17 April 2018      

We're more than half-way through April, and we hope that your month is going
well so far.  Spring is underway here in the north, while autumn is taking
hold far to the south, and these transitional seasons between the extremes
of summer and winter offer us many opportunities to enjoy mild temperatures
and beautiful sights of flowers and turning leaves.

Nourishing Awareness in Each Moment
Thich Nhat Hanh

The Most Important Meetings You'll
Ever Attend     Denis Waitley

Simple Love
tom walsh

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Many of us say that we have faith, and that we believe that our supply will manifest, yet at the same time make arrangements in case it does not appear.  We say we are going to be victorious, yet we make preparations for defeat.  The life of faith cannot be lived in this way.

Henry T. Hamblin

Life, like any other exciting story, is bound to have painful and scary parts, boring and depressing parts, but it's a brilliant story, and it's up to us how it will turn out in the end.

Bo Lozoff

It is a psychological fact that people always conform to the image they hold of themselves.  Change their images and you change their actions, their reactions, their environment, their world.

Jack Holland


Nourishing Awareness in Each Moment (an excerpt)
Thich Nhat Hanh

One cold, winter evening I returned home from a walk in the hills, and I found that all the doors and windows in my hermitage had blown open.  When I had left earlier, I hadn't secured them, and a cold wind had blown through the house, opened the windows, and scattered the papers from my desk all over the room.  Immediately, I closed the doors and windows, lit a lamp, picked up the papers, and arranged them neatly on my desk.  Then I started a fire in the fireplace, and soon the crackling logs brought warmth back to the room.

Sometimes in a crowd we feel tired, cold, and lonely.  We may wish to withdraw to be by ourselves and become warm again, as I did when I closed the windows and sat by the fire, protected from the damp, cold wind.  Our senses are our windows to the world, and sometimes the wind blows through them and disturbs everything within us.  Some of us leave our windows open all the time, allowing the sights and sounds of the world to invade us, penetrate us, and expose our sad, troubled selves.  We feel so cold, lonely, and afraid.  Do you ever find yourself watching an awful TV program, unable to turn it off?  The raucous noises, explosions of gunfire, are upsetting.  Yet you don't get up and turn it off.  Why do you torture yourself in this way?  Don't you want to close your windows?  Are you frightened of solitude--the emptiness and the loneliness you may find when you face yourself alone?

Watching a bad TV program, we become the TV program.  We are what we feel and perceive.  If we are angry, we are the anger.  If we are in love, we are love.  If we look at a snow-covered mountain peak, we are the mountain.

We can be anything we want, so why do we open our windows to bad TV programs made by sensationalist producers in search of easy money, programs that make our hearts pound, our fists tighten, and leave us exhausted?  Who allows such TV programs to be made and seen by even the very young?  We do!  We are too undemanding, too ready to watch whatever is on the screen, too lonely, lazy, or bored to create our own lives.  We turn on the TV and leave it on, allowing someone else to guide us, shape us, and destroy us.  Losing ourselves in this way is leaving our fate in the hands of others who may not be acting responsibly.  We must be aware of which programs do harm to our nervous systems, minds, and hearts, and which programs benefit us.

Of course, I am not talking only about television.  All around us, how many lures are set by our fellows and ourselves?  In a single day, how many times do we become lost and scattered because of them?  We must be very careful to protect our fate and our peace.  I am not suggesting that we just shut all our windows, for there are many miracles in the world we call "outside."  We can open our windows to these miracles and look at anyone of them with awareness.  This way, even while sitting beside a clear, flowing stream, listening to beautiful music, or watching an excellent movie, we need not lose ourselves entirely in the stream, the music, or the film.  We can continue to be aware of ourselves and our breathing.  With the sun of awareness shining in us, we can avoid most dangers.  The stream will be purer, the music more harmonious, and the soul of the filmmaker completely visible.

