perspective - perspective 3 - perspective 4
perspective 5 - perspective 6

Here I am, fifty-eight, and I still
don't know what I'm going
to be when I grow up.

Peter Drucker


In the family it is said Gabe "doesn't notice much--his head is in the clouds."  He accepts this criticism as complimentary:  "In the clouds?  Oh, thank you.  I try."

Laura Cunningham

Here is the secret of inspiration.  Tell yourself that thousands and tens of people, not very intelligent and certainly no more intelligent than the rest of us, have mastered problems as difficult as those that now baffle you.

William Feather

As you take a few minutes each day to quiet your mind, you will discover a nice benefit: your everyday, "ordinary" life will begin to seem far more extraordinary.  Little things that previously went unnoticed will begin to please you.  You'll be more easily satisfied, and happier all around.  Rather than focusing on what's wrong with your life, you'll find yourself thinking about and more fully enjoying what's right with your life.  The world won't change, but your perception of it will.  You'll start to notice the little acts of kindness and caring from other people rather than the negativity and anger.

Jack Canfield


Clay is fashioned into vessels; it is on their empty hollowness that their use depends.  Doors and windows are cut out to make a dwelling, and on the empty space within, its use depends.  Thus, while the existence of things may be good, it is the non-existence in them that makes them serviceable.

Lao Tzu


There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front
of you!  It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion
and love!  The colors are like no other, they swim and leap,
they trickle and embellish!  And yet you choose to fixate your
eyes on the small fly which has landed on it!
Why do you do such a thing?

C. JoyBell C.


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We are all so bent and determined to get what we want, we miss the lessons
that could be learned from life's experiences.  Many of my AIDS patients
discovered that the last year of their lives was by far their best.  Many
have said they wouldn't have traded the rich quality of that last year of
life for a healthier body. Sadly, it is only when tragedy strikes that most
of us begin attending to the deeper aspects of life.  It is only then that we
attempt to go beyond surface concerns--what we look like, how much money
we make, and so forth--to discover what's really important.

Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross


I have told you of those who always put on their spectacles when about
to eat cherries, in order that the fruit might look larger and more
tempting.  In like manner I always make the most of any enjoyments,
and, though I do not cast my eyes away from troubles, I pack them into
as small a compass as I can for myself, and never let them annoy others.

Robert Southey


We are all at different stages of growth, so we each need different things
to trigger that connection to the soul.  What works for me on any given day
might not work for someone else, or for me on another day.
Often, it is the basic things.  I live ten feet from the ocean, in a small cottage.
I need to be by the water; I've spent a lot of my journey getting closer and closer
to this water.  I need to remember, to get up in the morning and watch the sunrise
and take a moment at night to see and feel the sunset.  I need to see the colors
of the sky; I need to feel the colors.  I need to surround myself with music,
because my soul resonates to music.  I've decorated my home with
the colors of the universe--bright colors.  Color is light.
Colors help me feel alive, help me feel passionate, help me remember
that I'm here to be an alive, passionate human being.

Melody Beattie


Nothing ever is, everything is becoming.



The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others
only a green thing which stands in the way.  To the eyes of people
of imagination Nature is Imagination itself.  As we are, so we see.

William Blake


I pictured a rainbow
you held it in your hands
I had flashes
but you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
while you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded
while you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth
you cut through lies
I saw the rain-dirty valley
you saw Brigadoon

I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
you just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
you just knew
I sighed
but you swooned
I saw the crescent
you saw the whole of the moon

Mike Scott
adapted from "The Whole of the Moon"
on the Waterboys' This Is the Sea


There are two worlds: the world that we can measure with line and rule,
and the world that we can feel with our hearts and imagination.

Leigh Hunt

All things are literally better, lovelier, and more beloved
for the imperfections that have been divinely appointed,
that the law of human life may be Effort,
and the law of human judgment, Mercy.

John Ruskin


They are wise people who do not grieve for the things
which they have not, but rejoice for those which they have.




It is better for you to be free of fear lying upon a pallet, than
to have a golden couch and a rich table and be full of trouble.


Without a doubt, the most valuable aspect of my life has been the period that I've lived in Europe.  I've spent five years over there--almost two in Spain and over three in Germany.  I've also spent four years in the army, and I've lived in every geographic area of the United States.  I've also spent over eight years in college, studying literature (especially world lit), Spanish, journalism, education, and teaching English as a Second Language, which has also opened up my eyes to many different ways of looking at the world.

These things have been important to me because I've felt my eyes and my mind open up considerably, especially in the way that I'm able to see wisdom in the words of others.  I've learned that there are many wonderful people on this planet, and I've had the great honor and privilege of meeting many of them, though you would have heard of none of them.  But they're people I can learn from, if I but keep my mind open to their lessons, if I but listen--no, hear--when they speak, if I pay close attention when I read their works.

