23 October 2018      

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Am I Looking for What's Right?
Debbie Ford

On Joy and Sorrow
Khalil Gibran

Strategies for Living an Abundant Life
tom walsh

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You must love yourself before you love another.  By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.


The principles you live by create the world you live in; if you change the principles you live by, you will change your world.

Blaine Lee

Play is the only way the highest intelligence
of humankind can unfold.

Joseph Chilton Pearce

When nothing is sure, everything is possible.

Margaret Drabble


Am I Looking for What's Right or
Am I Looking for What's Wrong?

Debbie Ford

The question "Am I looking for what's right or am I looking for what's wrong?" has the power to shift a moment of despair into a moment of delight.  When we look for what's right, we consciously refocus the lens of our perceptions.  Suddenly we are able to see the good in every situation and every person.  For most of us, looking for what's right is not our natural way of viewing the world.  In fact, most of us are trained to scan for what's wrong in any given relationship or situation.  But when we make the choice to look for what's right, a whole new reality emerges.

People who are successful in life look for what's right.  Let me give you an example.  There are more than seven hundred realtors in the seaside village of La Jolla, California, where I live, and probably less than twenty who do most of the business.  I had the privilege of working with one of these twenty, a man by the name of Ozstar Dejourday.  Every time I reached Ozstar's voice mail, I was greeted by his upbeat voice.  "Thank you for calling.  Wow, what a great life we have living in beautiful La Jolla, California!"  Just hearing this message inspired me to stand up tall, put a smile on my face, and breathe in with gratitude.  Ozstar is a man who looks for what's right.

One day I asked Ozstar to share with me what inspires him to bring his infectious positive attitude to everyone he meets.  I wanted to discover what powerful lens he looks through that causes him to see life as such a magical parade.

He looked at me, and with a big grin on his face he said, "Your eyes, your mind, and your heart were given to you for free and so was the air, the water, and the sunlight.  How could you not be grateful for all those precious gifts?  That's why the words thank you are the most important ones in any language.  When we say, "Thank you," we are present to all our gifts and the love that we share."  Ozstar's refreshing perspective reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, by Marcel Proust:  "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

When we are looking for what's right, we invite life to shower us with all its many gifts.  Looking for what's right opens our hearts and allows us to live in a state of gratitude for what we have.  It lets us appreciate the little things that bless us every day.  It causes us to stop taking for granted the many gifts in our lives.  Just think of all the things we have to be grateful for!  The fact that you are reading this article means that you have the ability to read, as well as the resources to access the Internet.  Your heart is pumping, your lungs are breathing, and you have the priceless ability to see, feel, taste, and smell.  These are extraordinary gifts!  The state of gratitude lives within each of us, and when we stop and ask this question, we gain immediate access to the level of consciousness where love and gratitude reside.  When we look for what's right, we inspire our children, our friends, our co-workers, and our communities.

Looking for what's right is an art that takes practice.  But here is the payoff:  when we look for what's right, we feel good, strong, and worthy.  When we look for what's wrong, we feel bad, resigned, and disappointed.

It's easy to look for what's wrong.  For most of us, this is our default way of viewing the world.  We are experts at describing in great detail what isn't right about our jobs, our mothers, our relationships, our teachers, our children, our bodies, our government, and our bank accounts.  When we look for what's wrong, we choose to view our lives through the narrowest possible lens, zooming in on the places where our expectations haven't been met, where others have failed to meet our needs, where the world doesn't look the way we have decided it should.  When we're looking for what's wrong, our eyes focus on the negative qualities of others, spotting their weaknesses and their incompetencies.

In addition to immediately shifting our perspective and thus our mood, what this question does is show us that maybe--just maybe--what's wrong is not "over there" with others.  Maybe the problem lives not outside us but rather in our own lenses, the ones through which we choose to view the world.  We can easily argue against this point and say that our spouses are wrong, that our bosses are wrong, and that the waitress who brought the wrong kind of salad dressing is wrong, too.  But what we can be assured of is that if we look for what's wrong in any given situation, we will find it.  And then our experience will be one of disappointment and discontent.

The moment we find something wrong, we automatically point our fingers in blame at the other person or the situation.  It's so easy to find fault.  Finding fault with others is the lazy person's out.  I've done it a million times myself.  I've pointed my finger at others instead of taking responsibility for the reality I see.  I have been guilty of blaming my boss, my boyfriend, my coach, and even my mother for my discontent.  Making others wrong becomes an excuse we use to justify our moods and bad behavior.  By focusing on what's wrong, we avoid taking responsibility. . . .

