Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

Resilience

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

Resilience is born by grounding yourself in your own loveliness, hitting notes you thought were way out of your range.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 94

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 13, 2018.

Improve!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

When you inspire yourself to improve, you try to make things just a little better — 1 percent will do to start. Thanks to the powerful human inspiration to improve, you don’t necessarily have to “fix” the problem to feel better. You just have to make it a little better. If you’re feeling bad and you think about what you can do to make it a little better — you don’t even have to do it, just think of it — you’ll start feeling better. If you’re upset at your partner, and you think of how you can make yourself feel a little better — shower, take a walk, smell a flower, call a friend, watch a game, chop some firewood, read a book — you’ll start to feel better. Making things a little better frees more mental resources in the neocortex, the problem-solving part of the brain. These added mental resources allow you to make things even better, freeing up more mental resources that enable you to improve yet a little more, and so on. Even if the improvement is only in your head, it will change your emotional demeanor and that will make negotiations with your partner go much better.

— Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, p. 101

Photo: Wildeshausen, Germany, May 16, 2004

Love Opens Fists.

Friday, September 21st, 2018

I’ve learned from giving thousands of talks that you never appeal to the conscience of your audience but, rather, introduce them to their own goodness. I remember, in my earliest days, that I used to be so angry. In talks, in op-ed pieces, in radio interviews, I shook my fist a lot. My speeches would rail against indifference and how the young men and women I buried seemed to matter less in the world than other lives. I eventually learned that shaking one’s fist at something doesn’t change it. Only love gets fists to open. Only love leads to a conjuring of kinship within reach of the actual lives we live.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 6

Photo: South Riding, October 25, 2017

Christ-life Inside Us

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

The Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or — if they think there is not — at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.

— C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, quoted in C. S. Lewis’ Book of Wisdom: Meditations on Faith, Life, Love, and Literature, compiled by Andrea Kirk Assaf & Kelly Anne Leahy, page 56.

More thoughts about this quote found on Sonderjourneys.

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 23, 2015

Choosing to Bless

Wednesday, August 29th, 2018

Our worry is a form of fear, and all fear comes from our attack thoughts. When we worry about someone, we have no confidence in them or the situation. Our worry says that negative things could happen, so we are using the power of our mind to create a lack of confidence in them and to allow fearful elements in the situation. Worry attacks the situation; choosing to bless it would help build the situation and those in it.

Today, every time you feel tempted to worry about someone or something, give your blessing. Your blessing is your trust and your positive choice for the best thing to happen for everyone in the situation.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love

[Photo: Falkenstein, Germany, April 27, 2000]

Gratitude as Practice

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

Practice takes time. A well-known rule of practice says that to become an expert at something, you need to devote ten thousand hours to doing it. Gratitude is not a practice that can be counted in hours. Instead, it invites us to engage the longer arc of time. In order for it to become a habit, it asks that we attend to seeing time more fully: engaging the past more graciously, living more appreciatively now, and building thanks into the foundation of our future. Attending to our lives with hindsight, wide sight, and foresight moves gratefulness from emotion to ethic. Thus, gratitude may feel good — and those good feelings do good things for us — but as an ethical disposition, gratitude is a strong basis for creating a good life. The habit of gratefulness helps us thrive. It not only takes time, but it can change the way we experience the times of our lives.

— Diana Butler Bass, Gratitude, p. 70

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, August 15, 2013

The Unboxable Largeness of Life

Monday, August 13th, 2018

The course of a champion requires continual growth. For the person who’s growing, each day is different. Each hour presents new challenges that have to be met with new strategies. If we’re stuck in a rut, we don’t need new strategies; we can live by the same old rules and never change a thing. To joy this is intolerable. Joy requires freshness, newness, stimulation. Joy thrives on the unboxable largeness of life in all its bewildering variety. Depression feeds on sameness, but joy craves a steady diet of fresh, dangerous, wiggling, live game.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 82

[Photo: From Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland, July 2001]

The Value of Appreciation

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

The ultimate issue isn’t whether people deserve your negative thoughts; certainly many people do. The more important point is that they are your thoughts in your head, and you want them to be as beneficial to you as possible.

It’s impossible to appreciate and feel devalued at the same time.

— Steven Stosny, Living and Loving After Betrayal, p. 67

[Photo: Assateague Island, October 24, 2016]

Crushing Guilt

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

When we are feeling guilty, we withdraw, because we are afraid of doing the same thing over again. We either remove ourselves from the path of life or attack those around us to get away from feeling guilty. In the same way, if we lay guilt on those around us, they will respond either by withdrawing from us or by becoming aggressive back at us. Everyone hates guilt. It is the hot potato we always try to pass on to the people around us. We never want to take responsibility for our guilt, because it just feels bad. It is the destructive illusion that creates, either within or outside us, exactly what it is trying to stop. Our willingness to let go of our guilt allows us to remember our own and everyone’s innocence.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 324

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 12, 2014

Gratitude as Habit

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Gratitude is not only the emotional response to random experiences, but even in the darkest times of life, gratitude waits to be seen, recognized, and acted upon more thoughtfully and with a sense of purpose. Gratitude is a feeling, but it is also more than that. And it is much more than a spiritual technique to achieve peace of mind or prosperity. Gratitude is a habit of awareness that reshapes our self-understanding and the moral choices we make in the world. In short, gratitude is an ethic, a coherent set of principles and practices related to grace, gifts, and giving that can guide our lives.

— Diana Butler Bass, Gratitude, p. 60

[Photo: Silver Falls, Oregon, October 7, 2017]