is the miracle of life: that each person
heeds him or herself knows what no
ever know: who he or she is.
you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and
quite impossible to foresee
are ahead. . . .
You can only see one thing
clearly and that is your goal.
Form a mental vision
and cling to it through thick and thin.
result you get in your life is the combination of the
you receive from the reality around you
and your capacity to
respond to that challenge.
Sue Patton Thoele
is an inside job. Although poet Alexander Pope said,
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast," hope
springs faster and more consistently when we consciously
encourage and consistently practice keeping hope afloat in
our hearts and souls. In order to keep hope
alive, it's extremely important that we monitor what we
allow ourselves to see, hear and feel, especially in
regards to the media. Because our subconscious minds
accept as real not only our personal experiences but also
those we watch or imagine vividly, it's up to us to choose
mindfully and wisely what we watch and read.
images imprint deeply, the disturbing pictures and
commentary favored by the media can act as an emotional
acid, etching the pain and suffering we witness into our
own psyches. Such images can pull the plug on our
reserves of hope. Limiting your exposure to
sensationalism of all kinds is wise. Allow yourself
to be as informed as you feel the need but not to
be deformed by overexposure and overstimulation.
is so important because it's the proverbial light at the
end of any dark tunnel encountered. Hope is the
ballast that keeps you moving forward and helps you to
continue to believe in beauty, love, and survival, even
when your personal waters are incredibly
hope, it's easier to keep your head above water
while navigating stormy seas. Hope makes
normal, everyday life much brighter and more joyous.
friend Anne provides a great example of how to
nurture hope in hard times. During the
inevitable dark times of aggressive breast cancer
treatments, she consciously courted hope.
Allowing people to help (not a familiar feat for
her) and using Julian of Norwich's famous prayer
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and
all manner of things shall be well" as her
mantra were two of her most important hope
boosters. Anne also intentionally chose to be
a student of cancer rather than its victim and, as
such, kept asking herself invaluable questions, like
"What lesson am I learning here?" and
"What is cancer trying to tell me?"
After the completion of surgery and treatment, Anne
stood in front of her church family and, with grace
and gratitude, shared her journey with us.
Hers were the only dry eyes in the congregation.
Promise yourself to keep hope afloat in your heart
If you find yourself in the dark, search out a
speck, flash, or ray of light right here, right now.
Intentionally look on the bright side.
your day. . .
Three times a day, take a moment to find a spark of
hope in nature, your own life, your home, or the
life of a friend or loved one.
Patton Thoele shows you how to incorporate
mindfulness into your busy and dynamic
life. Her gentle and humorous approach
makes it a practical and easily understood
guide for those who are new to the practice of
mindfulness as well as those who are already
familiar with its gifts. Thoele
offers over sixty-five simple and effective
practices to help you embrace mindfulness one
moment at a time. Filled with personal stories
about the joys and hurdles that come with
embracing mindful living, The Mindful Woman
is a friend whose hand you can hold on the
path toward being present in the moment.
Finding your way will lead naturally to a more
open heart, inner peace, and greater zest for
life--a path well worth pursuing.
Life Fully, the e-zine
exists to try to provide for visitors of the world wide web a
of growth, peace, inspiration, and encouragement. Our
are presented as thoughts of the authors--by no means do
mean to present them as ways that anyone has to live
from them what you will, and disagree with
whatever you disagree
with--just know that they'll be here for you
Power Is Not
(An excerpt from Lay Waste No Power)
also important to keep in mind what power is not.
Much of the misuse of our powers comes from
our inability to distinguish between what truly is
power and what is not power.
Sometimes we think that we can or should do
things that we neither need to do nor should do,
especially when it comes to our dealings with other
this tendency stems from a desire to control other
people's actions or thoughts, and sometimes it comes
from a desire to control a particular situation.
Often, it even comes about because we want to
help someone else by "making sure" that
something turns out well.
As a teacher, I often get papers that
obviously were written mostly by a student’s
parents—an effort to help, indeed, no matter how
misguided the motivation.
In these cases, though, we're talking about
influence and not true power.
The parent who wrote the paper may influence
the grade, but hasn’t used power to help teach
there are very few programs around that teach people
how to deal with other human beings and how to use
their powers effectively, so we tend to get our
ideas of what we're supposed to do from other people
who also haven't been taught how to effectively use
their own powers to deal with other people without
trying to control or manipulate them.
offers a perfect example of this phenomenon.
Many parents think that it's their duty to
make sure their kids know right from wrong and
behave in "socially acceptable" ways.
If they become too obsessed with this idea,
then they try to control their children's actions so
that they can't make any mistakes.
They often use their power, then, to try to
control and manipulate, as if their kids were
puppets on strings that can be controlled by a
really don't have any power over their children,
though—they're using their power to try to
influence the kids, who either accept their attempts
and acquiesce, or reject the attempts and rebel.
Heather drinks a beer when she's fifteen, then, her
parents may use their energy devising punishment for
her and trying to "force" her to see
things their way—she shouldn't be drinking beer
because it's against the law and because it can lead
only to worse problems.
