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Everyday Enlightenment

1

“There are four little ways to quickly expand your personal freedom: Live as if you have nothing to prove, nothing to defend, nothing to get, and nothing to hide.”

2

“We can easily be hurt by the words and actions of others. When we are, the hurt can get out of hand, sometimes leading to a depression. Is there another way to respond? Yes! When you find yourself in this situation, call on the ‘Helpful Twins’. One says, “Don’t take this too seriously.” The other chimes in “Don’t take this personally.” The twins will help you respond to hurtful comments and actions from others when you’re starting to take an emotional nosedive. The ‘Helpful Twins’ are always ready to serve you. Please, call on them!”

3

“Giving thanks is the easiest way to be happy. Give thanks for yourself, your loved ones, your opportunities, and the great gift of life in this amazing universe. See and appreciate the many blessings you receive each day. Know that each day you are a blessing to others.”

4

“There are so many people who help by giving us encouragement. For a moment, honor those people in your thoughts and then, if you're moved to do so, tell them how much you appreciate their support. By expressing appreciation, you will be happier and they will be happier.”

5

"When we resist what we can't change, we take a double hit. The first hit is from our disappointment when things don't work out as we desired or expected. The second hit is from the suffering we experience when we resist the way things are. Giving up resistance takes away the second hit and reduces the duration of our suffering. Give up resistance to what you can't change and watch your happiness grow."

6

“Humans can’t help making up stories about everything. If the stories are positive, happiness grows. If they’re negative, unhappiness gets a foothold. Notice how
your stories affect you, including the stories you tell about yourself, others, your relationships, and life. Are your stories making you happy or unhappy? If unhappy, change your stories to more positive ones. This will improve you, your relationships, and your life.”

7

“Putdowns are ways we diminish ourselves and others. Now, why would we want to live that way when we could lift ourselves and others up? Stop the putdowns and watch happiness grow in you and others.”

8

“To achieve success in life, seven virtues will serve you well. They are: Hard work, determination to succeed, learning from your mistakes, quick recovery from failure, patience, the ability to get along with others, and, most of all, keeping a positive attitude. Cultivate these virtues and then watch your life change for the better."

9

“Disappointments arise when life fails to conform to our ideals, desires, or expectations. Disappointments can make us angry, depressed, and not very nice to be around. When we fall into a negative emotional reaction to a disappointment, we can lose our balance and the will to move forward. One of our major tests of character is how we respond to disappointments. We pass the test when we’re able to pick ourselves up and continue on. We fail the test, when we wallow in self-pity and lethargy. Are you passing the test? If you are, congratulations! If you aren’t, what could you change in your thinking that could make a positive difference?”

10

“Creativity is a gift we can cultivate. What are your four leading qualities? Do you include ‘creative’ as one of them? If not, you’re unlikely to think of yourself as a ‘creative person’. Since your identity is a story you make up and tell repeatedly, add ‘creative’ to the story you tell about yourself. It will give you direct access to an important question: ‘What is the creative thing to think and do here?’ When you ask yourself that question, your mind will gladly supply creative ideas.”

11

“We know from experience how hard it is to be around people with negative attitudes. We know from experience how nice it is to be around people with positive attitudes. Which group are you in? If you’re in the ‘positive attitude’ group, celebrate yourself! If you’re in the ‘negative attitude’ group, just as an experiment, take on a few positive attitudes to discover how it changes you and your relationships.”

12

“Having fun is part of what makes us happy. What fun have you had lately?
Is it time to have some? Where, what, when, and with whom?”

13

“There are people who actively discourage us from pursuing our dreams. If we believe what they say, we lose a wonderful possibility. What’s that? Showing them that we were right and they were wrong.”

14

“Achieving control is one of the key games of social life. Take some time to notice how people try to gain control by being right and proving others wrong. As you watch, you may feel amused unless you suddenly realize that you’re one of the controlling ones. If you are, what changes come to mind?”

15

“Becoming a good memory for others is one of the ways we measure the quality of our lives. Are you becoming a good memory for someone? If so, your life has already attained great meaning.”

16

“Indifference is showing little or no interest in the work, achievements, or ideas of another person. If you have experienced indifference from someone, you know how it hurts. So, choose to be a part of the group that shows interest. It will make others feel great knowing there’s at least one person who cares.”

17

“A tense brain and an over-committed life can only do harm in the long run.
Seek balance. Try to ride life without falling down.”

18

“In relationships, saying everything that’s on your mind will create lots of arguments, hurt, and regret. Try exercising judgment about what you say. Hold back thoughts that would hurt or discourage others. Express thoughts that create harmony, support, and love.”

