12 December 2017
you live your life with an appreciation
of coincidences and
their meanings, you connect
with the underlying field of
does not mean teaching people to
know what they do not know; it means teaching
them to behave as they do not behave.
our walking on earth be gentle
as the union of the butterfly and the
Being (an excerpt)
In the beginning of December the year I was thirteen, my
father declared bankruptcy. That was the year we all
made our Christmas presents. I remember waiting for
Christmas with more than the usual anticipation, anxious
to know if the muffler I had secretly knit for my father
would please him and how the bracelet I had designed and
made from copper wire would look on Mom. Despite the
stress in the household, on Christmas morning the
living room was much as always, the familiar decorations
out and the coffee table heaped with presents, only
wrapped this year in the sporting green section of the
newspaper and tied with last year's red ribbon.
Among them lay a small velvet box.
Even at thirteen, I knew that such a box was not likely to
contain something homemade. I looked at it with
suspicion. My father smiled. "It's for
you," he told me. "Open it."
Inside were a pair of twenty-four karat gold
earrings. They were exquisite. I stared at
them in silence, bewildered, feeling the weight of my
homeliness, my shyness, my hopeless difference from my
classmates who easily joked and flirted and laughed.
you going to try them on?" prompted my father, so I
took them into the bathroom, closed the door, and put them
on my ears.
Cautiously I looked into the
mirror. My sallow, pimply face and lank hair, oily
before it even dried from a shower, looked much as
always. The earrings looked absurd.
Tearing them from my ears, I rushed back into the living
room and flung them on the floor. "How could
you do this?" I shrieked at my father.
"Why are you making fun of me? Take them
back. They look stupid. I'm too ugly to wear
them. How could you waste all this
money?" Then I burst into tears. My
father said nothing until I had cried myself out.
Then he passed me his clean, folded handkerchief.
"I know they don't look right now," he said
quietly. "I bought them because someday they
will suit you perfectly."
I am truly grateful to have survived my adolescence.
At some of its lowest moments, I would get out the box and
look at the earrings. My father had spent a hundred
dollars he did not have because he believed in the person
I was becoming. It was something to hold on to.
Behind my father's gift lay the kind of double vision
which is the mark of every healer. He could have
told me not to cry, that someday I would be a lovely
woman. But that would have belittled my pain and
invalidated my experience, the truth of the moment.
What he did was far more powerful. He acknowledged
my pain and its appropriateness while backing my
process. His belief that change would emerge,
naturally, in the course of things made all the
difference. Wholeness was just a matter of time.
"Human being" is more a verb than a noun.
Each of us is unfinished, a work in progress.
Perhaps it would be most accurate to add the word
"yet" to all our assessments of ourselves and
each other. Jon has not learned compassion. . .
yet. I have not developed courage. . . yet. It
changes everything. I have seen the "yet"
become real even at the very edge of life. If life
is process, all judgments are provisional. We can't
judge something until it is finished. No one has won
or lost until the race is over.
"Broken" may be only a stage in a process.
A bud is not a broken rose. Only lifeless things are
broken. Perhaps the unique process which is a human
being is never over. Even at death.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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Allowed to Say "No"!
You've got more work than you can possibly handle. Not to
mention the time you're spending as an officer of your trade
association. . . and as coach of your child's soccer team.
Your phone rings and it's Sally, another officer of the trade
association. Sally tells you what a great job you're doing for
the Association and then asks if you'd be willing to chair the
Committee putting on a large event in three months.
You know this project will involve countless hours of work,
including weekends. You get a sinking feeling in the pit of your
stomach. Your heart tells you to say "no."
tells you to say "no." But somehow, what comes out of
your mouth is "Yeah, I'll do it."
What happened here? How did "no" turn into
"yes?" Maybe you didn't want to let others down.
perhaps, you wanted to be liked. For whatever reason, you agreed
to do something that you didn't want to do. For most of my life,
I lived this way, saying "yes" when I really wanted to
say "no." I'll bet you've done the same thing
This can happen at work when someone asks you to take on an
extra task, or to help out on the weekend. And in our leisure
time, we also have to make decisions when it comes to family,
community and other activities.
I know what some of you are thinking. If I say "no" to
some of these things, I'm going to look bad or hurt my chances
for a promotion. For example, if I decline a request from my
supervisor, I'll be viewed as someone who isn't loyal to the
team. If I say "no" to attending my cousin's wedding
(the cousin I haven't seen in 15 years), the rest of the family
will be talking about me.
