16 May 2017
there is great love there are always miracles.
Miracles rest not so much upon faces or voice or
healing power coming to us from afar off, but in our
own perceptions being finer.
love says, "I love you because you love
me." Mature love says, "I love you
whether you love me or not."
is a divine trait: nothing is
so strong as
gentleness and nothing
so gentle as real strength.
often we hear people say, "I'm unhappy,"
as though happiness were the object, or purpose, of
life. It isn't, nor can it be. Happiness
is an effect, a by-product, a symptom of something
else. Therefore, seeking happiness directly
must always result in failure.
comes only to those who have done something to cause
it. It can be meeting the so-called "right
person." Falling in love brings a
euphoric, giddy kind of happiness which, if the love
is real and lasting, can settle down into a kind of
permanent state of happiness. There will be
ups and downs, of course, so-called good days and
moments and bad days and bad moments, but if the
relationship is sound and satisfying, having the
right person can bring a kind of joy for many, many
generally comes most often to productive and
creative people when they have found and are engaged
in work in which they can lose themselves.
When the work has been completed, they must then,
after a while, find more.
the author, it can be a book or a story; for the
painter, a subject, an idea. And it's the same with
architects, engineers and all the rest of us.
are usually happiest when we are unaware of our
happiness. We'll be busily engaged in
something that demands our full attention and best
talents and suddenly discover, during a pause in the
work, that several hours have passed in which we've
been completely unaware of the passage of time and
our surroundings. And, if we think about it,
we'll realize that we were living close to the peak
during that time and that we were in a very high
order of happiness.
comes when we are doing something for others,
too. On Christmas morning, our joy or our
happiness can be at a very high level, not because
of our anticipation of what we might receive but,
rather, in anticipation of watching our loved ones
open our gifts to them. In fact, if we're not
careful, we can fail to register sufficient
excitement and joy upon opening the gifts we receive
from others. We must remember that they are
happiest at that time and to give them top billing,
to stretch their happiness to its full length.
we're so anxious for them to open something we've
given, we'll tend to pass over the things they've
given us. Have to watch that, especially where
the children are concerned. They've spent
days, perhaps weeks, thinking of the moment when
we'll finally open the present on which they've
lavished so much thought and love and care.
if we remember that we are happiest when we are
doing things for others, when we are busiest, and
after we have accomplished something worthwhile, we
need never be unhappy again, at least not for
long. We need only find a project on which to
work, or put in a good hard day doing those things
that need to be done, or find a way to do something
for others. Then happiness, like a butterfly,
will come and land on our sleeve.
is not the purpose of life. It is a by-product of
keeping busy, of losing ourselves in our work and of
doing things for others. Knowing that, we need never
be unhappy again.
people behind the words
and excerpts - Daily
Two - Year Three
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Pain is a wake-up call. It sends out
warnings loud and clear. David is one who
was given a second chance at life. He used
to be a clown with the Ringling Brothers, Barnum
and Bailey Circus, but now makes a living as a
business consultant and change management coach
living in New Hampshire. He recounts a
stark turning point in 1998 when intense pain
concentrated his mind on what matters
most: life and purpose.
the age of forty-two, on the first day of
vacation in Lima, Peru, I collapsed with chest
pains in the National Museum. One moment I
am laughing about erotic pottery with my wife
and planning my next day's hike to Macchu Picchu,
and the next thing I am scared beyond belief
grabbing my chest and sitting in a pool of my
own vomit. I am medivaced to the United
States, where I'm told I am an immediate
candidate for quintuple bypass surgery.
Seven major blockages, two at 90 percent.
I was a day away from dead.
"Before surgery, I wandered a bit in
life. There were lots of good times, but
also a litany of comatose behaviors that often
got me in trouble. . . my life was frequently
"It's been nine years, and I am still
working to integrate what was to what is.
I am still working to understand the
"bypass" of my own life. A few
years ago I returned to Peru and climbed Macchu
Picchu. I went back to divinity school. .
"Heart surgery has given me this: the
understanding that life is short, it can pass in
a blink. And our dreams don't care if we
are happy; our dreams only care that they are
David tells me his goal is simple--to stay
awake. That's a nice way to think about
how to Choose Life. Stay tuned to what is
happening around you and inside you.
