Ideas

1. There is no such thing as an insignificant contribution

In chaos theory the beating of a butterfly's wings in Africa can result in a tornado in Florida. In life a warm reaction can change the course of another person's life for the better, and a harsh word can do the opposite. Let's live as if everything we do has an effect, we will never know if it is the big things or the little things that have made the difference.

2. Disappointment takes adequate planning

When we invest too much of the future with our detailed plans and expectations we reduce the chance of being surprised by joy. When we take things as they come we just have our reactions, good or bad, to the events of the moment, not the burden of our past investment. If you suffer before you need to, you suffer more than you need to.

3. We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are

Everything we experience is through our own unique set of filters, from the big things like love and beauty to the more mundane like the quality of a cup of coffee, black or white etc. Some important understanding arises from this :-

Our communications are at best approximate.

Others do not see the world as we do and never will.

Ideas about right and wrong are usually matters of personal judgement.

4. Freedom is what you do with what has been done to you

Sometimes, often, we can't affect the things that happen but we can have some control over our reactions to them. It's not an easy area, to react positively in a world that is often negative but it's a significant area of personal freedom.

5. If there were nothing wrong in the world there wouldn't be anything for you to do

Problems are a sign of life, your journey will always involve dealing with problems and, yes, death is the only destination. Don't waste life dreaming of a time when all your problems will be behind you. Of course take action on the ones that face you but also recognise this only creates a space for more. Improve the quality of your problems rather than trying to create a life without any.

6. Nothing, and I mean nothing, works for everyone

Be certain only for yourself, not for others. Yes the world would probably be better if everyone believed the same as you but that is not because of what you believe but because it's the conflict between beliefs that causes suffering. Don't help create that suffering by believing things to be true for others.

7. Everything is part of the journey

This site is called "The Dance of Life" In a dance your aim is not to get to a particular point on the dance floor but to enjoy the experience of dancing.

Objectives are important but the process is just as important. If you think everything is going to be fine when you have "arrived" you are setting yourself up to be disappointed. While you are alive there is always another part of the journey. 

"There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way." (Wayne Dyer)

8. You can't save time, you can only spend it, wisely or foolishly

There is only here, there is only now. You have many choices as to how you spend your time but no choice at all about spending it. If you do not appreciate the moment, including this one, it is gone forever, it will not return.

Time spent going over the past or trying to anticipate the future is not a good use of this limited resource. Of course it makes sense to invest some time now for a future benefit, eg planning a holiday, learning a skill, the trick is not to see the benefit as just in the future but to find ways of enjoying the process here and now.

9. Choice is not the same as freedom

Choice usually operates within a framework, eg, we have a choice of careers, a choice of films to see. Freedom, true freedom, involves stepping outside of all frameworks and creating a world entirely of our own making. It may still be like the one we are already living but we will own it as ours.

10. If you are good with a hammer you may treat everything as if it were a nail

We tend to rely on what we are good at and yet sometimes that is not the best approach and we need to venture into areas where we are less competent.

There are many first rate business people who find that business skills are not much appreciated by their family.

There are many deep thinking people who leave it too late when speedy decisions are required. Many a good giver of dinner parties has lost a lot of money when trying to run a restaurant.

Sometimes our best skill is not the most appropriate one for a particular situation. 

11. You can be right or you can be free

Sometimes that is the choice, do we cling on to our past beliefs long after they have ceased to support us or do we recognise life is a process and that our beliefs can be as subject to change as everything else?

If we hold on to being right we end up enslaved by our views and this can apply to the small beliefs we have, how we felt someone acted wrongly towards us, as well as to our beliefs about life in general. It is clear that events will be as they are and others will act as they do regardless of our beliefs about them. Let's work towards change in ourselves, if we are trapped by our need for things outside of us to be different we cannot call ourselves free.

