Category: Courage

The Silliest Two-Word Phrase I Know

“Wars begin where you will
but they do not end where you please.” 

— Machiavelli

The phrase “war crimes” is a silly phrase and a completely crazy idea. There is no such thing to me as war crimes. War IS the crime.

Spread Some Joy Today. Make love your compass.

Seeking Harmony In All Things

“Three Rules of Work:
 
Out of clutter find simplicity. 
From discord find harmony. 
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” 
 
— Albert Einstein 
 

[Classic post from 7-29-16]

These three rules could just as easily be about any aspect of life, whether it be our life at home, with our family, our friends, where we work every day, in any relationship, in any group we happen to be a part of, and even within our own minds as we consider our own inner dialog, and our thoughts about ourselves, and that world that is outside of ourselves.

Out of clutter find simplicity. It seems to be human nature to complicate rather than simplify, but once we realize what we are doing, we can choose to clarify, and in so doing find the simplicity. Everything is simpler than we make it, and when we can simplify things, clutter doesn’t have much of a chance. Neither does the drama.

From discord find harmony. It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship it might be, whether intimate or global, discord is easily achieved, but in all cases, it is harmony that is the holy grail. It doesn’t even need to apply only to relationships with people, but is perfectly appropriate in our relationship to things, to nature, to our world, our environment. Having harmony as our fundamental goal puts discord in its place by having it only be a reminder that harmony is our real objective.

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. As with the idea of clutter, and the idea of discord, the idea of difficulty is best thought of as a reminder to look not at the thing that is vying for our attention; the clutter, discord, and difficulty, or we could look at that also as ‘what-is,’ or the ‘problem,’ but to look toward the solution which is not this. The solution is found in simplicity. The solution is found in harmony. The solution is found in seeing opportunity.

What a great message to write down and give it some of our energy. Another great sign for my wall, except I, will change it to the Three Rules of Life.

Simplicity. Harmony. Opportunity. Love. Peace. Joy. 

Spread Some Joy Today–because it’s Friday. Any excuse is a good one.

Making A Difference Week. Day 5 of 7

Making A Difference Week
 
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.”
 
— Robert Frost
 
 
[Classic post from 12-8-11]
 
I’ve been writing this week about making a difference and how many people can do that for their lives and in the effect on others. Robert Frost’s excerpt above made me think about how making a difference is achieved by our decisions. Whether we travel the road more traveled or less traveled is simply a choice, but the choice will always have far-reaching aspects that have an accumulated effect on us and others.
 
Here’s another way to look at the aspect of decision by a quote from Heidi Wills, “we can choose to be affected by the world or we can choose to affect the world.” This speaks to me of making a difference by choosing to do so on purpose through decision.
 
 
 
“There’s A Difference Between A Philosophy And A Bumper Sticker.” — Charles M Schulz
 
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Get excited about your power of decision. Choose.

Making A Difference Week. Day 3 of 7

Making A Difference Week
 
 
“The world is moved along,
not only by the 
mighty shoves of its heroes,
but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes
of each honest worker.”
 
— Helen Keller
 
 
[Classic post from 12-6-11]
 
Volunteers are the salt of the earth I think. There is so much in this world that would not be done if it were not for the unpaid efforts of millions of volunteers.
 
I have been a volunteer in many cases. In one case my volunteer efforts consumed approximately 30 hours per week for 9 years, while I worked a full-time job besides. That’s about 14,000 hours. Zero dollars, but amply rewarded.
 
Some might say, how can I get experience? and I will say that one way is to find a way to volunteer your services and get the practice that causes experience. If we always look to be paid for what we can do, we are somewhat limited.
 
There are so many places and ways to volunteer. You won’t have to look far to find them and if you just engage with people, I think they will find you soon enough. I recommend being very choosy. Do what you love, for in so doing you will be more of a help to others and have a good time doing it.
 
Today, I continue to do volunteer work in many ways and hours in different ways, and I highly recommend it. Part of it is helping others and that is great, but I think that the majority of it is helping ourselves, and I think that is grand. There is nothing better than to be selfish in this way because we are serving ourselves in a fulfilling way and at the same time serving others in a helpful way.
 
 
 
“In Giving You Are Throwing A Bridge Across The Chasm Of Your Solitude.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
 
 
Spread Some Joy Today–People know you care, but still like to hear it now and then. One good way I learned is to say this: “Have I told you that I love you lately?”

