7 February 2017      

Hello, and welcome to Tuesday!  We hope that your week has started well
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 Being Happy (an excerpt)
Marianne Williamson

Where Do You Go for Your
Intellectual Feast?     Jim Rohn

As It Is
tom walsh

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Life is to be lived.  If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting.  And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.

Katharine Hepburn

Wisdom is not to be obtained from textbooks, but must be coined out of human experience in the flame of life.

Morris Raphael Cohen

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder without any such gift from the fairies, he or she needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him or her the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.

Rachel Carson


Being Happy
an excerpt
Marianne Williamson

I have learned from experience that happiness is an acquired skill.  There is always something to complain about, even in the best of times.  Happiness is not an objective reality so much as a subjective decision.  Chronic complainers miss the boat.

Many people are addicted to suffering and have a mental habit of pointing out the worst in people or situations.  Not only are they robbing themselves of joy, but their failure to appreciate all the goodness that life has to offer actually diminishes all that good.  Both our blessing and our condemnation have power.  Thinking that something is bad has the power to make it so in our experience.

Children are one of the greatest lessons in happiness, constantly challenging us to enjoy the moment, as the next one will not be the same.  There is no sense saying about a small child, "Well, I'll enjoy watching her at the beach splashing around in the waves, but I'll do it later, next year or the next year."  Next year, she will not splash around in the same way.  Two years old gives way to three and then four.  And before you know it there is a teenager standing in front of you who won't even want to go to the beach with you.  You'll wonder where all the years went, but they will be gone.  No more watching her finger paint.  She doesn't finger paint anymore.

I have lived large parts of my life in wonderful circumstances that I utterly failed to appreciate.  Reasons to be happy were everywhere, but somehow I didn't connect with them.

It was as though I was eating but couldn't taste the food.  Finally, I've learned to celebrate the good while it's happening.  I feel gratitude and praise today for what are sometimes such simple pleasures.  I have learned that happiness is not determined by circumstances.  Happiness is not what happens when everything goes the way you think it should go; happiness is what happens when you decide to be happy.

There was a time a few years ago when several members of my family died in quick succession.  It seemed as though all we did was go to funerals, gathering together to cry.  Then, several years later, Hilary, the oldest of my late sister's daughters, got married.  Finally, we were gathering not to grieve but to celebrate, and the gratitude everyone felt was palpable. Every living member of Hilary's family came to the wedding, from many places around the world, and all of us knew why.  We would have loved her and celebrated her marriage even if her mother and her grandfather and her uncle had not recently died.  But everyone knew that the circumstances of the last few years made this wedding, this mitzvah, even more important.  The event was so infinitely sweet because it contrasted dramatically with the bitterness of the previous few years.

So those who have learned to be happy are often those who have suffered most.  When simple pleasures have been taken away, such as someone's loving smile or encouraging word, then the next time such pleasures come around--and the do--we lift our cup of life to them.  We sing God's praises in a way we had never done in the days when we took so much for granted.

Gratitude is essential to happiness.  Developing a grateful attitude--knowing that every time we arrive somewhere safely, we have something to be happy about; every time our children rush up to us and smile, we have something to be happy about; every time we get out of bed and can take a deep breath and go out for a walk, we have something to be happy about--that is the essence of a happy existence.  Happiness is a muscle we must use, or it will wither away.

Whatever we focus on is bound to expand.  Where we see the negative, we call forth more negative.  And where we see the positive, we call forth more positive.  Having loved and lost, I now love more passionately.  Having won and lost, I now win more soberly.  Having tasted the bitter, I now savor the sweet.

Several years ago, a friend of mine lived with me during the final five months of her life.  Not completely understanding the effects of her illness, I kept saying, "Michelle, you must eat.  You're getting too thin!  Eat!"  And after she died, I read in her journal about how "Marianne takes it for granted that if you eat, you gain weight; if you want to go out somewhere, you can; and if you want to live past this year, it's a reasonable proposition."  She was someone who had so little to be happy about, but she taught me so much about happiness.  During those months, right after the birth of my daughter, I would come home to find my dying friend with my baby snuggled next to her.  There was a smile of bliss on both of their faces that I will remember all my days.

Marianne Williamson acts as a guide back to the spiritual source, exploring the ways to nurture a thriving soul in a harsh world.  The large and small difficulties of our days challenge us to open our hearts and minds.  With an attitude of hope, a call to forgive, and a celebration of miracles, Williamson helps readers to find sacred footing on ordinary ground.  For no matter what, there is always an opportunity to be happy.  Everyone is entitled to the pleasures of everyday grace.