19

“In a loving relationship, when you get an urge to hug, kiss, or express your love in words, don’t hesitate. Do it! It will make you feel wonderful and whatever you do will nourish love.”

20

“Fear is an exaggeration about the worst possibilities. When you fall into a fear, know that what you think will happen has a very low probability of actually happening. By reducing your fears to their realistic size, you take back the freedom to enjoy life and take on new challenges.”

21

“’Like’ is a wonderful word. We think we’re supposed to love many people, but liking them is good enough. Think of the people you really love and then the people you like. Notice how liking stretches the size of your community of friends. Isn’t it freeing to know that you don’t have to love everyone? Liking them is enough.”

22

“Spending your life seeking the approval of others, you will hide who you really are. Not only that, but pretending to be someone else, you will attract the wrong people. They will be attracted to your image, but not to the real you. Instead, be yourself and you’ll attract the right people, those who will appreciate your true qualities.”

23

“Everyone we meet is a door into a different world. Take the time to ask people about their lives and you will discover fascinating things about them. Everyone has an interesting story to tell. In addition to telling your story, become a collector of other people’s stories. Those stories will enrich your life and expand your friendships.”

24

“On the whole, extroverts can’t help talking and introverts can’t help being quiet and reserved. They are born that way. For extroverts to make a change, they need to ask more questions. For introverts to make a change, they need to make more statements. In those ways, a new balance will be forged in communication. In that balance, new lines of understanding and affection will grow.”

25

“We don’t need to accomplish great things to make our lives count. All we have to do is to be kind.”

26

“If the person you love is also your best friend, you are truly blessed.”

27

“Think of a big problem you have at the moment and then ask yourself, ‘Seen from the perspective of my whole life, how big is this problem really?’ Keeping our problems at a manageable size makes our lives manageable.”

28

“When making decisions, first ask your mind to reveal your best option and then ask your heart. Your mind will add rationality and your heart will add feeling. When your mind and heart agree on a choice, it’s likely to be a good one.”

29

“Guilt and regret keep the past alive when, in reality, it’s already dead. Put the past in the past where it belongs and live in the present and into future. Restart your life as if it were beginning today!”

30

“If we are too sweet, giving compliments to others like desserts, people know something we fail to realize. They know that we are insecure and are looking for acceptance and love by giving compliments. ‘Don’t over do it’ is a principle that will keep your compliments in balance, not overdone, not underdone, but just right. Then you will attain a new kind of power--the power of balance combined with honesty.”

31

“People who consistently fail to keep their word lose something of great value--other people’s trust. Keep your word and your life will flourish.”

32

“The questions we ask have great power because the mind is obedient. It will try to answer the questions we ask. So, when making decisions, don’t just ask, ‘What is the right decision?’ But also ask, ‘What is the kind decision?’ ‘What is the wise decision?’ ‘What is the creative decision?’ By stretching the mind with these questions, it will supply many more possibilities to ponder.”

33

“Our egos are like balloons that inflate and deflate. When someone compliments us, our egos inflate, which makes us feel good. When someone criticizes us, our egos deflate, which makes us feel bad. Our reactions to compliments and criticisms are automatic, but there is a way to stop an ego deflation from turning into a freefall. It’s called “The Safety Net” and it goes like this. When your ego is deflating and you notice that your mood is turning sore, declare to yourself ‘I know I’m not perfect, but I am good enough’. This safety net will catch you before you fall into a terrible mood and ruin a perfectly good day.”

34

“Don’t you think that learning to like ourselves should be one of the goals of life? When we catch ourselves in the trap of not liking ourselves, we can escape by using the simple idea, “I like me!” If we said that to ourselves in the morning, at noon, and at night, miracles would happen. Why? We’d start noticing that there’s a lot about us that we like and even admire. We’d start noticing and appreciating our good qualities. When we learn to appreciate ourselves, we become one of our best friends. Imagine becoming one of your best friends, to the point where you could say with confidence, ‘I not only like myself, but I think I’m terrific!’”

35

“Lying in order to deceive others is one of the ways we seek control, thinking we will benefit. Yet, we pay a big price for lying. It makes us worry about getting caught and makes us feel guilty. When we fear getting caught and feel guilty, we lose a great treasure--happiness! Is lying worth the price we have to pay?”

36

“People who resist aging gracefully have to hide what they don’t want others to see. This makes living stressful when it should be peaceful. When we accept our age, we can relax and just be ourselves. Whew, what a relief!”

