Half of our
mistakes in life arise from feeling where we
to think, and thinking
where we ought to feel.
John Churton Collins
I don't ask for the
meaning of the song of a bird
or the rising of
the sun on a misty morning. There they are, and they are beautiful.
Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot
surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.
George Bernard Shaw
silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is
Handle with Prayer
most rudimentary form of prayer is worry.
How, you ask, could worry be a form of prayer? Worry
is not only a form of prayer, it is the form most often
practiced by the most people. How can this be?
understanding of prayer beings with one basic principle:
think is to create.
thought you think tends to manifest according to its
nature. Everything in your life began with an
idea. If you are going to build a home, you start
with a blueprint. If you are painting a portrait,
the model sits before you as you set your hand to the
canvas. If you are traveling from Chicago to
Seattle, a thought precedes your first step. The
notion of something coming into existence without a
thought preceding it is as preposterous as a flower
growing without a seed to start it.
brings us to our second prayer principle:
thoughts create according to their own kind.
make apples, and oranges form oranges. An apple seed
has never grown an orange, and it never will. In the
same way, thoughts of love, light, and joy beget more of
the same; and thoughts of fear, lack, and smallness
attract their own kind.
change your life, begin by changing your thoughts.
most people do not understand that every thought is a
prayer, they attempt to change their lives by rearranging
the outer world without addressing the negative thoughts
they are holding about it. This is called a
"geographical cure," which does not work.
It is useless to try to change your outer world unless you
first change your inner world. If you attempt to
make external changes before doing the necessary inner
transformation, the outer world will just keep repeating
the same pattern. The movie Groundhog Day
illustrates a very entertaining lesson in how we keep
re-creating the same situation over and over again until
we change our mind. The moment our attitude shifts,
so does the situation.
you want or love something a great deal, you will attract
it into your life. And if you fear or worry about
something with emotional intensity, you will attract the
object of your fear. The universal manifestation
machine is unbiased in turning your thoughts into reality.
you are not aware that your thoughts are powerful, you
will spend a great deal of time thinking and talking about
what you do not want, and you will receive more of the
same, and on and on, until your life is a mess and you
have no idea why. You will identity yourself as
victim, find people who agree with you; and discover news
stories, scientific studies, and all manner of evidence to
prove that life is unfair and you are just a pimple on the
complexion of the universe.
is another way. You weren't born to live small, and
you don't have to. You can shift your attitude now
and begin to think about what you do want instead of what
you don't want. Then, the universe will have no
choice but to give you what you are concentrating on in
your favor, instead of against it.
is the power of creation turned against your own best
interests. The same engine that runs your car in
reverse will move it forward if you but reposition the
gearshift. To shift from reverse to drive, reframe
your experiences to find the blessing rather than the
problem. Then you will become the master of your
universe, rather than its victim.
you become is not a result of what happens to you; it is a
result of how you think about what happens to you.
Six-year-old Tommy's parents were aghast as they watched
their son repeatedly throw a baseball in the air, swing at
it with a bat, and miss it by a foot. Finally,
Tommy's dad could take it no longer. He approached the
boy, put a hand on his shoulder, and compassionately told
him, "Well, son, I guess you're just not meant
to be a hitter."
the child looked at his father questioningly.
"Who cares about hitting? I'm going to be the
greatest pitcher who ever lived!"
Jesus taught, "As a man thinketh, so shall it
be," he was reminding us that we must keep our mind
on our hopes, not our fears. We must focus on our
heart's desires rather than our nightmares.
is your antidote to worry: Choose a phrase that
brings you release, relief, and empowerment, such as
"Peace, be still," "The power of God is
within me," or "Love is the answer."
Whenever worry begins to set in, consciously and
meditatively repeat your positive phrase until you return
to peace. The mind is capable of paying attention to
only one thought at a time. If you focus on ideas
that uplift you, your mind will be unable to dwell on
fearful issues. Eventually you will develop the
habit of positive thinking, and the worry that once
haunted you will have no reality. Begin to master
the power of prayer by replacing self-defeating thoughts
with visions of your brightest future.
I set my mind and heart on a new path. I focus my
energy on love, appreciation, and my highest
possibilities. Today I claim responsibility for my
own success, and step forward with a new enthusiasm to
manifest unprecedented good. I use my mind to create
only the best, and I draw unto me all the support and
resources I need for positive change. Thank you,
God, for opening the door to a life filled with blessings.
with Prayer offers a wealth of insights into
deepening our prayer and bringing our dreams to
life. In a comfortably friendly yet profoundly
moving way, Alan Cohen guides readers to create
real and lasting changes in their health,
prosperity, relationships, and spiritual paths.