12. The wake does not drive the boat

If you stand on the top of a cliff and look down at the sea where a fast boat is travelling you can see the wake spreading out behind. If you did not know better you could assume the wake was driving the boat. But you do know better, you know the boat has an engine and a set of controls operated by a driver. The wake is just what the boat leaves behind as it moves forward. (Wayne Dyer)

Substitute your life history for the boat's wake and the metaphor is complete. Our history does not drive our life, it only looks like that sometimes. You are the driver, you have control of the engine, you can choose the speed and direction you take. You can follow a path based on your history or you can choose to do otherwise. Your history is what you leave behind.

13. Description creates experience

How we describe what happens to us creates some of our experience of it. If we call something terrible we will not feel the same as if we label it as inconvenient, you can make up your own examples. I'm not suggesting you lie to yourself, or to others, but given a choice lighten your description and so lighten your experience.

14. You can't stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest

I have had counselling clients who get annoyed with themselves when a negative or critical thought comes into their head. In fact sometimes they get so cross they invest the thought with enough energy for it to stay around for quite a while.

There are disciplines that can help control thoughts that arise in us but for most of daily life it is sufficient just not to give them more space. We have a choice, not to dwell on negative things. If action is needed we can act, otherwise we can fill our minds with what is positive and life enhancing.

15. The simplicity the other side of complexity

The simplicity this side of complexity is about the facile, bumper-sticker type of understanding that is easily come by and just as easily lost. It usually does not involve effort and often is not even grounded in experience, it does not go deep.

The simplicity the other side of complexity may use the same words but it is a very different experience. It is the position we arrive at after we work on ourselves, on our life view and it often arises out of dealing with difficult problems. Here is part of a T S Elliot poem that says it far better than I can :-

"And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time".

16. You can't cross a chasm in two small steps

Sometimes a bit by bit approach can get you where you want to be, such as weight loss, saving money, learning a language. Other times change requires a leap of faith, such as major career move, resolving a broken relationship.

It's good to be aware of which approach is most appropriate. Starvation diets rarely lead to consistent weight loss and those who edge towards marriage can find later they feel they never made a proper decision.

17. The feeling of joy at sudden disappointment

This is a fascinating idea. If one of the purposes of our life is to resolve our internal conflicts so our outer and inner lives are in line with each other then a sudden, unexpected, negative emotion can be welcomed as a sign of further work we need to do on ourselves.

For most of us this it is difficult to imagine feeling joy at disappointment. But it is a positive step in self awareness. Now might be the time to look at areas where we know we tend to over react and ask what are the lessons we need to learn in such situations.

18. Change is not painful

It's resistance to change that hurts. Even though you create your experience of the world there are many changes you can't resist, your children will get older (and so will you). When change is inevitable consider it might be easier to ride a horse in the direction in which it is going

19. You cannot not communicate

There is a big difference between talking and communicating. You can certainly choose not to talk but that's a communication. You can smile, frown, opt out, opt in, be neutral, show prejudice, not return a call, turn your head away, they are all communications. Not communicating isn't an option.

Since you are going to communicate anyway why not take charge of the process and take responsibility for all your communications. Express yourself, verbally or non verbally to the best effect and in the best interests of everyone involved, particularly yourself.

20. Everything in life

"Should be as simple as possible---but not more simple." (Albert Einstein)

There is an elegance in true simplicity, be it a solution to a problem or the design of a building.

When things are more simple than they should be there is often a sense of something missing.

21. Experience is not what happens to you

It's how you react to it.

If it were not so then everyone would experience the same event in the same way and we know that does not happen. So do we have a choice in our reactions to events? All I can say is our lives work better if we act as if we do.

22. Turning towards difficulty

It's a very human trait to turn away from our problems, to seek to avoid tricky situations. For some people confrontation is a real challenge while for others not treating everything as a confrontation can be more difficult.

What would your life be like if you decided to turn towards situations you found hard to deal with, even welcome them as an opportunity to learn. In the short term your life might become more difficult but in the long term you could find your resources strengthened and your sense of freedom greatly increased.

23. You can have anything you want

But not everything you want, there just isn't enough time. Our lives involve choices. Letting go of dreams can be painful but sometimes we have to do this so other dreams can thrive.

Since there is not enough time to do everything it is essential what we let go of is the trivial so we can concentrate on what makes a difference. There is no point in majoring in minor things.

