Insight and Wisdom:
“My heart is like a paper kite; it soars easily and breaks often.”
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
“I was smart enough to see my train-wreck coming, but not strong enough to stop it.”
“Rehab is for quitters.”
“Once you’re a pickle, you’re never going to be a cucumber again.”
“Nothing happens on marijuana.”
“You can’t think your way into a new way of living, but you can live your way into a new way of thinking.
“I don’t have a Dad-figure, I have a Dad-figure-it-out.” (Said on the phone to a father who was using.)
“Hope not Dope.”
“Feelings are not facts.”
“Why would I go shopping for a new car in a junkyard?” (Said to a boyfriend worried that the woman would find a new partner in Rehab. She did.)
“Talking clean, living dirty.”
“You’re only as sick as your secrets.”
“You must be honest, open-minded and willing”
“Want to meet a Higher-Power? Walk down the middle of the street naked. You’ll meet a higher power.”
“One is too many, a thousand is not enough.”
“To use is to die.”
“Om-mani-padme-hung.” (Buddha, wisdom, loving-kindness, please bring to me. Meditation mantra.)
“Having trouble with all the God references in the 12 Steps? Substitute ‘Truth’ for ‘God’ “
“It stopped being a luxury and started being a necessity.”
“Alcohol destroys your liver, but heroin destroys your soul.”
“It is a good thing that we don’t look like what we’ve been through.”
(In response to a piece being missing from a jigsaw puzzle and a person wanting to put a note on the box saying there is a missing piece.) “I’ve got a lot of missing pieces, so should I put a note on me?)
“Seeing life through beer goggles.”
“Don’t try to quit, just quit.”
“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.” (A common quote in AA, but worth mentioning.)
“On your tombstone there will be your birthdate and your death-date. The dash in the middle is up to you.)
“Have fun in sobriety.
“I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, just want to be a spoke in the wheel to make it stronger and roll more smoothly.” ( From and AA sponsor.)
“If it looks good, smells good and tastes good, you can’t eat it.” (From a doctor to a recent heart-surgery patient.)
“Just for today, I will be sober.”
“A smart man makes a mistake and learns, a wise man watches the smart man and learns.”
“Do social workers prolong the recovery process to have job security? Why do they put so much talk and effort into relapse instead of recovery?”
“When Love Isn’t Enough………” (Title of moving movie about Bill Wilson, founder of AA.)
“That Lonesome Road.” (Song by James Taylor.)
“You put a bunch of shit and vomit into a blender and expect to get a chocolate cake?”
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
“Retired Black-out Artist.” (On a recovering addict’s T-shirt.)
“I’m so glad to be home.”
Advice from Children.
I recently retired from a career teaching, but before I left, I asked some 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders for some advice.
Here is a summary of their advice.
Keep going to local sporting events.
Play with pets.
Take care of animals.
Give yourself treats.
Do something out of the ordinary.
From “Discovering the Life of Leoardo Da Vinci” by Serge Bramly:
“The temptation of dolce far niente – in other words, a peaceful country life – was a powerful one at the time. Almost any banker or merchant – but also any doctor, tanner, or joiner – would have a country retreat, appropriate to his means, where he could spend weekends or holidays and to which he dreamed of retiring. Leonardo, too, dreamed of this in moments of depression, as is suggested by the little fable he composed in Milan:
‘A stone of good size, washed bare by the rain, once stood in a high place, surrounded by flowers of many colors, at the edge of a grove overlooking a rock-strewn road. After looking for so long at the stones on the path, it was overcome with desire to let itself fall down among them. “What am I doing here among plants? It asked itself. “I ought to be down there, with my own kind.” So it rolled to the bottom of the slope and joined the others. But the wheels of carts, the hooves of horses, and the feet of passerbys had before long reduced it to a state of perpetual distress. Everything seemed to roll over it or kick it. Sometimes, when it was soiled with mud or the dung of animals, it would look up a little – in vain – at the place it had left: that place of solitude and peaceful happiness. That is what happens to anyone who seeks to abandon the solitary and contemplative life to come and live in town, among people of infinite wickedness.”
“On a large page, he copied out some rules of hygiene, turned into verse:
If you would be healthy, observe this advice:
Eat only when hungry, and let light fare suffice.
Chew all you food well, ad this rule always follow:
Well cooked and simple be all tat you swallow.
On leaving the table, a good posture keep,
And after your luncheon do not yield to sleep.
Let little and often be your rule for wine,
But not between meals or when waiting to dine.