Mindfulness and consciousness are disciplines,
much like getting out of bed in the morning to
face the day.
Halfway across the world from David, Jacinta is
a Mozambican woman I met through my work.
Her husband was disabled from an injury during
the civil war, trying to help a fellow
soldier. They live in extreme poverty and
her husband often has trouble finding
work. But Jacinta sees their life as good,
filled with love and laughter.
am here living. We are missing a lot of
things, yes, but we can live like that. . . He
is able to do some things at least for a week,
and he laughs here with us at home. . . I even
tell him stories I hear in church so he doesn't
feel too bad.
"I will never send my husband away, as many
have told me to do because of our poverty,
because I believe one cannot buy love in the
market. You cannot buy love with furniture
or money. What belongs to love is love,
and whatever this poverty is in our house, we
are living according to our means with our three
children here at home."
I like that thought: What belongs to
love is love. You may be surrounded by
poverty and want, but you can still expand your
home tent hospitably to let in love, light, and
laughter. Some days we go looking for
them, and they seem to be hiding. We have
to believe they will return. In this way,
choosing life requires a seed of faith.
The point of believing is to create options for
the future. We hope by making this or that
choice that we will open the door to bigger and
better options ahead. . . .
The ability to Choose Life is a frame of mind, a
decision that may be encouraged by faith or
spirituality, but is certainly not dependent on
a particular religious belief. What I have
found is that the most resilient survivors
I meet around the world agree that we are
more than our bodies. Our circumstances
and DNA don't fully define us.
Spirituality can play a very important role in
recovery, across all faiths, religions, and
loss of a loved
one, a painful disease,
or a serious physical
injury--we all must,
at one point, face
moments that divide
our lives into "before"
and "after." How do
we muscle our way
through tough times
and emerge stronger,
for our struggle?
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always takes her time. Great oaks don't become
great overnight. They also lose a lot of
and bark in the process of becoming
Looking for the
It can be pretty discouraging looking for courage in today's world--there
isn't a lot of it being shown in our daily lives. And there
certainly isn't a lot of it on display in the limelight, among the
people that we've chosen to put on pedestals and look up to, the
politicians and the actors and the musicians and athletes--in
short, the people who make a lot of money in our society.
These are the people we see the most of, because in our culture
these are the people who are most in the news.
This is a mistake, though. These are not the bravest people
or the most important people or the most admirable people.
These are simply people who other people feel that they can make
money from. Why does a singer get a contract? Not
because of talent, but because a producer or executive feels that
the singer will sell a lot of copies of songs, which will mean
more money for the company. The singer may indeed be
talented, but there are plenty of extremely talented people who
never will get the contracts that others get, mostly because the
producers don't feel that they're marketable enough.
So what does this have to do with courage? It has to do with
the myth that everyone in the public eye has worked terribly hard
to get where they are. The fact is, though, that people with
ability are actively recruited by the people who want to profit
off of them. That means that they haven't had to show a lot
of courage--just a lot of persistence more than anything
else. But because we think they had to be courageous and
face rejection and dig deeper when things started going bad, we
think that they should be quite courageous people. And some
of them are, of course.
Courage is a
special kind of knowledge: the knowledge
of how to fear what
ought to be feared and how
not to fear what ought not to be feared.
But the fact is
that the most courageous people that you know are
probably those whom you don't even recognize as
being courageous. They're the people who have
endured childhoods full of abuse and manipulation,
but who still have a positive outlook on life and
who still do their best to defy odds. They're
the people who have been hurt, but who are still
willing to risk being hurt even more when they see
someone who needs their help. They're the
people who are facing tremendous difficulties,
whether they be illness, depression, addictions, or
even a lack of support from others, but who are
still plugging away and doing what they feel called
It's unfortunate that so often in our society,
people who end up needing help from others are seen
as weak or unable to take care of themselves.