24. What you think of me is none of my business

We cannot control how other people react to us and our response to them is a good measure of our personal freedom. If we are over concerned about being liked we are choosing to be trapped in a world made by others.

Very few people will see you as you want to be seen and the differences are almost always about them and hardly ever about you. It's largely outside your control how people see you. Your job is to be you and allow others deal with being themselves, including the views they have about you.

25. Just because someone asks you a question does not mean you have to answer it

I guess we all know that is true but how often do we act that way?
Here are some other examples:-

Just because someone asks you to do something - does not mean you have to do it.

Just because someone asks you to contribute - does not mean you have to give them money.

Just because someone asks to borrow something - does not mean you have to lend it to them.

Who runs your life, you or other people? 

26. No one on their death bed ever said, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office"

This is probably a familiar quote and certainly a good reminder for some of us.
We can each add our own ending to the sentence with aspects of our lives to which we give more time than they deserve. Try to add a few that are true for you because it's good to identify these while we still have time to make changes.

27. Don't try to be perfect

Two good reasons:-

1. If you get there it leaves you nowhere to go next.

2. You will make those around you feel inadequate.

28. You can't plough a field by turning it over in your mind

Our internal world is important, how we describe things creates our experience, and yet if we stop there we stop too early. Action not only brings about change in the external world it also creates change in our internal world.

If we love others but don't tell them the process is incomplete.

If we want to make a difference but don't act we sell ourselves short.

If we want to be fit but don't exercise it's just not going to happen.

etc, etc, etc

29. You can only say "yes" if you can also say "no"

It's only a choice if you can do differently. Just consider a situation where you have said yes and ask yourself if you could have said no, not in theory but in practice.

If you could have said no then you made a genuine choice, if not you didn't.

30. There are no justified resentments

At the simplest level resentment damages the person who holds it more than the person towards whom it is felt. Not a smart move.

There is a Chinese proverb which says,

"If you're going to pursue revenge you'd better dig two graves".

31. No one owes you anything

The Buddha said "Never take anything that has not been freely given", and it does not help either party to ask from others what they don't want to give. Others don't owe you anything and of course you don't owe them anything. 

Giving and accepting can express the very best of humanity. When your heart and your head tell you that's the way to go then go there and enjoy the experience to the full.

32. Don't worry about the world

It will overwhelm you and stop you from being effective in areas where you can make a difference. You can't do everything, there just isn't time, but there is a lot you can do so get on and do it and let go of the worry about the big things that aren't down to you.

33. Simple and easy

Sometimes people think the answers to their problems cannot be simple because life is not easy. But simple and easy are very different words.

Answers can be simple, in other words straightforward, but acting on a simple solution can be very difficult indeed. It's an important distinction to make otherwise we may discount the simple answers.

34. Tram Tracks

In the town where I lived as a child there were tram tracks that we used to cycle alongside just for the fun of it. When our wheels got stuck in the track we could not steer and had to stop and lift the bike out of the track and set off to where we wanted to go.

Usually we are able to make course corrections in our life so we get to where we want to go but sometimes we get so stuck we have to stop before we can change direction.

35. A short poem (by Robbie Burns)

A man convinced against his will
Is of the same opinion still.

Reason and logic have their uses, great for planning and can be the basis of good decisions. They are however of limited use when it comes to dealing with feelings, particularly when you are being logical and someone else has the feelings!

36. The enemy of truth is not lies but convictions

The trouble with being certain about our beliefs is that it makes us inflexible. Why should the ideas that served us a year ago still be best for our current circumstances? When we were children we constantly asked questions, that's how we found out about things. It would be a pity if we lost that skill as we got older. We should question everything and in particular the things we feel most certain about.

37. Why be unhappy as well

"So your wife has left you, your business has gone bust and you think your children no longer love you, why be unhappy as well?" (Lionel Fifield)

In addition to making you smile, I hope, this is a reminder that our feelings need not be entirely dictated by our circumstances.

We do have some choice about how we feel and can choose to emphasise the feelings that work best for us.

38. Midlife is not about what you do, it's about who you are

And that's true of many other times in our lives.

