Little Bit of Wisdom:
2005 - 2012
 

Welcome to the early "Little Bit of Wisdom" Web Site.

 I've been writing the Little Bits of Wisdom since 2005..  Below are the best of them through 2012.  Enjoy!

Blessings,
Ruth

 
Return to the current Little Bits of Wisdom...
 
 

June 4, 2012

Adulthood is more a matter of the roles we play than of time passing.  True to a lesser degree in the human framework, but more so in spiritual development.
                         Ruth Ledesma, seeker ( the younger me)

I’ve been rearranging things in my dresser drawers and found some paperwork from when I was in my twenties: an analysis of life – mine in particular – and its meaning.  I have learned a lot since then – even “matured,” if you will – but the thought above stood out like a ray of sunshine.

I have been oblivious, a seeker, a teacher, a skeptic, a mystic -- but these days mostly just a lover of all people and all things in our world.  (Maybe that is the true definition of a mystic: who knows?)

And I am content to look back on my journey and see that I did my best and I’m right where I belong, both with others and with myself.  Can say this out yourself?

JUNE 2012

April 16, 2012
The best part of life had passed me by before I figured out the important parts.
                         Deborah Coonts, author

What is it?  Youth is wasted on the young?  Well, I’m more inclined to think that wisdom is wasted on the old.

Shoot, we are too old to do much about it now that we have life figured out.  And in our youth-oriented cultures, far too few are willing to listen to the old folks, no matter how wise they may be.

How are you doing on the important parts?
 

April 14, 2012
Forty-five percent of one’s waking hours are spent in habit-related behavior.
                         Charles Duhigg, author

Duhigg’s book, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” is right on!.  He addresses the role of habit in our lives and how to promote positive habits and reduce/delete destructive habits.  For example, he said the best way to change a habit, or firmly instill a new habit, is to reward the behavior you want to become habitual.  No mention of punishing for the destructive habit, so this guy definitely gets my seal of approval.

So I guess it’s time to access your behaviors and determine which are habits and which are not.  And to do something about any that are destructive, eh?
 

April 12, 2012
If you have something in front of you that really scares you, run toward it because it’s so amazing on the other side.
                         Paraphrasing Sherri Shepherd, celebrity on Dancing with the Stars

The way we approach that which we fear says a lot about our character.  You have to admire someone who runs toward the fear because she looks forward to what it’s like on the other side.

You go, Sherri!
 

April 10, 2012
Life is all about love.
                         Ruth Ledesma

Easter is always the symbol of rebirth, of resurrection, of salvation, but most of all Easter is one of the major Christian traditions demonstrating the love God feels for his people.  All religions have traditions, various expressions of how life should be lived, concepts of how we came to be and why we are here on this earth.  All too often we focus on the differences when we would do so much better to focus on the similarities.  But I digress…

Religious traditions notwithstanding, I believe that all faiths are solidly based on love: love of yourself, of others, of our environment, our world.

Let’s hear it for love in all its manifestations!
 

April 8, 2012
Happy Easter!
                         Millions of Christians

Just as Christians expect and appreciate the freedom to engage in their religious practices, so do members of all other faiths.

In the name of love of our fellow human beings and our world, respect the faith of everyone you encounter.
 

April 6, 2012
They walk among us – and they breed!
                         Anonymous

Usually when this comment appears in one of those relatively humorous e-mails that goes around the world, it applies to people and their actions who exemplify the term “dumber than dirt.”

But in this case, I laud the state employee who knows her job inside out and went the extra mile for me yesterday.  I understand all too well from having been overworked in a government agency myself, just how hard their jobs are.  All the more reason to heap praise on this wonderful woman.

I’m so glad to report that women like this one also “walk among us – and they breed!”
 

April 4, 2012
Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.
                         Marcus Aurelius

Fate is defined as destiny, the inevitable outcome.  So if it’s inevitable, why not embrace it?  Squeeze all the juice from this life that you can squeeze.  Relish it!

The alternative is to be dragged kicking and screaming into the same inevitability.

Which would you prefer?
 

April 2, 2012
There is nothing more dangerous in politics than telling the truth.
                         Bill Clinton, former president and politician extraordinaire

What an indictment of the political system and those who inhabit it!

Unfortunately, the political arena is not the only place this saying applies.  Check out any corporate PR.  For that matter check out the people you know.  Check yourself, for that matter.

Thomas Leonard said, “Everybody lies.”  So true!

APRIL 2012

March 31, 2012
It's not how many times you get knocked down that count, it's how many times you get back up.
                         George A. Custer, U.S. Military

Some of us get knocked down quite a lot in a lifetime.  Sometimes it’s deliberate on someone’s part, sometimes it’s an accident, and sometimes it just seems to be random with no real cause-and-effect or relevance to anything else going on in your life.  The only thing you can for sure control when you get knocked down by whatever circumstances is the grit to get back up.

Here’s to resilience and grit and determination to get back up!
 

March 29, 2012
Count your blessings.
                         The Bible and a slew of other sources

Oprah brought author Sarah BanBreathnach to society’s attention when she lauded gratitude journaling.  The idea being to list at least five things for which you are grateful each night before going to sleep.  This gives your subconscious something positive to focus on while your conscious mind is asleep.  Many people believe it is most effective.

Personally, I find myself deliberately choosing to focus on and feel grateful for various things throughout the day.  When something strikes me as misery-making, I immediately seek something happiness-making to focus on instead.

Regardless of whether you count your blessings formally, at bedtime for example, or more informally at moments throughout your day, I assure you that counting your blessings with gratitude will go far to enhancing the quality of your life.
 

March 27, 2012
Focus on the Joy.
                         Lyn Hopper, Writer

Assume for the moment you cannot take any action to change what’s on the stage of your life.  Which will make you happier: to focus the spotlight of your attention on a pile of s**t or a bouquet of roses?  You might be surprised how many people would rather ignore the roses, but most well-adjusted people enjoy them better than the alternative.

Our American culture tends to embrace positive things as contributing to happiness.  But I was visiting another country once when a lady was asked how she was doing.  Her highly dramatic response, as she held out her hand, was, “Oh, God, I have a hangnail!”

What floats your boat of happiness?
 

March 25, 2012
When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.
                         Chinese proverb

What a lovely way to express the differences in how various people cope with change!  Some hate it and resist it.  Some love it and embrace it.

Which would be a more productive approach, given that change is inevitable?  (I guess you can tell which camp I’m in.)
 

March 23, 2012
Recovery is an internal rearrangement.
                         Ashley Judd, actress

I spent years as a professional counselor, being a positive influence in the lives of people who were doing their best to succeed in recovery from substance abuse.  Usually the emphasis is on the outward manifestation of recovery, the new playmates, the new playgrounds, one day at a time, etc.

In all those years I never heard the recovery process described so beautifully.  That “internal rearrangement” is the foundation and source for the outward manifestations of change.
 

March 21, 2012
That’s the thing about dreams – they’re scary when they come true.
                         Deborah Coonts, author

I was on a long string for a while about the role of courage in living a glorious life.  Having the courage to live with your dreams when they come true is right up there with the courage to let/make them come true.

Here’s to dreams!
 

March 19, 2012
The future is a pig in a poke.
                         Ruth Ledesma, i.e., me!

Or a crap shoot, who knows?  Regardless, none of us can count on any particular outcome to any particular situation.

Thomas Leonard, said the present is the perfect preparation for the future.  My daughter quotes him with “It is what it is: deal with it.”

So open the bag -- roll the dice -- and let’s see what the future brings!
 

March 17, 2012
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
                         The Irish in all of us

No matter the realities of blood and ancestry, each of us has at least one small part of his/her heart that is Irish to the core.

Rejoice and celebrate!
 

March 15, 2012
The best way to say "Thank you, God," is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now.
                         Don Miguel Ruiz, author

Many find it soooo easy to live in the past, thinking more often than not of all the things that didn’t go the way we wanted.  All the regrets in the world will never change one iota of the past.  So let it go!

Now is the time to live to our best abilities.  NOW!
 

March 13, 2012
Facing problems is half the battle of solving them.
                         Diana Palmer, author

A sweet friend is facing the end of her marriage and feeling a bit overwhelmed at times with all the responsibilities she will soon be left to handle alone.  Her temptation is to run away into denial at least or – even sometimes – physically getting the hell out of Dodge.

But the problems remain, no matter how much we run – or want to run – so we may as well stick that steel rod in our spines and determine to deal with it.

It really is the only practical solution:  deal with it!
 

March 11, 2012
My hope is to be remembered for what I do, not what happened to me.
                          Jaycee Dugard, kidnap survivor

Her story will go down in history as one of the most horrendous kidnappings of all time.  Yet her intention is to be remembered for what she does.  That kind of spirit is the reason she endured those years in a shed in the back yard.

You go, Jaycee!  I look forward to seeing all the other things you will accomplish.
 

March 9, 2012
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.
                          Erich Fromm

Is one’s existence a problem?  Maybe Hitler’s existence was a problem and some others who wrought such horrors to our world, but the typical person?  Naaaaa….

Having said that, love of one’s fellow humans and all the other components of our world, certainly  enhances our realities.  Not a whole lot of reason to exist if there is no love all around.
 

March 7, 2012
I think love is the wildcard of existence.
                          Rita Mae Brown, author

From “it just is” to the wildcard love: best segue I’ve seen in ages.

Just when you think you have it all figured out, along comes the wildcard.  And what a terrific one it is!
 

March 5, 2012
It just is.
                          Thomas Leonard, founder of the coaching profession

One of the best minds of our times when it comes to analysis and synthesis of knowledge, Thomas helped me to understand that all the judgments of good, bad, positive, negative, helpful, destructive, and on and on,  were all a matter of the filters through which life in its many dimensions is viewed.  That view is not the same thing as whatever is being viewed.

Life itself, and everything else, just is.
 

March 3, 2012
That was the thing about life, as he saw it – there were often second chances.  The thing was to learn from them when they happened the first time around.
                          Kasey Michaels, author

I’ve often wondered if for sure there were second chances, and if so, what was the point.  I suppose the old “repeat it until you get it right” applies?

MARCH 2012

February 29, 2012
Things happen.  You adapt.  It’s what living is all about.
                          Connie Brockway, author

Life is never fair and...even cruel, but sometimes it can be kind.
                          Kasey Michaels, author

Yet more descriptions of living: I like this one better than “making sacrifices.”
 

February 27, 2012
Life is about making sacrifices…
                          Connie Brockway, author

From a chain of miracles to making sacrifices: another view of life.  Could it be each of us defines life according to our own experiences?

I’ll take the miracles, thank you!
 

February 25, 2012
Life…it was a chain of miracles that sometimes gave you a glimpse of Heaven.
                          Catherine Coulter, author

So many views of what life is, so few days to really appreciate it!

How wonderful to see life as a chain of miracles: it only enhances one’s savoring of every minute.
 

February 21, 2012
Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.
                          Edward Everett, 18th Century educator

Education is the transmission of civilization.
                          Will Durant, the “Gentle Philosopher”

We value our freedom and boast of our civilization, but without at least a minimal level of education for most Americans we would have neither.   The “Free World” is based on its citizens being able to think well on their feet, to understand B.S. when they hear it, to figure out new and better ways of doing things, and more.

Without education we are in danger of losing all that we value in this life, for our civilization will surely fall.
 

February 19, 2012
We have to educate our way to better times.
                          Arne Duncan, current US Secretary of Education

Descending into ignorance has never helped any situation.  Our country needs well-educated men and women to regenerate a healthy economy which produces massive amounts of goods and services used around the world.  If we can’t manage that, the people of other nations will.

Ours has been too much of a consumer-based economy for too long: it’s time to be primarily a producer-based economy.

Wake up, Americans!
 

February 17, 2012
Education is the only escape from poverty.
                          Diana Palmer, author

We need to keep this in mind in this day of wondering if getting a college education is “worth it.”  I agree that some people can generate a nice income without a college education, but that isn’t true for everyone.

More to the point for me, however, is recognizing that generating an income is only one reason to acquire an education.  Expanding your understanding and experience through education – formal or not – is the best way to escape from poverty of the soul and a life bereft of meaning.  Not the only way, but the best way to open the doors to a life you can relish instead of just endure.
 

February 15, 2012
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
                         Lao Tzu

Valentine’s Day is over, but with any luck at all, we won’t wait until next Feb. 14th to let people know you love them.

Here’s to fostering strength and courage through boundless love!
 

February 13, 2012
A campaign is about defining who you are - your vision and your opponent's vision.
                          Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist

The reason we talk about “defining moments” is because they play pivotal roles in defining who you are, not just as a stand-alone person, but in relation to others as well.  That’s part of why politicians are always “defining” themselves as different from their opponents.

The contrasts in life play their own pivotal roles, even between before and after defining moments.  They say you don’t appreciate the light unless you know the darkness as well.

How have these contrasts helped you define yourself and your life?
 

February 11, 2012
For most entertainers, there is a single experience, one defining moment, when confidence replaces the self-doubt that most of us wrestle with.
                          Charley Pride, country music legend

 The defining moments mentioned before can work to your benefit or to your detriment.  Perhaps the pendulum swings based on the colored filter through which you look at life.  Or does the selection of your usual filter derive from your defining moments?

Regardless, the best we can do is remember that no matter the nature of the defining moments; we make of them what we will for better or worse.

How are you doing with your defining moments?
 

February 9, 2012
…each life has a defining moment, an episode that shapes and colors, for good or ill, all that follows.  It might come early or relatively late. It could be calamitous or outwardly trivial: an unjust punishment in grade school, a parent’s death, involvement in a war, a disastrous prom date, a failed business.  Sometimes the person recognizes it for what it is but it will do its work just as well without being identified or understood.
                          Aaron Elkins, author

True, but why consider “a” defining moment when many of them occur in our lives?

A few of mine include:

• Not being allowed to attend Clemson University because I wasn’t a man.
• Choosing not to pursue a Ph.D. because “You wouldn’t want to have more credentials than your husband…”
• Giving birth to a severely brain-injured child.
• Realizing that my life as a wife had become intolerable and filing for divorce.
• Reading about Thomas Leonard in a magazine and becoming a professional coach.
What are some of yours?
 

February 7, 2012
That’s why I love stained glass.  It’s like life.  Everything depends on the light you view it in.
                          Elizabeth Lowell, author

Rose colored glasses, the blues, a sunny (yellow) disposition, a dark mood, a red rage, green with envy, a gray world: we could go on and on with colorful references to the filters we use in viewing our lives.  In Lowell’s story, a stained glass picture had been dull until sunlight suddenly beamed through to turn it into a brilliant piece of art.

The color of your favorite lens for viewing life can make all the difference in the world in how much you enjoy your life, but most important of all is the light itself.  Without the light, life is just a dull, muddy mix.  With the light, life becomes a masterpiece.

A little light, anyone?
 

February 5, 2012
Intuition is a suspension of logic due to impatience.
                          Rita Mae Brown, author

Intuition is reason in a hurry.
                          Holbrook Jackson, leading bibliophile of his time

In this age of hurry, hurry, hurry and rush, rush, rush, perhaps it’s time for intuition (following your heart, the feeling in your bones, your gut, etc.) to come into its own.

My mother referred to it as the lazy person’s logic.  Guess she was a lady before her time…
 

February 3, 2012
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
                          Steve Jobs

There’s that courage again!
 

February 1, 2012
Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.

It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely on it. It's my partner.
                          Jonas Salk, research scientist

So if the guy who found the cure for polio relies on his intuition, who are we to deny the validity of this source of guidance?

FEBRUARY 2012

January 30, 2012
Go with your heart, even when it scares the hell out of you.
                          Deborah Coonts, author

Decisions are usually based on a number of factors: intellectual logic being a favorite.  Would that the mind offered infallible guidance!   Alas!

The heart – or intuition – tends to give truer guidance.  If you listen well and have the courage we’ve been thinking of so much lately, then going with your heart will never let you down – even when it scares the hell out of you.
 

January 28, 2012
Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
                          Maya Angelou, author

According to dictionary.com, courage and its synonyms refer to positive qualities of spirit and conduct.    Angelou makes it sound as if courage, assuming you have any, is a beacon which keeps you focused and prevents wandering into the briars alongside your path.

So let’s devise a scale of one to ten, on which you can assess your courage – giving you a “Courage Quotient.”  Put your CQ right up there with your IQ, your EQ, your SQ, and whatever other “quotients” you want to use.

Just one more scale for self-evaluation and, even though I and others might ask, it’s no one’s business but yours.
 

January 26, 2012
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
                          Walt Disney

Courage keeps coming up as a critical part of making one’s dream come true: courage to believe in the possibility, courage to believe in yourself, courage to take action.

There are tons of quotes on the power of belief in manifesting any particular outcome, sources ranging from the Bible to Henry Ford and everywhere in between.

I maintain that one must have the “courage of one’s convictions” to believe as well as to take action.

How’s your courage quotient?
 

January 24, 2012
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
                          Harriet Tubman, famous Underground Railway “Conductor”

During a ten-year span Harriet Tubman made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.  Don’t try to persuade me she didn’t know the power of dreams and those who do the dreaming!

Her life also shows how very critical it is to act on your dreams.

What are you doing to act on your dreams?
 

January 22, 2012
People need dreams, there's as much nourishment in 'em as food.
                          Dorothy Gilman, author

For many of us, life would be unbearable without a dream.  I’ve coached people who feared to achieve their dream because they didn’t understand that a dream accomplished can be easily succeeded by another dream.  They feared a dream accomplished left them with nothing else to aspire to.  Without dreams, life was hardly worth living.

Gilman, author of the fabulous “Mrs. Pollifax” series of books and more, has a solid understanding of the role of dreams in our lives.

I wonder, is dreaming related to creativity?  I have to think so -- that ability to formulate and envision -- yes!
 

January 20, 2012
Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
                         Hans Christian Anderson

Yesterday was my 69th birthday and I celebrated with each lovely e-mail, phone call and visit, for the people in my life are my greatest treasures.

Probably second for me in importance is my freedom to do as I wish whenever I wish.  Despite the many restrictions of chronic health problems I have learned not just to survive, but to thrive within my capabilities.   At the same time, my doctor has a most definite DNR order because bending to the restrictions of an assisted living or nursing home would be sheer hell.  Most definitely “Give me liberty (freedom to live on my own) or give me death.”

Having said all that, I relish every day, every ray of sunshine, every raindrop, every flower, every…  God, I love life!
 

January 18, 2012
All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.
                          William Faulkner, author

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about dreams: those long gone, those still alive, those realized and those dead on the altar of whatever-got-in-the-way.

On the whole I have no regrets about my dreams, even though a realistic look at my life would prove most of them got sidetracked.

To paraphrase, “’Tis better to have dreamed and lost than never to have dreamed at all.”  I would have to say I rank myself among those splendid failures Faulkner references.
 

January 16, 2012
I always wanted to be somebody.  I should have been more specific.
                          Jill Shalvis, author

Wisdom says that one should always be very, very specific when praying, when asking the Universe for something, visualizing, manifesting -- however you go about it.

So when you say you want to be a success, for example, you really need to get specific.  Successful at what?  How do you measure the success you want?  You want someone to love?  Specifically what characteristics and attributes do you desire?  And on the teaching goes.

