30 August  2016      

Hello, and welcome to the ending days of August--we hope that you're
able to end your month on very high notes and enjoy the last two
days of this month fully and completely!

Tricks to Switching Focus
Lynn Grabhorn

Creative Light
Wilferd A. Peterson

Strategies for Using Solitude Effectively
tom walsh

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How many undervalue the power of simplicity!
But it is the real key to the heart.

William Wordsworth

Don't play for safety.  It's the most dangerous thing in the world.

Hugh Walpole

When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death--ourselves.

Eda LeShan

Little people with little minds and little imaginations go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds.

Zig Ziglar

Tricks to Switching Focus (an excerpt)
Lynn Grabhorn

As a kid, did you ever jump off a high dive?  Do you remember that very first time you climbed up. . . and up. . . and up?  Each step seemed to take you farther away from safety, but even though you were scared, you kept on going.

Finally came the top of the ladder.  You walked tentatively out to the end of the board.  Your heart pounded so hard you could barely hear the kids below shouting you on.  The water seemed five miles away.  You didn't really want to do this thing, while at the same time you did.  Something in you knew this was epic, the greatest moment you would ever know, that if you did this, you would never be the same.  You jumped.  What a rush!  You made it.  And indeed, your life had changed forever.

The toughest part of ungluing ourselves from the high dive habit of an on-going problem (for that's all problems are . . . are habits) is forcing ourselves to release our preoccupation with it.  Like so:

You don't have to change it;
You just have to stop focusing on it!

Is it tough?  Yes!  Can it be done?  You bet!  But you have to start someplace, and that someplace is a decision that, somehow, you're going to change your focus.

Then comes actually doing it, changing your focus to something more pleasant so you can change your energy.  It is impossible to solve a problem in the same frequency in which it was created, so you make a decision that for as long as it's with you, that problem will no longer be the focal point of your life.  Like having a cut on your finger; you know it's there and yes it hurts when you think about it, but you don't allow it to govern your everyday living.  You believe it will heal and go away, and so it does.

Just remember, the most important part to changing an unwanted condition is simply:  you don't have to change it; you just have to stop thinking about it!  All it takes is that willingness to jump.

Trick #1.  Switch focus.  Now!

The moment you recognize you're focusing on the condition with your worry-motor running (or ticked-off motor, or blame motor, etc.), find something else, anything else to think about that will get you to feeling even a tiny bit better than you do at present.  And find it right now!

Switch your thoughts to your mate (if you've got a great relationship), your home, a song, your doggie, your new sweatshirt, a chocolate sundae, making love, your upcoming vacation, your last vacation, a special restaurant, your youngster asleep.  ANYthing!  Make yourself do this, staying there until you can feel your mood begin to change--which means your energy has changed--no matter how slight.

Once you make the feeling switch, then start talking--out loud--about what it is you want (that's "want," not "don't want") in place of your unwanted condition.  By doing that, your focus is now off of the condition, your Intent motor is running in its place, and you've gotten your valve open enough to begin the turnaround.  And for heaven's sake, never mind that your Replacement Want may seem impossible.  Just get into it and forget the "how to's."

If you can't get into your Want/Intent feeling mode, never mind.  Just stay in the feeling of some pleasant new focus for as long as you can.  The longer (and more often) you can stay in that higher frequency, the quicker your unwanted condition will begin to dissipate.  Conversely, the more you retain your focus on whatever has been bothering you, the longer it will stay around.

Trick #2.  Tender-talk it out.  Now!

When you just can't seem to get your focus off the condition, start some soothing talk to yourself, out loud, much like a loving mom or dad might comfort a little one.  Tell yourself all the comforting things a youngster would want to hear:  that it's going to be okay, that things are in the process of changing, that you've always been safe and always will be, that you have nothing to fear.

Keep talking warmly for as long as it takes for you to feel that subtle little switch happen, and you can feel your resistance to the higher energies backing down.  You are relaxing into well-being, your resistance to that Life-giving Source energy is lessening, and you're quieting down.  Stay there as long as you can, with your focus off the disturbing condition.

Trick #3.  Tough-talk it out.  Now!

This is tough-love kind of talk . . . out loud . . . to yourself, one on one.  But here's the trick:  you need to get tough, not down on yourself.  Don't you ever, ever, ever get down on yourself when you find you're focusing on an unwanted condition.

What you're after here is stern, horse-sense reasoning where you firmly point out to yourself what will transpire if you continue to focus on--and stew over--the condition.  Then you tell yourself quite matter-of-factly what will happen when you remove your focus and change your vibration.

"Now look, Charlie, you got yourself into this mess, and you are going to find a way to get yourself out.  But if you're going to stay in this mood and stew about it all day long, you know the situation is going to get worse.  So get off your pity pot and find some dumb thing to feel good about.  Hell yes, I know you don't feel like feeling good right now, but . . ."