We may want to leave the city and go off to the countryside to help close those windows that trouble our spirit.  There we can become one with the quiet forest, and rediscover and restore ourselves, without being swept away by the chaos of the "outside world."  The fresh and silent woods help us remain in awareness, and when our awareness is well-rooted and we can maintain it without faltering, we may wish to return to the city and remain there, less troubled.  But sometimes we cannot leave the city, and we have to find the refreshing and peaceful elements that can heal us right in the midst of our busy lives.  We may wish to visit a good friend who can comfort us, or go for a walk in a park and enjoy the trees and the cool breeze.  Whether we are in the city, the countryside, or the wilderness, we need to sustain ourselves by choosing our surroundings carefully and nourishing our awareness in each moment.


more on awareness


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The Most Important Meetings You'll Ever Attend
Are the Meetings You Have With Yourself

Denis Waitley

You are your most important critic.  There is no opinion so vitally important to your well being as the opinion you have of yourself.  As you read this you're talking to yourself right now.  "Let's see if I understand what he means by that. . . How does that compare with my experiences? - I'll make note of that - try that tomorrow - I already knew that... I already do that."  I believe this self-talk, this psycholinguistics or language of the mind can be controlled to work for us, especially in the building of self-confidence and creativity.  We're all talking to ourselves every moment of our lives, except during certain portions of our sleeping cycle.  We're seldom even aware that we're doing it.  We all have a running commentary in our heads on events and our reactions to them.

- Be aware of the silent conversation you have with yourself.  Are you a nurturing coach or a critic?  Do you reinforce your own success or negate it?  Are you comfortable saying to yourself, "That's more like it".  "Now we're in the groove."  "Things are working out well."  "I am reaching my financial goals."  "I'll do it better next time."

- When winners fail, they view it as a temporary inconvenience, a learning experience, an isolated event and a stepping-stone instead of a stumbling block.

- When winners succeed, they reinforce that success, by feeling rewarded rather than guilty about the achievement and the applause.

- When winners are paid a compliment, they simply respond:  "Thank you."  They accept value graciously when it is paid.  They pay value in their conversations with themselves and with other people.

A mark of an individual with healthy self-esteem is the ability to spend time alone, without constantly needing other people around.  Being comfortable and enjoying solitary time reveals inner peace and centering.  People who constantly need stimulation or conversation with others are often a bit insecure and thus need to be propped up by the company of others.

Always greet the people you meet with a smile.  When introducing yourself in any new association, take the initiative to volunteer your own name first, clearly; and always extend your hand first, looking the person in the eyes when you speak.

In all your telephone communications, answer the telephone pleasantly, immediately giving your own name to the caller, before you ask who's calling.  Whenever you initiate a call, always give your own name up front, before you ask for the party you want and before you state your business.  Leading with your own name underscores that a person of value is making the call.

Don't brag.  People who trumpet their exploits and shout for service are actually calling for help.  The showoffs, braggarts and blowhards are desperate for attention.

Don't tell your problems to people, unless they're directly involved with the solutions.  And don't make excuses.  Successful people seek those who look and sound like success.  Always talk affirmatively about the progress you are trying to make.

As we said earlier, find successful role models after whom you can pattern yourself.  When you meet a mastermind, become a master mime, and learn all you can about how he or she succeeded.  This is especially true with things you fear.  Find someone who has conquered what you fear and learn from him or her.

When you make a mistake in life, or get ridiculed or rejected, look at mistakes as detours on the road to success, and view ridicule as ignorance.  After a rejection, take a look at your BAG.  B is for Blessings.  Things you are endowed with that you often take for granted like life itself, health, living in an abundant country, family, friends, career.  A is for accomplishments.  Think of the many things you are proud of that you have done so far. And G is for Goals.  Think of your big dreams and plans for the future that motivate you.  If you took your BAG - blessings, accomplishments and goals - to a party, and spread them on the floor, in comparison to all your friends and the people you admire, you'd take your own bag home, realizing that you have as much going for yourself as anyone else.  Always view rejection as part of one performance, not as a turndown of the performer.

And, enjoy those special meetings with yourself.  Spend this Saturday doing something you really want to do.  I don't mean next month or someday.  This Saturday enjoy being alive and being able to do it.  You deserve it.  There will never be another you.  This Saturday will be spent.  Why not spend at least one day a week on You?!

