Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Years may wrinkle the skin 
but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. 
 - Samuel Ullman

Monday, 22 May 2017


It is healthy to say uncle 
when your bone's about to break. 
 - Jonathan Franzen  

Friday, 19 May 2017

May 19, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   I’m sure you’ve heard, as I have, that it is better to give than to receive.

   Yet, if there is no one, or nothing, to receive, then the giver isn’t really giving.

   Contrary to how we usually view the process, the two actions are not two separate, and completely opposite actions, but two expressions of the exact same action.

   For, when the giver gives, and the receiver receives, the receiver also gives and the giver receives.

   Thus, you would think that giving and receiving would come easily and naturally to us all.  Unfortunately, while we are born with that ability, it seems to lessen as we grow and mature.

   Because of society’s bias towards giving being better, we are taught to give endlessly, in a variety of ways, even to people - or especially to people - who do not want to receive what we are giving.  And, since the other party doesn’t really receive what we give, we haven’t really given anything, nor have we been able to receive anything, so must then try to give more and more and more, until we are depleted physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

   But, the secret to real giving and receiving, is that nothing is depleted, or lost, in the exchange.  It is an “exchange,” something given and something received, every time, by both parties.

   If asked, most of us would say we are pretty good givers and receivers, effectively balancing the two.  So, here’s a question for you...what is your reaction when someone compliments you?  Do you say a simple “thank you” (truly receiving) or do you brush it off (rejecting)?  When someone thanks you for something do you say a sincere “you’re welcome” (truly receiving) or do you brush it off by saying it was nothing or not important (rejecting)?  Or, we can test this in an even easier manner - how deep is your normal inhalation?  The breath never lies, so unless you are regularly breathing in full, deep inhalations, you aren’t really open to receiving, and thus, not truly giving either.  

   As we tend to ignore ourselves, start fully giving and receiving with yourself, and then share with others.


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Wednesday, 17 May 2017


If God wants us somewhere else, 
He will orchestrate things to get us there. 
 - Author Unknown

Monday, 15 May 2017


More people fail from lack of encouragement 
than for any other reason.
 - Author Unknown

Friday, 12 May 2017


You cannot hate your way to anywhere...
Once you give up the fighting energy,
 you will have a new and more grounded starting point
 for yourself.
 - Amy B. Scher

Wednesday, 10 May 2017


If people get under your skin 
it's because they are not comfortable in their own. 
 - Dennis von Westerborg

Monday, 8 May 2017


Animals don't get hung up on THINGS like we do. 
They know that LIFE is the thing.
 - Dennis von Westerborg

Friday, 5 May 2017

May 5, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “think outside the box,” and may have even been challenged to do just that in a job or organizational setting, or maybe even in your personal life.

   How successful were you in that endeavour, really?

   While we can all benefit from getting out of our various “ruts” - whatever form they may appear in, getting “out of the box” isn’t beneficial to us at all.  We’d be further ahead to crawl deeper into the box.

   A panorama view takes our breath away at its majestic beauty, and knowing the big picture, North Star, or “forest,” will help us to navigate, but to really see things differently and move forward in creative ways we need to limit our view dramatically.

   Think about it, it isn’t the forest that moves you as much as the tiny drop of dew glistening on one individual little leaf on one tree.  In other words, it is the things right immediately in front of us, things that we can touch, rather than what’s in our view, yet completely out of reach.

   Artists and photographers know that it isn’t what is OUTSIDE the frame that creates the power of the is what is inside the frame.  The frame provides a limit, or boundary, yet at the same time it provides endless freedom as you can focus on whatever you want within that frame, and what you choose to focus on will achieve importance.

   The best writers, speakers, and other creative types also apply this principle.  They don’t tell you everything they know, or want to share, they limit it down to one thought or theme, increasing its overall impact.

   The inventions that have had the greatest impact on our lives have been items that dealt with processes we use every day, and objects we hold in our hands.    

