20 May 2024         


Hello, and welcome to this new issue of our e-zine!  We hope that you
enjoy the words that you find here, and that they're in some way, somehow
relevant to your life and helpful to you.  Make your week wonderful!




Being Honest with Ourselves
John Marks Templeton

The Power of Generosity
Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz

How to Experience Life as a Thrilling Adventure
Steve Brunkhorst



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Simple and Profound Thoughts
(from Simple and Profound)

There is a little plant called reverence in the corner of my soul's garden, which I love to have watered once a week.   -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Perfect courage is to do unwitnessed what we should be capable of doing before all the world.   -La Rochefoucauld

If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow.   -Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.    -Maya Angelou


Being Honest with Ourselves
John Marks Templeton

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.  -Thomas Jefferson

"To be or not to be, that is the question."  So speaks Hamlet in his famous soliloquy of self-doubt and reason.  If you remember, he is trying to decide whether to follow his own conscience or to pretend that he does not know the truth of his father's murder.  He is torn by the desire to be honest with himself and therefore, the world, or to turn his back on that which he believes.  Sometimes in our own lives, we may find ourselves in variations of this peculiar predicament.  Not quite as melodramatic as Hamlet's, yet just as real for us.

"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom," Thomas Jefferson wrote.  This statement rings out a great truth for people everywhere in every period of the world's history.  The fight to honor truth within and without may not be an easy one, but our efforts must be directed in the line of honesty and integrity if we aim to be truly successful.

"Know thyself" is the inscription of the Delphic Oracle of ancient Greece.  "Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles," Confucius wrote, "When you know a thing, to hold that you know it;

and when you do not, to allow that you do not know it-- this is knowledge." Lao-Tzu wrote over 2,500 years ago, "He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened."

These great philosophers and sages began with one truth--be honest "and all things will be added unto you."  They understood that people share the same basic drives:  a need for love, for freedom and respect, and the desire to feel as if their lives have meaning.  By looking within, the keys to understanding human behavior can be revealed if you are courageous enough to search your innermost heart.

But how many of us know where that heart is?  How many of us have fallen into the habit of being out of touch with what we intuitively know?  Often this seems to be most true when we apply it to knowing our own feelings.  The noisy hustle and bustle of the outer world and distract us so much that we have a hard time listening to that still, small voice that usually knows the truth of any situation.

In Hamlet, Shakespeare says, "This above all:  to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any person."  Yet, not listening regularly to the intuitive voice within, we may fall out of practice.  It can then become easier to be false to ourselves-- and then to others without this being our intent.

Thomas Jefferson wrote as follows in a letter to one of his contemporaries:  "The person who permits themselves to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, til at length it becomes habitual.  They tell lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing them.  This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions."

Jefferson tried to be as far-sighted as possible so that a nation of honest men and women would endure.  "Sometimes it is said," he wrote, "that a person cannot be trusted with the government of themselves.  Can they, then, be trusted with the government of others?"  A compelling thought when we extend it beyond our small personal world.  But what is any nation made up of, except the entwining of many people's small worlds?  How often have we read in the newspapers of injustices in our own cities and towns, and shrugged?  What can we do?  How can we make a difference?  Truth isn't our jurisdiction.  Or is it?

One important thing you can do is get into the practice of being honest with yourself and others at all times.  When we disconnect with our feelings to avoid a scene or to appear "cool," we often silence the voice within.  We may silence truth.  After a while we may no longer hear its voice.  This may be one reason why there seem to be so many busy psychologists and psychiatrists in today's world.  We may be paying to learn how to reconnect to our own inner promptings.

Begin today.  The following exercise can offer meaningful insights into yourself.  Take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns.  On one side write down the things you like about human nature-- the things you honor.  You may write down qualities like tenderness, strength, humor, diplomacy, love, or hard work.  Whatever comes to mind.  Then, in the other column, write down those qualities that you may find offensive-- the ones that may "push your buttons."  In this column you may write down anger, laziness, deception, cowardice, brutality, or jealousy.

