Thursday, December 31, 2009

WALT WHITMAN

Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost,No birth, identity, form – no object of the world.Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing;Appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain.Ample are time and space – ample the fields of Nature.The body, sluggish, aged, cold – the embers left from earlier fires,The light in the eye grown dim, shall duly flame again;The sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual;To frozen clods ever the spring's invisible law returns,With grass and flowers and summer fruits and corn.

New Year's Blessings

A New Year Blessing
I hope for you in the new year:

That the single, most significant dimension of life is your relationship with the Source of Goodness who never ceases to sing love songs to your soul

That you find meaning, purpose, and vitality in what you do daily

That you treasure your loved ones and let them know how dear they are to you

That you make choices and decisions that reflect your truest self

That you look in the mirror at least once a day and smile in happy amazement

That you remember relationships are what count above all else - more than work or money, or all the material things we spend so much time tending

That you live in an uncluttered manner, enjoying the freedom to be content

That you keep your sense of humor when things don’t go the way you want

That you find adventure in each new day and marvel at the wonders of creation
which constantly present themselves to you

That you never give up on yourself when others turn away or do not understand

That you are attentive to the health of your body, mind and spirit

That you take risks and accept the growth-full challenges that come to you

That you draw on your inner strength and resiliency when you are in need

That you carry peace within yourself, allowing it to slip into the hearts of others
so our planet becomes a place where violence, division, and war are no more

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

9 Ways to Reduce Stress by Simplifying Your Style

- By Brad Paul

The desire to reduce stress is a common goal for most people. We are so entrenched in our routines, habits, and ways of doing things we rarely stop and consider new ways of dealing with the stresses of daily living.

By simplifying your style, you are setting up how you are going to respond to stress creating events in advance. In other words, you are making a decision based on your desire to reduce stress in your life.

Your goal is to set up new ways of handling issues that bring about stress because of the negative emotions that they create. Here are 9 areas where you can simplify your style and in doing so reduce stress.

1. Stop Arguing

Arguing is a waste of time. No one ever wins. If you win an argument, the other person feels slighted and annoyed by you. If you lose, you feel this way about them.

Simplify your style into being a person who does not argue. You do this because you recognize the senselessness of arguing and your desire to reduce stress in your life.

2. Stop Giving Your Unsolicited Opinion

Closely related to arguing is the compulsion to give your opinion when you haven't been asked for it. People instantly become resistant and defensive when someone gives their unsolicited opinion.

There's a fine line between giving your opinion and offering a suggestion in a situation where some serious damage might occur. In these situations, I have found that asking carefully worded questions about the issue of concern works best.

Simplify your style into being a person who doesn't give your opinion unless you're asked for it emphatically. You do this to improve your relationships and reduce stress in your body.

3. Stop Reacting When Others Speak Angrily

When people talk angrily about something, our tenancy is to react to their anger by getting tight, defensive, and stressed. Unless the anger is directed at us, there is no logical reason to react this way.

You are not responsible for the other person's anger, and no one else is responsible for causing or getting rid of your anger. If someone insists on vocalizing their anger about something, don't allow yourself to be drawn into it.

Modify your style into being a person who does not react to another person's anger. You do this because you know that it will reduce stress in your body and protect your health.

4. Stop Requiring Perfection of Yourself & Others

Perfection is an impossible objective. In reality, the drive for perfection gets in the way of creativity.

Giving up the need for perfection is a clear-cut way to reduce stress. Simplify your style into being a person who doesn't require perfection by knowing that it's a fool's quest.

5. Stop Trying to Please Everyone

Trying to please everyone is insanity. If you consider all the variations of personalities and likes and dislikes of people, it should be obvious that trying to please everyone is impossible and a waste of time.

If you were to just focus on pleasing yourself, the other people around you would reap the benefits because you'd be more fun to be around. If you are constantly in a frenzy trying to please everyone around you, it's unlikely that you'll be in good spirits.

Modify your style into being a person who does not try to please everyone. You do this because you know it will lift the weight of the world off your shoulders and reduce stress in many areas of your social life.

6. Stop Trying to Make Everyone Like You

Do you like everyone you meet? No one does. Knowing this, why should you expect everyone to like you?

Many of us have the most trouble with this when it comes to family and friends. The hard truth is that sometimes your relationship will certain individuals will never be as close as you want or need. What's the answer? Find other people to achieve the closest you desire.

When we join a group that participates in an area that we identify with strongly we expect to have an easier time of getting along with the members. In many respects, you will, but personality differences will still be factor. If you join an organization with broader objectives like a fitness club as opposed to a vegetarian group, you may find more people that you get along with well.

Simplify your style into being a person who does not try to make everyone like you, but rather a person who relies on just being yourself. You do this because you understand the impossibility of making everyone like you and to reduce stress in your social activities.

7. Stop Grieving About Past Mistakes

Grieving about mistakes you've made in the past is a clear waste of time. The only possible outcome is that you'll feel depressed in the present! And when you feel depressed, you greatly reduce your ability to take constructive action today that will improve your future.

If we hope to make the most of the present, we must be in the best possible state of mind. To do that we must keep our focus in the moment and on what we want to experience. When we think about the things we want, we bring about positive feelings that will energize us rather than depress us.

Adjust your style into being a person who doesn't grieve about mistakes in the past but rather rejoices in what you have today and what you intend to manifest in the future. You do this because you know that by not grieving about past mistakes you reduce stress and increase the likelihood of positive results in the future.

8. Stop Worrying About What Might Happen in the Future

By worrying about what might happen in the future, we actually create the conditions for manifesting it. Most things we worry about never come true. According to the Law of Attraction, it takes a lot more negative thoughts to bring about bad results than it does to manifest positive outcomes. This explains for me why most of what we worry about never comes true. Worry is a waste of time. It's also very damaging to your physical and mental health.

Simplify your style into being a person who doesn't worry about what might happen in the future, but rather a person who imagines living the future that they desire in the present. You do this because you know that according to the Law of Attraction, you bring about what you think about and it will reduce stress in your body and life.

9. Stop Researching & Analyzing So Much and Start Doing

Researching and analyzing things in order to make the best possible decision is a good practice if it leads to a timely decision to act! If the research and analysis goes too far and decisions are postponed, this is a stress-producing problem.

The person who does no research makes decisions blindly, so little courage is required. The person who researches and analyzes things to nth degree usually lacks the courage to make decisions. The person who does a predetermined amount of research and analysis, makes timely decisions based the information at hand and their gut feelings, which requires considerable courage. The best practice then is to model your style after the people in the center of the continuum.

Modify your style in being a person who does a predetermined amount of research and analysis and then makes a timely decision based on the information gathered, gut feelings, and courage! You do this because you know that it will reduce stress and improve your productivity.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FOODS TO AVOID TO STAY HEALTHIER THIS YEAR

Avoid These 7 Foods and You're Off To A Healthier New Year
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Avoid These 7 Foods and You're Off To A Healthier New Year
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
December 29 2009 | 10,883 views

1. Canned Tomatoes

The expert: Fredrick vom Saal, PhD, an endocrinologist at the University of Missouri who studies bisphenol-A

The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Acidity -- a prominent characteristic of tomatoes -- causes BPA to leach into your food.

2. Corn-Fed Beef

The expert: Joel Salatin, co-owner of Polyface Farms and author of books on sustainable farming

Cattle were designed to eat grass, not grains. But farmers today feed their animals corn and soybeans, which fatten up the animals faster for slaughter. A recent comprehensive study found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

3. Microwave Popcorn

The expert: Olga Naidenko, PhD, a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group

Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer. Studies show that microwaving causes the chemicals to vaporize -- and migrate into your popcorn.

4. Nonorganic Potatoes

The expert: Jeffrey Moyer, chair of the National Organic Standards Board

Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes they're treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they're dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting.

5. Farmed Salmon

The expert: David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany

Nature didn't intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT.

6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones

The expert: Rick North, project director of the Campaign for Safe Food at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

7. Conventional Apples

The expert: Mark Kastel, codirector of the Cornucopia Institute

If fall fruits held a "most doused in pesticides contest," apples would win. And increasing numbers of studies are starting to link a higher body burden of pesticides with Parkinson's disease.
as degenerative diseases become more prominent, the #4 killer in america is adverse drug reactions. deep in the Amazon there are no degenerative diseases. wouldn't you love to have Amazon energy in your blood stream?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Buddist Prayer

Traditional Buddhist prayer for blessing and healing.

