12 September 2017      

Another week has come to us, giving us the gift of seven new days with which
we can do as we will.  We hope that you're able to make these seven days very
special, both for yourself and for the other people who are part of your life!

Heart Enough for the Whole Trip
Sylvia Boorstein

Establishing Dreams and Goals
Jim Rohn

Play
tom walsh

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You will find more in woods than in books.  Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from the masters.

St. Bernard

Know in your heart that all things are possible.  We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none had ever happened.

Libbie Fudim

I live now and only now, and I will do what I want to do this moment and not what I decided was best for me yesterday.

Hugh Prather

Every step you take should be a prayer. And if every step you take is a prayer, then you will always be walking in a sacred manner.

Oglala Lakota Holyman

  
Heart Enough for the Whole Trip
an excerpt
Sylvia Boorstein

I started a conversation not long ago with a woman in the airport in Newburgh, New York, by saying, "Are you going somewhere to visit or are you going home?"  I was waiting for my flight to Chicago.  She had come from Chicago and was waiting for her connecting flight back to West Virginia.  I had noticed that when the young man with her had settled her into the seat next to mine saying, "Stay here, Grandma.  I'll go get you a Pepsi," she had just sat.  Not reading.  Not looking around.  Not rummaging in her purse.  Not doing any of the things people do in airport boarding lounges.

"I'm going home," she responded.  "And this is only the second time I've flown anywhere.  Flying here the day before yesterday was the first time."  She half turned her face to me and spoke quietly but seemed glad to talk--more shy than nervous.

"Why did you come?" I asked.

"My granddaughter was getting married, so I really needed to come."  We talked for a while about the wedding.  I asked about the church, the service, the minister, the bride's dress, and the wedding cake, and each time she smiled, her face still turned only partly toward me, and told me something particular enough to let me know that she was enjoying our conversation.

Then I said, "Is this granddaughter the child of your son or daughter?"

"She is the child of my daughter," she answered, still quietly, still half looking, but not smiling.  "But my daughter died ten years ago.  Of stomach cancer."

I waited a moment, took a breath, and said, "Was that the worst thing that ever happened to you?"

She thought for a little bit and then said, "No.  I think it was my first husband's death that was the worst thing that ever happened to me."

I waited again, wondering what to say next, caught up short not so much by the pain in her life as by her capacity to reflect about degrees of worse.  Then the conversation seemed to pick up by itself.  Her second husband had also died.  Her first child, a son, had been stillborn.  A second son had died after Vietnam, "something to do with Agent Orange," she thought.  One daughter was still living.  She had three great-grandchildren in West Virginia.  Her voice was modulated, her story straightforward.  The remembering aloud of the major grief of a lifetime--in five minutes, to a stranger--seemed remarkable in its ordinariness.

I said, "Are you a religious woman?"

She looked up, turned straight to me for the first time, and smiled.  "I do the best I can," she said.

"Does your church hold you up?" I asked.

"It does.  But you know what?  I have very good neighbors.  I talk to my neighbors."

Her grandson returned with apologies about the line being too long at the concession stand to get a Pepsi and the news that their flight was boarding.  As I watched them leave, I looked around the boarding lounge at everyone else coming and going and thought about how heroic people are, everyone walking around in the middle of their whole personal life of suffering and happiness, doing the best they can.  I thought about how good people are, about how kind it was to have a stranger, a momentary neighbor, make the story of her life a teaching story for me and then, just by getting up and keeping going, reminding me that we have Energy enough, and heart enough, for the whole trip.

   
   

Sylvia Boorstein has written
the definitive guide for
Westerners to the Buddhist
practice of the Perfections of
the Heart. Pay Attention, for
Goodness’ Sake
is delightfully
clear, accessible, and immediate,
as wise teachings should be,
and it is surely destined
to be a classic.

Jack Kornfield

   

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Establishing Dreams and Goals
Jim Rohn

One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life. Think of it: We can look deep within our hearts and dream of a better situation for ourselves and our families; dream of better financial lives and better emotional or physical lives; and certainly dream of better spiritual lives. But what makes this even more powerful is that we have also been given the ability to not only dream, but to pursue, those dreams, and not only to pursue them, but the cognitive ability to actually lay out a plan and strategies (setting goals) to achieve those dreams. Powerful! And that is what we will discuss in detail this week: how to dream dreams and establish goals to get those dreams.