Your Opinion Counts?

“I respect your opinion 
of my work.” 
 
— Scott Ginsberg 
 

[Classic post from 6-8-16]

There it is. It has been on the deposit receipt for years, and this morning as three of these are on the top of my desk waiting to be filed, I see it: “Your opinion counts.” Below that, in a much smaller type is a request to give the bank feedback in an online survey. So, my mind sort of took off with that bit of dribble. . .

“Hello, I registered my opinion online, but I don’t see the results of it anywhere. Can you direct me so that I can actually see that my opinion matters and that, as you say, “my opinion counts”? After all, I took the time to give it to you, and the least you can do is to show me how it counts, don’t you think?”

On the other end, I hear what sounds like a recorded voice saying, “I’m sorry, sir, but your opinion has expired. We appreciated your opinion, but it is no longer valid. The time has run out. Please feel free to share your opinion with us again, because, as we always say, your opinion counts.”

What? My opinion has expired? My opinion timed out? My opinion is no longer valid? What’s up with that?

So, you can see how my mind works sometimes. It just goes off and has a bit of fun here and there, and I get to go along for the ride. Then, it hit me! What an interesting concept: Opinions that expire, time out, and are no longer valid. How interesting is that to contemplate. Well, maybe just for me. . . 

Go with me for just a little longer if you’ve got nothing else to do. Besides, it’s Wednesday. Hump day. It’s downhill to the weekend, and it’s in our sight. . .

You have an opinion. You share it with someone in some sort of way. They accept it. The opinion has landed. Perhaps, you are volleying with another, who gives you their opinion. You take it. Hmmm. You consider it. There it is. Which causes you to share another opinion about their opinion. After all, there are the finer points to be considered. Back and forth. Back and forth the opinions go. Served and returned.

Then the other says, “I’m sorry, but your previous opinion has expired and is no longer valid.” And you go, “what do you mean? My opinion can’t expire. It’s been served and I thought it was a very good opinion. How can it no longer be valid, unless I take it back? You have no authority to invalidate my opinion! Only I have the authority to invalidate my opinion. Just as you can only invalidate your opinion. What would you think if I arbitrarily invalidated your opinion? You’d be pissed, to say the least. Now take it back. Take back your arbitrary invalidation of my opinion!”

I’ve had this quote by Scott Ginsberg above on my desk for a few weeks, “I respect your opinion of my work.” The context that he gave this was around the idea of people being critical of us and this was a grand response. It works well. But, I think it says so much more in a broader sense. Let’s use it this way: I respect your opinion. I mean, after all, we all have them–even millions of them. And, it seems to be a given to respect our own opinion. We serve, and then we serve and then we serve and, well, it’s out there. But, many times, we kind of let the opinions of others expire. We may even invalidate them. Dis them. But, if we mean to have anyone else respect our opinion, it is only fair and honorable that we respect theirs. It is a loving thing to do.

Your Opinion Counts. I Respect Your Opinion. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by allowing others to have their say while allowing yourself to have yours. There is joy in there somewhere, and it is worth sharing.

Choosing Freedom

“Freedom is not given 
to us by anyone; 
we have to cultivate it ourselves. 
It is a daily practice.” 
 
— Thich Nhat Hanh 
 

[Classic post from 7-4-16]

Freedom is simply a choice. It is a choice to accept one’s own power to choose. Our ultimate power is to choose our own thoughts. That means that our ultimate freedom is within. It is not something we need to fight for, escape from, or mold to a certain way of living. It is simply, exquisitely, brightly, and magnificently our individual power of choice, and it is not a thing, but an idea, and it doesn’t come from the physical, it comes from the non-physical.

Freedom is not something to get or to gain. It is something we allow and accept. Because it always was, is, and will be a choice of our own choosing, no one can take it away from us. No one can think for us. Our ultimate power is the ability to choose our own thoughts in any circumstance. That freedom is always within us, yet may not be recognized and accepted. Just as we can choose right or left, up or down, in or out, we can choose freedom or bondage. Both of those ideas originate and are cultivated in the mind.

Some good questions to ask ourselves from time to time might be, what is freedom to me? How do I experience freedom? What is bondage, or lack of freedom to me? How and in what ways do I, or have I experienced bondage or lack of freedom? How do I feel free? How can I cultivate more freedom in my life? Am I blaming others for any of my perceived lack of freedom? If so, why would my lack of freedom be their fault?