We must all ask ourselves what would happen if we changed the lens through which we view the world.  How would our lives alter if we saw out co-workers as divine beings who are here to impart essential wisdom to us?  What would happen if we listened to our neighbors as though they were the wisest people in the world?  Would they show up any differently than they do right now?  What would be possible if we approached our partners as though their soul purpose was to bring us ecstasy and joy?  What would we hear?  What would we see?  What would be possible?  Looking for what's right is a life-enhancing choice--a choice that promises peace, contentment, and fulfillment.

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On Joy and Sorrow
Khalil Gibran

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was often filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow, that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, your joy or your sorrow must rise or fall.

* * * * *

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Autumn is youthful, mirthful, frolicsome--the child of summer's joy--and
on every side there are suggestions of juvenility and mischief.  While spring
is a careful artist who paints each flower with delicate workmanship,
autumn flings whole pots of paint about in wild carelessness.  The crimson
and scarlet colours reserved for roses and tulips are splashed on the brambles
till every bush is aflame, and the old creeper-covered house blushes like a sunset.

Roger Wray



Strategies for Living an Abundant Life

There's a lot of talk in the world about abundance, and a lot of people giving advice on how you can attract more money to you, how you can get more things and more of this and more of that in order to live an abundant life.  There's a part of me, though, that doesn't like this focus--after all, one of the most important lessons that we all learn is that things don't make us happy.  Happiness comes from inside ourselves, and I believe that abundance does, also.  There's a very good chance that we're living abundant lives right now, and that we simply think that we're living in scarcity because we don't have many of the things that we want.

Learn to distinguish between needs and wants.  If we focus on things that we want but don't have, our lives may simply seem to be less abundant.  But if we realize that all of our needs--food, shelter, clothing, etc.--are taken care of, then we may start to realize that our lives actually are abundant already.  Of course, we have other needs that are emotional and spiritual in nature, things like friendships and sharing and giving and receiving love, and it's important to keep them in mind, too.  If your physical needs are being met but your emotional needs aren't, then it may be time to make a major change in your life.

Be willing to make changes.  If a need isn't being met, then it's important that you figure out why.  If you don't have abundance in the relationship department, is that because other people treat you poorly or avoid you, or is it because you have barriers in place that don't allow people to get close to you because you're afraid of getting hurt?  If it's the former, then you need to be meeting a different kind of people.  If it's the latter, then you need to work on lowering or destroying those barriers.


An abundance mentality springs from internal security, not from
external rankings, comparisons, opinions, possessions, or associations.

Stephen R. Covey

Be aware of and thankful for all that you have.  Be mindful.  You do have a lot already--the fact that you're reading these words indicates that you probably have a computer or a relatively expensive phone, which means that you do have a significant amount of material wealth--especially when compared to the many people in the world who have almost nothing.  When was the last time that you sat down and made a list of the things that you have in life?  You may be surprised at how long that list is, and how many special things it includes.  When you are aware of all the good things that you have and you're actually thankful for them--instead of frustrated about things you don't have--you're able to have a clearer vision of just how abundant your life may be already.

Be aware of the people in your life who are positive parts of it.  They may be family members, or they may be teachers or colleagues or co-workers or friends, or even the friendly cashier at the supermarket.  Be aware of the people who bring you down and make you feel bad about yourself.  Choose to make people in the former group a larger part of your life; those in the latter group should become a smaller part.

Work on not worrying about the future.  Worry kills.  Do you have enough right now?  Then focus on that.  If there's the possibility for scarcity in your future, then make some plans for dealing with it--don't simply worry about it and do nothing.  Perhaps it's time to look for another job, or to get an extra job for a short time.  Being proactive, though, is always preferable to doing nothing and continuing to worry.  Remember that for everything, there is a season--sometimes we go through times when we are working more than we think we should, or when we don't have the free time we wish we had, but those times do pass.

Ignore advertising.  The purpose of advertising is to get you to be dissatisfied with your current state so that you'll be prone to buy things that advertisers offer.  Their goal is to make you feel that your life isn't abundant until you buy their goods.  Don't pay attention to them!

