5 April 2016
and motivation are exactly like nutrition. You have
to keep on taking it daily, in healthy doses.
Otherwise depletion, fatigue, depression and lack of
ambition and achievement will very soon manifest
react emotionally to criticism to the extent of allowing it
to affect sound judgment. Analyze yourself to
determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct
yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business.
person is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom
consists in not exceeding the limit.
Secret of Effortless Happiness
(Excerpted from The Secret of Letting Go)
you ever noticed just how unhappy you can get over the
fact you are not happy? Unexamined, this behavior seems to
make sense. But a closer look at it will reveal that being
unhappy over being unhappy is like throwing gasoline on a
fire to put it out. You get lots of fire and smoke -- even
a strange excitement -- but in the end all you are left
with is ashes. This is why you must understand this next
can make yourself miserable but you can't make yourself
shouldn't be too much of a surprise as we begin to learn
that we have been unconscious conspirators in our own
unhappy lives. Even if it wasn't being pointed out, most
of us can admit that at times we do make ourselves
miserable. But there is nothing good about feeling
bad. There is never a justification for tolerating
self-misery because what is self-induced can be
self-reduced and ultimately eliminated if you are willing
to understand the underlying causes. This is why we must
look at why it is impossible to make ourselves happy if we
ever want to come upon authentic happiness.
of drugs and alcohol, which are obviously not the way to
happiness, whenever you want to make yourself happy, you
must put forth an effort of some kind. Effort implies the
application of force in a specific direction. We can see
that this is good and necessary in following preconceived
plans for construction projects, business concerns or
cooking, for example.
You can also make an effort to
imagine or visualize new shapes and ideas to help in the
creative process. But when it comes to being happy, any
effort is the wrong one. Let's see if this is true. If it
is, then we are on the verge of an even higher discovery:
Real happiness is effortless. Let's find out more about
this new possibility.
described, where there is an effort, there is, whether
known or not, always a plan. All plans by definition are
to build something; in this instance your plans are to
build happiness. With this preconceived plan, this picture
of happiness firmly fixed in your mind, you meet each of
life's events looking for your picture instead of
experiencing what life has brought to you. This painful
and stress-producing process of comparison goes on
unknowingly and it ruins everything it touches. Life
becomes a series of disappointments instead of a series of
happy adventures. Please ponder this next point. You could
never be unhappy with anything you found in this life if
you didn't already have it fixed in your mind what you
were looking for.
we can learn from this that our ideas about happiness are
more often than not the very root of our unhappiness. The
point here is that happiness cannot be made. It is not the
result of anything. Happiness comes to those who
understand that you can't seek it any more than you seek
the air you breathe. It is a part of life to be found
within living. The excitement of anticipation is not
happiness, any more than smelling freshly-baked bread
nourishes a hungry body. All pursuit of happiness is based
upon the false assumption that happiness can be possessed.
It cannot. Happiness is the natural expression of a
stress-free life, just as sunlight naturally warms the
earth after dark clouds disappear.
Finley is Founder and
Director of the Life of
to helping people realize their
Relationship with Life.
Guy is the author of over
books and audio albums
that have sold over a million
copies in 15 languages
worldwide, and is on the
the Omega Institute,
the nation's largest and
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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What does it mean to live a full life? How do we
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This is just part of an article written by Orville Kelly,
explaining how he founded the "Make Today Count"
organization after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
the period when I was severely depressed, I was being
treated efficiently and with kindness and sympathy by the
physicians who had pronounced the death sentence.
Ministers discussed life after death. But no one
seemed to mention living for today!
have to admit that though I may be helping others through
Make Today Count, I am also helping myself. I have
stopped measuring time in months and years. Seconds
are the framework in which I operate. The trace of a
smile on my wife's face, the laughter of my children, a
flash of sunlight. They are of the moment, and of a
course my wife and I dreamed of growing old together, but
we have learned that life is fragile and unpredictable for
everyone. Of course I didn't want to have cancer,
but I didn't have any choice. So I say to myself,
"What do I have to lose by trying to be happy?"
people have achieved immortality through their art or
through acts of heroism or nobility. Since I am
neither especially talented nor heroic, facing death has
been especially difficult. The fear and uncertainty
that confronted me when I learned I had terminal cancer
were worse than the idea of death itself. Looking
back to those first days of shock, I know now that my
family and I grieved about a death that had not yet
occurred. But by discussing death and being open
about cancer and its problems, I have found myself more
concerned with life than with death.
other words, until we realize that death is a part of
life, I don't think we can truly enjoy life. Because
I feel that way, when a man recently said to me, "We
have something in common; we are both dying of
cancer," I was able to reply, "No, we have in
common the fact that we are both still alive."
other day a little girl at school remarked to my
nine-year-old daughter, "I saw your daddy on TV and
he is dying of cancer, isn't he?"
my daughter replied, "but he's not dead yet!"
by a long shot. Today is where I am and today I am
alive. I am not especially concerned about yesterday
or tomorrow. I am concerned about today . . . right
now! I am trying to make time count.
back, I find it difficult to believe that I am the same
person who blamed God for my cancer and who doubted his
existence. Perhaps, in my case, death made me aware
night when I found it difficult to sleep, I wrote a
prayer. It goes like this:
Heavenly Father. . .
