Monday, 19 February 2018

Friday, 16 February 2018

February 16, 2018 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Words are very powerful.  If you don’t believe me, please whatever you do, DON’T think of a purple elephant with bright pink polka dots.  I mean it, DON’T think of a purple elephant with bright pink polka dots.  Seriously, DON’T think of a purple elephant with bright pink polka dots. 

   I bet the first thing that popped into your mind, when you read those words was some form or image of a purple elephant with bright pink polka dots. 

   Even though I specifically put the word “don’t” in front of the statement, you still did it.  That is because our minds, with their ability to focus and filter, hone straight in on the more concrete “what” in our statements - whether spoken, written, or just thought - and not the “action” part, as it were.

   Yet, how many of us - in conversation with others and, even more often, internally with ourselves - use phrases along the lines of:
            - I can’t stop worrying about…
            - If I only didn’t have so much…
            - I wish I wasn’t so...

   And, like our minds are designed to do, they completely ignore the first part of the statement or thought - the part I have typed out - and latch onto the part represented by the “…”

   Those with a more sceptical outlook will disagree, but just look around you, and at the situations you are in, and your relationships.  Do you mostly see what you “want” in your life, or what you “don’t want?” 

   If you are like the vast majority of the population, you will probably see a lot of what you say you don’t want, and then you’ll follow whatever latest self-help fad is out there to bring about a change, only to abandon it, after a few short weeks, when nothing seems to be changing.

   In order to change the conditions, the “what” in your life, you need to change the words you are using.  As with any habit, you can’t just eliminate what you don’t want, you need to replace it with more of what you do want, one word at a time, with gratitude.


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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Monday, 12 February 2018


In every breath you take, love is always here. 
Throughout any personal encounter, love is always here.
 No matter what comes together or 
whatever is pulled apart, love is always here. 
In your greatest moment of achievement or even in 
your darkest hour of uncertainty, love is always here. 
Whether in the aftermath of tragedy or in the
 presence of your highest triumph, love is always here. 
When life is flowing, inspired, and harmonious, and 
even if it's frustrating, annoying,
 painful, or inconvenient, love is always here. 
When you feel alone or unsupported, love is always here. 
No matter what you understand and despite 
what you have yet to figure out, love is always here. 
Despite your thoughts, regardless of what you choose, 
or how you feel, love is always here. 
No matter what has been done to you or 
whatever you believe you have done to others, 
love is always here. 
- Matt Kahn

Friday, 9 February 2018


Whatever arises, love that...a willingness to embrace
 the ever-changing circumstances of life.
 - Matt Kahn

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


Even in favorable conditions,
 a person encounters struggle. 
- Swami Kripalvananda

Monday, 5 February 2018


I don't mean to interrupt. 
I just remember random things and get excited.
 - Paula Poundstone

Friday, 2 February 2018

February 2, 2018 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   We are now a whole month into the new year.  How’s it going for you so far?  Better than last year?  Worse?  The same old, same old grind?

   We, humans, have this idea that every once in a while we need to make a big grand sweeping change in our lives.  We decide that the only way things will be different is if we do some big overhaul.

   But...we, humans, also resist change at every turn, especially big changes that challenge our comfort zones and all that we hold familiar.  All to soon, after some attempt to massively change every aspect and corner of our being, we tend to revert back to the way we were before the change, and we become even more rigidly attached to that familiar state. 

   Until the next time we read, view, or hear something that inspires us to completely transform our lives.

   Repeat...year after year after year…

   Now, I’m not saying that change is bad, or that we all don’t have a habit or two (or more) that we want to change, or that our lives can’t do with some tweaking from time to time, but the way to bring about that change isn’t with an all-or-nothing, all-out approach.

   Rather, the most lasting, and meaningful, changes start with teeny tiny baby steps.  Steps that are so small that they seem almost ridiculous and pointless.

   And, yes, they do seem ridiculous, which is exactly why they work. 

   It is very easy for us to feel overwhelmed and give up, usually at the worst possible time, but at the same time is very easy for us to fool ourselves when we don’t think we are putting out much effort. 

   And doing one teeny tiny baby step forward often leads to larger steps as we realize how easy the baby step was, and momentum builds.

   “You don't take the baby steps for the distance they cover, but to put yourself in reach of life's don't hoist your sails on the sailboat to move the boat, but to catch the wind that will move the boat.” - Mike Dooley


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Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Paying attention

There is no reason to learn how to show you're paying attention
 if you are in fact paying attention.
 - Celeste Headlee

Monday, 29 January 2018


Depending on the circumstance,
 you should be hard as a diamond, 
flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, 
or as empty as space. 
- Morihei Ueshiba, founder of aikido

Friday, 26 January 2018


The world, emotionally speaking,
 is just one big repair kit. 
There is the possibility of connection
 and repair everywhere..
.the self is profoundly self-repairing.
 - Stephen Cope

Wednesday, 24 January 2018


Instead of asking “What more can I do?”
 ask yourself, “What do I need to stop doing?”
 - Barbara De Angelis

Monday, 22 January 2018


Maybe you haven't be sabotaging yourself. 
You've just been short-circuiting.
 - Barbara De Angelis

Friday, 19 January 2018

January 19, 2018 Chautauqua

Beth's Ponderings

   Ever wish you could travel backward or forward in time?  If you could, why would you go, to what specific time period, and what would you do when you got there?

   While I haven’t heard of anyone physically travelling backwards or forwards through time, I can assure that we have ALL time travelled at one time or another mentally, and in our night-time dreams.

   Now, there is a value to travelling back to the past.  It allows us to see events from a different perspective - for example, that embarrassing incident that yes, you can laugh about now, but couldn’t at the time.  Or, it allows us to (hopefully) learn from our mistakes so that we can make better choices today.  Plus, it allows those we love, who are no longer part of our lives, to live on in our memories.

   In the same way, travelling to the future has value as it allows us, via our imaginations, to try on, or experience, the various options available to us, and helps to give us clarity when we have a tough decision to make.  It provides us with insight so we can be better prepared for future events.  It also brings the feelings of excitement and anticipation when we are looking forward to a milestone or significant event.

   Yet, there is a darker side to all that time travelling.  For too many of us, time is spend ruminating about past events with feelings of regret, or hours upon hours spent wishing things were back ‘the way they used to be.”  Or, on the other hand, we spend far too much time worrying and dreading possible future catastrophes, and become paralyzed by all the choices ahead of us.

   By spending most of our mental energy in the past or the future, we fail to really live in the present - where we always are physically - and address what is happening in and around us, which, incidentally, tends to lead to regrets because we didn’t have time to do something important to us, or leads to a self-fulfilling prophesy of doom and gloom because we don’t take the necessary actions or prepare properly.

   Where are you right now?  In the past, in the future, or in the present?


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