Yes, there ARE consequences to saying "no." You might
not get the promotion. Your relatives might talk about you
behind your back. But let's not kid ourselves here. There are
also consequences to saying "yes" when you don't want
to say "yes." You become resentful and angry.
that you're not in control of your own life. You're not living a
life that's consistent with your values and priorities.
I'm not encouraging you to become lazy and refuse to go the
extra mile at work and in your personal life. We all do
activities that we don't particularly enjoy, like working
through lunch on a key project or attending a wake after a long
day at work.
Furthermore, this isn't about being selfish and thinking only of
your own interests. But I'm here to say that YOU count, too!
you block your own success when you feel resentful about doing
things you don't want to do. Unwanted activities are not only
time consuming; they drain your energy.
So, what can you do to help you say "no" instead of
"yes?" It's very helpful to set boundaries, because
that will help dictate your answer when someone asks you to do
something. Even better, let people know about these boundaries
beforehand so they won't be taken by surprise when you say
"no." For instance, if you resolve that you won't work
on weekends (except in certain limited, emergency situations),
when someone asks you to help out on Saturday, you can decline
and tell them you spend weekends with your family.
For me, my exercise time on Saturday and Sunday is sacred.
If I'm not doing a weekend presentation or traveling, it takes a
lot for me to cancel or re-schedule my exercise sessions. If
someone asks me to do something during those times, I will
politely say "no" because I value my health and well
being too much to let other things get in the way.
I also get numerous requests to speak at certain service clubs
and trade association meetings on weekday nights. I am honored
to be asked, but in most instances, I will politely decline.
set some boundaries and decided that I will do a certain number
of these presentations each year, but that's it.
Otherwise, I won't be able to spend quiet time at home in the
evenings. If anyone thinks I'm being unreasonable, that's okay.
I feel better about the decision I've made because I'm being
true to what's important in my life. As a result, I've found
that my presentations are more authentic and effective.
You might think that you're indispensable. . . that you have to
say "yes" because the world will fall apart if you
don't run to the rescue each time. What nonsense! In the end,
you let yourself down and wind up feeling hurt.
Here's the bottom line: You're allowed to say "no."
It's a small two-letter word with the power to liberate you and
significantly improve the quality of your life.
Keller is the President of Attitude is Everything, Inc.
For more than 15 years, Jeff has delivered presentations on
attitude and motivation to businesses, groups and trade
associations throughout the United States and abroad. Jeff is
also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Attitude is
Everything. For more information, go to http://www.attitudeiseverything.com
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decided to start anew—to strip away what I had been taught, to accept
as true my own thinking.
This was one of the best times of my life.
no one around to look at what I was doing, no one interested, no one to
about it one way or another.
I was alone and singularly free, working into my own,
unknown—no one to satisfy but myself.
I began with charcoal and paper and
decided not to use any color until it was impossible to do what I wanted
to do in black and white.
I believe it was June before I needed blue.
'Tis the season,
no? It's a wonderful holiday season during which
we share our love and compassion and caring with our
fellow human beings. A time of the year when more
people are cheerful and willing to share warm wishes
with their loved ones, their co-workers, or even
But 'tis also the season of high expectations.
Over the years, for many people the season of
gift-giving has become the season of gift-getting.
The high spirits and joyful greetings have become an
expected "norm," sometimes causing enormous
amounts of stress for those who aren't so joyful or
simply not as able to express their joys aloud in social
settings. The bar for gifts in many cases has
become so high that many people are doomed to failure
from the start--there's no way they can meet those
expectations without taking out a second mortgage on the
home or selling the car or the diamond jewelry that was
inherited from grandma.
Expectations have been something that have harmed and
even destroyed relationships all through the history of
humanity. We've all heard the stories of the
wonderful gift that someone received that wasn't
appreciated because the recipient expected
something else. These stories are often ridiculous
to those who see them from the outside, and they usually
involve a man or woman going out of his or her way to
buy a gift that's personal and that shows caring and
attention, only to have the recipient say "You know
I wanted that exact diamond necklace because I told you
a million times," or "I asked for that new
phone--you knew that's what I wanted."
life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life.
Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment.
When this happens,
it's rarely a case of someone not caring--the anger
and resentment and pain in these situations comes
when the recipient is absolutely sure that the other
person is going to get them exactly what they expect,
and the disappointment is about the other person not
meeting those expectations, not that the other
person doesn't care or has hurt them in some way.
