5 January  2016      

Welcome to our first issue of this new year in our lives!  We thank you for
being here with us as we start our journey through this new set of 366 days,
and we hope that you're able to make this year an amazing one.  We'll do all
we can to bring you material that can help you to make your life what you
want it to be and to meet the goals you set!

 The Glory of the Senses
Smiley Blanton

 Four Words That Make Life Worthwhile
Jim Rohn

Positive Ways That We Can Use Our Power
tom walsh

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Effort matters in everything, love included.  Learning to love is purposeful work.

Michael Levine

We must learn to let go, to give up, to make room for the things we have prayed for and desired.

Charles Fillmore

Physical intimacy isn’t and
can never be an effective
substitute for emotional intimacy.

John Green

Life is a moment-to-moment happening;
any attempt to possess it, save it,
or store it, is to lose the present moment.

A Spiritual Warrior


The Glory of the Senses
Smiley Blanton

Nature has endowed every normal person with wonderful equipment for the potential enjoyment of life.  Its gift is embodied in the marvelous structure of the human nervous system, whose delicate sensory apparatus gives each of us an infinite capacity to perceive and partake of the endless bounty that the world affords.  On a primitive level, our organs of perception are designed to gain knowledge of the external environment for purposes of self-protection.  But if our senses are fully attuned to all their tensile vigor, people can be like some magnificent Aeolian harp--free to catch all the jubilant winds of the universe, ready to respond harmoniously with our own melodies of joy and affirmation.

Love itself may be defined as the ability to use our sensory apparatus to its fullest degree.  For love, in its widest meaning, is simply an intense, positive interest in an object.  When we love a thing, we become deeply engrossed in it with all our senses.  This is true whether the thing we love is a person or a flower, a food or a landscape, a song or a philosophical theory.  In each case we want to come into the closest possible contact with it--to look at it, touch it listen to it.  It is through this kind of union with the beloved object that we are able, by means of our senses, to obtain pleasure and inspiration.

All of our most exalted moments in life bear this imprint of profound absorption and concentration.

In the rapture of union between a man and a woman, it is as if our bodies and all our sensations blend completely with the beloved person.  A comparable unity invests every great achievement in all phases of life.  The inventor in pursuit of a new discovery works at his models with a depth of attention that blots out all else in the world.  The sculptor who creates a new form of beauty shapes each curve with an intensity of purpose which is almost fierce in its devotion.

Watch any accomplished artisan at work--a musical virtuoso with his or her instrument, a master craftsman with his or her tools--and the most striking feature of the performance is its grave and noble concentration.  Behind the great deeds of any leader, whether in religion of science or industry, there is the same story of senses and energies marshaled to their utmost pitch of efficiency.  One may even declare it as a law that achievement of any kind is possible only where there is complete attention to the task at hand--which is but another way of saying that we may expect success only if we love what we do.

This does not mean that the gifted few are alone capable of true achievement.  The truth is that all of us attain the greatest success and happiness possible in this life whenever we use our native capacities to their fullest extent.  There is as much joy for the farmer who toils with utmost skill to reap the maximum harvest from his acre of soil as there is for the engineer who builds an ingenious bridge across the torrents of a raging river.  So, too, the husband and wife in any city apartment who give each other a lifetime of true devotion have won a prize of love to match any that Darby and Joan may have achieved.

The obstacle that faces most of us is not lack of special talents.  What blocks us from the path of full achievement is rather our failure to use the natural endowment that is every person's birthright.  Yet it is one of the tragedies of civilized life that ordinary attempts to overcome this failure bring us inevitably into conflict with prevailing social standards and ideals.  Society, with its primary emphasis on order and regulation, demands that to a considerable extent we sacrifice our primitive animal heritage for the sake of communal safety and stability.

Society does this, ironically enough, through education.  From earliest childhood we are forbidden by parents, nurses and teachers to give full and uninhibited play to our natural impulses.  In one respect, of course, education must inevitably take such a course.  Human beings' natural drives also include dangerous impulses toward murder, incest and cannibalism; and we would long ago have destroyed each other if no restrictions had been imposed.  But education, in its effort to control these destructive forces, often makes an unnecessary error.  It attempts to throttle our original impulses altogether, where its purpose should rather be to direct them toward constructive channels.

No one, for example, will deny the need to inculcate the principle that we must not attack and kill our fellow human beings.  It is another matter entirely, however, when we punish a little child because his or her instinctual curiosity has led him or her to touch and tear a book that has been left on the library table.  Again, we cannot allow a little child to wander at will into the parental bedroom at night.  Yet this does not mean that we must take harsh measures of reprisal when a child quite naturally tries to examine the naked body of a neighboring playmate.

