Growth is our purpose, pleasure, our everything. Where there is growth there is life.

Where there is growth there is life. Growth is our purpose., pleasure, our everything.

Painting by Marion Wilson Kinnunen

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing. William Butler Yeats

In One Door Two Locks author Dr. Jim Muncy gives us the 7 keys to success.

Discernment: Judge the seed by the harvest.

Optimism: Be realistic, see what you can be.

Responsibility: Think results, not reasons.

Initiative: Favor action over endless contemplation.

Perseverance: Be persistent but not stubborn.

Purpose: Be unique, but not average.

Sacrifice: See wealth, not riches.

As a University professor teaching sales techniques he began to realize he wasn’t teaching the students how to succeed, and he couldn’t put his finger on what it was his students needed to be successful that they weren’t getting from school or anywhere else in life.

What he realized is the secret to success is not hidden or maybe it is hidden, but it is hidden in plain sight.

King Solomon said, “Wisdom calls aloud from the streets. She raises her voice in the public square. At the head of the noisy street, she cries out in the gateway to the city, she makes her speech. Doest not Wisdom call out? Doest not Understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand. Beside the gates leading into the city at the entrance, she cries aloud.”

Dr. Muncy decided he would teach a class on success but he didn’t know what to teach. He set up his class on success and told his students to find a book on success and read it. The only requirement was they had to read a book that would improve their life in some way. In class, they discussed what the students were learning through the books they chose.

Many of his students told him this was the best class they had ever taken. What he and the students explored and learned together changed his and their lives.

His students varied in age, accomplishments, sex, where they came from but despite the diversity in the students and the diversity in the books they chose to read, a few key concepts always emerged. These key concepts aren’t difficult to understand, or hard to discover or even hard to implement, but putting them to use changed these students lives.

We all have access to the books and it is up to us what we use, and what we ignore.

Growth and comfort do not coexist. Ginni Rometty

Getting everything we desire is not the road to happiness. Michelangelo perhaps the greatest artist in the world prayed, “Lord grant that I may always desire more than I can achieve.”

Dr. Muncy says there is only one way to enjoy life – to have a willing desire. There are two ways to be miserable one is to not desire anything. When we don’t desire anything we don’t sit around completely satisfied, we are bored and useless. The other way to be miserable is to have a desire but to be unwilling to do what it takes to reach that desire. Unwilling to take the steps needed to reach our desires creates frustration.

Happy is the person that dreams and is willing to pay the price to make them happen. We must be willing to work, risk, delay gratification, endure pain, and be willing to grow. According to Dr. Muncy growth isn’t a key to success, it’s the door.

The one thing we must be willing to do to achieve success in our lives, make our dreams come true, and reach our goals is growth. The real pain in desire is not that we want something but don’t have it. The real pain is that we want something but are unwilling to change to get it. If we can have everything we want with who we are we don’t want enough. As we grow we change into the person we must become to achieve whatever it is we desire. We will grow in knowledge. We will grow in wisdom. We will grow in understanding.

What happens when we grow? When we grow our life improves, our relationships improve, we find our passion and purpose, we make a difference. Too many of us feel “Success” is all about money. Money is important only as much as it is useful.

A rich character in a novel whose title I can’t remember says, “Money is a byproduct not a product in itself.” He likened it to the peel left over from his wife canning fruit. When he died he didn’t leave his wife any of the riches he’d accumulated, he left her an old house and a life to build. If he left her his wealth, would she have grown into the person that builds her own life?

We are all somewhere on our life path. Growth is always ahead for us. We are like the buds in Spring waiting to burst forth in leaf or flower. What growth is our life calling for? What change needs to be made? Is growth our purpose?

Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead. Morihei Ueshiba

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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One Door, Two Locks: The 7 Keys to Unlocking the Door to Success in All Areas of Your Life Paperback – 2009

5 out of 5 stars   3 reviews from |

Setting goals, changing plans. Perseverance and stubbornness.