This beautiful traditional Buddhist prayer reminds us of the power of every moment to bring us ease and inner peace. May it bring you healing.

Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings–
those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom and compassion, of the Way,
may your life prosper in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

LOVE

Adapted from Living Affinity, by Hsing Yun (Lantern Books, 2004).

Love certainly can be confusing: some kinds of love are “healthy,” others are “unhealthy;” some are “giving,” others are “possessive.” Love has its pluses and minuses.

Sometimes we could all use a little clarity around the whole issue of love. Find out what this wise Buddhist master has to say about it, and then pass it on to someone you love.

From the perspective of its minuses–

Love is like a piece of rope: it can be binding and restrictive.

Love is like a lock: it can shackle us and make us restless.

Love can be blinding: it can keep us in the dark without any awareness that we have compromised our principles and standards.

Love is like the honey on a sharp blade: it can entice us to lick the blade, even at the risk of cutting our tongues and risking our lives.

Love can be like a sea of suffering: its turbulent waves can trap us in its depths.

From the perspective of its pluses–

Love gives us the strength to make sacrifices, to give, to encourage, to connect and to be compassionate.

Love is like a road map: it gives our lives direction and we can see our destination with clear visibility.

Love is like a blanket: it provides us with warmth and security.

Love is like a box of chocolates: it is sweet and full of surprises.

When we love properly, we expand our love for a few to compassion for all. This love can help all beings to live with happiness and freedom, and it is anything but small and powerless–it is the reason for our existence!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

SILENCE

Adapted from Silence, by Christina Feldman (Rodale Press, 2001).

There are times in our life when our worlds fall apart, when we are overwhelmed by the intensity of events, when we feel alienated from ourselves or others, and when our life seems to make no sense. In those moments when we feel most adrift and confused, there is still a way to find a sanctuary of renewal.

Here is a quiet, gentle way to deep inner peace:

Silence is a refuge, offering a sanctuary of renewal. In moments of confusion and complexity we are tempted to do more, to act, to find explanations, to speak. If we listen to our heart, we come to know the wisdom of being still. We calm the turmoil of our mind, feeling our feet on the earth, and connecting once more with a depth of inner silence that can guide us, heal us, and restore us.

Silence is an ever-present reality revealed to us in the moments when we remember to listen. Silence is revealed in moments of wholehearted attention, when we are fully present in this life. As a Christian mystic reminds us, “Absolute, unmixed attention is prayer.” The art of cultivating silence does not take us to a destination divorced from the present moment of reality in our life. Cultivating the art of silence, we learn to discover its richness in all moments and encounters. Treasuring its rich potential, we learn to discover what it means to live with silent heart, rich in vitality, creativity, energy, and life.

Silence is the ground of happiness, communion, and oneness. We can learn to find it in all moments and things; we discover it has never been lost but only hidden.

For more about the treasure of silence, read this wonderful book: Silence: How To Find Inner Peace in a Busy World, by Christine Feldman.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Meaning of Life

Have we come closer to answering the ultimate question, “What is the meaning of life?” Imagine for a moment that someone came up with an answer. Directly or indirectly, most of the traditional answers have crossed everyone’s path.

The meaning of life usually comes down to a higher purpose, such as: To glorify God; To glorify God’s creation; To love and be loved; To be true to oneself.

As with many other spiritual questions, I find it difficult to imagine how these answers could be tested. If someone holds down a good job, supports his or her family, pays taxes, and obeys the law, is that an example of glorifying God or of being true to oneself?

In times of great crisis, such as war, does the meaning of life change? Perhaps it is all one can do to stay alive and be reasonably happy in a crisis.

One way to test the answer to the question “What is the meaning of life?” would be to write it down, seal it in an envelope, and mail it to a thousand people picked at random. If the answer is right, anyone who opens the envelope would read what is written and say, “Yes, you’re right. That’s the meaning of life.”

This might seem like an impossible test, however, since there might be absolutely no answer that would satisfy everyone. But what if the piece of paper is blank, or if it said, “The meaning of life is everything”?

In the one reality, these aren’t trick answers but very close to each other in reading the truth. The blank piece of paper indicates that life is pure potential until someone shapes it into something.

The meaning of pure potential is that life is infinitely open. Similarly, to say that the meaning of life is everything indicates that life leaves nothing and no one out. “Everything” is just another way to embrace the infinite range of possibilities.

Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happiness

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be," Abraham Lincoln said. Is it really true? We're always told that we have to pursue happiness, but is that really under our control?

A new report says that finding happiness is a bit more complicated than making the decision to smile all the time, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The study shows a close link between happiness and quality of life; things like air quality and good schools apparently have a large influence on a person's mood.

As Tonic wrote recently, the report, which appeared in the journal Science, assesses how happy people are in states across the nation. This research, which surveyed more than 1 million people, was used to list the relative happiness of all the states (from Louisiana, the happiest, to New York, the least happy). Another important conclusion one can draw, however, is that there is "a close match between people’s subjective life-satisfaction scores and objectively-estimated quality of life,” as the report says. The states that ranked most highly in quality-of-life measures also reported the highest average self-reported happiness levels.

The research has its share of detractors. Author B.J. Gallagher points out that correlation doesn't mean causation, and it is impossible to tell what exactly is causing people to be happy in various places. Some important factors might not have been measured in the study.

"Louisiana is a case in point,” Gallagher told the Monitor. “This new study reports that the happiest people are those in Hawaii and in Louisiana. So is it the climate or the tight family structures and strong community ties? I would argue that it’s the latter, not the former."

THe heart of Love

The Heart of Love - By Glenn Berger

Where does love come from?

Contemporary science tells us that love is built into us. As the great researcher, Allan Schore, proves, we enter the world pre-wired to love the first person who takes care of us. Once an infant is born it works like this. When an infant sees his mother gazing at him with love in her eyes, happy neuro-chemicals flood the infant's brain. The child feels happy. He or she likes this feeling and wants more of it. This sets up an attachment to the source of this good feeling. Since the good feeling comes from mom, the kid starts to love mom. We are genetically set up so that when the brain gets a good dose of those happy-making chemicals, we grow neurons in our brain. These neurons form the basis of our feeling confident in the world. They enable us to create and sustain loving connections with other people.

As we grow into childhood, when we receive the proper emotional attunement from our loved ones, our brains continue to develop and we mature our natural propensity to love and be loved. It is when we get our emotional needs met that we grow the ability to love more and more people in deeper and deeper ways. John Bowlby makes a great case that this built in ability to love is evolutionarily adaptive. That is, it contributes to the survival of our species. Helpless infants and mothers need to be bonded because little babies can't survive without that protection and care. Without love, we do not thrive. Those neurons that grow from love also contribute to the development of our ability to think, feel, create, imagine, act and care for ourselves in the best possible way. Our ability to love and connect is what is natural and adaptive. Our destructive aggressiveness happens when our natural emotional needs for a loving relationship get frustrated.

When we understand that our love is innate, we realize that children are not bad without a moral basis and need to be "trained" and restrained to be obedient. This view that children are evil and need to be broken has justified all kinds of abuse. We now know that this kind of child rearing leaves permanent scars. Instead, if our task as parents is to cultivate the love that already exists in our child by giving love, it makes our job clear. Our children are precious with potentials that need to be nurtured, nourished and lovingly tended.

Our natural ability to love is our common human bond. Mencius, Confucius's disciple, said that every human heart is alike. When we realize this, this becomes our basis for living. Since we are all alike, we must live our lives according to the golden rule, which has been understood in every culture and religion, including the philosophy of Confucius. The Chinese character for this reciprocity, that is, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is shu, which is a combination of the characters for "heart" and "alike." Its common meaning is forgiveness.

Our central core of loving compassion is what Mencius called heart. This is what he believed defined what it meant to be truly human or humane. This natural empathy, or the ability to feel what others feel, is what Mencius used as the primary proof that man is essentially good. In order to be fully human, we need to cultivate and develop this heart of compassion.

