30 May 2017      

Hello!  We've reached the end of May and we're about to plunge headlong
into June!  How are you going to end your May?  How will you start your
new month?  These are things that are up to you, and they'll definitely
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Letting Go of Rigid Responses and Limited Answers
Hugh Prather

Gratitude Journal
Elizabeth Kuhn

Where Are We?
tom walsh

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My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just to enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate.

Thornton Wilder

When you go out into this world, remember:  compassion, compassion, compassion.

Betty Williams

I have a simple philosophy.  Fill what's empty.  Empty what's full.  And scratch where it itches.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth

  
Letting Go of Rigid Responses and Limited Answers 
Hugh Prather

We are all presented with an occasional opportunity to say something, do something, or go somewhere that we know from experience will put us in an unpleasant or even dangerous setting.  The classic example is an invitation to a recovering alcoholic to be around individuals who drink heavily.  Sometimes, of course, there are work-related occasions that are mandatory, but often a good excuse can get you out of almost anything.  Yet many people won't allow themselves this option because of their one-sided definition of honesty.

Let's consider what the "honest" answer would be to such an invitation:  "No, I won't come because you and your friends get so drunk and boring that I'm afraid I might start drinking again.  In case you didn't know it when you hired me, I'm a recovering alcoholic."  This may be honest, but it certainly won't lead to greater understanding, deeper friendship, or more job security.  It's only half truthful because even though it verbally reflects the mood and opinions of one person, it doesn't give equal consideration to what the other person hears.

The real questions are, Does this brand of honesty lead to increased awareness?  Does it inform or does it obscure?  If true honesty is an absence of deceit, then the new, popular way of being honest is a path to greater deception.

Today, the ideal of being verbally literal has been raised to religious heights.  It is central to separation psychology, which aims to define, distinguish, and "empower" each separated ego.  For instance, notice that when people say, "I need to be honest with you," they usually follow with a speech of attack, abandonment, or betrayal.

Occasionally, I am asked to counsel an "at-risk" teenage girl who may have a history of falsely accusing people in authority.  To put her in a situation where she could be tempted to make this mistake again would not be helpful to her or me.  So I always talk to her where other people can see us at all times.  But I am not "honest" about this, because she would not benefit from thinking that I didn't trust her.  I'll say, "I'd like to get out of this office.  Why don't we walk over to the park?" (where there are lots of people).

Today, perhaps the most destructive application of ego honesty is occurring within primary relationships.  Many relationships founder before they ever get started because both partners think they must confess every sex act they ever had or thought of having.  Note that these confessions lead to greater misunderstanding.  They deceive, not enlighten.

Nevertheless, advocates of "honesty" have left no aspect of marriage and family untouched.  In the name of openness, partners are supposed to update each other on every negative thought and emotion they have, even though thousands of other thoughts and feelings are not voiced.  If husbands or wives have erotic dreams about someone other than their partners, out of the hundreds of things they dream about, these are the ones they must recount.  If a parent is contemplating divorce, the kids must be informed because this is "the only honest thing to do."  If one parent catches the other parent in an affair, they must "come clean" and tell the children what Dad or Mom did.

Today we try to make our words reflect "how I've been feeling lately," but we don't ask, "Where within me are these feelings coming from?"  We concentrate on making each word a literal reflection of what only part of us is temporarily feeling--yet we ignore other feelings and convictions, as well as how the other person hears our words and what inaccurate conclusions she or he comes to.

The new honesty is about what we say, not about what we communicate, and as such is another version of "appearances are everything."  It, like all other aspects of separation psychology, is "all about me" and disregards relationship--our effect on each other. . . .

The fact is that whenever we talk to someone, two conversations take place.  There is of course the subject matter of the words being spoken.  But rarely is that where the true importance of the exchange lies for either party.
  
   

In this little book on mental cleansing, Prather uses personal stories as well as step-by-step exercises to help readers understand the rewards and the process of letting go. For example, in the section on letting go of guilt and hurtful actions, Prather suggests that for at least one day readers "rise from sleep and make your purpose only this: 'I will go through this day harmlessly. I will hurt no one in my thoughts or in my actions, including myself.'" Prather includes numerous similar kinds of assignments in all of his chapters, including how to let go of..."Mental Pollutants," "Misery," "Prediction and Control," and "Spiritual Specialness."

   

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Gratitude Journal:  Keeping The Thanksgiving Spirit Alive Year-Round
Elisabeth Kuhn

Some people make New Yearís resolutions.  I make Thanksgiving resolutions.  Every year, I resolve to resume my practice of keeping a gratitude journal.