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Where Do You Go for Your Intellectual Feast?
Jim Rohn

Pity the man who has a favorite restaurant, but not a favorite author.  He's picked out a favorite place to feed his body, but he doesn't have a favorite place to feed his mind!

Why would this be?  Have you heard about the accelerated learning curve?  From birth, up until the time we are about eighteen, our learning curve is dramatic, and our capacity to learn during this period is just staggering.  We learn a tremendous amount very fast.  We learn language, culture, history, science, mathematics... everything!

For some people, the accelerated learning process will continue on.  But for most, it levels off when they get their first job. If there are no more exams to take, if there's no demand to get out paper and pencil, why read any more books?  Of course, you will learn some things through experience. Just getting out there--sometimes doing it wrong and sometimes doing it right--you will learn.

Can you imagine what would happen if you kept up an accelerated learning curve all the rest of your life?  Can you imagine what you could learn to do, the skills you could develop, the capacities you could have?  Here's what I'm asking you to do:  be that unusual person who keeps up his learning curve and develops an appetite for always trying to find good ideas.

One way to feed your mind and educate your philosophy is through the writings of influential people. Maybe you can't meet the person, but you can read his or her books.  Churchill is gone, but we still have his books.  Aristotle is gone, but we still have his ideas.  Search libraries for books and programs. Search magazines. Search documentaries.  They are full of opportunities for intellectual feasting.

In addition to reading and listening, you also need a chance to do some talking and sharing.  I have some people in my life who help me with important life questions, who assist me in refining my own philosophy, weighing my values and pondering questions about success and lifestyle.

We all need association with people of substance to provide influence concerning major issues such as society, money, enterprise, family, government, love, friendship, culture, taste, opportunity, and community.  Philosophy is mostly influenced by ideas, ideas are mostly influenced by education, and education is mostly influenced by the people with whom we associate.

One of the great fortunes of my life was to be around Mr. Shoaff those five years.  During that time he shared with me at dinner, during airline flights, at business conferences, in private conversations and in groups.  He gave me many ideas that enabled me to make small daily adjustments in my philosophy and activities.  Those daily changes, some very slight, but very important, soon added up to weighty sums.

A big part of the lesson was having Mr. Shoaff repeat the ideas over and over.  You just can't hear the fundamentals of life philosophy too often.  They are the greatest form of nutrition, the building blocks for a well-developed mind.

I'm asking that you feed your mind just as you do your body.  Feed it with good ideas, wherever they can be found.  Always be on the lookout for a good idea--a business idea, a product idea, a service idea, an idea for personal improvement.  Every new idea will help to refine your philosophy.  Your philosophy will guide your life, and your life will unfold with distinction and pleasure.

To Your Success,
Jim Rohn
* * *
Reprinted with permission from the Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine, at jimrohn.com.


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After all, I don't see why I am always asking for
private, individual, selfish miracles when every year
there are miracles like white dogwood.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh


As It Is

There's an awful lot to be said for taking life, for taking the world, "as it is."  One of the greatest sources of our own dissatisfaction and stress and frustration is the fact that the world around us isn't "as we want it"; rather, the world is as it is, and the sooner we learn to accept that fact--and even celebrate it--the sooner we can get on with our lives and really make them something to be enjoyed.

When we buy a car or a house "as is," there's always a certain risk involved, isn't there?  Maybe the seller has had some problem with the engine, and he knows that major work will be necessary in a few months or a year.  Perhaps the seller knows that the water heater of the house has been functioning erratically, or that the furnace is on its last legs, and is hoping to unload the house without having to pay for that sort of repairs.

Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts
of a situation, then deciding what you're going to do about it.

Kathleen Casey Theisen

Life isn't a car or a house.  Life comes to us each moment, on a moment-by-moment basis, and asks us to take it as it is.  It asks us gently--it's only a demand if we receive the request as a demand.  Our lives unfold regularly, always carrying us along with them, yet we somehow never are taught to deal with life regularly, never taught how to live life moment by moment.  Just as with buying a home or a car, though, there are risks inherent in life, and life also asks us to make decisions that could turn out badly for us.  Should we give our heart to that person who may harm it?  Should we move on to a new place or a new career in order to be more fulfilled?  Should we trust ourselves with our decisions and our plans?  Each moment comes filled to the brim with life--should we throw ourselves whole-heartedly at this moment, or should we hold back in order to keep ourselves from being harmed?

One of the biggest obstacles that we have to overcome in taking life as it is, is the fact that we tend not to trust life completely.  However we choose to see life, God, or the Universe, we tend to see ourselves as being very small and insignificant in the vastness of reality--why would things turn out well for me when I'm so tiny that God or life doesn't really care what happens to me?  That's an obstacle, though, that we've allowed to thrive within ourselves and that takes great effort to tear down.