Visit to the privy should not be postponed…..”
It seems … that, unlike Socrates, Leonardo did not believe that men were fundamentally good. Some individuals did not even seem to him to deserve the bodies the Creator had given them. Leonardo writes: “How many people there are, who could be described as mere channels for food, producers of excrement, fillers of latrines, for they have no other purpose in this world; they practice no virtue whatsoever; all that remains after them is a full latrine.
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,“
That saying was taken from a soliloquy by Polonius in Act I, Scene 3 of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Polonius is giving advice to his son Laertes before Laertes heads back to school.
More on this idea soon.
3/13 from Sherri Stites
–I Believe in Nothing.
That is not to say I don’t believe in anything. If this sounds confusing, let me try to explain by telling you my story of how I came to believe in nothing.
It all started when I was a child and as a child I attended church three times a week along with my parents and siblings. I didn’t mind going to church, in fact, the people at church were quite loving and accepting. I was of course taught about the harsh consequences of being “bad”. But this didn’t bother me, as I had no real desires to be bad anyway. Besides I found God to be much easier to please than my mother.
Jesus died for my sins, I was taught, and so when I was seven, I confessed all my sins (well as much as a seven year old can accumulate), and accepted Jesus as my savior. Christianity became my life.
Then in my late twenties, I began to question my faith. I wondered if I believed all this just because it was what I had been taught. So I embarked on a year long project of reading the entire bible with an open mind and with the goal of discovering the truth. Well at the end of that year I determined that I did not believe what I had been taught in church all these years. So, now what do I do, suddenly at age 29 I found myself belief less. I did not like the feelings of having no beliefs so thus began my search for my own spiritual path and meaning to life. But, it was not easy to remove the teachings I had learned since a child. There were three events that happened to me in the subsequent years that led me to my current philosophy on life and my own spiritual beliefs.
The first one was an EST seminar that I attended in the seventies. For those who are unfamiliar with EST, it is short for Erhard Seminars Training.
Werner Erhard, the founder of EST, says that The point to the est training is to go down through layer, after layer, after layer, after layer, until you got to the last layer and peeled it off where the recognition is that it’s really all empty and meaningless. All of the rules you place on yourself are gone and what you are left with is nothing, and nothing is an extraordinarily powerful place to stand because it is only from nothing that you can create.
This was the first time I can remember hearing something other than the “Christian” viewpoint on how things are. What I got from this was that I came to know myself, not what I thought, not what I felt but I came to know myself honestly.
But I still did not know what “I” believed. Which leads me to the second event that took place and had a profound impact on where I am today. In the 80’s I began experiencing severe depression and sought relief from several different therapists. Not finding the solution I desired in order to be “happy” or at least not severely “unhappy”, I started seeing a psychiatrist in La Conner. I had been referred by a friend and told they had an entirely unique way of dealing with depression.
These sessions were more like a classroom the attempted to teach me a concept called “Psychology of Mind” This is what I learned: At the heart of moment to moment life lies mind, thought and consciousness, and everyone has the ability to form thoughts, And, making these thoughts appear real by using consciousness is our nature. And here is the crux of their philosophy.
HOW WE THINK AND HOW WE CREATE OUR REALITY DETERMINES THE QUALITY OF OUR EXPERIENCE OF LIFE.
I discovered that I was in fact not depressed, only my thoughts were, and I could control my thoughts. I found that thought can keep me a prisoner of my past or it can set me free. I decided to let it set me free. I have not experienced one second of depression since walking out of that office 20 years ago.My last visit to the office in La Conner brought such a revelation to me that for the next 10 years I investigated the subject of mind and thought and how it relates to my own spirituality.
The third event was actually a book I read rather than any interaction with others. The name of the book was “Tao Te Ching” written by Lao dsuh, the father of taoism who taught that all striving and straining is counterproductive. One should do nothing he says.He calls this Wu-wei. It does not mean to literally just do nothing, but to follow the natural forces of nature. This is done by understanding the principles behind nature, or the natural order of things and then allowing our actions to follow this natural flow of life. “By doing nothing, one can accomplish everything.” he says.
You have to forget all you have learned in order to enter the frame of mind to understand this. This is the essence of meditation. So, naturally the next step in my search was to investigate meditation. So, I started meditating.
And this is what I discovered:
I had been looking everywhere to mind myself, to find spirituality. I looked in books, I listened to tapes, and I went on retreats. And I didn’t find it because I was looking in the wrong directions. to find the answer? I found myself pondering this question over and over, and in this question I found where to go to find my answers.
