10 April 2018      

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Senseless Kindness (an excerpt)
Robert Schuller

How Do We Deal with Setbacks
Gary Egeberg

Develop the Do-It-Now Habit
Tom Hopkins

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We can go through our whole lives worrying about our future happiness, and totally miss where true peace lives--right here, right now.

Peter Russell

One moment of patience may ward
off great disaster. One moment of
impatience may ruin a whole life.

Chinese Proverb

When we look for the good in others,
we discover the best in ourselves.

Martin Walsh

Senseless Kindness
an excerpt
Robert Schuller

Let me share a true story.  It's the inspiring story of my friend Chuck Wall.  He's been a listener to my television talks for many, many years.  He understands possibility thinking, and he lives it!

Dr. Chuck Wall, a full-time professor at Bakersfield College, has retinitis pigmentosa and is legally blind.  Chuck teaches management courses, including "Human Relations and Motivation."  Chuck holds to the theory that while many people become technically knowledgeable in a given field, unless and until they can get along with others, they're not going to be as successful as they would like.  So he spends much of his time preparing business students for the multicultural society in business today.

About two years ago Chuck, like millions of other people around the world, became (he told me) "completely fed up with the incredible amount of violence in the newspaper.  Listening to the radio or watching television has become nothing more that a tour through murder, rape, massacre, and assorted mayhem that tends to depress and demoralize us."

One morning as Chuck was preparing for his classes at Bakersfield College, he overheard a radio announcer say, "Today we have another random act of senseless violence to report."  And Chuck thought, "Violence--is that all this world can talk about?  Isn't there anything else that can encourage us?  Is there no good news?

But then he started thinking about the phrase he'd just heard, and he had a thought:  "What if I took out the word violence and put in the word kindness?  I would take a very well known negative phrase and turn it into a positive one, and out of that could come a great assignment for my students."

So that morning Dr. Wall walked into his classroom to share his new assignment with his students.  He asked them to write down their task:  "Today I'll go out into my community and commit at least one random act of senseless. . . ." he waited for them to catch up with him--"kindness!"  And they all exclaimed as one voice, "What?"  One student asked, "Is this going to count toward our grade?  How much is it worth?"  Another asked, "Does it have to be typed?"  Still another said, "And by the way, please define kindness for us."  Chuck refused to do that, because he wanted to see in this assignment what his students believed kindness to be.  His only further instruction was that the assignment was due in two weeks.

Chuck was inspired by his students.  One, a woman named Sharon (names are changed) who'd been out of school for some years, took her eight-year-old daughter to visit patients at a convalescent hospital.  They walked up and down the corridors offering encouragement to patients.  She wrote, "I don't know who benefited most from this experience--my daughter and I or the patients--but it's immaterial now.  This is part of our quality time together.  We plan to visit hospitals every week."

Another student, a young man of nineteen named Carlos, overheard his mother say to a friend on the telephone, "I've just received my utility bill, and I don't know where the money is going to come from to pay it.  I'm really afraid they're going to turn off the electricity."  Carlos went to the bank, withdrew money from his own personal account--savings from his summer job--went to the utility office, and paid the bill.  He took a stamped receipt home to a very grateful and proud mom.

Another student, Sara, found a very disheveled collie wandering around her neighborhood.  She took the dog home and gave it a bath.  Then she put some posters around the neighborhood showing the dog's picture.  She soon found the owner, who was very, very pleased to get his dog back.

And how about Ashley, who found the last parking spot in a huge, crowded parking lot?  Gratefully she started to pull in, only to look in her rear view mirror and see the woman in the car behind her throwing up her hands in sheer frustration, as if to say, "Where am I going to park?"  Ashley backed out of the parking spot and waved the woman in.  The recipient of the spot looked amazed; she couldn't believe this was actually happening.  Ashley had to park about a quarter-mile away, but she reported, "You know, I smiled for three days."

Chuck has received over fifteen thousand letters and phone calls at his Bakersfield College office and has completed about two hundred media interviews.  At first he thought the acts-of-kindness crusade was a fad, but people still call and write letters describing their own acts of kindness and talking about how there's renewed hope in this world.  As Chuck says, "Maybe kindness isn't the answer to all of our world's problems, but it's where we have to start.  There's nothing new about this concept.  We've just forgotten it, and now it's time to remember.

"Challenge all of your readers to participate in this acts-of-kindness crusade.  Nothing gets done of a positive nature until each one of us personally gets involved.  We don't have to wait for a governmental decree to be made to realize that what you and I want in our lives is the same thing that everyone else wants, and that's respect and dignity.  I want it.  You want it.  So I challenge you to participate and become active.  Today I'll commit one random act of senseless kindness.  Will you?"

