Monthly Archives: February 2014

No One Should Be An “Island”

“Interest and enthusiasm are the wellspring of continually evolving community life: they create bonds which unite us whether we are young or old, nearby or far from each other; they allow human warmth and love to be the formative forces in personal and community life and striving.” – Henning Hansmann

I often find myself avoiding popular TV series simply because I do not like what I heard about them or feel that I have seen enough from an advertisement. Later on, though, I sometimes find that my first impressions were not entirely correct, or were based off assumptions of mine that were completely unrelated. I do this with other things as well, including books, movies, music, and so on. Here, however, Henning is speaking particularly about my interest in others. Am I showing authentic concern for what is happening in others’ lives? Do I express enthusiasm for getting involved in the community around me? Continue reading

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There Is No Stillness In Life, Only Change!

“Nearly every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of several years. This means that on the microscopic level, the smallest parts of who you were seven years ago are not part of you now.” – unattributed, revised

It is fairly difficult to comprehend what is being said here–that physically, on the cellular level, I am a different person than I was several years ago! With the exception of some brain and heart cells, nearly every single cell that made me who I was has been replaced. I find this to be so remarkable and so miraculous, yet at the same time a bit scary, for it goes to affirm the extent of my own humanity, of my own mortality. Continue reading

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There Is No “Universal Righteousness”

“The philosophies of men surround us. The face of sin today often wears the mask of tolerance. Do not be deceived; behind that facade is heartache, unhappiness, and pain. You know what is right and what is wrong, and no disguise, however appealing, can change that. Be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone. Have the moral courage to be a light for others to follow.” – Thomas S. Monson

There is a beauty in the hearts of those who allow righteousness a home within, a calm peace that cannot exist without the symbiotic relationship of a righteous heart. And this can be so hard to find and to put into practice, for as Thomas points out, “the philosophies of men surround us,” sometimes even drown us. What society tells us is right is often times not so. Continue reading

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Maintain Good Opinion Of Your Own Self!

“There is only one real misfortune: to forfeit one’s own good opinion of oneself. Lose your complacency, once betray your own self-contempt and the world will unhesitatingly endorse it.” – Thomas Mann

What I think of myself, and how I treat myself, is exactly how the world will see me and treat me. If I sell myself short… others will do the same. Sadly, most of us are not aware of this truth until after the fact, and thus Thomas refers to this as the “only one real misfortune.” If I find the world showing me disrespect, I can follow that back to the “forfeiture of my own good opinion of myself.” Continue reading

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“Choosing Your Battles”

“I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” – Cyrus Ching

Wrestling with a pig… what an image this brings to mind! Of course this is not intended solely to mean wrestling with an actual pig, rather, I believe Cyrus is talking about the idea of arguing with someone who has done something hurtful to try to get them to see how damaging their actions are. In my experience, people who are willing to hurt others are not usually interested in knowing just what kind of harm they have done–they want to continue to feel the self-righteousness that allowed them to do something mean and inconsiderate in the first place. Continue reading

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Let Go Of What You Cannot Control!

“As I started to picture the trees in the storm, the answer began to dawn on me. The trees in the storm don’t try to stand up straight and tall and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go. Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break. Now is not the time for you to be strong, Julia, or you, too, will break.” – Julia “Butterfly” Hill

Many of us find it difficult to relinquish control of the situations we face in our lives. We often feel compelled to action, as if it were in our power to control them and thus determine the outcomes. We exert so much time and energy attempting to “stand up strong and straight” during the winds and storms we face in life that we fail to “understand the power of letting go.” As Julia points out, the secret here is to simply let go–for although it seems contrary to logic, we hold fast by letting go. Continue reading

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Be Your Real, Authentic Self

“You cannot fail at being yourself. A cat doesn’t try to be a tiger, and you shouldn’t try to be something you aren’t. You are a process, not a product. Your job is to discover what you are and to create that creature. You still won’t be perfect, but success isn’t about perfection–it is about authenticity. You are a success if you are being your real, authentic self.” – Bernie Siegel

I admit that I laughed a little when I imagined a cat trying to be a tiger. How silly that would be! What Bernie says here is so easy to understand: “We cannot fail at being who we are.” It is an absolute impossibility as long as you allow yourself to simply be your true, authentic self. Continue reading

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