NOWHERE This revelation was lying deep within my consciousness, but it was hidden in a maze of my own personal thoughts. One day as I was meditating I found myself pondering the question, If,” I think therefore I am” is true, what happens when I am meditating and have no thoughts? Do I disappear?
See, I had discovered that during meditation and other moments of mindfulness that there are gaps between my thoughts and in these gaps, guess what I found?NOTHING I found absolutely NOTHING. And every time I tried to find meaning and purpose in life, I came to the same spot. I came to the end of the search and there was NOTHING. And it was wonderful, marvelous, peaceful and calm. There is nowhere else that I have found that feels like this is where I belong, where I feel like I am finally home.
The first time I experienced this nothingness, was the first time I felt awake and not like I was sleep walking through life. So, with nothing to do and nowhere to go, I arrived Home.
from the Dali Lama
from the book “The At of Happiness, a Handbook for Living”, in the chapter on finding meaning in Pain and Suffering:
“In Italy, for example, thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed-but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they have brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what have they produced? The cuckoo clock.”
“While at times suffering can serve to toughen us, to strengthen us, at other times, it can have value by functioning in the opposite manner-to soften us, to make us more sensitive and gentle. The vulnerability we experience in the midst of our suffering can open us and deepen our connection with others.”
(the following is from Brother Andy)
SOMETHING TO PONDER: George Carlin
George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.
In a blanket email to friends and associates, it was reported that:
The following was lifted from Yahoo.
What baby boomers need to live to 100
By Glenn Ruffenach | MarketWatch – Sat, Jun 23, 2012 5:42 AM EDT
Yahoo! editors have selected this article as a favorite of 2012. It first appeared on Yahoo! Finance in June and was one of the most popular stories of the month. Readers pointed out that living a long life can be a mixed blessing if you outlive all your loved ones. “My Dad lived to 103,” said user Don C. “When [asked] what he attributed his long life [to], he replied ‘Just bad luck.'”
Your chances of reaching age 100 could be better than you think — especially if you get some additional sleep and improve your diet.
U.S. seniors who make it to their 100th birthdays tend to credit social connections, exercise and spiritual activity as keys to successful aging.
Research from UnitedHealthcare looks at centenarians and baby boomers, asking the former about the “secrets of aging success” and evaluating whether the latter are taking the necessary steps to celebrate a 100th birthday.
The primary findings: Many boomers are embracing lifestyles that could lead to a long and rewarding life — with two exceptions. More than seven in 10 centenarians — 71% — say they get eight hours or more of sleep each night. By contrast, only 38% of boomers say they get the same amount of rest. And when it comes to eating right, more than eight in 10 centenarians say they regularly consume a balanced meal, compared with just over two-thirds (68%) of baby boomers.
The report — “100@100 Survey” (view PDF at UnitedHealthGroup.com) — begins with some startling numbers. As of late 2010, the U.S. had an estimated 72,000 centenarians, according to the Census Bureau. By the year 2050, that number — with the aging of the baby-boom generation — is expected to reach more than 600,000. Meanwhile, an estimated 10,000 boomers each and every day — for the next decade — will turn 65.
How to reach 100? Centenarians point to social connections, exercise and spiritual activity as some of the keys to successful aging. Among surveyed centenarians, almost nine in 10 — fully 89% — say they communicate with a family member or friend every day; about two-thirds (67%) pray, meditate or engage in some form of spiritual activity; and just over half (51%) say they exercise almost daily.
In each of these areas, baby boomers, as it turns out, match up fairly well. The same percentage of boomers as centenarians — 89% — say they’re in touch with friends or family members on a regular basis. Sixty percent of surveyed baby boomers say spiritual activity is an important part of their lives, and almost six in 10 boomers (59%) exercise regularly.
Again, sleep and diet are the two areas where baby boomers come up short. Not surprisingly, the one area where boomers are more active is the workplace. Three-quarters (76%) of surveyed baby boomers say they work at a job or hobby almost every day; that compares with 16% of centenarians.
Finally, researchers turned to cultural affairs and asked centenarians and boomers to identify — from a list of 14 notable people (including President Obama, singer Paul McCartney and actors Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts) — their preferred dinner guest. The top choice among centenarians and boomers alike: actress and comedienne Betty White
The Beach Naturalist… Gregory Books
Nov. 1990? Reprinted in 2010/2012 by the Westport, WA South Beach Bulletin, Ed. Barb Aue
Thank you ocean, for always being there when I need your peace. When the problems of the world get me down, you’re always there to soothe away the stress with your rhythmic massaging of the land’s edge. You do such a fine job of putting things in perspective. I always leave you feeling refreshed.
