9 October 2018      

Hi there!  It's a new week in our lives, and here we all are, sharing this planet
with all its possibility and potential. . . thanks much for being here with us!

A Home for the Heart
Sue Patton Thoele

Success:  A Worthy Destination
Earl Nightingale

Autumn and Letting Go
tom walsh

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Out of our beliefs are born deeds; out of our deeds we form habits; out of our habits grows our character; and on our character we build our destiny.

Henry Hancock

The world was not left to us by our parents;
it was lent to us by our children.

African Proverb

Of course there is no formula for success
except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance
of life and what it brings.

Artur Rubinstein

A Home for the Heart (an excerpt)
Charlotte Davis Kasl

Love is the only satisfactory answer
to the problem of human existence.

Erich Fromm

Love is the energy at the center of all life. It is the reality beneath our fears, the breath within the breath, the seed of all that grows. Loving ourselves, loving others, and loving spirit/God are inseparable, for all life is interconnected and sacred. Love is an energy force like the air you breathe; if you withdraw your love from anyone, you take your breath away.

We become increasingly able to love as we integrate ourselves and become whole. Our wholeness is expressed in a lust for life and a capacity for joy, delight, and adventure. Our wholeness gives birth to compassion, which Ram Dass describes in Compassion in Action as "the tender opening of our hearts to pain and suffering."

For most people, the journey toward love requires that we penetrate the armor around our hearts, feel our grief, and open ourselves to all our feelings. In doing so we become more truly alive, deepen our self-acceptance, and become less and less dependent on others to validate our worth. This frees us to stand in the center of our power and to give generously of ourselves from a sense of inner safety, potency, and vitality.

The ability to give generously of ourselves without feeling we are giving up something or being controlled is at the heart of intimacy because it reflects our individual strength and development.

We reach for words to describe love, but, ultimately, love is an experience of unity, peace, or ecstasy that goes beyond words.

Too often people mistake love for fancy presents, sentimental greeting cards, or lavish praise. But love is not sentimental; love takes discipline, awareness, and a willingness to step into the fire of transformation. It is born of the minute-to-minute choices we make throughout our days as we bring honesty, integrity, and compassion to all we do and say.

People often treat love like a commodity that you can turn on for some people and off for others. But you can't truly love your partner and hate your neighbor, or exploit the people who work for you. Love can't be compartmentalized because it is central to your being. You can't turn on half a light bulb. You can dim it or make it brighter, but when it's on, the light shines equally in all directions.

Disconnection and separateness, nearly always stemming from fear, are the opposite of love. To be disconnected can be a dull anxious feeling of inner detachment that makes life seem mundane, superficial, and routine.

We feel controlled by external events and lack an inner core that allows us to be spontaneous, fluid, and flexible. We see people as bodies, but not as souls -- they have form and shape and even beauty, but we don't feel their essence.

When we are disconnected from our inner core, we are unable to absorb and be moved by beauty, wonder, and kindness. We hear music, but it doesn't make our heart sing. We see flowers, but they might as well be plastic. We touch someone, but there is no connection. When we feel separated, it's hard to trust that anyone cares, or could possibly love us if they were to see our hidden, shameful side.

We can bring ourselves back to love -- to the home of our heart-by remembering that we are all children of our Creator, sacred because we are alive. If we accept our intrinsic worth, we can give up the futile search for external validation and put our energy into developing our ability to develop our talents and strengths.

We can also remember that we have free will. Because we are pure potential, we are not locked into our past, but have the ability to recreate ourselves moment to moment by our thoughts, actions, and willingness to experiment with new behavior and give up old rigid patterns that no longer serve our growth.

We also become willing to dive deep below the surface into our buried wounds. We have an amazing ability to heal and transform as we tap the powerful energy source underlying all our feelings and emotions.

Instead of labeling our feelings as good or bad we see them as energy that can be redirected for our growth. The inward journey becomes easier as we tap into our heart's capacity for humor, compassion, and mercy. We become able to take ourselves into our heart, embracing all that we are and all that we have been. It becomes a mystical, humorous, fascinating show as we learn to observe ourselves, yet immerse ourselves in life.

