14 February 2017      

Hello again, and thank you for being here!  We hope that this issue
finds you in good spirits, doing things that you love to do, going places
that you love to visit, and being with people whose company you enjoy.

 Eight Things to Enjoy at Any Age
Louise Morganti Kaelin

The Key to Building Your Personal Power
Lee Pulos

Fallow Ground
tom walsh

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I'm very grateful that I was too poor to get to art school until I was 21. . . . I was old enough when I got there to know how to get something out of it.

Henry Moore

Those who never sacrificed a present to a future good, or a personal to a general one, can speak of happiness only as the blind do of colors.

Horace Mann

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

John F. Kennedy

  

Eight Things to Enjoy at Any Age
Louise Morganti Kaelin

No matter how old we are, there are several things that we get to enjoy. It is this enjoyment that is the key to a happy life. If you can appreciate the following, you'll be set for life!

Each Sunrise
Whether its sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy, extremely hot or extremely cold, every morning that we wake up and can be grateful for another day is a good day! These mornings become sweeter as we grow older, and therefore probably elicit more appreciation.

Beautiful weather
Over and beyond being grateful for waking up this morning, the weather outside is something to enjoy. Interestingly enough, it's not necessary for the day to be sunny, with blue skies and a nice little breeze to be beautiful. In fact, when everyday is sunny, it gets kind of boring. Having lived in New England for 30 years, I know the truth of "If you don't like the weather here, just wait 10 minutes and it will change". To me, that's the most perfect weather of all, when it changes frequently and I get to experience a ton of different atmospheric conditions.

Family
While we might not always enjoy our family when we are younger, most adults enjoy their family relationships. 

Whether it's our birth family or our own family, there are many experiences we can share only with those closest to us. To paraphrase an old proverb, "No man is a hero to his family". This is an added benefit as we can 'be ourselves' with family as we can't be with anyone else.

Good people/friends
Most of us have communities of varying sizes. Because it is a personal preference, it may be one or two very close friends up to large numbers of groups we surround ourselves with. It all depends on where we feel comfortable. The important thing is to enjoy whatever relationships we have. If we don't, the best gift we can give ourselves is to let go of non-productive or constantly negative relationships.

Sense of humor
A sense of humor is something we all have, although there is quite a range in exactly what that means to each of us. Again, the important thing is to have opportunities to laugh, chuckle, howl, grin or smile on a regular basis.

A deep relationship with God
Our spiritual life is an important piece of our daily enjoyment. Again, I don't believe there is a 'right' religion or spiritual practice, as long as you have some deep bond with a source bigger and/or greater than yourself.

The drama of life
Being able to take several steps back and look at life as an uninterested bystander has its perks. Seeing the big picture allows one to realize how human nature works and to notice repeatable patterns. It's another great way to stand back and enjoy the drama that we call life .

Good health
As many say, "without your health, you have nothing". Do what you need to do so that you can enjoy your life with the energy and vitality that keeps it that way!

* * * * *

Copyright Louise Morganti Kaelin.  Louise was a life coach who passed away several years ago.  Rest in Peace, Louise!

   

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The Key to Building Your Personal Power
Lee Pulos

Self-esteem is the immune system of the mind and of the spirit. Self-esteem is our experience of feeling competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and feeling happy and worthy and deserving of happiness. People who have the greatest sense of self-esteem are those who feel they are doing their life's work. Genuine self-esteem is what we feel about ourselves when things are not going right.

Self-respect has to do with our value as a person, an inner certainty, a sense of happiness, a feeling of success about life, and feeling worthy enough to attract, allow, and receive love into our life. People with a lesser sense of self-estimate or esteem find it easier to give love than to receive it.

If you have a healthy immune system, does that mean you will never get sick? Of course not. But you will be less susceptible to illness and you will experience a faster recovery. Having a high level of self-esteem doesn't mean you will never be anxious, miserable, depressed, or overwhelmed on occasion. The advantages of having a strong sense of self and worthiness is that you have good shock absorbers. If you are attempting to achieve a goal and hit a wall, you will persevere. You may not always succeed, but you will succeed more often than you fail. A top manager in one of the executive seminars I was conducting said to the group, "I have been knocked down five times but I got up six." The average CEO has had 3.2 major failures before succeeding.

People with a low sense of self-estimate will go through the motions of persevering but will fail more often than succeed. Our self-esteem generates a certain level of expectancy, and expectancies become self-fulfilling prophecies.

While our sense of self-efficacy shows up in different areas of our life, it shows up most prominently and consistently in the area of relationships and love. If a person doesn't feel he or she is worthy of love, the person will find it hard to believe someone else loves him or her and will usually find ways to trust test or sabotage the relationship in some fashion. Have you ever tried to tell or convey love to a person who doesn't feel lovable? There just isn't much you can do to convince that person.

Our self-esteem of course will vary in different areas of our lives, and our effectiveness level, performance, or success will correspond to our self-esteem in that particular area. For example, you may have high self-esteem as a manager and communicator of ideas, and your performance or effectiveness level will correspond to your self-estimate. You may have low self-esteem with mechanical things or replacing parts and putting gadgets together, and your friend's may lovingly call you a "klutz" in that area. You may have average self-esteem as a parent or spouse, and your competence in that area will correspond accordingly.

If you take all the areas of your life and make a bar graph of high- and low effectiveness levels, you will probably end up with a zig-zag profile. Psychologists would average that out and come up with what is called a "g" factor or general level of self-esteem. Of course, if you want to raise your self-esteem in a particular area of your life, one approach would be to begin improving your performance.

Perhaps taking a course on effective parenting, joining Toastmasters, or taking a continuing education course on public speaking and effective communication. Not a good money manager? Take that night-school course on financial planning . And so forth. As you raise your performance and effectiveness level in different areas of your life, your self-estimate in that area should go up accordingly.

In contrast to the "bottom up" method of changing self-esteem is the "top down" approach. Utilizing certain exercises to change limiting beliefs in certain areas of your life and of course, re-educating and re-programming your subconscious with affirmations, visualization, and/or self-hypnosis will also work in improving your effectiveness level in different areas of your life.

Thus, self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves. Our self-concept is broader than self-esteem and is the umbrella, so to speak, that subsumes our beliefs, our ideals, our body image which is an important part of our self-concept. It includes our liabilities, assets, limitations, and capabilities, and self-esteem is one of its major components.

Everyone, of course, is born with 100% self-worth. You cannot pour more water into a glass that is full to the brim. There are no "better thans" or "less thans." However, as we are growing up and begin acquiring certain beliefs about ourselves primarily from well-meaning parents, teachers, friends, and so forth we begin to assess our value, our worth as a person. Some people metaphorically take on so many barnacles, wounds, traumas, and insults that they begin to re-evaluate and devalue their sense of worth. Some people despite their cruise ship of life being so overburdened with barnacles somehow develop survival skills and go on to succeed. These people are called invulnerables in the literature and these are the people we should be studying. What is it that these people are doing right despite horrific and brutal histories filled with abuse and shame? We need more studies of success not just of pathology, which unfortunately is the way most of us are trained.

The importance of self-esteem was first drawn to national attention more than 40 years ago following the publication of Psychocybernetics by cosmetic surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz. He described how he would volunteer one morning a week and do cosmetic surgery on prison inmates in the local penitentiary. After two years or so, the warden called Dr. Maltz into his office and pointed out how the men whose nose jobs and facial disfigurements were improved through plastic surgery were not committing more crimes and returning to jail following their release from prison. Dr. Maltz realized that by changing their body image which, as I noted earlier, is a very important part of self-image the convicts felt better about themselves. He went on to describe self-esteem as "the most important discovery of the 20th century." However, this is not necessarily true of everyone.

In later writings, Dr. Maltz described two female patients who had radical cosmetic surgery on their faces. In assessing themselves after the bandages were removed and all the swelling disappeared, the women looked and looked at themselves and very sadly and disapprovingly said, "I don't look any different; not much has changed. I still feel the same about myself." That was when Dr. Maltz realized that self-image for most people was internal, not the external trappings of what we call beauty.

Along the same lines, I remember an almost painfully candid interview in which Elizabeth Taylor described herself as "short, pudgy, awful thighs, I hate my nose, my eyes are too far apart, I don't like the shape of my face, I wish I could change my whole appearance at times." That self-description from one of the most beautiful women in the world. No wonder she had such a series of self-destructive behaviors: eating binges, drug and alcohol abuse, a number of accidents and multiple surgeries, eight marriages, and so on. Self-esteem is an inside job.

Let us now move on and look at some of the qualities that people with high self-esteem share to varying degrees.

The first quality is that they are continually seeking the challenge and stimulation of worthwhile goals. Goals, of course, are the purpose to all human activity. It is not necessary or even possible to achieve all our goals, but their purpose is to help us become more than what we were. Goals are like dreams, and many people, rather than dreaming their own future, ,allow themselves to be woven into other people's dreams. There are two ways to create our reality: to set goals and program an optimal future or to simply allow whatever comes your way. Both are programs. Both work. High self-esteem people love themselves enough to dream to create the future they will be stepping into.

High self-esteem people realize that material things such as a fancy car or a mountain condo are symptoms of success but not true success. True success is intrinsic the way you treat yourself, your family, other people.

People with a strong sense of self-worth live consciously as problem-solvers having a respect for facts, for truths, being present in the now when someone is talking to them. They have a passion for self-awareness, for honest self-examination, an awareness of their inner world not just the external world. And they don't anesthetize themselves with denial or addictions such as drugs or alcohol.

Most importantly, they are quick to forgive themselves and others. They release the past and don't try to make the present conform to the past by hanging on to grudges or seeking revenge. They realize that it is not the prisoners who spend more time in prison but the warden. If you are keeping someone as an emotional hostage, then you are the prisoner. All healing has to go through the door of forgiveness.

High self-esteem people have good boundaries. They can say no to what doesn't fit or seem right for them. They can draw the line in the sand and firm their boundary. The person who doesn't value himself or herself enough to say no accepts an intrusion simply in order to please and adds to the stresses of his or her life, unfortunately.

Another quality is that people who value themselves value others and treat them with respect. You will never hear racist, sexist, or ageist remarks from people who feel good about themselves. They go out of their way to honor, respect, and nobilize all people.

As indicated earlier, high self-esteemers form nourishing rather than toxic relationships. They have open, honest communication skills and look for clarity rather than fearing it. If giving feedback, they take responsibility for their feelings and instead of a "you"-blaming remark will preface it with an "I feel this way for what just happened."

Another component is humility. That doesn't mean false modesty or apologizing for being who you are, but regardless of how many times you have experienced a person in a certain way say, for example, the person is a gossip or bossy humility is being open to each moment in life as something new by not prejudging that so-and-so is a bore but rather having the humility to let that person be different this time. Humility is seeing each moment or experience as brand new without judgment.

Altruism is another quality of high self-esteem. Altruism is being helpful or of service to others whether by doing volunteer work, being a big brother/big sister, or whatever you choose to contribute to create a higher sense of well-being or even excitement. Women in one social helping program reported that by volunteering for service at a convalescent home for older folks, they felt a long-lasting sense of deep inner satisfaction even exhilaration and an increased sense of self-worth, less depression, and fewer aches and pains.

People with a higher sense of self-estimate also have a higher sense of accountability. Let me give you an example. One of my friends called me not too long ago, offered to buy me lunch, and wanted to talk about how devastated he was, as his wife had run off with his best friend. I thought "oh no! He wants to get into blame and self-pity." So much for my humility in this instance. Instead despite his torment he said, "Lee, you have known me for a long time and you have been with my wife and me on many occasions. What was it about me what could I have done or didn't do that caused her to leave me?" I was almost in tears as I could feel his pain yet he wanted to take accountability for what had happened rather than give his power away to blaming or "poor me's." In other words, he acknowledged that he is accountable for creating his life, his reality, that whatever he did or didn't do led to a very sad chapter in his life, but also, he ended up, over time, learning a great deal more about himself.

Finally, high self-esteem people will argue for their magnificence and the magnificence of other people rather than for their limitations.

People often ask me, "Is all this concern about self-esteem something recent that has come about with the New Age movement?" I always chuckle when I hear that because I know that more than 2,000 years ago, one of the greatest Teachers of all time said, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." You cannot love thy neighbor if you don't love yourself. You cannot give away what you don't have.

   

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We use odd expressions to talk about patience that make it sound like a
quantifiable, storable commodity like olive oil, gasoline, or money in the
bank:  "I'm getting low on patience."  "My patience is coming to an end."
"I am about to run out of patience" . . . . I don't think we have an internal
reservoir in which we store up Patience for a time when we'll need it.  I
think it's more like the energy-saving water heater I have at my house.
There is no holding tank of hot water.  The heater clicks on when I turn
the hot water tap on, and the cold water flowing through it gets heated
en route to the shower.  It keeps on heating water as long as I'm using it,
and then it clicks off again.  I don't need hot water in the middle of the
night while I'm sleeping, and I don't need Patience then, either.

Sylvia Boorstein

   

 

Fallow Ground

I've always admired farmers and their perspectives on life.  I've noticed that because they have to be very much in tune with the cycles of the seasons, they also tend to be in tune with the cycles of life, the ways that things change regularly and need to be accepted for what they are, when they are.  There are times in life when it's important to sow the seeds, or the growing season will be missed and the harvest will come too late, and possibly be destroyed by frost.  There are times when we have to be patient and let the crops grow, tending to them and giving them water and nutrients, but letting them do their thing without trying to force it.  And then there's time for harvest.  The crop is ready to be used, and it's important to gather it at the right time if it really is to be useful.  In the north, that usually happens in the fall, and then it's time to let winter take over, and move to tasks other than sowing and reaping.

One of the concepts that I find most fascinating about farming, though, is the idea of crop rotation, and even of letting land lie fallow for a season.  Inherent in this idea is the reality that the soil needs to work with different kinds of plants if it's to maintain its vigor and even its basic ability to supply nutrients to the plants that are growing in it.  A crop such as rice will drain the soil of certain nutrients during its growing season, and if the farmer plants rice there again next season, the plants will drain even more of those nutrients from the soil.

If, on the other hand, the farmer plants a crop such as cotton, the cotton will use different nutrients, while replacing the nutrients that had been drained by the rice.

   

I still need more healthy rest in order to work at
my best.  My health is the main capital I have
and I want to administer it intelligently.

Ernest Hemingway

   

And often, the farmer will let a certain patch of land lie fallow, or unused, for an entire season.  The farmer knows that the money that he or she could earn from that land isn't as valuable as allowing the land to regenerate itself, to build up nutrients without being drained further.

I've found in my life that it's important to stay dynamic if I want to keep growing and learning.  Many people are comfortable with staying at the same work for their entire lives, doing the same job each day, and to them I send my blessings--and in many ways I envy and admire them.  That kind of stability can bring a lot of good things to life.

On the other hand, I know that by changing what I do from time to time, I learn more about life and living and other people because I'm exposed to many more ideas of how things should be; I work with people who have taken different paths in life, and who see the world in very divergent ways.  When I was in the Army, for example, I worked with people who had very different ways of looking at the world than did the people with whom I taught at colleges.  Since I've been teaching at the high school level, I've been working with completely different groups of people, and learning from and about students who are much younger--but who have fascinating ideas about life and living--than did my students at college.

    

The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally,
is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room,
not try to be or do anything whatever.

May Sarton

    

We don't have to change careers or move to new places in order to rotate what goes on in our lives.  Perhaps it's time to spend a season reading in the evenings instead of watching television.  Maybe it would do us good to join a club that focuses on something that's always interested us, but which we haven't explored yet.  We could even attend another church for a few weeks, to get a different set of views on how things are and how they could be.

I know that as a teacher, the summer break is invaluable because of the burnout that takes place over the course of the school year.  During that time, I leave behind teaching and try to focus entirely on other things.  The rejuvenates and re-energizes me, and allows me to begin again fairly fresh when school starts up again.  During the summer, the part of my brain that works on teaching lies fallow, and I don't try to make it do any work so that it can recover from the school year.  Then, when the new school year begins, it's ready to start all over again.

One of the most important things to remember, though, is that everything must have its season of growth, too.  A farmer isn't going to sow corn and then try to harvest it three days later.  Likewise, we can't just jump from thing to thing, place to place, and expect to get anything out of the experiences.  There are times when we must simply stay where we are, as we are, and allow ourselves to grow.  Our trials are our rainstorms and our winds and our frosts, our challenges are our times of drought, our obstacles are similar to the weeds and insects that like to feed on plants.  We, though, have much stronger defenses than plants do against the things that threaten us, and it's important to use those defenses wisely.

   

Rest when you're weary.  Refresh and renew yourself,
your body, your mind, your spirit.  Then get back to work.

Ralph Marston

   

This principle illustrates why vacations are so important to us, but also why so many people don't benefit a bit from the time they take "off."  With the Internet and cell phones so dominant in our lives, many people these days take vacations in name only; they tend to bring their jobs with them and don't allow their minds to focus on other things.  They're still worried about earnings and contracts and other people's performances when they should be worried about what they want for dinner after they take the nice long walk on the beach or through the forest.

As a runner, I know that one of the best things I can do to improve my race times is to take a day off from running a few days before the race.  My body appreciates the rest, and the muscles recover and allow me to perform at the peak of my abilities later.

We're only going to help ourselves if we create fallow areas in our lives, places and times when we allow ourselves to escape from our normal tasks and challenges, when we can relax and let our bodies and minds and emotions recover.  We'll be much better in all ways, then, when we get back to work, and the work we do will be of much higher quality.  And that can be quite important to all of us.

   
More on rest.

   

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The truth is that our finest moments
are most likely to occur when we
are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.  For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step
out of our ruts and start searching
for different ways or truer answers.

M. Scott Peck

  

Be yourself and only yourself.
Be careful what you allow
into your body and into your space.
Even the food you put into your body
is crucial to your well-being
and to your sense of Self.
Take care of yourself.
Do not allow anything outside of you
to contaminate you.
Whatever you read affects you.
The television programs you watch,
the movies you see
and the music you listen to
have a profound impact on you.
Be discriminating.
Be discerning.
But do not be judgmental.
If you live a refined life,
you will become more refined.
Choose your friends wisely.
Do not allow others to get caught up
inside you or attached to you.
And don't you become caught up with
or attached to others.
You must be yourself and only yourself
If you are to know the truth of who you are.

Leonard Jacobson

   
  

You cannot fail at being yourself.  A cat doesn't try to be a
tiger, and you shouldn't try to be something you aren't.
You are a process, not a product.  Your job is to discover
what you are and to create that creature.  You still won't
be perfect, but success isn't about perfection-- it is about
authenticity.  You are a success if you are being
your real, authentic self.


Bernie Siegel

    

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