7 November 2017      

Hello, and welcome to our newest issue!  We're very glad that you're
here, and we hope that you enjoy this issue.  May your November be a
wonderful month in your life, full of love and peace and grace!

Seven Ways to Indirectly Influence
Your Emotional State     Dan Millman

Be Flexible with Changes in Your Plans
Richard Carlson

What Can I Do?
tom walsh 

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I believe the art of living consists not so much in complicating simple things as in simplifying things that are not.

François Hertel

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher
explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.

William Arthur Ward

I've never sought success in order
to get fame and money; it's the talent
and the passion that count in success.

Ingrid Bergman

  

Seven Ways to Indirectly Influence Your Emotional State (an excerpt)
Dan Millman

Although you cannot directly control or change your emotional state by intention alone, you can influence your emotions through breathing, posture, relaxation, changing your environment, distraction and humor, and taking appropriate action.

If you feel depressed, you may tend to sit alone, slouched over, perhaps staring at the floor or into space; your breathing is shallow as you reflect on the ways you've messed up your life.  A good way to get out of depression is to stand straight and tall, breathing fully and deeply, as you walk through a beautiful meadow or a stimulating and brightly lit shopping mall, and reflect on what you've done right in your life.  Do this whether you feel like it or not.  I don't guarantee that it will lift your spirits, but it's a good start.

Let's overview some of the things you can do to influence your emotional state:

Rebalance your breathing.  When you feel anger, sorrow, or fear, your breathing becomes inhibited or thrown out of balance.  By consciously breathing evenly and deeply into your belly, you won't make the feelings go away, but you will rebalance your body and psyche so that you can speak or act more effectively.


Attend to your posture.  Body, mind, and emotions interpenetrate and influence one another.  Since you have more direct control over your body, start there.

Since emotions influence your posture, your posture can also influence your emotions.  To increase the likelihood that you will feel more expansive, sit and stand straight and tall.  Hold your arms out to your side with your palms up toward the sky.  You can also use the muscles of your face to lift the corners of your mouth upward while relaxing your mouth and letting your teeth show.  (It's called a smile.)

Remember to relax.  Try this simple experiment:  Relax your body now, as deeply as you can in a few breaths, breathing in the belly, releasing tension you may have been holding in your chest, shoulders, neck, or abdomen.  When you feel fully relaxed and at ease, imagine how difficult it would be to feel angry or fearful in this state.  When you relax, you can do much to release the tension associated with fear or anger.  Relaxation short-circuits the harmful effects of emotional tension, allowing the flow of energy to remain unobstructed so that you continue to act and move effectively.

Change your environment.  The moment you change your environment, you change who you are, in both subtle and dramatic ways.  Put me in my office and I feel one way; put me on a beach in Hawaii and I can almost guarantee I'll feel differently.  Your boundaries aren't nearly as solid as you imagine; in a sense, you become part of your environment and it becomes part of you.  But the change doesn't even have to be a major one.  Notice how your feelings change from one room of a house to another or when you step outdoors.  To change habits or emotions, a change of environment--even if it's getting out of the house and going for a walk--can do wonders.  A change of scene opens you up to different facets of yourself.

Distract yourself.  In Tame Your Mind, you learned how you had some control over where you direct your attention.  Although you can't make your feelings go away, you can distract yourself by shifting your attention to something constructive.

Distraction differs from denial because you clearly know what you are feeling but consciously direct your attention elsewhere.  Let's say that you are terribly afraid of riding in elevators and experience all the unpleasant symptoms of that phobia.  Nevertheless you have a very important business presentation to make on the fifty-second story.  You step inside the elevator, feeling terrible, but manage to distract yourself from your feelings by mentally going over all the key points in your presentation, completing them just as the elevator door opens at your floor.

The police often use distraction when responding to domestic disputes.  An officer may show up in plain clothes and a delivery hat, carrying a pizza.  Instead of asking, "What's the problem?" he says, "Here's the pizza you ordered."  This gambit interrupts the emotional pattern of the domestic scene.  In everyday life, distraction can be something as simple as changing the subject.  Or ordering pizza.

Apply humor.  Lightening up lends perspective to any situation.  The following story, sent to me on the Internet, provides a good example of humor diffusing a tense situation:

An irate crowd of air travelers stood in a long line at a ticket counter after their flight had been canceled, when an angry man walked to the front of the line, threw his ticket on the counter, and yelled, "I want a first-class ticket on the next flight out, now!"

The harried ticket agent, brushing back a lock of hair, replied, "I'll be glad to help you, sir, as soon as I take care of the people in line."

You want me to wait in line?" he yelled even louder.  "Do you know who I am?"

The ticket agent hesitated only a moment before picking up the microphone, turning up the PA system, and announcing to the waiting area, "Ladies and gentlemen, there is a man at gate seventeen who does not know who he is.  If anyone can help him find his identity--"

"Screw you, lady!" the man yelled, storming off.

In a parting shot she added, "Sir, I'm afraid you'll have to wait in line for that, too."

