We have to risk failure to risk success.

We have to risk failure to risk success.

Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be. Unknown

In Noah St. John’s book Afformations; he says the most basic human fear is the fear of rejection. Why is this the most basic fear? He says, centuries ago we lived in tribes. If we did something bad it was considered a crime against the tribe. The worst punishment was not death, but banishment, because there was virtually no way we could make it on our own.

How can we develop the habit of taking action in the face of fear? We need to understand almost everyone has the same fear. One of the best things to do is imagine we are rejected for what we want to do. Really feel what it would be like.  Guess what, when we accept that we may be rejected we can deal with it.

Everyone is not going to love the painting we spent three months completing. Many times we aren’t as happy with it ourselves as we hoped. Noah St. John doesn’t tell us to tell ourselves we are great, we are powerful, we are going to become rich and famous. He teaches us to ask why. Why are we great, why are we powerful, why will we become rich and famous. Then we have to come up with the how.

Nothing happens until we do something. The problem with positive self-talk is it often doesn’t lead anywhere. We leave out “the how”. If you want to build a house, first you have “a why”. You need a place to live, or you know other people need a place to live and if you build it, they will buy it. Once you have “your why”, you figure out “the how”. First, you will hire an architect or draw up the plans yourself. Get all the paperwork done to submit for your building permit. You don’t buy the windows before you have your plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Do I have a plan? I’m promoting an unpublished novel. Am I putting the cart before the horse? I don’t know and as we go forward in life we never know where something will take us. If we waited until we knew where it would take us we would never do anything. I know more than one person has read my blog. I know most people will never read my blog or my book. I’m okay with that.

When I wrote my first novel; the one that’s in a binder behind my desk, I became a writer. The novel no one has seen but me. It is still one of my proudest achievements? It is writing that convoluted mess of 311 pages that made me believe; I could be a writer because I wrote. By any standard of literature, it is a failure. We have to be willing to fail bigger, fail better if we want success.

If we want to write, paint, quilt, publish a cookbook, record our song, build our house. What’s stopping us? There are a lot of dreams that never reach fruition. It’s a risk we take. Would we rather be the dreamer with a dream that fails or doesn’t reach its potential than die with our dream inside us?

Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we are waiting. Joyce Meyer

We don’t and often can’t know where something will lead. We start, and starting is half done. Take the step, and hope the bridge will be there. What’s the alternative? Don’t take the step and spend our lives wondering what if? What if we tried to get that song published? What if we published that book? What if we started that business? What if we asked that guy or girl for a date?

What if we say yes to life? What’s the worst that can happen? He or she rejects us, we’ve been rejected before. What if no one reads our book? What if they do? If we don’t write it we know for sure no one will read it, not even us. We don’t know what we can do until we do it. We have to get out of our own way and let what is in us come out, so we can see it.

Very few of us have original thoughts or will do original things. There is nothing new under the sun. We won’t paint an original painting, our painting is original, but the subject won’t be. The words aren’t original, if they were, we wouldn’t understand each other. Everything has been said before, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t write. Words resonate with us because they are a truth we already know. That is part of their power.

Dare to dream, dare to do. Fail bigger, fail better. We have to risk failure to risk success. Is there something we’ve been putting off doing? Is now the time, is it now or never?

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing. You’ll never get it done. Bruce Lee

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Afformations: The Miracle of Positive Self-Talk

Aug 19, 2014

by Noah St. John and John Assaraf



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We build our lives one moment at a time. We need to enjoy and be grateful for it all.

We need to enjoy and be grateful for it all. We build our lives one moment at a time.

“Many of the most deeply spiritual moments of my life haven’t happened just in my mind or in my soul. They happened while holding my son in the middle of the night, or watching the water break along the shore, or around my table, watching the people I love feel nourished in all sorts of ways.” Shauna Niequiest

In the garden of life, we have our show stoppers but the background creates the scaffolding around which the show stoppers shine. There is no show-stopping without the background.

Building a good life is all about the background and the scaffolding built on the ordinary in our every day. The show stopper is the ice cream sundae or cheesecake in our diet. A great treat but not something to live on.

