Kinder than is necessary. March 5, 2018
Excerpt from the book WONDER, by RJ Palacio
This is part of the graduation speech from the Director of the middle- school.

When you reflect on this past year, I want you all to look at where you are now and where you've been. You've all gotten a little taller, a little stronger, and a little smarter...I hope.
But the best way to measure how much you've grown isn't by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average - though those things are important, to be sure. It's what you've done with your time, how you've chosen to spend your days, and whom you have touched this year. That,to me, is the greatest measure of success. There's a wonderful line in a book by JM Barrie called, The Little White Bird...he writes "Shall we make a new rule of life...always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?"
Here the Director looks up at the audience. "Kinder than is necessary," he repeats. What a marvelous line, isn't it? Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.
Why I love this line, that concept, is that it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness.
What I want you, my students, to take away from your middle-school experience, is the sure knowledge that, in the future you make for yourselves, anything is possible. If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than necessary- the world would be a better place.
Learning to "Say No", February 22, 2018
Setting clear boundaries is an essential part of self-love. Saying no when we mean no, is an act of self-love that reflects that we respect ourselves and honor our own feelings.

Saying yes when we want to say no, not only erodes our self-love, but it inevitably builds resentment inside of us toward the very people we're trying to please.

Your practice this week is to reflect upon relationships with people at work, at home, with friends, and within your community - make a list of any place that you are saying yes where you would really like to say no. As you reflect on your list, consider the consequences of putting your needs on the back burner. Will it enhance the relationship or will it build resentment?
Learning to "Say No", February 22, 2018
Setting clear boundaries is an essential part of self-love. Saying no when we mean no, is an act of self-love that reflects that we respect ourselves and honor our own feelings.

Saying yes when we want to say no, not only erodes our self-love, but it inevitably builds resentment inside of us toward the very people we're trying to please.

Your practice this week is to reflect upon relationships with people at work, at home, with friends, and within your community - make a list of any place that you are saying yes where you would really like to say no. As you reflect on your list, consider the consequences of putting your needs on the back burner. Will it enhance the relationship or will it build resentment?
Purify - February 15, 2018
Sometimes we engage in activities or substances that we know are not good for us. Whether it's spending too much time on SCREENS, overdoing sugar,caffeine, or alcohol - we are trying to escape. These behaviors harm us both physically and or mentally. Often, by making the commitment to abstain or reduce these habits even for a week, we find the determination and motivation to make more lasting improvements.

Your practice for this week is to give up or substantially reduce one activity or substance that you know is detrimental to your well-being. Notice each day the empowering effect this courageous choice is having on your life.

Then, think of a special way to reward yourself for the week, and be proud for taking on this act of self-love!
Surrendering, February 7, 2018
When we resist anything, we are going against the normal flow of life. Imagine rafting down a river and fighting to make the raft go against the current. This is the futility of resistance. not only do we fail in our attempts to change what's happening, but we also exhaust ourselves in the process. By resigning our position as "Manager of the Universe", we become ready to receive the help we need.

When we surrender to our lives exactly as they are in this moment, things begin to change.Surrendering our own will opens up choices and options that were previously hidden from our sight.

Your practice is to take time to become more aware of what or whom you may be resisting in your life. Notice the amount of energy you spend trying to fix, control,or change the situation. What does the struggle rob you of? What does it cost you to hold on to your resistance?

Then ask yourself, "What thought, belief, or expectation would I have to give up in order to surrender my resistance? What action would I need to take in order to accept this situation exactly as it is?"

The next time you feel yourself resisting, breathe deeply and affirm that you needn't always insist that your own perspective and opinions are the only right ones and SURRENDER...
Excerpt from Debbie Ford
Count Your Blessings, January 30, 2018
Most of our discontent stems from our inability to appreciate what we already have. Without gratitude, we become trapped in an endless cycle of wishing and wanting life to be different. When we learn the art of counting our blessings, even life's simplest pleasures fill us with satisfaction and delight.