Her humor didn't help improve his emotions, but it helped hers.  And the previously irate people waiting in line were now smiling or laughing.  No one else complained.

Take appropriate action.  The most constructive way to influence your emotions is to do something.  For example, if I'm filled with self-doubt and overwhelmed with worry about an upcoming exam, hitting the books is the most effective way I can influence my emotions.  Even if the worry and self-doubt remain, I will have studied for the exam.  In the same way, mountain climbers focus on climbing the mountain ahead instead of getting rid of the fear of falling.

A man I'll call George told me how he hated feeling guilty because he didn't visit his elderly mother more often.  He wanted to know how to reduce his guilt.  "Go visit your mother," I suggested.

There are many constructive ways to indirectly influence your emotional state.  As you learn to accept your emotions fully, however, without allowing them to drive or limit your behavior, you'll find it less necessary to change or fix them.

  
  

Explore the challenges and mysteries of body, mind, and emotions. Discover a new approach to success. Change confusion into clarity and knowledge into action. It begins as you turn the first page and enter... 1. Discover Your Worth 2. Reclaim Your Will 3. Energize Your Body 4. Manage Your Money 5. Tame Your Mind 6. Trust Your Intuition 7. Accept Your Emotions 8. Face Your Fears 9. Illuminate Your Shadow 10. Embrace Your Sexuality 11. Awaken Your Heart 12. Serve Your World The Time is Now. The Road is Open. Your Destiny Awaits.

   

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Be Flexible with Changes in Your Plans (an excerpt)
Richard Carlson

Once I get something in my mind (a plan), it can be tricky to let go of it and go with the flow.  I was taught, and to some degree it's certainly true, that success, or successfully completing a project, requires perseverance.  At the same time, however, inflexibility creates an enormous amount of inner stress and is often irritating and insensitive to other people.

I like to do the majority of my writing in the wee hours of the morning.  I might have the goal, in this book for example, to complete one or two strategies before anyone else in the house wakes up.  But what happens if my four-year-old wakes up early and walks upstairs to see me?  My plans have certainly been altered, but how do I react?  Or, I might have the goal to go out for a run before going to the office.  What happens if I get an emergency call from the office and have to skip my run?

There are countless potential examples for all of us--times when our plans suddenly change, something we thought was going to take place doesn't, someone doesn't do what they said they would do, you make less money than you thought you would, someone changes your plans without your consent, you have less time than previously planned, something unexpected comes up--and on and on it goes.  The question to ask yourself is, What's really important?

We often use the excuse that it's natural to be frustrated when our plans change.  That depends, however, on what your priorities are.  Is it more important to stick to some rigid writing schedule or to be available to my four-year-old?  Is missing a thirty-minute run worth getting upset over?  The more general question is, "What's more important, getting what I want and keeping my plans, or learning to go with the flow?"  Clearly, to become a more peaceful person, you must prioritize being flexible over rigidity most of the time (obviously there will be exceptions).  I've also found it helpful to expect that a certain percentage of plans will change.  If I make allowances in my mind for this inevitability, then when it happens I can say, "Here is one of those inevitabilities."

You'll find that if you create the goal to become more flexible, some wonderful things will begin to happen:  You'll feel more relaxed, yet you won't sacrifice any productivity.  You may even become more productive because you won't need to expend so much energy being upset and worried.  I've learned to trust that I will keep my deadlines, achieve most of my goals, and honor my responsibilities despite the fact that I may have to alter my plans slightly (or even completely).  Finally, the people around you will be more relaxed too.  They won't feel like they have to walk around on eggshells if, by some chance, your plans have to change.

  
  

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff is a book that tells you how to keep from letting the little things in life drive you crazy. In thoughtful and insightful language, author Richard Carlson reveals ways to calm down in the midst of your incredibly hurried, stress-filled life.  You can learn to put things into perspective by making the small daily changes Dr. Carlson suggests, including advice such as "Choose your battles wisely"; "Remind yourself that when you die, your 'in' box won't be empty"; and "Make peace with imperfection."

   

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I've gone through more pain in the last four years than I ever
thought possible:  my son died, my family became shattered.
I had to begin again, one more time, and I wasn't sure I wanted
to.  But I've also learned more about life and my soul and heart
than I ever dreamed possible.  In doing so, I've discovered the
most ancient message of all:  even when people tell you there
isn't any hope, there is.  There is always hope,
purpose, and a new magical lesson.

Melody Beattie

   

 
What Can I Do?

I really enjoy thinking about language and the different ways that we express ourselves.  I like to look at different ways that we can experience the exact same words, depending on which words we stress and how we stress them.  The four words in the title here mean a lot to me, and they're words that I use very often in many different situations, because I don't ever want to see myself as helpless or unable to affect my own life and all that happens in it.  And for those of us who want to make the most of our lives by contributing to the world around us and the people with whom we come in contact, this is possibly the most important question that we can ask ourselves regularly, in several different ways.