Most important of all, specifically what do you want yourself to be?  Kind?  A loving parent?  A faithful spouse?  A leader in some particular aspect of community and/or business life?

Be specific.  Otherwise you could just be "somebody"…
 

January 14, 2012
Don’t close yourself off to what could be.
                          Jill Shalvis, author

This goes back to the Little Bit for Jan. 6th.  When we are so convinced of the inevitability of a particular outcome, we refuse the possibility of other things/situations that “could be.”

Keep an open mind.  Be open to whatever shows up.  Optimists will say it is bound to be better than the alternatives.

Pessimists – well, I have never been able to get into that mindset.
 

January 12, 2012
The people in our lives, the relationships, are the only thing that really matter.  Get those right, you get life right.  The rest of the stuff is just details.
                          Deborah Coonts, author

See there?  It’s very simple!!!!  People first, money second, "stuff" last.
 

January 10, 2012
…that money is no compensation for a life poorly lived.
                          Deborah Coonts, author

While so many worship the God of Money, they forget that true wealth lies within themselves and their relationships with those around them.  The sad part is that so many of us don’t realize what’s really important until it’s too late to do anything about it.

So wake up!
 

January 8, 2012
Material things are never enough.
                          Kay Hooper, author

You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.
                          Eric Hoffer, author

Our society pushes us to believe that “things” are the answer to our problems.  If we just have the latest (whatever), we will be happier, more whole, more secure, more loved, more…  Hoarders are perfect examples of those who buy into this illusion.

Bad news:  it’s a lie.  Beyond meeting the basic needs of food and shelter, the rest is just gravy.  And we all know that gravy is really hard on your health.

Good news:  you don’t have to believe it.  You can recognize that people and the relationships you have with yourself and those around you are the most important things in the world.
 

January 6, 2012
I deny the certainty of possible outcomes.
                          Richard M. Cohen, author

Ponder this one a while.

The pessimist is convinced the worst possible outcome is the certainty.  The optimist is convinced the best possible outcome is the certainty.  And most of us land somewhere in the middle.

But what if we denied the certainty?  What if we kept our hearts and lives open to possible outcomes we haven’t even considered yet?

Is this not the essence of going with the flow?  Of relishing the moment without worry for the future?
 

January 4, 2012
There’s no point in losing a good today over the chance of a bad tomorrow.
                          Richard M. Cohen, author

Cohen was diagnosed with MS at age 25.  Despite a lifetime of encroaching loss of physical abilities, he has personified the courage required to live productively with a progressive chronic illness.  If ever anyone proved the validity of “living in the moment,” he’s the one.

Take each day with all the blessings it holds and relish it with all you have in you.  Tomorrow will have its own blessings, not always the same ones, but blessings nonetheless.
 

January 2, 2012
Customarily, the results of any negotiation can be designated into one of the proceeding groups:
• Lose/Lose (all parties lose)
• Win/Lose (I win and you lose)
• Lose/Win (I lose and you win)
• Win/Win (we both win, but this could also be described as compromise)
• Win More/Win More (we maximize our shared resources by being collaborative)
       The Negotiation Academy

In our New Year’s resolutions, perhaps we should understand that the advantages of collaborative action far outweigh those of competitive action.

Is anyone listening in Washington, DC?
 

JANUARY 2012

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2012

December 31, 2011
I’m so happy to see you!
                          Those giving and/or receiving the gift of one's presence

In this society of ours, many spend their days in unwanted physical isolation.  E-mail, snail mail, phone calls, text messages, etc. are all well and good, but your physical presence and undivided attention can be priceless.

Facebook, et al., will never beat an in-person visit.
 

December 29, 2011
I want to give the perfect gift as a token of how much I care.
                          Those who give thoughtfully

OK, so we cannot in all reality ignore the role of “stuff” in the holiday rituals.  Best outcome: the gift is treasured and used.  Worst outcome:  the unwanted and useless gift sits around taking up space and being resented.

Some guidelines for gifts that will be appreciated for themselves, in addition to the giver:

I should have written this a month ago!
 

December 27, 2011
It’s perfect!  Just what I wanted!
                          Those who recognize the giver is far more important than the gift

Holiday gift giving has become a retail ritual.  Too often it’s more about the gift than the giver or the recipient.  And lots of those gifts are returned after the holidays for money or other items.  (Not talking here about things that don’t fit and have to be exchanged for the right size.)

The fact that someone cares enough about you to select and gift you makes “whatever” the perfect gift.  And what could you want more than the love of the giver?

These times of gift giving are about people, not things.  Keep your focus where it belongs!  And when it comes to dealing with the "things" which aren't exactly what you have a use for, you can always discreetly re-gift or donate or sell them on eBay.
 

December 25, 2011
Love is the answer.
                          John Lennon and many musicians, poets and other insightful people

Whatever the language, the nationality, the culture, the holiday, etc., etc., etc., this is the time of year to recall that we are here together in this world and we will do better by ourselves and each other if we act in love rather than hatred.

Base your actions on this.
 

December 23, 2011
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own.  Nobody.  You built a factory out there — good for you!  But I want to be clear.  You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for.  You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.  You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.
                          U.S. Sen. candidate Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts

I don't know who Ms. Warren was talking to, but I would say exactly that, especially to all those big corporations which drain all the benefit they can from our economy while putting back the very least they can get away with.

All of us stand on the shoulders of others.  And all of us have others standing on our shoulders.  We are all in this mess together.  It’s time for slackers to share the common responsibility for the common problems, not to lounge back and let “someone else” do it for you.
 

December 21, 2011
Government is not the solution to our problem.  Government is the problem.
                          Ronald Reagan, revered actor and president

With all due respect, I disagree.  Our government as an organization is capable of being the solution to our economic problem.  It’s the people – the bureaucrats and politicians – who wield power within the governmental structure who are the problem.

The definition of bureaucrat, BTW, is “an official who works by fixed routine without exercising intelligent judgment.”   And the definition of politician?   “A seeker or holder of public office, who is more concerned about winning favor or retaining power than about maintaining principles.”

When will we replace them with people who actually place the welfare of our country and its people before their own greed for money and power?
 

December 19, 2011
Great people are self-managed.
                          Steve Jobs

The idea is to know what needs to be done and do it, without someone having to tell you how and when and what.

As it happens, our society is not set up to encourage such behavior.   Individuals are generally rewarded for accepting direction readily.  It takes an exceptional person to be able to manage his/her own path regardless of what others say.

How much value has been lost, and continues to be lost, to us because of the “do as you are told” mentality?
 

December 17, 2011
We’re here to put a dent in the universe.
                          Steve Jobs

And did he ever!!!
 

December 15, 2011
People cry, not because they’re weak. It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.
                          Unknown

Three things make me cry:  anger, the end of a tough time and kindness.  Well, sometimes – perhaps often – the last two overlap…

What makes you cry?
 

December 13, 2011
What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
                          Edward Langley

If only when they became unemployed as politicians they no longer received compensation for being a politician.  U.S. representatives and senators get a lifetime retirement package that far exceeds the common workers’ time-limited unemployment benefits.

Thanks Helen!
 

December 11, 2011
 If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.
                          Unknown

Ah!   Could this be why politicians tend to be so mediocre?
 

December 9, 2011
Conflict is good for politics but lousy for economics.  People working together -- works.

                           Former President Bill Clinton

Leave it to this consummate leader to identify the core problem.  So can the politicians put their personal and political agendas aside to focus on this country’s economic need?

We shall see…
 

December 7, 2011
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
                           Mahatma Gandhi

As some of you know, I have a fair share and then some of chronic illnesses.  Added to that now are the depredations of age.  Good thing my will has always been the strongest thing about me.

How about you?  Feeling indomitable?
 

December 5, 2011
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'
                           Eleanor Roosevelt

Most of us can identify with some subset of the human race that we feel has been through more than the normal degree of horror.  No need to give any examples.

Just know that you grow stronger as your character is tempered by the flames of adversity.
 

December 3, 2011
People are stronger than they think.
                           Richard M. Cohen, Author

Award winning Richard Cohen has become a pre-eminent spokesman for people with chronic illness.  He himself has dealt with MS for a number of years.  His earlier experiences are chronicled in Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir.

More recently Strong at the Broken Places: Voices of Illness, a Chorus of Hope, follows the lives of five people handling ALS, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Crohn's disease, muscular dystrophy and bipolar disorder.

I tend to prefer and recommend fiction, but these two books are the exceptions.  You won’t be sorry to delve into this particular reality.
 

December 1, 2011
                  re: Chronic Illness
We, the injured, are everywhere. We are fast becoming a nation of the sick. The numbers do not lie. Chronic illness has become the silent flood, flowing slowly, steadily under our doors. We tumble in slow-motion from safe ground, twisting and struggling to survive in a cold sea of all that we once were and can be no more.

Chronic conditions attack body and spirit, assaulting the quality of our lives. Some are life-threatening. All are life-altering. Ever so slowly, moment by moment, function and sensation cease. Muscles and nerves malfunction. The body’s processes grow difficult. Our view of ourselves as normal human beings making our way in a neutral world is challenged as, in the eyes of others, we become our illnesses.

Chronic conditions do not resolve themselves. Unlike terminal illnesses, there is no high drama with these diseases. They are not sexy, and are little noticed or understood by an unknowing public that would prefer not to think about them. Those who are hit hard know the frustration of being marginalized, reduced, and pushed to the side by these chilly attitudes. We are handed a cocktail of condescension and a basket of doubts about our limitations. The crisis of confidence that follows can be contagious and soon affects every part of our being.

With chronic illness, every facet of a once-robust life is overtaken and redefined. From the ability to find and hold jobs to the capacity to build and sustain personal relationships, the facts of a sick person’s world change dramatically. The slow slide down carries us, and we lose control.

Still, we go on. We double the effort, for what is the option? Too often, we remain silent. We are a hidden population, invisible except to ourselves and those who love us.
                           Richard M. Cohen, Author

I could never say it better.

DECEMBER 2011

November 29, 2011
Great gift idea:  a Memory Box!
                           Katrina Solomon, Professional Organizer

This is a terrific idea for someone who wants to give something priceless in these days of spending too much money for too much "stuff" that takes up too much space for storage.

Here’s how it works:
• Briefly write down cherished memories on separate bits of paper, one for each memory.
• Place in a decorative box or jar and give to someone you love who shares those memories..
• Your loved one can pull a memory at random from the container and revisit the happy memory – over and over if s/he likes.

Katrina shared this gift idea from one of her clients.  It costs nothing but a little time and thought and it gives satisfaction time after time.
 

November 28, 2011
Now that it's all over, what did you really do yesterday that's worth mentioning?
                           Coleman Cox

A man recently asked that I help with writing his memoirs.  He had spent most of his life indulging in alcohol and drug abuse and all things related to that lifestyle and considered himself lucky to have survived it all.  But rather than a message of hope, he sounded much more like he was reveling in re-living his glory days.  Needless to say I will not be helping him.

These days many people are putting themselves out there as if, of course, everyone will be interested in the minutia of their lives, good, bad or indifferent.

Well, I have news:  it may have been interesting to you, but the rest of the population of this world doesn’t give a sh..t.
 

November 27, 2011
Sometimes the hardest thing in life is to live it.
                          Robin Pilcher, Author

I freely admit that I love the escape of a good adventure/romance/mystery/suspense novel, whether the story is placed in the past, present or future.  The respite fiction provides makes it much easier for me to cope with the realities of my life.

At the same time, I clearly recognize how easy it would be to focus exclusively on the escape and avoid the reality.

Back to the old bit about balance, eh?
 

November 26, 2011
It’s a good thing I decided not to participate in the Black Friday frenzy.  Couldn’t find my pepper spray…
                           Ruth

I think we can call the whole Black Friday scene officially tipped into insanity.

Enough, already!!!
 

November 25, 2011
It’s Black Friday!  Let’s spend money!!!!!!!!!!
                           Way too many people who should know better

Americans go from overeating to overspending – all in 24 hours.  Talk about conspicuous consumption!  Soon we won't even bother with Thanksgiving: we'll go straight to the spending part.

There must be a better basis for a healthy economy than stretching consumer pocketbooks to the limit.

I’m opting out of the spending frenzy that will mark the next month.  How about you?  Want to give it a try?
 

November 24, 2011
Have a terrific holiday!
                           Ruth

I feel like I’ve been in training for the Thanksgiving tradition of overeating.  After today, I’ll manage somehow to keep those carbs down to 120 per day.

I won’t be with my family physically, but I’ll be able to talk by phone and that will be terrific.  I don’t get lonely, but it will be very nice to hang out with those I love a bit more than usual.

So have a great Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the food and the fellowship.  Share the joy.
 

November 13, 2011
It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.
                           Rosamunde Pilcher, Author

This speaks to the very human tendency to glamorize the future, only to be disappointed when it finally arrives.  But, hey, there’s always more future, so not to worry, right?

Dreaming and glamorizing are effective carrots to action needed to accomplish a goal.  Don’t let any disparity between the dream and the reality discourage you.

What are we without our dreams?
 

November 12, 2011
Celebrate Veteran’s Day on the 11th of November.
                           Those who honor our war veterans

It seems very sad to me that we have to set aside a special day to celebrate those who have defended what we believe in.  Certainly every day should be a day of honoring them.  Unfortunately, people being what we are, one special day of celebration per year is the best we can do.

As it happens, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are making some headway in bringing concern for our veterans and their families right down to where the rubber meets the road.

Give them and their efforts your full support every day!
 

November 11, 2011
It’s not as important to be the best as it is to do your best.
                           Tristan MacManus, Professional Dancer

This guy recently did a fabulous job of teaching and performing with Nancy Grace on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.  Built into the concept here is the recognition that there are always those whose “best” is better than your own and, at the same time, there are always those whose “best” is not as good as your own.  In just the same way, professional athletes refer to their “personal best” as they compete with themselves, regardless of outside competition.

Remembering this particular little bit of wisdom can keep you from beating up on yourself.  Just do your best and don’t worry about the rest.
 

November 10, 2011
You’ve had so many adventures.  How about writing your memoirs?
                           Dorella, my dear cousin

Not sure I have the ego to write a true memoir, but a recounting of adventures ---   Well, maybe.

I sent off the draft of Chapter 1, Foundation fo an Adventurer, and immediately realized once again that you should never send out a draft.  Always, always edit first!

Sorry, Dorella, but you’ll be getting a more polished version soon.
 

November 9, 2011
Think of the kinds of things that make you happiest in life -- what gives you satisfaction.  What do those things have in common with making a living? (Think)....how can you find the right job or create the right job – one that makes you want to get up in the morning.  Try to use a little imagination…take your time.
                           Robyn Carr, Author

With a graduate degree, professional certifications galore and decades of experience helping people identify, obtain and keep their dream jobs, I have never come across the process outlined so well.

Don’t you love the way insightful fiction writers incorporate truths into their work?
 

November 7, 2011
A rising tide lifts all boats.
                           John F. Kennedy, according to John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Unfortunately the tide seems to be ebbing at the moment, thanks to the political stupidity in Washington.  Looks like pretty soon all our boats will be run aground.

Then what, Mr. Boehner?
 

November 4, 2011
I began to recall…
                           Herman Cain, Republican hopeful

How easily we forget some things, especially when remembering doesn’t serve our personal interests.

Would that the politicians in Washington could recall why they were elected.
 

November 3, 2011
Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.
                           Barbara de Angelis, Writer

Of course this isn’t true for all women – or all men – but far too many women buy into the falsehood of “give, give, give” and “everybody else is more important than I am” and the self-sacrificing cry of “but they need me.”

I should have a nickel for every woman I have coached who was in danger of losing herself through giving more than she had in the first place.

Is solitude the cure for this problem?  I doubt it, but perhaps it’s a beginning.
 

November 2, 2011
Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.
                           Paul Tillich, Theologian

There are those who love to be with other people, who reap energy from social interaction.  They are designated as extroverts.  At the same time, there are those who relish solitude, who gain energy from being alone.  They are called introverts. We are all somewhere on the continuum between the two extremes.

It’s not about shy or gregarious; it’s about where you get your energy.  Tillich obviously had a large dollop of introvert in his personality.

What percentage introvert are you?  What percentage extrovert?  It’s a good fact to know about yourself.
 

November 1, 2011
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
                          Mark Twain

Recently Will Ferrell was honored with the 14th Annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.   A very prestigious award indeed, one many comedians covet.

In the midst of a lousy economy, terrorist threats, US participation in far too many military actions, politicians raising more money for their campaigns than the national debt – ah well, perhaps I exaggerate a tiny bit – the need for and appreciation of humor in our lives is not to be underestimated.

Let’s hear it for Will Ferrell and all his compadres!

NOVEMBER 2011

October 31, 2011
Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.
                           Franklin D. Roosevelt

Former Pres. Bill Clinton says our representatives and senators get to their positions via competition.  It’s no wonder then that they have a hard time cooperating with each other.

Can we not find any people to represent us in government who understand that life is not a one note samba?  It's time to practice a new dance, the dance of cooperation.
 

October 30, 2011
If you are alone you belong entirely to yourself.  If you are accompanied by even one companion you belong only half to yourself.
                           Leonardo da Vinci

To me this speaks to the freedom of solitude.  When I am alone I can do/think/be whatever I choose so long as I don’t infringe on another person’s rights.

Being a well mannered Southern woman, I all too often feel an obligation to place my own preferences on the back burner as I give consideration to the likes, dislikes, welfare, etc. of any other person I might be with.

I wouldn’t want to change my thoughtfulness, but certainly I can understand and appreciate my preference to bask in solitude.

How about you?
 

October 24, 2011
I really want to be with people who demand perfection, and this is who I am.
                           Steve Jobs

He was not a very good manager.
                           Walter Isaacson, Biographer

Key words here are “demand perfection.”  Few managers can do that and be considered good at managing other people.

Very creative, innovative people, on the other hand, tend to demand perfection of themselves, far more than anyone else would ever dream of asking.   Once the innovative personality realizes how he is driving himself, it’s absolutely natural that he would not deal too well with those who are not a lot like him.

Kudos to Steve Jobs not only for his innovative genius, but also for recognizing, accepting and being true to himself as he was.
 

October 24, 2011
We owe something to extravagance, for thrift and adventure seldom go hand in hand.
                          Jennie Churchill, Author

Ah-hah!!!  Now I understand a little better why “thrift” never had any appeal for me.  I guess I truely agree that adventure is by its very nature an extravagant way to live, perhaps on every level.

Now I know why we use the phrases, “Don’t hold back, give it your all, live life to its fullest, etc., etc.”

Oh, yeah!  What a ride!
 

October 23, 2011
We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.
                           Jawaharlal Nehru

Sometimes I think I had to grow old to truly appreciate the absolute magnificence of life.  (Note the assumption there that I have indeed matured as the years have passed!)  This life we each take so much for granted most of the time is a priceless journey.

Bon voyage!
 

October 22, 2011
More info about core values, please.
                           Several Little Bit of Wisdom readers

Many people believe core values revolve around traditional things like family, honesty, hard work, etc.  And for some people these concepts are true indicators of their core values.  But there are also quite a few of us who value some things not necessarily traditional in nature.  Not that we don’t value more traditional things, but we can typically reduce our values to five core values we could not abandon and live our lives well.