Sometimes we fight who we are, struggling against ourselves and our
natures. But we must learn to accept who we are and appreciate who
we become. We must love ourselves for what and who we are,
and believe in our talents.

Harley King

The fact is that life can be trusted.  Millions of people have made their ways through life and have thrived doing so, and they've left behind teachings that can help us do the same thing.  Most of them have made it very clear that trusting life and living--or God and ourselves--is the first thing we need to accomplish in order to live full and healthy lives.  Personally, I've always had huge issues with trust, but as I've read the words of people who led happy lives, I realized that I needed to tear down my mistrust if I were to have any chance at being happy.  And I've learned that the more I trust life, the more life responds with being completely trustworthy.  I haven't become rich or famous, and I'm not able to stop working and travel the world, but I have all that I need and even more--I have shelter and food and a wonderful wife and family and friends and work that's fulfilling and hobbies that I find to be fascinating.

My discontent with life would start with a simple premise: this isn't enough.  This is life as it is, but since I don't have more now, I'm not going to be content or satisfied right here, right now.  That would be simply me being immature and silly.  After all, if I think something should be improved, I can only decide to work now to change it for the future.  It still is the way it is.  When I can accept it, I can know that this moment is perfect, for even the problems in it are there to spur me on to solving them, to challenge myself to make my future days even more positive.  Obstacles are there to teach me how to function in life, how to push myself past my previous limitations.

We face up to awful things because we can't go around them, or forget
them. The sooner you say 'Yes, it happened, and there's nothing I can do
about it,' the sooner you can get on with your own life. You've got children
to bring up. So you've got to get over it. What we have to get over,
somehow we do. Even the worst things.

Annie Proulx

Do you accept life as is?  Is there something in your life that is so bad that it prevents you from accepting the beauty and wonder of each moment?  If you can remember that the negative parts of life are there to help you to learn and grow, perhaps you'll be able to see the perfection of the current moment, and you'll be able to accept life exactly as it is, right here and right now.  This present moment truly is the only moment when life actually occurs, and if it's pushing you to challenge yourself, then meet that challenge to make your future present moments even more positive, fulfilling, and full of wonder than you ever imagine they could be.

More on silence.


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If only the people who worry about their liabilities would think about the riches they do possess, they would stop worrying.  Would you sell both your eyes for a million dollars. . . or your two legs. . . or your hands. . . or your hearing?  Add up what you do have, and you’ll find that you won’t sell them for all the gold in the world.  The best things in life are yours, if you can appreciate yourself.

Dale Carnegie


Lyrics that matter--from many years ago:

Best Friend
Helen Reddy

Would you take better care of yourself,
Would you be kinder to yourself,
Would you be more forgiving of your human imperfections,
If you realized your best friend was yourself?

Who is always with you everywhere?
Who is on your side when others are unfair?
And tell me, who will never let you down in any situation?
Who will always see you get your share?

And that's why I am a best friend to myself
And I take me up whenever I feel low
I make myself as happy as a best friend would
I'm as nice to me as anyone I know

And that's why I am a best friend to myself
And I take me up whenever I feel low
I make myself as happy as a best friend would
I'm as nice to me as anyone I know

Don't think it was a natural process for me to leave my personality behind and put on a character.  Something deep inside me continued to rebel; one part of me wanted to keep on being myself, while the other part, the part that wanted to be loved, tried to comply with the world's demands.  I detested my mother and the superficial, empty manner she had. I detested her, and yet slowly, against my will, I was becoming just like her.  That is the great, terrible blackmail of every upbringing, the one it's just about impossible to escape.  No child can live without love.  That's why we follow the model prescribed to us, even if we don't like it at all, even if we think it's wrong.  The effects of this transaction persist into adulthood.  When you become a mother it resurfaces whether you want it to or not, you may not even notice it, but it's shaping your actions once again.  So when your mother was born, I was absolutely convinced I'd behave differently.  And in fact I did, but the differences were superficial and completely false.  To avoid imposing on your mother a model like the one that had been imposed on me at a tender age, I always left her free to make choices.  I wanted her to feel she had my approval in everything she did.  I constantly told her, "We're two different people and each of us must respect the other's differences."

There was a mistake in all this, a serious mistake.  Do you know what it was?  It was my lack of identity.  Even though I was now an adult, I wasn't secure about anything.  I wasn't able to love myself or have esteem for myself.

Susanna Tamaro
from Follow Your Heart

Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success.
When you do a thing, do it with all your might. . . .
Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful,
and you will accomplish your objective.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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