In the United States, today is the celebration of a choice of action in claiming political independence from Britain. It was a thought that became a shared thought that became an action, and then a group action. That could have played in any number of ways, and the ways that were chosen involved massive violence and pain. Our choices then were habitual and learned from the past. They remain that today.

We have had, do, and always will have the power of choice, our ultimate freedom, to choose otherwise–if and when we realize that freedom is a choice of thought, not a choice of action. It is allowing. It is love. All those actions that have been, are still, and could possibly be in the future, are not freedom. They are something else entirely. For freedom is the same as appreciation. It is the same as empowerment. It is the same as joy. It is the same vibration as love. And in love, there is no ill.

Though I Have Certain Thoughts About Freedom, We All Choose Our Thoughts Independently. Let Us Celebrate That Independence. Happy Independence Day! 

Spread Some Joy Today–by choosing so.

Driving Using The Rearview Mirror?

“Comparison need not be competition.” 
 
— Albert K. Strong 
 

[Classic post from 6-22-16]

If you were a painter and you created a painting that you were happy with, do you think that Rembrandt could improve it? If you were a songwriter and you created and recorded a song you were pleased with, do you think that Paul McCartney could improve it?

It doesn’t matter unless you make it so.

I was wandering around my office/library/entertainment room/music room this morning thinking of ideas to write about. I was looking at a series of music cassette racks that have been mounted on my wall since about 1988. Quite a number of the 150+ cassettes there were songs that I wrote and recorded. Many of them are not so good, but at the time I created them they were great.

When I began writing and recording songs in late 1983, even the very first recordings were so moving to me that I listened to them over and over again. I was inspired to try different things, to write better, to record better, to play instruments better. One of my coworkers encouraged me at every listen, and I couldn’t wait to play him the latest improvements.

Of course, fast forward to 2016, 30+ years later, and I can easily see how these early recordings were not very good and could easily be improved, but that can happen at any stage for anyone. In 1984-5, I hired musicians to play on an album I recorded. Talk about improvement! Wow. What a difference skill makes! Yet, all of these musicians could have been improved by someone more skilled and with more experience. But, it just doesn’t matter in the end. Whatever it is, it is. Whatever it was, it was. Whatever will be, will be.

Whether it is looking at my early writing, songwriting, recording, teaching skills, learning–whatever I have done or will do can be improved. But should that idea negate the accomplishments that went before? It doesn’t need to. The only time that it matters is when we are thinking competitively. Who’s better than whom? Which team won? Which of my children is the smartest? Looking at the opinions of others as judgment criteria for our own creations is opening the floodgate of criticism. Best to keep that gate closed as much as possible.

Do you suppose Rembrandt had an early period where his work was not so good? Or Leonardo Da Vinci? Paul McCartney? Well, yes and no. And both of those decisions belong to the creator, not the critic.

Being open to improvement and accepting help or suggestion is great and can be really encouraging and inspiring, but letting someone else be a critic is not. Stand as tall in your kindergarten days as your post-graduate Ph.D. travels.

It’s All Good. Let It Be. The Journey Is Ahead. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by loving what you’ve accomplished and finding joy in all that you do by not comparing yourself to another.

You Can’t Say This And Be That

“What comes at you comes from you.” 
 
— Bert Winn 
 

[Classic post from 4-12-16]

I woke up this morning thinking about my role in these Daily Inspirations. I think the best I can do is to share something that I've learned that moved me, point in the direction of that learning, and relax in the personal sharing of experience and thought toward something that is in some tiny or large way inspiring, uplifting, engaging, or enlightening.

Most of the time spent doing these is spent in contemplation of sharing something worthwhile. I like sharing my personal connection in spite of the fact that it often puts me out there on a limb so to speak because I like that personal touch from others as well. It's less like philosophy and more like trial and error.

So, that led me to what legacy I might like to have from all this effort and time. What would I distill from all that has transpired since 2009, where if nothing else was learned, what would I see as the most important and yet simple?

Then, almost immediately, I saw the quote above, “What comes at you comes from you.” How simply that is said, and how accurate from my learning.