Give me the strength to face each night
Before the dawn.
Give me the courage to watch my children at play,
And my wife at my side,
Without a trace of sorrow in my smile;
Let me count each passing moment,
As I once marked the fleeting days and nights,
And give me hope for each tomorrow.
Let my dreams be dreams of the future.
But when life on earth is over,
Let there be no sadness,
But only joy, for the golden days I've had.
^ ^ ^ ^
The late Orville Kelly was one of the co-founders of
"Make Today Count," a support group/organization
developed to support people with terminal illnesses.
Kelly wrote this poem for his wife,
Spring, and the land lies fresh green
Beneath a yellow sun
We walked the land together, you and I
And never knew what the future days would bring:
Will you often think of me,
When flowers burst forth each year?
When the earth begins to grow again?
Some say death is so final,
But my love for you can never die,
Just as the sun once warmed our hearts,
Let this love touch you some night,
When I am gone,
And loneliness comes-
Before the dawn begins to scatter
Your dreams away.
Summer, and I never knew a bird
Could sing so sweet and clear,
Until they told me I must leave you
For a while.
I never knew the sky could be so deep a blue,
Until I knew I could not grow old with you
But better to be loved by you,
Than to have lived a million summers,
And never known your love.
Together, let us you and I
Remember the days and nights,
Fall, and the earth begins to die,
And leaves turn golden-brown upon the trees.
Remember me, too, in autumn, for I will walk with you,
As of old, along a city sidewalk at evening-time,
Though I cannot hold you by the hand.
Winter, and perhaps someday there may be
Another fireplace, another room,
With crackling fire and fragrant smoke,
And turning, suddenly, we will be together,
And I will hear your laughter and touch your face,
And hold you close to me again.
But, until then, if loneliness should seek you out,
Some winter night, when snow is falling down,
Remember, though death has come to me,
Love will never go away.
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is a silence that matches our best possibilities
when we have learned to listen to others. We can master
the art of being quiet in order to be able to hear clearly
what others are saying. . . . We need to cut off the garbled
static of our own preoccupations to give to people
who want our quiet attention.
Learning to Let Go
I've always had a very hard
time letting go of almost anything. If I faced the
possibility of losing something, be it a possession, a friend, or
anything else, it would cause me a lot of anxiety and I would do
whatever I could to hold on to it--a series of attempts that
pretty much always failed. I could never hold on to
something that I wasn't meant to hold on to, no matter how hard I
tried. In fact, ironically enough it seemed that the harder
I tried, the less likely I was to be successful in holding on to
This principle makes perfect sense to me now. After quite a
few years on this planet, I see now that the energy we expend
trying to make the world what we think it should be is not just
wasted energy, but often also energy that pushes things away from
us when we try to keep them close to us. It's one of life's
more subtle ironies. We think that we've failed in
succeeding to hold onto something, but actually we've succeeded in
pushing it away.
This is true if we're trying to hold on to friendships, beliefs,
possessions, or even situations. This is why so many people
have so many problems with endings--after high school is over,
many aren't able to let go of the feelings of camaraderie and
friendship they had there, and they sometimes try to hold onto
those feelings by focusing on their high school years for a long,
long time, even continuing with behaviors that were appropriate in
high school, but that are completely inappropriate for someone who
is older. Some people after a divorce try to hold on to the
relationship by continuing behaviors or adopting new behaviors to
try to "win back" their ex-spouse, instead of letting go
of the person and the relationship and moving on with life.
are things that we never want to let go
of, people we
never want to leave behind.
But keep in mind that
letting go isnít the end
of the world; itís the
beginning of a new life.
So just how do
we learn to let go? It does take work--mostly
mental and emotional work, but sometimes even
physical work. The first step is, of course,
to identify those things that we're holding on to
that may not be good for us. Now, some of
these things may not necessarily be bad for us, but
they may not necessarily be good for us,
either. For example, that set of china that's
sitting in the cupboard and that we almost never use
isn't necessarily bad, but it certainly isn't doing
us any good, either. And it can't be compared
to the relationship we have with a person who
constantly puts us down and treats us
badly--something that is definitely negative for us.
Just as we should do all we can to let go of the
destructive relationship, we can also do what we can
to let go of the set of china in the name of
simplicity-- simplifying our lives is an extremely
important element of being happy, and without the
ability to let go, simplicity is an elusive goal.
But perhaps the china is something too big to start
with. I sometimes go to books as a starting
point--which books do I have that I don't read, and
probably will not read in the next year or
three? If I can find five or ten of them, it
may be worth it to make a trip to a charity thrift
store to make a donation. And I can do this
with clothes, cd's, shoes, movies--whatever I am
holding onto for whatever reason, but that may be
worth my while to let go of.
The most important thing to do next, though, is to
be patient. Sometimes when I give things away
or sell them, I feel a sense of regret.