We are human beings not human doings and yet so much of our energy goes into planning the future and so little into enjoying the moment.

39. The secret lives of others

If we knew the secret lives of those we sometimes want to punish, knew their heartaches and their troubles we would certainly not wish to add to the burden they are already carrying.

40. A mental challenge

Try to go for three days without holding a negative thought for more than five seconds, if one comes along just let it go or replace it with something positive. If you fail, the time starts again and you keep going until you have completed your three days.

The worst that can happen is that you become more aware of your thinking, the best could be a permanent change in your focus.

41. A simple religion

The Dalai Lama once said "My religion is simple, my religion is kindness". Now we each have to work out our own beliefs about life but I think this is a great standard against which to check both what we believe and how we act. One person who always benefits when we practice "random acts of kindness" is ourselves, that's not why we do them but it is what happens.

42. Keeping a journal

This is one of the most powerful methods of personal exploration I know, not writing a diary of events but a journal of thoughts and feelings. If you can spend no more than 15 mins a day just writing you will soon become amazed by where your journal is taking you.

43. A good brain working with a good heart

The more perspectives we have on any situation the better our solutions to the problems we face are likely to be.

The two essential tests any action or decision needs to pass are that things make sense when we think about them and that in our hearts what we intend to do feels right.

We need to be very careful about acting on just one of those tests. We have these two skills so they can compliment each other.

44. Rejoice in diversity

It's the differences that make life interesting and we develop most not through people who agree with us but through people who challenge us.

Contact with different cultures, different opinions, different lifestyles, they all help us to grow.

So let's welcome what is different, it's there to teach us.

45. Most activity is a choice

We are the ones who make our lives more complicated than they need to be. There are, of course, some things we need to do but a lot of our activity is a choice. It's fine to take things on, to feel stretched, it's also fine to turn things down and to say no when that best serves us.

46. The squeaky wheel

It's the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.

This can feel unfair that those who get on with their lives without fuss and who don't get the support that other, less competent, people get. Fair or not, it's a fact.

So those who look like they are dealing with life well, even when they aren't, need to know how to ask for help otherwise others won't think to offer it.

47. We create our own experience, sometimes

Try telling a naked man at -20C in a piercing wind that we create our own experience, he might not agree with you.

But you could tell yourself this when you get upset over something someone has said to you, over a forgotten anniversary, over a promotion you did not get, over holiday plans that go wrong, over a scratch down your car, over a rainy day...etc...etc

48. Not all problems can be solved

But that doesn't mean we can't improve things. One of the signs of flexible approach to life is a willingness to accept partial solutions to problems that can't be solved in their entirety. So when you're faced with something you feel you have to accept don't stop looking for areas where you can still make improvements.

49. The difference between purpose and learning

I'm not sure about the belief that there is a purpose in everything that happens to us. Some events are so devastating that to suggest they have purpose can seem cruel. However I am clear we can learn from everything that happens, no matter how catastrophic the event. It does not mean it has to be part of a larger plan just that even the bad times can teach us something.

50. The past and future do combine
       To be the thief of present time

I don't know where this couplet comes from but I do think it contains the most important learning available to us. There is only here, there is only now. To waste the present reviewing the past or excessively planning the future is to waste life itself. We seek the experience of feeling fully alive and that can only be in the moment.

51. A week of making a difference.

Each day for a week take one action outside of your normal routine that will give someone else an unexpected benefit.

Pay someone a genuine compliment about something you would not usually mention.

Give someone a small gift for no particular reason other than you feel they deserve it.

Reach out with a reassuring touch or even a hug when the are having a difficult time.

Most important, at the end of each day write down what you did and the response you got back. After seven days take some quiet time to review your list and think about the difference you have made to others and how it has left you feeling. This is an exercise that's meant to be fun. If it feels like a burden then don't do it.

52. An attitude of gratitude

This is a phrase you have probably heard of before but its familiarity should not blind you to its truth. Here is an interesting exercise to see if this idea works for you.

Write down one thing you feel you can give thanks for even if, right now, you don't feel very grateful. If you can't think of anything write down the fact that you can see, many people can't. Spend a minute thinking about this item and tomorrow add another and spend a minute on each one.