If this is the case, then the best thing we can do for ourselves, the ones closest to us, and for the planet is to develop our ability to love. Certainly, as we understand the great chain of being, it is our love that helps grow love in our children. Though we understand this scientifically today, this wisdom was understood by Confucius and his follower, Mencius, 2500 years ago. Confucius's main concern was human relationship. He understood that we were in alignment with our intrinsic purpose on this planet when we were able to have the best relationship with others.

The Confucians believed that our whole society needed to be built on this principle. Our leaders needed to run the state so that relationships would be in greatest harmony and there would be the ultimate conditions for the realization of love. This is a great model for our own leaders and one we need to encourage them to embrace.

As part of this societal imperative, learning about love needs to be central to our education. 70 years ago, Franklin Roosevelt, after seeing the catastrophe of a world war, said that schools needed to expand from the three R's to four: reading, writing, arithmetic and relationships. He believed that the very survival of the world depended on us learning how better to love and connect through relationship and that it was the responsibility of society at large to provide this direction. In some ways we seem further from this educational goal almost a century later.

This common core of love also means that we do not need to look outside of ourselves for what we seek to become in life. Confucius also said, "the measure of man is man." What this means is that we can all begin where we are, and by developing our best attributes, we can become wise, strong, passionate and optimally loving.

Confucius's idea of this ideal person was captured by the Chinese character, Jen. This character is made up of the characters for "man" and "two," signifying that the measure of an individual is his or her ability for good relationship. The ideal person is one who can connect with others, who can love.

Within each of us is such a fine person, because we can become one, given the proper cultivation. This begins with how we are raised. But once we become grown ups, we need to take over the task of cultivation. We must self-cultivate.

How do we develop our capacity for love and compassion? This is an especially important question because not one of us received the optimal nurturance growing up.

Confucius would say that this begins with tireless self-education. We must explore our great cultural heritage to understand what the pilgrims who have gone before us have learned about love and how to achieve it. We must imagine this ideal, and continue to develop this image so that we have a goal to aim for. We must immerse ourselves in the arts, because this is the food of love.

Finally, our heart of love and compassion is cultivated through our actions, what we do every day. Each day we must practice living up to our highest vision of love. We become more humane - we find our hearts - through giving. To be what we are meant to be, we need to open ourselves and passionately risk all for the sake of loving others.

Science has now joined philosophy and spirituality in understanding that love is our root, answer, and what we are made of. Through a commitment and devotion to a lifetime of self exploration, you must travel within yourself to find the lost and hidden heart, because there you will discover that the source of love is within yourself. That's where love comes from.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Letting Go......

Because the mind holds on with an endless set of expectations, beliefs, and images, you could practice letting go every moment of your life. This is not feasible, yet strong signals will tell you when letting go is appropriate. Knowing when to let go is obvious, once you have awareness.

The crucial times to let go are when you feel the strongest urge not to. We all hold on tightest when our fear, anger, pride, and distrust take over. Yet these forces have no spiritual validity. At those moments when you are most afraid, angry, stubborn, or mistrustful, you are in the grip of unreality. Your ego is forcing you to react from the past, blinding you to new possibilities here and now.

A mind that is desperately holding on says things like: I hate this. It has to end; I can’t stand it anymore. If this keeps up I’ll die; I can’t go on. There’s nothing left; I have no choice. It has to be my way or else; You’re all wrong; None of you understands me; You always treat me this way; Why do you always have to do this?

There are infinite variations on these statements, but the underlying feelings are remarkably similar. You feel you can’t cope anymore. You feel boxed in. You feel you won’t survive. You feel that something bad always happens to you. These feelings give rise to the rigid, contracted state of resistance, disallowing the reality that good things can happen at any time.

Spirit has a good outcome for any situation, if you can open yourself to it.

A key word to holding on is always. As soon as your mind tells you that something always happens, you are in the grip of a false belief. “Always” is never true; reality isn’t a vast, fixed scheme trapping you without a choice. At any moment you have the choice to break out of what is really trapping you – your automatic reactions dredged up from the past.

Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Man's Best Friend

Man’s best friend.

It all started at Warrensburg, Missouri, in 1869 when a dog named Old Drum was shot dead by one Dick Ferguson, ward of Leonidas Hornsby, and a sheep
farmer.

Hornsby had lost several sheep to dogs and he let it be known that he would shoot the next dog that came on his property. That dog was Old Drum, a prized hound well known throughout Johnson County for his keen nose and hunting prowess.

Charles Burden, brother-in-law and neighbor of Hornsby, owned old Drum. Burden demanded recompense for the loss of his skilled animal. Hornsby refused, contending he was justified in protecting his valuable sheep.
Burden went to the local justice of the peace seeking redress. He was informed that the maximum damages allowed for a dog was $50 -- about $200 in today's money.

Burden filed suit against Hornsby for that amount in Common Pleas Court.
There was no animosity between the two men-before or after a series of ensuing legal trials. Yet, the two men persisted in a costly battle to uphold their rights.


At trial, the judge found in favor of Hornsby. Burden appealed, lost, and appealed again. Finally the case reached the State Circuit Court at Warrensburg for jury judgment on Sept. 23, 1870.

Two prominent attorneys-well known for their persuasive skills-represented Hornsby. Col. Wells Blodgett and his partner, local attorneys, represented Burden
but was pessimistic about his chances against the high-powered defending team that had prevailed in the other trials. .

By chance that day, Vest was at the courthouse on another legal matter. He had been elected to the Missouri House of Representatives, but moved south to join the Confederacy during the Civil War a.k.a. War Between the States. After the war, Vest returned to lawyering and was recognized as an accomplished orator.

Burden implored Vest to come aboard as special counsel with his other two lawyers. Vest, a dog owner himself, agreed. It is said that he vowed "to apologize to every dog in Missouri" if he did not vindicate Old Drum.

Blodgett spoke first. Then the two defense attorneys asserted it was "ridiculous to make such an ado about a dog of small value." The jury seemed unimpressed with all arguments, pro or con.

Ignoring the plaintiff charges, and the defense testimony, Vest opened his summation with spontaneous remarks to the jury. It was comprised of men who probably had cherished hunting dogs also.

"Gentlemen of the jury, the best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful.”
"Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith.”
"The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action.”
"The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.”
"The one, absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.”
"A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side.”
"He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in an encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince.”
"When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.”
"If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies.”
"And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all
other friends pursue their way, there, by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even to death."

Thomas Crittenden, lead attorney for Hornsby and later governor of Missouri, recalled the courtroom scene.

"Vest seemed to recall from history all the instances where dogs had displayed intelligence and fidelity to man. He quoted more lines of poetry about dogs than I had supposed had ever been written.”
"He capped the monument he had created by quoting from the Bible about the dog which soothed the sores of the beggar Lazarus as he sat at the rich man's gate.”

"It was as perfect a piece of oratory as was ever heard from pulpit or bar. Court, jury, lawyers and audience were entranced. I looked at the jury and saw all were in tears. The foreman wept like he had lost his dearest friend.”
"I said to Hornsby and my partner that we had better get out of the courthouse or we would be hanged."

The jury returned a unanimous verdict and recommended $550 in damages. When the judge collected his wits, he reduced the judgment to the legal limit of $50. Hornsby appealed the verdict to the Missouri Supreme Court but was denied.
It was Vest's "Eulogy to Old Drum" that originated the saying, "A man's best friend is his dog." It propelled Vest to U.S. Senator, the four-legged plaintiff to immortality and the city of Warrensburg to a national shrine.

My note: There is a statue of Old Drum on the front lawn of the Johnson County courthouse.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Four Aspects

Adapted from True Love, by Thich Nhat Hanh (Shambhala, 1997).

Love is one of the most confusing of feelings. What some people call “love” may be possessiveness, or simple desire, or some other lesser emotion.

According to Buddhism, there are four elements of true love. Read what this wise teacher has to say, and find out if what you feel is true love, here:

Here are the four aspects of true love.

1. Loving-kindness. Loving-kindness is not only the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person, it is the ability to bring joy and happiness to the person you love, because even if your intention is to love this person, your love might make him or her suffer. To be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice deep looking toward the person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly.