Thank you gulls for gracing the sky with your wings. Your soaring lifts my spirits when I’m down and inspires me to innovate when I’m feeling dull. Thank you also for teaching me to protect what is mine because there always seems like someone out there is trying to take it away.
Thank you wind and tide for erasing the marks of the day and replacing them with a fresh slate of sand. It reminds me of how ephemeral we humans are, of how important it is to treasure each day as it unfolds and that every morning is a fresh start.
Thank you drizzle and cold. Were it not for your bone-chilling tendencies, we’d be over-run with Californians by now.
Thank you razor clams, for holding your own. And thanks to all the biologists and resource managers who monitor the population levels and health of the razor clams so we can enjoy their bounty far into the future.
Thank you sand dollars for being so unique. I never tire of marveling at your wondrous form and your unique niche.
Thank you salmon, for hanging in there. We humans have not been very respectful of you or your habitat in the past. Perhaps slowly we are getting our acts together and we trust that you’ll do what you can to hang on a little longer while we do more to ensure your long-term survival.
Thank you Peregrine falcon for returning from the brink of extinction to thrill us with your skill and agility. Your bold tactics and relentless pursuit of your quarry inspires me to push hard toward meeting my own goals, despite the obstacles and challenges.
Thank you slugs, for reminding me that the race doesn’t always go to the fastest. Patience and persistence are virtues I always think of when I see you slowly going about your version of survival.
Thank you fishermen and women for risking your lives bringing in the seafood we rely on. Few consumers know how hard you work, how expensive it is to stay in business and how little control you have over quotas and market prices. Thanks for being so tough.
Thank you Coast Guard personnel. We all sleep a little better knowing that you’re watching over our shores and are ready at a moment’s notice to rescue our friends and loved ones should they need help.
And thank you to all the many advertisers who support this paper. Without you, there would be no paper at all.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Thank you Barb, for working so hard all these years to put together this fine publication week after week. Hardly anyone appreciates your efforts, or how much of a hassle it can be printing a newspaper out of your home. Thank you too, Barb, for correcting all my typos and for printing without criticism anything I feel like writing. I know you take heat for me sometimes, and I appreciate your trust and support.
more wisdom from Brother Andy….and it came at a truly serendipitous time...
“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.
You surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
Forget the bad, and focus on the good.
Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t.
Life is too short to be anything but happy.
Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.”
― José N. Harris, MI VIDA
Amen Andrew, Amen.
and here is another one from Brother Andy
Thinking outside the box…..or rather the jar.
Bill Gates releases mosquitoes on conference audience
Bill Gates, Microsoft founder turned philanthropist, released a swarm of mosquitoes at a technology conference to make a point about the deadly sting of malaria.
“Malaria is spread by mosquitoes,” Mr Gates said while opening a jar onstage at a gathering known to attract technology kings, politicians, and Hollywood stars.
“I brought some. Here I’ll let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected.”
Mr Gates waited a minute or so before assuring the audience the liberated insects were malaria-free.
The Technology, Entertainment, Design Conference curator, Chris Anderson joked that the headline for the video of Mr Gates’s talk to be posted online at Ted.com would be “Gates releases more bugs into the world”.
Mr Gates detailed the strides made in dealing with malaria in affluent countries and the need to fight the disease in impoverished nations.
“There is more money put into baldness drugs than into malaria,” he quipped. “Now, baldness is a terrible thing and rich men are afflicted. That is why that priority has been set.”
He called for aggressive distribution of insect netting and other gear proven to protect people from disease-transmitting stings.
He also shared that a malaria vaccine backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation should start Phase Three testing in a few months.
“I am an optimist; I think any tough problem can be solved,” Mr Gates said.
“The market does not drive scientists, thinkers, or governments to do the right things. Only by paying attention and making people care can we make as much progress as we need to.
- Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.
- Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
- Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
- Drive carefully. It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
- If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
- If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
- It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to be kind to others.
- Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because you won’t have a leg to stand on.
- Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
- Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
- The second mouse gets the cheese.
- When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
- Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
- You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
- Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
- We could learn a lot from crayons… some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull… some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
- A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
- One joy will scatter a hundred sorrows!
- Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody’s watching.
- Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is ready cash………use it!
- One must always strive to be himself, no matter how frightening or strange that may prove to be!
- Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity!