Do this every day for a total of five days, so five items and five minutes reflection. Spend five minutes a day contemplating the items on your list and if you find this makes a difference to how you feel then add items as the occur to you. If it doesn't work for you then file the list away, it will be there when you need it.

53. Rome wasn't built in a day......but parts of it were

The first part is a saying my mother used when I got impatient for something, which I frequently did. I was supposed to learn that if something was worthwhile it took a long time to achieve. For a time I thought this meant was all I had to do was wait, so I was both impatient and inactive.

As I grew up I realised that although "Rome wasn't built in a day" parts of it were and it was best to look at the small steps I could take. I came to see that many things in life are the result of a number of small actions, often on a daily basis.

A weight loss target is unlikely to be achieved in a day, but a weight reduction might well be.

Financial success is usually not achieved in a day, but a savings account can be opened in one.

A damaged relationship cannot be mended in a day but a significant start can be made.

An education cannot be acquired in a day, but new learning certainly can be.

This whole website wasn't completed in a day, but this section of it was.

54. The 80/20 principle

Put simply, this idea states that 80% of the results you achieve come from only 20% of the actions you take.

Now I have my doubts on the degree of precision of any formula applied to any human being. I do, however, see that when we act at the right time and in the right way we get results that are far in excess of the energy involved. It's certainly an excellent idea to concentrate our energies on the things that make a difference rather then spending our resources to no great effect

Too much activity can be a curse, it stops us from looking too deeply at issues in our lives but well timed and effective action frees us to contemplate the direction we are taking.

55. Fixing process or outcome

In general you can't fix both process and outcome but a lot of people, myself included, waste a lot of their life trying to do this.

If you want to fix the outcome e.g. an athletic achievement, a house purchase, a relationship goal, you will usually have to develop flexibility in your approach in order to get where you want to be.

If you want to fix a process e.g. the way you react to people, a set approach to business then you can expect to experience variable outcomes.

There is no "right answer" here, just a need to select an appropriate process or outcome and waste time trying to force the way things are into a mould of your making.

56. Your life will end before the world stops being interesting

You'd better face it, whatever your interests there are more opportunities available to you then you will ever have time to explore. And of course it gets worse the more interests you have.

Just the entertainment is an example, at least one book a day you will enjoy reading is published, a CD you would enjoy listening to is released, a film or TV program you would love to see is made, a play opens, a concert is staged etc.

Take travel, assuming you don't work in the travel industry, if you add up all the places you want to go to and the holidays you have available you're just not going to be able to cram it all in. And I haven't mentioned your career, relationships, sports, writing, learning etc.

So the message is about choice. You don't have time for the second best, the second rate. You don't have enough time to all the first rate that is available so never, never settle for less.

57. Silence is as important as noise

Music consists of sounds and silences. Without the gaps there wouldn't be a tune. Yet the life we live nowadays so often consists of constant noise, the noise of activity, television, relationships, our thoughts.

To make more sense of life, to hear the song we are here to sing, we need to create silence, a quiet time of reflection, an occasional oasis of calm where we can review where we have been, where we are now and where we are going.

It is claimed that much of man's unhappiness arises from his inability to sit in a room on his own. Silence just means being at one with ourselves and to some it can feel rather threatening. But staying with the silence say for five minutes, perhaps starting right now, can help develop the skill. Let your quiet times become a regular part of your daily life.

58. "There is a crack in everything"

This is a quote from a Leonard Cohen song "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in".

Leonard Cohen is a poet and so what he writes is open to a number of interpretations. But to me this quote is about how we deal with problems and difficulties of life. I don't hold the belief that everything has a purpose, that everything has a meaning, I just don't see life that way.

What I do believe is that all events, good or bad, have potential for growth and learning. I do believe that when things get broken, our relationships, our jobs, our health, along with the loss and sadness is the possibility of fresh light into the very core of our being.

59. The lessons keep presenting until the learning takes place

Take a few minutes to look back on your life and see if you can identify some of your patterns in relationships, career, health. It's worth writing down a few sentences to capture elements that repeat themselves. Then ask yourself these questions:-

If these situations were trying to teach me something then what would it be?