   In order to make changes and bring something new to your organization, job, or life, you just need to look at what is immediately around you and decide what one item, or area, you want to focus on.  By bringing your focus down to the tangible and visible, instead of trying to create something new out of the nebulous, you will be able to create something lasting, memorable, and more than likely more applicable to your situation, than anything you’ll find in the vast “outside.”

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Wednesday, 3 May 2017


When nothing seems to help, 
I go back and look at the stonecutter, 
hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times
 without as much as a crack showing in it. 
 Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, 
and I know it was not that blow that did it – 
but all that had gone before.
 - Jacob Riis

Monday, 1 May 2017


When small irritations or problems appear in your life, 
see them as blessings in disguise. 
 Consider how the oyster takes an irritation 
and makes a pearl. 
 - Anne Marie Evers

Friday, 28 April 2017


I guess I can't complain. 
 I had a rich full life before I started school.
 - Arnot Sheppard

Wednesday, 26 April 2017


If you are bitter at heart, 
sugar in the mouth will not help you.
 ~Yiddish Proverb

Monday, 24 April 2017

Giving Up

Giving up something that is making you unhappy
 is not giving up anything worthwhile at all. 
 - Pamela Phillips Oland

Friday, 21 April 2017

April 21, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings the glass half full or half empty?  Whichever way you answered, are you really sure?  Do you want some more time to think about that before answering?

   We are taught to perceive the world, and all that is around us, in a certain way, and by and large we never ever question those perceptions.

   The drawback is that often those perceptions, and the conclusions we draw from them about our lives, are based solely on an artificially static state that has no bearing on reality, a reality that is in constant ebb and flow, and changing from moment to moment.  Even we are constantly changing, and the you that just read these words is not even the same you that read the first line.

   In our example, we claim that the glass is in a certain state and assume that state never changes, nor can it be changed.  Yet, the glass is never half empty or half full, it is only ever 100% full, perhaps not full of the exact same substance, but nonetheless, it is always completely full.  Even when the glass appears to us to be completely empty, it is still 100% full of air.

   We lock into a particular way of viewing the glass and its contents, and are hard-pressed to view it in any other manner, even though there are unlimited ways of looking at, and describing, the glass and its contents.

   And the state the glass definitely has the ability to change, and is constantly changing.  The glass can be filled with liquid, it can be filled with a solid, it can be filled with a combination of materials and substances, it can be filled with only air, it can be filled an unlimited number of times without changing the essence of the glass at all.

   But, the one thing the glass cannot be is emptied.  We can remove the liquid, solids, or the air, but the glass hasn’t been emptied, its contents have merely been replaced with other contents.

   When we experience a “loss” in our lives, our lives haven’t been “emptied” at all.  We’ve merely had the contents of our lives shifted and replaced with other contents, so that our lives are always filled to overflowing.


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Wednesday, 19 April 2017


Everyone is ambidextrous.  If we are able to use both our legs 
with almost equal effectiveness, than why not our hands? 
The answer is – because we don't practice it. 
 It simply is not essential to be ambidextrous,
 so we quickly begin to favor one hand for certain tasks, 
and the other hand for other tasks.
 - Robb Armstrong

Monday, 17 April 2017


Some people manage by the book, 
even though they don't know who wrote the book
 or even what book.
 - Author Unknown

Friday, 14 April 2017


“When” is the ultimate life hack...
Knowing “when” enables you to perform
 “what” and “how” to your maximum potential. 
 If you didn't change a thing about what you do
 and how you do it, and only made micro-adjustments 
to when you do it, you'd be healthier, happier, 
and more productive...
 - Michael Breus   

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


I've learned, the hard way, 
that some poems don't rhyme, 
and some stories don't have a clear
 beginning, middle, and end.
 Life is about not knowing, having to change, 
taking the moment and making the best of it, 
without knowing what's going to happen next.
 Delicious Ambiguity.
- Gilda Radner  

Monday, 10 April 2017


I love sleep.
 My life has a tendency to fall apart 
when I'm awake, you know? 
 ~ Ernest Hemingway 

Friday, 7 April 2017

April 7, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Earlier this year, I was watching some old movies, including some great cinema classics. Almost each one had the following line somewhere in the movie: “If you really love [him/her], you would...”