Perseverance and stubbornness. Setting goals, changing plans.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Obstacles are put in your way to see if what you want is really worth fighting for. Unknown

We are all saddened in our household by the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. The closest we will get to see it is visiting sites showing pictures or visiting my son’s girlfriend’s sister and fiancé who got engaged in France this past New Year’s and see their pictures of Notre Dame Cathedral. As my daughter said this morning, “we all think the things we want to see will always be there.” In time the fire of 2019 will just be another part of Notre Dame’s history and the rebuild will be marveled at by those who visit it.

It’s a call to not put off till tomorrow what we can do today. Circumstances in our lives and the world can change in an instant. My oldest sister had an opportunity to visit the Holy Land a few years ago. The unrest made her and her sister in law cancel their trip.

I printed out a bucket list for couples last night from the blog Our Peaceful Family. If we don’t know where we are going how are we going to get there? As someone who doesn’t think I’ve planned enough, or set enough goals I applaud those who do. It is understood life happens while we are making plans. Our goals however we can keep even as our plans to achieve that goal are revised.

Seeing Paris has always been on my list. There was a plan once but that fell through. Another plan is in the works. This is one goal that may take almost a lifetime to achieve. It may be all the sweeter because going to Europe has been a goal of mine since High School.

You can’t just have faith and persistence, because if you don’t have adaptability, sometimes you’ll have faith and persistence turning into stubbornness where you’re envisioning and persisting in something that’s out of date. Tai Lopez

We need to hold onto our goals but our plans will change as life interferes with our plans. Perseverance is when we write our goals in concrete and our plans in sand. Stubbornness is when we write our plans in concrete and our goal in sand. If we just do the same thing over and over again without getting anywhere that isn’t persistence that is stubbornness. Persistence is when we have a goal we are working toward but the plans we made to get there aren’t giving us the desired outcome, so we change our plans.

It is persistence that gives us great rewards in life. We need persistence in relationships, marriages, getting through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes we need to change direction to reach our goals. Being stubborn and sticking with what isn’t working will not get us to our goal. This is where we need discernment to know if we are giving up on something we shouldn’t, or changing course is exactly what we need. Knowing when we are at this crossroad may be the biggest challenge of our life.

There are people who have persevered when everyone thought they should change course and reached their goal. Other people changed course and reached their goal. We need to be strong enough to accept the consequences of whatever choices we make.

Yesterday a discussion on the radio was of people who owned stock that reached heights they didn’t think it would. People were recounting how they sold that stock long before it reached its high. There are stories on the other side too, people hold onto stocks too long.

We make decisions in our life, and we have to be okay with our decisions. We have to figure out when we are persevering and when we are being stubborn. Do we turn right or left? Sometimes the cost of change is great, other times the cost is small. There is always a cost we must be willing to pay. It doesn’t matter what the opportunity is, there is an opportunity cost.

We regret what we don’t do more than what we do. Can we be bold, courageous and move toward our goals. Do we know what our goals are? Are we persevering, or being stubborn?

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other. Walter Elliot

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Did things happen the way we think they did? Is our memory reliable?

Is our memory reliable? Did things happen the way we think they did?

Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events. Albert Einstein

We remember what we remember because it happened just the way we remember it. Except that doesn’t seem to be the truth. Last night at Toastmasters I told a couple of stories from my childhood I believe to be true.

When the Shell Lake massacre happened in August of 1967 my siblings and I met a man in a light blue car on a trail untraveled by anyone but us. The killer at that time was still on the loose, the RCMP was on a manhunt, and the killer was reported to be driving a light blue car.

In my memory, we picked up the pitchforks on our hay rack, ready to defend ourselves if the man in the light blue car stopped. Is it really true that we picked up the pitchforks? Or has my memory embellished this, did we really do nothing and just watch in horror and thankfulness when he passed without stopping? Did we worry about Mom because the only place that trail took you was to our home? I don’t remember being worried about Mom, or coming home from getting our hay. I only remember meeting a light blue car where we never expected to meet anyone.

The man in the light blue car stopped at my parent’s house and talked to mom and told her he was taking soil samples. She told him our neighbor’s son had his gun trained on him with orders to shoot if he came toward the house.

Studies show it is much easier to plant false memories than we think. Hillary Clinton once famously claimed she had come under sniper fire during a trip to Bosnia in 1996. “So, I made a mistake,” she said of her false memory. If she could make a mistake like that, what about our own memories?