What would my future the like if I had learnt the lessons that are presented?.

If you don't come up with anything move on, this may not be you. But if you do see a lesson to be learnt go back over some past events and think about how they might have turned out differently if you had already absorbed what you need to know.

60. A week of making a difference

Each day for a week take one action outside of your normal routine that will give someone else an unexpected benefit.

Pay someone a genuine compliment about something you would not usually mention.

Give someone a small gift for no particular reason other than you feel they deserve it.

Reach out with a reassuring touch or even a hug when the are having a difficult time.

Most important, at the end of each day write down what you did and the response you got back. After seven days take some quiet time to review your list and think about the difference you have made to others and how it has left you feeling. This is an exercise that's meant to be fun. If it feels like a burden then don't do it.

61. We are all the same : We are all different

And ability to deal with paradox, ideas that are both true and yet seem to conflict, is one of the marks of a mature and intelligent approach to life.

It's good to recognise what we all have in common, it helps to reduce prejudice, it helps us to walk in another person's moccasins, to see how they might feel now and again. It teaches us empathy, understanding and kindness. We all bleed when we are cut, emotionally as well as physically, even if some people hide it better than others.

But it's also important to recognise just how different people are. Our beliefs, life experiences, background, characters are all different one from another. We will never all see the world the same way, humanity will never agree on a belief system, religious or political. So let's not waste our time trying to bring this about.

Let's celebrate that which we have in common and also rejoice in our diversity.

62. Assumptions are like termites

Assumptions are like termites, unchallenged they can erode your foundations.

Think for a moment about the inaccurate assumptions other people make about you. Here are a couple of examples:-

"You always seem so calm"...(Like a duck, underneath I'm paddling furiously and it's hard work.)

"You don't contribute"...(Actually I do but you just don't notice.)

Now turn this around and list some assumptions you make about other people, particularly those close to you. Make the assumptions into questions and check then out with the person involved:-

"Do you always feel as calm as you seem on the outside?"

"Do you feel your contributions are acknowledged and appreciated?"

It's interesting how it's easy it is to feel misunderstood and how it's more difficult to to think we might misunderstand.

63. Looking forward to living in the present

It's surprisingly easy to read this title without realising the inherent contradiction.

The fact is, if you're looking forward to being able to live in the present you've missed the point, the present is only here and is only now.

Being fully in the experience of the moment is, for many people, a skill they have to practice because so much of their life is spent either reviewing the past or planning the future.

Often when something dramatic happens, and it can be positive or negative, we don't have time to review or plan, we just have to live, here, now. These can be times when we feel fully alive, fully present.

Wouldn't it be great to have such feelings as part of our regular lives, to not need a drama in order to fully appreciate the moment.

64. Comfort, stretch and panic zones

It's useful to look at how much of your life you spend in each of these zones.

Your comfort zone : This is where we feel most safe and secure, it's good to spend time in this zone but some people never step out of it!

Your stretch zone : Here we push ourselves, this is where we learn, where we grow as human beings. Most people could spend more time here.

Your panic zone : This is where we know we have overdone it, it's not a place to visit very often or to stay too long.  

Now what's interesting is how these zones interact with each other.

If you stay in comfort zone then the stretch zone reduces and the panic zone expands.

If you regularly spend time in the stretch zone the comfort zone expands and the panic zone reduces.

If you spend a lot of your life in the panic zone that will tend to expand at the expense of the other two. 

For example, if you want to get fit you might find that a short run is a stretch but as time goes on this becomes comfortable and you need longer runs to stretch yourself.

If you find public speaking a trial that puts you straight into panic you can spend time gently stretching yourself in that area and the panic will probably ease.

If being on your own causes panic you can move that to stretch and even comfort by reassuring practice that will stretch you but not panic you.  

So, right now, what can you commit to do that will stretch you?  

65. Trying to make the world different can be a lifelong battle

Some lifelong battles, against poverty, against injustice, suit some people. It seems they were born to be campaigners, the role fits them like a glove and they can be taken over in pursuing the changes they believe in. They often contribute to the world in a big way.