   While that line is great for creating tension and drama in movies and books, it is extremely dangerous when used in real life.

   The line gives the impression that the speaker loves, and is concerned about, an individual (or in some instances, it refers to themselves) and it is out of this love and concern for that individual that they are addressing the other person. However, what the line really reveals is the speaker's fear.

   If they truly cared so much, they wouldn't be trying to manipulate another person into making a decision, or taking an action, that the person obviously doesn't want to make, and that would only be in the perceived best interests of the speaker, not the other people involved.

   By manipulating others out of fear, the speaker tries to either keep the status quo, or ensure an outcome that will make the speaker - not the other people - happy and feeling secure.  In fact, the true feelings and wishes of the others are not even a consideration for the speaker, despite what they may profess, because this line is usually brought out during a “secret” conversation between the speaker and other person that must be kept hidden from the individual in question.

   Now, the speaker could fear any number of things, depending on their relationship to the individual: that the individual will abandon them for someone else, that the individual will make a horrible mistake, that the individual is growing too independent and doesn’t need their guidance or assistance any more, that the individual is not willing to fulfill the speaker’s dream for them and their life.

   Any time that line is used, and fear prevails, it is to the determent of all parties involved, and creates more problems than whatever the speaker is trying to prevent.

   “If we did not believe in fear in the first place, no one could control anyone.” - James van Praagh


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Wednesday, 5 April 2017


The most meaningful life experiences
 don't happen in the “when” 
they happen in the “now.”
 - Rachel Macy Stafford 

Monday, 3 April 2017


If you are on the path you are meant to be on, 
everything falls into place; the Universe is telling you that.
 If you are not on your right path,
 you will experience roadblocks along the way,
 and this is also the Universe telling you to stop, look and ask
 if this is where you are supposed to be.
 - Dolores North  

Friday, 31 March 2017


I'd rather look forward and dream
 than look backward and regret. 
 - Anonymous  

Wednesday, 29 March 2017


Go for good 
and all that's not the truth of you 
will fall away.
 - Meleah Jacobs  

Monday, 27 March 2017


If you've got to eat a plate of poop,
 hold your nose and do everything you can
 to make the best of a lousy situation. 
But don't compound the problem
 by telling yourself you should enjoy it 
as much as Haagen-Dazs.
 - Jason Blume 

Friday, 24 March 2017


If you mind isn't cluttered by unnecessary things, 
this could be the best day of your life. 
- Ethan Hughes

Wednesday, 22 March 2017


All of life is in constant motion, and we are, too.
 On the upside, since we are constantly moving
 that means problems can be temporary too.
 Our feelings and our circumstances will always change. 
 It's important that we allow them to flow
 through us and around us, and deal with pressing issues
immediately and fearlessly.
 - Robb Armstrong

Monday, 20 March 2017

Friday, 17 March 2017

March 17, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Because humans are social animals, we have a deep need to belong.  Whether it is in an ethnic group, a religious organization, a particular political party, a fitness club, a gang, a preferred customer club, a social cause, or any other possible group or organization.  It doesn’t really matter what the group is as long as it keeps us from feeling like we are alone, or worse, outsiders.  And, usually belonging to just one group isn’t enough, and before long, the group identity becomes our sole identity.

   The irony is that in order to “belong” and be a member of a particular grouping of people, we have to isolate and separate ourselves from other people.

   Because, at the end of the day, that is the purpose of any grouping of individuals - no matter how altruistic their motives, ideals and actions - to separate themselves from others in some way, to show how different they are from the mainstream, and to give its members a feeling that they are more special than non-members.

   As a society, we need to have cooperation between people, a pooling and sharing of resources, to enable us to accomplish more than we could possibly accomplish on our own.  It is not possible to thrive as an isolated individual.