Then take a look at both columns.  In total truth, claim them both.  Name the aspects of honorable character as you see them in yourself.  Find where they may resonate with you.  And recognize which, if any, need to be strengthened and worked on.  Take the undesirable column and address these items.  Recognize that you have smidgings of these characteristics in some small measure, even if they may be hidden from the sight of most people.  Acknowledge them for the times when they arise.  Do not deny them utterly, or they could creep up on you as the disowned enemy in yourself-- sometimes only coming in the guise of the people that you draw to you, because they are denied within.

Be honest.  Be true.  Love all parts of yourself.  You are human, and, like the rest of us, the godhood within you-- the goodness within you-- is in a state of coming to magnificent expression.  With honesty and free will you can claim those aspects of yourself that you choose to express in your world.

There is a part of you that can be larger than any littleness, stronger than any weakness, wiser than you may think, and more brave than any fear.  There is a part of you that is of the earth-- earthy, as there is also a part of you that is of the Spirit-- spiritual.  This is the important part of you.  That which is the real you can transform the unreal.  Be honest with yourself and others.  Learn to know your real self.

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Suggestion #1:  The Power of Generosity
Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz

In the Western world, with its emphasis on individualism, the myth of the "self-made" man or woman gets a lot of airtime.  Many of us imagine that our identity is self-created, that we are who we are because of where we stand in relation to the world and to other people.  The spoke of the wheel, if not attached to a wheel, is just a piece of metal.  Even a hermit living in a cave is defined by his relationship to, and distance from, other people.

Relationships are necessarily reciprocal systems.  Support goes both ways.  The support we receive is rarely an exact mirror image of the support we provide, but the old adage "you get what you give" is a good general rule.

This idea of giving what you'd like to receive in return is one answer to the powerlessness and hopelessness that people sometimes feel when they think of their relationships.  We can't directly control the way other people engage with us, but we can control the way we engage with them.  We may not be receiving a certain kind of support, but that doesn't mean we can't give it.

The Dalai Lama reminds us that what goes around comes around.  "We are self-centered and selfish, but we need to be wisely selfish, not foolishly so," he once said.  "If we neglect others, we too lose. . . . We can educate people to understand that the best way to fulfill their own interest is to be concerned with the welfare of others.  But this will take time."

Research clearly shows that he's right:  helping others benefits the one who helps.  There is both a neural and a practical link between generosity and happiness.  Being generous is a way to prime your brain for good feelings, and those good feelings in turn make us more likely to help others in the future.  Generosity is an upward spiral.

. . . Thinking honestly about yourself, answer [these questions]:  Do you provide support for others?  If so, to whom?  Are there people in your life you want to support more?  If you have people in your life who are caring for others, or who are under major life stress, are there ways you can be there for them, and make sure they are receiving support themselves?  If you are a caregiver, are you getting the support you need?  As you look over your social universe, how does the balance of giving and receiving feel?

~from their book The Good Life

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There is a destiny that makes us brothers: none goes his or her way alone,
All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own.

Edwin Markham


How to Experience Life as a Thrilling Adventure
Steve Brunkhorst

Adventure isn't hanging on a rope off the side
of a mountain.  Adventure is an attitude that we
must apply to the day to day obstacles of life--
facing new challenges, seizing new options, testing
our resources against the unknown, and in the
process, discovering our own unique potential.

John Amatt

There is an old story about a mountain climber who had trained many years to reach the highest peak in the western hemisphere, the Aconcagua located in the Andes Mountains of western Argentina.

He wanted all the glory for himself, so he began climbing by himself. Eager to reach the top, he did not prepare for camping.  Even though it was growing very late, he decided to keep climbing.

Soon the night grew cold, and heavy darkness fell around him at a very high altitude.  There was no moon, and clouds covered the stars.  The blackness around him was thick, and he lost all visibility.

As he was climbing a ridge only 100 meters from the top, he slipped and fell!  Falling rapidly, he only saw blotches of darkness passing by him.  He fell further and further into the darkness below.

Memories of his life raced through his mind in those moments of anguish. He thought that he would certainly die.  Suddenly, he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half!

