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Amazed! by Steve
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I recall a story about Noah Webster (of dictionary fame), who suddenly found himself one day in an embarrassing situation. He was caught kissing the maid in the kitchen pantry by none other than his wife. "Why Noah!" she exclaimed. "I'm surprised!"
Always the semanticist, Noah replied, "No, my dear, you're amazed. I'm surprised!"
No, I don't know how they ever resolved that situation. But I do know that surprise and amazement are important if we are to make the most of life's journey. People are dying to really love life. But they have, too often, forfeited the present in order to worry about the future or lament the past.
Ruth Carter Stapleton wrote a succinct philosophy of life in 1981, which was later read at her graveside service. She said: "Time is passing. Each day is a glorious opportunity to live and enjoy. Today I will let the past die - all the undone things, all the misjudged things.... Today, there are new pleasures, new challenges, new magic."
If she allowed herself to be surprised by the present, could she help but be amazed every day by the "pleasures," "challenges" and "magic" all around her? And how about you? Are you ready to put aside concern for the past and future long enough to truly experience the present?
Are you ready to be amazed?
About the author:
Steve Goodier holds a B.A. in anthropology and sociology and an M.Div. degree from Emory University. He is the author of numerous books about personal development, motivation, inspiration, and making needed life changes. Steve Goodier created the Living Right Side Up daily life management system. He is a personal development coach. He has taught and counseled people through life changes and spiritual development for two decades. Together with his wife (and best friend) Bev, a professional counselor and small group leader, he has led numerous workshops on relational, spiritual and inter-personal growth topics. Steve and Bev now work together in their mountain home in Colorado, running their business Life Support System Publishing.
Main Course: Opening Up a
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I value my friendships of varying degrees with many of the readers, especially those who respond personally, sending me feedback. I don't want to think there are people just sitting out there waiting for me to spoon something out to them - which is the very last thing I want to do with Friday's Inspiration - and I hope that type are not many in number, if there are any. It ain't my job to do that, either. I value my reader's thoughtful comments and timely messages even more than I can express. If there were no differences in opinion or idea among our group, what would we have to learn from one another? And, what better way to learn than to correspond with one another? Maybe a weekly group chat session...?
Everyone desires validation in some way, and I suppose I am no different. But, the purpose of Friday's Inspiration is to ask myself a relatively deep question about some aspect of life and try to find the answers, then to share them with the group by sometime near the end of the week, and that has not changed since its inception in 1999. F.I. is intentionally non-denominational, because not all of life's difficulties can have one denominational (such as Moslem, Christian or Buddhist) source for an answer, at least in the temporal and worldly sense. In the spiritual sense, that may be true (just One God, I'm pretty sure about that), but it is not up to me to define any of that for anyone else. To say that the answer is in the Bible, and only there, is absurd! Which Bible, KJV or RSV? Excuse me, I digress...
Anyway, the main thing I keep in mind is that I do this for me. It is self-care, and there are a number of reasons I do it this way. The day I stop spiritually profiting from my explorations and growth is the day I will push back from the table, pay the check and leave the restaurant. (BTW - I just renewed the N-Spire dot com domain for another two years, and InboxInspiration dot com is up for renewal in June.)
I am honored that there is even one more person that benefits from my searching and my growth experiences. That there are so many on the subscriber's list is a privilege and a blessing. And, in some ways, a responsibility, too. I recently told someone that the newsletter is my way of keeping my light out from under a bushel.
Anyhoo, the bottom line is that I am just what I am. Not a guru, prophet, or intercessant, not a know-it-all Dr. Mike with his own TV show and a list of wealthy-but-troubled clients, not a life-coach or a preacher, and not a healer - but I won't deny that I am, on occasion, both a teacher and a student. I am not gonna hold a satsang and dish out pearls of funky wisdom to enthralled devotees. I try not to say "you should" because I don't know you well enough to tell you that. I think there are a great many people out there, like me - those that won't be told what they "should" believe and what they "should" do. I leave that sort of thing to the experts like Dr. Phil and Dr. Wayne Dyer and Dr. Laura. I don't have alphabet stuff after my name.
