So Many Books. . .

It is easy to buy a book; what is more difficult is to purchase the time in which to read them. Too often the mere fact of possession tempts us to think we own the contents.

— Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), quoted in The Book Lover: Quotable Quotes, Magpie Books, London, p. 26

Soften with Play

Growing older involves accumulating life experience in a way that allows us to know ourselves, and the world around us, generously, hopefully, and with a minimum of denial. If reality is to bring us meaning rather than despair, however, we need to learn to soften life’s hard edges with hope rather than illusion. Which means that we need to learn how to play….

When we engage each other in real and playful ways, we touch those places that have been most injured, and are therefore most closed to growth, with love, kindness, and compassion. We bring our deepest fears into creative contact with each other. In ways that are at once real and not real, that simultaneously embody both past and present, play, once again, invites seemingly immutable aspects of our histories into the present, and so enlivens parts of ourselves that have become deadened, lightens parts that have become too heavy to carry, and teaches us to live with pains that have all too often become too great to bear.

— Mark O’Connell, PhD, The Marriage Benefit, p. 171, 185

The Deciding Vote

The perception that happiness is a decision affirms that attitude is first, circumstance is second. It teaches you that whatever is happening, you always carry the deciding vote when it comes to happiness, success, love, and peace of mind. Sometimes this is easy to remember; other times it’s not so easy. Once again, it’s when you forget that you must ask for help.

— Robert Holden, PhD, Happiness Now! p. 54

Our Experience of Abundance

Our experience of abundance is determined far more by our inner state than by our outer circumstances. The point of leverage for changing our circumstances is how we meet what happens to us, not changing the details of what’s happening. We humans are meaning-makers — we decide what something means to us. Out of our assigned meaning grow all our choices and actions. And the meaning we assign is entirely based on our inner state.

— Victoria Castle, The Trance of Scarcity, p. 178

Moving on to the Goodness of Love

Not forgiving ourselves, not forgiving others, not forgiving, even when the whole world thinks we should, is a part of who we are. It is as natural to us as our defenses, our repression, our dissociation, our denial. No one is able to look at himself whole. No one is so evolved as to deal creatively with every loss and insult. No one is free from illusions about himself, positive and negative. No one is immune to the joys of victimhood and revenge. We all have this in us. We are all enmeshed to some degree in our inner dramas and the unimaginable passions and loyalties they represent, which hold sway over us in ways that not even we can know. If we can see some of this in ourselves, accept it, be concerned about it, talk about it, it is less likely to control or overwhelm us. We will have a better chance to stay connected, to expand our zone of connection, to dissolve whatever scar tissue we can from a life of hurt and conflict, and move on to the goodness of love.

— Robert Karen, PhD, The Forgiving Self, p. 279

An Opportunity

I believe that once you are grateful for life, seeing it as an opportunity to give love, your life is changed and lived as it was meant to be lived by our Creator.

— Bernie S. Siegel, M.D., Gratitude: A Way of Life, by Louise L. Hay and Friends, p. 252

Your Choice

Nothing in the world can make you happy; everything in the world can encourage you to be happy….

The world cannot take away your right to happiness or sadness. It may often appear to be trying very hard to take this choice away, but truly it cannot. Events in life can so conspire that you may lose sight of this choice, but never is the choice destroyed. In truth, the decision to be happy or sad always rests with you, whether you can see it or not. It’s when you temporarily lose sight of this choice that you must ask for help.

— Robert Holden, PhD, Happiness Now! p. 48, 51

Choosing Not to Blame

Our intimate partners are by and large our most important persons. Because we share responsibility for our lives with them, because they are magnets for our disappointments, it is all but written into our marriage contracts that we will blame them when things go wrong.

But what happens when we make a point of doing the opposite? What happens when we let go of our proclivity to blame and resent our lovers for our own disappointments? Every time we forgive and thank each other we teach each other critical, and generalizable, life lessons: There is no master plan. There is no life that we were supposed to lead. There is no good future in wishing for a different past. The assumption that things should always go our way, and that someone or something is to blame if they don’t, only leads us away from the path to our better selves.

— Mark O’Connell, PhD, The Marriage Benefit, p. 164-165