We don’t know how many of us are reliving false memories. We know therapists have made their clients believe they were sexually molested when they weren’t. People have been convicted because of eye witness accounts that were not true. Our false memories can be very detailed. We can deliver our false account confidently and emotionally. We aren’t lying because we believe what we are saying.

There is no memory or retentive faculty based on lasting impression. What we designate as memory is but increased responsiveness to repeated stimuli. Nicola Tesla

We may think that when eye witness accounts don’t match that someone is lying.  They are telling their side of the story. This isn’t the same as telling the truth and only the truth. “Just the facts ma’am,” may not actually be possible.

Walt Harrington a former reporter for the Washington Post Magazine, now a professor of literary journalism the University of Illinois, once said, “Truth is a documentary, physical reality, as well as the meaning we make of that reality, the perceptions we have of it.”

A true story is always filtered through the teller’s take on it.

The mind and its memory do not just record and retrieve information and experiences, but also infer, fill in gaps, and construct, wrote Bryan Boyd in On the Origin of Stories. “Episodic memory’s failure to provide exact replicas of experiences appears to not be a limitation of memory but an adaptive design.”

Narrative, as Barry Siegel director of UG Irvine’s Literary Journalism Program, explains, shapes meaning and order out of an existence that is otherwise just angst and chaos. This is one takeaway that nonfiction enthusiasts might consider when thinking about the intersections between stories and memory. There is harmony in both.

How much of what we remember about an event actually happened the way we remember it, and how much of what we remember is colored by the emotions surrounding the event? Do we reconstruct the event to make ourselves feel more heroic, hurt, and betrayed? As we retell the story does it get bigger in our mind?

Our mind tries to make sense of whatever is asked of us. People who have had their right and left brain hemispheres severed make up facts that each side of the brain appears to accept as true.

Patients with certain brain syndromes make up stories to replace the recent memories they don’t have. Could it be that all our memories are both bits and pieces of the truth and colored by our emotions and the meaning we put on that event? Could it be that relying on our memory is one of the most unreliable things we do?

It is curious to note how fragile the memory is, even for the important times in one’s life. This is, moreover, what explains the fortunate fantasy of history. Marcel Duchamp

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You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, an d 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself Paperback – Nov 6 2012

Help others by listening. We heal our relationships through listening.

We heal our relationships through listening. Help others by listening.

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we do something for someone else we make a deposit in the bank of life. Good deeds are remembered and come back to us.

One of the members of the Writer’s Group says he learns more from teaching English to his students than he did taking it in class. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn.

Being a mentor to someone is one of the ways we grow and develop as we help them grow and develop.

Encouragement is one of the ways we can help people. It doesn’t take much to offer an encouraging word or a hug. We can show enthusiasm for something they want to do. Can we help them see alternatives when something isn’t working out? Can we help them see the humor? We can encourage them to keep going when it seems progress is slow. We can be respectful of them, their efforts, their goals, their plans, and their dreams.

When we give feedback about things that need to improve we can sandwich it between things they do well, one negative for two positives.

When we listen to people we can be selfish listeners, unselfish listeners or judgmental listeners. We may have to ask our self some questions as we evaluate what type of listener we are. Do we resist the temptation to judge or bring our own world into the situation? To be effective unselfish listeners we must stay on the topic and theme the speaker introduced. We need to try and view the world through their eyes, see things as they are seeing them.

If we can understand what the person is saying and feeling without bringing our thoughts and feelings into the conversation we affirm them, we support them. If we start recounting how we had a bigger success or a bigger problem than the one they are recounting we make it about our self. We are being a selfish listener. If they feel judged they will regret confiding in us.

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn. I must do it by listening. Larry King

We need to create an atmosphere where people feel safe discussing their concerns. When we are present and actively listening to them they feel they are welcome to share with us instead of being made to feel they are intruding on our time.

We need to use an ideal amount of eye contact when listening. What is the ideal amount of eye contact? Too little or no eye contact conveys disinterest or noninvolvement. Constant staring may be threatening and produce defensiveness in the other person. The ideal amount is a comfortable amount of eye contact but with few breaks. Through eye contact, we convey our sympathy, empathy, and understanding. If we interrupt someone they may lose their train of thought.