From this point of self-acceptance and compassion we develop the willingness to share our feelings in their raw, vulnerable state, not after we've figured them out or gotten them under control. This doesn't mean that we unload our emotions on others, it means that we stop hiding, faking a smile, or presenting ourselves as we wish to be seen. We accept our humanness and allow it to be seen.

One of my favorite phrases from one of the dances of universal peace is "God is love, lover, and Beloved."  If we break "Beloved" in two, we have "be loved":  Be loved by spirit, be loved by yourself, be loved by others.  If we remove the last letter of "Beloved," we have "be love."

Don't seek love or lover, simply be love.  Be at peace with All That Is, and know you are the Beloved.  And when you find a lover, know that the journey is to dance together in the circle of love, growing, playing, struggling, and accepting with a smile the incredible predicament of being human.  When we can do this, even for a few moments, we will feel a flow of energy like the current of a river dissolving our separateness and bringing us to greater unity.


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Success:  A Worthy Destination
Earl Nightingale

The stories of people achieving unusual success despite all manner of handicaps never fail to capture our attention. They're inspirational to be sure. But they're much more than that if we study them closely.

The boy whose legs were terribly burned and who was told he'd be lucky to ever walk again becomes a champion track star. The woman blind and deaf from infancy becomes one of the most inspirational figures of the century. And the poor children who rise to fame and fortune have nearly become commonplace.

In this age of unprecedented immigration, we see examples of people who start off in this world with virtually nothing and within a surprisingly short time have become wonderfully successful.

What sets these people apart, people with vast handicaps such as not knowing the language, not knowing the right people, not having any money? What drives the boy with the burned legs who becomes the champion runner or a Helen Keller, blind and deaf who becomes one of the most inspirational figures of our time? The answer, if fully understood, will bring you and me anything and everything we truly want, and it's deceptively simple. Perhaps it's too simple.

The people we've talked about here and the thousands currently doing the same thing all over the world are in possession of something the average person doesn't have. They have goals. They have a burning desire to succeed despite all obstacles and handicaps. They know exactly what they want; they think about it every day of their lives. It gets them up in the morning, and it keeps them giving their very best all day long. It's the last thing they think about before dropping off to sleep at night. They have a vision of exactly what they want to do, and that vision carries them over every obstacle.

This vision, this dream, this goal, invisible to all the world except the person holding it, is responsible for perhaps every great advance and achievement of humankind. It's the underlying motive for just about everything we see about us. Everything worthwhile achieved by men and women is a dream come true, a goal reached. It's been said that what the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

It's the fine building where before there was an empty lot or an old eyesore. It's the bridge spanning the bay. It's landing on the moon. And it's that little convenience store in Midtown Manhattan. It's the lovely home on a tree-shaded street and the young person accepting the diploma. It's a low golf handicap and a position reached in the world of business. It's a certain income attained or amount of money invested. What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

We become what we think about. And when we're possessed by an exciting goal, we reach it. That's why it's been said, "Be choosy, therefore, of what you set your heart upon. For if you want it strongly enough, you'll get it."

Americans can have anything they want. The trouble is they don't know what they want. Oh, they want little things. They want a new car; they get it. They want a new refrigerator; they get it. They want a new home and they get it. The system never fails for them, but they don't seem to understand that it is a system. Nor that if it'll work for a refrigerator or a new car, it will work for anything else they want very much, just as well.

Goals are the very basis of any success. It is in fact the definition of success. The best definition of success I've ever found goes like this, "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal." Or in some cases the pursuit of a worthy "ideal." It's a beautiful definition of success. It means that anyone who's on course toward the fulfillment of a goal is successful.

Now, success doesn't lie in the achievement of a goal, although that's what the world considers success; it lies in the journey toward the goal. We're successful as long as we're working toward something we want to bring about in our lives. That's when the human being is at his or her best. That's what Cervantes meant when he wrote, "The road is better than the inn." We're at our best when we're climbing, thinking, planning, working. When we're on the road toward something we want to bring about.

With our definition, success being the progressive realization of a worthy goal, we cover all the bases. The young person working to finish school is as successful as any person on earth. The person working toward a particular position with his or her company is just as successful.