I would rather have THINKERS subscribe to this newsletter, if they are subscribing for reasons of conscious living and spiritual growth, especially those of an independent type of thought - those who can understand and discriminate among different ideas and concepts for themselves, and apply them or discard them as they feel appropriate. What I share, in spiritual and other respects, is what works for me, and if it works for you, hey - cool. If not, then let's make a dialog of this deal, and maybe I can take a look at what you've got going and see if I can gain from it. That is why I encourage readers to submit articles and feedback!
Another reason I started Friday's Inspiration, if you've read those way-back issues, is because I am a recovering addict. Oh, there is much more to the biography along that line, and I won't bore you with it. But, F.I. is a tool of recovery for me, a journal of sorts. A record of my thoughts over the last several years and on into the future, as long as I can sustain it, so that my children and grandchildren will have more of me than I have of my dad and my grandfather, whom I love and miss terribly. There are days when I could profit from their wisdom, were they still alive.
It is just me, doing my best from day to day and writing about it almost every week. If you didn't like my last article, maybe you'll like the next one, or the one after that. I admit I have put out a few stinkers. You just don't know the rest of that story, but there are a few subscribers on the list that know me to the core - dear friends, school chums and close family - who know why there were a few stinkers around the beginning of 2003, and why I took two months off for my "pleasant trip." Feet of clay, and all that...
Spiritual growth and recovery, that's the thing here. They necessarily go hand-in-hand for me. I write about what I need to know and do in the process of my healing. How I express that purpose is mine to own, as well as mine to share. I hope that those of you who may have been scratching your heads over what this newsletter is all about have now gained a better understanding. I am honored that you continue to walk this path with me, my friends. Truly, profoundly honored.
Michael Rawls, Friday's Inspiration © 2004
Second Helping: My
Precious Lake by Dawn Gale
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This time next year, I will be living in small town, New Hampshire where the colorful fall foliage is second only to my moody, sometimes tumultuous lake near my home in Toronto. I live in a large movie making city. In the midst of its vastness, there is a quaint little neighborhood tucked into an inconspicuous corner which can be small town, anywhere. The streets are narrow with names such as willow, beech and silver birch. They all lead to the lake that is the backdrop for my backyard. And, although I will gain so many things from this move -- as I prepare to make the transition -- I begin to think about the things I will miss of my beloved city. And so begins the long goodbye to those familiar things, including my precious lake.
I live two minutes from the lake and the boardwalk. I like to think of it as my own personal space - though I share it with a mass population of golden retrievers and many people, also, seeking solitude. The lake is tight-lipped about all the secrets I have given up to it over the years. The lake is my confessional for all things big and small. It knows of my woes and joys of love, life and the whole damn thing. It is the keeper of my scattered little thoughts. It is where I do my best contemplating. It is where I draw conclusions about this and that.
It is my ritual on weekend mornings - such as this frigid November morning - to bundle up with hat and gloves - sometimes, digital camera in hand - and scamper down to the lakefront. Sometimes, it silently shimmers in solitude - barely making a noticeable ripple or an audible groan, and then there are times when it tosses about angrily, lashing out as if giving up a few secrets of its own; as if purging its belly of the collective secrets of those who have come by and left their soul prints. This morning it is not, particularly, calm or angry, but aware of itself with the strong swishing and swooshing of the tide. I come here to be aware of myself - as if to confirm my existence.
There are times when I sit on the rocks by the water, and watch the sun in its daily pretense of explosion - as it refuses to surrender to the night. And it slowly, reluctantly surrenders, slipping over the edge of the earth, and the night takes over, enveloping me in its starry womb. It was on one of those evenings on those very rocks 12 years ago that I allowed myself to believe in my absolute strength and that I am beautiful. It was where I was standing when I had one of those "aha moments" that reminded me that life is meant to be actively pursued - and I should take that leap of faith and broaden my horizons in small town New Hampshire. Those non distinct clusters of rocks are my rock of Gibraltar - "marking the edge of [my own] world".
This morning, I sit transfixed for what seems like hours as the dry bitter tasting air wraps itself around my lungs cutting my breath. I feel pain and joy - asphyxiated by the bare beauty of a frigid November morning. I am not there to unload, but to replenish, to regenerate my spirit, to inhale the new morning in its barely there state. This seems possible at my beloved lake. This vast expanse of sky and water that culminates in nothingness draws me in and stamps approval of my authenticity. Today, it soothes my battered soul from the rigors of the long work week. I sit and let myself be taken into its under-belly, and it listens with tentative ears and answers back without saying a word - the perfect relationship.