37

“Many people suffer from the pressures of over commitment. They take on too many commitments and some are huge. When commitments become that enormous, stress, anxiety, and unhappiness show up without warning. Why? Life has lost its balance. When we feel that imbalance is the time to ‘lighten the load!’ The simple awareness that our commitments need trimming can lead to a nice change. We might choose to cut out or reduce some of our commitments so the load we carry isn’t too heavy. This will create a more balanced life. When we can ride life without falling down, we know we’re living in balance. Living this way will make us and others happier.”

38

“Most people don’t regard themselves as being wise. To cultivate wisdom, ask the simple question, ’What’s the wise thing to think and do here?’ The more you ask this question, the wiser you will become.”

39

“Generosity adds light to the darkness of the world. Be a light bringer!”

40

“When you have a task to perform, instead of saying ‘I have to’, say ‘I get to’. That simple shift in your thinking will make you thankful for the abilities you have to accomplish the task.”

41

“A person who’s easy to be with is a pleasure to know. A person’s who’s difficult to be with is often a nightmare. To make other people happy, choose to be a pleasure not a nightmare. The good news? Not only will others like you better, but you’ll like yourself better.”

42

“The biggest fear of most people is not death, but the fear of disappearing. That’s why most religions have a ‘heaven’ for its devoted members. But, what’s wrong with disappearing? If we just disappear at death, we won’t even know that we’re gone. So, what’s the problem?”

43

“Being resigned is a way to avoid the fears, confusions, and hard work of change. But just think of the adventure we’re missing.”

44

“New love can be defined as a brief period of temporary imbalance, where we can’t see our beloved’s shortcomings and can easily see our beloved’s great virtues. In the blindness of love, we can act without thinking of the consequences, like a moth instinctively flying into a bright light. By thinking of consequences, we’re seeing the flow of current realities (not fantasies) into the future. Think of consequences, maintain your balance, and reap the rewards.”

45

”Many of us think our mates can read our minds. We believe that they know what we need, so we wait and wait and wait, but nothing comes. This will hurt our feelings, thinking we aren’t loved, which doesn’t help us or the relationship. So, here’s the news! Our mates can’t read our minds! Often, they don’t know what we need. So, here’s the second piece of news! Instead of waiting for what you need, hoping it will prove that your mate loves you, just ask for it. When you and your mate start asking for what you need, love will grow and your relationship will develop the capacity for endurance.”

46

"To achieve a nice emotional boost, recognize the truth of a simple idea. You are a miracle living on and within a miracle. In the whole universe, there will never be another person like you. Ever! You are special! Celebrate and honor your uniqueness.”

47

“When we’re down in the emotional dumps is a time to help others. Helping others in need helps us understand that other people have much bigger problems than we do. By serving others, we see our problems in a different light. Plus, helping makes us feel good, which pulls us out of the dumps. Oh, lucky day!”

48

“’It could be worse’ is an expression that helps us deal with problems. This may not seem to be much of a solution for dealing with our difficulties, but it beats getting depressed by a mile.”

49

“Scientific research has shown that, to be happy, we need to be touched about 7 times each day. Have you achieved your quota today? If not, it’s time to do some hugging! If there’s no one around to hug, put your arms around yourself and squeeze. Who says we can’t hug ourselves?”

50

”Hope keeps us focused on the future and unrealized possibilities. This is in contrast to despair, which can keep us in bed. Doesn’t hope seem like the better option?”

51

”Trying to live at a speed faster than everyday life insures the achievement of three things--frustration, stress, and unhappiness. What’s the lesson? Live in pace with life, which means slow down and be patient.”

52

“Research has shown that, even into advancing age, many people don’t like themselves. To fight the trend, let’s make learning to like ourselves one of our life goals, so when we’re in our seventies we can tell others, “I like myself more than a hot fudge sundae.”

53

“There is no inherent meaning to life. This is not cause for depression, but celebration. Why? We get to make up the meaning of our lives. Where do you begin? Make up four personal missions, which you know will give meaning to your life. When you’re clear about your missions, you’ll discover the reason you were born.”

54

“We are all judges. We start each day with two imaginary paper bags. One has the word “Good” written on it. The other has “Bad” written on it. All day long we’re putting our judgments in one of the two bags. By the end of the day, which of your bags is fullest? What does this teach you?”

55

“If we fail to put baking powder in our cake mix, it will fall flat. If we fail to add a positive spirit to our moods, we will fall flat.”

56

“We know there are no guarantees in life, but couldn’t someone give us the odds?”

57

“’Maybe’ is a wonderful word. Why? Because it keeps doubt alive. When doubt is dead, then certainty reigns, which can take the form of extremism. You’ll never hear an extremist say ‘maybe’, but you will hear the word ‘Truth’ a lot. ‘Maybe’ keeps options open. Extremism never does.”

