5 July  2016      

Hello!  We all have another week behind us, and another week ahead of us.
The time behind us is time from which we can learn, and the time ahead of
us is the time when we can apply the lessons, and keep on learning--
about life, living, love and compassion.

 Are You Passing the Buck?
John Marks Templeton

Learn Something Every Day:  Be Curious
Patti Digh

The Truth about Play
Jill Murphy Long

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Flowers do not force their way with great strife.  Flowers open to perfection slowly in the sun.  Don't be in a hurry about spiritual matters.  Go step by step, and be very sure.

White Eagle

Those who know how to play can easily leap over the adversities of life.  And one who knows how to sing and laugh never brews mischief.

Iglulik Proverb

Both the person of science and the person of action live always at the edge of mystery, surrounded by it.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

Miracles are not in contradiction to
nature.  They are only in contradiction
with what we know of nature.

St. Augustine


Are You Passing the Buck? (an excerpt)
John Marks Templeton

Sometimes you may be tempted to think that life seems to be one big muddle and doesn't make any sense at all.  Well, there may be a good reason for thinking that way!  Let's look at an analogy.  We could be very much like one who goes to the theater after the curtain has gone up and the play has been in progress for some time.  The latecomer has no knowledge of the beginning of the story, nor any idea of what the ending may be.  The script may not make sense, and the person may feel confused regarding the plot of the story.

Similarly, in the drama of life, we may not always know or understand the plot.  Sometimes the script seems pointless.  We may fail to grasp the grand scope of the universal dramas in which we may be participating.  At that point, there could be an attempt to blame the "director," the "producer," perhaps even the playwright, for the situation.  However, in the universal drama of life, there are no "bit players."  And there is no one to blame!  Life can seem less of a muddle if we read the script correctly and become aware that we have unique qualities and can bring gifts to the "show" that no one else can give.

Perhaps you've heard the expression, "the buck stops here."  This saying is cousin to another one that is quite commonly used in the United States, "passing the buck."  

When a person is accused of passing the buck, he or she may be said to be avoiding responsibility and passing it on to someone else.  When someone says, "The buck stops here," that person implies that he or she will handle the matter him- or herself and take full responsibility for the outcome.  Which one of these expressions do you find yourself in the habit of using?

You may know of someone at this moment of your life who may be rebelling against unfairness of one sort or another.  Perhaps you, yourself, may be choosing to be antagonistic?  Many people throughout history have chosen to rebel against their government or their society in order to bring about a higher purpose.  Some may have understood that the cost of their rebellion could be their very lives; yet, they consented to pay the price.  These people have often assisted in making great changes for the benefit of the people.

If a student chooses to rebel against his or her parents, for example, and as a result finds him- or herself without a place to live or without any money for college, that student must be willing to accept this as the cost of the rebellion.  Likewise, it makes no sense to complain if our employer cuts our pay when we have failed to do the work we agreed to do.  In that situation, we have received what we have deserved, and we should learn to accept it without protest.

One time at a country fair, a farmer exhibited a pumpkin grown in the exact shape of a two-gallon jug.  "When it was no bigger than my thumb," he said, "I stuck it in the jug and just let it grow.  When it filled the jug, it stopped growing."  What the glass jug did for the pumpkin, our thoughts do for our lives.  We may grow as big, as mature, and become as creative as the things we think about and believe in.  But we stop growing at the limit of our thoughts.

One of the first things we need to do is to banish the thoughts that say the control of our life is held by another.  We have a built-in control tower called the faculty of free will, and nothing can move into our minds unless we are willing to place the "stamp of approval" on the delivery.

The law of responsibility applies in every area of our lives.  For example, if we choose to abuse our bodies with drugs or alcohol, it become imperative that we know the cost of this decision.  We must ask ourselves if the drugs and alcohol are worth the cost in sickness and wasted time.

One may ask the question, "How can I take control over my life when I am faced with such inner turmoil and confusion and my problems are so large?"  One thing we can do at once is take the same thought energy we have expressed in "how can I take control?" and turn it around into the thought, "I am one with the wisdom of God; I know what to do, and I do it!"  One of the best ways to exhibit the self-control that leads to success is to know that faith, not fear; love, not hate; joy, not sorrow; peace, not tension; freedom, not bondage are the role we choose to play.

Whatever we choose in terms of our behavior in this life, we will be much better off if we can truly say, "The buck stops here.  I am willing to pay the price for my decision.  I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions."

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Learn Something Every Day:  Be Curious
(an excerpt)
Patti Digh

Years after college my beloved physics professor, Sheridan Simon, told me that the bane of his existence was delivering a simply beautiful lecture on the physics of black holes or quantum mechanics, then opening the floor to questions knowing he had done some of his best work, only to have the student in the second row raise his hand and ask, "Will this be on the test?"