Sometimes I feel a sense of relief. But the
most important thing is to not put too much
importance on the immediate feeling--rather, wait
five or ten days to see how you're doing with those
things out of your life. The chances are great
that after some time you're not even going to notice
their absence anymore. Those things simply are
no longer a part of your life. And the fact
that you've been able to let go of something means
that your life is just that much simpler now, and
your quality of life hasn't suffered at all from the
loss of a few unimportant possessions.
go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing
you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is
not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing
which keeps you from hope and love?
It may also be
important for you to have something to tell
yourself, either verbally or in writing, as you do
make the conscious effort to let go of something
limiting in your life to reinforce the need to do
so. "I let go of these objects so that
they may find a different home that may be better
for them;" or, "I release this
relationship in order to eliminate the difficulties
and stress that it causes in my life," for
example. Doing this can provide you with a
conscious sense of closure that can make it much
easier for you to move on from whatever you've let
Letting go is definitely a skill or a talent that
requires you to see the bigger picture of
life. Our attachment to something is the small
picture. We need it because it gives us some
sort of momentary, fleeting satisfaction. But
very, very often, letting go of something leads to
an even greater satisfaction, a satisfaction that we
can't even begin to imagine if we stay focused on
the small picture.
One of the most important things of all when you're
considering what to let go of, though, is whether
something really does serve a valuable purpose in
your life. I often go through things "of
my past" and get rid of them because I'm
interested in staying present in the here and now
and not getting stuck in the past. However,
there are some things that are very important
reminders to me of people who have meant a lot to
me, places that I definitely want to remember, or
accomplishments that I'm very proud of. I
don't have my diplomas up on the wall, but I do keep
them in a box in my closet. Music has always
been very important to me, and there are some albums
that it simply wouldn't make sense to get rid of,
because I know that eventually, I'd end up paying to
get them again. The same goes for movies and
books--if I know I'll want to see or read them
again, then why let go of them?
believe that it is difficult to let go, but in truth, it is
much more difficult
and painful to hold and protect. Reflect
in your life that you
grasp hold of--an opinion,
a historical resentment, an
ambition, or an unfulfilled
Sense the tightness, fear, and defensiveness
grasping. It is a painful, anxious experience of
We do not
let go in order to make ourselves impoverished or
bereft. We let go in order to discover happiness and peace.
says here, "we let go in order to discover
happiness and peace." It's not a negative
act, though it can feel rather frightening.
It's important, though, to identify and evaluate the
things that you may need to let go of, and then to
take a conscious and purposeful action towards
letting that something go, either literally or
figuratively. You'll come up with your own
strategies for doing so, and those strategies will
serve you well, of course, but first of all you need
to develop those strategies and make them a real
part of your life, so that you can let go of other
things that really shouldn't be a part of your life
any longer because they're bringing or holding you
down or back.
on letting go.
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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is the enemy of
accomplishment. Calm strength
arises from a deep and
source is what brings success.
The Keeper of the
late Peter Marshall was an eloquent speaker and for several years
served as the chaplain of the US Senate. He used to love to tell the
story of the Keeper of the Spring, a quiet forest dweller who lived
high above an Austrian village along the eastern slope of the Alps.
gentleman had been hired many years earlier by a young town
councilman to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in
the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through
their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the
hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that
would otherwise have choked and contaminated the fresh flow of
water. The village soon became a popular attraction for vacationers.
Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the
mill wheels of various businesses located near the water turned day
and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated, and the view from
restaurants was picturesque beyond description.
One evening the town council met for its semi-annual meeting. As
they reviewed the budget, one man's eye caught the salary figure
being paid to the obscure keeper of the spring. Said the keeper of
the purse, "Who is the old man? Why do we keep him on year
after year? No one ever sees him. For all we know, the strange
ranger of the hills is doing us no good. He isn't necessary any
longer." By an unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old
weeks, nothing changed. By early autumn, the trees began to shed
their leaves. Small branches snapped of and fell into the pools,
hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. One afternoon someone
noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring. A few days
later, the water was much darker.
Within another week, a slimy film
covered sections of the water along the banks, and a foul odor was
soon detected. The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally
ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of
disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.
embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross
error in judgment, they rehired the old keeper of the spring, and
within a few weeks, the veritable river of life began to clear up.
The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in
lives and our relationships are much like this--so much
what keeps us going and advancing is hidden from our sight,
working behind the scenes to keep our springs clear and
fresh. Just because we don't see the work that others
do in our lives,
that doesn't mean that their work isn't
important and useful
to us. By the same token, just
because our own work doesn't
shine for the entire world to
see, we shouldn't feel that what
we do isn't useful and
helpful. That conversation you had with
may just help her marriage, or may help him
to develop his
relationship with one of his children. And we may
never know it. . . .
I feel very happy to see
the sun come up every day. I feel happy
to be around. . . . I
like to take
this day--any day--and go to town with it.
a year of one-sentence reminders
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make the most of our lives each day that we live.
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novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey
will remind you of all that is good in this world.
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David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
a ride west, he can't imagine the lessons he'll learn
about his life.
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and spending, we lay waste our powers," wrote
Wordsworth over 150 years ago. And we're still doing
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