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, every
component is there not for competitive profit or recognition, but for
contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis.

W. Edwards Deming

   
And what's worse, I've never seen the leaders of this country involved in such petty bickering and such mean-spirited attacks on each other.  Their modeling is encouraging many of the people who admire them to do the same thing, and the polarization of our politics has become dangerous, as people vent their anger and their own frustrations of their own lives on the right or the left, the conservatives or the liberals, the "republitards" or the "libtards."  It's all about name-calling, insulting, and trying to harm those who don't hold the same beliefs that we hold, and that's simply sad.

A country must be run on cooperation if it's to function well.  Unfortunately, though, we have very few role models who model cooperation to our young today--now things seem to be all about competition, and it frightens me to think of how these young people will end up twenty years from now if they're not exposed to healthy models of cooperation.

Former U.S. Congressman John Kasich relates this incident from his own experience:

"I can remember being in the Congress in 1994, sitting on the House floor as Pat Schroeder walked by.  Pat was a liberal Democrat from Colorado whom I happened to like. . . I have regard for people who don't think the way I think. . . . the Democrats were in the majority at that time, and right or wrong it was seen as somewhat unusual for politicians of different stripes to have a friendly conversation on the House floor, but that's precisely what we did.  Pat had just had a hearing on one of my bills and passed it out of her committee, so we had a few things to kick around, and after we'd parted a few freshman Republicans came up to me and wondered what that was all about.

"'How could you talk to that woman?' one of them asked.
    

Competing against each other leaves little space for reciprocity and
the growth of social capital.  Running against another in a race may
benefit our speed, but jointly organizing the sports day produces
cooperation and trust.  There are many situations where cooperation
and reciprocity are more effective than competition.  Civic virtues come
from building on what we have in common rather than by using our
differences to create in-groups, out-groups and fear-driven competition.

Eva Cox

    
"It was as if I'd been found guilty of treason--or, at least, been caught with my hand in some partisan cookie jar.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  'What's wrong with you?' I shot back.  'Pat Schroeder is not the enemy.  This isn't war.  She's one of your colleagues.'

"'But she's a liberal Democrat,' came the sheepish reply.

"These newly minted Republican congressmen couldn't even grasp what I was trying to say to them, that's how foreign it was to their way of thinking, and I didn't fault them as much as I did the system they were about to enter.  They were perhaps too green to know any better--but how to explain the veteran congressmen who felt the same way?  And furthermore, how to explain that it's gotten worse, in the dozen or so years since this exchange took place?"


To me, it's also important to wonder how these people were elected by voters, if all they were going to do was go to Washington and try to push their own party's agendas, rather than work together with others--no matter what their party--to serve the people of their country.  Are we as voters so swayed by political leanings that we no longer consider which candidate is most likely to serve his or her constituents well?

Human beings have faced adversity before, and we always will continue to face it.  My hope comes from this fact.  The adversity that we face now is not the same kind of adversity that we've faced in the past (but which others in the world continue to face), such as famine, pestilence, and disease.  Rather, the adversity that we face now is our inability to live and work together in a civil way.  We do so every day in our normal lives, but even on the job and at school and in our social settings, people are much less likely to discuss issues that really matter because of the unfortunate partisanship that's affecting us all.
   

The issues that confront us may seem so huge, so complicated, so difficult
to deal with that it's hard to believe that anything we can do will have a
meaningful impact.  But there are a lot of us in the world.  A lot of people
doing a lot of little things could have a huge impact.  And by doing something,
we are also demonstrating that lots of people really do care.

Michael Norton
365 Ways to Change the World

   
But I believe that we will wake up from our current stupor--that level heads and rational voices will prevail, and that we will once again find common ground upon which we can once more work together to build together.  We may not silence the voices that preach hatred and division, but we can reach a point at which those voices are seen as what they really are--pathetic little sounds that do nothing more than attempt to win recognition for the weak people who speak about and encourage such destructive things as anger and revenge and intolerance.  We will reclaim our lives and follow that star that shines uniquely for us, instead of hitching our wagons to each star that seems to be doing what we think everyone should be doing.