Voltaire has said, "Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers."  Why are we learning anything in life?  To satiate our own curiosity or because it will be on the test?  This is a vital distinction--not only for students, but also for business executives and parents and all the rest of us.  The pursuit of knowing--and, more important, of not knowing--this is curiosity.  And curiosity keeps us alive, pure and simple.

Honest inquiry.  Honest inquiry is the pursuit of great, fantastic, compelling questions posed for one reason:  to explore.  Not to pass the test, but to explore.  What a planet we live on!  Where do rivers go?  Is there a cloud factory?  How do birds know when to go, and when to come back?  Why is Justin Bieber famous?  From where does racism come?

How can we remain curious?  As Bernard Baruch said, "Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why."  How can we recapture the holy curiosity of our childhood in which "why" was our way of being in the world?  Here are a few ways:

Play backup.  A few years ago I was asked to give a keynote talk at a conference in Melbourne, Australia.  A brilliant man named Charles Hampden-Turner (who eventually became my intellectual mentor and who, at the time, had written something like twenty books) was the opening speaker at the conference; I was the closing speaker.  The very thought of meeting him and being near him--much less give a speech in front of him--made me very nervous.  During the conference, in addition to my keynote, I was also to give a workshop.  Who should show up but Charles Hampden-Turner, to listen and to learn.  What on earth could I possibly say that would be of interest to this amazing intellect?  It didn't matter.  What mattered was that he came and he listened and he laughed and participated.  He played backup, not leading man.  I have watched him do it repeatedly since then.  This is the mark of curiosity, the showing up, the willingness, the spongelike quality even in someone who has much to teach others.

Never be bored.  Really?  You're bored?  Because you've already read every book, talked to every person in your universe about what they love to think about, and you know exactly how ice crystals form and how planes stay up in the sky?  Wow.  Albert Einstein tells us, "The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing. . . Never lose a holy curiosity."  What is your reason for boredom?  That the world isn't entertaining enough for you?  Or that it has not focused its considerable appeal on you, specifically and totally you?  Boredom is for the selfish.  Don't go there.

Focus on ideas.  "Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas," advised Marie Curie.  What makes up the bulk of your dinnertime conversation:  people, events, or ideas?  Move in the direction of ideas.

Seek disequilibrium.  Learning involved discomfort.  More often than not, it involves the discomfort of not knowing.  We're trained to know.  As Einstein said, it's a miracle curiosity survives formal education, so deeply engrained is the goal to have the right answer.  But learning--real learning--involves not knowing.  As Marie Curie has also said (smart woman!), "Dyssymmetry causes phenomena."  Things don't happen until they are thrown off balance.  How can you throw yourself off balance?  Alter your daily routine:  When you go to the movies, are you an aisle-seat-in-the-back sitter?  Sit middle front to alter your perspective.  Enroll in a class about which you know nothing, exactly nothing, not the one that will be a breeze.  Read magazines you'd never pick up.  Seek opportunities for disequilibrium rather than running from them.

Listen to children.  Never interrupt a child.  Never lose patience with their endless series of questions.  Find opportunities to hear a child's perspective on anything, everything.  Here are a few examples of the questions Tess asks us daily:  "If the world was disinvented, where would we be?" and "What was the first word ever spoken?"  Children teach us, if we don't ignore them or shut them down because we falsely believe we know better.


What advice do you wish you had heard—really heard—when you were graduating from high school or college? What words could you benefit from hearing again? When Patti Digh asked her readers this question as her own daughter was starting college, what flowed in was beautiful, thoughtful, poignant, and funny.
Out of the hundreds of essays, six themes emerged:
• Remember who you are:  be you
• Know what matters most: be passionate
• Make peace with time: be present
• Let go of certainty: be unsure
• Learn something every day: be curious
• Open up your hand: be free



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Step into this moment, because it is the only one you have right now.
It is not wasted or thrown away.  The divine opportunity could be
stolen unless you tell yourself it is here right now; available to you
this moment, to make of it anything you choose.  Why not choose this
moment, right now, to be available to yourself by declaring, I AM
GOOD! . . . . The richness of the present is here.  The fullness of now
is present.  If you are not here now, it means you could be missing
the love, joy, peace  and brand-new ideas that are here right now.

Iyanla Vanzant

The Truth about Play
Why We Should
Jill Murphy Long

Play is part of being human, yet it remains an elusive part of many people's lives.  Studies have proven play is a major factor in the appropriate development of social, emotional, mental, and physical growth for children.  But what happens when we stop playing as adults?  Are we stunting our own growth?  Why do humans play?  Is it a requirement of survival like breathing, eating, and sleeping?