Who cares if you believe it or not?  Fake it until you feel the switch in feeling take place, that subtle shift in your energy.

This is an approach of hard logic.  While I use it regularly and it always makes me feel better, I find I usually have to jump from this back into one of the other tricks to get more of that quieted-down Feel Good motor running full steam.  But that's just me.  Whatever it takes for you, go for it!

Trick #4.  Do something fun.  Now!

Get physical!  Go for a walk, polish your car, brush your cat, buy a new suit, bake a cake, play poker, trim your flowers, go to a movie, whatever turns you on that will take your stuck focus off the condition and soften your resistance to flowing that higher energy.  Once you feel the shift happen, start talking out loud, gently at first, about what you want in place of the unwanted condition.

With any of these tricks, keep in mind that old expression, "Fake it 'til you make it."  You switch focus, you talk warmly, you talk tough, you go for fun, you pretend, but the point is, you do it the moment you realize your attention is on the unwanted condition, and you stay there until you feel your feelings flip over.  They will!


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Creative Light
Wilferd A. Peterson

In February, 1987, astronomers made a sensational discovery, when a supernova--an exploding star--burst into view over the southern sky.  Not a single supernova had been seen in our galaxy since 1604.

Creative thinking, an explosion of ideas, is powerfully akin to this celestial event.  Creativity brings light into every corner of the world.  There are big ideas and little ideas, working together to create the magic by which inner darkness disappears.  And we can all be a part of this process.

I like the old proverb:  "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."  We need to create a moral and spiritual equivalent to the supernova here on our earth, a super-creativity which will abolish war, which will conquer hunger, poverty, disease, and crime.

Light illuminates, penetrates the darkness, shows the way ahead.  Light is synonymous with creativity.  It is explosive mental power.  It is the mind aflame, the heart aglow, the spirit aware.  It is God at work through you.

Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh were America's golden couple.  Then in March, 1932, their young son, Charles Lindbergh, Jr., was kidnapped and brutally murdered.

In her published letters and diary entries, Anne Morrow Lindbergh recounts the tragic months that followed.  For her, the light that guided her through the grief was learning how others had come through their trials.

Just as she was indebted to the people who had left behind their testimonies, Anne Morrow Lindbergh believed that in her books she, too, must leave her own "little grain of truth."  After all, grain must be resown in order to grow.

Goethe's cry, "More light," as he was dying brought a dynamic message to all of us.  For this is what we need in every area of life; more inspiration, more love, more tolerance, more understanding, more thinking.  More light is the goal of all creative thinkers.  It is absolutely limitless in the scope of its possibilities.

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If you as parents cut corners, your children will too.  If you lie, they will too.
If you spend all your money on yourselves and tithe no portion of it for charities,
colleges, churches, synagogues, and civic causes, your children won't either.
And if parents snicker at racial and gender jokes, another generation will pass
on the poison adults still have not had the courage to snuff out.

Marian Wright Edelman



Strategies for Using Solitude Effectively

Something that very few of us are taught as we grow up is the importance of solitude in our lives.  While many cultures have recognized the value of being alone for extended periods of time--and even send young people out on their individual walkabouts or quests--today it seems that we've moved pretty far in the opposite direction:  we allow children to be alone even less than we ever have.  While I remember plenty of days that I spent alone at home while my parents were at work, nowadays that doesn't happen nearly enough, in my mind.  While I used to have to find unique and creative ways to entertain myself and make time more interesting, young people today aren't put in such a situation nearly enough to help them to develop their creativity.

Many of us are afraid of solitude.  Some of us think that it's a reflection of who we are, that it shows that other people don't want to be with us.  Others are able to seek out solitude by choice, as a state that they wish to experience at a particular time.  Still others are forced into it by rejection, either because of the ways they act and the things they say, or because they are among people who don't understand or accept them.


To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter
into the desert of loneliness and change it by gentle and
persistent efforts into a garden of solitude.

Henri J. Nouwen

Most of us, when we're faced with solitude, will find some way of having company, whether that means turning on the television set or radio or watching a movie.  Our omnipresent cell phones make it very easy for us to avoid being alone--we can just call someone to talk to whenever we feel like it.  When we do these things, though, we completely lose the benefits of solitude.  We don't get to experience what being on our own in silence can do for us, for we don't allow ourselves to actually be alone.  This is a shame because there are many benefits to being alone if we just allow ourselves to experience them.  When we do so, though, we need to make sure that we're actually experiencing solitude, and not something close, or something that's not solitude at all.

One of the ways that I most like to experience solitude is by taking long hikes or runs in places where there are no other people, at times when it's much less likely that I'll meet others (early in the morning usually works fine).  I'm fortunate that I'm able to run ten miles on a mountain trail to get far away from others, and then come back those ten miles with no problem.  It's not that easy for others, though, so it may be necessary to drive to a more remote trail or place to walk, as long as you know that the place is safe.

