Showing posts from August 25, 2013

Grand Adventure

Don’t just sit there. Make a richer, more beautiful, more meaningful, more fulfilled life out of every moment you have.

Don’t complain that things are bad. Accept that things are as they are, and make new goodness and value from them.

This is your life, your moment, your opportunity to make a difference. This is your day, filled with abundance that’s ready to be transformed into unique greatness.

Instead of avoiding the challenges, embrace them. Instead of being intimidated by the limitations, be inspired to find new ways around them.

You don’t have to settle for just getting by or merely making it through the day. You are capable of so very much more, so go for it.

Realize what a magnificent opportunity you have, right here and now. And fully live the grand adventure that is your life.

— Ralph Marston

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

Words are flimsy packages that we wrap around abstract concepts and offer to others in the hopes of being understood. Friedrich Nietzsche said, "Words are but symbols for the relations of things to one another and to us; nowhere do they touch upon the absolute truth." There are so many parts of the human experience that have no satisfying word to describe it. Luckily, we can borrow words from other cultures where there are gaps in the English language. The charming illustrated piece that follows offers up 11 whimsical and untranslatable words from far-flung corners of the world. Chances are at least a few of them will bring a flash of recognition and make you smile.

Think Your Best

Right now, you have the opportunity to choose your thoughts. And the thoughts you choose will have a direct impact on the life you live.

Your thoughts focus your awareness. The direction of your awareness determines which of life’s possibilities you see, explore, and fulfill.

The things you think about over and over again become crucial components of your reality. Take positive, purposeful, persistent control of your thoughts, and you can point your life in whatever direction you choose.

Your mind has great power. Use that power to bring more meaningful goodness into your life and your world.

Choose not to waste your valuable thoughts on meaningless and negative things. Instead, invest your thoughts each day so that they will lift life higher.

It’s amazing what you can think, and even more amazing where your thoughts can lead. Think of life at its very best, and you’re on your way to making it so.

— Ralph Marston

Zen & The Art of Watching Television

"I want you to watch TV with acute awareness, mindfulness, and precision.

1) Watch any TV show for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
2) Watch any news program for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
3) Watch the television set for one half-hour with out turning it on."

This unconventional series of assignments was handed out to his students by a sociology professor who used it to jumpstart an exploration of how we as individuals and as a society, consume television programming. This excerpt from his article "Zen TV" shares more.

No Apologies

If you have hurt someone, then apologies are most certainly in order. If you haven’t, then you have no need to apologize to anyone.

Be who you are, loving who you love, admiring what you admire, and valuing what you value. Instead of worrying about what other people might think, focus on what will bring you authentic fulfillment.

Be kind and helpful and loving toward others, but don’t be a slave to their opinions. Live with richness, with originality, and with no apologies.

Make your own way through each day, taking responsibility for your actions and for your life. Be true to your highest, authentic values, doing what you know is right and good, creative and valuable.

Your life is unique and precious, so give it the respect and commitment it deserves. Your possibilities are amazing, so use your full efforts to bring the best of them unashamedly to life.

Live with true purpose and rock solid integrity. And you won’t be wasting your time or energy on apologies.

— Ralph Mars…

The Woolen Socks Miracle

"Our last regular paycheck was in April of this year. Through so many incredible acts of kindness and lots of hard work in every form we have made it month to month and day to day and week to week and had absolutely EVERYTHING we have needed...but not much more. It's hard as a mother to know that Christmas is coming and you don't have much extra to "fill the stockings"" Melody Ross is an internationally recognized artist, seeker and mother of five with an honest writer's lens that captures the challenges as well as the daily miracles in her life. During a period of financial hardship she finds herself deeply anxious about how to make Christmas special for her young sons. What follows is one of the most touching stories of a child's simplicity and grace.

Little Bits

If all you can do right now is a little bit, do it. Those little bits will quickly add up.

Value that is built over time, in small increments, tends to be value that also lasts for a long time. Use each opportunity, each day, to build more.

