2 May 2017
The greatest amount of good we can do in this
world lies not in what we say or in the opinions we advance,
but in what we are, the atmosphere we carry with us.
spiritual path is one of falling on your face, getting up,
brushing yourself off, turning and looking sheepishly at
God and then taking the next step.
not place your happiness in distant lands or in grandly
imagined tasks; do well what you can do, until you can do
greater things as well.
from the Windows
Welcoming Yourself into Your Own Life
Thomas Kinkade with Anne Christian Buchanan
asked me once why I paint so many houses and cottages with
warm, glowing windows. At first I didn't know what
to say. After all, how does an artist explain why he
paints what he does?
thought a lot about that question, though, and now I think
I have an answer. I paint glowing windows because
glowing windows say home to me. Glowing windows say
welcome. They say all is well. They say that
someone's waiting, someone cares enough to turn a light
person like me, who grew up in a single-parent household
and often had to come home to an empty house, that
"someone's home" glow is irresistible. It
draws the eye like a brightly wrapped present, a promise
of wonderful secrets inside. Can you see a brightly
lit window without even the smallest urge to go peek in,
to see what the people are doing and what their lives are
like? I can't either.
as I am dabbing brushfuls of golden paint on those
windows--whether on a rambling Victorian mansion or a tiny
little fishing cabin--I am always imagining a world of
family gatherings, of quiet times spent in the company of
almost smell the toasty aromas of popcorn or pie
baking. I can hear the lively sounds of laughter and
perhaps the tinkle of a music box. . . .
too, is what I imagine going on behind the glowing windows
in my paintings.
conversation--about books, about old movies, about hopes and dreams,
about the many blessings God gives us. Conversation that can
occupy a whole evening. Conversation where people's lives
touch in a meaningful way.
That kind of
conversation has almost become a lost art in our high-tech
age. We became aware of this loss during a summer we spent in
a little English village. There, social activity is built
around the town pub. People gather there to eat a simple meal
or drink the famous English ale, but mostly to talk and laugh.
Here in America,
we've installed television sets everywhere so that people never have
to converse. Even restaurants have given in to this trend, and
it is often difficult to find a table where you can escape the
distracting glare of a television set. Have you ever walked at
night by a window where the television light was on? The light
is dim and cold. But walk at night by a window where a fire is
flickering, where a candle is lit, and see the difference. The
warm glow in the windows is so inviting that it draws you in.
It's not high-tech
entertainment that puts the warmth in the windows, but human
connection. It's human warmth that makes up the golden
glow. And I think that most of us are instinctively drawn to
And yet the glow in
the windows is not reserved solely for families like mine. The
warmth is not exclusive, not unreachable. The windows can
shine wherever you find a resting place for your heart.
I think of my
mother. She and my father parted ways when I was very young,
and she has lived alone for nearly twenty years, since the day my
brother and I left for college. And Yet her house always glows
with that "someone's home" light because my mother, more
than almost anyone I know, is serenely at home with herself. . . .
You can put that
same light in your windows by surrounding yourself with your work
and your play and your memories. If you love art, cover your
walls with paintings or prints that speak to your soul and bring you
peace. If you love music, put the piano in the center of the
room and keep the stereo tuned to your favorite station. Pad
the sofa with fluffy pillows. Drape a soft afghan on your
favorite chair--and put a favorite book nearby. And yes, you
might want to light a candle on the windowsill.
You also put the
light in your windows by sharing your life with others. Invite
neighbors or friends for an evening of checkers or chamber music or
conversation, giving them a taste of your life.
But most of all,
you put a light in the window by coming home to yourself. By
becoming friends with who you are and who you can be. by
finding a resting place for your heart.
a place you're yearning to be.
A place where work, home, and play are
properly balanced, where people exist
peaceably, where relationships flourish.
A place where there's time for what's really
Picture life the way you're hungry to live it,
in your deepest heart of hearts.
Picture simpler time.
Like his warm, engaging paintings, this
celebrated artist will help you discover how
to create calm, not chaos; peace, not
pressure, in your own life--a life of simpler
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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elements of who we are, from love to mindfulness to adversity to
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Learning From Life
Do you ever find yourself thinking, "Life has
taught me some tough lessons, and the scars do not heal
easily"? This article can help you learn
valuable lessons from the past, instead of allowing the
past to determine your future.