2. Compassion. This is not only the desire to ease the pain of another person, but the ability to do so. You must practice deep looking in order to gain a good understanding of the nature of the suffering of this person, in order to be able to help him or her to change.

3. Joy If there is no joy in love, it is not true love. If you are suffering all the time, if you cry all the time, and if you make the person you love cry, this is not really love–it is even the opposite. If there is no joy in your love, you can be sure that it is not true love.

4. Freedom. In true love, you attain freedom. When you love, you bring freedom to the person you love. If the opposite is true, it is not true love. You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free, not only outside but also inside. “Dear one, do you have enough space in your heart and all around you?” This is an intelligent question for testing whether your love is something real.

Images of Love

Adapted from Kama Sutra, by Deepak Chopra (Virgin Books, 2006).

The love you pray for is trying to reach you at every moment. So pray for the highest love. Then when it reaches you, your blessing will be infinite. Purity is the secret of fulfilling your desires. The purest heart brings the highest love.

To know what love really is, you must discover that you are love.

The force that makes life expand is desire.

When a desire follows the flow of love, it benefits all of life.

When desire is blocked, growth cannot happen naturally.

What does it mean to grow? It means letting life be new at any moment.

Desire is the heart’s way of reaching into the unknown.

When you cherish the unknown—in yourself and in others—you have become a lover.

For everyone love is the journey. Those we call lovers realize that this is true.

Love is constant. The journey is our way of experiencing an illusion: that love can change.

Love is everywhere and nowhere at the same time—like Being. Like God.

Today your love depends on how you feel and act. Tomorrow, if you are fortunate, it will depend on nothing.

When love comes, it feels as if it has found you. In truth you remembered to look for it.

Love isn’t fickle. It only comes and goes because we do.

Universal love is the expansion of personal love. Personal love is the concentration of universal love.

Loving someone else is the same as loving God. One person is a wave; God is the whole ocean.

LOVE

Adapted from Living Affinity, by Hsing Yun (Lantern Books, 2004).

Love certainly can be confusing: some kinds of love are “healthy,” others are “unhealthy;” some are “giving,” others are “possessive.” Love has its pluses and minuses.

Sometimes we could all use a little clarity around the whole issue of love. Find out what this wise Buddhist master has to say about it, and then pass it on to someone you love.

From the perspective of its minuses–

Love is like a piece of rope: it can be binding and restrictive.

Love is like a lock: it can shackle us and make us restless.

Love can be blinding: it can keep us in the dark without any awareness that we have compromised our principles and standards.

Love is like the honey on a sharp blade: it can entice us to lick the blade, even at the risk of cutting our tongues and risking our lives.

Love can be like a sea of suffering: its turbulent waves can trap us in its depths.

From the perspective of its pluses–

Love gives us the strength to make sacrifices, to give, to encourage, to connect and to be compassionate.

Love is like a road map: it gives our lives direction and we can see our destination with clear visibility.

Love is like a blanket: it provides us with warmth and security.

Love is like a box of chocolates: it is sweet and full of surprises.

When we love properly, we expand our love for a few to compassion for all. This love can help all beings to live with happiness and freedom, and it is anything but small and powerless–it is the reason for our existence!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ecstasy

The present moment is really an opening, so it has no duration–you are in the now when time ceases to exist. Perhaps the best way to gain such an experience is to realize that the word present is linked to the word presence. When the present moment becomes filled with a presence that is all-absorbing, completely at peace, and totally satisfying, you are in the now.

Presence isn’t an experience. Presence is felt whenever awareness is open enough. The situation at hand doesn’t have to bear any responsibility. Paradoxically, someone can be in intense pain, only to find that in the middle of his suffering, the mind – unable to tolerate the body’s torment – suddenly decides to abandon it. This is particularly true of psychological pain – soldiers caught in the terror of battle report a moment of liberation when intense stress is replaced by a rush of ecstatic release.

Ecstasy changes everything. The body is no longer heavy and slow; the mind stops experiencing its background music of sadness and fear. There is a dropping away of personality, replaced by the sweetness of nectar. This sweetness can linger a long time in the heart – some people say it can be tasted like honey in the mouth – but when it leaves, you know beyond doubt that you have lost the now.

In the mind’s scrapbook, you can insert a picture of perfect bliss, and that becomes like the first taste of ice cream, an unattainable goal you keep running after, only to find that ecstasy remains out of reach.

The secret of ecstasy is that you have to throw it away once you’ve found it.

If we take away the vocabulary of sweetness and bliss and nectar, the quality that is missing in most people’s lives, the biggest thing that keeps them from being present, is sobriety. You have to be sober before you can be ecstatic. This isn’t a paradox. What you’re hunting for – call it presence, the now, or ecstasy – is totally out of reach.

Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2004).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The SOUL

The soul is disguised when you are tired or stressed; you are pulled outside yourself; your attention is dominated by externals; you let others think for you; you act out of compulsion; you are influenced by fear and anxiety; you struggle and suffer.

Theses conditions have to change before the soul connection can be reestablished. Death provides access to the domain of the soul, but Vedanta declares that the soul has a great deal to offer before death. Life is conducted under the gaze of the soul.

Your portion of pure consciousness has certain universal qualities: It is constant; it never loses sight of you; it is connected to every other soul; it shares God’s omniscience; it is untouched by change; it lives beyond time and space.

So it isn’t only tender, loving, quiet moments that reveal the soul. Rather, it’s those moments when the soul’s own qualities come to the surface that are most important.

The soul is revealed when you feel centered; your mind is clear; you have the sensation that time has stopped; you suddenly feel free of boundaries; you are keenly self-aware; you feel merged with another person, either in love or silent communication; you feel untouched by aging and change; you feel blissful and ecstatic; you have an intuitive flash that turns out to be true; you somehow know what is going to happen; you sense the truth; you feel supremely loved or absolutely safe.

If there is only one reality, as the rishis declare, then life is not a struggle between good and evil, but a tangled web where all actions, good and bad, move us closer to reality or deeper into illusion. Karma spins the web. Hell, like every other location in consciousness, ultimately reflects the state of our own awareness, and freedom from hell is won, like every other achievement, by coming closer to the reality of the soul.

Adapted from Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2006).

Monday, November 30, 2009

PATH TO LOVE- CHOPRA

Spirit never acts in a fixed way. In general, to hear that someone you love needs you does result in fulfilling the need. There are certain loving instincts that come naturally when you are in touch with spirit:

You don’t oppose. You put feelings over results. You want to help. Service gives rise to feelings of joy. You put another’s wishes on the same plane as your own.

These instincts develop and mature through surrender over the years. But if you go back again to the experience of falling in love, you will see that these aren’t learned responses. Love already contains them. Love automatically means release from ego conflict and struggle.

A single experience of falling in love isn’t a complete release, since struggle inevitably returns, but lovers get at least a glimpse of the Way. Whether they can articulate it or not, this is what they discover:

It takes no effort to love. The state of being has its own innate joy. Questions answer themselves if you are aware enough. Life is safe. Flowing with the current of being is the simplest way to live. Resistance never really succeeds. Controlling the flow of life is impossible.

These are the realizations that bring a person out of struggle. Struggle is born of the ego’s isolation; it ends when you can find the Way and surrender to its guiding force.

Since one of man’s most prized qualities is his ability to struggle against diversity, a life of nonstruggle falls far outside our current worldview. Yet to come from love obviously cannot be a struggle. How are the two reconciled?

The answer lies in free will. Humans can choose to end the struggle and come from love–every day this possibility is precisely what you face in your relationships.

Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).
love, surrender, struggle,

Sunday, November 29, 2009

After Thankfulness

-Devlyn Steele

I know God won't give me anything I can't handle, I just wish he wouldn't trust me so much.

-Mother Teresa

The Thanksgiving holiday came and went. Some took the time to reflect, acknowledge and share what they were thankful for. Others just dug right into the food, and some didn't even think about being thankful, but instead were more focused on what was going wrong in their lives.

Regardless, Thanksgiving has concluded and we're back to our routines, and for many the notion of being thankful has also come and gone. The past year has been a tough year for a lot of us. The economic turmoil has created fear, strain and stress. Many are also facing career and financial obstacles. These obstacles may have lead to relationship strain, high anxiety and or depression. With the struggles we face every day, it's often a difficult concept to remember to be thankful.

