Monthly Archives: February 2018

Seek Wisdom

“We seem to be drowning in information, but we are starving for wisdom.” ~ Edward Osborne Wilson …

Am I starving for wisdom? Do I ever allow myself to take a moment to reflect and perhaps gain some wisdom from the day? With all our technological advances, I am often surprised that my days have not become simpler. In general, I still find myself spending much more time than I would like to absorbing pointless information. But what if I were better able to focus my energies each day? What if I spent more of my time strengthening my wisdom, getting in touch with my inner self and my feelings, understanding my divinity, and defining my purpose and meaning in life?

Information is just data that has very little relevance to who and what we are–spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Perhaps it can help us to achieve good grades, or hold a conversation, or obtain praise from others, but the fact is that it will never have the capacity to satisfy our hunger for the wisdom we seek and it rarely serves any real purpose outside of our work.

Take a moment to observe the world around you. There is wisdom to be gained in the beauty of a sunset or the waves crashing upon the shore. And there is wisdom to be discovered within our daily interactions with one another. The world speaks to us–not always in words or sounds, but in signs and symbols. And if we can slow down and pay attention to all that is around us here and now, we can gain both wisdom and a better understanding of our life and our purpose. The message is there for us… as constant as the beating of our hearts. We just have to listen for it.

Spend some time seeking wisdom today.

Questions to consider:

Why do we rarely stop to look and listen?

What are some ways in which we can make it easier to seek wisdom in life?

When was the last time you stopped to notice something you do not normally examine closely?

For further thought:

“What you seek is seeking you.” ~ Rumi

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“Love One Another”

“It is especially appropriate to say that the greatest command, the most condensed philosophy, the wisest success-achieving advice ever given was given by a man who was crucified. He summed it all up when he said, “Love one another.” One does not really need to fight for success. One can love one’s way to success.” ~ Thomas Dreier …

If we each were able to love one another without conditions… what a wonderful world it would be! If we could teach our children that love is not just some romantic ideal we find in another person but a way of living our lives for one another. If we could practice what we preach and spread love into our mutual humanity. Our societies would become free of hatred and war, and our families and friends would feel true peace within–peace that, each day, would spread throughout the world.

But alas, many of us are too busy, afraid, or uninterested in practicing love of our neighbors. Often times it tends to get put low on the list of priorities or skipped altogether. If we could just remember to take a moment to ask ourselves what the loving response would be to the situation, we most likely would find ourselves acting out of love, or at least including love as a factor in our decisions and actions.

Love is the way for all things. And it is something that must be learned and practiced, for it is an action… something we do. Put forth the effort to make love a part of your day. When you speak with your spouse or significant other, when you speak with your children, when you interact with coworkers, or when you talk to strangers, make it a priority to do so with love–with respect, honor, validity, compassion, genuine concern, and caring. This is where we will find happiness and success. We always have the option to love our way to success as Thomas mentions here.

Keep love at the center of your interactions with others today.

Questions to consider:

How does the love extended to you from others affect you?

What are some of the difficulties of “loving one another” in life?

Have you ever considered the possibility of loving your way to success?

For further thought:

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.” ~ Thomas Merton

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Try Some New Ideas… Think Outside The Box

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible… what wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!” ~ Soren Kierkegaard …

What is more exciting and limitless as all our available potential, of the unknown and limitless “possibility?” So much of what we do in life is done by rote. We choose things because they are safe, we choose things because they are tradition, and we choose things because that is how we always have done them. But this way of approaching life leaves us with little to no options, and very little potential and possibility.

Not being able to see the possibilities that lay before us is a rather sad way of living. Life is about growth and change, it is about risk and trying new things, it is about become more than we were yesterday. Yet so many new things are glossed over daily because we have allowed ourselves to become stuck in our cozy little ruts.

Do not allow yourself to become stagnant like a murky pool of water. Go head on into life and search for new possibilities and new ways of succeeding. As Soren mentions, the richness of our lives can be found in trying new things without preconceived notions of what the outcomes should be. I want my life to be that daring. I want to be able to say to myself, “No matter how it turned out, I feel good about my life because I was always willing to take chances and to learn more about life than I would have if I had done the same things over and over again.”

Try some new ideas today… think outside of the box.

Questions to consider:

What are some new possibilities you have discovered recently? What did you do with them?

Why do we frequently tend to get caught up in our ruts?

What kinds of things stimulate your curiosity and creativity? How often do you engage in those things?

For further thought:

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” ~ Cecil Beaton

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Stop And Still That Imperious Voice In Your Head

“Stop a minute, right where you are. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver …

When life gets hectic and busy, all that busyness and stress can end up inside of us. This has a negative effect on us on all levels–mentally decreasing the amount of focus we can devote to tasks, physically decreasing our health and wellbeing, emotionally leaving us feeling exhausted and defeated, and spiritually leaving us feeling empty and alone. It is therefore imperative that we take the time to stop and still “that imperious voice in our head,” as Barbara tells us, whenever we find ourselves being hurried or overburdened.

We are most effective and most productive when we are well rested and focused on the task at hand. When we approach life from a place of relaxation, we are able to make better decisions and more sound judgments because the factors that make up those decisions seem less drastic to us. We are also afforded the opportunity for powerful contemplation and insight into things that would otherwise be difficult to find when our thoughts are chaotic.

And then there may be times when being overly relaxed and restful is inappropriate in our lives, as tension can sometimes be one of our best motivators. Perhaps when I am skating in a hockey match or someone’s life is in danger. Calm and relaxed would most likely be more detrimental than quick and concise.

Can you put the restless and anxious side of your affairs out of your mind? If so, then you are on the way to improving your quality of life in many important ways.