Gratitude is a choice. It is a state of being that's developed through practice. It unfolds when we choose to look at all we have, rather than dwelling on what we don't have. The more we develop the ability to appreciate even the small gifts in our lives, the easier this skill becomes. Gratitude is a self-generated gift we can give ourselves every day! And, when we start counting the small blessings in out lives, we automatically open ourselves to receive more.

Your practice this week is to look at all of the things in your life for which you are grateful. Be sure to include the things that you normally take for granted, like indoor plumbing, hot water from the faucet, how about your ability to see, hear, taste, and feel.

Do this practice for a week and watch new levels of love and appreciation fill your heart.

Excerpt from Debbie Ford
Best Year of your life - No more excuses - January 24, 2018
No more excuses. Maybe you've noticed that human beings are masters at inventing excuses for why we can't or don't have what we desire. The scariest thing about our excuses is that we often MISTAKE THEM FOR THE TRUTH! Your practice this week is to reflect upon one area of yopur life that you wish were different. Think about the reasons that you haven't been able to create the results you desire.

As you examine your list of alibis, allow yourself to see if the reasons are the truth, or simply excuses. Then ask yourself these questions?

*How long have I been using this excuse?
*What will my life look like in 1, 5, or 10 years if I keep using this excuse?
*If my life depended upon it, would I be willing to give up this excuse?

To have the best year of your life, all you need to do is become more committed to your vision than to your excuses!

Good luck!
Best Year of your life - Forgiveness, January 22, 2018
Resentments drain our vital energy. They act like a barrier around our heart, preventing us from receiving all of the love we desire. Holding on to our resentments restricts the amount of vitality and abundance we're able to receive. The mere mention of a person's name that angers us can ruin our mood and steal our joy. To find forgiveness, we must look for the wisdom that's hidden in the hurtful events of our past.

Once we receive the lessons of any upsetting experience, forgiveness unfolds naturally. Forgiveness lightens our hearts and liberates our souls.

Your self-love practice for this week is to think about someone you've been harboring a grudge against and allow yourself to notice the weight of carrying that resentment.

Next, allow yourself to see what it would feel like to be free of the weight of this grudge. Know that this practice is not for the person you hold the grudge against, you don't need to have any communication with them. This practice is for you! Surrender the weight of these negative feelings for self-love!

You may like to then think about what you've learned as a result of this experience. What wisdom do you now possess that you would never have gained if not for this person? How can you utilize this wisdom to enrich your life?

Allow this new awareness to soften your heart and help you continue to forgive.
Best Year of Your Life - Honor your physical body, January 15, 2018
Sometimes in our rush to take care of people, projects, and things we forget how sacred and precious our physical bodies are. But nothing can rob you of self-love faster than letting your body go unattended.
This weeks practice is to give attention to your beloved body in some way. Doing so will leave you feeling better about yourself, and will also ensure that you have the energy and resources to continue to take care of the people and projects in your life.

So let yourself tune into the state of your body, do an assessment of what it really needs. Maybe a chiropractic adjustment, a massage, a teeth cleaning, cleaning up your diet with more veggies and less sugar, spending time outdoors in fresh air, a walk, or maybe you just need some down time or rest.

Honor your physical body.
Excerpt from Debbie Ford
Best Year of your Life - Out with the old, create space for the new, January 8, 2018
It's difficult to clearly see what needs to be done when your environment is burdened with half-completed projects, unfinished to - do lists, old files, clothes you don't wear,etc

So take stock of clutter that drains your energy and distracts you from new opportunities. Select an area of your home to unclutter! What could you give away? What could you throe away? What are you holding onto that no longer serves you?

So, clean out the old and create space for the new!
Excerpt from Debbie Ford
The reality is that changes are coming...they must come. You must share in bringing them in. Change is scary, it's hard, it's needed. Sometimes it feels good, other times it feels bad. But one thing is for sure, it keeps on happening. Just when our life seems settled. it changes. We can't stop life. We can't stop aging. The world changes. Life moves on. However, there are always new things to do and learn. Change means we are always beginners in some ways. We need to ask for wisdom and courage. We receive it by listening, praying, and by meditating. When we ask, our Higher Power will teach us to be part of the good changes.