First of all when we face a situation that perplexes us and that makes us unsure of what we should do, we need to ask ourselves "What can I do?"  Does a person I know need help?  Then there must be something that I can do to provide some sort of help.  If a friend is having relationship difficulties, perhaps I can spend some time with him, just listening.  Or if someone I know is having problems in school, maybe I can help him or her with their studying--or if the topic is one of which I know nothing, I may be able to find a source of help other than myself.

Of course, the answer may be that the best thing for me to do is nothing, that the person needs to take care of his or her issues on their own.  And the answer isn't always going to be an answer that we're fond of--if a friend is facing a foreclosure on their house, I won't be able to do anything about that, but I may be able to find other things to do to provide support and a bit of caring.

What can I do?  A subtle shift in emphasis changes this question to one that addresses my own abilities.  If our community is having problems with crime, I can't go out there and deal with the criminals and stop the crime myself.  But I can talk to other people, I can look at what other communities have done, I can join a group that's trying to address the problem.  There are many things that I can do in any given situation, depending on my resources and capabilities, and there are also many things that I can't do.  I really need to know the difference between the two, and act accordingly.

But I also need to keep in mind that just because I can't do something today, that doesn't mean that I won't be able to do it in two months.  If a young person I know failed algebra this year and has to retake it next year, then what's stopping me from learning algebra to help him or her?  If my church needs someone to take over the newsletter, it doesn't matter whether I have experience in the field or not, as long as I'm willing to do my best to learn how to do so well.

What can I do?  Me?  Everyone else is more talented than I am, or they have better skills, or more resources.  Or no one will listen to me, of all people.  There are just so many negative ways to consider ourselves and our potential for helping, and most of them involve looking at ourselves with an artificially low evaluation of our own ability to make a significant contribution towards something positive or productive.  "I'm just weak and helpless," we're saying, when the fact is that we're neither of those things--we have plenty of potential to contribute in positive ways if we just take the time necessary to consider closely and carefully the possibilities available to us.

When we talk about ourselves as if we're helpless, we can most definitely convince ourselves that we're just that--completely unable to help.  And once we convince ourselves of the truth of the statement, guess what we have become?

But this question can also be a positive one.  It can cause us to consider our gifts and talents that have been given to us in very unique combinations, and come up with an answer that's truly unique to us.  If a friend of mine is ill, I can't provide medical help or financial help, but I most certainly can write a letter of support, or provide meals for the family if necessary.  When I'm involved in organizations, I try to find ways to contribute either through education or writing, two of my stronger skills.  When I'm teaching, one of my greatest strengths is in diagnosing areas of weakness that can be developed.

Sometimes, though, the best thing we can do is find someone else who's better suited to help.  In one of my novels, a character sees a young girl who desperately needs help, and instead of helping her himself, he tells someone else of the girl's plight.  He beats himself up over this act until someone else points out that what he did was the absolute best thing he could have done in the situation, as he was completely unprepared to help, while the other person was much better able to help the girl.

What can I do?  Action.  Isn't this what our lives come down to in the final analysis?  Not what we intended, but what we've done.  Not what we planned to do, but what we've started and worked through as far as we could.  Sitting and thinking is fine if it leads to eventual action, but if it doesn't, then our time has been wasted.  Sometimes when we feel helpless we feel that no action will be effective, so we freeze in our inactive state and we don't even try.  That's almost always a mistake, for nothing that needs to be done can get done if we never even try to start doing something.  Sometimes that first step helps us to see further steps that we hadn't seen before, and the road before us become much clearer and easier to follow.

Life gives us many situations in which we're faced with doubts and struggles, in which we have a hard time deciding upon a course of action that we think will be effective and helpful.  We can be sure, though, that as long as our intention is to be truly helpful and not to be self-serving, we can find something to do that will contribute in positive ways to any situation.  As long as we're not trying to control someone else, as long as we're not trying to sabotage another person's efforts, our contribution will be important--even if it isn't recognized as such right away.

What can you do?  You can trust yourself, have faith in yourself and in life and in God, and you can act from the heart.  You can use your unique gifts to make a truly unique contribution, and in doing so you can make a difference in someone else's life in your own special way.  It's one of the gifts we've been given in life--the ability to contribute to the lives of others.
   
   

  

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A miracle is nothing more or less than this:  Anyone who has come into a knowledge of his or her true identity, of his or her oneness with the all-pervading wisdom and power, this makes it possible for laws higher than the ordinary mind knows of to be revealed to him or her.

Ralph Waldo Trine

  
Sometimes

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse.  Some years muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail,
sometimes a person aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some people become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we were meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen:  may it happen for you.

Sheenagh Pugh
   

  

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

    

  

   

A new way of reading has been here for a while now.  And while we still love our books, if you're like many people, you get tired of lugging around the books that sometimes weigh more than anything else we carry.  Imagine carrying hundreds of books--novels, self-help, history, travel, you name it--and reading them comfortably on a no-glare screen, setting things like text size to your own preferences.  It's a great experience, and it's available to us now for less than the cost of ten books.  And there are plenty of free books to download, especially timeless classics--you can easily get enough free books to pay for the Kindle.  Give yourself the gift of wonderful literature that you can easily bring with you, wherever you go!

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