Hello, and welcome to the newest issue of our e-zine!
December is here, and we hope that you're able to start your month in all the best possible ways!

4 December 2018      

Saying Good-Bye (an excerpt)
Alan Cohen

Angry
tom walsh

Picture Your Way to Success!
Jeff Keller

Please make your December
happy and fulfilling!

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Simple and Profound Thoughts
(from simpleandprofound.com)

There can be no friendship when there is no freedom.  Friendship loves the free air, and will not be fenced up in straight and narrow enclosures.   -William Penn

In the time we have it is surely our duty to do all the good we can to all the people we can in all the ways we can.    -William Barclay

There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.   -Freya Stark

Is life so wretched?  Isn't it rather your hands which are too small, your vision which is muddled?  You are the one who must grow up.   -Dag Hammarskjold

  

Saying Good-Bye (an excerpt)
Alan Cohen

I sat beside my grandmother’s bed, watching her body wither.  How painful it was to see this once-vital woman shrivel to nearly nothing.  The doctor said that he had done all he could do for her; now it was just a matter of time until she would be gone.  I held Grandma’s hand and looked into her glassy eyes.  She turned her head on her pillow and offered a soft smile.  She had always been so kind to me.  It was hard to see her go.

I turned to my sister Biyu and took her hand.  She, too, loved Grandmother, and I could see tears in her eyes. Biyu was very strong and I rarely saw her weep.  But today she showed her tender heart. We were saying good-bye.

I looked down at Biyu’s pregnant belly. It would be just two months now until her baby came.  I wondered if perhaps Grandmother’s spirit would return as her own great-granddaughter.  I had heard of such things.  I silently prayed that it might be so.

After the funeral, I went to see Lao Tse.  “Why do people have to die?” I asked him.

The master stirred the embers in the fire slowly and then came to sit beside me.  “It’s just the way the world was set up,” he told me.

“When someone or something dies, that person or thing has played its part. It has no more purpose here.  If it had a purpose, it would remain.”

His answer didn’t satisfy me.  “Why can’t we just live forever?”

He smiled, the glow of the fire falling softly on his weathered cheek.  “We do. It is but the body that dies.  Our true self lives on.  What dies never really lived.  The body is simply dust animated by spirit.  The spirit is not confined to the body.  We all live forever, I promise you.”

That brought me some comfort to think that a part of my grandmother lived on, as we all might.

Lao Tse looked into my eyes intently.  “The Tao calls you to trust comings and goings.  Each occurs in its own right time and leads to the next step in the cycle.  Life does not go in circles.  It is constantly cycling upward.  Let cycles play themselves out and they will reveal their purpose to you.”

The master’s answer made sense to my mind, but my heart was still aching over losing my grandmother.  He sensed my disquiet.

“The heart knows the answers to the questions the mind cannot satisfy,” he said.  “Your grandmother is safe and loved, as you are.”

When Lao Tse said that, a peace came over me.  My mind still hungered, but my heart was filled.  That was what I was yearning for.

   

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Picture Your Way To Success!
Jeff Keller

In a recent television interview, singer Celine Dion was asked if she ever thought she'd sell millions of records and be on tour, singing in front of tens of thousands of people each week. The singer replied that none of this surprised her, as she had pictured the whole thing since she was five years old! She was not bragging, and she has worked unbelievably hard to earn every bit of her success. What she learned at an early age was her ability to tap into the power of holding a vivid, powerful image and to become the star that she always pictured.

World class athletes also incorporate the power of imagery to reinforce in their mind exactly how they want to perform. Whether it's a figure skater completing a difficult jump, a tennis pro acing the perfect serve or a golfer driving the ball long and straight down the fairway, many top competitors mentally envision a successful outcome before actually achieving it in "the real world."

Visualization, however, is not something reserved solely for singers, athletes or movie stars. In fact, it's something you've used since childhood to create the circumstances of your own life. Let me clarify what I mean. Author Adelaide Bry has described visualization as "movies-of-the-mind," "inner pictures" or "images." Each of us stores pictures in our minds about the type of relationships we deserve, the degree of success we'll attain at work, the extent of our leadership ability, the amount of money we'll earn and accumulate, and so on.