It is a big compliment to be told we are a good listener. To live a happy life we have to have healthy and happy relationships. Good communication skills are crucial to building healthy and happy relationships. Good communication skills entail both being able to talk effectively and listen effectively. Listening may be the most important skill. We are told we have two ears and one mouth because we should listen more than we talk.

We know we can avoid many problems in life by communicating better. When we give someone our full attention and listen to what they are saying, we are communicating respect. When we are good listeners we are more likable. Listening creates goodwill.

Relationships get through storms not by talking, but by listening. The other person needs to feel heard. When they feel heard they feel understood. If they feel we really get their concerns healing can begin. Conflict arises when we are only listening to insert our next point into the conversation, instead of listening to understand what the other person thinks, feels or needs.

When we listen we should face the person speaking to us and maintain eye contact. We should be attentive and relaxed. We should listen with an open mind. Can we resist the urge to interrupt, even if something is not clear we should wait for the person to pause before asking a clarifying question? Any problem we have can be helped by listening, bad communication makes things worse, and good listening makes things better.

Are there relationships in our life that can be improved through better communication? Can we try to become a better listener?

When you talk you are only repeating what you know; but when you listen, you may learn something new. Dalai Lama

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The encouragement book: Becoming a positive person (A Spectrum book) Paperback – 1980

What do we want to accomplish in ten years? What dreams and goals can we bring to fruition?

What dreams and goals can we bring to fruition? What do we want to accomplish in ten years?

It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. Unknown

We all know how our story on this earth ends. Can this be one of our happiest, most creative, harmonious decades that lay before us?

What would it take to heal the breaches, heal the hurts, wounds, and make this the most loving decade of our lives? Is this the decade we discover our creative voice? Is this the decade we make our biggest contributions to the world? Is this the decade we encourage, help, mentor, or volunteer?

Is this the decade we get our finances in order and live in peace and plenty? Is this the decade we get our health concerns addressed, change our way of eating, get more exercise, and change our attitude to gratitude?

Is this the decade our family grows, we become parents, grandparents, or great grandparents? Is this the decade we meet one of the great loves of our life? We often use this expression for romantic relationships but I think we have more great loves in our life than just romantic relationships.

Some of our great loves haven’t been human. If you’ve never had a dog, horse or other pet, you’ve missed out; maybe this is your decade to experience something new.

The world with all there is to see beckons. I met my cousin and her husband last year at Niagara Falls, one of the places she had on her list to see and experience. Is this a decade of globetrotting?

Is this the decade you finally get to read the books you’ve always wanted to read? Do you long to ponder the big questions? Is this the decade to paint, quilt, write, sing, play a musical instrument, become a comedian, put your big idea out into the world, start a company, take up public speaking, dance, learn, or make something new?

If we have no enemy inside us, the enemy outside us can do us no harm. African Proverb

Ten years will fly by as fast or faster than the last ten. What will we do with it? When we look back in ten years will we say wow, we fit a lot in, or will we be thinking of what we wished we would have, could have, or should have done?

What do we want to achieve?

Do we want to be the best person we can be?

The best wife or husband we can be?

The best mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather we can be?

Do we want to encourage as many people as we can?

Is it our goal to be the change we want to see in the world?

Can we make a difference?

What do we have the world needs more of?

Who can we help, encourage, support, and mentor?

What kind of legacy do we want to leave?

What do we want to be said about us when we are no longer here?

What do we want to accomplish in ten years?

Use our energy to get on with life. Our past achievements don’t reflect our future potential. Unknown

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Goals: Setting and Achieving Them on Schedule Audible Audiobook


The power of groups. Creativity and balance. Love is still the most important thing.

Love is still the most important thing. Creativity and balance. The power of groups.

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Dolly Parton

The Writers Group didn’t disappoint. Hearing what others are achieving and have achieved is so inspiring. A woman came up to me and told me she liked my reading from last month. She’s written a book that is available on Amazon called Love the Journey.

I’ve used pictures of my art on my blog and I printed out some of my blog posts. Yesterday I read the International Women’s Day post. A gentleman I met for the first time was looking through my printed posts and asked if I sell my art. He collects art and is interested in purchasing a piece. I’ll have to think about this, how does one price one’s art?