   But, at the extreme end, a group’s good can get overshadowed by the need to prove that its members are better than others, or that it knows the only right way to accomplish something.  Usually what results is a splintering of the group into smaller groups, each vying for new members, which in turn leads to more people being excluded, which leads to more people craving to belong somehow.  And when people feel desperate to join a particular group, they aren’t always thinking straight, and are very susceptible to pressure from peers, or group leaders.

   While it would be so easy to say that we just need to get rid of the extreme groups, that won’t solve the problem.  Instead, we need to remind those around us what belonging really means.  After all...“Breathing is nature's way of saying we belong here. Otherwise we wouldn't be doing it!” - Ofosu Jones-Quartly


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Wednesday, 15 March 2017


Life is meant to be lived 
not managed, not controlled, not screamed,
 not stressed, not hurried, not guilt-ridden,
 not regretted, not scripted, not consumed
 by distractions, big or small, obvious or subtle. 
- Rachel Macy Stafford  

Monday, 13 March 2017


If we learned from suffering, 
wouldn't the world be enlightened by now? 
 - Josh Radnor

Friday, 10 March 2017

Goofing Off

What I now know
 is that goofing off is actually critical 
to my journey in this life. 
 - Cheryl Richardson

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Monday, 6 March 2017


I am developing the loving awareness 
that everyone is the same, 
only on different paths.
 - James van Praagh  

Friday, 3 March 2017

March 3, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   How much space do you take up in this world?  

   Now, let me clarify what I mean by “space.”

   I don’t mean the square footage of your house, or your workplace/office, or if you even have multiple residences.  I don’t mean how many belonging you have and the entire square footage they occupy.  And, I definitely don’t mean the size of your physical shape - whether you are tall or short, bigger or smaller around.

   Space, in the context that I am using it, has both a macro and micro element to it.  

   On the macro level, how large an area does your influence ripple out?  Are you known outside of your immediate community, or do you tend to keep to yourself?  How large is your circle of friends and acquaintances?  You don’t have to be “famous” to have lots of influence, just kind.

   Now, the micro level of space is a bit different, and, of the two levels, is the most important.  It is also the easiest to measure at any given moment, and boils down to just one simple observation - how full and deep was your last breath?

   There are only three types of “fuel” our body needs: air, water, and food, and the most vital one is air, yet, because it enters our bodies predominately without conscious thought, we tend to ignore it.  The vast majority of us barely fill 20% of our lungs with each breath!  No wonder so many of us - myself included many days - feel tired and weak all the time, and when we feel threatened in any way, we tend to shrink inward - like a turtle into its shell - to protect ourselves.

   Yet the only way to really protect ourselves is to relax, inhale fully and deeply, and open our chests.  By filling more energetic “space” with each inhale we are able to sense - with our hearts - more of the world around us, and filling more space with full, deep inhalations is also the secret to thriving and living a healthy life.

   The size of our houses, and the number of belongings we own, matters not if we don’t fully inhabit the energetic “space” that we have been given to embody with each breath we take.

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017


Breathing is nature's way of saying we belong here. 
 Otherwise we wouldn't be doing it!
 - Ofosu Jones-Quartly

Monday, 27 February 2017


May peace be your ellipsis
 and joy your exclamation point.
 - Christine Smith

Friday, 24 February 2017


The only way to deal with an unfree world
 is to become so absolutely free 
that your very existence is an act of rebellion. 
 - Albert Camus  

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


Stop being boring 
and show the world what awesome looks like.
- Robby Novak  

Monday, 20 February 2017


Creativity test:
Q: Are you breathing?
Score: If you answered yes to this very important question,
 that means you are highly creative.
So the real question is,
 are you willing to bring forth the gift
 that only you can give?
 - Pam Grout

Friday, 17 February 2017

February 17, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Whose life are you currently living?  You might be surprised at the answer when you take the time to stop and think about it.

   If you said you are living your own life, you might want to think again.