Action for the day: Today I'll think about the changes in my life. I've lived through a lot. I'll be okay when more changes come. I'll keep living, learning, and growing.

Excerpt from a web page
9/19/16 ANXIETY
Anxiety is the subtle and pervasive destroyer of our happiness. It depends upon our thoughts of past and future. It cannot exist in the present. In fact, anxiety is so pervasive in our culture that people often don't notice it until their mind becomes quieter and more present.

Each person has different sensations in the body that signal anxiety; the heart may speed up, breathing may become shallow, muscles may tense. each person also has different thoughts that accompany anxiety; "I'm no good at this", "this is a hopeless situation"," nobody likes me".

When you are able to recognize and observe episodes of anxiety, you will begin to see patterns, certain types of events or situations that are the seed from which anxiety begins and quickly grows.

It is important to learn to recognize anxiety in its earliest manifestations, and to develop tools to dispel it. As we see anxiety creeping in we need to turn the mind away from thoughts of the past and future and toward a wholesome practice such as deep breathing to bring us into the present moment. The breath can also move us into our bodies and get us out of our minds. In this way, we are not thinking thoughts in our minds but instead moving into our bodies.

Gradually we learn to detect and disarm our anxiety earlier. The habit patterns are weakened, and anxiety no longer has such a strong hold on us. One thing follows another in perfect order, and our worries and anxiety melt away.

Excerpt from " How to Train a Wild Elephant", by Jan Chozen Bays
Impatience, 9/12/16
When the mind voices impatience or the body betrays it, it can be helpful to ask the mind, "We're in a rush to get this over with so we can do what?" Typically the mind says, "So we can get onto the next thing to do". You then repeat the question. With each answer, keep asking, "Then what?" You come to see that the mind is in a rush to get to the end of this hour, this day,and by logical extension, to get to the end of the week, the end of the year... the end of life? As we rush, we have to remind ourselves that ultimately we are rushing toward the end of our life. Is that really what we want to do?

We also rush to get through tasks we consider boring or tedious, such as washing the dishes, so that we can get to the things we consider interesting or relaxing. when we learn to bring moment-to-moment mindfulness to all aspects of our life, then the activities we were in a hurry to finish become interesting.

Impatience is a form of anger, and underneath anger is fear. If fear can be named, you can begin to dissolve it. "What is the fear underlying impatience?

It is fear of there not being enough time. This is both an unrealistic and realistic fear. It is realistic because we never know when our life will end, and there are many things we want to experience before we die. Fear of not enough time is also unrealistic because time is the creation of our own mind. When we are able to quiet our mind, enter pure awareness, and match the flow of the events, TIME DISAPPEARS. The tranquility of the eternal opens, and we are at peace.

Excerpt from: How to Train a Wild Elephant, by Jan Chozen Bays
Connected for Life, 6-13-16
Do you ever find yourself pulling away from others, especially if you've experienced a crisis, loss, or deep disappointment? At times like these, it's even more important to remember that we need other people and we cannot thrive as human beings in isolation.

A man lost his wife to cancer and found himself wanting to be alone. In time he dropped out of his community and curtailed all of the activities he and his wife had shared for many years. He increasingly kept to himself. He quit socializing at work and returned straight home to an empty house. He turned down invitations from friends and co-workers. He spent his leisure time either watching television or working in his shop in the basement.

His contact with people dwindled until his friends became concerned that he might live out his life as a recluse. One friend decided to drop by and invite the man to dinner. The man accepted. After dinner, the two old friends sat in comfortable chairs by a warm fireplace. The friend extended the invitation and encouraged the man to share his pain with others. The man responded that he figured that he was better off not being around other people, who seemed to remind him of all he had lost. And, besides, it was just to difficult to get out anymore.

They sat in silence for awhile, watching the wood burn in the fireplace. Then the friend did a strange thing. He took the tongs from the rack, reached into the fire, and pulled out a flaming ember. He laid it down by ITSELF on the hearth. He still said nothing. Both men watched the red - hot ember slowly into a CRUSTY, BLACK LUMP. After some moments, the man turned to his friend and said " Thank you, I get the message, I do not want to turn into a crusty black lump. I'll be over for dinner again tomorrow."