Focus on remaining calm and relaxed throughout the day.

Questions to consider:

Why do our restless and anxious thoughts tend to dominate our minds?

What are some ways in which we can let our restful thoughts be more dominant?

How can we learn to relax more in tense situations?

For further thought:

“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.” ~ Charlotte Bronte

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When Money And Time Are The Heaviest Burdens Of Life

“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.” ~ John Newton …

Today holds requirements of us, most of which become unmanageable when we are not completely present. As John points out, this means not carrying the burdens of yesterday with us, nor adding to our burdens by worrying about tomorrow. What happened yesterday is done and gone, and there is no need to dwell on it. Doing so only serves to weigh down our hearts and minds with feelings and information we already had to deal with yesterday. And whatever is going to happen in our future, will be experienced and taken care at the appointed time. Worrying about it now only serves to waste precious time and subvert our focus on what is happening right here, right now.

Yesterday I may have had troubles and difficulties–perhaps someone was mean to me or hurt my feelings, or maybe I had to cancel or reschedule an activity due to inclement weather. Regardless of what has happened, it has happened and is past, and hopefully I have dealt with it to the best of my abilities. Of course, some things may seep into today. But if I keep a strong focus on the present, I will be able to see them as issues of yesterday and deal with them much more effectively.

Then there are those things I worry about that have not come to pass. What if I fail my semester test next week and fail the class? What if I am short on money for my mortgage payment next month? Filling my todays with such worries and concerns will be of no help to me. As long as I take care of my todays, my tomorrows will more than likely turn out to be quite manageable when they arrive.

It is up to us how heavy or light our burdens are each day. Either we can pack light, and accomplish what is required of us with more to spare, or we can carry our excess baggage from yesterday and tomorrow, and fail to accomplish what is asked of us today.

Ensure the burdens of today are ones that are truly appointed to the day.

Questions to consider:

How many of yesterday’s burdens and tomorrow’s worries do you frequently hold on to?

What are the benefits of focusing on just what today has in store for us?

How can we learn to release thoughts of past and future burdens?

For further thought:

“Money and time are the heaviest burdens of life, and… the unhappiest of all mortals are those who have more of either than they know how to use.” ~ Samuel Johnson

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Find Strength Within Your Ability To Make The Choices That Are Important In Your Life

“You don’t have to defend or explain your decisions to anyone. It’s your life. Live it without apologies.” ~ Mandy Hale …

Have you ever felt that you had to explain or defend a decision you made that you knew in your heart to be the right choice? Have you ever felt bad or guilty for having to turn down an invitation from someone? We often feel as though we have to explain, justify, and defend our decisions to others, and that we cannot act unless their approval has been granted. However, when we give up that level of freedom in our lives, we relinquish control and lose our authenticity–we deny ourselves the very uniqueness we possess as a one-of-a-kind person, created by the hands of a God who loves us dearly. But at the same time, it is important that we understand that if our decisions affect the lives of others, we must exhibit caution and prudence so that we do not harm them with our actions. You can embrace your freedom… as long as your choices do not diminish the freedom of others.

Social norms often dictate that we should not inconvenience others, or that we should design our lives around the plans and commitments of others. But what if we are not feeling up to the weather, or if we prefer to spend some time relaxing and recharging our batteries? I feel that what Mandy is saying here, is that if I feel that I need a quiet evening at home, instead of spending the night with the same group of friends that I typically do, then I should not feel the need to explain myself to anyone else. Of course, I should be considerate of others and try to provide some explanation or notice, but I should not let myself feel obligated to live up to the demands or standards of others as those feelings can be unhealthy.

And perhaps our choices would seem much easier if our decisions did not offend people so easily. Nevertheless, they are our decisions, and we are the ones who have to face the consequences of them… good or bad. Therefore, based on what we know is best for us, it is very important that we are able to make the decisions we need to, with a reasonable amount of comfort.

You are the captain of your vessel, and if you fail to define your desired course in life, or act in ways that will bring you closer to your desired destination, well then you are not really acting as the captain of your ship, are you?

Find strength within your ability to make the choices that are important in your life today.

Questions to consider:

How often do you find yourself defending or explaining your choices to others?

Why is it so important to defend or explain ourselves to others?

How does our ability to “live our life without apology,” contribute to our level of freedom?

For further thought:

“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” ~ Steve Maraboli

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A Life Not Lived To The Fullest Is The True Tragedy Of Life

“The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live.” ~ Norman Cousins …

A life not lived to the fullest is the true tragedy of life. The older I get, the more I am convinced that the true waste of our lives is shirking from difficulty and pain, avoiding risks, failing to give of our love, and refusing happiness. Death cannot diminish the potential we possess to live life to the fullest… only we can do that… by choosing to let the fire within us die while we walk this earth.

I will experience pain in my life; someday I will face death; others will hurt and disappoint me, or cause me suffering and grief. But none of these things mean that I have to waste my life, nor do I have to spend my time trying to avoid this pain. Doing so only limits my ability to experience life to the fullest and to share my love and strength with others around me.

How much of my life has been defined by the things I have not dared to do? How many years have I wasted avoiding risks and opportunities? Has my desire to avoid pain enhanced my life, or has it sabotaged my potential for growth, understanding, and living life to the fullest? In the end, it will not be death that will rob us of our life… it will be us choosing to be little men.

Choose to live big today.

Questions to consider:

Why do we fear death? How does this fear play a part in our avoidance of pain?

How can pain and difficulty help us to learn and to grow?

In what ways does hiding behind walls limit our abilities and suffocate the life we have within?

For further thought:

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ~ Helen Keller

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