If you have a goal that you find worthy of you as a person, a goal that fills you with joy at the thought of it, believe me, you'll reach it. But as you draw near and see that the goal will soon be achieved, begin to think ahead to the next goal you're going to set. It often happens that a writer halfway through a book will hit upon the idea for his next one and begin making notes or ideas for a title even while he's finishing work on the one in progress. That's the way it should be.

It's estimated that about 5% of the population achieves unusual success. For the rest, average seems to be good enough. Most seem to just drift along, taking circumstances as they come, and perhaps hoping from time to time that things will get better.

I like to compare human beings with ships, as Carlyle used to do. It's estimated that about 95 percent can be compared to ships without rudders, subject to every shift of wind and tide. They're helplessly adrift, and while they fondly hope that they will one day drift into some rich and bustling port, for every narrow harbor entrance, there are 1,000 miles of rocky coastline.

The chances of their drifting into port are 1,000 to 1 against them. Our state lottery is a tax on such people. So are the slot machines in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Someone wins from time to time to be sure, but the odds are still there ... stacked steeply against them.

But the 5 percent who have taken the time and exercised the discipline to climb into the driver's seat of their lives, who've decided upon a challenging goal to reach and have fully committed themselves to reaching it, sail straight and far across the deep oceans of life, reaching one port after another and accomplishing more in just a few years than the rest accomplish in a lifetime.

If you should visit a ship in port and ask the captain for his next port of call, he'll tell you in a single sentence. Even though the captain cannot see his port, his destination for fully 99% of the voyage, he knows it's there. And then, barring an unforeseen and highly unlikely catastrophe, he'll reach it. If someone asks you for your next port of call, your goal, could you tell him?

Is your goal clean and concise in your mind? Do you have it written down? It's a good idea. We need reminding, reinforcement. If you can get a picture of your goal and stick it to your bathroom mirror, it's an excellent idea to do so. Thousands of successful people carry their goals written on a card in their wallets or purses.

When you ask people what they're working for, chances are they'll answer in vague generalities. They might say, "Oh, good health or happiness or lots of money." That's not good enough. Good health should be a universal goal. We all want that, and do our best to achieve and maintain it.

Happiness is a byproduct of something else. And lots of money is much too vague. It might work, but I think it's better to choose a particular sum of money. The better, the clearer our goal is defined, the more real it becomes to us, and before long, the more attainable. Happiness comes from the direction in which we're moving.

Children are happier on Christmas morning before opening their presents than they are Christmas afternoon. No matter how wonderful their presents may be, it's after Christmas. They'll enjoy their gifts, to be sure, but we often find them querulous and irritable Christmas afternoon. We're happier on our way out to dinner than we are on the way home. We're happier going on vacation than we are coming home from it. And we're happier moving toward our goals than even after they've been accomplished, believe it or not.

Life plays no favorites. Yet of one thing you may be sure, you will become what you think about. If your thinking is circular and chaotic, your life will reflect that chaos. But if your thinking is orderly and clear, if you have a goal that's important for you to reach, then reach it you will.

One goal at a time. That's important. That's where most people unwittingly make their mistake. They don't concentrate on a single goal long enough to reach it before they're off on another track, then another, with the result that they achieve nothing. Nothing but confusion and excuses.

By thinking every morning, every night, and as many times during the day as you can about this exciting single goal you've established for yourself, you actually begin moving toward it and bringing it toward you. When you concentrate your thinking, it's like taking a river that's twisting and turning and meandering all over the countryside and putting it into a straight, smooth channel. Now it has power, direction, economy, speed.

So decide upon your goal. Insist upon it. Demand it! Look at your goal card every morning and night and as many times during the day as you conveniently can. By so doing, you will insinuate your goal into your subconscious mind. You'll see yourself as having already attained your goal, and do that every day without fail, and it will become a habit before you realize it. A habit that will take you from one success to another all the years of your life. For that is the secret of success, the door to everything you will ever have or be.

You are now and you most certainly will become ... what you think about.

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Our dead brothers and sisters still live for us and bid us think of life, not death--of life
to which in their youth they lent the passion and glory of Spring.  As I listen, the great
chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers
and destinies of good and evil, our trumpets sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.