Tolerance.  Cooperation.  Unity.  Acceptance.  Helpfulness.  Encouragement.  These are things that can help us to contribute positively to the world and help us shine as individuals who are living their lives fully.  And they are things that can help us to work together to reach our goals of continuing to recreate a country that still is a very new experiment in the world, and that still holds much promise.  There still is plenty of room for hope.

   
More on expectations.

   

One 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 essay series has been a mainstay of the weekly e-zine--a series that has explored not just the things that exist and that happen around us, but also our reactions to those things. The first five years of the column are now available exclusively on Kindle.

   

  

Living Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a place
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement.  Our articles
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do we
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live life.  Take
from them what you will, and disagree with whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you each week.

  

  







The expanded edition of Just for Today from Living Life Fully Publications:
Over a year of "Just for Today" passages from our popular e-mail daily quotations, and our expanded edition includes over 180 reflections on those thoughts.  Full of ideas and focal points that you can use to help to make your day brighter and more fulfilling as you focus on different ways of giving and awareness of the blessings in your life!  Click on the image to the left for the print version.    
Kindle Version

   
Also available, the print version of Daily Meditations, Year One
One full year's worth of our daily meditations that until now have been available only on our site or through e-mail.  Now you can have the entire first year's worth of daily meditations for just $2.99 on your Kindle.  (Print edition available here.)
  
  
  
Nogglz--A novel of terror sure to keep you turning the pages!  The residents of Canyon Bluff have been teasing their kids for years with stories of the Nogglz, the town's own version of the Bogeyman.  But now their worst fears are being realized when the Nogglz actually show up and start taking their revenge on the townspeople.  What would you do if your worst nightmare was suddenly roaming the streets of your town?  Click the image for the print version, or here for your Kindle.  To read more about the novel, click here.
  

   

HOME - contents - Daily Meditations - abundance - acceptance - achievement - action - adversity - advertising - aging - ambition
anger - anticipation - anxiety - apathy - appreciation - arrogance - art - attitude - authenticity - awakening - awareness - awe
balance - beauty - being yourself - beliefs - body - brooding - busyness - caring - celebration - challenges -
change - character
charity - children - choices - Christianity - coincidence - commitment - common sense - community - comparison - compassion
competition - complaining - compliments - compromise - confidence - conformity - conscience - contentment - control - cooperation
courage - covetousness - creativity - crisis - criticism - cruelty -  death - decisions - desire - determination - disappointment
discipline - discouragement - diversity - doubt - dreams - earth - education - ego - emotions - encouragement - enlightenment
enthusiasm - envy - eternity - ethics - example - exercise - experience - failure - faith - fame - family - fate - fathers - fault-finding
fear - feelings - finances - flowers - forgiveness - freedom - friendship - frustration - fun - the future - garden of life - gardening
generosity - gentleness - giving - goals - God - goodness - grace - gratitude - greatness - greed - grief - growing up - guilt - habit
happiness - hatred - healing - health - heart - helpfulness - home - honesty - hope - hospitality - humility - hurry - ideals - identity
idleness  - idolatry - ignorance - illusion - imagination - impatience - individuality - the inner child - inspiration - integrity - intimacy
introspection - intuition - jealousy - journey of life - joy - judgment - karma - kindness - knowledge - language - laughter - laziness
leadership - learning - letting go - life - listening - loneliness - love - lying - magic - marriage - materialism - meanness - meditation
mindfulness - miracles - mistakes - mistrust - moderation - money - mothers - motivation - music - mystery - nature - negative attitude
now - oneness - open-mindedness - opportunity - optimism - pain - parenting - passion - the past - patience - peace - perfectionism
perseverance - perspective - pessimism - play - poetry - positive thoughts - possessions - potential - poverty - power - praise
prayer
- prejudice - pride - principle - problems - progress - prosperity - purpose - reading -recreation - reflection - relationships
religion - reputation - resentment - respect - responsibility - rest - revenge - risk - role models - running - ruts - sadness - safety
seasons of life - self - self-love - self-pity - self-reliance - self-respect selfishness - serving others - shame - silence - simplicity
slowing down - smiles -solitude - sorrow - spirit - stories - strength - stress - stupidity - success - suffering - talent
the tapestry of life - teachers - thoughts - time - today - tolerance - traditions - trees - trust - truth - unfulfilled dreams - values
vanity - virtue - vulnerability - walking - war - wealth - weight issues - wisdom - women - wonder - work - worry - worship
youth - spring - summer - fall - winter - Christmas - Thanksgiving - New Year - America - Zen sayings - articles & excerpts
Native American wisdom - The Law of Attraction - obstacles to living life fully - e-zine archives - quotations contents
our most recent e-zine - Great Thinkers - the people behind the words