And every year, about three weeks later, I lose the journal.  Not that this stops me.  I just write my entries in some other journal, or a notebook.  You may consider this weird, but for me, the act of writing things down seems to be the important part.  Itís almost as if the writing action alone does something to the synapses in my brain that helps me process and store the information.

Like everybody else, though, I get those warm fuzzies more at the end of November than at any other time of the year.  As it turns out, Iím hardly alone with my seasonal preoccupation with gratitude.

At Thanksgiving, people all over the country sit around tables filled with turkey, brussels sprouts, candied yams with marshmallow topping, cranberries, and pumpkin pie, and take turns sharing with their loved ones the things they feel grateful for.  A wonderful tradition indeed Ė but what about the rest of the year?

Lately, with our growing understanding of the Law of Attraction and especially The Secret, weíve become so much more aware of the importance of gratitude and appreciation, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

We know that expressing appreciation lifts our spirits and raises our vibrations.  And with that, it seems to change everything around us Ė we start to draw to us things that we want, people that are friendlier, meetings and plans that go more smoothly.  In short, things work.

Still, sometimes it can be quite a challenge to feel grateful.  Deadlines have a way of getting in the way as does frustration with red tape.  Annoying colleagues and bosses do too, as do incompetent or aggressive drivers, infused with road rage.

Ultimately, there are simply too many things on everybodyís plate.  It has gotten so bad that some peopleís idea of a really great time is a good nightís sleep.

I dare you to try an experiment.  On a day when youíve gotten up on the wrong side of your bed, and things have gone from bad to worse, take a few minutes to reflect.  What is there in your life, right now, for which you are grateful Ė or could be, if you made an effort, a really hard effort if necessary?

Yes, itís hard to find things to be grateful for when things are scary and not going well.  But the happier you can make yourself feel, outward circumstances notwithstanding, the more likely you will be to get a new job, especially a new job is one that will work well for you.

Sometimes I think of it as some kind of grateful pill that makes everything better.  Of course, thatís when I remember to take it.  Hereís where the challenge comes in, though: how to make sure I remember?

We donít seem to have too much trouble with taking prescription drugs or other kinds of medication every day.  How do we manage to remember that?  Before I started taking the pill for the first time, I was very worried that Iíd forget.  And you know what?  Over those 10 years I took it, I forgot it maybe twice.

What helped me then was the same thing that will work here as well:  creating a routine.  Probably the easiest way to do that is by keeping a daily gratitude journal, with emphasis on daily.  Just keep it on your bedside table and write into it every night.  Thatís how I remembered the pill.  That, and a little flower sticker on my bathroom mirror.

The important part is this:  every time you see it and write in it, it will realign your thinking.  And once you do that, your vibes improve, and the Law of Attraction will, once again, begin to attract the things that are in line with what you really want.

* * * * * * * *

Copyright by Elisabeth KuhnFor more resources for body, mind, spirit, and especially prosperity, visit Elisabeth's blog at myfavoriteselfhelpstuff.com

   

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We restore the holiness of the world through our loving-kindness and
compassion.  Everyone participates.  It is a collective task.  Every act
of loving-kindness, no matter how great or small, repairs the world.
All those ever born have shared this collective work since
the beginning of time.

Rachel Naomi Remen

   

 
Where Are We?

My wife and I are on vacation at the moment, and we're trying our hardest to get the most out of our time here.  We're in the Italian Alps, in a small town on a lake, and we're trying to enjoy ourselves fully.  For us, that means something different than it does for others.  While the ways that we enjoy vacations are different than others, let me share a few rules about vacations that for us have helped us to make the most of the limited vacation time we've had.

First, we like to make sure that we really get to know wherever we are.  This year, it's Alleghe, and it's only for three and a half days.  It's a small town, so it's not too hard to get to know, and it's off-season, so it's even easier.  That said, though, we've been constantly faced with the temptation to go exploring, to get into the care and drive all over so that we can see as much as we can in the limited amount of time we have.

But for us, that's not an enjoyable way of approaching a vacation.  We're much more interested in really getting to know the place we are, whether that be Alleghe or Anaheim.  If we get into the car constantly and drive around, then we're spending most of our time inside a car--that's all there is to it.  We've spent our time walking around the time, getting to know what it has to offer, what it doesn't have, what the people are like to foreigners (they're very nice, by the way!), and where we can eat.

We buy much of our food in the supermarket and make our own meals at home (i.e., hotel or inn) rather than eating out for every meal.  Eating is much less expensive that way, and it really is fun doing shopping in another country.  We see what the stores have to offer (very different!) and how they package and market different items.  We save our restaurant meals for certain times, and with the money we save by not eating out every meal, we can upgrade our meals when we do eat out.  We can also afford to buy more gifts for friends at home, something that we truly enjoy doing--even more than eating out!