58

“People who procrastinate experience a lot of stress and guilt. Stress and guilt easily give birth to unhappiness. Is there a way out of this downward spiral? Yes, it’s simple. If the task is something that must be done, don’t hesitate, just do it! To get started, use the simple practice, “One, two, three, GO!”

59

“Stupidity is not learning from our mistakes, so we repeat them over and over again.” 

60

“A day off from looking at ourselves in the mirror will improve anyone’s mood. Try it!”

61

“Wrinkles are nature’s way of saying, “Only change is permanent.”

62

“Perfectionists accomplish a lot because they work so hard to reach perfection. Since perfection cannot be reached, they often feel like failures. Feeling that way, they fall into self-criticism and despair. That’s why it’s hard to find a happy perfectionist. So, what’s the lesson here?”

63

“Tattoos may make us look interesting, but they’ll never make us into a good person. Why? Tattoos are art created on the surface. Becoming a good person is art created in the deeper places of the mind and heart.”

64

“Many people believe that art is what other people do. Yet, when we think about it, we’re all artists. Why? Each of us is the most important art work that we’ll create in our lifetimes. How is your art work going?”

65

“A highly successful businessman once said, ‘There are two things you need to know about achieving success. The first is to work hard! The second is to work hard! Nothing is achieved without a good amount of sweat.’”

66

“Pride can be a good thing, but it can also turn against us. It turns against us when we're too proud to ask others for help to solve a financial problem, an emotional problem, or a health problem. There are times when our pride becomes so strong we avoid seeking the help we need and, instead, we withdraw into isolation. The problem with isolation is that our negative stories have a way of growing darker when we're alone. When our stories get that dark, we pull back even more until we reach a crisis point. This can produce a financial meltdown, a physical or emotional breakdown, and even suicide. Too proud to ask for help, our lives spiral down into the abyss. When our lives have reached that far into the darkness, we need to say to ourselves, ‘Forget pride. Ask for help, now’. And then, ask!”

67

“My grandfather used to say, ‘Milk a cow with warm hands and you’ll be loved. Show warmth toward others, same result.’ And then he’d smile, pat me on the head, and then ask, “Is your heart warm enough to create love?”

68

“In relationships, complaints are the source of many arguments and hurt feelings. Instead of complaining when you want someone to change, turn your complaint into a request for a change. Start by saying, ‘I have a request to make’ and then make your request. This doesn’t guarantee a positive response, but it makes it more probable. When a couple agrees to use this approach, they will develop more harmony in their relationship, more love, and more change.”

69

“We think of wealth in terms of money, but money is only one form of wealth. If we can breath, if we can laugh, if we can walk, if we can look up at night into our universe with all its beautiful galaxies, stars, and planets, if we are loved and love others, if we have shelter and something to eat--that is all part of our wealth. Money is certainly important, but notice the many other forms of wealth that you possess. What abundance! When we start feeling sorry for ourselves because we’re not as financially rich as we’d like to be, we can stop and think to ourselves, “I’m life wealthy!” This simple idea will wake us up to the fact that, while we’re not money rich, we are life rich! We are life wealthy!”

70

“Of all the creatures on our beautiful planet, we are not the best, but only one of many.”

71

“Here are a few questions to ask while dealing with fear: Is the action that’s arousing my fear worth taking? How much am I exaggerating the danger? What is the worst that could happen and am I willing to accept that? If I can’t reduce the size of my fear and I can’t accept the consequences if it came true, can I marshal more courage? If you can’t shrink your fear down, can’t accept the worst consequence, and can’t increase your courage, it’s wise to avoid doing the thing you think you should do. There is no pride lost in saying “No! Just like “yes”, “no” serves us.”

72

“Creating conflict is as easy as burning toast. Creating peace is as difficult as standing on your head. Why take the easy way when the difficult way produces a bigger blessing?”

73

“Dogs will give acceptance, support, love, and service without wanting anything in return. What do dogs know that we don’t?”

74

“Extreme independence arises from the fear of dependence. Fear of dependence arises from the fear of being weak. Fear of being weak arises from the fear of being little. Fear of being little arises from the fear of being a child again.”

75

“When we balance our need for independence with our need for dependence, we create two useful things. Independence creates the freedom to give love to others. Dependence creates the freedom to accept the love of others. When independence and dependence are in harmony, relationships work to everyone’s benefit.”

76

“Wisdom is the ability to stay in balance when life is trying to knock us off our feet.”