The incorrigible Bernard Shaw put it neatly when he argued that most child training revolves around the precept:  "Don't let them!"  Certainly it is true that parents and educators, in their zeal to rear tractable members of society, too often develop a compulsion to thwart the individual's fundamental nature entirely.  Children are enveloped in a blanket of guilt that smothers their natural impulses to look and touch and listen.  They are made to feel ashamed of their normal inquisitiveness, and are threatened with dire consequences if they exceed bounds that in most cases have been set down to suit the convenience--or the blind fears--of their adult guardians.

To the extent that civilization thus needlessly suppresses our primitive sensory activities, it diminishes our capacity to love and to achieve happiness.  How can a child learn to live successfully--and to love--if they are constantly forbidden to use the very senses that are their only means of learning and of loving?  Children cannot be expected to understand why certain objects of their investigation are "proper" and why others should be "improper."  When their efforts to look or to touch are punished in any particular instance, their only possible reaction is to feel that the impulse itself is somehow wrong and therefore dangerous.  The end result in most cases is not a true capacity for discrimination, but an impairment of the sensory function itself.

Here is the origin of so much of our adult timidity and lack of initiative.  If so many of us live emotional lives on a starvation level of economy, it is partly because we have never shaken off the guilt attached to our earliest attempts at expressive activity.  We are weighed down by the barriers placed long ago on our normal eagerness to explore the world and to immerse ourselves in its wonders.  The warning finger of remembered restraint hovers constantly above us, commanding docile acceptance of pinched routines and paltry loves.  We are afraid to reach out in a joyful embrace of life because, in the beginning, we were ordered to touch only that which our impatient guardians thought proper. . . .

There are ways in which our primitive impulses may be given adequate expression without the danger of communal anarchy.  They are the ways taught by love, and we must learn them if we are to escape the catastrophes that have hitherto overwhelmed us so monotonously as individuals and as nations.  It is possible to be free and happy, and at the same time to remain at peace with one another.

from Love or Perish, 1955

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Four Words That Make Life Worthwhile
Jim Rohn

Over the years as I’ve sought out ideas, principles and strategies to life’s challenges, I’ve come across four simple words that can make living worthwhile.

First, life is worthwhile if you LEARN. What you don’t know WILL hurt you. You have to have learning to exist, let alone succeed. Life is worthwhile if you learn from your own experiences—negative or positive. We learn to do it right by first sometimes doing it wrong. We call that a positive negative. We also learn from other people’s experiences, both positive and negative. I’ve always said that it is too bad failures don’t give seminars. Obviously, we don’t want to pay them so they aren’t usually touring around giving seminars. But that information would be very valuable—we would learn how someone who had it all then messed it up. Learning from other people’s experiences and mistakes is valuable information because we can learn what not to do without the pain of having tried and failed ourselves.

We learn by what we see, so pay attention. We learn by what we hear, so be a good listener. Now I do suggest that you should be a selective listener. Don’t just let anybody dump into your mental factory. We learn from what we read, so learn from every source: from lectures, from songs, from sermons, and from conversations with people who care. Always keep learning.

Second, life is worthwhile if you TRY. You can’t just learn; now you have to try something to see if you can do it. Try to make a difference, try to make some progress, try to learn a new skill, try to learn a new sport. It doesn’t mean you can do everything, but there are a lot of things you can do, if you just try. Try your best. Give it every effort. Why not go all out?

Third, life is worthwhile if you STAY.  You have to stay from spring until harvest.  If you have signed up for the day or for the game or for the project, see it through.  Sometimes calamity comes and then it is worth wrapping it up.  And that’s the end, but just don’t end in the middle.  Maybe on the next project you pass, but on this one, if you signed up, see it through.

And lastly, life is worthwhile if you CARE.  If you care at all, you will get some results. If you care enough, you can get incredible results.  Care enough to make a difference.  Care enough to turn somebody around.  Care enough to start a new enterprise.  Care enough to change it all.  Care enough to be the highest producer.  Care enough to set some records.  Care enough to win.

Four powerful little words: learn, try, stay and care.  What difference can you make in your life today by putting these words to work?

* * *

Published with permission from the Jim Rohn newsletter


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Deep inside, our integrity sings to us whether we are listening or not.
It is a note that only we can hear.  Eventually, when life makes us ready
to listen, it will help us to find our way home.