Action Idea:  Go for one entire day and night without saying anything negative to yourself or to others.  Make a game of it.  If a friend or colleague catches you saying something negative, you must put a dollar in a drawer or container toward a dinner or evening out with that person.  Do this for one month and see who has had to pay the most money toward the evening.

* * * * *

Reprinted with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine

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When I was six or seven years old, growing up in Pittsburgh, I used to
take a precious penny of my own and hide it for someone else to find.
I was greatly excited. . . at the thought of the first lucky passerby who
would receive in this way, regardless of merit, a free gift from the universe.
   I've been thinking about seeing.  There are lots of things to see,
unwrapped gifts and free surprises.  The world is fairly studded and
strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand.

Annie Dillard


Simple Love

One of my favorite songs from the time that I've spent on this planet so far is called "Simple Love," written by Sarah Siskind and performed by Alison Krauss.  It's a haunting song with a beautiful melody and a beautiful message that tells us of a man who lived his entire life loving others.  It's one of my favorite kinds of songs--the type that gets me to think about my life and how I'm leading it, the kind that gets me to think about whether or not I'm able to give love simply, or whether my love is conditional and limited.  I'd like to think that my love is simple and shared well, but there's a good chance it isn't.

What does it mean to have a simple love?  Or, better said, to love simply?  How can we look at love in a way that we can allow others to be the recipients of our love without having to earn it or beg for it?  Love is one of the most powerful forces of this world of ours, yet most of us tend to withhold it or share it conditionally, if at all.  What can it mean to allow ourselves to love fully, freely, and simply?  How can I adopt this trait in my life?  One day in the future, will other people remember me for the love that I shared, or for the ways that I held back my love?

Little yellow house sittin' on a hill
That is where he lived
That is where he died
Every Sunday morning
Hear the weeping willows cry

I suppose that one way to show simple love is to listen to others, to let them have their say without interruption, without being told what they should do to make things better, what they have to change in their lives.  A simple love would allow others to be exactly what and who they are without judgment, with complete acceptance.  Simple love, after all, would be love without conditions and without judgment.  I know that I feel a lot better about life and about myself when I've had a chance to talk to someone else and that other person hasn't tried to cure me or make me all better.  Can I be that someone for someone else?

Simple love would also require me to be satisfied with simple things, to not try to complicate my own life with new gadgets and new things that would keep my focus off of the people I love and with whom I associate.  Four walls and living--isn't that enough?  When I need more than that, how can I be satisfied with myself?  And if I'm not satisfied with myself, then what good am I going to be to others who need me?

Two children born, a beautiful wife
Four walls and livin's all he needed in life
Always giving, never asking back
I wish I had a simple love like that

I want a simple love like that
Always giving, never askin' back
For when I'm in my final hour lookin' back
I hope I had a simple love like that

I think that simple love would include smiles and encouraging words, compliments and praise.  It isn't necessary to always give lavish, expensive gifts that we hope will impress those we love--in fact, if we do so we could end up causing them to expect to get such things and be extremely disappointed when they don't.  Rather, it's important that we communicate with our loved ones in positive and uplifting ways, telling them that we love them, that we're proud of them, that we find them amazing--all the things that we'll regret not having told them if they were suddenly out of our lives this afternoon for whatever reason.

And of course, simple love means "always giving, never asking back."  We hear people say "whatever's mine is yours" from time to time, but are we people who will say that to our loved ones and actually mean it?  When someone needs something, will we be there to supply it?  No, we don't want to be enablers, but we definitely don't want to be selfish, either.  While it is important to treat ourselves well, in the end life isn't about self--it's about community and togetherness and unity.  Giving can mean grocery money for a week, it can mean a much-needed hug, it can be a car to help someone get to work, or it can be a ride into town or to the supermarket.  True giving, of course, is just what the lyrics say it is--"never asking back."  I had someone "loan" me money many years ago telling me that they wanted me to pass it on, and not return it, and that was one of the most special gifts that I've ever received (and yes, I have passed it on, many times over).