I use the solitude as a chance to settle my mind, in a sense.  What the solitude does is allow my mind to go for a certain time without any new input from other people.  Yes, I see trees and flowers and rivers and the occasional deer or snake, but these aren't things that complicate my life or that I have to come up with a response to.  I love being with other people, but when I am, I'm constantly listening or speaking, thinking of how to reply to things they say or how to deal with new complications that they bring up.  When I'm in a state of solitude, my mind very soon relaxes, knowing that for a certain amount of time it doesn't have to work hard to deal with new input from others.

That's why the television and radio are such a bad idea if you're trying to be alone in your house, for example.  They're full of new things to hear and see, that your mind has to process and make sense of.  When I'm alone and my brain is relaxing, one of the most important things that it does is process things that I've been thinking about for quite some time.  Perhaps I've been stressed about something at work, yet I've been so busy dealing with others that I've never been able to process that problem completely in my mind.  Now that I'm in a state of solitude, I can process it--I can let my mind deal with it in its own ways, without anything new coming up to interrupt the process.

Solitude is simply spending time connecting with ourselves.  Solitude means we do it alone, spending time in reflection--perhaps talking to ourselves, writing a journal, meditating.  When we practice solitude regularly over a period of time, we develop a deep and abiding connection with our self.  We can use that connection to alleviate isolation--from ourselves and others.

Jan Johnson Drantell

Solitude also allows us to feel peace.  While we do create a lot of our own stress, it's also true that others contribute a great deal to the stress that we feel.  If I want to allow the solitude to help me to feel peaceful, though, I have to respect the solitude and not bring along any sort of communications device.  Solitude is solitude, after all, and communicating with someone else would basically be cheating our own chances of feeling solitude and feeling its benefits.  As soon as we talk to someone else, the solitude is broken and we are open to new problems, new frustrations, new things to think about, new things to worry about, and the peace that we might have hoped to get from solitude will not be ours.

We can also use solitude to help us to focus strongly on something that needs and deserves our focus.  One of the strengths of solitude is the lack of distractions, which is why so many search out solitude for meditation, writing, reading, or working on something important.  I know that when I write it's important for me to be alone with as few distractions as possible, for it's only under those conditions that I'm able to concentrate fully on the task at hand.  If I use my solitude well, I benefit from it by being able to come up with a finished product that hasn't been interrupted over and over again during the process of creating it, and it always is better work:  more cohesive, more focused, and more complete than it would have been if I hadn't forced myself into solitude in order to do the work.

Being alone gives us the space to listen again to our
inner rhythms, to embrace our inner selves.

Patricia Hoolihan

Possibly the most important way to use solitude, though, is as a way to get to know ourselves better.  So often I make decisions that I feel are compromised in order to make someone else happy or simply to keep the peace; when I'm alone, though, all of my decisions are based on my own needs, wants, and desires, and I can learn a lot about what I really like and what I really don't like.  I can ponder questions that bother me and come up with authentic answers that allow me, as Patricia says above, to embrace my inner self.  But when I'm seeking solitude, it's very important that I not listen to music or have any of the other daily distractions--I've tried taking advantage of solitude with music on, and it simply didn't work, for all of the songs had other thoughts and ideas and people and places associated with them, and it was impossible for me to stay focused on getting to know myself.  Very often I love listening to music when I'm alone, but I have to keep in mind that when I do so, the solitude isn't nearly as beneficial to me.

Being alone is not a reflection of rejection, nor is it a negative part of our lives--in fact, it can be one of the most positive states we experience.  So much of who we are depends upon our inner lives that it makes sense for us to search out time for ourselves to work on those inner lives, to help to find out who we are, what we truly value, what we truly hope for and dream about, without the incessant input of others who can really have no idea of such things.  Find solitude in your life, search it out and make it happen, and if you use it well you'll find that your life becomes richer, fuller, and much more enjoyable.

More on solitude.


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There is no religion without love,
and people may talk as much as
they like about their religion, but
if it does not teach them to be
good and kind to person and
beast, it is all a sham.

Anna Sewell

The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character.

Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are.

Reputation is the photograph; character is the face.

Reputation comes over one from without; character grows up from within.

Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; character is what you have when you go away.

Your reputation is learned in an hour; your character does not come to light for a year.

Reputation is made in a moment; character is built in a lifetime.

Reputation grows like a mushroom; character grows like the oak.

A single newspaper report gives you your reputation; a life of toil gives you your character.

Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable.

Reputation is what people say about you on your tombstone; character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.

William Hersey Davis


Every time we hold our tongue instead of returning the sharp retort,
show patience for another's faults, show a little more love and kindness;
we are helping to stockpile more of these peace-bringing qualities in the world.

Constance Foster


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