The quality of the life we
live is based upon the
learning we derive from our experiences. I know that
for myself, it is sometimes easy to feel that "Life
has taught me some tough lessons, and the scars do not
heal easily." When I find myself thinking like this
it means that I have fallen into the trap of believing
that "It is ‘only natural’ that an ‘X’ type
event or relationship, will lead to a ‘Y’ type
response." At other times it becomes apparent that if
I had somehow learned something different from a
particular challenging situation, the quality of my life
would be much more rewarding.
In working with a client struggling with alcoholism, we
spent our first session with the client telling me in
detail how he had come to live such an unhealthy
debilitating life. In short he said: "Both my parents
were alcoholics, and both of them were physically abusive
to me. I grew up never knowing what bad thing would happen
next. I learned from my parents that the best way to not
have to feel the pain and uncertainty of life was to
escape into an altered state of alcohol-induced
euphoria." When listening to a client tell such a sad
story, it is easy to believe that their situation was all
As fate would have it, a week after beginning to work
with this client, I went to a business luncheon to hear an
inspirational speaker discuss how we can live our life
fully and succeed in times of hardship. Indeed, the
speaker was truly inspirational. When the talk was over I
waited around to thank him.
After introducing myself and thanking him, I asked him
how he had come to lead such an exemplary life. He looked
around to make sure no one else was listening and in a low
voice he said the following: "Both my parents were
alcoholics, and both of them were physically abusive to
me. I grew up never knowing what bad thing would happen
next. I learned from my parents that the worst possible
way to deal with the pain and uncertainty of life was to
escape into an altered state of alcohol induced euphoria.
My parents taught me a difficult but very important
lesson. I learned from them that staying present in the
moment is the only real chance we have for living a
What a truly great example of embodied spirit the
motivational speaker offers us. The quality of our life is
not dependent on the circumstances we encounter. The
quality of our life is dependent on what we learn from the
circumstances we encounter. Perhaps the greatest example
of this wisdom is present in the life of Nelson Mandela.
He is a man that suffered great pain and hardship, and
somehow his suffering seasoned his soul in a way that has
led him to be compassionate and caring.
In the course of exploring how to live our life more
fully we can consider pondering one question over and over
again: "What can I learn from the difficulties I am
experiencing, that will actually ADD to the quality of my
life?" At the very least we can begin to entertain
this fact: We can derive a wide range of learning from
any single circumstance, event, or relationship. When we
get the most stuck in life is when we believe that the one
thing we did learn is the only thing that can be learned.
* * *
Badenhop. Charlie is the
originator of Seishindo, an Aikido instructor, NLP
trainer, and Ericksonian Hypnotherapist. Benefit
from a new self-help Practice every two weeks by
subscribing to his complimentary newsletter "Pure
heart, simple mind" at seishindo.org.
Contact Charlie at email@example.com.
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be willing to get rid of
the life we've planned, so as to have
the life that is waiting for us.
The old skin has to be shed
before the new one can come.
I like the words "good" and "goodness."
They're simple words packed with meaning, and almost no two people
in the world would agree on just what they mean. Many people
even disagree whether people's actions are motivations are good in
their depths or if they're good on the surface. For example,
if a person gives a certain amount of money to a charity to avoid
allowing his or her spouse to get that money in a divorce
settlement, is the act a good act, or a selfish act? It may
be good that the charity gets the money, but many people want to
stop there and not think things through more thoroughly--is it
good that the charity gets money that the spouse might have needed
desperately, but is now denied?
In such a case, one person's good is another person's bad.
Do the two sides balance out?
I believe that for an act or motive to be good, it truly has to be
pure. In other words, if I do a kind act for a neighbor,
it's truly good only if I have absolutely no expectations of any
sort of reciprocal benefit. If I encourage someone, I have
no expectations of any sort of thank you or other sign of
gratitude. I do it simply because I know that it's good and
because I want to do good.