Where do these pictures come from? Well, we begin to develop our "mental movies" early in life. If we were criticized or felt unworthy as a youngster, we record the events (and the feelings associated with those events) as images in our minds. Because we frequently dwell on these pictures (both consciously and subconsciously), we tend to create life situations that correspond to the original image. For example, you may still hold a vibrant image of being criticized by a teacher in elementary school. You felt humiliated in front of the whole class. Later on, when you were tempted to offer your opinion in school or in a group of people, you held back and kept quiet all the while remembering (even if only on a subconscious level) how painful it was when you were criticized. The picture remains in your mind, and exerts tremendous influence over your present actions.

Unfortunately, many of us have not updated or revised our childhood movies, so we are continually producing results that fall short of our full potential. Here are some techniques for using the power of visualization to improve virtually every aspect of your personal and professional life:

Take responsibility for the pictures you are playing in your mind.
No matter what the source of those images, it's you that keeps playing them. Let's try a short experiment. Think about an ice cream cone filled with your favorite flavor of ice cream. Does that create a picture or image for you? I'll bet it does. Okay, now think about an elephant. Can you see it? Change the color of the elephant to pink. In a fraction of a second, you probably formed an image of the pink elephant. Can you bring back the picture of the ice cream cone? Of course, you can. You have full control over the pictures that occupy your mind. However, when you do not consciously decide which pictures to play, your mind will look into the "archives" and keep re-playing old movies on file in your mental library.

Accept what happened in the old movie - but change its meaning.
It doesn't serve you to deny what happened in a past experience, no matter how painful or disappointing. You can't, for instance, change the fact that you were criticized by the teacher. You can, however, alter your interpretation of the event. That is, at the time you were originally criticized, the meaning you might have assigned to the experience was: "I'm not good enough," or "My opinions are worthless." While this was the interpretation of a child, you may have inadvertently carried it into your adult life. Today, though, you can consciously choose to view the situation differently -- for example, the teacher may have disagreed with you, but it wasn't a statement about your intelligence or your overall worth as a person!

Create new pictures to move you toward what you want. 
We can create new mental movies whenever we choose to do so. And, when we develop (and concentrate on) new images that evoke powerful feelings and sensations, we will act in ways that support those new pictures! So, the first step is to create an image of your desired outcome. You are limited only by your imagination. Recognize, however, that the pictures in your mind are not fulfilled overnight! But, by being patient and by persistently focusing on these mental images, you'll automatically start acting in ways that support your vision.

Relax and involve your senses.
What's the best method to use when concentrating on your new images? It's been proven that your mind is most receptive to visualization when you are calm and not thinking about a lot of things simultaneously. So, sit down in a comfortable chair at home, close your eyes and do some deep breathing exercises to clear your mind and relax your body. Now, strive to develop images that involve as many senses as you can. The more sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches you put in your pictures, the more powerful the "pull" for you to make your vision a reality.

Here's an example. Let's say you always dreamed of owning a beach-front house in the Caribbean. Picture the white and peach colored house. See the green palm trees slowly swaying in the gentle breeze. Smell the salt air. Feel the warm sand between you toes. Can't you just taste it? And all this can be yours, if you hold onto this image and do what it takes to achieve it!

Also, remember that those images associated with strong emotions have even more power, so be sure to add positive feelings to your vision. For instance, when visualizing your ideal job, combine the vivid mental picture and the physical senses with the terrific emotions of pride and satisfaction you'll have working in that new position.

Finally, don't be concerned with the quality of your images at the outset. Some people can create lively color pictures ... while others have trouble getting anything more than a fuzzy image, or no image at all. It's also possible that you may only be able to get a particular feeling at the beginning as opposed to a clear image.

In any case, don't worry about it. Do the best you can and don't compare yourself to anyone else. Your images will become sharper over time. The key is to spend several minutes each day running these new movies in your mind.

Well, there you have it--some suggestions for creating and benefiting from your own mental pictures. Remember, if you don't take control and develop your own movies, you'll continue to replay the old ones. If the old movies are serving you, that's great. But, if they're holding you back in any way, get started today and use the incredible power of your mind to picture your way to greater success!

The Key to Your Security

There's a lot of talk these days about the lack of security in the workplace, especially in corporate America. Events such as downsizing, re-structuring, mergers and acquisitions have many workers wondering whether the job they have today will be there tomorrow. This uncertainty has, in some places, resulted in a loss of morale and an unwillingness for some employees to give their best. After all, they think, "If I could be gone soon or have my job radically changed, why give 100% to this organization?"