We live only for the high points at our peril. Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Romancing The Ordinary tells us women have not five senses but seven. As well as sight, sound, scent, taste, touch she feels we have “knowing” women’s intuition and “wonder” our sense of rapture and reverence. We are encouraged to find what moves us to tears, what feeds our soul, what makes our blood rush, our heart skip a beat and our soul sigh. We are encouraged to look at the unwrapped gifts that come every day.

“Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments. You must experience each one before you can appreciate it.” Sarah Ban Breathnach

We experience the glimpse of the sunrise because we are up early because of a child, the rush to get something done, or writing a blog. The morning hours before the house stirs is one of my favorite times. Sipping black coffee as I write. I used to love it with cream, “that’s another story.”

My dog Lulu woofs a low woof, what does she hear, what interrupts her sleep on the stair? I wonder as I sit here, what will we remember and cherish about this time.

There was a movie I watched about a man who only lived the high points, the rest of life zipped past as if on fast forward. Of course, he missed his child growing up, his marriage because these are the everyday moments that build a life. We can’t remember them as easily as the highlights. The uneventful of every day builds to the big moments. You can’t just have the highlights, no one can. I don’t think we live life unless we go through the deep, the shallow, the highs, the lows, the important and unimportant.

Life is rich with sights and sounds, tastes, touch, and scents. A woman from my Horticultural Society says she can’t smell Hyacinths without thinking about funerals. Smelling the air before rain I think about my mom who used to say a robin told her “there’ll be rain, there’ll be rain.” When I walk on crunchy snow, I think about walks with my dad to check on the cows before going to bed. The crisp winter air, the moon in the sky, and a cow with a brand new calf beside her.

When I smell our garage in the heat of summer, it sometimes reminds me of kittens, because we found our momma cat one day with brand new kittens on a bed of nails in the garage.

Memories bring us back to special moments in the tapestry of our life. Special moments are both big and small; the small ones are often the most poignant. They are the ones that bring tears to our eyes.

“Sometimes it’s the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.”  Steve Maraboli

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Romancing the Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor by Sarah Ban Breathnach (2002-10-29) Hardcover – 1835




We all have gifts. Can we recognize them and use them to build a better life for all?

Can we recognize and use our gifts to create a better life for all? We all have gifts.

The art of contentment is the recognition that the most satisfying and the most dependably refreshing experiences of life lie not in great things but in little.  The rarity of happiness among those who achieved much is evidence that achievement is not in itself the assurance of a happy life.  The great, like the humble, may have to find their satisfaction in the same plain things.

Edgar A. Collard

Most of us will never have the career of our dreams; we will have a job or business that pays the bills and keeps the wolf from our door, helping us to make the important parts of our life work. I am trying to come up with a definition of career, let’s go with, “a person’s metaphorical journey through learning and work.” In many ways saying one has a career instead of a job is like having a title instead of better pay.

I’ve always thought the most important jobs are not the ones with the cache. We can live without Doctor’s and Lawyer’s but not plumbers and farmers. Good nutrition, hygiene, and sanitation have done more for society than anything else. Jordan Peterson says one of the reasons women do not rise to the heights in the Professional world is those with education and choice realize what is important at about age thirty-five. They realize it is not the next promotion taking them away from home and family that is important. They do not want to be married to a Corporation. When they have a choice they often choose family.

At some point, we realize family is the important thing. Everything we do is to keep the family housed, fed, and educated. In one of the American States, they are cutting down to a four day school week. They are doing this for economic reasons, but what if we find out schooling our children so much is not better. Are we schooling the fun of learning out of them, as they are heaped with greater loads of homework?

Some people embrace the four day work week. Maybe we will embrace the four day school week. What if we realize what is important and put work, careers, corporations, and progress in its proper place. Money is a better servant than a master, so I believe is work.

It is so easy to be pessimistic about our future. Overpopulation is one of the things many of us worry about. Some people believe we will peak at about nine billion people and then our population will decline. Can we learn to live in harmony with nature?

We have built societies of peace and plenty. Progress can continue to be made if we work together. If we believe what is good for you is good for me. We have unequal distribution in our world. We need to be okay with the fact that in a forest a few trees are the biggest. A few songwriters have written most of our songs. A few authors have written most of our books.