Often, these are the most courageous people we know,
and part of the reason that we're able to recognize
their courage is precisely because they're able to
ask for help. We weren't put on this world to
suffer through everything on our own, isolated
without help. We were put on this world to
cooperate with others, to learn from them, to
receive their help when we need it. If society
tells us it's wrong to seek help for certain things,
then it definitely takes courage to seek that help
and go against what we've been taught.
is never to let your actions
be influenced by your fears.
honest--most of my life, I've been pretty cowardly
in many ways. It's not a cowardice that
defines who I am, but a cowardice that I learned
would keep me "safe." After all,
isn't that what causes most of our
cowardice--fear? I've often done things that
can be called courageous, but far more often I've
done things that wouldn't be called that name by any
stretch of the imagination. And that's
okay. Life is about learning and growing, and
I'm learning how to be more courageous every
day. I'm learning that my fears rarely serve
me well, and often harm me when I listen to what
they tell me, and the more I learn this lesson, the
more often I'm able to show courage in more
I've seen great courage in the high school student
who's having a hard time dealing with certain
things, but who persists anyway. I've seen
great courage in the person who deals with pain from
a medical issue every day, yet who goes on with his
or her life without complaining. I've seen
great courage in the person who's battling
depression, yet who forges on without giving
up. I've seen amazing courage in mothers who
have children who challenge them beyond measure, yet
who still live each day with love and
compassion. I've seen courage in the
politician who goes against the flow because he or
she truly wants to do what's right for their
constituents rather than following the path of least
resistance and doing what's easiest.
And I've seen great cowardice in people who are
claiming to be courageous, but who are merely
spouting words that mean nothing while they give in
to their fears of ridicule or lack of security; or
to their desires for power and their greed.
Few people do the courageous thing out of a sense of
self-preservation or self-aggrandizement. It
just doesn't work that way.
The hallmark of courage in our age
of conformity is the capacity to stand
on one's own
convictions--not obstinately or defiantly (these are
of defensiveness, not courage) nor as a gesture
but simply because these are what one
Rilke once said, "Perhaps all the dragons of
our lives are princesses, who are only waiting to
see us once beautiful and brave." You,
too, can be brave. You can show courage by not
giving in to your fears and standing up for what you
know to be right. It isn't easy, of course--if
it were easy, there would be no need for
courage. But starting to show courage at any
level is a wonderful way to start making your life
more than it ever has been, for showing courage is
an important way to work towards becoming the people
we were meant to be. It's only by being
courageous and expressing our true thoughts and
beliefs that we can help those thoughts to grow and
expand. If I refuse to do something because
I'm afraid of what others will think, then I'm
trapped into continuing to be just the way I am.
If, on the other hand, I do something even though
I'm afraid of the possible consequences, then the
simple act of doing that something can help me to
grow into a better and stronger person, as I take an
important risk and learn to deal with the
consequences of that risk.
Without courage, we never actually learn how to deal
with those consequences, do we? Which means
that we always stay just the way we are.
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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are as many nights as days,
and the one is just as long
as the other
in the year's course. Even a happy life
be without a measure of darkness,
and the word
would lose its
meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they
with patience and equanimity.
Carl Gustav Jung
worth is in being, not seeming--
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good--not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever we say in our blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There's nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.
get back our mete as we measure--
We cannot do wrong and feel right,
Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure,
For justice avenges each slight.
The air for the wing of the sparrow,
The bush for the robin and wren,
But always the path that is narrow
And straight, for the children of men.
not in the pages of story
The heart of its ills to beguile,
Though he who makes courtship to glory
Gives all that he hath for her smile.
For when from her heights he has won her,
Alas! It is only to prove
That nothing's so sacred as honor,
And nothing so loyal as love!
cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets;
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small,
But just in the doing, and doing
As we would be done by, is all.
envy, through malice, through hating,
Against the world, early and late,
No jot of our courage abating--
Our part is to work and to wait.
And slight is the sting of his trouble
Whose winnings are less than his worth;
For he who is honest and noble,
Whatever his fortunes or birth.
hope that my achievements in life shall be these -- that I will
have fought for
what was right and fair, that I will have risked
for that which mattered, and that I
will have given help to those
who were in need that I will have left the
earth a better place
for what I've done and who I've been.
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