Doing something, even if it is just a little bit, is infinitely more productive than doing nothing. So do something, where you are, with what you have, using the time that’s available to you.

By doing something now, you increase the value of what you’re able to do later. By doing something useful with this moment, you preserve the moment’s value long after the moment has passed.

By all means, do as much as you can. And if all you can do right now is just a little bit, that’s a whole lot more than nothing.

Do a little bit now, a little bit later, and as much as you can each chance you get. Soon you’ll have a whole lot of good things to show for your efforts.

— Ralph Marston

The Treasure At the Heart of Pain

"What do you do to escape from emotional pain? Do you drink or eat to excess to keep yourself, keep ridiculously busy, sit around hoping for a better future? It's human nature to do everything you can to avoid turning around and meeting the feelings that arise in you. But here's the problem. These temporary measures simply don't work. Addictions, compulsions, incessant mental spinning. They may dull the pain for a short time, but still it remains, barely below the surface, waiting for you to take a break from all your efforts to avoid it so it can tap you on the shoulder once again. "Remember me?" it says. So must you resign yourself to a lifetime of pain? No, because pain, even though it seems so real, is a thin veil that covers the truth of who you are." A writer shares three practices that have helped her in transforming painful experiences.

Positively Purposeful

Don’t waste your energy on being annoyed and resentful. Put your energy into doing something positive about your situation.

To the degree that you’re filled with annoyance or frustration or anger, you’re ineffective. And that just leads to more annoyance, frustration and anger.

However, you can choose to break the cycle. You can choose to be positively purposeful.

If someone acts in a rude and disrespectful way, let it be that person’s problem and not yours. Let it go, and move on ahead with what you’ve chosen to do.

Though there are plenty of things to be angry about, there are almost no good things your anger can accomplish. Rather than reacting with anger, redirect your energy into intentional, positive purpose.

Don’t let rude, annoying people choose your attitude. Choose your own positively purposeful attitude, and reward yourself with a rich and fulfilling life.

— Ralph Marston

Why Exercising Makes Our Brain Happier

"Exercise has been touted to be a cure for nearly everything in life, from depression, to memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's and more. At the same time, similar to the topic of sleep, I found myself having very little specific and scientific knowledge about what exercise really does to our bodies and our brains."Perked by his curiosity to dig deeper into the connection between exercise and happiness, Leo Widrich shares his findings and some great advice on implementing an exercise routine in this compelling article.

The Less You Need

Much of what you think you need, you may not need at all. Challenge your assumptions, and free yourself of needless needs.

The less you need, the more you can enjoy. The less you need, the richer you are.

Certainly there are very real necessities and obligations in your life. But there’s nothing to be gained by piling your own invented needs on top of them.

Life might in fact be much better if you made the choice to do without some of the things you think you can’t do without. Letting go of self-imposed burdens can open many doors to new experiences and joys.

Although being needy may feel comfortable, living with positive purpose and intention feels much better. Look for opportunities to get away from your needs and into your possibilities.

Live by choice, not merely by habit. Let go of the needless needs, and feel the exquisite, empowering freedom.

— Ralph Marston

Rituals for Wastelands

"We shut ourselves away from wounded places, psychologically, emotionally, and communally, but there is a better way to heal ourselves and our world." As earth-bound beings, when we witness the destruction of the natural environment, we find the darker parts of our humanity staring back at us. How do we heal our relationship with the land and with ourselves when such destruction can be so difficult to look at? In this article, Trebbe Johnson offers that the creation of "rituals" may serve as a path to reconciliation, awareness and action. As she says, "We cannot know the effect a ritual will have -- who will be moved to which acts, how the land will change. That is part of the beauty and power of ritual: we do it because we must. We do it out of love."

6 Habits of Highly Empathic People

"If you think you're hearing the word 'empathy' everywhere, you're right. It's now on the lips of scientists and business leaders, education experts and political activists. But there is a vital question that few people ask: How can I expand my own empathic potential? Empathy is not just a way to extend the boundaries of your moral universe. According to new research, it's a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives."