28 March 2017      

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 Death and Living (an excerpt)
Leo Buscaglia

Who Wants to Be a Perfectionist, Anyway?
Mike Moore

Judge Not. . .
tom walsh

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In the end these things matter most:  How well did you love?
How fully did you love?  How deeply did you learn to let go?

the Buddha

I have no money, no resources, no hopes.
I am the happiest man alive.

Henry Miller

Let no one who loves be called unhappy.
Even love unreturned has its rainbow.

J.M. Barrie

  

Death and Living (an excerpt)
Leo Buscaglia

I feel strongly that we've got to tell children about death, and stop protecting them and giving them concepts that we are immortal.  We act as if we believe that we are.  Freud said a lot of really nice things and one thing that he said was so many of our problems and our inability to live stem from the belief that we will never die.  We think we have forever.  If you think about it in the back of your mind, you always think it's the other person who dies, not you.  Well I have news for you.  We are all going to die!  That is the most democratic thing that has ever happened.  No matter who you are, how wealthy you are, how illustrious you are, how many degrees you have, how fouled up you've made your life, you're going to die.

But why fear it?  You only fear death when you're not living.  If you're involved in the process of life, you won't wail and scream.  If you've treated people in your life beautifully while they were alive, you will not throw yourself over their caskets screaming, "Don't go, don't go!"  For goodness sakes!  We don't even let people die in dignity.  We let them die guiltily by screaming, "Oh, please don't die."

What a weird concept we have of death.  We don't want to take children to funerals.  Some of you remember that we used to have open wakes and some of you were asked to go and look at Grandpa and look at Grandma and say "goodbye."

Some of you had it explained that everything dies as flowers die in winter and then grow again.  Death is a continuous beautiful process of life.  Then when you've seen it, you don't fear it.  Death is a good friend, an awfully good friend, because it tells us we don't have forever and that to live is now; therefore, you see how precious every minute is.  We read it and say, "Oh, yes, that's so true."  But do we live that way?  How wonderful it is to be with the moment when you see a flower.  When somebody is talking to you, for goodness sake, listen and don't look over a shoulder at what else is going on.  Cocktail time!  There's no greater insult.  If you don't want to be with me, don't be with me!  That's all right, I can adjust to that.  But if you are going to be with me, will you be with me?  You say, "I am going to look at the ocean."  Do you look at the ocean?  "Oh, isn't that a beautiful sunset."  Do you mean it, do you see it, do you recognize that it will never come again?

Death teaches us--if we want to hear--that the time is now.  The time is now to pick up the telephone and call the person that you love.  Death teaches us the joy of the moment.  It teaches us we don't have forever.  It teaches us that nothing is permanent.  It teaches us to let go, there's nothing you can hang on to.  And it tells us to give up expectations and let tomorrow tell its own story, because nobody knows if they'll get home tonight.  To me that's a tremendous challenge.  Death says, "live now."  Let's tell the children that.

*   *   *

Another thing that I want to share with the children is that life is not only pain, misery and despair as heard on the seven o'clock news and read in the newspaper.  Those are the things that make news.  What we don't hear are the wondrous, enjoyable, great, fantastic things that are also happening.  Somehow or other we've got to let children in on those wonderful things, too.  In order to do that, what you've got to do is get in touch with your own joy and madness again.  We're all crazy!  And if you don't believe it, you're crazier than most.  Boredom arises from routine.  Joy, wonder, rapture, arise from surprise.  Routine leads to boredom and if you are bored, you are boring.  And you wonder why people don't want to be with you!  We can choose.  We have choice.  You can choose how you want to live your life.  You can select joy, freedom, creativity, surprise, or apathy and boredom.  And you can make that selection right now!

This is something I really like and it brings everything together.  It's written by Frederick Moffett of the Bureau of Instructional Supervision, New York Department of Education.  He calls it "How a Child Learns."

Thus children learn, by wiggling skills through their fingers and their toes, into themselves.  By soaking up habits and attitudes of those around them, by pushing and pulling their own worlds.  Thus children learn, more through trial than error, more through pleasure than pain, more through experience than suggestion and telling, and more through suggestion than direction.  And thus children learn through affection, through love, through patience, through understanding, through belonging, through doing and through being.  Day by day children come to know a little bit of what you know, a little bit more of what you think and understand.  That which you dream and believe are in truth what is becoming those children.  As you perceive dully or clearly, as you think fuzzily or sharply, as you believe foolishly or wisely, as you dream drably or goldenly, as you bear false witness or tell the truth, thus children learn.

We need to tell children that they have a choice to become either lovers or losers.  For to miss love is to miss life.  Thornton Wilder says, "There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love.  The only survival and the only meaning."

Let's tell the children!
  
  

Living, Loving, and Learning is a delightful collection of Dr. Buscaglia's informative and amusing lectures, which were delivered worldwide between 1970 and 1981.  This inspirational treasure is for all those eager to accept the challenge of life and to profit from the wonder of love.

   

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Who Wants to Be a Perfectionist, Anyway?
Mike Moore

Our culture seems to have elevated the quest for perfection to the status of virtue. When someone is described as a perfectionist they are frequently admired and envied.  A perfectionist, in my opinion is someone living in a constant state of dissatisfaction and that isn't healthy.  To perfectionists, no one, including their spouse, children, family, friends and themselves ever measures up to their impossible standards.  Perfectionists spend their lives never being happy with what they have accomplished always wanting things to be perfect.  I could have or should have done better becomes the motto by which they live.

Can you imagine the anxiety involved in living with a perfectionist?  I recall teaching a bright high school senior whose mother was a perfectionist.  After receiving an A in my subject she looked rather emotionless.  I asked her if she was pleased with the mark she achieved, and she said,  "Yes, but my Mother won't be. She'll want to know why it isn't an A+."

I don't know if full-blown perfectionism can be changed without psychological intervention, but I do think that it can definitely be avoided by adopting more reasonable expectations of yourself and others.  How?

* Make friends with your imperfections and those of others.  Sure, it's important to strive to do well in what you attempt, but if your best efforts don't result in what you wanted to achieve, don't be too hard on yourself.  It is more important to strive to improve than to insist on perfection.

* Strive to find pleasure in what you do, not perfection.

* Believe in the old saying "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly."  If you enjoy playing the piano but play it poorly, keep playing for the sheer pleasure it gives you.  It isn't important how well you play.  It is more important that you get pleasure out of doing it.

* Never let your urge to do something well become a compulsion to do it perfectly. Just commit yourself to the joy of doing and enjoy the thrill of improving at it.

* Live by the law of reasonable expectations rather than by the law of perfection. Not only is perfection stressful, it's also boring.  Imperfection evokes humour and laughter while perfection evokes stress, frustration and anger.  One promotes health and well being; the other, anxiety and dis-ease.

* Learn to laugh at yourself and your imperfections.  If you don't, you leave the job to someone else.

* Human beings, by nature, are imperfect, so relax and enjoy the fact.

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

Mike Moore is an international speaker and writer on human achievement and humor therapy. You can access his site at motivationalplus.com
   

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Place yourself among those who carry on their lives with passion, and true learning
will take place, no matter how humble or exalted the setting.  But no matter what
path you follow, do not be ashamed of your learning.  In some corner of your life,
you know more about something than anyone else on earth.  The true measure of
your education is not what you know, but how you share what you know with others.

Kent Nerburn

   

 

Judge Not. . .

 We were having a discussion in one of our classes yesterday about whether or not a certain character deserved to die based on his actions in a story.  Most of the students felt that he did.  It wasn't a big surprise, given the actions, but I wanted them to understand something extremely important about what their culture has done to them as they've grown up, so we started talking about the factors that might have influenced their decisions.

Theirs is the first generation to have grown up with almost constant access to both television and the Internet.  They've been exposed to more screen time than any generation before.  And on those screens, one of the things that they've seen in abundance--an element of culture that has become stronger than ever in recent years--is judgment.

Thumbs up or thumbs down?  Should he be voted off the island?  Call this number if you want this singer to advance to the next round.  Should I like this, or give it an angry emoticon?  Over and over again, our young people have been exposed to many different types of judgment, so much so that it's come to be seen as the norm in our society--as soon as someone does something, we need to judge both the person and the action.  Our young people have seen so many types and degrees of judgment that many of them are terrified of doing anything themselves because they just know that some sort of harsh judgment is going to result.

Others are so caught up in judging themselves that they find themselves friendless because they find it necessary to judge their acquaintances by the same criteria that they would judge someone who's singing on American Idol or The Voice.  It's a fascinating phenomenon to witness, but also a very sad one, as many people are becoming alienated and lonely who wouldn't be so if they weren't so afraid of other people's judgment.

  

Withhold judgment and criticism.  The human way is to judge in haste the
actions of others, but the divine way is to remain quiet and loving.

White Eagle

  
Just what is our world going to be like if we continue to move towards judging others constantly and harshly?  Just who are we going to become as people if we are those people who judge first and gather evidence second--or not at all?  Are we going to be people that other people want to be around, or will we be someone whom others avoid because they know that we're going to judge them no matter what they're doing or what they've done?  Do we want to take the cues from our society and turn into that judgmental person simply because it seems that everyone else is doing so?

There are many terrible results of judging.  Yes, we can rationalize our thoughts and actions by telling ourselves that it's okay for us to judge because that other person did something awful anyway, but if we do so we're ignoring the greater part of the picture.  And that has to do with our relationships with people, and us putting ourselves above others in order to be able to judge them.  Most people would automatically say, "I'm not putting myself above anyone else," but if we consider just what judgment is, it's pretty much impossible to make that claim.  Judgment is calling an action wrong based on my personal thoughts, feelings, or beliefs, and when we do judge, we're simply saying that my personal thoughts are somehow more important or more valid than yours.

We like to judge based on sex, for example.  We've seen over and over again people who have judged others for things like adultery, homosexuality, or having sex out of wedlock.  If I know someone who's having an affair, though, just what right do I have to tell that person that he or she is wrong?  Do I know what's going on in the marriage that might have pushed this person to commit this action?  Do I know the needs inside this person's spirit that makes him or her feel compelled to have an affair?  Does everyone in the world have to see the concept of marital fidelity in the same way?
  

It is very unfair to judge any bodyís conduct, without
an intimate knowledge of their situation.

Jane Austen

  
In no way would I condone a person having an affair.  The very idea makes me sad, and personally, I would suggest trying to improve their own marriage before looking elsewhere for sexual gratification, and if that doesn't work, then have the courage to break up the marriage and then be with someone else.  The affair is going to end up hurting people deeply.

But if I just tell the person "What you're doing is terrible," I'm coming from the moral high ground of not having an affair myself, and I'm putting that person in a position that's lower than that high ground.  I'm telling that person that somehow I'm better than he or she is, and that I have the right to tell them what's right or wrong, good or bad in their own lives.  The truth is, though, that I don't have that right.

How should I treat this situation if I'm not being judgmental?  How about talking with that person, being there for him or her, letting them know that they have someone to talk to if they want to discuss anything.  And believe me, people who are having affairs do have something to talk about, but almost no one to talk to.  That's partly why the affair began in the first place.  I can show love and compassion to the other person without condoning the action and without harming our own relationship.  It can be difficult, of course, but how many of the things in life that really count are easy?
   

When you feel offended, you're practicing judgment. . .
What you may not realize is that when you judge another
person, you do not define them.  You define yourself
as someone who needs to judge others.

Wayne Dyer

    
It's even easier to judge people on television--the entertainers and athletes and politicians that we see so much of.  They're far away from us, and we never get challenged about the judgment we make.  We can say out loud that the person is a horrible person, and never have to hear him or her ask us, "Who are you to judge me?"  We judge with impunity because we never have to justify our judgment.  And we get into the habit of doing so, and we extend that judgment to the people in our lives--and by then we're so used to judging that we can rationalize our judgment easily and quickly and even effectively.

We weren't placed on this planet to judge, though.

We were placed here to love.

Judgment is not a form of love.  Criticism can be a form of love when others welcome it and when it's constructive in nature, but it's important to remember that judgment is not criticism, even though we often use it to criticize.  Judgment is never constructive.  So it's important for us to avoid judging others, and it's important for us to help our young people to see that life isn't about judgment, but about love.  Caring and compassion are ways to help others to become their best selves; judgment merely shuts doors and builds walls.
    

   
More on judgment.

   

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Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. If you plant an apple seed, you donít a get a mango tree. If we practice hatred or greed, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly. If we practice awareness or loving-kindness, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly. We are heirs to the results of our actions, to the intentions we bring to every moment we initiate. We make ripples upon the ocean of the universe through our very presence.

Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield

  

On Letting Go
Robert Paul Gilles

To "let go" does not mean to stop caring. 
It means I can't do it for someone else.

To "let go" is not to cut myself off. 
It's the realization that I can't control another.

To "let go" is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another. 
It's to make the most of myself.

To "let go" is not to care for, but to care about.

To "let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To "let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

To "let go" is not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes, 
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.

To "let go" is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead
to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires, 
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.

To "let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

To "let go" is to fear less and to love more.

(from his book Thoughts of the dreampoet : vol. 1.)

   

  

The development of loving kindness is a demanding practice that requires
time.  However, see if you can cultivate some part of loving kindness toward
yourself, other people in your life, and the natural world around you every day.
As we keep practicing, we begin to see beyond what is best for ourselves, or
for other people, toward what is good for all life that is affected by our actions.
Loving kindness for all life on the earth is the ultimate result of
the deepest understanding of the unity of life.

Claire Thompson
Mindfulness and the Natural World

    

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