Autumn and Letting Go

There are many wonderful lessons that we can learn from autumn and the turning of the season.  It's heartening for me to see just how many people see autumn as their favorite season, for it's a season of change, of peace, of conversion, and of hope.  In its falling leaves and dying flowers and plants and the disappearance of the frogs and insects and animals that keep us company during the summer we can see the greatest hope, the greatest trust, and the greatest faith of all.

Imagine this:  you've spent vast amounts of time making a tree.  The leaves are beautiful, perfectly shaped and a lovely shade of green.  Every time that you look at your creation, you feel a surge of pride and accomplishment, and it's one of your favorite things in the world.  Then someone comes up to you and tells you that you have to make your tree lose all of its leaves, and you have to put the trunk through an ordeal of cold and severe weather that will last several months, and the tree may not make it through.  How would you feel?  Would you be able to let go of your creation easily, exposing it to the elements and the threat of time?

That's what happens in our world every year.  Nature knows that in order to maintain its vitality, it must go through austere periods, periods when it gets by with a bare minimum of everything, when its normal riches aren't on display for the world to see.  Every autumn, it must "lose" the beauty that it has put so much effort into creating and becoming, and it must spend time lying dormant, waiting for the time to come when it can once more burst forth in its splendor.

Autumn reminds me of my own life, and my own need to simplify that I feel very strongly from time to time.  If I heed those times when they come to me, I find that eventually, I end up much richer, if not in a financial sense, then in a personal sense, a spiritual sense.

Sometimes, autumn isn't a choice.  Broken relationships, job layoffs, the death of loved ones, and many other things can push us into a period in which it seems as if we're losing everything.  But we aren't losing anything, for nothing on this planet really is ours.  Instead, we're being pushed into a winter in which we need to lay low for a while, fulfilling our responsibilities and obligations, but realizing all the time that spring is right around the corner, just waiting for us to be ready for it.

Winters can last a very long time, and we often get tired of the cold weather if it extends itself too far into what's supposed to be the spring.  But spring always does come.

When life tells the glorious maple tree that it's time to shed its leaves, the maple tree does so, and as a result of the winter for which it's preparing itself, it's able to give forth the sap that gives us maple syrup.  It doesn't spend time arguing that it needs the leaves for the photosynthesis that keeps it alive.  It trusts that even though it's letting go of a very important part of itself, that part will return and be even stronger and more beautiful when spring returns.

When life tells us that it's time for change, that we lost the job that we just lost for a reason, then it's time to shed that part of ourselves that we identified with the job and move on.  When a relationship ends, it's time for us to shed the part of ourselves that we identified with that relationship and move on so that we can find the rebirth of spring--with new leaves and new flowers--somewhere in our future.  Most importantly, we need to be ready for that spring when it appears, and we cannot ready ourselves by holding on to parts of our past that we need to let go of.

Our lives are full of cycles, possibly even more than those of nature.  We go through chapters in our emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and other types of development.  But we have to let chapters end if we're to move on to the next chapter, and we have to let seasons run their course if the next season is to come on time.  Spring can't make its way into our worlds if we're still trying desperately to hold on to the previous summer.



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Our theories of the eternal
are as valuable as are
those which a chick which
has not broken its way
through its shell might form
of the outside world.

the Buddha

I think so many of us are too hard on ourselves for what we didn’t accomplish or what we should have done.  The first step is to forgive yourself for all the things you didn’t do that you should have and all the things that you did do that you shouldn’t have.  Get rid of the guilt.  Negative feelings don’t do you much good.  The way to deal with them is to forgive yourself and forgive others. . . .

Forgiveness helps you come to terms with the past.  I've learned how to forgive myself, and this has helped me no longer feel deep regrets or sadness about my past.

Morrie Schwartz


The finest gift you can give anyone is encouragement.  Yet, almost no one gets
the encouragement they need to grow to their full potential.  If everyone
received the encouragement they need to grow, the genius in most everyone
would blossom and the world would produce abundance beyond the
wildest dreams.  We would have more than one Einstein, Edison, Schweitzer,
Mother Theresa, Dr. Salk and other great minds in a century.

Sidney Madwed




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