Through Ancestory.com we will probably learn in the past a few men fathered most of the children. A few companies sell most of the products. Most of our forests are populated by a few trees. A few people make most of our scientific discoveries. A few people make most of the money. We can probably not have the type of equality we dream of if you could only do as well as someone else, would you really be happy? When we hear that we could all live under our own fig tree does that really sound that great? What if you want apple trees, grape vines, potato fields, rice paddies, to live in the city, or the country, sailing the world? Opportunity is not the same as outcome? Can we have opportunity and choice for everyone?

To whom much is given, much will be required’ (Luke 12:48)”

If we take envy out of the equation and try to live our lives using the gifts we were given then we can have a great life. How many of us use things for purposes they weren’t intended. We make life hard for our self when we could use the proper tool. Is a hammer better than a screwdriver, a cherry better than a potato, a chicken better than a cow? Comparisons are odious and we compare ourselves to others to our detriment.

We are here, why? That I believe is what we are to find out. Timeless truths are here for our understanding. We are here, for better or worse. Can we make it better?

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” Romans 12:6–8

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Does gratitude make the difference? Does being grateful make us happier?

Does being grateful make us happier? Does gratitude make the differende?

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”
– Harold Kushner

Feelings of gratitude flood my being as I sit here writing. That I am able to write is something I am deeply grateful for. The computer I write with, the notebooks I can purchase, the pens I buy. The internet allows me to push a button and put my words out to the world. The health and strength I am blessed with. I am grateful for my family, my muse Lulu, my home, my livelihood, living in peace and plenty. There is so much to be grateful for, my cup runneth over.

Does being grateful make a difference in our lives? A study published by the Greater Good Science Centre at UC Berkeley tells us that 300 college students seeking mental health counseling at one university were randomly assigned to one of three groups.

The first group was required to write a letter of gratitude to another person each week for three weeks. The second group wrote down their negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The third group did not engage in any writing activity.

The results: The first group reported significantly improved mental health, lowering of depression and anxiety at the four-week mark as well as 12 weeks after the writing exercise ended.

Researchers dug deeper using an MRI scanner they found the brain activity of the gratitude versus negative writing groups differed. Three months after the writing activities the grateful group showed greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area in the brain associated with learning and decision making. This indicates that simply by expressing gratitude we may have a lasting effect on our brain. Shifting our thoughts away from toxic emotions improves our well being.

“Thank you” is the essence of nonviolence. It contains respect for the other person, humility and a profound affirmation of life. It possesses a positive, upbeat optimism. It has strength. A person who can sincerely say thank you has a healthy, vital spirit; and each time we say it our hearts sparkle and our life force rises up powerfully from the depths of our being. (April 2015 Living Buddhism, p. 16)

Does this make some people feel worse or better? Are we more in control of our lives than we think we are? This information comes to us wrapped in new wrapping from time to time. It is part of all religious traditions.

“There’s something called a grateful personality that some psychologists have studied,” said Jo-Ann Tsang, a psychologist at Baylor University. “They find that if you’re greater in the grateful personality, you tend to have increased life satisfaction, happiness, optimism, hope, positive emotion, and … less anxiety and depression.”

Can we uncouple gratitude from religion?

Robert Emmons a psychologist at the University of California says. Gratitude is the truest approach to life. We did not create or fashion ourselves. We did not birth ourselves. Life is about giving, receiving, and repaying. We are receptive beings, dependent on the help of others, on their gifts and their kindness.

“You see—none of this have I framed in a religious context or using religious/spiritual language,” he concluded.

Michael McCullough a psychologist at the University of Miami thinks there’s another reason for the ubiquity of gratitude: It’s an evolutionarily beneficial trait, hardwired into the human brain.

“Even things that are culturally constructed have to have a home somewhere up in the mind to come out in our thoughts and our behavior,” he said. “Like all emotions, [gratitude] was plausibly designed by natural selection. There’s some tissue up in the head whose job it is to produce gratitude.”