Prayer, we discover, is a magnificent adventure in
manifesting miracles and creating the life of our
heart's desire. In this inspiring book, Alan gives
you the formula for making your dreams come
through, teaching you that enthusiasm generates
creativity. His formula is: Desire + Belief =
Results. He says, "Desire is the engine that
drives spontaneous visioning. When you are
enthusiastic, you are linked with the divine. Joy
is the pipeline to heaven, and if you keep your
channel open and flowing, you will bring heaven to
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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Brett's 45 Life Lessons and 5 to Grow on
celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life
is the most-requested column I've ever written. My
odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:
Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
When in doubt, just take the next small step.
Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
Pay off your credit cards every month.
You don't have to win every argument. Agree to
Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying
It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the
It's OK to let your children see you cry.
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea
what their journey is all about.
If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in
Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But
don't worry; God never blinks.
Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy
living, or get busy dying.
You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But
the second one is up to you and no one else.
When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't
take no for an answer.
Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy
lingerie. Don't save it for a special
occasion. Today is special.
Overprepare, then go with the flow.
Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear
The most important sex organ is the brain.
No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
Frame every so-called disaster with these words:
"In five years, will this matter?"
Always choose life.
Forgive everyone everything.
What other people think of you is none of your business.
Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
Your job won't take care of you when you are sick.
Your friends will. Stay in touch.
Believe in miracles.
God loves you because of who God is, not because of
anything you did or didn't do.
Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
Your children get only one childhood. Make it
Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone
else's, we'd grab ours back.
Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it
Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or
All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you
The best is yet to come.
No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
If you don't ask, you don't get.
Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
* * * * *
Brett is a columnist for The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
You can contact her at email@example.com.
You can also read some of her thoughts about this piece at
Wallpaper! Just click below
the size your desktop is
right-click on the
picture that appears
in the new
window, and choose
"Set as background."
photo's from a spring
day in Kootenay National Park)
x 800 - 1440
years, the people of Canyon Bluff have shared the stories
of the Nogglz, their own version of the monsters in the
closet. "If you don't behave, the Nogglz will come
and get you and carry you down into the mines,"
they've told their children. Of course, they were just
stories. Nobody could have stayed alive in an old mine for
six decades. But when one of their own is brutally
murdered one cold November night, it may be time to come
to terms with the sins of their fathers and their own ties
to the town's dreadful past. And for the sheriff and his
deputy and the state troopers who are called to the town
to deal with the murder, an ordinary day becomes an
extraordinary battle for simple survival.
I write things just to tell a story, but I just can't help
mentioning some life lessons, even in a novel about
creatures running amok in an old mining town in the
Colorado mountains. Nogglz is available in
print by clicking
here, or as a Kindle e-book by using the link to the
left. Using the mining town as the setting is a
tribute to my mother, who grew up in a tiny mining town
herself, and who has never left there in her heart.
We are motivated more
by aversion to the unpleasant than by a will
freedom, or healing. We are constantly attempting to
escape our life, to avoid rather than enter our pain,
and we wonder why it is so difficult to be fully alive.
A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were
I feel uncomfortable with the
fact that the idea of prayer seems to have been hijacked by
organized religions. In the process, the people who have
done the hijacking have attached all sorts of rules to
prayer--what to say, how to say it, when to say it, what position
the body should be in while we pray--all sorts of limitations on
prayer that have mostly resulted in turning people off of prayer.
The fact is, though, that prayer is a form of communication
between a person and God, whatever that person believes God to
be. I simply cannot say something like, "Your prayers
aren't heard because you aren't praying to my version of
God." The truth is, of course, that God exists on
his/her own level, and it's not within my realm of knowledge to
know what God does and does not do, what God does and does not
accept. My only task in life is to what I believe is right
in God's eyes, and not to tell others that they have to behave
based in ways that correspond to my beliefs.
That said, I have to say that prayer is a wonderful source of
peace and clarity in our lives--or at least, it can be. In
my life, I neglect prayer pretty regularly because I get caught up
in doing the things that I need to be doing. I do pray, but
not as much as I could or in the ways I'd like to. It's a
shame because prayer could be bringing me much more peace than it
Prayer does not change God,
changes those who pray.
simply a dialogue between us and our Creator.
Even those people who don't believe in a God have a
place for prayer in their lives, for somewhere along
the line, we all were created. Whether we see
that creation as the work of a deity or a simple
occurrence on this amazing planet on which we live,
there is place for prayer. We can pray in
thanks to the world for our gifts; we can pray in
admiration of the beauty and abundance of the world;
we can pray in awe of the fact that the atoms and
molecules and cells that make us all up somehow have
given us this life to live for the time that we're
And when we pray, we are changed. When I pray,
there are several changes that I feel
immediately. First of all, I feel a sense of
clarification about the issues for which I
pray. If I'm having problems and I pray for
strength to deal with them or peace of mind while
dealing with them, my prayers help to put them in
perspective. Am I expecting God to intervene
and just cancel out all my problems in one fell
swoop? Absolutely not. But I do feel a
certain peace just in knowing that I'm addressing
those problems and that I recognize their importance
in my life--and that I'm acknowledging them and
accepting them just as they are, in the hopes of
dealing with them effectively.