When you have too much month for your
paycheck, then what you need to do is
realize that there is abundance all around
you, and focus on the abundance and not
your lack and as night follows day
abundance will come to you.
Sidney Madwed

Take advantage of opportunities available to you.  Many people don't, and they never experience the abundance in their lives because they simply ignore their opportunities.  The library.  Free or inexpensive classes.  City parks.  Book groups.  Church groups.  There are plenty of opportunities available to all of us--many of which are completely free--that we never make a part of our lives.  Search them out, and take advantage of them.

Redefine "abundance" for yourself.  This is the crux of abundance--you can define it for yourself.  If good friends and a decent place to live are the most important part of your life, you can feel abundance when you have those things.  Do you need the most expensive car available, or a simple car that gets you where you need to go in comfort?  Do you need to own every toy available, or is it enough to have a few of them and enjoy them to their fullest?

Develop your particular skills and talents.  These are your unique gifts.  I know people who are happy spending hours playing the guitar, something that makes them feel very fulfilled and that costs nothing after the original expenditure of buying the instrument.  While paints and canvases cost money, once you buy them, the hours you spend painting are less expensive than many other activities would be.

Value simplicity.  The more I value the simple life, the happier I become and the less I find I want.  And the more I realize just how abundant my life actually is, whether I have debts or not, whether I have tons of money or not.  The simple things really are very valuable to us, and it's important that we keep that in mind and search them out instead of trying always to get or find or buy the most elaborate and/or expensive things we can get.

When we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives
but are grateful for the abundance that's present--love, health,
family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits
that bring us pleasure--the wasteland of illusion falls away
and we experience heaven on earth.

Sarah Ban Breathnach

Take advantage of what the natural world has to offer.  Go for a hike and breathe the clean air.  Listen to the songs of the birds and the sounds of the river.  Feel the breeze on your skin.  Feel the warmth of the sunlight and remember that the sun is the one thing that is keeping all of us alive.  We all have abundance in nature; few of us make it a part of our lives regularly.  It's also free--it costs us nothing to go for a walk, except perhaps the cost of the gas if we drive to a trailhead.

Live for the moment.  Right here, right now.  Live from spirit, not from logic.  Do you have something you can do right now?  Do you have shelter and heat right now?  Do you have enough food for the day?  Then you're well ahead of millions of people on this planet--and almost everyone who lived before us.  The here and now is the only place that we can truly live, and the only place in which we can utilize the abundance available to us, so let's do so!

Serve others who are needier than you are.  There are very few things that make us feel so blessed as being with people who don't have nearly as many blessings as we do.  And it can be very humbling to find that many of the people who have much less than we do, have much more appreciation for what they do have than we do.

You do have an abundant life.  That's the bottom line.  You can choose to live your life as if it's abundant, or live it as if it were lacking.  And if, perchance, some abundance is lacking, then you have opportunities to change that reality, but it's up to you to actually take advantage of those opportunities.  And just think of what great role models we can be if we can teach young people to be satisfied with fewer of the simple things, instead of teaching them to base their happiness on the number of material goods they acquire.

More on abundance.



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We collect data, things, people,
ideas, "profound experiences,"
never penetrating any of them. . .
But there are other times.
There are times when we stop.
We sit still.  We lose ourselves
in a pile of leaves or its memory.
We listen and breezes from a
whole other world begin to whisper.

James Carroll

Life's Journey

Do not undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others.  It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Do not set your goals by what other people deem important.  Only you know what is best for you.

Do not take for granted the things closest to your heart.  Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.

Do not let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past nor for the future.  By living your life one day at a time, you live all of the days of your life.

Do not give up when you still have something to give.  Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.  It is a fragile thread that binds us to each other.

Do not be afraid to encounter risks.  It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

Do not shut love out of your life by saying it is impossible to find.  The quickest way to receive love is to give love.  The fastest way to lose love is too hold it too tightly.  In addition, the best way to keep love is to give it wings

Do not dismiss your dreams.  To be without dreams is to be without hope.  To be without hope is to be without purpose.

Do not run through life so fast that you forget not only where you have been, but also where you are going.
  Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.



Autumn. . . makes a double demand.  It asks that we prepare
for the future--that we be wise in the ways of garnering
and keeping.  But it also asks that we learn to let go--
to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.

Bonaro W. Overstreet




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