Another gentleman is starting up a small radio program; he asked if I would want to be a guest? Yes, yes, yes.

An editor came out to our group. She wants to understand the mind of the writer. She wants to understand the difference between those who write because they love it, who feel compelled, find it therapeutic, etc, and those who do it for money and money alone. Maybe no one does it for money alone, because there are much easier ways to make money.

We are told one of the ways to generate passive income is to write a book. Once you write it, the possibility of royalties for the rest of your life is there. Not to be negative, but most writers aren’t getting a lot of royalties, but some are. We always hope to be in the latter group.

There is power in groups. It is inspiring to be part of one. We also heard from one young man that he is stepping back his involvement. He’s young, unmarried, and is beginning to feel the rewards he gets from his writing and performing his poems in spoken word, and seeing his work published is not as fulfilling as what he sees his friends have as they get married and start having a family.

The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. Euripides

He is actually the one that impressed me the most. When we understand what is important in our life, and put first things first we can enjoy everything else. As a person who put family first and developed my art and writing later, I feel he’s making the right decision.

If we take each season of our life and do the most important thing in that season we will build a good life. Our twenties and early thirties are the time to find a mate and start a family. No amount of success in any field is likely to fill that hole if we don’t make time for relationships.

Everyone may not agree with me, we may undervalue the relationships in our life as we feel let down by them. We expected more, but when I speak to people who no longer have the messy, complicated, cantankerous, demanding, selfish, giving, loving, understanding, compassionate, humorous, warm person in their life they miss all that person was. They miss the good and the bad, the laughter and the discussions that got too loud and too long, the contention and the fun, going out together and spending time in front of the TV with the other person hogging the remote.

When it’s gone, it’s all gone. Our partners aren’t perfect; our life isn’t what we thought it would be. If we are lucky to have a partner, we can make it better. We can laugh more, we can do more, we can have more fun, we can watch sunrises, and sunsets, we can discover new things far afield or close to home. We can start new projects, we can finish old ones.

It is up to us to keep our love affair going. We may think the more we love them, the more we’ll miss them. It may be true but the missing is without regret I’m told because you made the best of what there was.

If we have love in our life, we are blessed. No amount of material success will take the place of love. No amount of books on Amazon will make coming home to an empty house easier.

We should develop our creativity to feed our soul, but we also need to make time for those who share our lives. Finding the balance may not be easy, but then who said life should be easy.

No matter how busy you are, or how busy you think you are, the work will always be there tomorrow, but your friends might not be. Anonymous

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The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms Paperback – Feb 18 2014


Life is a balancing act. How many balls can we keep in the air?

How many balls can we keep in the air? Life is a balancing act.

Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others using them. Thomas Kinkade

Today is Writer’s Group. A friend and I spend half a day with likeminded people discussing all things – about writing. Getting paid for our writing is one of the things we are discussing today.

On Thursday a fellow Toastmaster and I were discussing how being in Toastmasters is like having another family of people supporting us, our ambitions, growth, and dreams.

There is power in belonging to groups. One of the pitfalls is becoming so enmeshed in the group we forget about the family waiting for us. The group energizes us, so we have more to give our family.

We are pulled in different directions. Balance is the key, balance is hard. The key to our life is keeping all our balls in the air, and that takes balance. I don’t think life is so fun if we put all our energy into our social life and don’t give energy to our family life. If we have no one to share our successes with they won’t feel like such big successes.

If we spend all our time with our families none of our outside dreams come true. We feel we didn’t accomplish our dreams, we didn’t venture outside, and we didn’t reach our potential. We aren’t all we “could” be.

One of the things I hate more than anything else is waiting for people. If we have a busy day, and we want to fit some time in with our husband or wife we should schedule it before we leave. Then they know they can go about their business and meet us somewhere or be back home at the appointed time.

I grew up without a phone, people would drop in. I don’t mind people dropping in. What I mind is if they tell us they might drop in, and we wait all day, get something prepared for them, and they don’t even drop in. Dropping in by definition is not planned. Either drop in or schedule something. Am I alone on this?

Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need form you and what you need for yourself. Jessye Norman

My husband and I usually go out for coffee. My friend and I who are attending the Writers Group like to chat. We can talk away an afternoon, sitting in the car outside her house. I’ve made a date with my husband for coffee this afternoon. She and I can talk, but we have a deadline. Balance isn’t that hard if we are willing to schedule, make plans, set deadlines, and say no to activities that start to infringe on family time.

Last month I could have gone bowling and then lunch after my Writers Group, with Toastmaster buddies. I declined thinking that was too much to fit into my Saturday.

It is easy when we work from home to let work take over all areas of our life. It has at times totally consumed ours. We set work hours; we don’t answer the phone before or after work hours. We don’t take business calls or have appointments on the weekend. If we don’t set the limits, there are none. Some clients will say, “You can call me anytime.” Some businesses require you to be on call 24/7, ours does not.

It may not be easy to figure out where we need to bring balance into our lives. Bringing that balance into our lives may be even harder. It is worth doing, what seems balanced now, may not seem balanced in the future.

If we work with, live with, and are married to someone we need to take their needs, wants, expectations, and desires into consideration. Building a life that works for everyone is the goal. Will it be perfect, not likely? Is it tweakable? Tweaking is likely to be required as we go through life.

Are there areas in our life that need to be balanced? Is it time to spring clean our life, our schedules, and figure out the important from the urgent “what consumes our time but isn’t really important in the grand scheme of things?”

 The key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it. Anonymous

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Embracing what is. The only constant is change.

The only constant is change. Embracing what is.


We must let go of the life we planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. Joseph Campbell

I come down to my kitchen this morning and the topic is fighting cancer. Some people on the radio are saying they don’t

like the term fighting cancer. They don’t want the focus to be on what they don’t want. Others are saying even when you fight cancer and you don’t live, you didn’t lose. The winning was the courage, heart, and fortitude you showed every day you lived.

These are two ways of looking at things but we have the attitude, we will gird our loins and prepare for battle whether that is poverty, drug addiction, or cancer. Some people believe the more we concentrate on what we don’t want the more of it we get.

Should we concentrate on having enough, prospering, instead of poverty? It may be helpful to focus on being clean and sober, finding meaning in life without altering our mood, and concentrating our energy on building health instead of fighting cancer. When people are going through things it is theirs to go through. Who are we to tell them what they should focus on and how they should look at it?

My daughter tells me as she leaves for work this morning, a woman she works with told her that her mother was diagnosed with cancer and overcame it through adopting a plant-based diet. Even though everyone in the family sees the difference it has made in the mother’s life, they haven’t adopted it themselves.

I don’t know which camp is the right camp. It seems foolish to me from the outside to try and tell anyone how they should feel or what they should focus on when they are going through the worst life can throw at them.

I remember a cancer survivor said he envisioned the cancer cells in his body being taken out by his immune system. He recovered.

I watched my brother-in-law go through cancer and when he got the diagnosis of brain cancer it seemed the fight was already over. He had already lost a lot of his ability to control his life. He died within six months. Some people thought he should have fought it, he accepted it.

We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. Carl Jung

When it is something we are going through we may instinctively know even if we can’t articulate it, whether this is a fight we have a chance of winning or not.

Cancer will be a journey of its own. We probably need to let people control their own decisions.

In the early fifties, the war on cancer was just starting. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought it. She lived for a year and a half. My mom believes she would have still had that year and a half but without recovering from the treatment she could have enjoyed her year and a half.

There are people who believe in early diagnosis and people who believe they don’t want to go looking for problems.  There is probably not actually a correct way to look at it. I personally don’t believe we can afford to test people for everything. By early diagnosis are we living longer, or just living longer knowing we have a disease?

Is food our best chance for health? Are we what we eat? If we eat what nourishes our body, we may be as healthy as we can be. Food may not give us as long of a life as we want. Maybe nothing will, but if we eat the best diet we can, maybe we can live till we die.

Is changing our diet something we can do? Even if we thought our diet was perfect, can we tweak it? In this way can we take control of our health?