The evolutionary explanation for this, he said, is probably that gratitude helps people initiate friendships and alliances—which then help people survive.

His research suggests that when people do nice things for others unexpectedly, that produces gratitude—and increases the likelihood that people will do something “in kind” (“a really rich phrase, when you think about it,” he added). Although scientists can’t know the exact neurological nature of gratitude, they look at behaviors like these as a proxy for understanding why people feel certain emotions, like thankfulness.

Wow, all we thought we were doing is saying “thank you.” According to these experts, we are changing our brain. If we practice gratitude in our lives we make our life better regardless of whether we see gratitude as a religious practice or merely a way of being. It seems gratitude is the choice we should all make. It costs us nothing to be grateful, pays huge dividends, eases our relationships with other people and improves our brain.

Is there a difference between feeling grateful and gratitude?

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.”
– Henri Frederic Amiel

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GRATITUDE/TRADE (Hay) Paperback – Oct 1 1996

Time waits for no one. Use it or lose it. Live a life of few regrets.

Live a life of few regrets. Time waits for no one. Use it or lose it.

Life is meant to be experienced. Put yourself out there. Do things you’ve never done. Live a life where at the end, you will have no regrets. Unknown

Tomorrow I fly out to see Mom. I always feel so lucky she’s here to visit and my husband holds down the fort while I go. One of the perks of self-employment is we make our own schedule. The downside is no work, no pay, and the fear customers will find someone else while we are gone.

All work and no play makes us dull, we are trying to figure out how to fit our travel bucket list into our life, maintain a business and have new adventures. Over the years the balls we have in the air change. The seasons of our life change and we must change with them.

There are gifts in every decade if we look for them. If we look at our garden as it progresses, the tulip season is short, but if we are moaning the loss of the tulips we may not appreciate what is newly in bloom. Is there anything as beautiful as the last rose with snow on it?

If we can be like that rose; still blooming as the winter of our life hits. That will be the pinnacle of a successful life. This is how I look at Mom, still quilting, knitting, walking, looking after plants, staying in touch with family and friends, looking after her home at ninety-four.

It isn’t just about getting old, it’s how we get old, what we can still do, accomplish, get out of life. My aunt always said, “I want to live till I die”. She was ninety-seven; I think she was still bowling until she was ninety.

We hear about the plight of the old. Many of the older family members and people that I know have lived great lives after retirement. They were frugal in their working lives and had a little something to tide them over.

It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that” than to look back and say “I wish I did that.” Unknown

My oldest aunt is over one-hundred. We need to stay active in our young retirement years if we hope to remain active in our older years. Use it or lose it. We have examples all around us of what to do and what not to do. It’s our choice which one we follow.

All our best choices may not lead us where we want. We can do everything right and not get to be one-hundred, but is that the goal? Or is the goal to live the best life we can for as long as we get. Leave as few things undone as possible, as few fractured relationships, as few things we didn’t get to. Living a life of no regrets is probably impossible, but living a life of few regrets can be our goal.

Mom tells me not to put off travel too long. There comes a time when the only travel we want to do is in our “old rocking chair”. We may shudder to think about it, but when we see people living it, they seem at peace. Life is what it is and if they’ve lived their life with joy and good humor they appear to continue in that same vein.

If there is something we are putting off, when does it get on our to-do list? Is there a family member, or old friend we should be in touch with? Should we make the arrangements to visit before it’s too late? Is it time to learn something new, or do something different?

Time waits for no one, but we all have twenty-four hours in a day. What we do with it is up to us. If we are lucky and get to our “old rocking “chair with our wits about us, will we look back on our life with few regrets?

Your past is done so forget it. Your future is yet to come, so dream it, but your present is now, so live it with no regrets. Unknown

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On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old Hardcover – Jun 26 2018



The way we see things colors our life. Sometimes we need to look with different eyes.

Sometimes we nee to look with different eyes. The we we see things colors our life.

There is only one way to look at things until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes. Pablo Picasso

Wayne Dyer said, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”. Hearing this we think it applies to negative thoughts versus positive thoughts.