Because you see, if I do something "good" for you and
expect your gratitude or some sort of reward in return, then I'm
creating an obligation for you, one that you probably neither want
nor need. And if you don't fulfill that obligation, the
results can end up being anger, frustration, and resentment on
both of our parts--and how can such a result even remotely be
considered good? And if it ends up with such results, then
the "good" of the original action was simply an
illusion, not a truth.
It is very
difficult to know exactly what good should come out of
situation. To attempt to manipulate circumstances
so your idea of
can come about, is to let the ego play
as you know, can and does backfire.
Neem Karoli Baba
So if I want to
be good--and I do, even if I'm not sure what it
means--I need to be aware of my motives and my
desired outcomes for any action that I take.
Am I doing this just because I want to do something
good? If so, there's a good chance that the
action I take is, in fact, good.
Being and doing good, I think, is mostly a matter of
heart, and much less a matter of mind. In our
hearts, we know when we're doing good and we know
when we're doing something to benefit ourselves, and
it's important to listen to our hearts when they
speak to us. If we do this, we can be much
more sure that what we're doing is, indeed,
good. I may help a neighbor with something to
make her feel obligated to send a plate of cookies
my way the next time she bakes, but my heart will
know that my motive is not pure. My heart will
know it if I'm helping just to help, with no attempt
to make her feel obligated.
And if a plate of cookies does appear without any
attempt to make her feel obligated, then there's
another good act in this world. If she sends
over the cookies because she knows I'm expecting
them for having helped her, then just how
"good" is her act?
There are, of course, acts that count as mutual
goods. Perhaps my co-worker is having a hard
time with a certain task, and it ends up being my
task at the end of the day. Teaching him or
her how to do the task and do it well is good for
that person and for me, as I'll no longer be
expected to take on that task, and I can focus on my
consists not in the outward things we do, but in
the inward thing we are. To be good is the great thing.
Edwin H. Chapin
When we examine
our motives for doing the things we do, we start to
change as people. When we start to try to do
good for the sake of good and not for any potential
benefits, we start to become good people in our
core, at heart. When we start to be
good, then we start to do things for motives that
are much more pure, and we start to strengthen and
reinforce the good that is in us.
A good person doesn't need to have ulterior motives
for doing things--that person knows that when we do
good, we greatly improve the quality of our own
lives. When we're good to other people, we
strengthen the world and we strengthen ourselves,
and we give the others a bit more faith in the
goodness of life and humanity. Goodness helps
to destroy cynicism, and it helps others to see the
world more brightly. Being good helps us to
avoid many kinds of stress, the kind that comes from
fearing being caught doing something we shouldn't do
or saying something we shouldn't say.
good for others is not a duty. It is a joy,
for it increases your own health and happiness.
I want to be
good, and I want to do good. It isn't always
easy, though, for there are almost always
conflicting motives in the way of doing good.
Yes, I can help this person, but there's a cost of
time. Yes, I can do that good thing, but it
will cost money. That's definitely a good
thing to do, but it's risky--I'll risk failure and
I'll risk being criticized. And saving time
and money, of course, are two of out stronger
desires as people, as is the avoidance of failure
and criticism. But the stakes are very
high--do I want to look back five years from now and
think of all the good I didn't do because of my
fear, or all the good I did do in spite of my
fear? To me, the answer to that question is
very obvious, and it's within my power--with every
decision that I make--to answer it with the
knowledge that I did, indeed, do every good I could.
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.
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grateful for what you do have, and
you will find it increases. I like to
bless with love all that is in my life
right now--my home, the heat, water,
light, telephone, furniture, plumbing, appliances, clothing,
jobs--the money I do have, friends,
my ability to see and feel and taste
and touch and walk and to enjoy
this incredible planet.
i thank you God for this most amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
e e cummings
May your joys be
as bright as the morning,
and your sorrows merely be shadows
that fade in the sunlight of love.
May you have enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
Enough hope to keep you happy,
Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough success to keep you eager,
Enough friends to give you comfort,
Enough courage and faith in yourself to banish sadness,
Enough wealth to meet your needs,
And one more thing:
Enough determination to make each day
a more wonderful day than the one before.
really understand human nature unless you know why
a child on a
merry-go-round will wave at his or her parents every
time around -- and
why his or her parents will always wave back.
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