It's precisely when times are tough that we need to be most grateful. It's easy to point out what is wrong, complain or to be bitter. Concentrating on the negative takes no imagination, and doesn't clear the path to see other possibilities. In fact, dwelling on our problems builds a wall that impedes our ability to see past our obstacles. When we cannot see the possibility of things improving we lose motivation and quality of life. Without motivation we fail to get into action to create real change in our lives. Then as we stay stuck in the negative unable to get into action, we lose our enjoyment of the day.

Learning to change your perspective to being more grateful creates a new experience in life. It allows you to enjoy where you are and fosters an atmosphere of hope. Hope allows you to see a future with possibilities of improvement. Thinking that things can get better creates motivation. Motivation gets you into action today towards building a brighter future. Getting into action gives you confidence that you can improve your life. Having the opportunity to improve your life is something that you can be grateful for. Developing a deep sense of gratitude will make you stronger and propel you into a cycle of action to improve every aspect of your life.

If you feel that you have nothing to be grateful for, then start by just being grateful for experiencing this day. Being grateful for this day means you have an opportunity to get into action, which in turn mean you have the possibility of improving any aspect of your life. Once you start being grateful you will jump start improvement in your life. You will discover that you actually have so much more to be grateful for. You will find yourself grateful for the food you eat, shelter you have, clothes you wear and the people you know. We all have things to be grateful for, we just live our lives overlooking them. The fact that you have this day is an amazing gift that you can use to create a better tomorrow while finding joy in today.

Make living in gratitude not a once a year tradition, but a way of life. It requires very little effort and time. If you take just a couple of minutes each morning and evening to recite a grateful list out loud to yourself, you will find your attitude changing. The world will start to look different and your relationships, mood, energy, work, and overall life will improve. Isn't that worth a couple of minutes of your time a day?

It is your decision. As I always say, your attitude is your decision. Nothing forces you to be negative. Nothing forces you to complain. Nothing prevents you from reciting a grateful list. No one or does anything makes you behave and look at the world the way you do. You are a product of the choices you make in how you interact with the world. The events of the world both good and bad happen every day to all of us. These events in life do not define us, we define ourselves by how we react, or respond to the events. Define your life as a life of opportunity and appreciating the gift of life by being grateful for the day. With this day you can find joy and get into action to create positive change. Be grateful for that! Live a life with an attitude of gratitude all year long. Be grateful for this day...today.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Art Janov's Blog

Stop The World I Want to Get Off!

Posted: 28 Nov 2009 07:08 AM PST
When will the madness stop? Above all, the madness in the name of science and medicine. In the N.Y. Times today (Nov. 26-09) is a story about places like Harvard, of all things, doing surgery for obsessive disorders, depression and other psychological maladies. Here is what they do: In cases of obsessive rituals and thoughts which have been intractable to psychotherapy, they have decided to cut out those pesky afflictions with brain surgery, cutting out pieces of the emotional brain to ease the problem.

This surgery, they warn, is only for those obdurate psychological problems that do not respond to any sort of psychotherapy. It involves drilling four holes in the brain and inserting wires deep down. From there the procedures differ but in one key surgery, cingulotomy, they pinpoint the anterior cingulate for partial destruction. The rationale: they want to destroy some of the brain tissue that forwards emotional messages to the thinking brain, the prefrontal cortex from the feeling areas such as the cingulate. The claim is that this area is overly active in cases such as obsession in inputting emotional messages to the thinking, intellectual centers. There are variations to this theme but in nearly all cases the attempt is to suppress emotional pain from its apprehension higher up.

The claim is that standard therapy cannot touch the problems such as deep depression . This is brain surgery, remember. The result, according to the surgeons, is about sixty percent satisfactory, although we do not know the long-term consequences of brain surgery. There is one follow-up study which indicated that these patients seem apathetic and lose some self-control for years afterward. It is no wonder since we have cut out the person’s passion.

But what if we could do exactly what the surgery does? What if we could avoid a very serious surgery? I believe we can because primal is the only therapy to be able to go deep in the brain purely by psychological means. Because other conventional therapies do not have this possibility in their theories or in their therapy, they think that the only other solution is surgery. And of course deep depression sometimes is being helped by this surgery. Deep depression means just that; origins deep in the brain. So again, a therapy that probes the depths, the antipodes of conscious/awareness should work as well or better than to have one’s brain cut into.

I have not kept our therapy a secret but it is up to those who do this surgery to investigate what is out there before burning out brain tissue. What is sad is that this kind of “way-out” procedure can have positive stories on it in the New York Times and many other respected journals, while a “far-out” psychotherapy such as ours, cannot get a line printed in any newspapers. It is not “safe.” But here is a surgery that is decidedly dangerous and obtains cache in our country. So someone who compulsively washes her hands needs brain surgery? This, it seems, is recommended because, I think, the pain imprinted down low was too much for the usual tranquilizers. So, ergo, we cut out the relay mechanism that sends terrible emotions to the understanding cortex. So, no relay, no pain and no symptoms. If anything about this procedure is enlightening is that we see how compulsions and obsessive develop out of pain surging up from lower brain centers, and how ordinarily, the gating system keeps symptoms from showing. The pain is still doing its damage, however; only we are no longer aware of it. Certainly, the surgeons did not cut out the origin, the emotional imprint, they cut out the circuit that forwards the message to our awareness. That imprint is all over the brain and body. So a piece is cut out and the imprint is still there doing its continual damage. It will certainly find other outlets. What we will do then? Cut out more? The imprint is the conductor; it won’t help to kill the violinist.

In this highly respected scientific atmosphere the most outrageous modes of therapy are taking place.

Relationships

Confidence in the goodness of another is good proof of one’s own goodness. –Michel de Montaigne

Many relationships suffer from a lack of self-esteem. A relationship’s self esteem is connected to that of the partner’s but it also has a life of its own. Genuine esteem is founded in the courage to see oneself truly, both the positive and negative aspects of who we are and how we function and malfunction in the world. This path, which the Buddhists have called the path of the warrior, instructs that even through struggle and difficulty, we thrive in the openness of true knowing and seeing. The courage to confront the brittle edges and the messy corners of our own life and how we relate to others offers its own reward: acknowledging our brokenness is also the gateway to our ability to bear witness to our own basic goodness.

“Whenever you see a bright and beautiful color, you are witnessing your own inherent goodness. Whenever you hear a sweet and beautiful sound, you are hearing your own basic goodness. Whenever you taste something sweet or sour, you are experiencing your own basic goodness….Things like that are always happening to you, but you have been ignoring them, thinking that they are mundane and unimportant, purely coincidences of an ordinary nature. Slowly, you begin to realize that you are able to feel the freshness of realizing your own goodness, again and again.” Chogyam Trungpa

Our relationships are perhaps the most generous and gentle teacher of this lesson in basic goodness available to us. No one knows my most brittle edges and the places where my heartache can break me like my husband. For years, when our relationship would bring out these places in me, it was easy to blame him. At the same time, I didn’t recognize the many small moments of tenderness and attentiveness in our life as the inherent and basic goodness in us that it was. My identification with what was broken in us became habitual. Being a warrior in our own lives and in our relationships is a steep slope.

Years of practice helped me learn that it was never really my husband, or for that matter anyone else, that brought up the harshest parts of who I am. The work of creating something good out of what often feels like not enough brought us both to our knees at times. This was also true about the places where we each shined. It wasn’t really the other person that provoked that steadfast patience with self or others, it was the basic goodness of what we were doing together, usually in the smallest details of life that lifted our head above the water line.

Making a practice of recognizing your basic goodness in the beauty surrounding you will change how you look at the world. Bringing that practice into your relationship and acknowledging the basic goodness that our relationships offer us, especially when they drive us crazy, will change how you live with others. Acknowledging the soft space of coming home, celebrating of all the little details of making a home with someone offers endless opportunities for recognizing the goodness in our lives and our selves.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Spiritual Recipe

Spiritual Recipe:

Here is a recipe for the winter, one that not only will help you in the now but also will help you in planning your tomorrow. I wish you much success in all that you do.

1. Honesty
Being honest is a vital key, the first step is to always be honest with yourself and from that point be honest with your family, spouse, the public or your clients, companies etc. Without honesty there is no integrity.