I, for example, have core values of
• Adventure
• Creativity
• Harmony
• Integrity
• Wisdom

Need help figuring yours out?  Contact me.
 

October 21, 2011
The adventure you're ready for is the one you get.
                          Joseph Campbell

Along with this comes the old quote about the teacher appearing when you are ready for the lesson.   Perhaps the mystics are correct that we are in this life to learn certain lessons.

Bring on the adventures!
 

October 20, 2011
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
                           Helen Keller

Adventure is one of my core values. Sometimes adventure in my life is mistaken for dissatisfaction, restlessness, flightiness, lack of common sense, etc.

I have found that embracing the adventures of life is key to learning from experience.  Obviously I haven’t finished with learning and living, so…

Let’s go adventuring!
 

October 19, 2011
The story’s your only obligation.
                           Nora Roberts, Author

In my lurid past as a substance abuse counselor, I attended the NC School of Alcohol and Drug Studies – twice!  One essential aspect of the stories told in AA is the format:  in essence it starts with the way it was before, followed by the significant, change-making event, and ending with the way it is after.  In other words a beginning, a middle and an end.

All good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end.  Not all writing is a story, but if you want to be a storyteller of any merit, stick to the format.
 

October 18, 2011
I tell the story.  It’s as simple and as miserably complex as that.
                          Nora Roberts, Author

Deeply understanding the story makes it a lot easier to write it.  I plot my stories on a story board.  Once the board is done, the writing is infinitely easier.

Life is a series of beginnings, middles and ends.  The focus just depends on where you decide to start.  As she says, "It’s as simple and as miserably complex as that.”

To gain additional clarity and insights, try plotting events in your life using the same three-part format.  The results can be utterly astounding.
 

October 17, 2011
Every time I face that first blank page, I wonder how I’ll ever get through a beginning, middle and end.
                           Nora Roberts, Author

For all the aspiring writers, it should be very reassuring that even someone as talented and prolific as Nora Roberts can find that first blank page so daunting.  For those who successfully face down that blank page on a regular basis, how very reassuring to know you are in good company.

Whole books have been written on how to overcome writer’s block.  Seminars, workshops and personal coaching sessions abound.  But eventually each of us stands alone in the presence of the blank page.

The true character of a writer shines through in that solitary moment.
 

October 16, 2011
Made in America!
                           Well-known Slogan

My friend Donna and I noted that the exceptionally tasty fortune cookies at our favorite Chinese restaurant were made in NYC.  I still break up with laughter when I think of all the imports from China consumed in the United States, and yet so much of the food itself, even the pre-packaged items, is made in the USA.

I am pleased that absolutely all the furniture in my home was made in America.  Not so great with other things, but I’m working on it.

How about you and your home?
 

October 15, 2011
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
                           Ralph Waldo Emerson

For my many acquaintances, I wear my best face – not difficult because my best face is the one I wear pretty much all the time.  Definitely, with me, what you see is what you get 99% of the time..

But for a very few – the friends of a lifetime – I take great pleasure in occasional bouts of silliness, foolishness, giddiness and, yes, even downright stupidity.   I’m so grateful they will love me no matter how much of a fool I might make of myself.

I want for you this kind of friendship!
 

October 14, 2011
We judge people by the pound.
                          Richard Simmons, fitness guru

I really enjoy Harry’s Law on NBC.  This week the focus is on so-called “snark-blogging” and the horrendous impact it can have on the lives of both the subject and the blogger.  Although the example related to homosexuality, today – as it has been for most of my lifetime – being overweight makes one a prime target for judgmental maliciousness.

I applaud television for portraying quite a few people as pretty much the same, regardless of their weight, but we as a society have a long way to go.
 

October 13, 2011
What kind of problems are you talking about?
                           Several readers of Little Bit of Wisdom

Courage to face the extremes, the life-threatening, circumstances – like military combat, for example – is fairly easily identified.  But there is a more subtle courage at work in our lives.  Examples of the problems it takes above average courage to address daily would include:

• Physical limitations
• Too many – or too few – family members and/or friends filling your time
• Addictions and chronic mental illnesses
• Economic deprivation
• Insecurity in a world seemingly gone mad for money and power
• And we won’t even touch on the lesser, everyday challenges of raising children, etc.

Like pretty much everything else, the problems range in severity, as does the courage these problems require of us.  So I ask again, “How’s your courage?”
 

October 12, 2011
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow.”
                           Mary Anne Radmacher, Author (Thanks, Helen, for sharing this one.)

Anyone who has dealt with an ongoing problem -- dare I use the word “chronic”? – understands that becoming discouraged is ever the temptation.  And some give in to the temptation and are beaten by the circumstances.

Far more people, however, somehow have in them the power to return day after day after day after – as long as it takes.  Even when the problem isn’t solved, at least the consequences are often mitigated by the power of the never-ending courage to meet the problem over and over, day after day -- as long as it takes.

How’s your courage?
 

October 11, 2011
Nothing is impossible; the word itself says "I'm possible"!
                           Audrey Hepburn, Iconic Actress

Whether you believe she is correct or not, the wisdom here is to approach everything in life as though it most definitely is possible to succeed.  Otherwise, you are doomed to fail in achieving far more goals than you would like.

So be like Alice and believe three impossible things before breakfast every day.
 

October 10, 2011
Storytelling is an art.  Writing is a craft.
                           Nora Roberts, Author

And she is a master of both.

I ran a group designed to help the members build an environment to support their writing.  It also focused a little on the art and a little on the craft.  It has been my experience that practice is the key ingredient in both the art and the craft of writing stories.

So practice already!  Nora Roberts certainly does.
 
 

October 9, 2011
Sometimes a person gets rib eyes; sometimes bologna sandwiches.
                           Carolyn Brown, Author

In poker, no one expects to get all aces, so why would you expect to get steaks all the time?  In fact, why would you want steak all the time?  Veggies, fruit, desserts – variety helps us appreciate what makes a person/situation/thing unique.

If there were no down times, how would we appreciate the up times?  If there were no shadows, how would we recognize the incredibleness of light?

We do the best we can to get what we want and still wind up with something different on many occasions.  Appreciate those occasions for the varied experiences they provide.
 

October 7, 2011
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
                           Dr. Seuss

The whole world, it seems, mourns the death of innovative genius Steve Jobs.  “Too soon, too soon!  We need more of what he gave us.”   Absolutely true, however… Much better for us to celebrate and appreciate the gifts from his relatively brief lifetime than bemoan what he didn't have time to do.

Steve Jobs rocked!  And so did Dr. Seuss!  Their legacies will lift us up far longer than we can imagine.
 

October 6, 2011
You cannot get sick enough to help sick people get better. You cannot get poor enough to help poor people thrive. It is only in your thriving that you have anything to offer anyone.
                           Abraham

Far too many people deny themselves in the mistaken belief that somehow that makes life better for someone else.  Or maybe it’s just guilt to be more healthy, more gifted, more affluent or more whatever.

Being miserable by denying yourself doesn’t help anyone.  It just adds one more miserable person to this world.

Give it up!
 

October 5, 2011
Success is a deity that’s never satisfied.
                           Nora Roberts, Author

Even when you define success to fit you personally (not always the easiest task!), success has a nasty habit of changing when you least expect it.  Today success is to have one book published, tomorrow it’s to have two published.  Today success is to be published, tomorrow it’s to make a living as a writer.  Today success is to be published and make a living as a writer, tomorrow it’s to be a famous author.  And on it goes.

Deity or not, what’s true for writers is true for everyone, when the definition of success transforms with passing time.

The key to keeping this process from making you perpetually dissatisfied is to accept the changes as a natural evolution.
 

October 2, 2011
It’s not good or bad, it just is.
                           Thomas Leonard, founder of the coaching profession

When it’s time to make a decision, we want to make it a good one.  So define good as “leading to the outcome you prefer” and make the choice your gut recommends.

Once the choice is made, carry through with it, knowing that you have done the best you can and the outcome will be just what is.  Not good, not bad, it just is.

As my daughter would say, “Live with it.”  As Thomas would say, “No judgment, it just is.”  As I would say, “Make your best decisions based on your gut and then let them go.”
 

October 1, 2011
The worst sin – perhaps the only sin – passion can commit, is to be joyless. –
                           Dorothy L. Sayers, Author

Each of us has passion, even if we haven’t yet recognized it.  Even what may seem like free-floating passion has the capacity to warm and enliven your life and the lives of those around you.  When focused, passion can cut like a laser, leaving only the “sculpture within” as Michelangelo is reputed to have said.

You don’t have to think your passion to pieces, just sense it, treasure it, embrace it.  Let it live as the integral part of your being it is meant to be.

OCTOBER 2011

June 27, 2011
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
                           Howard Thurman

Pretty succinct and accurate, wouldn’t you say?  And I would add that somewhere inside you, where your soul touches the universe, is the knowledge that what makes you come alive is exactly what the world needs to thrive.
 

June 19, 2011
I’m too young to be this old!
                           Robyn Carr, Author

Just one more reaction to having a body out of sinc with one’s spirit.  My chronological age is 68, and sometimes the old body feels a lot more like 88.  But it seems my spirit is set eternally on 22.  (Let’s leave out emotional maturity for the moment.)

Congruence, consistency, being true to one’s self, and several other terrific terms, all touch on the concept of having all aspects of your being on the same page, so to speak.

Guess what?  Here’s an exception to the rule.
 

June 14, 2011
Weed your wardrobe… and your life.
                           Ruth Ledesma

A most precious coaching client once needed better time management.  She un-cluttered the physical aspects of her life and found her time freeing up at the same time.  Funny how that works….

Here are the questions to ask about every physical thing in your life:

• Do I love it?  Does it give me pleasure?
• Do I use it?  Does it serve me well?

If the answer is “no” to these questions for any “thing” in your life, it’s time to get rid of it.  Sell it, donate it, whatever.  Let it go so it can fill an essential role in someone else’s life.

We won’t get into how this applies to the people in your life.  You can figure that out yourself.
 

June 13, 2011
Waste not, want not.
                           An old proverb

If you haven’t checked out resale stores, you might want to give it a try.  Goodwill, Salvation Army and a host of other special interest organizations have been using resale for years – decades, even – as a source of funding for their charitable endeavors.  Donating items is tax deductible for those who support by giving.  Cost of “new” items for the consumer is phenomenally reduced.  (And some of those donated items are truly new, with tags still on.)

Why buy “distressed” jeans at a premium when you can pick them up at a resale store for a pittance?  (I know, I know.  That’s why detergents and washing machines were created.)  Why buy artifically ‘distressed” furniture when genuinely distressed-by-life is available?  It takes no longer to find something you like in a resale store – I can verify that from experience.

Money is tight, space is at a premium, the world is awash in perfectly usable things clogging our landfills, so….
 

June 11, 2011
Overworked, as usual.  It happens to those who are particularly good at their jobs.
                           J.D. Robb, author

This one goes along with the old saying, “If you want something done, give it to someone who’s busy.”

Bottom line:  capable people who get the job done well and in a timely manner, will get more work assigned than those who turn in mediocre work.  They also tend to get more chances at promotion and income increases, but benefiting from that takes another talent altogether.

So you have a choice.  You can be particularly good at your job or you can be mediocre.  Just know you reap the consequences of whichever choice you make.

JUNE 2011

May 29, 2011
NEVER worry about generating income.
                           Genevia G. Fulbright, CPA

Genevia, as it happens, has about the healthiest attitude toward money I have ever come across.

Many people have very “unhealthy” attitudes toward money, from a financial standpoint.  I’ve worked on that for over a decade now with little success.  Funny how one can get stuck on a particular aspect of life….

While yearning for financial security, especially in this dicey economy, I have always been concerned that “too much” money would complicate my life too much.  How foolish could I be?  Life is complicated regardless of the amount of wealth one has!

So pay attention to Genevia’s wisdom.  And when your taxes and wealth management get too complicated for you, contact Genevia and her husband Ed at http://www.moneyful.com: they can help you, regardless of where you live in the United States.
 

May 20, 2011
Will beats skill.
                           Dierdre Martin, Author

Not that skill doesn’t matter, but if you want the truly identifiable marker for success, look to determination.

In sports, we see it all the time.  Less obvious at time, the less talented gets the promotion, the job, the contract.

But they wanted it – and were determined to get it.  And so they did.  Q.E.D.
 

May 11, 2011
As in Life, character is revealed by action taken, not by words spoken.
                           Blake Snyder, Screenwriter and Author

Snyder is talking about revealing characters in a story, but he is quite correct that actions reveal more than words.  Even parents have been known to acknowledge they want their kids to “do as I say, not as I do.”

Is it sheer hypocrisy?  A lack of awareness?

Pay attention to any dissonance between your own actions and words.
 

May 5, 2011
Don’t you realize that until you stop letting others define success, you’re never going to be happy?
                           Deirdre Martin, Author

I designed a coaching program called the ”Happiness Strategy” a few years back.  One of my better creations, BTW.

A basic component of the “Happiness Strategy” is owning your own definition of what makes you successful – and damn the torpedoes, as they used to say.

Are you defining your success for yourself?  Or are you still leaving that up to other people?

MAY 2011

April 30, 2011
Not yet!  Just a little longer…
                           All who aren’t ready to leave the fun they are having at the moment.

Every child has said it, every parent has denied it most of the time.  But those same words ring in the heads of adults who engage in activities which delight and entrance them.    For example, knitters know the lure of “just one more stitch, just one more row…”

Writers have the same problem.  I find that pacing my screenwriting puts me in the role of being my own parent. “Time to go to bed, now.”   “You need to rest, Ruth.”  Until finally that mental voice, no longer a good parent, is shouting, “Turn the damned computer off!”

 Maybe someday I’ll grow up, but…  Naaaaayy!
 

April 25, 2011
Vanity can outrun your sanity.
                           Rev. Al Sharpton on ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour

Rev. Sharpton was talking about people who move into positions of power and lose their sense of humility.   I have to agree the temptation is strong in those situations.  But positions of power come in all sizes and shapes, from being the biggest kid on the block, to being the only adult around, to having the highest test scores, to…well, you get the idea.  None of that makes any of us any better than anyone else.

Humility, let thy name be mine.
 

April 24, 2011
You’re gonna save me from myself.
                             Christina Aguilera song Save Me from Myself

The Christian church sees Easter as the celebration of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.

The one we most often need saving from is ourselves.  We go on our way, too often oblivious of the impact our actions have on others as well as on ourselves.  The thoughtless barbs we send, the ruthless chase for success even when others suffer.

 Let’s look with a bit more loving kindness on others, and on ourselves.  After all, there would be no Christian salvation had there not been forgiveness first.
 

April 23, 2011
You can’t drink wine with your enemies and dine with your friends.
                             Linnea Sinclair, author

This statement assumes honesty.  Would that all of us were honest enough to abide by this tenet.

Unfortunately, the cynic in me warns that one cannot assume honesty.  Let people demonstrate their integrity to you before they become your friends.  Somewhere in there you will be convinced of their honesty.  Else they should never be your friends in the first place.

There's a solid line between a friend and a mere acquaintance.
 

April 22, 2011
I finally learned that “no” can be a complete sentence.
                             Carol Burnett

Carol was talking about overcoming her tendency to be a people pleaser, one who cannot say ‘”no” regardless of how outlandish the request may be.

Yes, you can say “no.”  And, you don't have to explain.

Practice!  It gets easier the more often you say it.
 

April 21, 2011
What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.
                             Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

When I rescued my Siamese cat from the pound, I named him Dooley – because it rhymed with drooley.  But for some time now I have been considering more appropriate names: for example, Sir Gorge-a-Belly or Sir Barf-a-Lot.

Can you tell, my cat has at some time in the distant past been truly hungry?

Does anyone have any suggestions for getting it through his thick head that the food will always be there for him and he can snack along rather than stuffing himself to the bursting point and then throwing it up – on the carpet, of course.
 

April 20, 2011
Weather forecast for tonight: dark.
                            George Carlin

Leave it to George Carlin (and Yogi Berra) to bring a new perspective.  We get so caught up in the unusual that we lose track of the predictable.

With that in mind, I looked around for something very predictable.  Hard to say, but for now perhaps it’s the wind in the high desert…

 How about you?
 

April 19, 2011
siren song:  the enticing appeal of something alluring but potentially dangerous
       www.dictionary.com

I’m in trouble!  Writing has become a “siren song” for me.  I sit for hours at the computer and never notice time passing.  That’s not so bad, but I find I’m not getting other essential things done, sometimes not in a timely fashion and sometimes not at all!

I’ve never been addicted to anything, but I wonder if this is what it’s really like, this feeling deep in my soul.

I would ask for help, but I really and truly don’t want any.  This is trouble that I relish…
 

April 18, 2011
In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.
                            Mark Twain

He must have been in North Carolina yesterday!  And here I thought Mark Twain was dead…

Whether it’s global warming or human consciousness, the weather grows more extreme every season.  The blizzards, the floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts – the list goes on and on.  Each time worse than the time before.

Not to mention earthquakes, tsunamis,  and fires.

Time to batten down the hatches for survival.  And be ready to help your friends and neighbors as well.
 

April 17, 2011
It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction.
                             Pablo Picasso

I thought coaching would be the most seductive work I would ever do.  The role fits me so perfectly that, for a time  after I sort of retired, I feared I would never find anything else that was as rewarding and that I loved so much.

Not true, I’m delighted to say!  I’m writing again and the hours slip by without my noticing at all.  I just know I’ve been at it a while because the clock says so and my joints are stiff.

Someone said, “Find work you love and you’ll never work again.”  Oh, yes indeed!  And once again I have done that.
 

April 16, 2011
It does not take a majority to prevail . . . but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush-fires of freedom in the minds of men.
                             Samuel Adams

Recent events in Egypt bear this out, as did the American Revolution.  Times and tools change, but the basic action is the same.

So what can we do to replace the extremists in DC with politicians who genuinely care about the welfare of the people they are supposed to represent?  Oh, right!  Asking for the impossible…  But I’ve always believed in miracles!
 

April 15, 2011
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
                             Steve Jobs

Wise words from a leading thinker in the tech industry apply just as well to our government.  It seems to me that the House Speaker, the President, etc. are all still in the same ol’ same ol’ way of thinking about how to balance the budget, i.e., Draconian cuts in spending and raising taxes.  While these tactics work, they are limited in effectiveness and tend to really upset a lot of people, especially those who are harmed by them.

Just think of the possibilities if someone, a thinker like like Steve Jobs for example, were to come up with new and innovative ways of solving the problem of our unbalanced budget?
 

April 14, 2011
Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
                             Stephen Hawking

This one will have me pondering for quite a long time – perhaps forever.

Don’t you just love great questions?
 

April 13, 2011
Men are odd creatures…  Often what they think they want isn’t what they want at all.
                             Victoria Alexander, Author

For the most part people believe they know what they want.  They tend to be quite surprised to find it’s something else altogether.

