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!
Sue Patton Thoele
Joys of Living
Orison Swett Marden
but Not without Hope
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Unquestionably, it is possible to do
it is done voluntarily by nineteen- twentieths
John Stuart Mill
No one is useless in this world
lightens the burden
of it to anyone else.
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.
is not submission; it is acknowledgement
of the facts
of a situation, then deciding
what you're going to do about it.
Sue Patton Thoele
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
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
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
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.
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.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
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.
Joys of Living
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
"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
We are like children chasing a rainbow.
If we could only reach it, what delight!
We spend our lives trading in
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
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x 800 - 1440
It is essential that our love be
liberating, not possessive. We must at all times
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.
friendship must empower those we love to become their
according to their own lights and visions.
John Powell, S.J.
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
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
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
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
Former U.S. Congressman John Kasich relates this incident
from his own experience:
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
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
from building on what we have in common rather than by using our
differences to create in-groups, out-groups and fear-driven
"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
"'But she's a liberal Democrat,' came the sheepish
"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.
issues that confront us may seem so huge, so complicated, so
to deal with that it's hard to believe that anything we can do will
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
we are also demonstrating that lots of people really do care.
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.
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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with--just know that they'll be here for you
Be sure to choose what you believe and why you
believe it, because
if you don’t choose your beliefs, you may be
some belief, and probably not a very credible one,
will choose you.
a year of one-sentence reminders
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make the most of our lives each day that we live.
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novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey
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David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
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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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