My momma was his only little girl
If he'd had the money he'd have given her the world
Sittin' on the front porch together they would sing
Oh how I long to hear that harmony

I want a simple love like that
Always giving never asking back
When I'm in my final hour looking back
I hope I had a simple love like that

So many of us complicate love with our expectations of what it should be and of how other people should show it.  We confuse love with infatuation and lust and neediness and all sorts of other feelings.  But at its heart, love is very simple--and while I wouldn't deign to actually define it myself, I know that it does include giving and accepting and sharing and taking.  Love can be very simple if we unburden ourselves of those pesky expectations and just love one another, and I sincerely hope that before I die, I am able to reach a state at which I'm able to share love simply, openly, and freely.

More on love.



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If I were to wish for anything,
I should not wish for wealth
and power, but for the
passionate sense of the
potential, for the eye which,
ever young and ardent, sees the
possible. . . what wine is so
sparkling, so fragrant, so
intoxicating, as possibility!

Søren Kierkegaard


Thinking Like a Farmer
Jim Rohn

One of the difficulties we face in our industrialized age is the fact we've lost our sense of seasons.  Unlike the farmer whose priorities change with the seasons, we have become impervious to the natural rhythm of life.  As a result, we have our priorities out of balance.  Let me illustrate what I mean:

For farmers, springtime is their most active time.  It's then when they must work around the clock, getting up before the sun and still toiling at the stroke of midnight.  They must keep their equipment running at full capacity because they have but a small window of time for the planting of their crops.  Eventually winter comes when there is less for them to do to keep him busy.

There is a lesson here.  Learn to use the seasons of life.  Decide when to pour it on and when to ease back, when to take advantage and when to let things ride.  It's easy to keep going from nine to five year in and year out and lose a natural sense of priorities and cycles.  Don't let one year blend into another in a seemingly endless parade of tasks and responsibilities.  Keep your eye on your own seasons, lest you lose sight of value and substance.

The desert dweller has lived in the desert so long that all of its moods have long since become a part of the daily rhythm of his life.  But it is not that fact that is of crucial importance.  For many years, it has been his custom to leave a lighted lantern by the roadside at night to cheer the weary traveler.  Beside the lantern there is a note which gives detailed directions as to where his cottage may be found so that if there is distress or need, the stranger may find help.  It is a very simple gesture full of beauty and wholeness.  To him, it is not important how many people pass in the night and go on their way.  The important thing is that the lantern burns every night and every night the note is there, "just in case."

Years ago, walking along a road outside Rangoon, I noted at intervals along the way a roadside stone with a crock of water and, occasionally, some fruit.  Water and fruit were put there by Buddhist priests to comfort and bless any passerby--one's spiritual salutation to another.  The fact that I was a traveler from another part of the world, speaking a strange language and practicing a different faith, made no difference.  What mattered was the fact that I was walking along the road--what my mission was, who I was--all irrelevant.

Howard Thurman


It's been said that to wonder is to begin to understand.  Wonder most definitely
creates possibilities!  Where's your sense of wonder?  Have you gotten so
bogged down in the minute-to minute "stuff" that  life has become dull?  Bring
forth your curious, creative, sense of wonder  and dust if off -- lighten up and
wonder about everything!  We are all amazing and awesome beings and our world
is extraordinary even when days may be dark.  A sense of wonder reminds
of just how vast the unknown is and how much we have to learn each day.

Beth Burns




A new way of reading has been here for a while now.  And while we still love our books, if you're like many people, you get tired of lugging around the books that sometimes weigh more than anything else we carry.  Imagine carrying hundreds of books--novels, self-help, history, travel, you name it--and reading them comfortably on a no-glare screen, setting things like text size to your own preferences.  It's a great experience, and it's available to us now for less than the cost of ten books.  And there are plenty of free books to download, especially timeless classics--you can easily get enough free books to pay for the Kindle.  Give yourself the gift of wonderful literature that you can easily bring with you, wherever you go!

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