When I was marketing my coaching services, I would ask a potential client “What do you really, really want?”  More often than not, the answer would be “A million dollars!”  Then we explored the desire through “I would quit my job” to “I would sleep in every morning.”  Finally we would reach the realization that the deepest desire wasn’t the money but the means to get rest s/he needed so desperately.

Well, let me assure you that you don’t need a million dollars to get enough rest!  You don’t need a million dollars to have a career you love or more time with your family or a ton of other things people desire.

What do you really, really want?  Better yet, what would you do if you had a million dollars?
 

April 12, 2011
Change your thoughts and you change your world.
                             Norman Vincent Peale

I’ve always urged my clients to focus on the beautiful things in life, the bright side, the positive factors.  Not that you ignore the negative, the dark, the ugly: they have to be dealt with in any day of any life.

According to the Laws of Attraction, focusing on the positive, the beautiful and the bright, will be a magnet in your life for more of the beautiful, the bright and the positive.  Negativity will cause your life to fill with the dark, the ugly.

Where’s your focus?
 

April 11, 3011
I don’t believe it.
                             Luke Skywalker

That is why you failed.
                             Yoda

A most delightful setting for a basic lesson of life.  Henry Ford is supposed to have said something similar, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.”

So belief is a key element in successful action.

My question for you is, when facing a task, is your first response more often “I can” or “I can’t”?
 

April 10, 2011
Except as delivery mechanisms that haul our brains from meeting to meeting, our bodies have grown inconsequential.
                             Richard Strozzi-Heckler, Founder of Strozzi Institute

Thanks, to my friend Karol Eller for this very timely quote.

We can blame a meeting-centric culture, but the bottom line is that many, many people ignore their bodies with a too-concentrated focus on mentality.  I plead guilty, guilty, guilty.  Perhaps at the other end of the spectrum are those who focus almost exclusively on the body – muscles, curves, etc.

I pledge to do my very best to shift the focus in my life to one of better balance between body and mind. How about you?
 

April 9, 2011
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
                             C.S. Lewis, Christian Apologist

Back to the issue of what to do with an education, yours in particular.  Yes, it can help you be better equipped to succeed in your work and make more money.  It can fill you mind with facts and opinions galore.  It can enrich your life with the great and expressive thoughts of literary and philosophical masters.

But what good is all that if you have no sense of values, if you don’t understand how precious is life, our world, our friends, ourselves?  Ethics, values, morals, etc. are all ways of taking a stab at helping people grow a conscience, an inner sense of what’s right and wrong, with the fond hope that we will then abide by what is deemed right.

And, miraculously, for the most part, it works!  One more thing to be grateful for in this life.
 

April 8, 2011
If you want to get sick, go to the doctor.  If you want to die, go to the hospital.
                             Ralph Ledesma, my ex

Ralph spent a good bit of time as a medical professional some 35 years ago in a moderately large hospital, so he had a good bit of credibility when talking about risks in healthcare.  Statistics today show a horrendously high average rate of errors negatively affecting one out of three patients in hospitals today.  The more time passes, the more correct he has proven to be.

The so-called “Healthcare Reform Bill” was definitely not a reform of healthcare, but rather posited changes in the insurance industry.  We are still waiting for more humane schedules for healthcare professionals, greater safeguards re surgeries and medications, more focus on preventive medicine, etc.

What can we do to protect ourselves from a flawed healthcare system?
 

April 7, 2011
“Will no one rid me of these pesky creatures?”  The line from “Macbeth” – altered to fit his present circumstances – popped unbidden into his head, proving once again that even a bit of education is never entirely lost.
                             Karen Robards, Author

Education is touted today as a means to a better job/career/income -- and probably always has been.  And that claim can be true.  At the same time, would that we could measure the richness added to our lives from immersion in the writings of great men and women of the past.

Who can you think of today who compares favorably with Shakespeare, Lau Tzu, Browning, Thoreau, Dickinson, St. Augustine, Heinlein, Austen, Confucius, Christie, Rumi, Lewis, Bradbury, Aristotle, etc.?
 

April 6, 2011
Speaker Boehner will be late – deliberately…
                             Some news announcer on some news network

How much more immature can a grown man get?  The House Speaker will deliberately be late for a key budget meeting with the President?  Clearly too many of the people in leadership positions in our government are more interested in power plays than in resolving budget issues (in this case).  So people dependent on income from governmental sources are just to sit quietly by while these fools posture?

Perhaps it’s time for a revolution of our own…
 

April 5, 2011
The knowledge of yourself will preserve you from vanity.
                             Miguel de Cervantes

My 68 year old baby face is still in action!  Today a sales clerk didn’t believe I was old enough for the senior discount and I had to show her my picture ID.  For just a few moments there “Vanity thy name is Ruth” was rock-solid.  But then self-knowledge and common sense re-asserted themselves and I smiled and laughed with the clerk.

I look pretty good for a woman of my age, but I treasure far more the character that has come with all the years and experiences and people who have enriched my life.  I could seriously consider being vain about the wisdom and compassion that have become a part of who I am.

What would you be vain about?
 

April 4, 2011
Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day.
                             Norman Mailer, Author

As some of you know I am something of a writer, with a few eBooks and one paper & ink publication.  So I can attest to Mailer’s opinion.   The thing that keeps me writing – even on bad days – is a compelling love of ideas and how they are expressed.

I’ve decided to try my hand at scriptwriting and have begun researching how it’s done.  I find it a beautifully appropriate medium for someone as visually and action-oriented as I am.

Wish me luck, OK?
 

April 3, 2011
Sometimes we don’t know what we need until it’s right under our nose.
                             Mariah Stewart, Author

What we want and what we need can often be two different things.  I’ve never had a “want” that I wasn’t very aware of, but sometimes my “need” is perched right in my blind spot.

What need is sitting in *your* blind spot?
 

April 2, 2011
The great question... which I have not been able to answer... is, "What does a woman want?"
                             Alexandre Dumas, Writer

Well, Duh!  We want it all, of course.  Doesn’t everyone?

But seriously, if I had to choose, I would say women want most of all to be understood.
 

April 1, 2011
All men commend patience, although few are willing to practice it.
                             Thomas Kempis

At heart we are all like the toddler who wants what s/he wants “right now!”  On the other hand, most of us diligently try to learn patience.  After all, isn’t patience what all the adults try to teach us?

So how long must we wait for folks to accept that impatience is normal?  How long?  I want it right now!!!

APRIL 2011

March 31, 2011
Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.
                             Bern Williams, Writer

The quadriplegic woman mentioned in yesterday’s Little Bit of Wisdom is once again an excellent example for today’s quote.  As are the millions of people who have endured wars, natural disasters and sometimes just the everyday stressors of human existence.

So many things we expect should break the human spirit just bounce off.  We are so blessed that resilience is a quintessential aspect of humanity.

So take heart!
 

March 30, 2011
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
                             Friedrich Nietzsche

A new friend was telling me about a quadriplegic woman who paints quite beautifully with the brush held in her teeth.  Whether it's painting or not is not important.  The key point is that this woman has clearly found her purpose in life, whether or not she has expressed it to anyone, or else she would have found a way to kill herself as she had once promised.

Have you identified your purpose in life?  Would that purpose stand up to devastation?  Maybe severe physical disability?  Perhaps an earthquake or a tsunami?  How about old age?

Do you need to examine your purpose again?
 

March 28, 2011
…Civility, Respect and Understanding
                             Something to aspire to

After the shooting in Tucson, AZ January 8, 2011, the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona set up the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding to honor those who were injured that day either directly or indirectly and those who responded to the incident so heroically.

Congressman Gifford is making an amazing recovery.  And although there were deaths, most are able to get on with their lives, scarred but unbeaten.  As human beings we are magnificently resilient.

How much better if civility, respect and understanding were the hallmark of our social interactions!

I want the T shirt!
 

March 27, 2011
Fate is simply circumstance…the circumstance of birth, of ability, of events.  Choice is what you do with it.
                             Karen Rose, Author

I agree, you have no control over some circumstances.  At the same time, many circumstances are the results of your choices.  Perhaps the best take-away here is to recognize those circumstances for which you are responsible.

Ultimately, be very careful of all your choices!
 

March 26, 2011
Repentance is not so much remorse for what we have done as the fear of the consequences.
                             Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Tasteless jokes, lies, adultery, all kinds of crimes:  these hurtful comments and behavior are rife in our world.  And for some time now anyone caught in public “misbehavior” seems to feel all s/he has to do is apologize through the media and that’s the end of it.  Not so!

A *genuine* repentance, one truly felt in the perpetrator’s heart, will involve a positive change of behavior.  The change is not just because public opinion is negative, but because the remorse is such that s/he cannot bear the thought of repeating that behavior.

Real tears or crocodile tears?  Genuine repentance or just a few choice words?
 

March 25, 2011
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
                             Satchel Paige

Of all the “ages” we may ever achieve, this could be the most important.  We may count the chronological years, the biological years, even the years of the soul, but the emotional years which measure how young or old you *feel* is a key indicator of the quality of your life.

My mother-in-law always said she was a teenager at heart.  I maintain I will always be 22.

How old would *you* be if you didn’t know how old you are?
 

March 24, 2011
Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
                             George S. Patton

A timely caution against micro-management!   And in addition to the ingenuity, you will find people more invested in the success of their efforts, happier as they work toward success and spending more time on the project.

How great is that?
 

March 23, 2011
Forgive and forget.
                             Old Adage, reputedly from the Bible

My understanding is that *God* may forgive and forget, but I think we human beings could get into a lot of trouble trying to do the same.

“Forgive” yes!  Forgiveness is primarily to benefit you and your well being and is only secondarily for the one being forgiven.  However, if you truly forget, you lay yourself open to more harm from that same source.  I personally think attempting to forget the harm someone has done to you simply sets you up to fail in the attempt.

God may be invulnerable and in no danger by forgetting when someone does harm.  People?  Not so much.
 

March 22, 2011
Revenge is like a two-headed snake. While you watch your opponent go down, you get poisoned yourself.
                             Air Nomad saying in "The Southern Raiders" episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender

Another old saying is that you can’t throw mud without getting dirty yourself.  Hatred?  Revenge?  Whatever negativity you are dishing out to another is exactly what splashes back on you.   And it’s an incredibly corrosive poison that ruins your life.

Give it up!  Forgiveness is the balm that heals all the harm that has come before.
 

March 21, 2011
…if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard.  Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.
                             Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz

Soooo -- the grass isn’t always greener somewhere else, it just seems to be?  Is the far-flung quest really a search for what was right under your nose all along?

Maybe – maybe not.  You might be wise to *start* your search for your heart’s desire in your own backyard, in your most personal sphere of influence.  If you find no success close to home, then you can look a bit further afield.

Regardless, before you set out on your quest, consider the wisdom of Dorothy.
 

March 19, 2011
The less we do here, the better off the public is.
                             New Mexico Legislator

Many people who believe in the smallest government possible, the least governmental intrusion in daily life possible, are quick to denigrate what politicians do.  But to hear a politician agree:  well, that’s pretty unique!
 

March 18, 2011
Humor is tragedy plus time.
                             Mark Twain

Humor is... despair refusing to take itself seriously.
                             Arland Ussher Essayist

It’s called “gallows humor”: the seemingly insensitive effort to bring laughter into the grimmest of situations.  Psychologists recognize it as a coping mechanism which medical professionals, police officers, firemen and more can attest to as almost routine, despite how tasteless and offensive it can be.  As time passes, a more balanced perspective takes over and the gallows humor moves on to the next unbearable situation.

People rightly say that the situation in Japan is not funny.   But so long as we are human, gallows humor will persist.
 

March 17, 2011
Instant gratification takes too long.
                             Carrie Fisher, Actress

We fret and dither while we wait for computers to do their thing.  We race our engines at stop lights.  We push the button repeatedly to summon the elevator.  Examples go on and on.

This quote brings us back to the old question of which we enjoy the most: the journey or the destination?  Sorry!  Once again it is not either/or.  The choice for a happier life is to choose both.  Cherish both.  Enjoy both.
 

March 17, 2011
And a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!
                             Greetings from all the Irish at heart

I truly do have some Irish ancestry blended in with the Scottish and English, but since my family has been in SC for 300 years or so, I tend to just say I’m an American or – if pressured – that I’m Southern.  But on St. Patrick’s Day I join with many, many others to celebrate the heritage that makes me Irish to the core.

We need more such holidays!  Holidays that bring us together rather than dividing us.  After all, aren’t we all a bit Irish in our hearts on St. Patrick’s Day?
 

March 16, 2011
Men are such fragile beasts.
                             Harry, on Harry’s Law

Harry was referring to the male ego, as was my psychoanalyst friend Elaine when she made a similar comment last week.  I figure if the nugget of insight shows up more than once in a short span of time, I really need to pay attention.

True, many men wear a rough and tough image as though it were custom crafted for them, and perhaps, for the most part, it is a genuine reflection of their personalities.  But the sentiment applies globally as well.  Pretty much all people, men and women, old and young, etc., are fragile to some degree if the “slings and arrows” hit the bulls-eye of an individual’s sensitivity.

Perhaps we should be saying, “Humans are such fragile beasts.”
 

March 15, 2011
Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?
                             Robert Redford

The devastation of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami – and now the threat of nuclear contamination and possibly worse – shows us so clearly that the problems there affect the entire international community.  Contamination spreads.  The needs of those in Japan are the needs of all those with any trace of compassion.  And the lessons of learning to live in harmony with our environment are clear.

It’s not just a matter of national defense. Every country, all the international corporations and all the special interest groups around the world must band together to defend this earth.  And who must we defend against?  Ourselves!!!

Our home is a very fragile thing.   Let’s take good care of it and help it thrive.
 

March 14, 2011
Life’s a crap shoot…but skill and experience can enhance the odds.
                              Ruth Ledesma

Sweet friends have pointed out that I seem to be contradicting myself, sometimes saying “live for the moment,” other times saying “prepare well for the future.”  And I do indeed say both those things.  Preparing for the future and living in the moment are not mutually exclusive.  In theory at least, choices are made based on the best information available, taking your chances with the odds and hoping you have bet on a positive outcome.  At the same time, you *can* enhance your odds.

Examples of risk mitigation are everywhere we look.  Just a few are:

Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.  But we can take thoughtful steps to enhance our chances of winning, i.e. surviving without much harm.  And we don’t have to sacrifice cherishing the present moment to do that.
 

March 13, 2011
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
                              Douglas Adams, Author

The people living in Japan who have survived the earthquake and tsunami have personal experience to learn from – in spades! – as do the survivors of natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, and more.  I have little doubt that many of them will learn from their own experiences and that of others who have endured the associated hardships.

But I have to ask: How many buildings are still not being built to code to make it through an earthquake?  How many people are still living in flood zones, even *frequent* flood zones?  How many people still leave home in cars in severe winter weather without the means to survive if they get stranded?  How many people have no backup heating source in case the heat goes out in frigid weather?  And the examples go on and on and on and…

Well, a humongous number of us have survived, despite the disinclination to learn from either our own experiences or others’.  But wouldn’t life be so much less precarious if we just absorbed the lessons of experience?

Pay attention!!!!
 

March 12, 2011
Stupidity is an elemental force for which no earthquake is a match.
                              Karl Kraus, Author

We have just seen major devastation from a big earthquake -- and the resultant tsunami in this case.  The lives lost and the destruction of a significant percentage of the Japanese cities and towns stand as a testament to the force of an earthquake.

And human stupidity is even more powerful?  Absolutely!!!!

NOTE:  An exception, however, just might be the Japanese people who responded so quickly to the very brief warning they had before the tsunami.  That immediate action saved a huge number of lives.
 

March 11, 2011
Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life.
                              Steve Jobs

Gotta love an attitude which basically says “mind your own business.”  You can’t possibly know all the variables in play as someone else makes his/her own decisions, so keep your nose out of it.

Whose life are *you* living?  Or trying to live?
 

March 10, 2011
Life is a moving Target
                              Slogan for Target Stores

The CNNMoney.com headline read, “Low, low prices: Target beats Wal-Mart.”  Comparisons were done on selected, frequently purchased items and Target prices were lower than Wal-Mart’s prices for the same things.  If Target’s retail strategies continue this trend and they stick with their great advertising and PR strategies, they will blow Wal-Mart away.

Of greater significance from a human thought perspective is devising a corporate statement that is true on several different levels, *and* to include the company’s name in that statement.  Hope that individual or team got a humongous bonus!

Life is indeed a moving target.  Ready, set your course, "engage" as Jean Luc would say!!!!!
 

March 9, 2011
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
                              Attributed to humorist/journalist Erma Bombeck

My first response was “this is pretty extreme!  Never bought *anything* that was…”  Then it dawned on me that this statement is one which epitomizes the “cherish the moment” mentality.  Buying practical, etc. is all about preparing for the future.  Not that it’s bad to prepare, but don’t let it be at the expense of the present moment.

The future may come for each of us -- or not -- but we definitely have the present.  Revel in it!
 

March 7, 2011
I let my wife do that.
                            Once again, name withheld to protect the guilty

The guy told me he didn’t volunteer himself, but he *let* his wife.  I very politely said nothing aloud but my internal response was a very sarcastic “how generous of you!”  Excuse me, but wasn’t slavery abolished by the 13th Amendment in 1866?  Or did that just apply to men?

The language we use on a daily basis reflects our internal belief systems, including archaic prejudices.  Here are a few facts regarding the status of women, including that jerk’s wife (who happens to support him):

No longer chattel, women are full-fledged adults in this society, shouldering vast responsibilities right alongside men.  Be careful of your language when speaking of them, either in general or specifically.  Unless of course you *want* to come across as an ignorant bigot…
 

March 6, 2011
Right to life applies to women as well.
                              Ruth Ledesma

Much is said by Pro-Life advocates about the rights of a fetus to survive, but little is said about the rights of the woman who must serve as the living incubator of that fetus.  Intrinsic in the position is the belief that

• the fetus is more important than the woman who carries it, and
• the woman does not have the ability to make rational decisions for herself and others.

I personally am Pro-Choice, defined by me as “a woman has the right – and ability – to make her own informed decisions, including whether to give birth.”

I’m still waiting:  when will women receive the respect due to every adult?
 

March 5, 2011
You could do peer counseling with these pregnant, unmarried girls.
                              Name withheld to protect the guilty

The man had no conception of the enormous insult he had just given me – and the pregnant, unmarried girls he genuinely wanted to help – according to his definition of the help they needed.  After all, both those girls and I have female reproductive systems, so we were peers, right?  He had no understanding or consideration for the significance and impact of my 60+ years of life and these girls’ individual experiences growing up in a world so very different from mine.  In his mind all else pales because we are of the same gender.

For the record, as a trained and formerly licensed professional counselor, I could provide outstanding counseling to pregnant, unmarried girls.  But the same can be said about my counseling anyone else, regardless of plumbing or sexual orientation or economic status or disability or age or life experience or...

I have spent most of my life working to at least reduce the belief that all women are the same – and all men are the same – regardless of all the other factors that make up an individual.  We are *not* defined by whether we have vaginas or penises.

Each of us deserves better than to be lumped into a category and defined for a lifetime by only a small portion of who we are.
 