   

All contents © 2016 Living Life Fully®, all rights reserved.
Please feel free to re-use material from this site other than copyrighted articles--
contact each author for permission to use those.  If you use material, it would be
greatly appreciated if you would provide credit and a link back to the original
source, and let us know where the material is published.  Thank you.

   

Almost any intense emotion may open our “inward eye” to the beauty of reality.  Falling in love appears to do it for some people.  The beauty of nature or the exhilaration of artistic creation does it for others.  Probably any high experience may momentarily stretch our souls up on tiptoe, so that we catch a glimpse of that marvelous beauty which is always there, but which we are not often tall enough to perceive.

Margaret Prescott Montague

  

Always Be. . .

understanding to your enemies.

loyal to your friends.

strong enough to face the world each day.

weak enough to know you cannot do everything alone.

generous to those who need your help.

frugal with that you need yourself.

wise enough to know that you do not know everything.

foolish enough to believe in miracles.

willing to share your joys.

willing to share the sorrows of others.

a leader when you see a path others have missed.

a follower when you are shrouded by the mists of uncertainty.

first to congratulate an opponent who succeeds.

last to criticize a colleague who fails.

sure where your next step will fall, so that you will not tumble.

sure of your final destination, in case you are going the wrong way.

loving to those who love you.

loving to those who do not love you; they may change.

Above all, always be yourself.

-Author Unknown

Bee

   
  

Be sure to choose what you believe and why you believe it, because
if you don’t choose your beliefs, you may be certain that
some belief, and probably not a very credible one, will choose you.

Robertson Davies

    

Over 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!
Book - Kindle

A novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey will remind you of all that is good in this world.
Book - Kindle
Read Chapter One

When David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
a ride west, he can't imagine the lessons he'll learn about his life.
Book - Kindle
Read Chapter One

"Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers," wrote Wordsworth over 150 years ago.  And we're still doing the same.
Book - Kindle

   

  

   

A new way of reading has been here for a while now.  And while we still love our books, if you're like many people, you get tired of lugging around the books that sometimes weigh more than anything else we carry.  Imagine carrying hundreds of books--novels, self-help, history, travel, you name it--and reading them comfortably on a no-glare screen, setting things like text size to your own preferences.  It's a great experience, and it's available to us now for less than the cost of ten books.  And there are plenty of free books to download, especially timeless classics--you can easily get enough free books to pay for the Kindle.  Give yourself the gift of wonderful literature that you can easily bring with you, wherever you go!

Visit our Facebook page
for uplifting quotations, images,
articles, and ideas.  Share us with
your friends and offer them the
opportunity to experience tons
of inspiration and motivation
for themselves!



You can also follow us on Twitter--each day, we
send out short thoughts to uplift, inspire,
and provoke thought.  You won't be inundated with
thousands of messages--just a few a day!