Chuck Wall, with his blindness, could be bitter and filled with self-pity; instead, he bubbles with enthusiasm about life, his marriage, and his career.

more on kindness


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How Do We Deal with Setbacks?
An excerpt from "The Pocket Guide to Inner Peace"
Gary Egeberg

The process of resolving an inner or interpersonal conflict or handling an emotion that we have struggled with for many years or decades, such as anger or fear, in a healthy manner is one that frequently entails making progress and suffering setbacks.  We usually feel excited and pleased with ourselves when we make some surprising progress and discouraged and disappointed when we regress or backslide.

When we do suffer a discouraging setback, it tends to feel like we are back at square one, but that is almost always not the case.  The progress we have made prior to the setback is real; it is not to be discounted or negated, though our feelings of disappointment, shame, or remorse and our subsequent loss of perspective may try to convince us otherwise.  One key indicator that we have made and are continuing to make progress is that the setback will not keep us down for very long, not nearly as long as it may have in the past.  Progress is evident after a setback or moment of regression or failure when:


We quickly apologize or make amends to the person(s) we may have harmed.


We spend less time and energy beating ourselves up and forgive ourselves more quickly.


We regain our perspective and see our setback as a setback and nothing more than that, and certainly not as anything that detracts from our value as a human being.


We assess what factors were at play in our setback, such as feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, and try to recognize these warning signs in the future.


We recall specific times and situations in the past when we had a taste of success in this particular area of struggle or difficulty.


We are able to poke a little bit of fun at ourselves and not take our moment of regression with such deathly seriousness.


We realize that we are neither alone nor unique in experiencing setbacks, but simply an imperfect and mistake-prone human being like everyone else.


We extend the compassion to ourselves that we would to another person if he or she had suffered a similar setback or moment of failure.

For instance, if we have recently lost our composure (which happened to me just the other day when I was discussing religion with someone), we usually feel disappointed with or even ashamed of ourselves (Why did I let that happen?  I should have recognized that our conversation was going nowhere and either agreed to disagree with this person or changed the subject!).  Our inner critical voice may be champing at the bit, as mine always is, to put in his or her two cents worth.

But as is often the case, a setback or regression of some type precedes or paves the way for even greater progress.  For some unknown reason, a setback almost always seems to be necessary at times in order for our next growth spurt to occur.  Perhaps we have another significant lesson to learn.  Or maybe we need to be reminded that whenever we react in familiar counterproductive ways, such as yelling, the silent treatment, blaming, retaliation, and the like, we are setting ourselves up to suffer inevitable feelings of remorse or shame.  A setback, though often painful, is not without potential redeeming value, for it frequently paves the way for a comeback and gives us the momentum to grow more than we would have had we not suffered the setback.  Go figure!  Personally, I would prefer to make significant progress without having to suffer setbacks, but life doesn't usually seem to work that way.

more on adversity


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Life is a series of choices and as all ideas in this manifested universe are divided
as opposites, we can choose the negative ego approach or the positive spiritual
approach. . . . From the negative ego approach we learn that we will suffer until
we balance our actions and bring our lives into harmony with the laws that govern
the universe.  This is called the law of hard knocks or karma.  With the positive
spiritual approach we choose to live in obedience to God's will, to live in harmony
with universal laws without being pushed into it.  This can be called the school of grace.

Cheryl Canfield

Develop the Do-It-Now Habit
Tom Hopkins

Self-discipline really encompasses nearly everything in life.  Do you remember in school when you were given 30 days to write a term paper?  Did you start it that first night?

Most of us didn’t.  Instead, we thought about it every night.  “Got to get moving on that ratty project. But I’ve got almost a whole month left—it can wait.”  As time goes by, worry about getting a failing grade looms larger in our minds.  At first the pain of starting the term paper is greater than our concern about the failing grade, so after a week we still haven’t started.  Two weeks go by.  What are we doing every night before we go to sleep?  Worrying about that F.  “I better start.  Tomorrow I’ll get moving on it.”

A week before the term paper is due, the F is getting larger, but it’s still not quite large enough to offset the pain of working at preventing it.  All of a sudden there are only three days left before it’s due, and at last the F looms larger than the pain of working on the term paper.  So we start.

As you lay it out you begin feeling some enthusiasm.  “This isn’t bad.  I may get an A if I do this and do that.”  When you walk in with your paper you’re happy, but you wasted 27 days worrying about starting.  In other words, you operated at a deficit emotionally for 27 days when you could have been in the profit column the whole time.  Move into the emotional profit column right now; starting today, get your priority tasks and actions handled promptly.  Plan your actions then act on your plans.  Apply this determination to every area of your life and it will make an enormous difference in your income, growth rate in business as well as your satisfaction and growth rate personally.