77

“Envy is the desire to have what others have, which leads to unhappiness. Wisdom is being thankful for what we have already, which leads to happiness. Which do you choose?”

78

“In life, it’s wise to carry an imagery roll of duct tape. Why? When you’re in a situation where speaking your mind is unwise, take an imagery piece of duct tape, place it over your mouth, and then just listen.”

79

“When you’re in the pits and can’t get out, try using the mental ladder, ‘Relax, everything is impermanent!’ If that doesn’t work, call for help. A friend might be able to pull you out.”

80

“There are two calls of nature. One is the urge to be in the midst of nature’s beauty. The other call of nature, which becomes more urgent as we age, is biological. Enjoy answering both calls because they’re bound to make you happy.”

81

“We don’t know whether praying for others does any good, but it makes us feel that we are trying to help. That probably beats doing nothing at all.”

82

“When we have the three ‘somethings’, life becomes richer. What are the ‘somethings’? Something to do. Something to love. Something to look forward to.”

83

“Filling our lives with things that don’t really count is like opening a gift box to discover there’s nothing inside. Instead, fill your life with things that count, like spending time with your loved ones, helping others, learning new things, and creating. When we fill our lives with things that count, then our lives count.”

84

“People can suffer from holding onto life too tightly. Some people hold onto the past with white knuckles. Some hold on to others for fear of losing them. Some hold on blindly to their beliefs, for fear of being swayed by an argument that might lead them to change. Some hold onto their youth by trying to look and behave like a younger person. Some parents control their children so blindly that it’s hard for the children to develop their individuality. These are just a few examples of how we can grip life too tightly. In eastern thought, this would be called ‘attachment’. When we catch ourselves in a damaging attachment, we can embrace the simple idea, “Loosen the grip!” Holding life gently still gives us a degree of control but without so much worry, stress, and unhappiness.”

85

“We’re born, we grow old, and then we die. We know this is true, although it might be a bit depressing until we think about the life span of some insects. Some live for only one day; whereas, we can live into our nineties. What a gift we’ve been given! We have the time to create a beautiful life. So, how is your creation going?”

86

“People who avoid taking reasonable risks lose the opportunity for interesting adventures. People who take very big risks can lose their lives. Is there a risk level in the middle, where we can have adventures without getting killed? Following the ‘middle way’ in life may be the answer.”

87

“A spiritual teacher was asked by a student, ‘I’d like to be happier. What should I do?’ The teacher smiled and then said, “It’s simple. Spend your time with happy people who will elevate your spirit and avoid the unhappy ones who will bring you down.”

88

“Trying to be perfect is like trying to put an elephant in a jar. Both are impossible.”

89

“A young woman asked her grandma, ‘What are three things I should do to have a happy life?’ Without hesitating her grandma said, ‘Learn to like yourself, make time for fun, and pay attention to those you love.’ The young woman asked, is there a fourth thing? Her grandma thought for a minute and then said, ‘Don’t waste your time doing things that don’t matter’.”

90

“By appreciating the diversity of age, gender, race, religion, sexual preference, and culture all around us, we honor the nature of life. Why? Because diversity is the nature of life.”

91

“’Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ is still the best maxim for living. Well, there might be another useful one, like “If you are nasty and mean, then what you give comes back to bite you. If you are helpful and kind, then what you give comes back to hug you’.” It all boils down to one idea: ‘How we treat others is how they will treat us.’”

92

“When we fight aging, it just laughs because it knows it’s going to win.”

93

“As we age, it’s a good idea to increase our sense of humor in proportion to our loss of memory.”

94

“We feed problems to the mind. It loves them anytime of the day or night, chewing on them endlessly and digesting them in its own good time.”

95

“A basket full of love is the very best present to give and receive.”

96

“When your birthday rolls around, here are two ideas to make it happier. First idea: On your birthday, instead of thinking ‘birthday’, think ‘rebirthday’. Then consider what change you’ll make within yourself so you feel reborn.” Second idea: On your birthday, think about the good things that wouldn’t exist in the world if you’d never been born. Seeing the good things you’ve added to life, it will be easy to celebrate yourself!”

97

“Some people seem to enjoy passing along bad news that they’re heard from others, seen on TV or their computers, read in the newspapers, or heard on the radio. Does receiving bad news make others happy? No! So, why give them news that brings them down? When we quit spreading bad news, we reduce the darkness. When we spread good news, we increase the light.”

98

Most people are unaware of the fact that they live inside of metaphors. Some people live in the metaphor that ‘life’s a proving ground’. Some live inside the metaphor that ‘life’s a battleground’. Some live inside the metaphor that ‘life’s a can of worms’. And some are guided by the metaphor, ‘life’s a bowl of cherries’. What’s your guiding metaphor and how does it affect they way you think about yourself, your relationships, and life? If changing your metaphor improved your life, what new metaphor would you choose?”