But, while it's true that the days of working for a company for 30 years, getting a gold watch and a secure retirement package are long gone, the person who suffers most when you don't give your best is YOU!

Why? To begin with, excellence is a habit that cannot be turned on and off like a faucet. We are creatures of habit and either we have a commitment to do the best job we can... or we condition ourselves to put forth less than our best efforts. Whichever approach we take, it will not be easy to change. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can withhold your talents and enthusiasm today, then give your all tomorrow.

To illustrate, consider one of your daily habits - how neat you keep your bedroom. If you're the type that throws shirts and pants on top of a chair (or on the floor), how difficult would it be for you to change that habit and fold all of your clothes and neatly put them away in a closet or drawer? I'll bet that you'd find the new pattern almost impossible to follow. Within a day or two, you'd probably take your socks and throw them on the chair, just as you did before! The same is true of the way you approach your work. You either make the commitment to do an excellent job, or you develop a pattern of doing just enough to get by.

That's why, if you're looking for security in a job, you're looking in the wrong place. There is no security in any job. The security lies within you. The key to developing your security is by becoming excellent at what you do, and by continuing to improve your skills. Add to that a very positive attitude and an ability to work well with others... and, voila, you have job security!

Now, I didn't say that you are guaranteed to work for the same company for the rest of your life, or even that you will remain in your current position. But, by always giving your very best, you'll assure yourself of having a decisive edge in any future situation. Think about it. If your company was acquired by another, which employees would have the best chance of sticking around - those who enthusiastically gave their best, or those who dragged their feet, complained, and had little interest in learning new skills?

And, even if the excellent performer does not get a position in the new company, that person, because of his or her commitment to excellence and positive attitude is going to have an advantage in the marketplace when securing a new position.

When you put forth 100% effort, people notice. You may not be rewarded immediately but you are building a reputation that will serve you well in your current organization, and in any other place you may work In the future.

The bottom line is this: giving less than your best effort in your current position can only hurt you.

So, if you want to obtain real security, ask yourself these questions: Do I enthusiastically give my very best at work every day? Do I cooperate with others and support their efforts? Do I maintain a positive attitude? Am I learning to be better at what I do and am I developing the skills that will be important in my field in the future?

Answer these questions and re-evaluate yourself on a regular basis. When you can finally reply with a resounding, "YES!," you'll have the type of job security that no one can ever take away from you.

   

  

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Whatever noble aims we may have, paths we may be on, or necessary efforts
we may make, our only real freedom is to awaken now, this very instant, to
the mystery and miracle of being, to the spacious awareness that we are.
It is only this immediate awakening to the deepest levels of ourselves, to the
conscious source that connects us all, that will enable us to experience and
manifest real harmony, intelligence, kindness, love, and compassion in our
lives and bring about the transformation in the world that we all wish for.

Dennis Lewis

   

 

Angry

I had a very interesting--and rather sad--experience the other day.  I was driving to an afternoon class that I teach at an elementary school when a car started tailgating me.  I simply did what I always do in that case--I touched the brake pedal to show the brake lights in the universal signal of "back off, please."  I didn't slow down at all, just tapped the brakes.  The speed limit where we were was 25, and I was going about 27, I think (I always go a mile or two over the limit in the hope of avoid tailgaters, but it wasn't working that day!).

She backed off for a couple of moments, then was quickly back on my tail.  I looked in the rear-view mirror to see a young woman who was incredibly agitated, making hand gestures and actually yelling at me, it looked like.

Now, there might have been some sort of emergency that I didn't know about, but we were on a residential street in a long line of cars--even if I were to pull over and let her pass me, she wouldn't have gone far.  And if it were a true emergency, then she easily could have passed me.  Instead, she chose to stay on my tail, continuing to gesture and yell at me.

   

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in
which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

Mark Twain

   
Within a few moments, her hand gestures turned into rude gestures--she was flipping me off with both hands, and the look on her face (her car was close enough for me to see it) was one of pure anger.  I was still actually going over the speed limit, but that obviously didn't mean anything to her.