Typical behaviors on the part of parents are
to tell Heather that she's wrong, that she's doing
something terrible, that her actions are very
using their energy, then, to say these things,
hoping that their influence
will affect Heather.
can't do so. When
punishment is involved, then they're using the
punishment to try to create fear of future
punishment that will influence Heather's future
punishment works the same way—people use their
energy to strike someone else, hoping that the fear
of more physical abuse in the future will influence
the other person’s decisions about what to do and
not to do.
Heather rebels against her parents' reactions, then
the parents will use even more energy, now for two
to convince her that they've been right all along,
and second to deal with the problem of rebellion.
Now the parents have to convince their
daughter that she's wrong to question their
judgment, and if they're unsuccessful in the
attempt, what will the final result be?
simply, there probably will be no final
result—this conflict probably will go on for quite
a while without any resolution at all.
And how much energy will the three people
have used against each other, only to fail to
convince the other side that they're in the right?
How much energy will have been spent in
anger, resentment, fretting, obsessing and worrying?
type of situation is quite understandable in
societies in which people tend to see life as a
series of conflicts.
In cultures in which many people have a
"you and me against the world" philosophy,
conflict is seen as the norm.
And while most people don't wish to be
involved in conflict, they nonetheless see it as the
most effective (and sometimes the only effective)
means of problem resolution.
while power definitely is not the control and
manipulation of others (which could be seen as using
power to try to influence), it also is not
necessarily the ability to function in conflict
fact, some of the people who have been the most
effective at conflict resolution have been those who
have approached conflict with the attitude that they
won't allow themselves to be drawn into it and
forced to deal with it on someone else's
level—Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa are two
incredibly successful people who come to mind.
They knew that the best way to approach
conflict was to use their power being true to
themselves, who they were, and what they stood for
as human beings.
They weren't interested in emulating others
who thought that power was the implementation of
force in an attempt to resolve a conflict or to
influence the actions of others.
New from Living Life Fully Publications!
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--effectively and ineffectively.
Curb to Originality
Reading along in
Edward De Bono's book New Think, I came across this most
interesting paragraph: "Many great discoverers like
Faraday had no formal education at all, and others, like Darwin
and James Clerk Maxwell, had insufficient formal education to curb
their originality. It is tempting to suppose that a capable
mind that is unaware of the old approach has a good chance of
evolving a new one."
point he makes there--actually, there are two important points--is
that a knowledge of an old approach always tends to stand in the
way of our coming up with a better idea, and the fact that too
much formal education tends to curb originality. They're
actually one and the same answer since too much formal education
tends to give us too many already accepted solutions.
Many people don't
trust their own ideas because they're self-conscious about a lack
of formal education. Don't ever make that mistake.
Some of the best ideas and most important discoveries have come
from people with very little or no formal education--Thomas Edison
wasn't a bad example.
never learned the multiplication tables, which makes me feel good
since I never did either. It's the sevens and eights that
Not knowing the
solution to a problem is often the best thing that can happen to
us. It gives us the opportunity to come up with a wholly
new, and possibly much better, solution. People armed with
old solutions tend to keep digging the same holes. The world
can pass them by.
the kind Edward De Bono talks about, means moving laterally and
digging brand-new holes in brand-new, virgin land. Sometimes
the old solution is best. If so, by studying the problem and
looking seriously for the answer, we'll come across the old
solution and use it. But we just might come up with a new
and better one before we learn the old one, too.
People will say,
"Surely they must have thought of that!" Not
necessarily. As De Bono says: "By far the
greatest amount of scientific effort is directed toward the
logical enlargement of some accepted hole. Many are the
minds scratching feebly away or gouging out great chunks according
to their capacity. Yet great new ideas and great scientific
advances have often [get that--often!] come about through
people ignoring the hole that is in progress and starting a new
one. The reason for starting a new one could be
dissatisfaction with the old one, sheer ignorance of the old one,
a temperamental need to be different, or pure whim. This
hole hopping is rare, because the process of education is usually
effective, and education is designed to make people appreciate the
holes that have been dug for them by their betters."*
So be a hole
hopper. Don't keep digging the old hole deeper. Try
digging some new holes--break some new ground for a change--and
see what you can come up with.
- - - - - - -
* Edward De Bono,
New Think: The Use of Lateral Thinking in the Generation
of New Ideas (New York: Basic Books, 1968).
often exult the defeat of another forgetting that, some other
their own defeat will be the cause of jubilation for others.
in all the conditions of life is the way to enjoy peace.
When we become
expert at loving and caring
we feel healthy, centered, and strong.
We don't need
to escape from
our reality through shopping,
eating, drinking, drugging, or
relationships. We feel warm and safe within
We learn to value everything about ourselves--our bodies
minds, our feelings and needs, our potential, strengths
weaknesses--throughout all the seasons of our lives.
We feel free
the truth of who we are, realizing
that God didn't send us
but to work toward
perfection. When we trust
fully, accepting ourselves
we wish to be but as we are, we develop a sense of
that brings us joy. We stop hiding and
else sees our flaws. We
aren't defensive or
judgmental. We know
who we are,
we know where we stand, and we accept that
everyone else in the world--have some growing to
Susan L. Taylor