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1 January 2019
Simple and Profound
Not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far
more difficult, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the
Kindness is never wasted. If it has no effect on the
recipient, at least it benefits the bestower.
To be alive, to be able to see, to walk. . . it's all a
miracle. I have adapted the technique of living life
from miracle to miracle.
delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is
exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only
different types of good weather.
In my hometown I had been studying with two famous martial arts masters who had joined to create an academy.
When they taught together, the energy was mythic. Their synergy seemed to call the very gods from heaven.
Those classes gained renown and were filled to overflowing.
I never missed a session.
Then the two teachers had a falling-out. They accused each other of various indiscretions and they parted ways.
Controversy and gossip followed in the wake, and students were urged to follow one or the other.
The drama of their parting was quite distressing for me.
I could not understand why two gifted teachers could split apart when their chemistry together was so magnificent.
It seemed that they had fallen from their lofty perches to the dregs of human personality.
Bitter and confused, I could not bring myself to choose one or the other.
For that matter, I did not wish to see either. I went to Lao Tse and told him of my upset.
“You just failed martial arts,” he told me.
His remark disarmed me. “How did I do that? I have been studying with these teachers for years and I am approaching an advanced belt.”
“The secret of martial arts is to take the power your opponent directs against you, and use it for your benefit.”
Yes, I had learned that.
But what did it have to do with my current dilemma?
“In this case your opponent is not a person. It is the force of change.
Your resistance to the teachers’ parting is weakening you.
If you accept it as a fact of life, you will regain your power.”
As I tried to absorb the master’s insight, he walked to a cabinet and took out a sword.
He had shown me the weapon once before; it was a gift from a warrior who had renounced battle so he could become Lao Tse’s student.
He handed the gleaming weapon to me. As the cold steel touched my hands I felt powerful just holding it.
“Now give me the sword,” the master ordered.
I followed his instruction. Suddenly he took a swipe at my head.
I ducked and spouted a nervous laugh. I looked at him incredulously.
“You just gave me your power. Now you are at my mercy.”
He took another swipe, this time closer. I backed away.
Would this go on all day?
“Now, take back your power.” The master extended the sword toward me, clutching it with both hands.
I hesitated to reach for it, not wanting to engage in combat with my mentor.
“Go ahead, do as I say.”
I took a breath and tried to grab the sword from him.
He resisted. I tried harder, until we were wrestling for the weapon.
Finally I pulled it from his grasp. I’m sure he could have held on to it, but he wanted me to learn the lesson.
We straightened up and dusted ourselves off.
“Now you have your power back,” said Lao Tse. “Don’t give it away to me or anyone, ever again.”
The lesson was starting to sink in. “The sword represents the power I gave to my teachers?”
“You gave your power to the condition of them teaching together.
If they are together, you are happy. If they are not together, you are unhappy.
This is not the way of the Tao. It is the way of the fool.
You cannot afford to allow your happiness to depend on any external situation.
You must find the source of your happiness within you.
Then nothing in the outside world will be able to remove your peace.”
I handed the weapon back to the master and he replaced it in the cabinet.
Silently he left the room, leaving me to ponder how I had given my power away in many areas of my life.
more on power
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Two - Year Three
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Wilferd A. Peterson
conventional Happy New Year approach is to think of the
New Year as something that happens outside ourselves.
It is a good luck wish that the New Year, in some magical
way, will bring us our heart's desire. We look to
the New Year to make us happy.
expect happiness to come to us from the outside we are
usually disappointed. Happiness is not guaranteed by
sunny weather, a raise in pay, a new car, a beautiful home
or anything else of a material nature. External
things are often possessed by very unhappy people.