I will miss my precious lake. My love affair with this particular lake is long-standing. I have been faithful, and it has been there beckoning me to unburden my soul of too many thoughts - my emotional release - my throw-away thoughts that sink like rocks to the bottom. My thoughts are scattered along the ocean floor. It holds pieces of me in its belly - it holds those fragile parts for safe keeping - it holds it until you decide to own it - and sometimes, it holds it because it is the perfect burial ground for those things you want to forget. Those blasted fears and demons sink right to the bottom of the lake if you let them.
About the author:
Dawn Gale Prince, a writer of personal essays and poetry, is pleased to share her unique voice and simple truth. She welcomes your comments at email@example.com.
Soup to Nuts: From the feedback
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Gina is a young woman living in South Africa, and suffering from OCD. After reading The Power to Endure, she wrote to express her thanks for the comfort and insight she gained. "I have tried so many things to overcome it, and am still trying. It is such a difficult thing to live your life in terror of becoming contaminated and washing your hands hundreds of times a day. I so much want to give up, but I have children and a husband who need me to get better and be functional at home and in society. I feel I am living with one foot in hell and another on the earth every day."
Maralyn wrote about last week's newsletter, "Thank you for this excerpt from Edgar Cayce, I had not read it for several years and gained some new insights for this time in my life. You are very generous to share so much of your own beliefs and I honor you for the search you keep alive for yourself and to help all of us who subscribe." Only scratched the surface, there, I did. As is the case with most everyone, belief systems go much deeper than can be explained in a few paragraphs.
On the same subject, Keith also commented, "Just wanted to thank you for opening up a little, and letting me see the inside of what sounds like a well-rounded person, one who deserves whatever praise he may get as Listowner of Friday's Inspiration." Thanks, K.T. I'm always open to discussions on the topic of spirituality!
Last week's Second Helping author Linda Dessau has sent several articles over to LifetimeInfo.com as a result of F.I's "Sites to See" recommendation. She also commented, "Your menu of offerings is very tasty indeed." Call it a literary Happy Meal, no coupon required. Your dish helped set the table, Linda.
LoriH wrote to let me know that things are beginning to turn around and become better in her life. She asked to be taken off the InboxInspiration mailing list, because her present financial situation doesn't allow her to get to the emails each day, and she doesn't want to clog her mailbox. Readers can catch up online at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/InboxInspiration at their convenience. (Yahoo membership is not required)
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Just Desserts: Also Highly
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There have been more than 400 NEW AND UNIQUE visitors to the website during the last month - Thank you for your continued support! Over 500 of our partners on the Internet have graciously recommended visitors to Friday's Inspiration. Please take time to visit the "Highly Recommended" links below.
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Your single source for personal growth: SelfImprovementNewsletters.com provides one of the most complete collections of free newsletters for self-improvement and personal growth on the internet. You can receive free articles, book reviews, motivational quotes and more on topics such as goal setting, time management, stress management, health and fitness. Subscribe today, and don't miss a single issue!
Bruderhof.com - a community for life. For a complete resource on the subject of forgiveness, visit Bruderhof's Forgiveness Guide at http://wwwforgivenessguide.org/.
Another "No-Cost" eBook! - Did you know that there is an easy, effortless way to network at meetings and events? Pegine Eschevarria recently presented a program about effective networking titled Go Fish! She decided to create an e-book about the topic, and Team Pegine wants you to have a copy. Simply subscribe to her newsletter at www.pegine.com to receive it without charge! An article from this popular and exciting author and facilitator will be featured in an up-coming issue of this newsletter - watch for it!
Check, Please!: Brought to you
by F.I.'s *Shameless Commerce*
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Everyone can make a difference. In the United States over 500,000 children are in foster care because they cannot safely live with their families. Nearly 70,000 National CASA volunteers serve approximately 280,000 of those abused or neglected children every year. Please join the National CASA Association in their mission to make sure every child in need has a voice. A child should have a childhood and a safe, permanent home. 100% of the proceeds from the sales of products and services advertised here will benefit Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children - CASA.
Our Own V-Store: Check It Out!!! Purchase products and services from FI's new *Shameless Commerce* online store, and help us help CASA! Nutritionals, environmentally safe household products for you and your pet, MCI Neighborhood telephone services, magazine subscriptions of every kind, and so much more! Visit the V-Store today!
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Peace and Light,