When we do drive somewhere, we have one of two plans--we have no destination or time frame in mind at all, or we have a specific destination to get to and a certain amount of time to spend there.  And we do everything early in order to avoid the crowds that tend to start gathering in the early afternoons.  This morning, for example, we drove to a certain spot because of something we wanted to do there.  When it turned out that the certain something was closed, we decided to do something else--only to find that that, too, was closed.  It is early season, after all!  But we had a nice morning that wasn't wasted by just driving around blindly looking for something to entertain us.

Sometimes we enjoy just driving around, though not blindly.  Sometimes the scenery is nice from a car, or the distances are simply to far to do anything but drive in order to get there.  When we do this, we still have maximum distances (if we drive for two hours, we still have two hours to get back, too, and we don't want to be on the road all day!)

Much of the reason it's important for us to be aware of what we're doing while on vacation is that we've known many people who come back from vacation more tired than when they left!  They're exhausted from having taken a vacation, and to us, that really defeats the original purpose of the vacation.  Even in our own experience, we've had times when we've simply tried to do too much.  We haven't enjoyed those times, and we've missed a lot of some things because we've tried to fit too much in.

We also try to make sure that we don't have to skimp on everything financially while we're on vacation.  We don't take lavish vacations--this year, even though the location is a bit extraordinary (the Italian Alps), that's only because we were able to connect it to a visit to friends in Germany whom we really have to visit for various reasons.  We've been to their part of Germany, though, so we added on four days down here to give us something new and different to experience.  We find that there's almost always a way to work in a few relaxing and fulfilling days in the trips that we take.

Of course, everyone's going to vacation differently.  I find, though, that it's important to be present in the moment and in the location rather than constantly planning my next step.  I may visit something nice tomorrow, but let's leave that for tomorrow.  It can be comforting to have a schedule, but if that schedule keeps me on the run all the time, then it's worse than worthless--it can actually be damaging.  I don't want to not get to know the place I'm staying just because I'm so busy going to other places that I don't get the chance to relax and enjoy my surroundings.

Vacations are extremely important, and they don't have to be to exotic locations, and they don't have to be long.  Some of the best vacations I've ever had have been long weekends when we've found a nice place to stay in a nice town, and then have done a lot of walking around and exploring for a couple of days.  We get home feeling relaxed and refreshed when we do this, and though others wouldn't call it a vacation at all, to us it seems that it is--and we have the right to see things as we see them, don't we?

My main advice to others would be two-fold:  first of all, know what you want from your vacation and make your plans accordingly.  If you want rest, don't plan on being on the go all day, every day.  And second, don't neglect the place where you are by focusing your thoughts and efforts on the places you still have left to see.  Be present in the moment wherever you are--after all, usually the reason you're staying in a place is because you're interested in it.  Vacations should be enjoyable, but often they turn into stressful ordeals because we try to do too much with them--relax and enjoy them, for they truly are gifts to be appreciated and used well so that they can give us the benefits that we hope to find in them.
   
   

One 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. In the twelve years of livinglifefully.com's existence, this essay series has been a mainstay of the weekly e-zine--a series that has explored not just the things that exist and that happen around us, but also our reactions to those things. The first five years of the column are now available exclusively on Kindle.

   

  

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To complain that life has no joys
while there is a single person
whom we can relieve by our bounty,
assist by our counsels or
enliven by our presence, is to lament
the loss of that which we
possess, and is just as rational as to
die of thirst with the cup in our hands.

Thomas Fitzosborne

  
It Takes Time
Unattributed

We need to take time to work because it is the price of success.

We need to take time to think because it is the source of power and the key to making good decisions.

We need to take time to play because it is the secret of youth, and a life of all work does make a person dull.

We need to take time to read because it is the foundation of knowledge.

We need to take time to worship because it is the highway of reverence and washes the dust of the earth from our eyes.

We need to take time to help and enjoy friends because our friends ultimately are going to be a major source of comfort and happiness.

We need to take time to love because it is the sacrament of life that might be the most important--and yet the most missed--element in our lives.

We need to take time to dream because it is the foundation upon which hope is built.

We need to take time to laugh.  Laughter has been called the "music of the soul."

We need to take time to plan.  It's the secret of being able to have time for the first nine things.
   

  

Whoever in trouble and sorrow needs your help, give it to them.
Whoever in anxiety or fear needs your friendship, give it to them.
It isn't important whether they like you.  It isn't important
whether you approve of their conduct.  It isn't important
what their creed or nationality may be.

E.N. West

    

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