We cannot survive in a healthy way by ourselves, in isolation from others.

The leaf needs the branch. The branch needs the trunk. The trunk needs the roots. And the roots need the rest of the tree. Just like the tree, we need connection to other people and beings. And it is in that connection that we find LIFE.

by Steve Goodier
Wherever a Lamp Goes, 5/15/16
Wherever a Lamp Goes

Wherever a lamp goes it sheds its light.
Wherever a flower goes it sheds its fragrance.
So also spread your love wherever you go.

Try to live your life like that.
Just love.
Wherever you go,
Just spread your love. Lust keep your candle of love going.
Wherever you find a candle unlit, light it up.
Get it going, everywhere.

There's no other way than that.
Remember this principle.
Hold onto this principle.
All answers lie with love.
Suffering is all that's left after losing love.

By: Swami Kripalu
Living in the Way, 5/9/16
Know the Sweet Joy of Living in the way

Live in joy, in love, even among those who hate.
Live in joy, in health, even among the afflicted.
Live in joy, in peace, even among those troubled.
Look within. Be still, free from fear and attachment.
Know the sweet joy of living in the way.

There is no fire like greed, no crime like hatred,
No sorrow like hunger of the heart, and no joy like the joy of freedom.
Health, contentment and trust are your greatest possessions,
And freedom your greatest joy.
Look within. Be still, free from fear and attachments.
Know the sweet joy of living in the way.

by the Buddha
Poses & Pints
Five Spots Remaining...
Final Happiness Principle
Make Happiness a Habit!

This principle is not from Russel Grieger, but from little ole me.

Here are some quotes about happiness from the Dali Lama:

1. Everyday, think as you wake up, Today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive. I have a precious
human life. I am not going to waste it.

2. Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events.

3. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of happiness.

4. The happiness of one person or nation is the happiness of humanity.

5. Smile if you want a smaile from another face.
Happiness Power Principle #4, 4/18/16
Attitude is Everything!

If you think about it, attitude adjustment is a special form of personal responsibility. Why? Because it says that I, not circumstances, determine my mood. We need to shed happiness-destroying attitudes in favor of attitudes that promote happiness, even in the presence of annoying life circumstances.

You create both your happiness and your unhappiness with your frame of mind. You can train your mind to focus on holding attitudes that are beneficial. After all, it is not so much the circumstances but the meaning you take from them that counts.

To implement Happiness Power Principle #4:

* accept that you largely control your own emotional state by your attitude.

* become a keen observer of your own thinking, so that you can quickly spot those attitudes that undercut your happiness

* actively convince yourself how irrational and self-defeating those attitudes that crush your happiness can be

* determine exactly what attitudes that you need to help you experience frequent and regular happiness

* review your happiness-producing attitudes daily to keep them alive and active

* develop a slogan or mantra that you can adopt to aid and abet your happiness

Excerpt from Russell Grieger Happiness on Purpose
Happiness Power Principle #3, 4-11-16
Decide To Be Happy

Think of the major decisions you've made that have affected the rest of your life: where you chose to go to college; who you chose to marry; whether or not to have kids; your career choice. Trace the impact off these decisions on your life. I'd bet that the ripples of these decisions are still visible today.

Here's another decision to add to that inventory: decide to be happy! I'll bet you've never sat down and consciously made that decision. The third principle, then, is to affirmatively make the decision to be happy. Set happiness as your goal. Determine to do whatever is necessary to bring yourself daily happiness. Commit to seek happiness throughout your life.

Take these steps:

* see every day as an opportunity to be happy

*earmark each morning those people and activities to be enjoyed

* pay conscious attention to enjoying each and every moment of pleasure

* set priorities so that the things you find important , that make you happy, do not take the backseat to things you find trivial

*fervently teach the value of happiness to everyone

Russell Grieger, Happiness on Purpose