If you are not one of those people your position is just as valid and you might end up having a more enjoyable life. Having a "cause" can be all consuming; it can damage personal relationships while seeking a better world for all. Living a simple decent life, doing little harm, can be just as important a contribution to the world and have a better effect on those close to you.

66. Waiting for the world to agree with you

I watched a TV program about the workings of a well know spiritual centre. A group had been formed to agree on a new symbol, a logo, to identify the centre. They had been meeting for over a year, meditating together about it, discussing it but still not agreeing.

I noticed how differently they were all dressed, some had chosen bright coloured clothes, and favoured a bright coloured logo; some wore earth colours, some simple, some more flamboyant each with a logo preference to match. I felt heartened by their inability to agree, they were individuals, and their preferences were different.

If you are waiting for all the world to become Christian, Hindu, Muslim, vegetarian, left wing, right wing, a football supporter, give up their cars, etc you are wasting your time, it's never going to happen. Rejoice in the variety of human experience; ask what each person, what each belief has to teach you. You will learn more, be less rigid and not wait for something that isn't going to turn up.

67. Just because this is the best time of my life

"Just because this is the best time of my life doesn't mean I know how to enjoy it." (Carrie Fisher)

It's an interesting thought, an ability to enjoy life doesn't automatically follow from life being enjoyable, but then feeling sad doesn't always follow from receiving bad news.

Events and our reactions to them and not as directly linked as we assume. Where we have a choice about how we feel it's good to exercise it in our favour It would be silly to go to bed thinking what a great day you have had only to realise you didn't remember to enjoy it while it was happening.

68. A news fast

News broadcasters and writers have an important job in our society, they stand in our place to try and find out what is going on and inform us about it.
They are also ambitious people working for commercial organisations and there is no doubt the "Bad news sells"
It's very easy for us to forget that all news media has a prejudice, it's all biased towards ratings, something the media itself rarely talks about.

Now if you are feeling good about yourself and about the world around you, if you are in a positive frame of mind there is no problem with keeping up to date occasionally via mainly negative reporting.

But if you don't feel emotionally strong, if life has dealt you a few blows I suggest one thing you can do to aid your recovery and that is to go on a news fast. You knowing about the worlds problems at a time when you are trying to deal with your own isn't going to help you, or the world. So, take a break, switch off when the news comes on, you owe it to yourself.

69. Using "and" or "but"

This isn't and English lesson but a simple way to improve communcation and change experience.

"But" shows an exception to a rule, e.g. "I love vegetables but I don't like beetroot". Beetroot is the exception to my love of vegetables.
"And" shows two things can be true at the same time; e.g. "I enjoy running but sometimes I like to stay in bed a bit longer". My preference for a lie in does not make me enjoy running less.
Lesson over. Here's where it gets interesting.

"I love you but sometimes you make me angry"
"I love you and sometimes you make me angry"

The first suggests, perhaps unconsciously, that when I'm angry I don't love you. The second suggests I always love you and sometimes I'm angry.
Today notice when you use each word and just check it's appropriate. The change might make a difference.

70. Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements you repeat to yourself on a regular basis, a strange idea to some people. But, consider the statements you do say to yourself during an average day, how many are positive, "I'm doing well at this" and how many negative "I've screwed up again".

Now if most of yours are positive I suggest you skip this item, it's not for you. But if most diminish you, if you verbally repeat negative phrases from childhood, if your thoughts run you down all the time this is a chance to take action to counter these influences.

Here is the theory behind it:-
Your experience is influenced by your thinking.
Change your thinking and you change you experience.
Affirmations help you to change your thinking.

So chose a statement, perhaps from the list below, and resolve to say it, with feeling and preferably out loud, twenty times a day as two sessions each of ten times. Give each repetition as much emphasis as possible, make yourself sound believable. If it hasn't made a difference a month from now, try something else, but you won't because it will.

I love and accept myself and this allows me to grow.
I have the right to feel the way I do, and I can chose to feel differently.
I have the qualities I need to deal with any problems I face.

© 2017 David Mills