2. Have a good outlook and a good attitude
Much of our success is due to our outlook of life and our attitude. If we expect failure, that is what we get, if we doubt that we can accomplish, we don't and if we treat life with fear that is what we also attract. Have a positive predominant mental attitude.
As Confucius one said: "Attitude not aptitude determines the altitude in your life."

3. Love what you do!
Fall in love with what you do, see the value and the contribution that you make to others, to life and see how you can change your surroundings just by the love you have for what you do; This will be felt by your clients, patients and they will talk about it.

4. Be generous and Kind
It is not so much what you know or how much schooling you have but it is about how much you care, give always 100% of your self, and when no one is watching, when you don't have to make an impression give to someone you don't know, someone in need.

5. Do your best!
During these times in our lives everybody is trying to be better than someone else, always comparing themselves to others. No, you cannot be anyone other that you, be real and always do your best no matter what. Remember you will not be able to please everybody but you can always do the best you can.

6. Create a plan to succeed
Create goals and follow them, every day do something even if that something is small to take you where you want to go. A plan should include: What do you want to do? And in what time frame you want to achieve it. A detailed budget plan, even if it is a few dollars on an envelope (seed money), what is the desire outcome of your plan? Where do you see yourself in one, two years from now?

7. Plan on continuing growing old graciously
No matter what you do, how many clients you have as we age people around us age as well so make the most of it. Treat your people like family know that they will be around to support you as you both go through the aging process.

8. Have FUN!!
Treat life and all that you do as if it was a wonderful adventure, take risks and make it fun and enjoyable. Pretend that you can regress to the child like attitude you had when you where 12 years old, be silly, laugh out loud and hard, find the fun and enjoyment that life has in store for you at all points and ages of your life.

9. Have a mission Do you have a mission statement for your life?
If not, create one, write it down make it big and visible, place it somewhere where you can read it every day and read it over and over until you have it memorized, until is part of you. Create a set of goals for your life, your business, if you don't have one write one today.

10. Acknowledge life by the "law of cause and effect"
What you give is what will return back to you. What you plant is what you reap, how you love is how you get loved.

11. Be grateful!
For everything in your life!! All the lessons good and bad, painful and joyous, for all the ups and downs that hopefully will help you to stay up all the time. Be grateful for the inner guidance you receive from Spirit and ask for a more deeper and meaningful connection to continue receiving guidance in your life.

From the heart....

Story from bill baldwin

MY FRIDAY STORY

Gratitude is a Force
By William Baldwin

Showing gratitude is basic, down-to-earth, good manners. Saying "thank you" after someone has served you in some way should be as natural as taking a breath. Like the tip you leave a waitress at the restaurant, it's just the right thing to do. When a child offers a timely "thank you" to an adult, it turns heads. No matter how young, the polite tyke transcends age and wisdom, and gains respect with their elders. For a moment the child is an equal. It's an astounding thought when you realize that this happens in response to a simple, two-word phrase "thank you."

Here's the issue at hand. A spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving transcends polite manners. It's more than genteel formality. Gratitude releases energy, power, even an authority that positions you to be better than you were before it was given. As the title suggests, gratitude is a force!

The word thanks and thanksgiving are used 120 times in the Bible. Further, it's a common thread we read in the Psalms. "I will give You thanks in the assembly; Enter His gates with thanksgiving; It is good to give thanks to the Lord." As King David established Israel's government it says he designated certain men, morning and evening "to give thanks to the Lord."

This principle was of such importance that David hired people to sing their gratitude to God all day long. The legendary king was not just being polite. This spirit of thanksgiving was rooted in his soul.

David was a grateful man. It was no coincidence that the sweet singer of Israel was also a successful military strategist. David's grateful spirit made him sweet-but it also made him a force to be reckoned with throughout the ancient world.

America became a similar power using the same principle. In 1621 our pilgrim forefathers paused amidst the turmoil of settling this new land. It was said that there were more graves to bury their dead than huts to house their living. They left England to pioneer a land of freedom but in the beginning, freedom eluded them and disease plagued them. Death was their companion.

In the midst of their trouble after gathering in a scant harvest, they paused and gave thanks. Thanksgiving we call it. It was a harvest season tradition they brought with them from Europe. Here it moved beyond mere formality-more than sheer ritual. This was a sacrifice they chose to give despite their hardship.

As far as I know America is the only nation that proclaims a day of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Is it any wonder that America, like David and ancient Israel, continues to be a force to be reckoned with?

Likewise, a grateful heart becomes equally powerful when we offer thanks. This sacred act becomes especially potent when offered in the midst of life's contrary circumstances. Furthermore, I am convinced that thanksgiving embodies a spiritual law that God established in creation. As surely as the law of gravity draws us to the ground, the law of thanksgiving attracts better situations into our life as we give thanks for our present blessings.

Indeed, favor rests upon those who live in the spirit of thanksgiving. The Bible records how ten lepers came to Jesus asking for mercy. Scripture says, "they were cleansed," of the disease. All ten went their way but one returned to say "thank you." To him, the Lord said, "Your faith has made you whole." I'm not sure the difference between "cleansed" and "whole," but I have the feeling that "whole" is better. A simple "thank you" opened the way for greater blessing. Grateful people get favor. It follows the law of thanksgiving.

Likewise, two good men, Paul and Silas, were imprisoned in a first century prison for sharing their good news. In a dark, rat infested cellar these offenders decided to sing praises to God. One Bible translation says they "gave thanks." As they did the law of thanksgiving was enacted and the prison doors forced open! Rather than run, Paul and Silas stayed put and shared their story with their jailers.

Such is the spirit of grateful people. What prison are you in today? Is it an emotional prison? A financial prison? Are you locked up with guilt, worry, discouragement, or disappointment? Are you imprisoned with a habit you cannot break free from?

I know at least part of the remedy. Begin everyday giving thanks for the good things in your life. Forget about the bad and concentrate on the blessings. As a song says, "Count your blessings." Write them down if you have to. Over time, a force will be released through the gratitude you offer.

And in case you do not think you have anything to be grateful for, what about the last breath you just breathed, and that one, and that one? That deserves a "thank you," don't you think? Start with that and you're on your way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

And "thank you" for reading.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

The Real Thanksgiving



Did you know that there is no real Thanksgiving? Before you get upset, the Pilgrims did celebrate Thanksgiving, but not as we think in the traditional sense of a specific day with turkey and cranberry sauce and all.

The pilgrims of Plymouth were strict Calvinist Protestants and did not believe in Christmas, Easter or All Saints Day. They believed these were man made holidays, and that only when they found evidence in the Bible should there be a celebration. This came down to three types of holidays: Sunday Sabbath, Days of Fasting and Humiliation, and Days of Thanksgiving and Praise.

Both Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving had no fixed points on the calendar. These days were in response to circumstances. When the days were unfavorable and there was not enough to eat, the crops were failing, or there was disease and unexplained deaths, then a Day of Fasting was called. Everyone went to church to ask for forgiveness and guidance, followed by a modest meal. Contrary to this, when things were going well, say a good harvest or the arrival of a supply ship, a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise took place. Again, they went to church to thank God, and then celebrated with a festive meal.

In essence, there was no "First Thanksgiving," merely many different days of celebration throughout each year. The pilgrims made it a practice to give thanks. Cultures around the world shared these similar traditions of celebration of thanks.

Today, Thanksgiving has transformed from a religious celebration of thanks, to a secular cultural event of thanks. We gather in groups and with our families and are truly in a spirit of thanks and appreciation for our lives. Yet often we are not in touch with the real meaning of Thanksgiving so we don't stop to make sure that we recognize our thanks.

This year before we feast, let's take the time to share our thanks. This is not a religious exercise. This is an exercise of appreciation. Recognize that by changing your thought patterns to the positive you can accomplish anything!

So enjoy this holiday and join with family, friends and strangers alike and participate in the real Thanksgiving, by giving thanks and sharing with each other.

If you do not celebrate Thanksgiving, use this exercise at any time and if you do celebrate Thanksgiving, you don't have to wait till next year to do this exercise again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And so it goes.....