Living in so many places has helped me to see just how differently people from other places and cultures see the world, and just how valid their perspective is, no matter how much it may differ from mine.  People in Spain tend to see relationships differently than people in New England, and the Germans tend to see work differently than people in Arizona.  And that doesn't matter--neither group's perspective is wrong, and neither is necessarily a perspective that others should adopt.

Perspective can cause us to see a beautiful sunset as a boring, ordinary part of daily life, or it can help us to see the beauty in the many "ordinary" things that surround us. Almost everything we see or have access to is a miracle, either in its simplicity or complexity.  The flowers that grow in our gardens have gone through an amazing process of turning from a seed to flowers.  The rivers that flow are fed with water that has gone through an incredible cycle of evaporation, falling as rain, flowing to a certain area where it can join the river.  The fact that I can write these words and put them on the internet so that friends I shall never meet in South Africa and Hong Kong can read them is one of the greatest miracles of our times, yet the internet has quickly become "normal," a tool for businesses to make more money.

But I've recognized something very important--I can refuse to see the world and the things and people in it as "normal"; I can choose to see the marvelous qualities of everything, but I have to work at it, for our societal norms tell us to value conformity and the status quo.  I'll always look for the beauty in trees, the soul in the eyes of the people I meet, the wonder of the flowers that come out each spring, the loveliness of children at play.  And I'll do so because I choose to do so, for those are the important things in life.  I'm not here to make money or become famous--I'm here to love and to live.  If I focus on that and maintain a great deal of responsibility (yes, i will work), then I can't help but live a full life, for there are many more rewards available to those who are easily satisfied and entertained, and I choose to be more than satisfied with the reward of a child's smile or a friend's "thank you."

tom walsh

perspective - perspective 3 - perspective 4
perspective 5 - perspective 6

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I am entirely on the side of mystery.  
I mean, any attempt to explain away the mystery is ridiculous.
I believe in the profound and unfathomable mystery of life
which has a sort of divine quality about it.

Aldous Huxley


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is
the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle
of true art and true science.

Albert Einstein


Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake.  We are
making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources.

William James



Through the eyes of our minds you and I look out at reality (ourselves, other
people, life, the world, and God).  However, we see these things differently.
Your vision of reality is not mine and, conversely, mine is not yours.
Both of our visions are limited and inadequate, but not to the same extent.
We have both misinterpreted and distorted reality, but in different ways.
We have each seen something of the available truth and beauty to which
the other has been blind.  The main point is that it is the dimensions and clarity
of this vision that determine the dimensions of our worlds and the quality of our lives.
To the extent that we are blind or have distorted reality, our lives and our happiness
have been diminished.  Consequently, if we are to change--to grow--there must first
be a change in this basic vision, or perception of reality.

John Powell


When people look only at the surface and that satisfies them
and they think from that surface they see, that is to be truly blind.

Beah Richards


There are long periods when life seems a small, dull round, a petty business
with no point, and then suddenly we are caught up in some great event which
gives us a glimpse of the solid and durable foundations of our existence.

Elizabeth II


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Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there
is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.

John Kenneth Galbraith


It is the close observation of little things which is the secret of success
in business, in art, in science, and in every pursuit of life.

Samuel Smiles


To the world you may be just one person,
but to one person you may be the world.

Brandi Snyder

You see things; and say "Why?" 
But I dream things that never were; and say, "Why not?"

George Bernard Shaw

The surest way to corrupt young people is to teach them to esteem more
highly those who think alike than those who think differently.

Friedrich Nietzsche


The aspects of things that are most important for us
are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Sometimes during the day, I consciously focus on some ordinary object and
allow myself a momentary "paying-attention."  This paying-attention gives meaning
to my life.  I don't know who it was, but someone said that careful attention
paid to anything is a window into the universe.  Pausing to think this way,
even for a brief moment, is very important.  It gives quality to my day.

Robert Fulghum

If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors,
with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you
have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within
worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane
preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that
important in the greater scheme of things.

Daniel C. Dennett
Breaking the Spell


Part of the problem with the word "disabilities" is that it immediately
suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many
of us take for granted.  But what of people who can't feel?  Or talk
about their feelings?  Or manage their feelings in constructive ways?
What of people who aren't able to form close and strong relationships?
And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have
lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no
joy, no love?  These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.