We don’t know what we don’t know. Isn’t how people handle crisis up to them? From the sidelines, we can support them, encourage them but do we have the right to judge how they look at things? Are there lessons to be learned, we can’t learn any other way? Do we need to embrace all life has to offer?

Byron Katie author of  Loving What Is says she doesn’t like to suffer, so she doesn’t argue with reality. She says there are three kinds of business: “mine, yours, and God’s.” Suffering is when we get out of our own business and into someone else’s, including God’s.

She says, “Until you see everything in the world as your friend, that includes the fatal diagnoses as well as poor drivers in traffic – your work is not done.” It takes courage to face reality without telling a story that things should be different. This is a strategy for learning to love what you get, whether it’s what you wanted or what you thought you didn’t want. It means living in a state of love – a lot more of the time.

Can we learn to accept what is, because, well it is, and is there any use fighting against reality? Are there things we can do when we accept what is? Accepting what is, maybe what we need to do, to change things?

The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. Alan Watts

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Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell | Dec 23 2003
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Forgiveness, healing the breach. Using our power to build the life we want.

Using our power to build the life we want. Forgiveness, healing the breach.

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. Katherine Ponder

We say we are living a life of no regrets. Yet some always sneak their way in no matter how we think they won’t. We hesitate to call someone back and learn we lost our last chance to speak to them. If things were left unsaid, or a situation arose that caused contention, even small situations can cause contention, we’ll now never be able to fix that relationship. We’ll have to forgive ourselves for being human. It also is one of the realities of life.

When people are aging we know there will be the last conversation, the last visit. It isn’t only the people we expect will die, who do. We all will, and it can happen when we least expect it.

I remember talking to a lady about her Grandmother who was expecting to die. Every night she had her house ready so if she died in the night, she wouldn’t be found in a messy house. She told her granddaughter, “It takes a long time to die.” She lived for eight years thinking this might be her last day on earth.

We are told that is how we should live. What I got from the granddaughter is her grandmother wasn’t actually living; she was just waiting to die. There is a difference.

My Mom’s niece, who calls her “Aunty Mom” and says she’s the 10th child, had an opportunity to visit Mom when she was in the vicinity and she took it. She still had to take a plane and rent a 4wheel drive to get there. We think we are too busy, it’s too expensive, and we don’t have the time. Mom says they talked, and talked, they didn’t leave the house they were so busy talking. They had a lovely visit and I’m sure my cousin is glad she went more than the extra mile to see Mom.

Are the people with the most regrets those who cannot reconcile with people they love? They can’t forgive, they can’t heal the breach, they can’t move on from whatever caused the breach.

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers. Robert Quillen

Too often we may be willing to heal the breach if the other person takes the initiative and does the work. We wouldn’t rebuff their offer, but we won’t make one of our own. We need to be willing to take the initiative; this is where the power to make our life better lies. When we take responsibility for what we want, we can be the agent of change. When we wait for other people to change, initiate, or tell us what to do with our lives. We give up our power. This is our life, we need to be proactive.

Do we need to have the conversations that need to be had? Can we make the apologies that need to be made? Do we need to offer the listening ear; do we need to issue the invitation? Can we invite contact?

We will regret the things we do not do, more than the things we do. That includes making the first move. If we are living a tit for tat life with hurt, blame, criticism, and judgment where does it end? We will never get off the treadmill of hurting each other until someone forgives, and quits hurting the other because they were hurt.

Can we learn to let small and big things go without reacting and turning them into bigger things? We can go round and round on this merry-go-round our whole lives. Some people, families, and communities can never let go of the hurts that they have let become part of their identity. We have to give up our grudges, we have to forgive to free ourselves and move on.

We don’t forgive others for them, when we forgive we are not saying, “What you did to me is alright.” We are saying, “I am not carrying this burden anymore. I am free.” Some of us have carried these heavy burdens for so long we don’t even know who we would be without them. Can we forgive and find out?

We can give up bondage; we can take the Devil’s noose off our neck whenever we choose to. Can we forgive and reconcile, can we go our way, free? We don’t have to continue relationships with those who have hurt us. It may seem like we are giving up our identity, we the persecuted, the judged, the criticized. We didn’t like being those things, but there is comfort in pain when it is all we know.