Happiness does not come out of a New Year; it comes out of
men and women. Life does not change when we hang a
new calendar on the wall or when the clock strikes
midnight and a New Year begins. The only way life
will change for us is when we change ourselves.
source of happiness is not in events happening outside of
us; the source of happiness is within us. We cannot
control the outside world but we can control our own
thoughts and emotions. All true happiness is an
There is a new phrase to speak to each other as we face
the adventure of a New Year. . . "Happy New
The way to make the New Year the best year of your life is
to look to yourself, not to the year, for your happiness.
. . .
To realize that happiness does not depend on the birth of
a New Year, but on the birth of a New You.
that the months, weeks, days, hours and minutes of the New
Year are empty until you fill them with happiness.
To face the fact that time is dead until you give it life,
and that your happiness depends on the quality of life you
Happy New You!
Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement. Our
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live
from them what you will, and disagree with
whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you
There is only the
moment. The now. Only what you are experiencing
second is real. This does not mean you live for the
moment. It means you live in the moment.
I have to start by
saying that I don't really believe in the concept of
"years." I accept and live within the
constraints of the concept because we human beings have
adopted it to explain how time flows in our reality, but
the difference between December 31 and January 1 is
really just a move from one day to the next, rather than
one year to the next. If I drive across a state
line, the landscape and air don't change when I get into
the next state--I have exactly the same conditions ten
feet into the new state that I had ten feet before I
crossed the line, but we like to divide things up and
try to compartmentalize everything in our lives to make
them easy to deal with.
That said, I do see the start of the new year as a
convenient transitional period, a time when I can rather
conveniently wrap up a previous chapter in my life and
begin a new one. I like how this metaphor allows
for something completely new--in a novel, a new chapter
can start out in a new country, in a new time, on a new
planet, with new people--whatever the author sees fit to
The new chapter doesn't have to affect everything in my
life. I may start a new chapter concerning my
teaching, but continue with an ongoing chapter about my
running. I may try to renew a relationship, but
let my work chapter continue as it has been going.
I know from experience that if I try to change
everything, I run the risk of being overwhelmed with the
task before me, and I end up changing nothing.
That's just how things work with me.
We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room,
drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.
this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through
the rooms of our lives. . . not looking for flaws, but for potential.
When we look at a new
year, we basically see time stretching out before
us--365 days lie ahead of us, and you can multiply
that by 24 if you want to know how many hours that
is. Each of those days gives us many
possibilities to learn, to grow, to give, to take,
to experience, to risk, to challenge ourselves, to
do new things that we've never done before.
But sometimes we get caught up in the river that's
flowing straight and true within banks that could be
called limitations. Our jobs keep us occupied
for so many hours, and then we have tasks that
simply must be done on weekends, so that five-day
camping/hiking trip isn't going to happen, is it?
And we may put all of our hopes on vacation time, as
many people do, only to find that we're not able to
go where we wanted because of the wants or needs of
a partner or a family member. So many of our
vacation days are spent in the same places doing the
same things with the same people that we often go
years without doing anything new or different.
And that can be frustrating.
So can we build into this new year ways in which we
can do little new things? Ways in which we can
take little risks and gain small new
experiences? I try to do this all the time,
often with disappointing results, but often with
great ones. I deal with quite a few people
each day, so how can I contribute in a positive way
to their lives, even if I see them only for a few
minutes, or an hour or two? In my own life,
what can I do to try something new, to do things
that nourish my spirit and give me a life that's
more dynamic, more spontaneous (sometimes), and more
enjoyable? (And I qualified
"spontaneous" because some of my most
favorite times are simple, quiet hours spent reading
in the afternoon, or resting. Spontaneity can
be great, but it isn't always necessary!)
depends on us. . . Another year lies before us like an
an unspent coin, an unwalked road. How the pages will read,
what treasures will be gained in exchange for time,
or what we find along
the way, will largely depend on us.