Prayer also changes me in that when I pray for
someone else, I'm creating links between me and
others, even if those links are merely the positive
thoughts that I'm sharing on their behalf. I
can never be sure if my prayers for others are
actually answered or not, but I can be sure that I'm
putting positive energy into the world when I pray
for good things for other people. There are
enough people putting negative energy into the
world--we need more of us sharing our positive
prayers. Life is all about energy--think about
how you feel around someone who's constantly
negative and critical versus how you feel around a
person who has positive encouragement and love to
share. You feel different based on the energy
that is a part of who they are, and thus a part of
the environment in which they find themselves.
What kind of energy do you contribute?
is not an old woman's
applied, it is the most potent
instrument of action.
Prayer can also
bring about change. While it shouldn't be used
as a substitute for necessary action, it does serve
many valuable purposes on its own. When
changes are necessary in life and many people are
praying for the same changes, then there are
results. Unfortunately, the results aren't
always what we consider to be our desired results,
so we think that prayer has failed. Life,
though, is much better at knowing which results are
necessary for better things to happen, and we
shouldn't lose faith in the strength of our prayers
just because we were mistaken in the results we
hoped to see.
I believe in the power of prayer because I've seen
the results in many people I know. These
people make prayer a central part of their lives,
and they do see benefits from it. They're not
people who are specially gifted or privileged, or
any closer to God than you or I, but because they do
pray regularly and realistically, their prayers make
sense and they're very often
"answered." Is an answered prayer a
direct result from asking God something? It
doesn't seem realistic to me to think that God says,
"I think I'll answer Jimmy's prayer today, but
not David's." It makes no sense.
But if they're praying, both Jimmy and David are
putting themselves into the flow of life, and they
both will see benefits from that action, even if not
at the same time.
Both of them also are focused on allowing a higher
power to influence their actions and words and
thoughts. It's important to note that they're
not becoming passive people just waiting for God to
do something for them--they're still living their
lives, just under the influence of unconditional
love and compassion.
value of persistent prayer is not that
will hear us.
. . but that we will finally hear Him.
indeed, is where the greatest strength of prayer
resides--in the love and compassion of the Creator,
and allowing that love and compassion to work in our
lives and accepting that love and compassion for
ourselves. We are loved, all of us, even if
sometimes we feel that we aren't. Our prayer
lives allow us to know that we are loved and that
compassion is ours--all the time. And if we're
the recipients of compassion, then we can share
compassion ourselves; if we're the recipients of
love, then we can spread love in our lives as well.
What are we listening for when we pray? It's
simple. We're listening for the words "I
love you," and for the input that will allow us
to change situations for the better. That
knowledge is already a part of us, just as God is a
part of each of us, and prayer helps us to unlock
that knowledge and put it to use. Perhaps what
is needed in a situation is to let it develop
without our input, and the best thing we can do is
stand by and wait until the time is right for us to
contribute. This is something that we've
probably already noticed on a subconscious level,
and our prayers can help us to bring this knowledge
to the conscious level. This is what listening
is all about--acknowledging a higher knowledge and
accepting what it tells us is best for everyone
involved, and following the advice. The voice
of God isn't a commanding or demanding voice that
booms down from the heavens; rather, it's a small
voice inside of ourselves that we can hear in the
silence of our prayer time.
Prayer is not an antiquated, out-of-date strategy
for getting what we want. Prayer is one of the
most important elements of a life that if full of
love and peace and compassion, and it would be doing
a great service to ourselves if we were to take
prayer seriously and make it an integral part of who
we are. Many will benefit if we do so.
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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We do not succeed
in changing things according to our desire, but gradually
changes. The situation that we hoped to change because
intolerable becomes unimportant. We have not managed to surmount
the obstacle, as we were absolutely determined to do, but life has taken
around it, led us past it, and then if we turn around to gaze at the
we can barely catch sight of it, so imperceptible has it become.
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."
tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of
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.
a year of one-sentence reminders
of ways that we can
make the most of our lives each day that we live.
New expanded edition!
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novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey
will remind you of all that is good in this world.
Book - Kindle
Read Chapter One
David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
a ride west, he can't imagine the lessons he'll learn
about his life.
Book - Kindle
Read Chapter One
and spending, we lay waste our powers," wrote
Wordsworth over 150 years ago. And we're still doing
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