- Peace is not the absence of conflict……………peace is the presence of God!
- Pain and suffering is inevitable, but misery is optional.
- “Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from ANY direction.” – Danny Saradon
- Efficiency is doing better what is already being done!
- A good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help another up.
- Everything is always okay in the end…………..if it’s not, then it’s not the end!
- Happiness comes through doors you didn’t even know you left open.
- Here’s a test to find out if your mission in life is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t!
- Money can always be made………………but knowledge is priceless!
- Happiness is NOT having what you want………………..but rather wanting what you have!
And from the “musical” archives:
- “When words leave off…………music begins.” – Heinrich Heine
- “Music is an outburst of the soul.” – Frederick Delius
- “Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.” – Oscar Wilde
- “Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life.” – Jean Paul Richter
- “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius
- “The joy of music should never be interrupted by a commercial.” – Leonard Bernstein
- “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There is plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backward or sideways.”
- “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” – Beethoven
- “If I ever die of a heart attack, I hope it will be from playing my stereo too loud. ” – Anonymous
- “Music is what feelings sound like.” – Anonymous
- “The bubbling brook would lose its song if you removed the rocks.”
-From Brother Andrew
And Eddie Harris’ lyrics:
A-Hangin’ on, with push and shove
Possession is the motivation
that is hangin’ up the God-damn nation
Looks like we always end up in a rut (everybody now!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby!Slaughterhouse is killin’ hogs
Twisted children killin’ frogs
Poor dumb rednecks rollin’ logs
Tired old lady kissin’ dogs
I hate the human love of that stinking mutt (I can’t use it!)
Try to make it real — compared to what? C’mon baby now!The President, he’s got his war
Folks don’t know just what it’s for
Nobody gives us rhyme or reason
Have one doubt, they call it treason
We’re chicken-feathers, all without one nut. God damn it!
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what? (Sock it to me)Church on Sunday, sleep and nod
Tryin’ to duck the wrath of God
Preacher’s fillin’ us with fright
They all tryin’ to teach us what they think is right
They really got to be some kind of nut (I can’t use it!)
Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?Where’s that bee and where’s that honey?
Where’s my God and where’s my money?
Unreal values, crass distortion
Unwed mothers need abortion
Kind of brings to mind ol’ young King Tut (He did it now)
Tried to make it real — compared to what?!Tryin’ to make it real — compared to what?
Donald Dean, Leroy Vinnegar, Benny Bailey, Eddie Harris
“It’s a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally.
It gives us some sense of what is rock under our feet, and what is sand.”
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society
that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
“The people who say you are not facing reality actually mean that you are not facing their idea of reality.”
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thru’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love
until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute,
every breath, is a gift from God.”
-Mary Manin Morrissey
“Motivation is an external, temporary high that pushes you forward. Inspiration is a sustainable internal glow which pulls you forward.”
“Conquering any difficulty always gives one a secret joy, for it means pushing back a boundary-line and adding to one’s liberty.”
-Henri Frederic Amiel
A time comes in your life when you finally get it… When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out – ENOUGH!
Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.
This is your awakening. You realize that it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that He is not Prince Charming and You are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.
You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions. And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process, a sense of newfound confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop bitching and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it’s not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.
You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process, sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the crap you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look and how much you should weigh and what you should wear and where you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should do for a living, who you should sleep with and who you should marry and what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents.
You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with, and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.
You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for your next fix. You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.
You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not your job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say “NO”. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.
Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change so it is with love… And you learn that you don’t have the right to demand love on your terms just to make you happy.
And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely… You look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 4 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you “stack up.” You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK… that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things that you want… that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won’t settle for less. And, you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his touch… and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect.
And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.
You learn, that for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve… and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it’s OK to risk asking for help.
You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time. FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fear because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It’s just life happening.
And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state – the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and start building bridges instead of walls.
You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.
Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself, and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.
Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.
After pain, a formal feeling comes –
The nerves sit, ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?
The Feet, mechanical, go round –
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
A Wooden way
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –
This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go
– Emily Dickinson
“Signs of Inner Peace”
A tendency to think and act deliberately, rather
than from fears based on past experiences.
An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
A loss of interest in judging others.
A loss of interest in judging self.
A loss of interest in conflict.
A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
A loss of ability to worry.
Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
Contented feelings of connectedness
with others and nature.
Frequent attacks of smiling through the heart.
Increasing susceptibility to kindness offered,
and the uncontrollable urge to reciprocate.
An increasing tendency to allow things to unfold,
rather than resisting and manipulating.