March 4, 2011
Data Does Not Replace Insight.
                              Paul Valerio, brand strategy and market research specialist

Clearly I am a big proponent of following your intuition when you have a conflict between it and “logic.”  Valerio is proposing a different take on thinking.  He cites the upside-down ketchup bottle finally in use after years of hassling to get the last of the product out of the traditional bottle.  The data was there but no one had the insight to interpret it and come up with a solution for a ridiculously long time.

What triggers insight in general?  What triggers insight specifically for you?
 

March 3, 2011
If you’re going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.
                             Jill Shalvis, Author

Life is in truth a series of steps across thin ice and we have no way to avoid that.  So why should we tiptoe?  Why live one timid step at a time, filled with fear of falling through?  You will fall through the ice -- or not -- regardless of the degree of caution, so there’s every reason to enjoy yourself along the way.

Dance, already!!!
 

March 2, 2011
Basically people aren’t perfect….if your gut says you can trust someone, you probably can, no matter what the facts are telling you.
                            Dee Davis, Author

Have you ever had a moment (or several moments) when the evidence is solidly against someone being trustworthy, but your intuition insists that s/he is?  That little voice in the back of your head, the nudge coming from your heart, however you describe it, recognizes that which is positive in the other person and is naturally drawn to it.

Just as important – and probably more significant for your safety – is recognizing the negative, feeling that you aren’t safe, that this person cannot be trusted, that you would be better off running for the hills.

Ignore all the folks who deride and take whatever steps you must to insure your own safety, integrity, etc.  Your intuition *always* knows.  Listen!
 

March 1, 2011
The biggest misconception about justice is that it’s fair.
                             Harry, on Harry’s Law

Definition of justice:  the quality of being free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice
Definition of fair:  righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness

We have a right, I believe, in this country to expect justice to be fair to those involved.   Unfortunately, Harry is correct that reality does not reflect this expectation. I’m loving Harry’s Law, just as I did Boston Legal because both of these David Kelley productions have highlighted social and legal situations in our country which are definitely *not* excellent examples of justice.  They prod our consciences.  And our consciences most definitely need prodding on a number of issues.

What can you -- and I -- do to blend fairness into justice?

MARCH 2011

February 28, 2011
Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.
                             Joseph Wood Krutch, Literary Naturalist

As you know I’m volunteering with the AARP Foundation’s Benefits Screening program here in Santa Fe.  Each day I meet people who are very sure that they are not eligible for any kind of assistance with the hard times making it difficult for many to pay their bills or even to eat a healthy diet.

Do they not seek help because they don’t think they deserve it?  The odds are miniscule.

Is it pride?  Oh, yes, for many asking for help, especially from social agencies, is humiliating and the often overworked agency employees seldom have the time to cater to fragile egos.

But I believe the truth lies primarily in honest people not believing that their situations are dire enough to make them qualified for help.  The public perception of poverty sufficient to merit social assistance is far, far lower than reality proves.  If you know someone who is struggling financially, encourage him/her to seek help.  During our working years we have supported these programs unstintingly.  There is no shame in accessing them during hard times.

Take notes from cat behavior: ask for what you want – and need -- for if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
 

February 27, 2011
Always get the facts first.  You can distort them later.
                             Jill Shalvis, Author

The reality is that each of us has his/her own truth and it seldom coincides with what anyone else has to say. Each of us sees life – and truth – through a filter of unique experiences which color our versions of what is truth.  You’ve heard of rose-colored glasses, right?

Facts, on the other hand, are verifiable constants.  Or at least they are until we start interacting with them and they become distorted by our life filters.

Are you careful to get your facts straight?  Just how far do you distort them at times?  Are you even noticing the distortions?
 

February 26, 2011
Facing your mortality takes a lot of pressure off living.
                              Ruth Ledesma

Years ago I sent my best friend a copy of my will (she’s the executor).  Her husband became extremely upset, believing that I was about to commit suicide.  He couldn’t wrap his mind around any other reason for someone to make such arrangements.

But he was sooooooooo wrong!  If you have any property, you need a will.  If you have minor children (or anyone else you love dearly) you need a will.  Don’t leave dispensation to the whims of some judge who doesn’t know you from Adam’s house cat.

Knowing arrangements have been made to protect those you love after your death, you can let that responsibility rest and devote yourself to living your life to the fullest.
 

February 25, 2011
Learn from others’ mistakes.  You don’t have enough time to make them all yourself.
                              Jill Shalvis, Author

If you brother sticks his head in the fire, do you have to?
                              My mother

Sometimes we get blessed with a bit of wisdom which partners so beautifully with another that I can’t resist.

My mother, even with exaggeration, was teaching me to think for myself rather than following in my brothers’ footsteps, but the same example also has the benefit of teaching that experience does not have to be your own to be the best teacher.

Multiple lifetimes would not leave enough time to learn every lesson through your own mistakes, not to mention when you learn by *not* making mistakes.  Besides, if you spend all your time learning lessons, when are you supposed to have any fun?

Pay attention!
 

February 24, 2011
If only there were some internal mechanism that pointed unerringly to the true north of ourselves.  It was so damned easy in life to get lost.
                            Kristin Hannah, Author

Ahhh, yes:  a compass is invaluable when we are lost in the choices we make and their consequences, not to mention all the curves that show up in the road of life.

In childhood, our parents instill a sense of the “right” direction, but sometimes the parental direction is not the best one for the child as s/he grows into adulthood.  Peers in adolescence and after also influence our “right” direction, but the group too isn’t always promoting the best direction for one particular individual.

What is your figurative compass?  Does it point to *your* true north?  Or are other magnetic influences causing your compass needle to drift?  Do you need a course correction?
 
 

February 23, 2011
Two things are infinite:  the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.
                            Albert Einstein

Proof again of Einstein’s genius!

I am perpetually amazed at the human capacity for screwing things up, whether it be with foot-in-mouth disease, acting in just the opposite way from how one should, or holding beliefs which clearly belong to a Neanderthal.

Think!  Think!   Think before you act.  Think before you speak.  Think!
 

February 22, 2011
We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers.
                             Carl Sagan

Have you ever been so afraid to ask a particular question, that you could hardly even admit it to yourself, much less express it to someone else?  Where do *you* muster the courage to ask the tough questions?

For me, I am compelled to ask, for the light of understanding is far preferable to the darkness of not knowing.

Best of all -- and to my great surprise every time -- is that somehow my subconscious always knows the answer.
 

February 21, 2011
Sometimes you have to do everything right and follow the rules.  You have to wait until all your ducks are in a row before you make a move…

And other times…you have to say ‘what the hell’ and go for it.
                            Kristin Hannah, Author

At last -- the story of my life!

Actually this quote demonstrates two distinct ways to make decisions:  the “logical” and the “intuitive.”   Which do you prefer?  Or are you like most of us, choosing one way or the other depending on the situation?
 

February 20, 2011
You're happiest while you're making the greatest contribution.
                            Robert F. Kennedy

And who would believe this more than a man from a family raised to serve his country?

But the essential thing is how you define “happiness.”  Is it serving, making a contribution to our society at whatever level?  Is it being a good little consumer accumulating things?  Is it being surrounded by people with whom you have a very strong, loving attachment?  Is it the next adventure?  The next challenge?  What?

You can only define happiness for yourself, no one else.  And no one else can define it for you.  Will you go along with what others say?  Or will you look within yourself and your life with “new eyes” as Proust says?
 

February 19, 2011
The true voyage of self-discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
                            Marcel Proust

For sure it’s easier to seek out new places and things and people rather than re-examining (with new eyes) the old familiar.  Being human, we tend to see what we expect to see with those old eyes – and we too often miss the reality.

What will it take for you to look at your life with new eyes?
 

February 18, 2011
I am a consummate armchair adventurer!
                            Ruth Ledesma

Odds are many of you share the same trait at times.  Obligations of daily life have tied me down physically and geographically for most of my life, but my mind has always been free to take off in an instant.  For example, Star Trek is infinitely fascinating to me and I am always ready to “engage” and “go where no one has gone before.”

If you only have a short time to take off on an adventure, you have to do it mentally rather than physically.   Find a great book, a terrific DVD or TV show – whatever floats your boat – and go adventuring.   So long as your imagination goes along, your body can relax in your favorite chair -- or hammock -- or...
 

February 17, 2011
A doormat is an inanimate object.  You can wipe your feet on it, step on it, kick it around, or whatever you like… When we treat our (significant others) as objects, we preclude the possibility of love.
                            Gary Chapman, author The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

People who act like doormats aren’t “earning” love, they are dehumanizing themselves.  And people who treat others like doormats are not loving them, they are using them.

Bottom line?  Respect and love yourself first.  Then expect others – whether they love you or not -- to show respect for you in all your interactions.   Always remember you are not an object: you a person worthy of esteem.

Don’t settle for less!
 

February 16, 2011
The truth is we tend to make our own chaos.  Sure, the real world has deadlines and they’re important, but we turn everything into a must-do crisis.  Not everything needs to be done immediately.  We can take the pressure off ourselves.  We can choose not to participate in the rat race.  All it takes is recognizing our own limits, prioritizing and learning to say no.
                            Sherryl Woods, Author

It’s that learning to say “no” that makes such a huge difference in the quality of our lives.  We must hold our boundaries and recognize that what someone else wants is not necessarily right for you.

You will be surprised how short your list of priorities is when you get the “no” down pat and are no longer at the beck and call of everyone else’s desires.
 

February 15, 2011
Giving is an act of self-expression, and generosity is a practice.
       Sasha Dichter's Blog

Check out the Generosity Experiment! What a totally awesome idea which has the potential for reframing the entire way you look at giving, either formally or informally.  You can also learn more about Generosity Day on Facebook.

And won’t most of us benefit from revisiting the concept of giving and why we do it?
 

February 14, 2011
You’ve got to read this book!
                            My friend Diane

Couldn’t let Valentine’s Day pass without something to say about love!  So here’s my reading recommendation – and Diane’s.

The book is The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman.   The five languages are

• Words of Affirmation
• Quality Time
• Receiving Gifts
• Acts of Service
• Physical Touch

Sorry, you will have to read the book for definitions and examples.  But I assure you it is well worth it.
 

February 13, 2011
I’m totally addicted to making a difference in people’s lives.
                            Ruth Ledesma

I’m volunteering with the AARP Benefits Screening program here in Santa Fe.  I help people who are having a hard time making ends meet identify programs which might assist
them.  Sorry to say, I’m a bit bored, but this week it was worth every dull moment.

A young woman came in with a physician’s diagnosis of MS, but she has no money for the testing which would make the definitive diagnosis.  My background as a rehabilitation counselor made me uniquely able to help her identify the agencies to approach.  Now she will be able to get the testing, line up affordable treatment and collect the necessary records to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits.  Also, she has my phone number to call at any time if she gets stuck in the process.

She’s on her way to getting the help she needs – and I had the great joy of once again making a difference.

How do you may a difference?
 

February 12, 2011
“Don’t people disappoint you sometimes?” one said.
“Sure,” said the other.  “But fortunately not as often as they surprise and impress me.”
                            Robyn Carr, Author

In the Middle East, the Tunisian and Egyptian people – and to some extent their former leaders – have definitely surprised and impressed me.  It has been the most unusual change of power our world has ever known.  If technology is given the credit for the degree of peaceful change achieved, then let’s hear it for technology.

But I would have to say, it’s the perseverance and patience and restraint of the people themselves who should be recognized and applauded.

For the Tunisian and Egyptian people, as well as the rest of us, may this change be the positive one we all desire.
 

February 11, 2011
Being naked adds to the vulnerability…
                            Actor Ed Helms on The View

As I get older, the more clothes I wear the better I look.
                           Mikey, a lovely woman in her mid-forties

Are you hiding?  Would you rather not lay yourself open to people seeing who you really are?  Is physical nakedness playing for you the most visceral role in vulnerability?  Are you trying to project something you aren’t?

Or are you really comfortable with who you are and simply want to maximize your own intrinsic attractiveness:  to make the best of who you are?

Check in with yourself to see how comfortable you are with your own vulnerability and the basis for the image you give to others.
 

February 10, 2011
I don’t believe in taking small bites of nothing in this life.
                           Jodi Thomas, Author

Abstemious can be fine in its place, but life itself is worthy of being relished.  Take big tasty bites!  When it comes to experiences you enjoy, go back for seconds – or thirds, or…  A friend referred to this life as a “paradise” and he is absolutely correct, no matter what your circumstances.

A farmer friend had an unusual analogy: he said “wallow in life like a pig in a puddle.”
 

February 9, 2011
We all want to be truly heard.
                           A Mediation Trainer

A key part of a mediator’s role is to be sure that each person feels s/he has been heard by the other person.  In fact, sometimes that is all that is needed to settle the problem. For sure, feeling one has been heard lays the groundwork for the process of negotiation to be a success.

Healthcare professionals are familiar with the patients who most of all need someone to listen to them.  And how many children’s thoughts are discounted just because they are children?  Have you ever made a pithy statement in a meeting and yet no notice is taken until someone else in the group says the same thing – and gets credit for the idea?

Oh, yes, we all want to be heard.  Listening well, and making sure the other person knows it, can be the most wonderful gift you can give.
 

February 8, 2011
Continuing the thought from yesterday, I find that many of those – maybe most of those – who ask a question and don’t give the opportunity for an answer are really focused on what they want to say rather than what the other person might respond.  Would it be so hard to just state your own opinion?  Are you afraid that you would be shut down altogether if you abandoned the illusion of interviewing the prominent person you are with?  I certainly hope the fear is justified.

As some of you know, I have a degree in journalism.  I can state unequivocally that the kind of rude ranting and farcical “interviews” we see and hear too often on radio and TV was anathema then.  Would that it were still true today!
 

February 7, 2011
Give me the courtesy of letting me answer before you interrupt me.
                            What a lot of radio and TV interviewers need to hear

As I have followed the media coverage of Egypt and its turmoil, I have been struck repeatedly by the interviewers asking questions and not giving their interviewees a chance to respond completely – sometimes not even giving them a chance to get started with the answer.

Even though I can’t influence the folks on TV, I hope you – and I – can remember to give due courtesy to people when we talk with them.  Let them respond fully to your queries.

Besides, if you don’t want to hear the answer, don’t ask the question!
 

February 6, 2011
Getting well “is” your job!
                            Ruth Ledesma

My daughter is chafing at the bit, anxious to throw off the restrictions of her surgical recovery and get back to her job.  She wants to be self-supporting again instead of dependent.  She hates being sedentary and can’t wait to get “moving.”  At the same time she is being told that the process has its own timetable and cannot be rushed without doing harm to her recently repaired knee.

So her job for the moment is to do all the PT says and give her body time to heal.  That’s her “job” and the payment is an optimum recovery and eventual return to excellent health.

Keep this in mind when (and there will be a “when”) you or someone you know is dealing with a similar situation.
 

February 5, 2011
People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.
                             Zig Ziglar, author and motivational speaker

My daughter Patricia is recuperating from knee surgery and I find myself texting her little motivational things. Daily seems about the right average interval, just as Siglar says, but more frequently wouldn’t hurt with many situations and people.

We can never have too much emotional support, especially when some challenge must be met.

Thanks for this quote to Scott Wells, my favorite financial planner.
 

February 4, 2011
It can save your life.
                             Barbara Walters

Walters is one of the many members of the “Cracked Chest” club, those who have had open heart surgery.  She and several other well-known people (Former Pres. Bill Clinton, Robin Williams and David Letterman, to name a few) will discuss their own experiences, symptoms of cardiac disease and more.

Again I say:  You owe it to yourself and to those you love to learn all you can about cardiac disease.  Watch the ABC special A Matter of Life and Death Friday night, February 4th, 10 pm Eastern, 9 pm Central Time.
 

February 3, 2011
Watch the ABC special A Matter of Life and Death Friday night, February 4th, 10 pm Eastern, 9 pm Central Time.

In my lurid past I have held a number of responsibilities, but a key one was serving as a rehabilitation counselor assigned as liaison to a Cardiac Rehabilitation Center.  Another time, as a private rehab specialist I also had a few clients who were involved in cardiac rehab.  So I learned way more than most about the average person’s horrendous ignorance about heart disease, including the symptoms, the treatment and the rehabilitation following any cardiac event.  Women in particular are at greater risk of death from a cardiac event than are men because the symptoms we usually hear about are generally descriptive of men.

Women usually have different symptoms from men.  Women die from heart disease at a far higher rate than men.  Women do not complete cardiac rehab as often as men do.  The bottom line?  In general, women are the caretakers and too few have anyone to take care of them effectively when they are coping with heart disease.

Regardless of whether you are man or woman, parent or child -- whatever your status in personal relationships -- you owe it to yourself and to those you care about to watch this program.  You owe it to yourself to learn as much as possible about this disease which kills more people in our country than any other disease.

So watch it already!
 

February 2, 2011
How do loving and being “in love” differ?
                             A great introspective question

I suggest that Love means something like taking great delight and pleasure in someone and having a strong desire for someone else’s well-being, especially spiritual well-being.   Love as such isn’t restricted to romantic relationships and, I have been told, tends to endure.

Being “in love” seems to involve chemistry, a somewhat involuntary state of feeling an intense romantic desire for another person.  Many say that the state of being “in love” tends to be relatively short term.

Suggestions for improving this comparison?
 

February 1, 2011
Passion…Don’t take it lightly.  Love, honor, respect, decency, all of those things are solid and enduring, but the greatest gift any of us can be given is passion, whether it’s for a person or a job…Grab on to it with everything you’ve got.
                             Sherryl Woods, Author

I guess it depends on what you feel you need most at the moment.  For me, Love tends to trump passion when it comes to priorities, but perhaps passion is one of several facets of Love?

Certainly, in my life passion makes things vibrantly colorful, as opposed to a passionless life which is lived in shades of black, white and gray.  And who wouldn’t prefer to live in Technicolor?

Is passion the greatest gift?  Is Love?  What?

FEBRUARY 2011

January 31, 2011
We need to be on the right side of history...
                            Numerous politicians and pundits speaking about the current crisis in Egypt

History is written by the victors, after all--now, even in real time.
                            E.B. Boyd, FastCompany.com

Sorry, I'm having a problem with wanting to be “on the right side of history” as the stated reason for a behavior or opinion.   Being on the right or wrong side of history tends to be determined by who writes history, does it not?  Or am I too cynical?

Perhaps the politicians and pundits need to examine their motivation and priorities.  Perhaps we all should.  Or am I too naive?
 
 

January 30, 2011
My favorite Renaissance Man sent me a link to a delightful YouTube video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hu_EOmjlk4

For more info and  to contact Forrest Greenslade:

Forrest C. Greenslade. PhD, DTM
Artist, Writer, Speaker
Past President, Chatham Artists Guild
919-545-9743
sculptor@forrestgreenslade.com
http://www.forrestgreenslade.com

You can only benefit from getting to know Forrest!
 

January 29, 2011
Have you ever experienced a moment when life was so beautiful you didn't know if you were strong enough to bear it?  Have you ever been humbled by the beauty of being alive?
                            Susan Donovan, Author

That pretty much says it all when it comes to life.  Sure there are many who feel "life's a bitch", etc., etc., but being alive is such a precious gift to be cherished and relished every single moment of every single day.  So what's it to be for you?  Cherish or disparage?
 