Giving up our identity as the persecuted, devalued, judged and criticized can be our first step on our heroes’ journey. We may even find things aren’t what we thought, and when we change the way we think, the things we think about change.

Life is a journey. If we can forgive those who hurt us and forgive ourselves for hurting others can we move further along on our journey? Are forgiveness and gratitude the way forward? If we commit our life to forgiveness and gratitude will we find peace, love, wholeness, and a life we didn’t know could be ours?

Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. Anonymous

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Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life
by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell | Dec 23 2003
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Art is life, life is art. We are creative if we are living. Quit comparing the worst of yourself to the best of someone else.

Art is life, life is art. Quit comparing the worst of yourself to the best of someone else.

Life is creation – self and circumstances, the raw material. Dorothy Richardson

Yesterday was the grand opening of a new Indigo. My husband and I checked it out. They had a Tarot card reader and I wanted to get my Tarot cards read. The line was closed, but if she could take one more, I would be the one. I hung around looking at books but in the end, she went overtime finishing the line, and I went home without my Tarot read. It might be for the best, what if she told me something I don’t want to hear?

While I was waiting I read most of a small book Art Matters by Neil Gaiman. He talks about why we should make art, the importance of reading and libraries, and why we shouldn’t make doing it for money our priority.

The author says he wrote his first book and he got enough money for a typewriter and a few months of rent. He wrote the book with the primary goal of making money. The publisher went bankrupt before his book was published. He still had the typewriter and a lesson. Never make art just for the money, because if you don’t make money you don’t get anything. Make art, whatever type for you, for the joy of doing it, because it feeds your soul, by all means, make money, but don’t put the money first.

We don’t always profit from our ventures, especially if the only profit is money. If it is worth doing even if we don’t make money, we have already won just by doing it.

Even if I never make money from my novel it has been worth it to me. The journey and it’s been a journey of learning, growing, and developing has been totally worth it.  I have won because I wrote it. My thoughts are on paper, and a few people have read it and given me positive feedback. I am especially grateful I have been able to give my mother two versions of it.

An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success. Henri Matisse

Life is what we make it, and part of life is what we make. Our greatest creations are of course our children. All other creations are also expressions of who we are, what we think, feel, hope and long for, the disappointments, lessons, and what we’ve learned along the way.

Art of any kind helps us through the dark periods in our life. Art therapy is a real thing. Artistic pursuits are varied, gardening is both an art and a science, it feeds us spiritually and physically. Few forms of art are as useful as gardening. An indoor garden improves our air quality and our mood. Greener cities have less crime. Greener offices have happier employees.

In a movie about characters in rehab, they were counseled when they left the facility first to get a plant. If they could keep the plant alive for a year, then they were counseled to get a dog.

It doesn’t matter what type of art we do. It doesn’t matter if we feel it is art. What matters is that we live our lives with meaning and purpose. Can we enjoy the art of the every-day? Making a good soup is a work of art. Cooking, making our homes more welcoming, planting seeds. We often think artful living is for someone else. We think a lot of money is needed.

Can we be careful to not compare ourselves to other people, what they are doing, accomplishing, displaying? We compare the worst of ourselves to the best of someone else and of course find our self wanting. Especially on social media, it is easy to do this. What do people post, only the best of themselves?

Our art can be just another way to compare our self and find our self wanting. We need to make peace with our self, our choices, the path our life has taken and find joy, happiness, and meaning in what is.

Our book may never have a wide audience; it may never even be published by a recognized publisher. It may never make it to the wider world at all. Even if it remains a private endeavor it is still worth doing. Our art may never be displayed anywhere but in our own home. Some of us won’t even display our artwork in our home. It is still worth doing!

Perfection is the enemy of the good. We need to be kind to our self, enjoy our creations, do it for the love of doing it. Money is not the only measure of art; it might not be any measure at all. Success at art brings its own set of problems we are told. We begin to feel like a fraud if they only knew the real us, we would no longer be considered a successful…

Enjoy what is, your talents, circumstances, art, life, creations, and environment. Can we be grateful for all we have in our lives, the good, the bad, the things we wish we could change, and the things we can?

Tell your own story, and you will be interesting. Louise Bourgeois

I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free. Georgia O’Keeffe

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