99

“Life is about solving one problem after another until we reach the problem we can’t solve. Death!” So enjoy the problems you have the chance to solve now.”

100

“Some people don’t like their noses, some don’t like their feet, and some don’t like their hair. These problems can become so big, they lead to despair. Is there another way to be, another way to care? Yes! Forgive your nose, forgive your feet, and please forgive your hair.”

101

“When we have an urge to eat something we know is bad for us, it’s wise to imagine the last bite of food we’ll eat, not the first bite. When we focus on the last bite, we’ll be in a better position to evaluate the consequences of our action. How much fat and sugar will we consume? How guilty will we feel? By focusing on the last bite, we gain a bit more control over our eating habits, and a bit more control is better than no control at all.”

102

“There are people who love to shop, just love it to death. Or should we say, ‘Love it to debt,’ because buying can pile on a large amount of it. Is there a way to control this buying urge? Yes, if someone really wants to change. It’s the ‘Shopper’s Brake’ and it goes like this. When you are tempted to buy something that will add stress to your financial situation, ask yourself this simple question, ‘Do I really, really, really, need this?’ This question will create a precious moment of sanity, so a truly free choice can be made.”

103

“Love is shown in little ways, like sharing one of our gloves on a cold day’s walk or giving a neck massage without being asked. Big gestures of love capture our attention, but little acts of love count just as much. Notice the little ways that your mate shows love for you. Express your love in little ways. Over time, loving in little ways helps to make love deepen and grow.”

104

“Are their curses in life? You bet. How about a small bladder and no restrooms nearby? How about being too small to take carnival rides? How about having a car but no driver’s license? Worst yet, how about envy?”

105

“People who suffer from low self-esteem often use two strategies to feel bigger so they can feel better. They put down others with criticisms or they try to compensate for feeling little by bragging about themselves. It’s important to understand these dynamics, so we know that how they behave is a cover-up and is not about us. It’s about them and the problems they’re trying to solve for feeling so little on the inside. We can feel compassion for them when we understand this.”

106

“A good friend is one of life’s great gifts. A good friend consoles us in times of trouble and celebrates us for our achievements. A good friend is faithful and caring. A good friend doesn’t waver in devotion. Even when that friend is not at our side, we still feel the helpful presence and support. If you have a friend like that, you are blessed.”

107

“When we don’t listen, we don’t learn.” 

108

“When we feel an impulse to attack others is the moment when we also have the choice to reach out to them, to communicate with them, and to understand them. Through our choices, we shape the character of the social world around us.”

109

“People who spread negative gossip around are like snakes striking and injecting their venom. Why do people do that? Some enjoy the drama of spreading bad news, some enjoy hurting others, some are seeking revenge, and some love to watch relationships crumble. Imagine a world without gossip. Be one of the people who helps to create that kind of world.”

110

“We don’t need to move mountains to make our lives count. Sometimes, the smallest effort can make a difference. For example, a single kind word can turn someone’s sad frown into a smile.”

111

“When we believe in ourselves, we draw together hidden abilities that serve us like good friends.”

112

“Change yourself until you become someone you will cherish spending time with. When that happens, life will attain a new kind of fullness.”

113

“For some people, accepting themselves as they are gives birth to a transformation of being.”

114

“Become a graceful loser to become a graceful person.”

115

“Comparison is competition in disguise.”

116

“Cynicism is a cleaver way to do nothing and feel superior about it.”

117

“In this moment, happiness is already present in you. Just notice it.”

118

To be on the side of angels, aspire to help others while trying to achieve success.”

119

“If one person loves you, your life is meaningful. If you love someone, same thing.” 

120

“Meaning is what you invent so you know why you’re breathing.”

121

“Add playfulness to your mind. When your mind is playful, living is a lot more fun.”

122

“To change your mind, change your judgments.”

123

“What is put off today will be bigger tomorrow. Tackle a task while it’s small enough to wrestle to the ground.”

124

‘In relationships, don't just listen to what people say. Watch what they do.”

125

“Sweat is the oil that leads to creative accomplishments.”

126

“When you hear lots of laughter between two people in love, you can be assured that the relationship is a happy one. So, what will help to make a relationship last? Never stop laughing together.”

127

“It’s as hard being around a perfectionist as it is being one.”

128

“When we become resigned to our fate, we lose the capacity to change it.”

129

“When you reach the point in a loving relationship where you both know you’re going the distance, then your love for each other will become deeper and stronger.”