Play introduces the concept of "balance" in a busy life; it encourages people to seek solitude in nature and allocate time for daily laughs.  Humor is needed to reaffirm our humanity and sanity.  Laughter releases tension and stress, and builds rapport among those it touches.  It is through our play that we are reintroduced to both once again.

In this time spent developing, challenging, and nurturing the authentic self, the promise of play--happiness--will be found.

Play encourages interaction, risk-taking, and the use of imagination.  Abstract thinking and creativity are explored, and social, language, and mental skills are mastered, as self-worth is strengthened.  The value of dedication and practice is also learned.  As such competencies are developed, these skills cross over to other aspects of life.

Based on these inherent benefits of play, recess should be reinstated for those over the age of ten.  Until that day--why not decide to make play a frequent event in your life and add an hour or two of active play and creative expression to each week?  It may seem like child's play at first, but once the magic starts, there will be no question that this is what your spirit needs.

Genuine play occurs when you lose sight of yourself and your life for the moment.  You are totally immersed in whatever physical or creative activity with no awareness of the passing of time.  You are truly awake and alive.  For some people, play may be more physical.  For others, it is a creative outlet for expression.  However, both types of play can satisfy our basic need for curiosity, exploration, and fun.

In the choice for a long and healthy life, playing is not just an option, but also a natural element of each day.  Moving the body is as crucial as eating and sleeping.  It is a proven fact that increased physical activity--a hike, jog, or a round of tennis--results in increased "smarts."  Physical activity is an essential part of long-term health.  As play is added to your days, you will begin to see that the amount of time spent playing is in direct correlation with the amount of energy you have.  Your newfound interest will also keep mood swings in check, help manage stress, and build a stronger immune system.

Play is so good for our bodies.  No matter your size, shape, weight, or height, adding play to your life will improve your self-image.  When we become too busy to play, we fall prey to diet fads or bad habits like smoking.  Playing hard and eating well will do wonders not only for your temperament, but for your body, too. . . .

The biggest tragedy facing us today is. . . the missing awareness of the mind-body connection.  This is why play, through both active and creative expression, is so important.  Play is meant to draw us closer to our own reflection, to see what is really inside our complicated yet beautiful selves.  The desire to move, the desire to create, is and should be a required element of every person's day.  It is the truth behind what makes us who we are.

Be yourself.  Be your complete and authentic self--not what you think others want you to be or what society pressures us to be.  Express yourself with your body and your mind by being you, the person who you are supposed to be.  Use your time, energy, and money not on dieting, but on passionate living achieved by body-moving activities and mind-engaging interests.

From the author of Permission to Nap comes another reason to relax and have fun. Permission to Play encourages people to carve out the time in their busy lives for fun, whether it's sports, crafts and other creative activities, or card and board games. When we play, we relax, we feel silly, we rejoice and we may just get in better shape. Full of whimsical ideas, fun tips and useful, nothing-but- enjoyable activities you may never have thought of, plus encouragement to make this essential happiness ingredient a part of your life, Permission to Play includes many ways to just let loose.



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The present moment is always full of infinite treasure.  It contains far more than you can possibly grasp.  Faith is the measure of its riches:  what you find in the present moment is according to the measure of your faith.
Love also is the measure:  the more the heart loves, the more it rejoices in what God provides.  The will of God presents itself at each moment like an immense ocean that the desire of your heart cannot empty; yet you will drink from that ocean according to your faith and love.

Jean-Pierre de Caussade

In his book You'll See It When You Believe It, Dr. Wayne Dyer offers some interesting and helpful suggestions for personal transformation.  A synopsis of these suggestions is shared here for your reflection.

* Practice thinking about yourself and others in formless ways.  Take a few moments each day to evaluate yourself. . . in terms of pure thought and feeling.  Watch yourself acting and interacting.  Do not criticize or judge, simply note how your form is behaving and how it is feeling.

* Use the observer exercise (mentioned above) with other people.  Notice how they may destroy their potential for happiness and success because they identify exclusively with their forms.

* Make an effort to go beyond your comfort zone on a regular basis.  Listen to the real you inside who is encouraging you to transcend yourself.

* Make an effort to cease labeling yourself as a means of identifying who you are as a human being.

* Begin to view your mind, your nonform side, as new and miraculous.  Know that your mind is capable of transcending your form and that your body is in a larger part controlled by your mind.

*Work each day to clear yourself of the two factors that do the most to inhibit your personal transformation:  negativity and judgment.

*Examine how you treat the physical or visible you.

* Allow yourself time to meditate quietly by yourself.  Meditation is a powerful tool, and it is as simple as breathing.  You should choose your own style of meditation.

* Above all else, be kind and understanding to yourself.  Be especially kind to yourself if you behave in a way you dislike.  Talk kindly to yourself.  Be patient with yourself when you find it difficult to be a "holy" person. . . . Forgive yourself.

The Arrow and the Song

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly as it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow




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