It happened to me lately. I bought a pair of orange and white capris last summer. The only color I could wear with them was white. Every time I bought something orange these capris came out to see if this was the “right” orange. Finally, when I bought the last orange top that had to be orange enough, I took a good look at my capris. The fine orange line was not orange, it was red.

I put a red top with it, bingo perfect match. As an artist I work with color, I take shades and compare them to each other before I paint. How could this pattern fool me? They were orange in my mind, and I never took a really good look. The pattern was small and the trick of color when you put two colors together we call optical mixing.

How many other things in life aren’t as we see them? We meet people and only see them in the situation we meet them in. They aren’t only a cashier, mother, athlete, doctor, lawyer, accountant, or teacher. Everyone has more to them than what we see. We often are more than what we see as well. All our gifts, strengths, and talents aren’t used every day, some are never used.

We hear of people who met someone that changed their lives. Often these are people who saw something in them they didn’t see in themselves. Yesterday I was listening to a podcast on personal finance. The podcaster said he went to University and met the only black professor he’d ever seen. That professor became his mentor and encouraged him to get his Ph.D. in finance.

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. Robin Williams

In 2005 I went to the 100th celebration of my town and province. I chatted with my French teacher. She said, “I thought you’d be doing something more creative.” I was at that time dabbling in painting and had started writing. It was encouraging she saw me as a creative person. There was an art display and it made me think mine could one day go on display too. That hasn’t happened yet. I have taken photos of some of my paintings and posted them on my blog.

I only started hanging my artwork on my walls five years ago. It was as if I woke up one morning and gave myself a shake. My son has been the one over the years asking me what I would do with my novel when I finished it. “Are you going to publish it?”

The funny thing with questions is, as we ponder them, they don’t sound so farfetched. Each time he asked if I thought about publishing my novel it became more doable in my own mind. Why couldn’t I be a published author?

When he started encouraging me to write a blog that also took time. Finally July of last year I said, “Let’s do it.” I worried about what I would say. It seems I didn’t need to.

Sometimes we have to get out of our own way. We have to say yes to life. We have to listen to that still small voice, the one often imperceptible with all the noise going on in our life. That voice that tells us we aren’t orange capris we are red ones. The voice tells us when one door closes another opens, and we should go through it.

The voice that tells us we can make things better. We can find new interests, we can make new friends, we can unearth our talents, and we can rekindle our relationships. If we want change in our lives, usually the change needed is within our self. We can spend our lives waiting, hoping, expecting other people to change, to give us what we want.

Sometimes they would give it to us if they knew what we wanted. We don’t know, how can they? Only when we accept the challenge of becoming whatever we are to become can we change, grow, and develop.

It is great to encourage others, but sometimes the person that needs encouraging is our self. We need to take off our blinders, a world of possibilities awaits.

Life is what we make it. We need to bloom in our own gardens. Improve our relationships, develop our talents and give our best to the people in our lives. We have small circles of influence that can become bigger circles of influence. We need to find balance if we are to keep our balls in the air.

Is there something in our life we aren’t seeing right? Is it other people, or our circumstances we think are holding us back, which we could change at any time. We need to examine ourselves, what we think about our self and others; situations, what can be changed and what must be accepted.

There are a lot of thoughts, beliefs, misconceptions we hold onto. We need to examine them; they aren’t always what they seem. Is there something in our life that upon close examination isn’t what we think it is?

Sometimes we look for those thunderous things to happen in our life for our lives to change or go in the other direction. We seek the miracle. We seek the parting of the seas, the moving of the mountains. But no, it’s a quiet thing. At least for me it was. Ben Vereen

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Rekindling, lighting a fire. Bringing passion back into our lives.

Bringing passion back into our lives. Rekindling, lighting a fire.

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Morrie Schwartz

Is there something in our life we’d like to rekindle? Are we beginning a new stage of life we didn’t really want? This can be anything. Most of us aren’t excited as we have the “big” birthdays. The “big” anniversaries are the same. How do we keep the fire in a twenty-five, thirty-five, or fifty-year-old marriage? What do we mean by fire?

That is the question, isn’t it? Now, I don’t mean rekindling an old flame while you still live with your current partner. I mean rekindling with your current partner.