130

How we love is as important as who we love. We know that we are loving well when the person we love is flourishing from the support, appreciation, encouragement and respect that we offer as our love gifts. How well are you loving? How well are you being loved?

131

Why would nature give us the capacity to cry if we weren’t supposed to use it? Crying is an important part of life because it helps us overcome loss, disappointment, frustration, and hurt. Crying helps us to release stress, which helps us recover our balance. Put yourself in harmony with nature--When you’re sad, let the tears flow.

132

Relationships will always include a fair amount of misunderstanding. Why? Because our interpretations of events, behavior, and motives are imperfect. Instead of feeling hurt or angry when you’re misunderstood, communicate to clear up the misinterpretations. When you’re got those cleared up, understanding will suddenly appear and harmony will be restored.

133

When you’ve made a mess of things, pause for a second to recognize something you know is true--everyone screws up. In fact, we could say, “Life is one screw up after another, with brief pauses of ‘getting it right’ to cheer us up.” Well, it’s probably not that bad, but it does make a point. Screwing up is part of life. The best way to handle a screw up is to acknowledge it and, if someone was hurt by it, to apologize. Be willing to forgive yourself and others for screwing up and life will become easier for everyone.

134

What makes being wrong alright is admitting it.

135

Nature can be a healer. When we’re confronted with difficulties that overwhelm us, nature can give us the perspective to regain our balance. What spot in nature could become a healing place for you?

136

Meditating can make life richer and easier. Here is a simple meditation practice to use. Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and with every inhalation of your breath say to yourself, “re”. When you exhale say to yourself, “lease.” If your mind wanders, bring it back to “re-lease” as your anchor. Using this simple practice at least 10 minutes a day (even at work) will reduce your level of stress and help you let go of problems that have a tight grip on your mind.

137

When you’re angry with someone, instead of letting your anger out, take a few minutes to get inside of it. What is the source of the anger? Is it disappointment, hurt, or not getting your way? Is the anger getting at an underlying problem in the relationship that needs to be openly discussed? When you get inside of your anger, it will teach you something about yourself and about your relationship. Now, who would have thought that anger could be one of our teachers?

138

Being ordinary is as easy as losing our keys. All we have to do is continue our automatic emotional and behavioral responses to others, ourselves, and events in our life. When we maintain those automatic patterns, we’re behaving like machines. People who do that are ordinary, which means that most of us are ordinary. In contrast, being extraordinary is living with awareness of our automatic patterns so we can break out of them by making more conscious and freer choices.

139

Tombstone epitaph: “I wish I had said ‘I love you’ more often.” Why do we have to die to become aware of such a simple and meaningful way to express and cultivate love? Say “I love you” often and watch your life and the lives of others blossom.

140

What is our greatest power? It’s not wealth or power, but our capacity to choose. It gives us the ability to change directions, to create new works, to help others, to overcome difficulties, and to be an individual rather than part of the horde. At this moment, you have choices you haven’t exercised. What are they and how could they improve your life?

141

Watch a large tree in a wind storm as it’s whipped from side to side. How does it survive such powerful forces? Flexibility and deep roots. How flexible are you and how deep are your roots for surviving your life storms?

142

Most people resist unsolicited advice. When we give unwanted advice, people are annoyed so they don’t really listen. This makes our effort to help them futile. When you are compelled to give advice to others, first ask them if they want it. If they do, they are less apt to be annoyed and more apt to listen. When they don’t want your advice, resist the temptation to get angry. Instead, just say, “I understand.” Giving them the choice to say “no” is part of their freedom.

143

Many people receiving advice are put off by it because they interpret it as “criticism”. Why not think of it as another piece of information to consider?

144

For centuries, women were regarded as inferior to men. Who spawned that belief? Why men of course. Why did they propagate the idea that women were inferior? To maintain their privileges and power. Now, in this age of greater gender equality, women are showing that, not only are they equal to men, but, in some fields, they outshine them. Across the globe, women are demanding equality and men are resisting them. An important revolution will occur when women win their equal rights and men see the benefits of unleashing the talents and contributions of the women they oppressed. That time will come because, why it’s possible to stop a social movement, social change is an unstoppable force, like water that carves a path through mountains and creates canyons.

145

Many people resist the idea that we are responsible for the warming of our planet. They hold onto beliefs that adamantly deny that we’re responsible while scientists are proving that we are. What serves humanity best, beliefs that make us feel good but have no basis in fact or facts that are verified by science? You choose. The fate of our planet depends on your answer.