And so, life is moving swfitly, eh? Have you thought about what you'd like to do when you get older? Funny how we are forced into patterns out of sheer fear of change. With the children moving up and out, the passing of one's loved ones, the changes of those who we thought were predictable, we come to realize that no one is keeping score but ourselves. Then how do ones aquire the sensibility to take care of the one thing we have control over -ourselves.

As i listen to the day to day drama of the human condition, brought about by rumor and inuendo, I think-do they not know they they could have having a party? No one told them that this moment is wherein the fulfillment of being alive is either worshiped or denied. Why are so many making choices based on the past instead of the future? Why do not become the example instead of just being one of the many?

If I am blind to reality, then give me sunglasses. I much prefer to joy of being alive in this moment than creating a false moment based on fear. There will always be an excuse not to move forward...our friends..our family....our job....our weight....hell, we've got many more excuses not to participate in the journey than to jump into the deep end of the pool.

And as Linda Ellerbee once said..."And so it goes".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful." – Sigmund Freud

This phrase Freud makes is seem that it may be true although looking back at the struggles, it may be that the time distance of them protects me from remembering how bad they felt at the time. Like a wound or bump, the immediate reaction is not pleasant but time forgives the immediacy of pain and does not attach the physical component of it. How incredible of the brain to "forgive" some pain. And then, there the memories of painful moments that cause an immediate knee-jerk reaction to a similar situation; a cognitive rememberance of a pain so bad that we cannot forget. These moments do impact our lives. How we behave from the memories do impact our behavior and give us pause. How do you feel with your memories?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Some things are never to be...

I think I have finally come to that spot where I recognize that there are some wonderful things that I have witnessed but will not have in this lifetime. The most dominate thought is the one that I have not ever felt that someone looking at me like they really wanted to spend their life getting to know me better. I will not be married on a beach nor hold hands watching a sunset. I am not sure who will be there at the end of my life and I may just pass away alone in the my sleep. And so it goes.....life or something like it. Time passes more rapidly each day and I am acutely aware that this is the way it is.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

On Being Touched-Art Janov

On Being Touched

Posted: 24 Oct 2009 03:55 AM PDT
I saw a movie last night. The mother walked by her son and ruffled his hair and moved on. A seemingly innocuous event. But wait! So many of us never had that; so what does it mean? It means that someone acknowledges your existence. If parents walk by you, never smile, touch you or make you feel you exist, you come to believe you don’t. No one has to say you’re bad, I don’t love you. It is all in those very little events. Having hair ruffled day after day means you exist and are wanted, important and loved. When it does not happen day after day it means the opposite; and you come to believe it without ever realizing it. You begin to act as if you don’t exist for anyone. You shy away, never say the kind things you should because who you are and what you do does not matter.

When a parent massages you head it says volumes; I like you, I love you, you are very important, my attention is totally on you, I want to make you happy. That is all absorbed unconsciously and sometimes consciously. “Sometimes consciously” because if you never have had it you then realize something, but if you always had it, it is in the nature of things; nothing exceptional. You deserve just by who you are; and it means you can be who you are without anyone saying anything like that because it is implied and absorbed. You don’t think it matters? It matters.

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I think Art is always right on target.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Honesty and Skill

Does it seem to you that there is more deception than ever before or is it just that we hear about it faster with all this new technology. Have companies always been so deceptive when it comes to hocking their wares? Why do the products being promoted have only about half the shelf life promised?
The vaccine market place has become the new battlefield of lies. Do these flu vaccines work and if so, why have there not been any studies to show that they do? I definitely know what it is like to have a flu but have never felt that a flu shot stopped me from getting the flu. Bu of late, I hear many news reports about people dying as the result of these vaccines. Is it really all about money...the value of human life is pared down to dollars? Is it like war when we expect so many will die as a result of war and we prepare for it. I don't think anyone prepares for death from a vaccine and yet there are young children and older adults dying these days from them.
Also, why is it that there are so many people getting pneumonia or staph infections while they are in the hospitals? I thought hospitals were the safest place until I started reading stories and hearing first hand about my friend who was having an operation that the surgeon said just before cutting, "I don't think this man needs an operation" and walks out of the operating room-my friend is released and and gets very sick within 24 hours at home with a staph infection. Another friend whose Mom was in the hospital for a routine operation and she gets double pneumonia.....another friend has diverticulitis, has an operation and they accidentally cut his colon and now has a colostomy bag.
There is something lurking in the ether of our life on this planet and it does not feel very good.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Written by Danielle K on Care2.com

Like a few other people have mentioned, I do have the urge to bring up the 10 billion animals who suffer for people's meals, but that's what happens when you're a pro-choice vegan. More animals die in one hour than abortions take place all year.

And yes, I wonder why so many of them oppose contraception, which PREVENTS unwanted pregnancy. And why they oppose allowing same-sex couples to adopt, considering how they scream about adoption.

A so-called pro-life president laughed about executions during his governorship and was utterly ecstatic about bombing another country. He put our troops in harm's way by daring insurgents to attack our troops. He didn't show an ounce of respect for actual humans who had already been born.

How many people who call themselves pro-life actually care about what happens to the kid after s/he is born?

If you're going to be truly pro-life, that should mean ALL life, well beyond the womb and not just the human species.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Health Reform by Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson wrote48 minutes ago
October 13, 2009

So the Senate Committee came up with a proposed bill today, calling it (inexplicably to me) "health reform."

As we know, the bill is a boon to the insurance industry because it mandates health insurance. Yet without a public option -- real competition for the health insurers -- there is not much in this bill to cut our costs, and a lot in there to increase their profits.

In the words of the late Supreme Court Justice Lewis Brandeis, "We can have great wealth amassed in the hands of a few, or we can have democracy. We cannot have both." The idea that we're giving over the health and welfare of the American people to one group of corporate masters makes me very sad. When I was younger, it made me angry. Now, it just makes me sad.

In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln wrote of the sacrifices of the Union soldiers, who fought and died so that "government of the people, by the people, for the people" would not perish from the earth. Yet a later President, Rutherford B. Hayes, would argue that we'd become a "government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations."

And still the contest continues. Even today, we're in a struggle to decide who owns our government: people, or corporations. And at least so far as how it looks within today's health care debate, it looks like corporations are winning.

Capitalism, yes. Capitalism sans ethics, no. Corporations free to do business, yes. Corporations free to run roughshod over the collective good, no. Money flowing in a healthy and positive way through our society, yes. Money running Washington, no.

We need public financing of political campaigns, and until we get it, all these "issues" that we argue about but serve as a cover over the real issue: Money runs America. And how truly sad that is.

How to Make Great Decisions - By Paul Dalton

How to Make Great Decisions - By Paul Dalton
How many times in your life have you put off doing something because you couldn't decide the best course of action to take? I've known people plan to go out for a well earned meal with their partner and end up staying at home because they couldn't make up their mind between Chinese or Italian. Heaven help the person who orders sweet and sour chicken when all along they should have been having lasagna! Can you imagine what it is like for them to choose between a staying in their job or take a gamble on starting that business they always dreamed of?

The fear of making bad decisions prevents people from doing all kinds of things that they might be better off doing. The truth of the matter is there is no way of knowing which direction a particular choice is going to take you. You can spend years ruminating over every possible outcome while in the mean time watching the world move on around you. It doesn't change the fact that, no matter what you choose to do in the end, it might all turn out right and it might all turn out not so right.

But none of that matters because the secret to making great decisions is falling in love with making mistakes.

A lot of people will not make the distinction between making a mistake and making a bad decision, but there is a world of difference, and realizing what that difference is can literally turn your life around and set you on a whole new path.

A mistake is literally doing something in a moment that you think is for the best but later turns out to be not such a good idea for you. A bad decision is doing nothing to correct that mistake and then letting the consequences of it define you for ages afterwards.

Here are a few of examples:

Mistake = Getting into a relationship with the wrong person.
Bad Decision = Sticking with them and being miserable for the rest of your life

Mistake = Choosing Bognor Regis rather than Cuba for your annual holiday.
Bad Decision = Looking for everything you can find to hate about Bognor just to prove you were right about how you should have gone to Cuba! And then going back to Bognor next year! (Bognor is a wonderful place by the way).