Of course, there are other reasons for
disappointment. The man who buys his wife the
gift of a
bowling ball that she'll never use--with the holes
drilled for his fingers--is an idiot, and his wife
is justified in feeling disappointed and used--among
many other valid feelings. The person who buys
a significant other a generic sweater because it was
on sale, even though they knew exactly what the
other person wanted, has done something that isn't
at all in the true spirit of gift-giving.
But if our focus is on being the gift receiver, then
what are we accomplishing when we set our
expectations high for certain things and let someone
else know that we expect them to get those things
for us? Are we allowing those people to find
something personal that they think we may like, or
are we simply trying to manipulate them into
fulfilling a need or desire that we have?
When we no longer expect
people to live up to our standards,
but allow them to set and
follow their own standards, our lives
become that much more
richer and that much less stressful.
This is perhaps one of
the reasons for which it's so popular now to buy
people gift cards as gifts--that way, we're not
going to disappoint them with a "crappy"
But that gift card shows no personal touch at all,
no thought or effort or even originality. And
that's okay, of course--after all, it's better that
someone buy something they definitely can use than
that they get something they never will be able to
use--but it takes a lot of the personal relationship
out of gift-giving. Part of the fun of gifts
has always been the mystery and the surprise, as
well as the gratification of knowing that the other
person has taken the time and made the effort to get
something special for us, personally. And if
we lose this personal touch in gift-giving, then
what does gift-giving really become other than just
another responsibility that we need to fulfill?
Perhaps the greatest gift that we can give as a gift
receiver is a completely open mind with no
expectations at all. Maybe it would be nice to
let other know that we don't have any specific
expectations, and that anything that they do as far
as gifts are concerned is just fine, because we know
that it truly is the thought that counts. Can
we take them off the hook before they buy so that
they don't feel any stress at all when they're out
looking for a gift for us? It could be very
liberating to know that the person you're buying for
definitely will not be disappointed in any gift that
we bring--any at all.
Personally, I'd be just as happy with a box of
donuts as I would with an expensive watch (which I'd
probably never wear anyway). I'd be just as
fine with a book whose author I'd never heard of as
I would be with a book that I've been dying to
read. With the former, I'm also learning a lot
about the person who gave me the gift, and I can
always buy the latter myself.
and you have all things. Take whatever people
you. If you
appreciate it, hug it, kiss it, and take it in joy, but
it. If you want pain, just go around with expectations.
not here to meet your expectations.
Let's do away with
expectations this Christmas. Let's not let
other people stress about what they should get
us--we can let them know that anything is fine, and
that anything is appreciated. It truly is the
thought that counts, and if someone gets us anything
at all, that means they've thought of us (even if
that thought is that they owe us something so
they're obligated to get us something!).
Can we truly be happy, though, if they tell us
they've gotten us nothing? Of course we
can--our happiness does not and should not depend
upon the actions (or inactions) of others.
Personally, if someone blows me off, I treat it as a
lesson learned about who that person is and how that
person views our relationship--and that can
sometimes be the most important gift of all.
Please don't let expectations tarnish your enjoyment
of the holiday season. And for goodness' sake,
don't let your expectations make others miserable
during this season--the misery that you cause by
trying to make others feel guilty that they didn't
meet your expectations can never be compensated for
by any gifts that you give or any apologies that you
give later. When a moment is ruined by
someone, that moment never can be reclaimed, so
let's not be the ruiners of other people's holidays!
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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all the progress that humans have made
is due to the fact that they are mortal. . . .
If there were no death, life would become a thing
stagnant, monotonous, and unspeakably burdensome.
The word education comes from the
Latin word educare, which means "to draw
out." We do not teach our children the love of
learning. We do not hold knowledge before them as a
powerful tool for personal development. We don't
produce broadly educated, well-rounded leaders for
tomorrow. We teach more and more about less and
less. We don't draw out the individual. We
impose upon the individual--systems and structures. We
don't reverence individuality, we don't treasure it, we
stifle it and try to stamp it out. We don't educate,
we formulate. We abandon the individual in his or her
own need and uniqueness and "impose" the same upon
We provide an education in specialization. We
produce clones for the modern world. We throw people
into a mold, which we call an education system, to form cogs
for the global economic wheel, all the time dangling the
golden carrot before them as incentive and reason.
Truth be told, our modern education systems crush the
very spirit they claim to instill.
The ego, as a collection of our past experiences,
offering miserable lines of thought.
It’s as if there were a stream
with little fish swimming
by, and when we hook one of them
is a judgment.
The ego is constantly judging everybody
It has its constant little chit chat about things
happen in the future, things about the past, too, and
little fish that swim by.
And what we learn to
do—this is why it takes
not reach out and grab a fish.