We had dreams, even hazy ones which we have not fulfilled. Our partner had dreams too. At some point some of those dreams intersect and where they intersect is where we can start. Did we have dreams of performing? It has never been so easy to put our self out there as a speaker, writer, performer, comedian, or artist.

We turn on the TV and we see couples buying old houses and renovating them. It can all start with wouldn’t it be fun, interesting if we… Maybe travel is our thing, the two of us have places we’ve always wanted to see, planning a trip is fun, we have to discuss what we want to do and see.

Maybe we have an artistic bent. Recently someone asked if I sell my art. I asked my husband to be my agent if anything comes of it. It will make it a shared project and he’s a better negotiator than I am. We can use each other’s strengths to create a win, win opportunity. We can take solitary activities and make them shared activities in some way.

Maybe you are no longer in a relationship, maybe it’s time to find a new relationship. Is it time to look around? Maybe look up an old flame? Adventure is out there.

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. Maya Angelou

It all starts with what if? What if we take the chance to let our partner know what we want? We may find they want the same thing, but no one says anything, and no one does anything, and nothing happens. We worry, what if he or she doesn’t want what we want. Then we know and then we can deal with it. Chances are if we want more passion and purpose in our life our partner does too. If we want more closeness, fun, someone has to make the first move. We also need to recognize the move when it is made.

One of the big reasons relationships fail is we don’t acknowledge our partners bid for affection. What bids we might ask. There lies the problem. “Do you want to come to Home Depot with me?” is a bid for affection. “Do you want to watch a movie later?” is a bid for affection.

People make bids for connection all the time, in all different relationships. Those relationships with our children, friends, and partners only grow when we acknowledge those bids. We need to turn towards the people in our life, instead of away.

Our partner may come up with what seems like unrealistic proposals, they may be, but maybe they are something to start a conversation, an exploration of things we can do together. We can cut them off, or we can accept the invitation. When we accept the invitation we don’t know where it will lead, even if it leads nowhere but more connection it’s worth it.

When we see couples shopping together, that’s shared time. It doesn’t take two people to shop for groceries, but while in the store we might discuss our preferences for dinner. We might see something we’ve never tried before, an adventure begins. A conversation with someone at the checkout might spark more conversation.

We can accept the invitation to go for a walk. We can propose a walk. Wherever we are, there we are, but we have choices, opportunity and it is what we make of our opportunities that determine our life.

Do we recognize bids for attention? Do we make our bids big enough so our partner knows we made one?

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Mignon McLaughlin

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Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Hardcover – Feb 5 2019

4.5 out of 5 stars   19 reviews from Amazon.com |





Stewardship of the Earth. What are we leaving our children?

What are we leaving our children? Stewardship of the earth.

Climate change is not the concern of just one or two nations. It is an issue that affects the whole of humanity and every living being on the earth. Dalai Lama

Last night we watched Madame Secretary and it haunted me all night. A small island was erased from the earth because the coral bed it was built on could not withstand two typhoons. Climate change, what do we do about it? Everyone wants someone to do something about it, but what do we ourselves want and need to do?

When I joined Toastmasters in 1986 one of the speeches was on overpopulation, the world population in December 1986 was 4.93 billion. 1968 looks like it was the peak growth percentage but we only had 3.5 billion growing. We were also moving from rural populations to urban, rural populations have more children, but urban populations use more resources. There’s a catch twenty-two.

Faith and reason must come together enabling us to make positive choices in our lifestyles, in how our economies are run, and in building a true global solidarity necessary to avert this climate crisis. Pope Francis

It is unpopular to point our finger at population growth as our main problem. We don’t want to stop the growth of our countries, cities, companies. We don’t want to stop consuming, nor do companies or governments want us to. How do we continue as we are and stop or slow climate change and create a sustainable world? The only thing we understand is more, more, more.

The United States has the largest population in the developed world and is the only developed nation experiencing significant population growth. Predictions are its population could double by the end of the century. We think we have a problem now?

We can’t talk about population growth without isms rearing their ugly head. One of the most effective population control methods appears to be educating girls. When women are given the resources and the choice they opt for smaller families.