Mistake = Going into business without having some sort of a plan.
Bad Decision = Injecting more and more of your personal finance, sweat and tears into it just to prove you can make the damn thing work.

Making a good decision is not about knowing the outcome before it has had a chance to happen. It is about committing to ANY course of action you FEEL is for the best and then paying attention to the lessons you are later presented with. It is the skill of interpreting the information generated by what has happened and choosing to either do more of the same or change your approach -- even start again in some cases. In the same way that an airplane reaches its destination by continually measuring how off track it is from the set flight path and adjusting its course to get back on track, the same is true for good decision making.

Making a decision in any area is not a one time event; it is an ongoing and organic process that must evolve as life unfolds.

Today's Homework:

Think about a decision you have been putting off making. What are the possible choices you have?

Just for a moment, let go of analyzing which choice you think you should make and just listen to your body; your intuition. If I were to flip a coin and the rules were Heads you choose option A and Tails you go with option B, which side would you secretly hope for, deep down, before knowing the outcome?

Just go with your instinct and do something to start to make that choice happen. Be willing to make a mistake, knowing that the only bad decision you can ever make is to not do something about the things you didn't want to happen.

If things go wrong be willing to make a mistake in the opposite direction because, who knows, it might turn out to not be a mistake after all, but rather the realization of your dream!

No matter what your situation you always have choice. Don't worry about having to choose wisely; that's overrated.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New York City/Transitions



Coming back to the city was simply purposeful. It gives me the opportunity to see my friends, have some wonderful food, and to go to the theater-this time to see Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman in AFTER THE RAIN!

I have noticed this time around that with the seasons changing, the cooler air and windy conditions and the very bright sun, that I am more introspective as to the opportunities that I have yet to create.

There is a responsibility in living here.I noticed the seriousness of the economic conditions and how it has impacted the city. There is a slight tension in the air and with the retailers as hey scramble to pay closer attention to the potential customer. Every sale is a potential dollar and where one might not have pay much attention to this fact a year ago, it does seem much more prevalent now.

I feel gentler than before....maybe it comes from age or just the fact that I do not wish to extend any energy on being anxious or upset with how crowded the subway is, or how long a line may be to get up and down the stairs to the train. A few seconds either way is not going to be a drama.

There is a depth to the architecture for me, too. I am spending much more time, languishing a few more moments on what I see. It makes for a deeper connection and stronger memories for me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Malibu


There are times in my life when I am awestruck at how my world unfolds. I am in Malibu for a few days.....staying in a beautiful big house on Carbon Canyon Beach-home to many wealthy and famous....so much of my life has been around them and yet, I am not wealthy or famous. I am fortunate. I have spent so much time in some of the most beautiful homes in the world. I have spent countless hours in private jets flying to exotic and some very exciting places. At times it feels like all that unfolds around me is pure luck. Other times it feels like fate. Whatever it is, I am very fortunate. I really savor each day, event and place. So, as the surf pounds away with the sun setting to the west, what could be better? Maybe someone to share all of this.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Love and Fear

Love has no expectations. Fear is full of expectations. With fear we do things because we expect that we have to, and we expect that others are going to do the same. That is why fear hurts and love doesn’t hurt. We expect something and if it doesn’t happen, we feel hurt-it isn’t fair. We blame others for not fulfilling our expectations. When we love, we don’t have expectations; we do because we want to, and if other people do it or not, it’s because they want to or not and it’s nothing personal. When we don’t expect something to happen, if noting happens, it’s not important. We don’t feel hurt because whatever happens is okay. That is why something hardly hurts us when we are in love; we aren’t expectating that our lover will do something; and, we have no obligations. Does this all sound too impersonal? It is not-it is personal.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Silence is Golden-Mike Papantonio

Wonderful piece by Mike-

In recent weeks, Democrats have made progress with their leadership management skills. Here is what they have figured out: When your opposition is burning down, don't get involved. Sit back and allow it to happen.. for example, when the GOP floats the story that Obama is building concentration camps to house conservative critics, just hush, sit quietly and let them tell that story. When Glen Beck goes on the air to tell us about those new Obama concentration camps, don't interrupt him even when it's clear that those buildings he's afraid of are probably mental health facilities.Or when their party leader, Sarah Palin suggests that Obama's health care reform plan includes a death panel that will condemn elderly Americans to die if they require too much medical care, remember;sit quietly and let the lunatics loose on themselves. In fact, be jubilant when other GOP party leadership stands besides Palin and endorses her while she rambles incoherently about this imaginary goulish new death panel.
The Democrats have recently figured out that the art of sitting silently when the opposition is so vulnerable requires incredible discipline. When gun-toting healthcare teabagers are shwoing up at town hall meetings to shout, scream, and appear unbalanced
, Democrats should make sure to schedule as many town hall meetings as possible. Alllot it to unfold on the nightly news with regularity.

.....

Public approval ratings of the new GOP are falling to levels that compete with those of Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter.

I am happy to read these artilces every now and then. It reminds me that I am not alone and that there is intelligence somewhere here in America.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Everything we know is going somewhere....

If everyone understood how interconnected everything we know is, there would be no more war, hatred, lies, deception, poverty, hunger, or greed. We would know that what we put out there, returns. Every thought manifests. Every deed finds a home somewhere. From micro to macro it is the same. Perspective is everything.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Simple but true-

"I have always believed that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value."
Hermann Hesse

Creating Narcissists

This appeared in an EnlightenNext email I recieved the other day. This is part of the issue. What do you think has also created the environment for the epidemic onslaught of narcissism?

The Narcissism Epidemic Starting in the sixties, teachers and parents began to believe that building self-esteem in children was the best way to develop confident happy adults. But psychology researcher Jean Twenge says that the truth is not so simple. In her latest book, The Narcissism Epidemic, she unveils some startling evidence that this cultural trend towards individual empowerment may have created a generation of young people too self-infatuated for their own good.

There was a survey done last year asking college students about their academic experiences. To the question “If you explain to your professor that you’re trying hard, should he or she increase your grade?” two-thirds of college students said yes. I’m a professor and I study narcissism, and I was still shocked by that number! The “everybody gets a trophy” mentality basically says that you’re going to get rewarded just for showing up. First of all, that’s not how the real world works. Second, that won’t build true self-esteem; instead, it builds this empty sense of “I’m just fantastic, not because I did anything but just because I’m here.”


Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Mouthful of flesh

"But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time she had been born into the world to enjoy." - Plutarch

This is an old question that we have pondered so many, many times. There are those times that we have thought that being a vegetarian would best. Then, we might see someone who proclaims to be one and they do not look well. Have we become to used to seeing the culture who uses animals to provide sustenance that we do not know what being healthy should look like? My friend, Joseph, in Montreal, has a very good body- a muscled body that most men would aspire to...well, he is a vegetarian and has been one for decades. I aspire to be fine lokking as he. Then, there are celebrities like Pam Anderson and others who defy the old stereotypes of vegetarians.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold." – Leo Tolstoy

How difficult is it for us to break free of conventional wisdom and allow the wisdom from within to drive our forces? Why is it we use our eyes to determine how much intimacy we will allow ourselves. Why is that we, for the most part, feel compelled to categorize-to keep our feelings "safe"? I mention that fact that I believe that the heart has many, many rooms....some are filled, but most are empty. There is enough room to love many-why is so hard for our society to grasp. It feel so natural. And, as I have learned, ALL relationships are assignments. So may be short-lived,while others may be life-long assignments. There is a symmetry to this and balance for our spirit. And, as Maude says, "Go out and love some more."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Your job

The number one thing is to decide what it is you want to do...precisely. If it requires more education, then sign up today and get started. The secret behind it all, is that you will be led to your work...it may not look like you envisioned, but it will. As you evolve, so will your work. There is nothing outside of yourself that will bring you salvation...it is an inside job. It is what you "give" is the most important, --your time, your talent, your willingness....give with NO expectations other than your willingness to do so. Toxic people are full of fear---that is all. You do not have to participate in their fearfulness but you do need to have compassion and empathy for their struggle. You cannot save anyone expect yourself.....this is a hard lesson - simply, be the example...that it your ultimate job.

Being certain

"No great deed, private or public, has ever been undertaken in a bliss of certainty."
Leon Wieseltier