146

Anger is a powerful emotion which is ignited by a childish desire to want our way. Angry people are hard to be around not only because they can be dangerous, but because they act like spoiled children. If you want to have an unhappy life, hang out with angry people. To have a happy life, avoid them.

147

When we become too rigid, we reduce our capacity for creativity and fun. When we’re too flexible, we reduce our capacity for order and planning. Since creativity, fun, order, and planning are essential ingredients for living the good life, seek to balance rigidity and flexibility within yourself. Living in greater balance, your life with flourish.

148

Have you ever had to endure the silent treatment after an argument? Well, it’s a power strategy to create advantage in a dispute. How is that advantage created? It's when we start feeling guilty, when we start feeling sympathy, and when we decide to surrender and say we’re sorry. We may know the other person is at fault, but we give in because we can’t take the silence any longer. It’s like a form of torture where we give in to stop the pain. Giving in may be necessary because the person using the silent treatment has the advantage of time. Sometimes, the silent treatment can last for a week or more. However, if you like the silence, do nothing and enjoy it. Do you use the silent treatment to get your way? If so, what would it take to give it up for harmony’s sake?

149

When we learn to respect ourselves, we gain access to a great power--the comfort of knowing that we are worthwhile. When we respect ourselves, we feel less compelled to seek the respect of others. This is a sweet kind of freedom.

150

People who feel sorry for themselves as a regular diet gain a heavy mind from all the negative thoughts they carry. “Poor me” is their mantra, but it doesn’t bring peace. It brings misery. When we quit feeling sorry for ourselves, our mind loses weight and we attain a beautiful lightness of being.

151

Nothing adds as much sweetness, fun, and laughter to life than having a playful mind. When the mind plays, light shines from everything we say and do. Let your mind play and become a beacon of light.

152

When we neglect our friends and family, we convey a feeling of indifference toward their needs, accomplishments, and aspirations. This indifference undermines respect and love. When we neglect ourselves, we show a lack of caring for our needs, accomplishments, and aspirations. This neglect undermines our self respect and love of self. Neglect is the first sign of life in decline. Has neglect of others or of yourself gotten a toehold in your life? If so, how will you change that?

153

Giving attention to another person is like handing them a gift. Attention shows that we care and caring is the companion of love. Thinking of the people in your life, which person is most in need of your attention? When and how will you give it?

154

Some people may kid us for being too nice, but being too nice is far better than being too mean. Nice people tend to succeed in life but mean people seldom do. So, take the kidding, and be as nice to others as you can. It will help you cultivate the good things of life.

155

A fool is a person whose life is teetering on the brink of disaster and who doesn’t notice the abyss.

156

One person may not be able to change the world, but that person can improve the world in small ways, like helping a neighbor or picking up litter on the street. If everyone did their small bit to improve the world, the world would change in a big way. What small thing will you do to make a difference?

157

Creating peace is a more important accomplishment than creating wealth. Creating peace helps the multitudes, while creating wealth usually benefits those who already have it. Where can you create peace in your life? When will you start?

158

Imagine an old man sitting on a park bench. You strike up a casual conversation with him and, at one point you ask, “You’ve lived quite a few years.” “Ninety-one,” he replies. “What’s one thing you’ve learned that you’d pass along to the younger generation?” you ask. He pauses to think and then gently touches your head and says something that surprises you. “Clean out the garbage you store up here.” What mind garbage would you discard?

159

A young man broke a rule in a monastery where he was staying as part of a spiritual retreat. He was sent to the head monk who explained why the rule he broke was important and then he said, “In this place, when people break rules, we give them two more chances to correct their behavior. If they break the same rule two more times, they are told to leave.” How often do we give people two more chances to learn from their mistakes? Would two more chances be a good principle to follow, not only for others, but ourselves?

160

“Don’t force it!” Sometimes we mess up our lives by forcing things too hard. It might be forcing an opinion, an outcome we want, a romance, or having our way. Forcing things too hard tends to create a backlash as others resist our force with theirs. As a life practice, “Don’t force it!” is a simple reminder to stop the pushing and to use a more gentle approach. Force tends to close things down, while gentleness tends to open things up.

161

Boundaries are important in life. They help us navigate the opportunities and challenges of living. Sometimes, the boundaries are socially imposed. At other times, they are self-imposed. When our boundaries become too restrictive they can undermine our personal growth, creativity, and happiness. At this time in your life, are there boundaries that are unduly restricting you? What will you do about it?

162

There is a difference between being firm and being hard. In dealing with others, being firm can convey concern and love. Being hard, on the other hand, conveys the need for domination and control. Being firm can strengthen a relationship, while being hard is likely to undermine it.

 

 

 

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