Esther Baldwin York
In my own life, one of
the things that I need to do the most is develop a
different relationship with time. I find that
as I get older, I get more stingy with my time--I
don't want to do this or that thing because it will
take time away from other things that I really
enjoy. But that said, when I end up doing
other things, I usually end up enjoying myself a
great deal. So I think that I need to go with
the flow more often, and allow myself to spend time
on things that I may balk at at first, giving myself
a chance to meet new people and have new
experiences. For example, I schedule almost
nothing in the evenings because I like to relax, but
some of my evening activities have been extremely
enjoyable. Perhaps I need more of them!
I also would like to do more things that tap into my
creativity rather than things that require of me
nothing that anyone else couldn't do. Much of
the work that I do is often redundant, and while I
do try to be creative and productive with my
writing, there are other creative things that I like
to do, like drawing and painting and taking pictures
and developing classes that are interesting.
This, also, will require me to re-visit my
relationship with time.
I'd also like to get back to writing a lot of
letters. My letter-writing has suffered
dramatically over the last few decades. I used
to regularly go to a cafe and write a couple of
letters to friends, but I don't do that any
more. Part of the reason is that I almost
never got letters back, but I'm wise enough now to
realize that getting letters back isn't the reason
that we write letters. It's a nice experience
when it happens, but the letters that we write--just
like everything else that we give--should be sent
without expectations. When we add expectations
of a letter back, the giving that is inherent in a
letter simply isn't there any more. It's
become a transaction.
And I'd also like to spend more time in nature,
running, hiking, and sitting and enjoying.
This includes when it's raining or snowing,
too. Nature has a calming influence on me, and
I love how I feel when I'm in the middle of the
forest surrounded by none of the trappings of
Every new year people make resolutions to change
aspects of themselves
they believe are negative.
A majority of people revert back to how
before and feel like failures. This year I challenge you
to a new
resolution. I challenge you to just be yourself.
These are just three
ways that I could enrich my life this year. Of
course, the danger is to do one of each thing the
first week, and then stop doing them as I get caught
up in daily life. Another danger is that I'll
say to myself, "Yeah, but it's only
February. I'll start painting in the summer or
the fall." And then when the summer and
fall come. . . .
These aren't resolutions. I'm not going to set
myself up for failure by making myself promises that
I possibly can't keep. These are things that I
truly want to do and that I'll make every effort to
do. And when I do them, great. But
perhaps something else that's equally as desirable
will come up, and I'll do that instead--I don't want
to be breaking any promises to myself just because I
changed my mind or changed my focus, so I won't make
But I've already written these ideas down on a card
that I'll keep next to my favorite spot on the couch
so that I can remind myself that I want to do them
this year. I'll read the reminder each day and
then decide if that day or that week is when I'm
going to do one or the other of them, and we'll just
keep going from there, adding to the list when
My goal isn't to change my life completely or to
become a new person. But I don't want to
stagnate and stop learning and growing, and these
seem to me to be good ways--and enjoyable ways--of
continuing to enjoy life and not allowing it to
become drab, dreary, and repetitive. I like
doing nothing very often, resting and relaxing, but
it's not a way to live a life if I want that life to
count for something. So this new year gives me
a chance--even if it's only an illusion that there's
something different between today (2019) and
yesterday (2018)--to consider things in my life that
I'd like to change, risks that I want to take, and
journeys that I want to start.
of the most important elements
of living life fully is
awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people
and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that
affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively.
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Eve is like every
other night; there is no pause
in the march of the
no breathless moment of
that the passage
twelve months may be noted;
yet no person has quite
thoughts this evening
as those that come with the
coming of darkness on other nights.
Hamilton Wright Mabie
Year's goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have
happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is
an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the
year to come.
Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a
universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life
What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What
would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to
attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you
like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects,
would you like to have removed?
What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where
would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in
friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your
What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would
you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?
Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time,
and write it all down--as an affirmation of you, your life, and
your ability to choose. Then let it go.
The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting
to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
The object of a New Year is not that
we should have a new year. It is
that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new
backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular person made
New Year resolutions, he or she would make no resolutions. Unless
starts afresh about things, that person will certainly do nothing