All I could think about was, "What could possibly be making her so angry?"  It obviously wasn't me--there was nothing going on that could justify such anger.  If I had been going 15 in a 30-mile-an-hour zone, I could understand a bit of anger--heck, I would have been pretty angry myself.  But we even passed at least two "Speed Limit 25" signs in the next mile, so she had to know that I wasn't driving at all slowly.

And I still wonder what it must be like to allow anger to take over like that.  It couldn't have been a pleasant three or four minutes of her life.  Whatever stress or problems that she was facing in her life, it couldn't have been helping to add anger to the mix.  She couldn't have been feeling happy and content and fulfilled sitting there in her truck--she had to have been making worse whatever was bad to begin with.
    

Anger burns up all that is noble.  It is a consuming fire, born in the fires
of destruction.  At the end, it leaves the victim nothing but a wreck of
his or her better self, burned out, blackened and dead,
like forest trees over which a great fire has swept.

Julian P. Johnson

    
I also wonder what the next few minutes were like.  Was she cursing me out because of my driving, blaming me for the bad feelings that she had?  Did she think about it for ten more minutes--or twenty, or thirty--continuing to make herself more stressed and miserable as she dwelled on something that truly wasn't an issue at all, except in her own mind?  I've known many people who do that, and it's not pleasant to be around them, usually.  Hopefully, she forgot about it very quickly and moved on with her life, not dwelling on the incident that wasn't really an incident, but who knows?

I get angry, of course, but I sincerely hope that I never let my anger consume me to a point at which I'm miserable.  I hope that I can maintain a healthy level of equanimity when I'm faced with challenging situations so that the anger doesn't affect me much.  I know that anger can actually be a positive thing in some situations, but I also know that it can harm us significantly, and that it can cause significant damage, and not just to ourselves.
   

You will not be punished for your anger,
you will be punished by your anger. . . .
Let a person overcome anger by love.

the Buddha

   
Sometimes, getting angry or not really isn't a choice.  Sometimes it's more important how we respond to our own anger--whether we allow it to consume us or whether we try to understand it and work with it--that's more important.  I think that I can guarantee you something, though:  if your anger is so strong that you get terribly angry at someone who's actually going a bit above the speed limit, and you sit in your car and flip that person off with both hands while probably saying obscenities out loud (she was saying something even though she was alone in the car), your anger probably has more control over you than you have over it.

   
More on anger.

   
   
  

   

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Our business is to wake up.  We have to find ways in which to detect the whole of reality in the one illusory part which our self-centered consciousness permits us to see.  We must not live thoughtlessly, taking our illusion for the complete reality, but at the same time we must not live too thoughtfully in the sense of trying to escape from the dream state.  We must be continuously on watch for ways in which we may enlarge our consciousness.
-Aldous Huxley

  
Every mind seems capable of entertaining a certain quantity of Happiness, which no institutions can increase, no circumstances alter, and entirely independent of Fortune.  "Let any person compare his present fortune with the past, and he or she will probably find themselves, upon the whole, neither better nor worse than formerly."—Goldsmith.

The youth should be so trained in the science of happiness as to be able to say to a person who has millions of dollars but very little else —"I have set my face towards making a success of life, not merely a success of dollars.  If any one can get more out of life than I can he is welcome to it."

What a misfortune to the world, if wealth could produce the happiness which most people think it can!  If wealth were essential, if a person had to be rich to be happy, the wealthy would always be happy and the poor unhappy.  But riches alone do not make people happy or blessed. Money, to make a person happy, must serve their higher nature, the development of the good in them or in others, and not pander to anything which tends to bring out the mere animal in them.  Wealth in the hands of ignoramuses, in the hands of people with coarse tastes and low ideals, does not contribute to real happiness.  The brute qualities lead away from happiness.

No one can be really happy who does not have a high ideal and a grand life purpose.  Most people are deluded with the idea that happiness consists in gratifying desires.  They do not realize that "desire is as insatiable as the ocean, and clamors louder and louder as its demands are attended to."  "There is no satiety in riches," said a Roman philosopher.

Gratification, satisfaction of our selfish cravings, only increases our real soul-hunger.  Principle alone can give permanent happiness; material things are ever changing, ever elusive; there is no permanency, no endurance in them.

Orison Swett Marden
The Joys of Living (1913)
   

  

You have to count on living every single day in a way
you believe will make you feel good about your life--so that
even if it were over tomorrow, you'd be content with yourself.

Jane Seymour

    

  

   

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