The portrait of a man who was being called the Whiz Kid on Wall Street appeared on the cover of a national magazine many years ago.  He was one of the first to put a conglomerate together, and some of the federal laws affecting business in the early ’70s came about because of the trends that his creativity set off.  At the time he was 42; he was running one of the largest industrial combines in the country, the conglomerate he had built himself.  So the magazine had assigned a journalist and a team of researchers to do an in-depth report on this entrepreneur.

One of the researchers went to the small city the dynamic executive had left 15 years earlier.  A few items turned up there about an alcoholic with the same name who had been sleeping on park benches at that time.  The researcher passed this information along, and as the journalist was concluding his interview with the Wall Street powerhouse in his plush office, the journalist laughed and said, “Believe it or not, a man with your exact name was sleeping on park benches and getting ousted by the police when you lived in your hometown.  I guess the poor guy was a real wino.  Isn’t that something?”

The president looked up and smiled.  “That was me,” he said.

The reporter was flabbergasted.  “This can’t be.  You’re kidding.”

The president of the conglomerate leaned back in his leather chair and shook his head.  “I’m not kidding.  The wino sleeping off drinks on park benches was me.”

The journalist stared at him for a moment and realized that the man was telling the truth.  He also realized that now he had a whole new story.  When his apologies were waved aside, he said, “I have to ask, what made you change?”

Listen to what he said because so many people fit this mold:  “When I was sleeping under newspapers in the park 15 years ago, I knew that someday I would do what I’m doing now.  I was just waiting until I was ready to start.”

Do you know how many people are like that?  “Well, next year’s my year.  I’m going to get to work then.  You just wait and see—right after the first of the year I’m gonna start shaping up.”  But, of course, the time to get going never quite comes for most people.  They have good intentions but are lacking the two most vital components of any good deed:  the motivation to begin and a strategic plan to keep them moving forward.

You see, by not beginning, you’re not only risking failure, but you’re also confining yourself to the level of success you currently have.  If you’re happy with that, fine.  If not, make that plan and get fired up!

If your potential for greater success is nagging at you, don’t wait.  Time is flying by so fast.  Start today to achieve the greatness you know is within you.

* * *

reprinted with permission from the Jim Rohn Weekly E-zine



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The biggest secret of self-esteem
is this:  Begin to appreciate
other people more, show respect
for any human being merely
because he or she is a child
of God and therefore
a "thing of value."

Maxwell Maltz

We use the word "love" but we have no more understanding of love than we do of anger or fear or jealousy or even joy, because we have seldom investigated what that state of mind is.  What are the feelings we so quickly label as love?  For many what is called love is not lovely at all but is a tangle of needs and desires, of momentary ecstasies and bewilderment.  Moments of unity, of intense feelings of closeness, occur in a mind so fragile that the least squint or sideways glance shatters its oneness into a dozen ghostly paranoias.

When we say love we usually mean some emotion, some deep feeling for an object or person, that momentarily allows us to open to another.  But in such emotional love, self-protection is never very far away.  Still there is "business" to the relationship:  clouds of jealousy, possessiveness, guilt, intentional and unintentional manipulation, separateness, and the shadow of all previous "loves" darkens the light of oneness.

But what I mean by love is not an emotion, it is a state of being.  True love has no object.  Many speak of their unconditional love for another.  Unconditional love is the experience of being; there is no "I" and "other," and anyone or anything it touches is experienced in love.  You cannot unconditionally love someone.  You can only be unconditional love.  It is not a dualistic emotion.  It is a sense of oneness with all that is.  The experience of love arises when we surrender our separateness into the universal.  It is a feeling of unity.  You don't love another, you are another.  There is no fear because there is no separation.

Stephen Levine


I am shocked to have discovered this morning that I am the only me there is.
I think this is the key to everything--compassion, kindness, trust of life, mystery.
A genuine and not inflated sense of importance and self-value.  I've spent most
of my life comparing myself to other men.  Are they ahead of me in Forbes?  Do
they sit on more powerful boards?  Are they smarter?  Sexier?  Do they have
more hair?  And all the time there is this other way of seeing things.  I am not one
of the motors my company produces by the hundreds of thousands.  I am
handmade.  Less than perfect but more a work of creation than a product of
technology.  And I am not alone in this.  Everyone is the only "me" there is.

unattributed (an unknown cancer survivor)
related by Rachel Naomi Remen




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