January 28, 2011
If you can't forget, then forgive (the perpetrator)...the second you forgive...he loses all power over you.  Poof!  It's gone.  And suddenly your life is your own again.
Response: They say forgiveness is for the forgiver.
Every single time.
      Susan Donovan, Author

Unknown numbers of very serious books have been written on forgiveness and Donovan condenses it in three short paragraphs of dialogue in a (relatively speaking) fluff book.

Mind you, forgiveness is a choice and not always an easy one, but if you manage it, the rewards for you as a human being are astronomical.
 

January 27, 2011
It takes courage to change...I have a theory about it...There are basically two ways a person can change.

One is through some kind of awakening, when they slowly begin to see that their life doesn't work for them anymore, that they're unhappy, unhealthy, lonely, or a combination of all those things, and they decide to try something new.

Or, change can come with crisis.  Something so devastating can happen that it's impossible to put the pieces of a life back together the way they were.
      Susan Donovan, Author

Donavan may be writing light fiction, but she has a depth of understanding about people that is totally awesome!
 

January 26, 2011
We did not change as we grew older, we just became more clearly ourselves.
                            Lynn Hall, Author

Not knowing the source, I had an approximation of this quote a while back (see September 14, 2005).  It's well worth repeating.  If you were a randy goat when younger, you became even more of a randy old goat as time passed.  If your whining as a young adult irritated folks, you make everyone miserable now.  On the other hand, if you were a kind younger person you become the epitome of kindness as you age.  Loving?  Knock your socks off loving for all the world and its denizens when you have had a lifetime of practice.

Not to say that older people cannot change.  It takes a conscious decision to shift the behaviors of a lifetime.  But it's well worth it, all you geezers.

And all you dear young ones -- it's a whole lot easier early on to build a great attitude with its subsequent behaviors than it is to change it later.

What's your attitude?  How does that affect your behavior today?  Because today is all we really have.
 

January 25, 2011
Love is the most universal, the most tremendous and the most mysterious of the cosmic forces.
                            Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

A cosmic force?  Absolutely!!!  And one which cannot be resisted successfully for long.

Not to discount chemistry, etc. -- all the factors that contribute to many relationships between a man and a woman, but I find if one can desire the best in spiritual well-being for someone else, that is as close as most of us can get to a truly divine regard for another.

Have you looked deeply at the way you love?
 

JANUARY 2011
 

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2011
 

February 7, 2007
She displays the wisdom of a seasoned warrior.
                           Master Bratak
She's a mother -- close enough.
                            Daniel Jackson

Indeed parenting is often much like war.  The good news is that parenting is also often much like peace.  The tricky part is to have more times of peace than times of war between parent and child.

Sounds a lot like humankind in general, eh?
 

FEBRUARY 2007
 

January 31, 2007

When you come to a fork in the road, take it!
                           Yogi Berra
I call this the "Wisdom of the Obvious" and who does it better than Yogi Berra?

This particular bit of wisdom is most relevant today because I have come to that fork in the road and I must take it -- the one that leads to ending these weekly broadcasts.  This will be the last one.

I'm still coaching -- I will always be a coach.  You have been wonderful!  I will miss the lovely responses I have received every single Wednesday.  I'll do my best to stay in touch and I hope you will as well.

I want for you love and love and more love, because that's what life is all about.
 
 

January 24, 2007
Think globally!
                           Several of my loving readers

All these years I have been encouraging people to think and dream big.  My e-mail signature for ages has been "Play Bigger!"  And yet addressing the winter blues with travel to warmer and brighter climes didn't even cross my mind.  (Could it be that I just love my Blue Ridge Mountains so much that leaving them, even for a short while, is not such an attractive
option?)

Thanks to Scott (off to South Africa to visit his sister) and Lynette (off to Hawaii on vacation) and...  for reminding me to expand my thinking.

So think globally: the answer is not necessarily in your own back yard.
 
 

January 17, 2007
IIn the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
      Albert Camus

So much of life is about choice: be brave or be cowardly, be strong or be weak, be loving or be hateful, be ... you get the idea.  The determination -- perhaps what could be called 'strength of character?' -- that I have found within me is in fact the 'invincible summer' Camus mentions.

With a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), I choose in the cold darkness of winter to live as though it were warm and bright summer.  I can use a light box or spend more than the usual time outside.  And it helps to surround myself in bright jewel colors, to sleep more than usual snuggled under warm comforters and to talk with cherished friends and
family.

No need to accept the consequences of less natural light when you can fill your life with color and warmth and light and love.  Add a crackling fireplace and a tad more chocolate and life doesn't get much better!
 
 

January 10, 2007
...a man decides whether he's going to be scared or not.  That decision determines whatever he does after that.
                            Linda Lael Miller, Author

There's an excellent book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, that contends fear is normal and OK, so long as one gets on with life, not allowing the fear to dictate.

Others will say that if we are truly brave, we don't really feel any fear.  You can maintain that you are fearless or that you are brave and courageous in the face of fear.  There is wisdom here, regardless of which stand you take.

Much more important is to recognize that all our actions stem first from choices about who we are, specifically referring here to being cowardly or courageous.  After the "who" comes the "what"  -- every time.

"Who" are you these days?
 
 

JANUARY 2007
 

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2007
 

December 27, 2006

Happy New Year!
 
A great way to review the past year is to answer these questions, formulated first I believe by eminent coaches Shirley Anderson, MCC, and Jaye Myrick, MCC:

1.    Make a list of the 25 accomplishments in 2006 that you are most proud of.

2.    List the mistakes, regrets, things you wish you hadn't done or said in the past year.

2a.  Clean it up, if it's appropriate.

3.    List the people who most made a difference in your life this year.

3a.  Let these people know about it in some way.

4.    Promise not to think about January until after December 26.
 

December 20, 2006

Seasons Greetings!
 
Whatever the season may be for you: Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice, etc., I wish you the best, the most delightful, the most delicious, the most marvelous of all holiday seasons.  Whatever the name, all of these celebrations in the midst of winter give us a time for reflection on who we are and why we are here on this earth.  Find the time to reconnect not only with yourself, but with all those who enrich your life with their presence.

It's the season for sharing Love.  So share already!
 
 

December 13, 2006
What defines us is how well we rise after falling.
                           the movie, Maid in Manhattan

While I don't agree that this factor is the *only* thing that defines us, I certainly think the way we deal with adversity is critical.  We have the option to whine, blame others, give up, etc., but ultimately we tend to get on with our lives in some fashion or other.  "Falling" seldom results in the end of the world.

We have some pretty productive options as well.  These include taking responsibility for what is ours, learning our lessons from the fall, doing what it takes to minimize the impact of the fall, and refocusing our lives on what is working rather than on what hasn't worked for us.  And I am sure you can come up with more.

So --- How well do *you* rise after falling? What can you do to make that rise faster and easier?
 
 

December 6, 2006
Knowledge only equates to power if you can figure out what to do with it.
                           Kyra Davis, Author

How many times have you heard the old saying that "Knowledge is power"?  And how many times have you accepted the truth of it without questioning?  This quote is a prime example of the value of enquiry when it comes to conventional wisdom.

I love a little twist to an old saw that makes you question its validity!
 

DECEMBER 2006
 

November 29, 2006
The more settled things seem to be, the more likely they are to get messed up.
                          (If it's not part of Murphy's Law, it should be!)

Just when you think you have all your ducks in a row and they are quacking in harmony, something unexpected happens and you have to start herding those ducks once again.  "Alligators to stomp" or "fires to put out" or whatever term you may prefer, suddenly you are surrounded by them.

So how do you keep from being blindsided?  Expect the unexpected and devise contingency plans for even the most outlandish possibilities -- even if it is only in your mind.  Then focus on the most propitious scenario and give it all you've got!

Keep your eyes on the prize and, at the same time, be ready to corral those duck at the drop of a hat.
 
 

November 22, 2006
Never Lie, steal, cheat or drink.  But if you must, then lie in the arms of the one you love, steal away from bad company, cheat death or drink in the moments that take your breath away.
                          the movie Hitch

Whether they be books, movies, songs or whatever medium, it's impossible to resist stories that hold treasures like this quote.  And how marvelous it is when these treasures are combined with humor and love for self and other people!

Within the parameters listed above, you now have permission to go out and lie, steal, cheat and drink!!!
 
 

November 15, 2006
The more elaborate the plumbing, the easier it is to plug up the drain.
                           Scotty, Chief Engineer of the star ship Enterprise

Ah, the perils of complexity!  Some people (and the organizations they inhabit) seem to have a gene for complexity.  (Governmental agencies come to mind.  Hmmm...)   Or perhaps we should think of complexity as a nasty virus that infects us if we don't take preventive measures.  For sure, complexity slows everything down, leaves us vulnerable to all kinds of
problems.  (Windows software, anyone?)

The 'antiviral' agent of choice is the elegant solution, defined as 'gracefully concise and simple, admirably succinct.'

What's your first step in making the 'plumbing' of your life less elaborate?
 

November 8, 2006
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
                         Rumi, Thirteenth Century Persian Poet

Beauty is one of my truest values and, like many others, my life tends to lose its spark if I am not surrounded by beautiful things.  But where does beauty fit in with what we do?

Personally, I'm a big one for designing things:  mostly homes, interiors, landscapes and clothing.  If the beauty doesn't occur naturally, I create it.  I could easily aver that my lifetime of helping others develop their beautiful potential is just another variation on that theme.  In fact, I occasionally tease that I am an artist and my clients' lives are my medium.  ;-)

How does beauty show up in your life?  More to the point, how does beauty show up in what you do with your life?
 

November 1, 2006
When I knit, as when I write, I find myself in ecstatic participation in a divinely animated world.
                           Bernadette Murphy, Author

Whether it's knitting or writing or playing tennis or painting or gardening or watching the waves break on the beach or whatever, our sense of being an integral part of a wondrous universe enriches our lives immeasurably.  'Ecstatic participation in a divinely animated world' -- the very phrase gives me goose bumps!

What gives you this feeling of 'ecstatic participation in a divinely animated world'?
 

NOVEMBER 2006
 

October 25, 2006
I've decided goals must pleasure and motivate me, not drive me into walls.  I remind myself that many goals exist to be relinquished, like seeds not meant to germinate.
                           Maria Fire, Author

Sometimes we find it hard, for a variety of reasons, to relinquish a goal.  Perhaps we are afraid people will think we failed.  Perhaps we feel 'giving up' will show some sad lack of character.  Perhaps we hang on because it will disappoint someone else who wants us so desperately to attain that goal.  I am quite sure you can come up with a bunch of reasons
not listed here.

Do your goals give you pleasure?  Do they motivate you in the best of ways?  Or do some of them drive you into walls?  Are some of them seeds that would serve you best by not germinating?
 

October 18, 2006
Life is ever pregnant with herself, I am ever becoming, and endpoint is not the point.
                           Maria Fire, Author

We love to say "There are two kinds of people..."  In this particular instance, we see that some think the destination -- the endpoint -- is all that matters.  And there are those who believe the journey -- the 'ever becoming' mentioned above -- is all that counts.

What prevents each in its own way and in its own time being just as important as the other?

How seductive do you find the trap of 'either/or'?
 

October 4, 2006

Failure isn't an ending...it's just a place to stop for a while and consider your options.  You try again or try something else.
                                                                 Kay Hooper, Author

Too often we feel crushed when we fail at something and wonder how to go on afterward.  But in fact failure brings many lessons.  Some help us play the game of life a bit more conservatively.  Some give new direction for moving full steam ahead.  Looking back at a failed endeavor can bring tremendous clarity that enriches your life far more perhaps than success might have done.

What kind of lessons are you learning from failure?
 
 

OCTOBER 2006
 
September 27, 2006
What's the fun of trying if you're sure you'll win?  There's such a sense of triumph in beating the odds, and even in just trying to.
                                                                Kay Hooper, Author

What is it about us that we can't resist a challenge?  How much more dull and boring can it be if you know you will always win, always succeed?

I'm sure this has been a major factor in my life as I have moved from one career to another to another to another -- the need to meet the challenge, to beat the odds.  The most rewarding part of being a creative strategist, is figuring out the most elegant strategy for winning.

Call it what you like: a need for adventure, the essence of being a risk-taker, addiction to adrenaline, whatever. But it sure does add spice to life!!!!
 
 

September 20, 2006
The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
                                                                 The movie Moulin Rouge

The movie was a romantic tragedy in the best of traditional ways.  But the message is timeless.  No matter what we seek in the short term, we always find ourselves happiest when we are loving and being loved in return.  Witness the way you feel when you fall in love with that perfect person who loves you back without restraint.  Witness the way you feel when
you hold your baby and the adoration is mutual.

Who do you love?  Are you loved in return?  If the answer to either question is 'no,' then what is your first step in that direction?
 
 

September 13, 2006
Recycle: reclaim, reprocess, reuse

Disposable: useless, to be thrown away

We need to keep in mind the difference between recycling things and treating things as disposable items.  I think there are two key criteria for keeping things in our lives:

• We love them and they make us feel good
• They serve us well.

 If those two criteria aren't met, then it's time to replace with something that *will.*

When those things leave our personal space, recycling them by letting them go to someone or some purpose that will continue to derive value from them is incredibly better for you and for the world than simply throwing them away.
 

September 6, 2006
Just get a new one: this one isn't worth repairing
                                            Lots of folks

Excluding personal experience with emerging technology (see below), we live in an acquisitive society.  More often than not we move to a bigger/newer house (or car or any number of consumer items) rather than expand/repair the one we have.  Too often we look for new relationships rather than cultivating the ones we have.  The best selling words in TV ads are "new" and "improved" and "bigger."  So why bother to keep well maintained the things we already have?  Our culture implies that they are all disposable items anyhow.

Next time you are tempted with something that is "new," "improved" and/or "bigger," pause just a moment to evaluate whether you really need it or whether the good old Tried-and-True you already have will continue to serve you well if you just give it a bit of loving care.

Note:  I just bought a new laptop computer.  Not because the old one didn't work, but because the new one was lighter weight, had more memory and is reputed to run faster, not to mention a lot more bells and whistles.  The speed is great because I still haven't found a computer that responds as fast to commands as I give them (the poor thing gets soooo
confused!).  And lugging 5 lbs. in an airport for hours beats the socks off hauling around 15 lbs.  But other than those two factors, I would be just as well off with the computer I had three versions earlier and my bank balance would be considerably happier.
 

SEPTEMBER 2006
 

August 30, 2006
Perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse.
                                   Unknown

Many, many of us tend to hold ourselves to a higher standard than we would anyone else.  A great question to ask is "Would you condemn a child for doing this?"  If the answer is "no," the odds are you are engaged in this form of abusing yourself.

Each of us is growing at his/her own pace.  Just as a child learns ways to keep from spilling milk, we all learn ways to prevent mistakes, but we never learn how to prevent them all.

Give yourself a break!  Cut yourself some slack!  No one on this earth has figured it all out and never makes mistakes.  In other words, no one on this earth is perfect -- including you!!!!!!!

Note:  My friend Helen Riggs shared this quote with me.  She sends out an occasional little broadcast called "Routine Wonders."  Check Helen and Routine Wonders out via Google and subscribe if you like.
 

August 23, 2006
The most you can do is get it right some of the time.
                                            Pamela Britton, Author

Perfectionist will cringe at this, but it is true nonetheless.  You cannot expect yourself to get it right all the time!

Another quote from Don Miguel Ruiz in his Four Agreements is, "Always do your best."  He goes on to explain, "Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.  Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret."

Couldn't have said it better myself.  :-)
 

August 16, 2006
Courage is like a muscle. The more we exercise it, the stronger it gets.
                                            John McCain, U.S. Senator

As nations and as individuals, we all need courage to stand for what we believe, courage to meet the challenges that inevitably come, and more.

Examples abound in which one would need extraordinary courage -- I know I am not the only one who could list quite a few incidents in my own life.  Just life itself sometimes seems to require a hefty dose of courage.

Courage is a "muscle" that we cannot afford to let grow weak and flimsy.

How is your "courage quotient?"
 

August 9, 2006
What about giving out of gratitude?
       Sue Koenigshofer, SCK Design

Last week I listed some common motivators for giving.  Here's another motivator that doesn't fit the usual self-interest mold.  Many say that gratitude and appreciation are among the emotions that bring us closest to union with God, the Universe, whatever-you-want-to-call-it.  And from that union, I believe originates some of the greatest giving ever.

Is part of your gratitude and appreciation a desire to give to others?

Note:  Not only is my friend Sue a terrific graphic designer, but a most insightful thinker as well.  She was quick to remind me of one of the biggies I left out last week when I mentioned some frequent motivators for giving.  Thanks, Sue!
 

August 2, 2006
Why do we give to others?
                            A great introspective question

That which motivates humankind to give to others remains a mystery, probably because there is no one single motivator.  A few biggies come to mind:

What motivates your giving?
 

AUGUST 2006
 

July 26, 2006
We often want a chance to give what we did not receive.
                            Anonymous

When a person's need isn't met, he often develops a driving desire to get that need met, no matter how long it takes.  This is the more common psychological view.

But some people, including me, remember the pain of the unmet needs and are filled with the desire to prevent others from experiencing that same pain, to give to someone else that which we have not received.

How about you?  How have you responded so far to the unmet needs in your life?
 

July 19, 2006
COMPROMISE, n. Such an adjustment of conflicting interests as gives each adversary the satisfaction of thinking he has got what he ought not to have, and is deprived of nothing except what was justly his due.
                            Ambrose Bierce, American Writer & Journalist

Many say life is all about compromise.  Others say never compromise.  The fact is there are areas in which compromise is deadly to the soul and others in which compromise is simply good manners -- and every kind of situation in between.

Learn what is essential for you and what is not.  Then you can easily bend on the non-essentials while still retaining your integrity.
 

July 12, 2006
The grandest scheme of all is self-delusion.
                            Gary Hamby

"Scheme" by the most common definition is "To make plans, especially secret or devious ones."  We come across them all the time for making easy money, finding the love of your life, becoming a star, losing a ton of weight, etc.  Some schemes are workable and some are delusions.

As Gary says...
 

July 5, 2006
It's much easier to take something apart than to put it back together.
                            Ruth Ledesma

In our society a lot of emphasis is placed on analytical skills -- loosely speaking, the ability to separate a whole into its constituent parts for individual study.  Picking something apart -- a clock for example -- to see how it works is all well and good, but at some point one must put it all back together correctly for it to continue to operate as intended.  As the old song says, "You can't have one without the uh-uh-uh-ther."

So how about equal billing for the ability to synthesize -- combining separate elements or substances to form a coherent whole!
 

JULY 2006
 

June 28, 2006
We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience.  Rather we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.
                           Pierre Teilhard DeChardin

This perspective is diaemetrically opposed to what we normally assume and has great value in shaking up our thinking.  But is it true?  Beyond which is true, it seems needful to question whether the truth must be either one or the other.  Couldn't both perspectives be true?