Fred Rogers

The World According to Mr. Rogers

Do you ever realize that you are now actually living the life which looked
so rosy and radiant with promise in your childhood and adolescence?  Do
you recognize in the days and weeks as they slip by that iridescent dream
of the future, which then enchanted your youthful fancy, as a mirage in a
desert charms the senses of the weary traveler?  Do you ever stop to think
that the time you are now trying to kill is the very time you once looked
forward to so eagerly, and which seemed then so precious; that the
moments which now hang so heavily on your hands are the same that you
then determined should never slip from your grasp until you had extracted
from each its fullest possibilities?
   Why does what looked like paradise to you when viewed through youth's
telescope now seem but a dreary desert?  Because your vision is distorted.
You are looking at your environment from a wrong point of view.  You are
disappointed, discontented and unhappy, because you did not find the fabled
bag of gold at the foot of the rainbow, while you go on squandering, in
useless repining, the time that, properly used, would convert your present
seeming desert into the paradise of your early dreams.

Orison Swett Marden
The Joys of Living

A coaching client who had gotten a divorce complained,
“I wasted 20 years of my life.”
I asked her, “Did you enjoy the years you loved your
husband and the marriage worked?”
“Yes, I did.”
“And did you learn from the process of choosing to get divorced?”
“And are you a better and stronger person for having gone
through the whole experience?”
“For sure.”
“Then none of that time was wasted,” I explained. “All of it,
including the good times and the hard times, have brought
you to the powerful place where you now stand.”

Alan Cohen
The Tao Made Easy

An excellent way to practice love is to set your attention on seeing
beyond someone's behavior or personality.  Try to realize that beneath
the surface insecurity, negative thinking, and poor behavior, everyone
is connected to God.  Just as you wouldn't get angry at someone simply
because he or she is in a wheelchair, you need not be angry because a
person hasn't yet opened his heart to the nourishment of his Soul.  When
people act in unloving ways, it only means that they are out of touch with
their Souls and aren't feeling spiritually nourished.  When that happens,
there is no need to panic.  The best we can do for ourselves is nourish
our own Soul by looking beyond the behavior we don't care for,
thus practicing the art of love.

Richard Carlson


Found online:

(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
sources from various social media pages.  They're too nice
not to share!)


Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.



Articles and book excerpts on perspective:

Affirmations:  Creating Our Positive Outlook      Barry Bitman
You're a Beautiful Person      tom walsh

A Worn-Out Creed     Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Born with Love      Marianne Williamson

A Creed of the Open Road      Ralph Waldo Trine

Differences      Iyanla Vanzant

Do One Thing Different      Bill O'Hanlon

Forgiveness      Wayne Dyer

Good and Bad      Benjamin Hoff

Gratitude:  Why and for What?     Bernie Siegel

Gratitude Is Larger Than Life      Melody Beattie

Gratitude      Sarah Ban Breathnach

His Kind of Odds      Robert Fulghum

How Do We Deal with Setbacks?      Gary Egeberg

Being Impressive      tom walsh

Is Love an Art?      Erich Fromm

Keeping It Together      Rachel Naomi Remen

from Letters to a Young Poet      Rainer Maria Rilke

Mermaids      Robert Fulghum

Positive Expectancy      Bill O'Hanlon

Pruning a Tree      Bernie Siegel

Think of What You Have      Richard Carlson

You Control Your Attitude      Jeff Keller

The Broken Pot      author unknown

Call "Time Out" and Adjust Your Course      Jeff Keller

Change Your Pace      Hilton Gregory

The Christmas Alone      tom walsh

Dealing with Disappointment      Colin Clews

Depression Is a Spiritual Issue      Frederick Zappone

Do I Really Need This?  Wants vs. Needs      Jane Mullikin

Embracing the Everyday      Susie Michelle Cortwright

Fireworks, Barney, and Santa Claus:  An Unholy Trio      Gene Curry

How Do You Handle a Bad Day?      Robert Taylor

Happiness      Bob Williams

Living with the Heart of a Child      Joe Mazzella

How to Develop a Healthy Perspective      Jeff Keller

I Can't      tom walsh

I Just Don't See It      Gail Pursell Elliott

It's Your Life to Live      tom walsh

Re-Energize Your Journal Writing      Michael Boyter

Letting Go vs. Giving Up      Louise Morganti Kaelin

An Open Letter to Limp Bizkit      tom walsh

The Power of Goalsetting      Julie Jordan Scott

The Precious Present      Spencer Johnson

Put Joy in Your Life--You're Never Too Old!      Susana Bouquet

The Rainy Days      tom walsh

Redefining Retirement      Henry Fenwick

Regrets, I Have a Few. . . .      Robert Knowlton

Sacred or Scared?      Gail Pursell Elliott

Snowy Day Gifts      Joe Mazzella

Still Don't Know What You Want to Be?      Valerie Young

A Teaching on Heaven and Hell

I Want to Be Six      Author Unknown

A Story about Ugly      Author Unknown

What's Wrong with Grown-Ups?

What's Your View?      Ray Whiting

Where I Am      tom walsh

Whose Standards?      Robert Taylor

In the Wink of an Eye      Lewis Frost

You Never Know      Helaine Iris

Your Greatest Strength      Author Unknown