What are your dreams and goals? This isn’t what you already have or what you have done, but what you want. Have you ever really sat down and thought through your life values and decided what you really want? Have you ever taken the time to truly reflect, to listen quietly to your heart, to see what dreams live within you? Your dreams are there. Everyone has them. They may live right on the surface, or they may be buried deep from years of others telling you they were foolish, but, either way, they are there.

So how do we know what our dreams are? This is an interesting process, and it relates primarily to the art of listening. This is not listening to others; it is listening to yourself. If we listen to others, we hear their plans and dreams (and many will try to put their plans and dreams on us). If we listen to others, we can never be fulfilled; we will only chase elusive dreams that are not rooted deep within us. No, we must listen to our own hearts.

Let’s take a look at some practical steps/thoughts on hearing from our hearts on what our dreams are:

Take time to be quiet. This is something that we don’t do enough in this busy world of ours. We rush, rush, rush, and we are constantly listening to noise all around us. The human heart was meant for times of quiet, to peer deep within. It is when we do this that our hearts are set free to soar and take flight on the wings of our own dreams! Schedule some quiet “dream time” this week. No other people. No cell phone. No computer. Just you, a pad, a pen and your thoughts.

Think about what really thrills you. When you are quiet, think about those things that really get your blood moving. What would you love to do, either for fun or for a living? What would you love to accomplish? What would you try if you were guaranteed to succeed? What big thoughts move your heart into a state of excitement and joy? When you answer these questions, you will feel great and you will be in the “dream zone.” It is only when we get to this point that we experience what our dreams are!

Write down all of your dreams as you have them. Don’t think of any as too outlandish or foolish. Remember, you’re dreaming! Let the thoughts fly and take careful record.

Now, prioritize those dreams. Which are most important? Which are most feasible? Which would you love to do the most? Put them in the order in which you will actually try to attain them. Remember, we are always moving toward action, not just dreaming.

Here is the big picture: Life is too short not to pursue your dreams. Someday, your life will near its end, and all you will be able to do is look backward. You can reflect with joy or regret. Those who dream, who set goals and act on them to live out their dreams, are those who live lives of joy and who have a sense of peace when they near the end of their lives. They have finished well, for themselves and for their families.

Remember: These are the dreams and goals that are born out of your heart and mind. These are the goals unique to you and that come from who you were created to be and gifted to become. Your specific goals are what you want to attain, because they are what will make your life joyful and bring your family’s life into congruence with what you want it to be.

   

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Nature is another important aspect of nourishing the soul.  After a hike in the
mountains where we live, for instance, I feel a remarkable sense of gratitude
and awe.  My mind quiets down and allows me to see more clearly the beauty
of creation.  And through that gratitude, the beauty of the
universe is reflected back to the creator.


Joan Borysenko

   

 
Play

I am constantly astonished to see the number of adults who feel that play is a waste of time, that people who play are irresponsible or somehow not "acting their age."  These are people who have come to believe that play is somehow just for children, and because they no longer practice the art, they never experience any of the benefits that play can bring to them.

Play, though, could be one of the most important elements of anyone's life.  If we allow ourselves--and even push ourselves--to play, then we open up doors of our imagination and creativity that otherwise would lay dormant, undiscovered and undeveloped as we continue to do the same old things all the time, thinking about the same issues and the same ideas.  When we play, though, we immerse ourselves in the present moment and we focus wholly on what we're doing, whether that's throwing or catching a Frisbee or a ball, climbing a tree, creating a fort, playing tag or laser tag, spraying each other with water guns, shooting baskets, or whatever else qualifies as "play" in our lives.
   

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still
differentiate between a time for learning and a time for
play without seeing the vital connection between them.

Leo Buscaglia

   
In many ways, play is very similar to meditation, and it brings us many of the same benefits.  When we involve ourselves fully in the play of the moment, our minds are free to focus on right here and right now, and for that period of time our cares and worries are not the main focus of our thinking.  This happens, of course, if we allow ourselves to be completely at play, and not make a half-baked effort at it.  If we start playing tag with the kids, then we need to be playing tag, and not thinking about the bills or the work that we have to do tomorrow.  If we're playing Scrabble, then our minds should be on the letters we have and the words we can make, and not on something that someone said yesterday that's still bothering us.

Whenever I go to picnics or other similar activities, you won't find me with the adults, most of whom sit around on blankets or at picnic tables talking about the same things that they talked about yesterday and last week, talking about work and problems and things that are everywhere but where they are in the present moment--they're usually not talking about what a nice park they're in or how pretty the trees are.  Yesterday's problems belong to a different time and place, but they bring them to the park anyway.