I think the most important thing I have learned is that we are creators and we create by our thought, and our emotions tell us how aligned with our Source those thoughts are, where feeling good is in alignment and feeling not good is away from alignment. And that we are connected to Source 100% of the time, and that Source seeks our joy, our best experience, which is why feeling good resonates with what our Source desires for us. It is the most simple and yet most profound concept of how to enjoy our lives that I have found. It is not religion, and yet far grander than any religion could possibly be. It is control of our lives as we would like to control it and enjoy it. 

When a reader writes to me that they now know that they have control of their lives because of this simple teaching, it is very empowering to me to see them so empowered in themselves.

There are so many things that I've learned over my lifetime that seemed to ring true but didn't hold true. In other words, it sounded good, but it didn't resonate and feel good. Often it was more like manipulation, where if you do these ten things, and each of those ten things has ten other sub-points, and so on and so on. It is so easy to get lost and forever confused in that kind of teaching. Yet the truth is simple, not complicated. We are the ones who often complicate things when in reality it leads us somewhere else entirely.

If I were to try to teach a child, or any other person something to be a perfect guide to their entire lives, it would be the bolded paragraph above–that they are creators, and that they are in control, and everything that comes, comes from themselves, because they are the creators of their life, and that this is something to rejoice in.

The Peace And Joy Of Simplicity And Understanding. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by choosing your joy as you will and sharing it as you see fit.

Following Your Own Instincts And Dreams

“You can study gravity forever 
without learning how to fly.”
 
— Shawn Achor 
 

[Classic post from 6-13-16]

I think that often there are so many more reasons that a thing or an idea won’t work, that we may have a tendency to justify that to ourselves, and to others, for our own comfort. That could be called a success if one wanted it to be called that. I successfully didn’t do that because. . . It doesn’t make any sense because. . . and then there’s the all-time classic: If God wanted people to fly, He would have given us wings. It is just as easy to say that if God wanted me to _________, He would have given me ________. More justification, for sure, but with a much higher authority. . .

People who fly study flying. It’s not that they don’t know about gravity. They understand gravity pretty well. After all, it is prevalent in our world. But they don’t let gravity keep them down. Instead, they find ways to work with gravity, along with other things like wind.

Of course, should I consult other people about my idea of flying, most, if not all of them will remind me of gravity and that what goes up, must come down, and if God wanted us to fly, He would have given us wings.

And now, flying is commonplace.

Or, is it?

Maybe it’s not even about flying at all.

And Maybe It Is. Follow Your Own Instincts And Dreams. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by letting go of strife today. Who needs strife anyway? Get rid of the struggle too. Just chill.

Letting Go Is The Ultimate Release

“Psychotherapy seeks 
for an improvement 
in neurotic balance. 
 
Letting go, however, 
eliminates it all together.” 
 
— David R. Hawkins 
 

[Classic post from 7-6-16]

I love the visual analogy of the rope and the game of tug-o-war. The rope, and what it is attached to is all about resistance. And, just like the game of tug-o-war, resistance has a value or a better way to say that might be that it has its rewards. It’s not a zero-sum game, but a game of winners and losers much like any other game. The more you resist the tug from the opponents, the longer you’re in the game with the potential to overcome their resistance and win.

Psychotherapy then would be staying in the game, but understanding your place in it better. Psychotherapy would be learning to be full of resistance and not feel so uptight about it. You might even learn to enjoy the feel of the rope, appreciate the smell of the sweat, and the building up of the muscles. In other words, psychotherapy would be finding the value, or as much value as possible in the resistance, in the game, and if there be a setback by losing this game, to be sane enough to get back in the game and give it a go again, perhaps with improved skill, insight, or enjoyment.

Letting go of the rope is to let go of any and all neurosis. Who needs it? Its source is, in fact, resistance after all. Letting go of the resistance is letting go of the illness. Letting go of the rope is also releasing the rewards we found in the game, yet in letting go of the resistance, we realize that those rewards were hollow and unsatisfying. Letting go opens up a universe of possibilities in well-being.

Why learn how to live with the issue when you can just as easily and far more fruitfully just let it go. Give it no more energy. Lay down the rope and turn and walk away. See the horizon. Enjoy your renewed and expanded life.

Any Similarities In You? Don’t Analyze It Anymore. Just Let It Go. It’s A Brave New World. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by letting go of your resistance to feeling joy more often. Once released, you will find joy in the simplest of things and situations. How cool is that?

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Mesa, AZ