   For example, if you have ever made choices to make someone proud of you, then you aren’t living your own life, you are living theirs.  People in our lives are either proud of us, or they aren’t.  If they are, it is because of who we ARE inside, not because of what we do, or other externals.  And, if they aren’t proud of us, well, chances are pretty darn good that nothing we do will change that, and it’s their loss.

   Or, have you ever said that you chose to go into a certain career, or reach a certain milestone, or obtained something because someone in your family wasn’t unable to?  Guess what?  That means you are living their life and dreams, not your own.  While there is nothing wrong at all by being inspired by the actions and dreams of another, too many of us adopt those dreams and aspirations without even considering if they are the right fit for us, and often, they are quite ill-fitting as we don’t have the same qualities or desires necessary for successfully obtaining them.

   Have you ever gone with the flow of society into a lifestyle or career path because everyone else did.  Just because it seems to work for others, doesn't automatically mean that it works for everyone.  We are all unique in viewpoint, needs, talents, and skills, and what makes us unique is needed in the world, provided we don’t let life conform us to some cookie-cutter ideal.

   We think we are living out our own dreams and life, but rarely are we.  There are just too many outside influences drowning out our own inner wisdom and guidance.  

   So, how do you know when you are living your own life and not another's. you feel happy most of the time?  Is your life simple and easy for the most part?  If so, you’re on the right track.  If not, reassess whose life you are living.

   We only get one chance at this particular life, so why not live your own dreams?


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Wednesday, 15 February 2017


You are not in need of self-help; 
you are in need of self-love.
 - Amy B. Scher

Monday, 13 February 2017


Our entire economy is based on
 distracting us from our blessings. 
 - Glennon Doyle Melton 

Friday, 10 February 2017


I think and think and think, I've thought myself
 out of happiness one million times,
 but never once into it. 
 - Jonathan Safran Foer

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


When I think about creating abundance, 
it's not about creating a life of luxury;
 it's about creating a life of possibility.
 It's about taking that which was scarce 
and making it abundant.
 - Peter Diamandis 

Monday, 6 February 2017


Imagine how free you would feel
 if you lived your life moment to moment
rather than milestone to milestone.
 - Gabrielle Bernstein  

Friday, 3 February 2017

February 3, 2017 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   We are now a whole month - hard to believe, I know - into the new year.  How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?  That is, if you are the type to make resolutions.

   Most people, even if they don’t formally make resolutions, do have a thought or two of how they would like to make some sort of lifestyle change, or do something different in their lives, or just add new adventures, as it is a new year.

   We feel, since the calendar has changed to a fresh new year, that we need to do something fresh and new too.

   There is nothing wrong with that line of thinking, however, I recently read something that turned the whole resolution thing on its head.

   Instead of resolving to make habit changes such as the typical “lose weight” or “exercise more,” or resolving to make some other radical lifestyle change, we should ask ourselves “what worked for me last year?”

   By identifying what habits or lifestyle choices did work, we can then bring them along with us into the new year and build on them, creating more success.

   We tend to take for granted what is working in our lives, which is a whole lot more than we think since it tends to get overshadowed by the one or two things that don’t work.  Yet, by focusing on, and continuing, patterns of behaviour that do work, and come more naturally to us, and create value in our lives, we are more likely to phase out the habits and lifestyle choices that don’t benefit us as much.

   Humans have a tendency to resist change - especially change that we think we “should” want, but don’t really.  Or changes that we just “know” are going to be hard and challenging, and not any fun at all.

   And by focussing on how difficult it is to change, we end up sabotaging our efforts, and subsequently just give up.

    The only really successful change is the one that leads to relaxation and ease, not struggle and anguish.  Thus, by strengthening our good habits we create change that sneaks in the back door so the changes happen, almost like magic without our knowing.   


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Wednesday, 1 February 2017


It is better to do one small thing 
that you can actually pull off 
than to fantasize about all the great things 
you would like to be able to do but can't. 
 - Judy Lief

Monday, 30 January 2017


As soon as you believe something,
 you have to defend it. When I look, though, 
I can never completely agree 
even with my own beliefs. 
 - John Tarrant