If indeed we are to think of ourselves as "whole" beings, then that unified whole would be spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, etc.  All of consciousness perhaps?
 

June 21, 2006
Judge yourself by your intentions and the strength with which you face your challenges.
                            Oma de Sala, Ascended Being on Stargate, SG1

We live so much in an action-oriented culture, a results-oriented win-or-lose culture, that focusing on intentions requires a solid change of perspective.  Not to say that results don't count, but what shifts would come about if we focused more on the intentions?

And how would we change the choices we make if we valued more the courage with which we face life's challenges than we value overcoming those challenges?  Would we be less likely to choose "safe" challenges that we know we can meet?  Would we be more inclined to accept risk of failure?

We all judge ourselves: too often to the point of deciding we are unworthy as human beings.  Are we using the most productive criteria?
 

June 14, 2006
One cannot always run and hide from life.  It's best never even to try, but simply to face what must be faced.
                            Mary Balogh, author

Stick your head in the sand if you like, but your butt is still in the air.  Drink yourself into oblivion, but the situation is still there.  Pretend everything is perfect, but odds are you don't really believe it way down deep in your heart.

And all the time you are running and hiding from a reality you don't like, the situation is likely deteriorating for lack of constructive attention and action.

Ah, the sweet pleasures of denial! Woe, the bitter consequences!
 

June 7, 2006
First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.
                            Thomas Kempis

Just try holding on to your own peace when the strife of our society roars all around you.  Takes a lot more than just a decision or a desire, doesn't it?

Purposeful living, dedicated to serenity and peace -- with big dollops of determination and luck -- will go far toward keeping you immune to the turmoil.
 

JUNE 2006
 

May 31, 2006
Life without a purpose; is like a luxury liner
maneuvering wildly through the
ocean without a rudder,
                           Poet, Nikhil Parekh

The pursuit of wealth, of status, of possessions, of constant stimulation -- these may seem purposeful at first glance, but serve about as well as a purpose in life as a toy oar would serve as a rudder on a luxury liner.

For many people in this world the purpose is simply to survive, but for the rest of us...

Look into your heart:  to what are you dedicating your life?
 

May 24, 2006
I never promised you a rose garden.
                          Author, Joanne Greenberg

Too often we look at life and believe there are promises of great things to be.  When the promises are fulfilled, we are delighted, but when the promises aren't met, we grow angry and resentful and look for someone to blame.

Far better to look for the origin of your belief in the promises.  Did someone else actually guarantee you a wonderful outcome?  Or did you assume a rosy outcome because it was something you wanted so fervently?

Look closely at your beliefs and expectations: are they grounded in fact or in your desires?
 

May 17, 2006
Start as you plan to go on.
                           Unknown

Setting precedents is all about laying down clear ground rules from the beginning.  If you decide to change those ground rules as time goes on, you will be wise to ease up on the rules rather than to tighten up.  A teacher, for example, will experience hostility if grading gets tougher as the term goes on, but will receive more positive feelings from the students if things get a bit easier.

The same is true of any relationship.  If one spouse starts out taking most of the responsibility for a relationship being successful, resistance -- not to mention resentment -- is most often the outcome when the spouse later decides the responsibility should be more evenly distributed.  Being more thoughtful of the other partner is always more welcome, but less thoughtfulness is another story entirely.

Envision how you want things to be years from now in a particular relationship or circumstance and then start as you plan to go on.  Assuming you can easily change things later on to suite you better is the height of self-delusion.
 

May 10, 2006
Shifting sand makes a lousy foundation.
                           Unknown

People appreciate knowing where they stand: they love consistency on which to base their lives even when, like me, they are the adventurous type.  We just seem to feel that there should be some constants in life.

When in charge of an organization, make very sure that those who inhabit it, either as employees or clients, have clearly articulated regs to guide their behavior.  You are far less likely to have costly turnover.

Do you know where you stand?  Do those around you know where they stand with you?
 

May 3, 2006
I am sooooooo tired!
                           Countless numbers of people

High energy go-getters are quick to tell us that one has only to get up a little bit earlier to accomplish all kinds of terrific things we otherwise wouldn't have time for in our busy schedules.  We have heard it so often that it has become a the major "should" in the collective consciousness of our society, eating away at the time we allow ourselves for sleep.

But wait!  Falling asleep at the wheel causes a huge percentage of fatal auto accidents.  Countless billions of dollars are lost by businesses because tired employees miss critical details.  As if lives and dollars lost is not enough, the quality of lives are clearly deeply diminished when the routine is work all day, plop in front of the TV until bedtime and then sleep a few hours before the new day brings the same old thing all over again.

Let's get it straight:  eight hours of sleep is the "average" amount needed for a body to function well.  That means about half the people in the world need less than eight hours and about half need more than eight hours.  So how did the "need less than" people become the arbiters for the rest of us?

Your challenge this week?  Go to bed at least one hour earlier than you usually do.  If you still feel tired, try for two hours earlier the following week.  Add time for sleep until you can routinely wake up without the alarm clock.  Then, and only then, are you getting enough sleep for your body.
 

MAY 2006
 

April 26, 2006
Be careful of bright shiny objects!
                           Unknown

We typically need to keep our focus on the goal if we are to achieve it.  Distractions only lessen the impact of our power of intention and tempt us to actions that have nothing to do with the goal.

The most tempting of distractions tend to be bright and shiny, sparkling and vibrant.  "All the better to distract you, My Dear..."
 

April 19, 2006
Be kinder than necessary........for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
                           H. Jackson Brown, Jr., "Life's Little Instruction Book"

Given that most of us don't usually inquire beyond the polite facade of the people we meet, employ kindness as a matter of routine.  You never know who needs it and will appreciate it.

Perhaps if we looked more closely and with more concerned and loving eyes...
 

April 12, 2006
Our attachment to what we think we know is our greatest vulnerability, for it can blind us to what we have not yet seen.
       Hannah S. Wilder, MCC

No mind is so tightly closed as the one that believes it has the answer, not to mention possibly all the answers.  And even when you have an answer, who is to say that a better one might not show up if you are open to the possibility?

Keep in mind that we all have different perspectives.  Truth is not necessarily absolute, depending on the situation.  Don't leave yourself at the mercy of closed-mindedness.
 

April 5, 2006
The scars of others should teach us caution.
                       Saint Jerome

They say smart people learn from their mistakes.  Really smart people also learn from the mistakes of others.

How smart have you been lately?
 

APRIL 2006
 

March 29, 2006
Who am I then?  Tell me that first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come up: if not I'll stay down here till I'm somebody else.
                       Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Don't know who you are?  It's not as simple as staying down the rabbit hole until someone tells you.  Your task is to figure out for yourself who you really are and to embrace that person.  Certainly take into account what others say about you, but remember those opinions are only one of the many mirrors available to you.  Assessments abound, experience speaks loudly and there are numerous programs and processes for delving into your true character.  And just when you think you have nailed down who you are, you make an unexpected shift and find you have to start over again.

Blessed is the one who learns early on to live in the joy of delving and discovering that reality of personal identity as it changes and grows with time.
 

March 22, 2006
Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
                       Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Anything is possible when you fall down the rabbit hole.  Life is filled with the unexpected and often outrageous.  You can choose to reject it, accept it, fight it or embrace it (and everything in between), but you can't change that all kinds of things will come at you.  What response will serve you best?

If Alice could handle Wonderland, you can handle life.
 

March 15, 2006
Stir up the Cosmic Dust!
       Val Williams, MCC

Wanting things to change is not enough to make -- or "let" -- it happen.   Action is the key concept!   Although I don't endorse doing just any old thing that comes to mind, that old quote about "Do something, even if it is wrong" has at least a modicum of merit.

Clean out the closets or the cupboards, get out and meet new people, update your resume, enroll in a class, volunteer to a cause close to your heart -- any positive action will get you moving and stir up the Cosmic Dust.  You might be surprised how quickly your other goals move closer to completion.

Are you ready?   Join me in stirring up some Cosmic Dust!  ;-)
 

March 8, 2006
Fear says "You need _____ to be safe."  Love says "You are already safe."
                                           Beth Livingston, Tarot Consultant, www.owlsdaughter.com

Certainly fear can keep us from doing some really foolish things, but Beth's quote brings clearly to mind that fear is not always well founded.  In fact, depending on the circumstances, inhibitions from fear can either support or undercut our success, even our happiness.  Sometimes we need to respond to fear with a resounding "Thank You!"  Other times a better response would be a gentle "There, there!  Don't worry, Little One, I will be just fine."

What is fear saying in your life? How are you responding?
 

March 1, 2006
Happiness in life comes in the production, not the consumption.
                                           Jodi Thomas, author

What heresy in a consumer-based economy!  The very idea points us in the exact opposite direction from almost all indicators we are given in our culture today.  There would likely be a lot of debate about where happiness lies, for each person has the right to define happiness and its source for himself.

Are you defining happiness and its sources for yourself or are you accepting blindly the definitions and beliefs of others?
 

MARCH 2006
 

February 22, 2006
I have struggled my entire life to be what I already am and believe what I've always Known.
       Connie Menefee

I like you just the way you are.
                                           Mr. Rogers

Sadly, we reject who we are and deny or doubt our own wisdom until -- if we are very lucky -- we finally figure out that the key to it all is acceptance, embracing our own authentic selves and relishing our own authentic truths.  Indeed this is the source of a great deal of the struggle so rampant in many, if not most, of our lives.

This could be one of the hardest questions you may ever address, but I will ask it anyhow: "What would it take to accept and like yourself, just the way you are?"
 

February 15, 2006
You mean cement isn't sexy?
       Forrest Greenslade, sculptor

...a vintage Bugatti is really sexy and I don't need a man anywhere near it.  I used to race cars when I was a girl and the 'throaty' noise of the exhaust on a race car still does it for me.
       Jilly Shaul, the Naked Coach

I stand ready to admit that I was wrong in stating that mechanical equipment is not sexy to women.  As in everything, there are always exceptions.  Actually thinking about it, there is something very pleasing about both the sound and sight of a vintage Bugatti.  Hmm...

So here's an idea:  Are we being overly influenced by marketing and advertising as our society links "sexy" to everything?  Are we shifting to thinking any sensory pleasure is sexual?
 

February 8, 2006
The easiest person to fool is yourself..
                      James Randi (I think)

I caught a snippet of a country music song in which the guy says "She thinks my tractor's sexy!"  As a Southern woman raised on a farm, I can guarantee this is a perfect example of self-deception. A woman may find a man to be sexy for a number of reasons, including sometimes power and possessions, but I can assure you mechanical equipment on it's own is not and never will be sexy!

Although this song is an extreme example of delusion, we do it all the time.  Witness the people who pull in their bellies in front of the mirror and believe it stays that way after they turn away and relax.  Witness the man who thinks his comb-over hides his balding scalp.  More examples can be found in every person's life upon close inspection.

What's the biggest thing you are deceiving yourself about?  How would your life improve if you elected to accept the truth?
 

February 1, 2006
 I don't have problems.  I have challenges and opportunities.
                      Myriads of People who prefer a Positive Outlook

A rose by any other name is still a rose.  So is a problem.

Call it semantics if you like, but a problem, as such, tends to be linked with difficulty.  Challenges and opportunities sometimes come with difficulty, but certainly not always.

"Difficulty" in the on-line thesaurus gives synonyms of adversity, arduousness, awkwardness, barricade, block, check, complication, crimp, crisis, crux, dead end, deadlock, deep water, dilemma, distress, emergency, exigency, fix, frustration, hardship, hazard, hindrance, hitch, hot water, hump, impasse, knot, labor, laboriousness, mess, misfortune, muddle, obstacle, obstruction, pain, painfulness, paradox, perplexity, pickle, predicament, quagmire, quandary, scrape, snag, stew, strain, strait, strenuousness, struggle, tribulation and trouble.  "Problem" synonyms are similar.

Granted you may have genuine challenges and opportunities that would not qualify as problems. However, keep in mind that the easiest person to deceive is yourself. Are problems in your life masquerading under a euphemism?  If so, I ask you again, "What would it take for you to embrace the concept of being a Problem-Free Zone?"
 

FEBRUARY 2006
 

January 25, 2006
Become a Problem-Free Zone.
                      Thomas Leonard, Founder of the coaching profession

As a consummate problem-solver, my most consistent response to this statement has been "Oh, no!  Not me!"  Without problems I lose opportunities to demonstrate a stellar part of my identity.  Like many people, I have probably even created problems (subconsciously, of course!) just to make life more interesting.

With the help of my fabulous coach, Jaye Myrick, a better way has occurred to me:  Just as a heroin addict can switch to methadone, I have switched from solving problems to addressing questions (notice I didn't say 'answering' questions).  I get all the fun of discovery without the negative side effects.

Along the way, I may even come up with some better questions.  :-)  I'm on my way to being a Problem-Free Zone!

What would it take for you to embrace the concept of being a Problem-Free Zone?
 

January 18, 2006
Love conquers all.
                      Virgil

Sounds deeply romantic, but in fact the concept covers far more than romantic love.  The difficulties with the recent adoption of Dooley, my Siamese cat, are a case in point.

Dooley engaged in hunger strikes, deliberate mishaps with the litter box, and even an attempt or two to bite.  I continued to love him (and to tell him so repeatedly), kept the solid intention that he must comply with my house rules, and gave lavish praise when he was being good.  (Probably didn't hurt to tell him in no uncertain terms that I had just saved his precious life from that kill shelter and I expected him to behave himself!)  He even came through his visit to the Spay/Neuter Clinic like a champion.  Dooley's nickname may now sometimes be Castrato Cat, but he is the epitome of a perfect gentleman.

Love, genuinely felt and demonstrated often, can indeed overcome pretty much any obstacles life can throw at us.  Dooley is just the most recent in the many, many examples in my life.

What do you love?  Have you demonstrated the power of Love in your life lately?
 

January 11, 2006
We spend a bit of time at the beginning of each year assessing the past accomplishments and setting goals for the coming year -- and this is a good, productive thing to do.  How much more productive might it be if we did the same kind of thing at the end of each day?

Some key questions for an end-of-the-day reflection would include:

Perhaps the most important question: "How does today and tomorrow fit into my long term planning?"

You do have a long term plan, right?
 

January 04, 2006
I want to adopt that Siamese cat, please.
                      Ruth Ledesma, eternal optimist

My guest Siamese had been such a lady that I figured "How bad can it be?"  So off I went to the local Animal Shelter and immediately fell under the spell of a five year old Siamese Tom Cat who drools when scratched around his ears, under his chin and on his belly.

Dooley (Tom Dooley, Drooley Dooley, Dooley Darling, Big Boy, etc., etc.) is now home and won't willingly come out from under the end table beside the sofa in the guest room.  He didn't use the litter box for a tad over 48 hours but I dragged him into the bathroom and promised he wasn't coming out of there until he did his business.  I guess the pressure was on (Sorry, can't help double entendres).  Round 1 to me.

Now he's on a hunger strike, but Siamese are not stupid and I can be patient to the extreme.  Round 2 will also be mine!  (Hey, hey, hey...)

The lesson in the story so far:  Expect the unexpected.  Know with every fiber of your being that all will be well.
 

JANUARY 2006

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2006
 

December 29, 2005
Time for New Year's Resolutions!
                     A Gazillion Optimists

The beginning of each new year is often seen as as a time for a fresh start, a chance to succeed this time.  If you just are diligent enough, work hard enough, put in enough time, (fill in the blank with whatever you think will make the difference), you will succeed this time...  Too often the outcome is the same as last year and the year(s) before.

One thing that can make the difference between another failure and success is an analysis of the past year and learning the lessons your experience has offered you.  Here are some excellent year end questions to answer for yourself:

I would love to hear how this analysis works for you.  :-)
 

December 21, 2005
Happy Holidays!
                      Ruth Ledesma & a Ton of Other Respectful People

The various religions of the world are based on the various faiths of the world and they include a multitude of rituals and holidays.  The sincerity of believers in all faiths is humbling and I can feel only immense respect for their devotion.

Since December is particularly filled with holidays of several religions, I invite you to use the greeting that most demonstrates your respect for the other person's faith.  If you aren't sure of the other person's faith or are addressing a larger, mixed-faith group, "Happy Holidays" is probably the default greeting of choice.

At this time of year Love is often shown through generosity.  Show your loving regard through respect as well.

I wish you the very happiest of all holiday seasons, filled with love in all its manifestations.
 

December 14, 2005
Unmet needs (and more) trump both logic and intuition.
                              Ruth Ledesma

This is the last of these, I promise!  I don't have to define for you or give examples in people's lives, for you have already seen all this.  Add strongly held convictions and beliefs which may well be inaccurate, along with some childhood training best outgrown, and you can pretty much take it from here yourself.

My challenge to you is to do an end-of-year assessment of your life.  Hold it up to the light and pick off the unmet needs, any erroneous beliefs, the fears, the busy-ness, etc. as you would pick off burrs from your pants legs after a walk in the fields.  Prepare yourself to start 2006 with a much clearer understanding of yourself and how you make your decisions.

Life is too sweet and too precious!  Engage in it with all the excellence you can muster.
 

December 7, 2005
Busy-ness trumps both logic and intuition.
                              Ruth Ledesma

Running helter-skelter from one activity to another, doing this and at the same time trying to do that -- the despicable multitasking -- leaves no time or energy to pay attention to either logic or intuition.

When one is so very busy playing the game of life, the voices of both intuition and logic can not be heard when planning a strategy for winning the game -- assuming you have a strategy -- hmmmm. . .

I would love to hear your thoughts on what trumps what in your life.
 

DECEMBER 2005
 

November 30, 2005
Fear trumps intuition.
                              Jaye Myrick, www.JayeMyrick.com

The game of life has some very specific rules, among them the quote from Jaye Myrick last week, 'Intuition trumps logic.'  But intuition is often a still small, voice in a storm (to switch metaphors briefly) when there are other factors in play.  Fear is definitely a trump card for almost any hand.

Review your life and think about when fear has trumped you -- when you would have won the hand if you hadn't backed out in fear.

Next week I'll give you another major trump card to consider.  With intuition being such a strong force, one that is always right, it staggers the mind that there can be so many other things that outweigh it.
 

November 23, 2005
Intuition trumps logic.
                              Jaye Myrick, www.JayeMyrick.com

We've all had times when the logical course of action "just didn't feel right."  Or "my gut just said 'NO.'" Or "I knew it in my bones."  Regardless of how you express it in words, you are tuning into your intuition.  In the game of life, your intuition is always right regardless of whether it agrees with logic or not!

Give this some thought until next week when I will share some of the things that frequently trump intuition, causing us to doubt both our intuition and ourselves.
 

November 9, 2005
Life is drawing without an eraser.
                                        Unknown

Whatever lines we draw in life are permanent.  Whatever images we create are there for all time.  Even when life offers us a 'second chance,' we still have used precious time and energy on a first attempt that didn't work out the way we wanted.

Would you rather bemoan the 'mistakes' or cherish the masterpiece?
 

November 16, 2005
One can learn from the absence of something just as well as from the presence of something.
                                                         Diane Hewat

We tend to notice more the lessons we learn when something comes into our lives and provokes us to grow and learn.  A new job, a new relationship, a new responsibility are examples.