He had taken the precaution to stake himself with a long rope tied to his waist.  In those still moments suspended in the air, he shouted out, "Help me God!  Help me!"

All of a sudden, he heard a deep voice from heaven.  It asked, "What do you want me to do?"

"Save Me!"

"Do you really think that I can save you?"

"Of course you can save me.  You are God!"

"Then I want you to cut the rope that is holding you up."

There was another moment of silence and stillness.  The man just held tighter to the rope.  The next day, the rescue team said that they found a frozen mountain climber clinging tightly to a rope and hanging. . . two feet off the ground.

Seek Out New Experiences

The word adventure can evoke thoughts of excitement, discovery, and challenge.  Those who value adventure love to seek new experiences.  They celebrate life by welcoming its terrain, both rugged and smooth.  They take responsibility for their journey with all of its highs and lows.

They thrive on unexpected slips and slides, valleys and mountains.  They fall sometimes, and their faith allows them to learn from the experience. They climb back up, and create new trails.

Recognize Your Tremendous Potential

As John Amatt suggested, adventure is a way we can choose to view life. It can also transform the way we experience life.  It is one way to learn the lessons we came here to learn.

Adventure is not simply traveling and sightseeing.  It is "seeing" from a transformed perspective.  There we can discover our purpose, and accept ourselves as worthwhile people who have both needs and tremendous potential.

Allow Experiences to be Transformative

A person peers through the misty rainbow decorating a thundering waterfall hundreds of feet above an endless glacier valley.  Her heart begins to race.  Her experience has touched her beyond the physical senses.  All of life's peaks and valleys can be transformative if we allow them to touch us deeply.

Sometimes we will feel as though we are "hanging on a rope," unable to see our way--unable to move.  Then we must remember to act with faith. Life will always be a series of peaks and valleys.  We can discover strength in climbing, and resiliency if we must "cut the rope" and begin again.  Life on earth is an adventure with one chance to live it.  That chance exists in this very moment.  Seize it completely!

* * * * * *

© Steve Brunkhorst.  Steve is a professional life success coach, motivational author.



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O beautiful human life!  Tears
come to my eyes as I think
of it.  So beautiful, so
inexpressibly beautiful!  The
song should never be silent,
the dance never still, the laugh
should sound like water
which runs forever.

Richard Jeffries

In a moment of deep inner silence, I heard a gentle voice whisper:  "Beloved, dare to make the break out of the lonely crowd.  There is a wonderful plan for your life.  A magnificent purpose resounds through your unfoldment.  Release and let go of your outdated and outworn self!  Dare to be reborn in the brilliance of the freedom of Spirit, filled and motivated with universal energy flowing direct from the heart of God."

Fascinated, I listened:  "Beloved, dare to lose old patterns of expression, old habits of weakness and death, old memories of destruction.  Dare to witness the activity of divine love expressing through you as perfect life as it restores, rejuvenates, and regenerates every cell of your being!  Live in the wholeness of spirit, and direct your light essence for the healing and uplifting of the world."

Wow!  I wondered, do I dare?  The voice continued:  "Beloved, go beyond your present understanding.  Exceed your now consciousness of Truth.  Be fully immersed in your divine blueprint through all good. . . on earth as it is in heaven.  You carry within the keys to the kingdom.  Use them to open all doors of joyous expression and to direct the wonder and effectiveness of the spiritual gifts you possess into your working knowledge."

In expectation, I remained silent, listening.

"Beloved, dedicate yourself to love.  Watch as love dissolves undesirable situations, unwanted circumstances, and all thoughts and feelings of negative nature.  Dare to be magnificent!  Dare to be a self-renewing temple of the living God!  Dare to be beauty, harmony, light, and music as I created you to be!  Remember, I have loved you with an everlasting love!"

Joy filled my heart as I asked:  "Who are you?  Who is saying this to me?"

And from infinity within came the answer, "I am!"

Cristina Carlino
The Rainbow Connection


To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury;
and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable;
and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly;
to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart;
to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never;
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden, and unconscious to grow up
through the common.  This is to be my symphony.

William Henry Channing



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.



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