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Issue 72

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In this issue ~~

* Moving Ahead in Troubled Times

* Action Challenge

* Wise Words

* Bookshelf

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Moving Ahead in Troubled Times

Moving into a new year is always a great time to reflect. In looking back on the year gone by, we've seen a continued pattern of economic ups and downs, fear of terrorism, war, natural disasters and personal challenges. With all of these individual and global stresses, it sometimes feels like each of us is holding up the weight of the world. We may feel powerless in the face of the seemingly overwhelming odds against us.

Life happens in cycles, with good periods and bad. While there are times when we have to grit our teeth and endure, as an eternal optimist, I always believe that things will get better. History will bear out that good does triumph over evil. At one point, it seemed impossible that the Cold War would end or the Berlin Wall would come down. But they did. In the same way, this "reign of terror" will one day be over.

Each of us can be a contributor to that process, in our own small way. The world is not changed by one person, but by all of us working together. We can each participate in the way that calls to us, whether it be working with a global organization or on a grass-roots level in our own families and communities.

One of my heroes is Nelson Mandela. Jailed in the midst of what seemed an endless period of apartheid in his country, Mandela never lost hope, nor compassion for his captors. He never succumbed to bitterness and resentment. Eventually, the unimaginable happened: apartheid ended, and miraculously, Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa.

We can use Mandela's courage and humility as examples in our own lives. Mandela never lost the vision for what could be, despite the evidence to the contrary that was everywhere around him. He saw possibility and responded with understanding and kindness, rather than animosity and anger. We, too, can do that and become beacons of light for those in our own lives who feel lost in despair.

Here are some steps you can take to hold your own vision:

~ Rather than succumbing to fear, listen to your own inner guidance and truth about how to live your life. There are political forces at play that have a lot to gain by keeping us afraid. Don't buy into it. Take precautions when you feel guided to do so, but don't give in to fear-mongering. Use your own judgment.

~ Make choices about what you want to pay attention to. Our news media is slanted toward the negative and disastrous – that's what sells. Some people are energized by knowing what's going on in the world, while others are disempowered by the constant repetition of frightening images. If you fall into the latter group, it's okay to turn off the news. Trust me – if there's something you really need to know, the information will reach you.

~ Assess your values – love, peace, compassion, cooperation, etc. – and become a living model for them. Living your values creates a much more convincing argument than preaching them to others.

~ Use your creative outlets to deal with your feelings. Channel your fear, despair, anger, frustration, hopelessness – as well as your positive feelings – into works of art, solely for your own expression and not necessarily for commercial purposes.

~ Don't use fear as an excuse to live a small, restricted life. Now, more than ever, it's important to live your dreams and inspire others to do the same. For many of my clients, being thrown out of a seemingly secure world has broken their complacency and propelled them to finally move forward on dreams that had been simmering on the back burner for way too long. Start taking small steps now, and continue doing whatever you can to keep the momentum going.

As we move into this new year, resolve to hold the vision for the world you would like to live in. If miracles can happen in South Africa, they can happen anywhere. Keep hope alive and share it with others, and let's pray that the new year brings us a step closer to that vision of world peace and love, as well as our personal dreams.


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Action Challenge

What one thing would you love to do that you've been avoiding out of fear? Do it! List 5 steps you can take toward that goal in the next 30 days, and then take them.

 


Wise Words

"As more people achieve some degree of mental calm, insight, or the ability to transform negative emotions into positive ones, there will be a natural reinforcement of basic human values and consequently a great chance for peace and happiness for all."

~ The Dalai Lama

"I have heard it said that living out of our vision is more powerful than living out of our circumstance. Holding on to a vision invokes the circumstances by which the vision is achieved. Vision is content; material circumstances mere form."

~ Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love

"True hope dwells on the possible, even when life seems to be a plot written by someone who wants to see how much adversity we can overcome. True hope responds to the real world, to real life; it is an active effort."

~ Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course: Sevens Steps to Self-Fulfillment

"What we actually learn, from any given set of circumstances, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful."

~ Blaine Lee, The Power Principle: Influence with Honor

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Bookshelf

(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life . . . Martin Seligman

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela . . . Nelson Mandela

In His Own Words . . . Nelson Mandela

Peace Tales: World Folktales to Talk About . . . Margaret Read MacDonald

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life . . . Thich Nhat Hanh

The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace . . . Don Miguel Ruiz, with Janet Mills

The Power of Positive Thinking . . . Norman Vincent Peale

Peace: 100 Ideas . . . Joshua C. Chen, David Krieger

In Pursuit of Peace: 21 Ways to Conquer Anxiety, Fear, and Discontentment . . . Joyce Meyer"

Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for Creating Harmony & Wholeness in a Chaotic World . . . Joel Levey, Michelle Levey

 

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© 2005 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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