The kids, on the other hand, are involving themselves in the moment with their play, and that's where you'll find me.  I have fun playing, mostly just because it's fun to play.  But I also get many other benefits from it--I get a decent workout, I get to clear my mind of a lot of the junk that accumulates there (and believe me, my mind knows how to pick up junk), and I get to share time with kids and learn how they see the world and how they react to it.  And the play is usually quite simple--it doesn't need to be complex for us to be involved in it.
    

The real joy of life is in its play.  Play is anything we do for the
joy and love of doing it, apart from any profit, compulsion,
or sense of duty.  It is the real living of life with the feeling
of freedom and self-expression.  Play is the business of childhood,
and its continuation in later years is the prolongation of youth.

Walter Rauschenbusch

    
I think that Leslie is quite right when she says (below) that many adults avoid play because it seems like a waste of time--work is a much better way to spend our time, we believe.  After all, we have to accomplish something with our time, and have something to show for it, don't we?  That's what we've learned so far in our lives, but it that true?  Not enough of us ever take the time that's necessary to sit down and ask ourselves honestly if that idea actually is true, or if it's a belief that we've developed that actually is harming us.  Very few people who do take the time to do so reach the conclusion that work and accomplishment are the most important aspects of our lives, yet because very few people even think about it, guess where most of our beliefs are still centered?

Another problem with play these days is that too many people consider play to be something that must involve a computer or other technology.  The "games" on computers, though, are developed with an eye towards addiction, and many people spend many hours in front of computer and television screens getting no benefits out of the time at all--they're just being controlled by their addiction.  The games are designed to be addictive because someone somewhere makes more money if people are actually addicted to the games instead of just playing them casually now and then.  The vast majority of such games ask for no creativity at all, either--they simply ask the player to react to things while sitting in a chair or on a couch.

Play can be stimulating and creative; it can be fun and rejuvenating.  Play is a gift that has been given to us that we've put up on a shelf as we've gotten older, and we keep it there, waiting for that perfect day when we'll allow ourselves to play once more.  It's like a starving person leaving a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter in the pantry, just waiting for the day when he or she needs them.  But guess what?  If you're starving, you need that food!  And if you're human, you need that play if you're to live your life fully and completely, for the benefits of play are necessary, and play is one of the most precious gifts that we've been given.
   

Why is play so elusive for some grown-ups?  Because we are so strongly attracted
and attached to a profoundly goal-oriented, work-ethic-driven society.  Like
other forms of non-work, play connotes wastefulness, a stoppage in the way of
what needs to get done.  Yet often what really needs to get done has more to do
with our hearts and spirits and less to do with a deadline or longstanding project.
Play beckons to us, urging us to live in the present moment, a moment that
becomes more luminous when we disallow interruptions like work and worry.


Leslie Levine

   
How can you play today?  What can you do--even if just for ten or twenty minutes--that qualifies as play, that's fun to you, that brings your mind to a clear focus on the present moment and its activities, and that doesn't involve a computer, cell phone, or other technology?  If you give it a chance, you'll find that it's fairly easy to reclaim the ability to play that you left behind as you grew to be an adult.  And once you do that, you'll learn that you actually can learn more while you're playing than you can while you're working, as long as you allow yourself to be fully involved in the play.  And once we learn that, imagine how our perspectives on life will grow into something much more than they are now?

   
More on play.

   
   

  

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Start counting your mistakes on a daily basis and try to increase them by
ten percent.  That will require you to stretch and grow.  Try not mentioning
other people's mistakes.  Take risks; be tolerant of yourself and others. . . .
Mistakes are the dues of a good and full life.  Stretch and enjoy.

Jennifer James

  
I remembered one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the bark of a tree, just as the butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out.  I waited a while, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient.  I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it.  I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life.  The case opened, the butterfly started slowly crawling out and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them.  Bending over it, I tried to help it with my breath.  In vain.  It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun.  Now it was too late.  My breath had forced the butterfly to appear, all crumpled, before its time.  It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience.  For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature.  We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the eternal rhythm.

Nikos Kazantzakis
from Zorba the Greek
   

  

It becomes necessary to learn how to clear the mind of all clouds,
to free it of all useless ballast and debris by dismissing
the burden of too much concern with material things.

Indra Devi

    

  

   

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!

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