Rachel Naomi Remen
My Grandfather's Blessings


Positive Ways That We Can Use Our Power
tom walsh

Once we unlearn many of the cultural expectations and norms that get us to use our power in unproductive or even negative ways, we can start choosing to use our power in positive, giving, and productive ways.  Using our power positively will have a huge effect on our lives as we start to make it a way of life—we'll discover that the world truly is a mirror, and that it gives back to us exactly what we give to it.  If we use our power in confused ways, never quite sure of what we hope to accomplish, the world will give us back confusion and uncertainty.  If we dedicate ourselves to using our power constructively, though, we'll find that the world gives us back very positive situations that help us to see our world and our place in it much more clearly.

Of course, we shouldn't use our power in positive ways simply because we want to get a return on our expenditure.  Think about it—if we do that, then we're using our power in a manipulative fashion, trying to get life to give back to us what we think we deserve, rather than what life knows is best for us.  Our goal should be to use our energy effectively and productively, and to allow life to be what it is without trying to control it and the outcomes it wishes to provide us.

If we wish not to "lay waste our powers," we have to make constant, conscious decisions about what we're going to do in life.  Our life situations demand reactions from us, and we often find ourselves wanting to take action to accomplish particular goals.  How we do this and what we do in these situations is our way of spending our power, and it's up to us whether we waste it or use it productively.


Possibly the most important use of our power is found in encouragement.  Ironically enough, it's also one of the easiest expenditures of power that we'll ever find, while the rewards and potential positive outcomes of this action are almost limitless.

I learned about the positive effects of encouragement rather late in life.  As a child, I found that encouragement was rare in our household.  In retrospect, I see that this was a result mostly of my parents having to deal with their own problems and issues, and not truly understanding their children's need for encouragement.  In their minds, it was important for us kids to be independent and to learn to do things on our own—which is a very common attitude in the United States, especially.

What we kids were missing, though, was that surge of energy that they could have shared with us quite easily.  Think about the last time someone encouraged you, and how you felt afterwards.  Did you feel energized and ready to take on the world after hearing the encouragement?  While it may be easy to discount this feeling as a result of our own perception, the cause and effect relationship is clearly there—you received encouragement, and you felt energized.  Why can't it be possible for someone to infuse a bit of their own power into your life?  Just because many people think that such things aren't possible in life doesn't mean that those people are right—there comes a time when we have to trust our own feelings and sensations and realize that much of what happens in this world is beyond the perceptions of reality that have been taught to people for ages.

I know that when someone encourages me, I feel a sense of strength and power, and new possibilities open up with my stronger sense of self.  When all is said and done, of course, nothing about my situation has changed except my perception of it, but that change has created more energy within me, and that spark has been given by some other person's encouragement.  Of course that power is coming from them to me.

How have you used your power and energy today? If you're like most people, you've put a lot of effort into your day's tasks, doing your best to accomplish all that you can as well as you can. But have you been aware of the ways that you're expending your energy? Over 150 years ago, Wordsworth wrote the line, "Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." This line—as well as an experience with a counselor some 13 years ago—has inspired me to examine the concept of how we use our power in positive and negative ways, with the end goal of helping people to be aware of the ways they use their powers.



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I believe that the first test of a truly great person is one's humility.  I do not mean by humility, doubt of one's own powers.  But really great people have a curious feeling that the greatness is not in them but through them.  And they see something divine in every other person.

John Ruskin

Edward J. Lavin

Contentment is a balm, satisfaction is a friendly embrace, but happiness is a warm glow and tingle that arise from the health of both mind and body.

We all want to be happy, yet how many of us can with certainty declare that we are?  We all have little happinesses that raise us up out of the mire of our daily struggles.  Perhaps we should be content with these small gifts, for the quality of perfect happiness is an uncommon state.

This little caution is a warning to those whose life is a perpetual search for the perfect happiness--a holy grail that requires an immense effort.  It is not found in a clean bathroom, although the TV commercials want us to think so.  Nor is it found in money or health or friends or lovers or travel or small packages.  These may lead to small happinesses, and blessings on them all.

Perfect happiness is a well-regulated hierarchy of spirit, mind, and body.  The order is important, and anything that disturbs that order ruffles the surface of the lake of happiness.  Unregulated desire, as the Buddha knew so well, is a heavy stone dropped into the lake; equally disturbing is the tendency to forget about the spirit and to concentrate exclusively on the mind or the body.  Perfect happiness is not to be found in the leaps of aerobic movement nor in the dense concentration of scholarly research.

Yet we must not despair.  Perfect happiness is our birthright--it is only that we must work at it.

from his book Life Meditations

The genius for happiness is still so rare, is indeed on the whole the rarest genius.
To possess it means to approach life with the humility of a beggar, but to treat it
with the proud generosity of a prince; to bring to its totality the deep understanding
of a great poet and to each of its moments the abandonment and ingenuousness of a child.

Ellen Key


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