At the same time we can learn quite effectively from the 'absence of.'  Examples might include things like no encouragement when you most need it, a longed-for child that is never born, an opportunity that never shows up for you, and more.  It may take a tad longer to see the lessons in these circumstances, but I assure you they are there, sometimes leading to sadness, sometimes to joy, and everything in between.

What are the lessons in your life right now?  Where are those lessons derived?
 

November 2, 2005
I've always wanted to write a book, but...
                                       Unknown Numbers of Talented People

Whatever reasons you may have had while you waited for "someday" to arrive, you just lost your excuses.  The time to write is NOW!  The exciting new Wildflower WritingsmProgram is being unveiled this week.  If you or someone you know has a book inside you, contact me ASAP.  I'll be happy to send along a full description of the program and a listing of major mistakes writers make when they are working on a book. There is also a significant discount for anyone who enrolls in the Wildflower Writingsm Program through this e-mail.

Would you rather wait for your pipedream to come true "someday" or turn out a terrific manuscript?
 

NOVEMBER 2005
 

October 26, 2005
Let your candles burn not for the dread of Darkness, but for the love of Light.
                                        Ruth Ledesma

Part of the old time religion, as well as discipline for children, was centered around fear of negative consequences. Many today, both in religious arenas and in the home, are placing a greater emphasis on the rewards of "good" behavior.  Odds are it's a spectrum and each of us falls somewhere far from either extreme.

Where are you on the spectrum?  What about your candles?
 

October 19, 2005
We have inside us everything we need to create our lives as we choose.  Like a painter mixes primary colors of red, blue and yellow to get an infinite variety of colors for a unique painting, you too can mix basic values, beliefs and goals to get infinite variations on life so that yours will reflect exactly who you are and your purpose in being on this planet earth.

Ready!  Set!  Paint!
 

October 12, 2005

Love is to be treasured, not measured.

                                        Genece Hamby, www.SanctuaryofStillness.org

What is it about us that we feel we must reciprocate when someone says "I love you"?  Perhaps it's a socio/psyco/genetic imperative?  Or maybe we are on the receiving end of manipulation?  We tend to keep score on the "good" things someone has done for us (as well as the "bad"), but that negates the very essence of what love is all about.  Obligation has no place in the realm of love, whether it be in the mind of the giver or the recipient.

A sincere expression of appreciation and gratitude is certainly in order.  Otherwise, there are no strings attached to the genuine gift of love.
 

October 05, 2005

The tribe will think much better of you when you stop caring so much what the tribe thinks.

                                        Ruth Ledesma

We spend a lot of time figuring out what the norms are for behavior, dress, etc. so we can fit in with the people we hang out with, whether it be the circle of friends at school or the corporate environment or whatever.  We don't want to be rejected by the "tribe."

The tribe will think far more highly of you for having the courage to be your authentic self in behavior, dress, etc. than it will ever approve you for conformity.  In dress, for example, your authenticity and the confidence to dress to reflect who you are is what the tribe will love, not your uniform.  It's one of those Divine Paradoxes we find so often in life.

Who's opinion matters most to you?
 

OCTOBER 2005
 

September 28, 2005

Work expands to fill all the time available to it.

                                        Anonymous

Workaholism is rampant and one of the few addictions approved in the American culture.  After all, social pressure indicates the two most valuable roles we fill are that of worker and consumer: all else comes in much further down the priority scale, even family. Certainly with many people long hours of work is a matter of family survival, but beyond that economic level, it has nothing to do with family.

The plaintive "I don't have time for..." is a reflection of an unhappy life lived on someone else's terms.  It's your life, your time, your choice re what you do.  You set your own priorities; you make your own commitments.

What are you making time for in your life?
 

September 21, 2005

Love is a gift, not an obligation.

                       Genece Hamby, artist and author, www.shibuistudio.com

In the stillness of your soul lies the recognition that love simply "is" and there is never any demand for giving it or returning it.  Allow others the freedom to express their love to you with no constraints.

Just accept it as the eternal gift it is in all our lives, including yours.
 

September 14, 2005

Whatever you are as a younger person, you are more so as an elderly person.

                       Unknown

If you choose, for example, to be crabby early on in your life, then you will be horrendously crabby later.  Or you may choose to be loving and compassionate and watch these traits bloom even more powerfully as your life progresses.  Granted this particular wisdom may not apply across the board, but it is true enough to warrant our taking a close look at our behavior no matter our ages.

Your life is all about choice.  It's all about the choices you are making right now.

So...  What do you want to be when you grow up?
 

September 7, 2005
It takes a lot of guts to be an optimist.
                       Ruth Ledesma
 

Survivors of Hurricane Katrina are the embodiment of optimism and sheer guts.  While many will make the decision to move away from hurricane territory, far more will do whatever it takes to go right back 'home.'  So long as courageous, gutsy people like these can come back from such wrenching disaster, there is hope for our society.

And so long as outpourings of compassion and generosity continue from those less directly affected, there is hope for humanity.
 

SEPTEMBER 2005
 

August 31, 2005
When it feels like work, there's something wrong.
                      Beth Woodward, CEK (Chief Executive Kid)   www.MarketingonthePlayground.com

Would your business be more successful if you approached it with the commitment a toddler shows when building a sand castle?  Would your solutions be more prolific if you approached your problems with the creativity of a kid?  Would your goals be achieved more consistently if you addressed them like a kid learning to ride a bike?  Would your life be more fulfilling if you lived it with the spontaneity of a child?

I believe the answer to all these questions is a resounding "Yes!"  Kids never give up, are infinitely creative, endlessly curious, totally determined and delightfully spontaneous when they play.  Maybe we should pay attention to the best being offered by the kid inside each of us.  Maybe we should work less and play more.
 

August 24, 2005

        SPENDTHRIFT
Each morn the sun has mint for me
A dollar, bright and gold;
And I have spent it recklessly
And bought what day has sold.

Though poor tonight, such poverty
Cannot retain me long;
I shall invest in starlight and
Be rich again by dawn.
                                   William E. Mahoney, poet in "Wax Arrows"

A part of the power of a poem lies in letting the reader interpret at will.  This poem says it so complete that nothing more needs saying to have us thinking in multiple directions.  Would you say it's

I would love to have your thoughts.
 

August 17, 2005
Hold hands when you cross the street.
                                                     Robert Fulghum, author

Too often crossing the 'streets' of our adult lives feels more like crossing the Grand Canyon on a tightrope.  And perhaps you are also one who tends to be more willing to offer your hand to help and support someone else than to ask someone else to help and support you.  Thus we needlessly walk the tightropes alone.

Regardless of who does the reaching out, experience often the warmth of holding hands with at least one other person who wants you to get safely from one side of the 'street' to the other.  I promise there are others who would really appreciate holding hands with you.
 

August 10, 2005
Success is never permanent.........    Neither is failure.
       Al Mendlovitz

Relish your ride on the tiger of success.  Celebrate with your own personal ticker tape parade.   Squeeze every drop of juice out of the happiness you are experiencing now.

The memories of your success will help sustain you when the tiger has dumped you and run off with someone else.  In that inevitable time when you seem to be wrapped in failure,  recognizing and accepting that both success and failure are temporary will make it infinitely easier to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back into the game.
 

August 3, 2005
When you change the questions you ask yourself, you must get different answers.  When you get different answers, you get a different life.
                               Noah St. John, author of Permission to Succeed.

When you ask yourself "Why am I such a loser?" then your brain cannot NOT give you an almost limitless list of reasons why you are a loser.  When you ask yourself "Why am I so successful?" then your brain cannot NOT give you an almost limitless list of reasons why you are so successful.

If affirmations aren't working too well for you, try asking yourself great questions with the kind of answers you would rather hear.  For example:

What questions do you choose to ask today?
 

AUGUST 2005
 

July 28, 2005
So many lovely responses to the Little Bit of Wisdom on procrastination!  I'm delighted to receive so much confirmation that the broadcast is well received and appreciated.  I just have to share with you access to the story behind one of the responses.

Visit http://www.forrestgreenslade.com to learn about a truly gifted man, my dear friend Forrest Greenslade, who turns out to be the "Poster Child" for procrastination based on the desire to be perfect right from the git-go.

And if you appreciate some delightful sculpture, that's great too.  :-)
 

July 27, 2005
The person who never makes a mistake probably isn't doing anything.
                                 Rita Emmett, author of The Procrastinator's Handbook

D you know someone -- you perhaps? -- who fears stepping out as a photographer, writer, entrepreneur, designer, __________ (just a few examples: fill in your own blank here) because your work isn't perfect yet?  We see examples of accomplished practitioners and feel that we must measure up immediately or we will be a failure forever more.  How much more discouraged can you feel?

Far more productive to recognize and accept that one must practice, practice, practice -- and practice some more -- in order to master a craft.  No one starts out with any degree of excellence: we all start out as novices.  Only through practicing our craft over and over do we reach a point of excellence.  And we never, ever, reach a point of perfection.

Choose to start today!  Choose to work toward excellence rather than perfection!
 

July 20, 2005
If you lose sight of what you want -- your vision -- you tend to settle for what you have.
                                     Richard Reardon, www.RichardReardon.com

Daily life seems to be filled with multiple events and people who bring in almost irresistible distractions.  Regardless of whether your vision is for your business, your family and/or your life in general, you must keep tightly focused on that vision in order to achieve it.  It follows that without the vision, you will focus on what already fills your life and tend to conclude that it's "not so bad."  In other words you "settle."

What do you choose?
 

July 13, 2005
The number one reason why we do what we do is because we have no compelling reason to do something different.
                                  Thomas Leonard, Founder of the coaching profession

That compelling reason may be avoiding pain or gaining pleasure or some combination of the two, but it must be compelling or we say to ourselves, "Things aren't so bad yet.  I'll deal with it later."  Too often it's easier to BMW (bitch, moan and whine) about the way things are without doing anything to change our circumstances.  Change is usually an outcome of shifts in our thinking, behavior and/or environment and we are responsible for making those shifts.

How about you:  BMW or accept responsibility for building the life you would prefer to live?
 

July 6, 2005
Dealing with life's problems is often a lot like getting a snarl of yarn untangled.  Gentle tugs on strategically placed strands are far more likely to ease the knots out.  Rough pulling and yanking, trying to force the knots undone, so often only makes them tighter and the problems all the more difficult to unravel.

How gentle is your touch?
 

JULY 2005
 

June 29, 2005
The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.
                              Samuel Johnson

Habit is by its very nature a default behavior.  It's sort of mindless behavior: you don't have to think about it, just do it.  This is fine for things like brushing your teeth, etc.

At the same time, how wasted will be your potential if you let that same mindless default behavior rule in the rest of your life!  Living by choice, living by design, living deliberately -- these will give you a life that can be chock full of excitement, adventure, meaning and fulfillment.

Is your life by design or by default?
 

June 22, 2005
The Bugs Bunny approach to life:  Wherever you pop out of your hole, deal with what's there.  --
                                  Nevada Barr, author

"Bloom where you are planted" is great truth, but it surely sounds way too passive compared to Bugs' approach.  We too pop out of our holes in myriad places at myriad times and have to deal with what's there regardless of whether we want to or not.  And Bugs always seems to deal with whatever with such relish!

Relish your own dealings with life!
 

June 13, 2005
Every time you give in to your fear you make your world that much smaller.
                                     Heidi Uptegrove, www.YouSAYDit.com.

Whether it's fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking like a schmuck, fear of rejection or fear of whatever, fears limit us in developing our natural potential.  It also commits us to living tiny little lives that can be just as miserable as wearing tiny little shoes after our feet are fully grown.

When you put the fear(s) to rest, you can then think bigger, act bigger, live bigger, and -- my personal favorite -- PLAY BIGGER!!
 

June 8, 2005
A dream can be a place to go when reality sucks. A dream can be motivational - maybe you'll realize you can achieve one of the features of your dream if you just accomplish one task. A dream can help you to be more creative in your "real" life. A dream can give you joy.
       Helen Riggs, Riggs Coaching..

Sometimes we "say" we want to achieve a certain cherished dream, but never do what's necessary to accomplish it.  I see this as a natural need for all the benefits of having a dream combined with fear that if this particular dream is achieved there will be nothing else to shoot for -- life would not be as worthwhile without this dream.  The answer?  Accept that if you have had one cherished dream, you can have another when it is achieved, and  another, and another, and...

People are born to dream.  People are born to make their dreams come true.
 

June 1, 2005
I'd be proud to have my son die for our country.
                              Mother of a 4 year old boy

I cringed when my new neighbor said it some 25 years ago and immediately thought I would be much more proud to have my child live for our country.  Despite events since then, I continue to believe living for one's country is the better choice.  At the same time I recognize that we haven't yet reached the place of settling differences without violence at either the individual level or the world level.  I and so many wait for the wisdom of peace to be truly recognized and implemented.

This Memorial Day weekend I wondered if my long lost neighbor's son has yet died for our country and I honor all the people who have made that sacrifice.  And I honor all those who live for the peaceful resolution of conflict.

What are you doing to bring more peace into our world?
 

JUNE 2005
 

May 25, 2005
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received.
                             Albert Einstein

Our society teaches us that independence and self-reliance are things in which to take pride.  "Needy!  Not me!!!"  becomes our mantra.  Self-reliance is all well and good, but we are on this earth to support each other, taking turns supporting and being supported.

The natural progression as we mature is from dependence to independence to interdependence.
 

May 11, 2005
"I don't want you to get a swelled head."
                               Barbra Streisand on The Actors Studio, quoting her mother's reason for not praising her directly (although she praised her to other people).

Not all children have the strength of character demonstrated by Barbra Streisand.  How many brilliant people have grown up unfulfilled, thinking they are mediocre and performing at that level, when in fact they could have lived extraordinary lives!

Children need and deserve appropriate praise for their accomplishments.  Some will be extraordinarily outstanding and others will be not nearly so astronomical, but the praise should always follow.  And don't forget: the same applies to adults because we never outgrow the need for honest praise.

When was the last time you gave honest and appropriate praise to someone?
 

May 4, 2005
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
                              Dr. Seuss

For the best of wisdom in books, check out classics written for children.  Simple and straightforward, they express the concepts on which the best of human society is based.  We begin to stray from that wisdom when we forfeit our childlike nature .  I'm not talking about "childish" as in foolish, silly and immature, but rather "childlike" in the sense of innocent, trusting and open to all the goodness that life can bring.

What one thing can you do to retain (or regain) your childlike nature?
 

MAY 2005
 

April 27, 2005
We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
                                   Friedrich Nietzsche

Dance, laugh, love yourself and others, find joy in what you are about!  Life was not meant to be a lockstep of endless drudgery and long faces.
 

April 20, 2005
Whether you believe in them or not, here's the perfect horoscope ever from Rob Brezsny at www.freewillastrology.com:

"Act as if life is crazily in love with you: as if every force of nature longs to be of service to you: as if animals and children and well-adjusted adults are eager to see the best in you.  Assume that secret helpers are working behind the scenes to assist you in becoming the gorgeous curiosity you were born to be.  Visualize the possibility that the entire universe is endlessly conspiring to bring you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it."

What a rampantly glorious way to live your life!
 

April 13, 2005
No employee should ever have to choose between eldercare responsibilities and his/her job.

Savvy, forward-thinking businesses recognize that investing time and energy in supporting their employees with eldercare responsibilities results in the following:

Learn more about this subject from syndicated columnist Carol Kleiman at http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/chi-0504120126apr12,0,7830987.columnand/or http://www,AgateAssociates.com.  Susan and Bob Heinz are the originators of the Caregiver in the Workplace Initiative, an employee benefit program designed to help employers support their employees in being both compassionate employees and great,  productive employees.
 

April 6, 2005
Discipline is remembering what you want.
                                  One of the best quotes ever, from a Hallmark card

Life is filled with myriad things and situations, delightful and not so delightful, that can distract us in a heartbeat, causing us to forget what we want.

Let go of the old ideas of discipline as being harsh, punishing, restraining and limiting.  Rather see discipline as a finely honed tool designed to help you get what you really, really want.

A few key questions:

APRIL 2005
 

March 30, 2005
The First Rule of Money:  People first.  Then Money.  Then Things.
                               Suze Orman, financial guru and author

Money continues to be a top priority in the lives of most people in this world.

In a consumer driven society far too many of us have it exactly backwards as we buy more and more "things," work our hearts out for the money to pay for them and, for the most part, spend far too little of our time, attention and energy on the people we love.

What's at the top of your priorities?
 

March 23, 2005
Things actually worth buying are rare.
                       Greg Iles, Author

Money seems always to be on our minds and almost every interaction seems somehow related to money even if it is only to negate its power.  Examples include, "The best things in life are free," "The lack of money is the root of all evil" (not the Biblical quote), "You get what you pay for," and "Everyone has their price."

It's nearly heresy in our consumer based economy to turn away from buying whatever is pushed under our noses.  But just because it's for sale doesn't give it value and just because you have the money doesn't mean you must buy it.  First determine thoughtfully whether the item will serve you well in your life, however you may define "serve you well," then buy as you see fit.

Beyond the basic necessities of food, shelter, etc., there really is very little worth buying.
 

March 16, 2005
The transfer of control over the life of an adolescent from parent to child is just like that old ice breaker of transferring a ball from beneath the chin of one person to beneath the chin of another.  You have to


March 9, 2005
So many people in our society hate their jobs that "work" is frequently thought of only as "drudgery" and "struggle."   I believe Confucius is credited with saying something like "Have a job you love and you will never work another day in your life."  If my magic wand were functioning, we each would have jobs we love, the meaning of "work" would become "purposeful activity" and no one would ever again consider it a curse or the bane of our existence.  (Perhaps my inner idealist is showing?)
 

March 2, 2005
We have every right to expect a few key things from our work.  These include

If your work repeatedly fails to provide these three essentials, it's time to rethink your employment.

MARCH 2005

February 23, 2005
In many societies we get "points" for suffering.  People gather around, sympathize, pity, offer assistance, give us breaks, etc.  Thus, our cultures encourage us to look for and focus on the misery in our lives rather than the more positive aspects of life.  Which focus in the long run is more likely to support a happy life?  Which do you choose?
 

February 16 2005
The next time you find yourself unable to achieve a goal you have set for yourself, ask "What is the payoff for not achieving this goal?"  Many of us undermine our proclaimed success goals with behaviors developed at some time in the past, perhaps even when we were children.  It worked then, so it's easy to continue that behavior even when it becomes destructive rather than constructive.  The key to change in this kind of situation is awareness, honest -- even ruthless -- awareness, of the reasons we do what we do.
 

February 9, 2005
In this age of "more is better, bigger is better, new is better, etc." we can so easily lose track of the concept of moderation.  "How much is enough?" is a key question to ask when clarifying needs, wants and desires and setting appropriate goals.  When we know the answer to that question, we are on the way to achieving a marked degree of happiness.  More is not always better!
 

February 2, 2005
"Eat, drink and be merry" was probably terrific advice in the past, but in today's culture rampant with obesity and addictions, it's time to amend this old saying.
"Laugh, love and give thanks" will serve you far better.

FEBRUARY 2005

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