The answer to our predicament may not be in pointing fingers but in education and empowerment of women throughout the world. Are we doing enough? Maybe we can focus on something that benefits all of us, and instead of pointing fingers we can offer a helping hand?

What we may need to talk about is who is creating the problem. It isn’t the poor. This is what strikes us in the West at our heart. When we get to income inequality the ball comes back to our court, exactly where we don’t want it.

The world today is very fragile and it’s our duty to do everything to unite people and nations to remind them that we don’t have a planet B. Viacheslav Fetisov, UN Environment Patron for Polar Regions

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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate Hardcover – Sep 16 2014

Pro-activity beats reactivity. Not everything can be fixed. We need to know when to hold and when to fold.

We need to know when to hold and when to fold. Not everything can be fixed. Pro-activity beats reactivity.

Don’t approach life’s challenges by being “reactive” be “proactive.” Prepare for the possibilities before they arrive. Unknown

Today is the Sunday before I go visit Mom. I’ll be away for ten days and I’m putting up posts to be published the days I am away. My son asked me yesterday how many I had written. I said none.  He said, “Pro-activity beats reactivity.”

How many of us spend our lives reacting instead of being proactive? Often we don’t even know what proactive looked like until we have something we are reacting to. I’m renting a car while I’m visiting Mom, is it proactive to pay for the extra insurance so I don’t have to react if they say there is a larger than golf ball ding on the car?

Can we start looking for a job while we still have one when the news of layoffs hit? We can wait and maybe we will be safe, this time. Can we find a new job, retrain for something we aren’t likely to be laid off from, something we’ve always wanted to do, or start our own business. We can start a side hustle so we are not so dependent on our main income.

Can we exercise and eat well so we don’t have to react to bad health caused by poor diet and lack of exercise?

Our families need our time and attention so we don’t wake up one day and our relationships have fizzled, because something else was more important, or maybe it was just urgent. We have to be careful with letting the urgent but unimportant take up the time the important but not urgent requires.

We need to make time for friends even when there isn’t a lot of time for them, so when there is time, we still have friends.

Between stimulus and response, there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom. Viktor Frankl

Life is a balancing act, the more balance we have the more stable our life is.

Last night my husband and I watched An Interview with God on Netflix a movie about a journalist who is interviewing God. It is thought-provoking leaving more questions than answers, but it answers two questions. Is there anything we can do God cannot forgive? No. Can everything in life be used for good? Yes. It also tells us we have more power than we think, and sometimes the miracle needed is us.

The big message is there are not always signs when people are in the depths of despair. The people themselves may not even realize how close they are to the edge until they look down the top of a building and think, “Why don’t I just jump?”

I’ve had people tell me they had those thoughts, and said to themselves, “What am I doing?” They went home and changed the situation that made them feel like ending it all.

That is being pro-active after they realize how reactive they are. When they got the wake-up call they acted. They turned their life around and started going in a new direction.

If we only react to what life throws at us, we might need to take a look and see if there weren’t signs we didn’t see or didn’t want to see. I was listening to a podcast the other day and the narrator was saying he was visiting someone whose dog was moaning. “What’s wrong with your dog?”

“He’s lying on a nail, but it doesn’t hurt enough for him to move.”

That is how we don’t want to be. When we know we have something to deal with, we shouldn’t wait until it gets to be a disaster before we change things. We need to find a way to be pro-active.

A flood has occurred not far from here because of ice jamming. They’ve been watching it, thinking there could be a problem but nothing was done. When the problem occurred it was fast and furious, now many families are out of their homes because of flooding. Could some pro-active measure been taken?

None of us will live a life where we are pro-active in every situation. We won’t even know how often we were because disaster prevented doesn’t strike.

If we have situations in our life that are like the dog and the nail we need to take a good look at them. Can something be done to make them better? Do we have to live with an uncomfortable reality? Not everything can be fixed, we need to learn and discern when to hold, and when to fold.

 There are three types of people. People who make things happen. People who watch things happen. People who wonder what happened. Unknown

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Seven Habits of Highly Effective People/Cassettes Audio Cassette – Jun 1991

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