“I Like You Just the Way You Are.” – Mr. Fred Rogers

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Today would have been Mr. Roger’s 89th birthday.  He was famous for a number of things:  his powerful testimony in 1967 before the Senate urging them to not cut funding to educational TV, the cardigans and sneakers he’d put on at the beginning of each episode of his TV program, and his manner that was direct and truthful but yet also gentle and compassionate.

Most of all, though, he’s remembered for saying to all:  I like you just the way you are.  What a comfort to hear that, not only for the children watching his show each day but also for the adults who were often watching alongside the kids.

And it was a relief to hear someone say that, and say it in a way that you really, truly, honestly believed Mr. Rogers was speaking directly to you.  The tension you didn’t know you were holding drained out of you when you realize you don’t have to be thinner, taller, younger, older, shorter, heavier, smarter…you get the idea!…in order to be liked.  You can be you, just the way you are, and someone—Mr. Rogers, at least—likes you!

Wow!  What a concept!

Today, in honor of Mr. Rogers’ birthday, I want to take his sentiment and go one step further.  Not only do I join with Mr. Rogers in liking you just the way you are, but I also know you are the best one suited to live your life.  People who you think are much more talented, smarter, etc., than you would make a total and complete mess of your life if they had to live it.  In fact, the smartest most talented and gifted person in the whole world would make worse mistakes if living your life than you may have made in your life.  That’s because they don’t have the innate knowledge, talents, and skills that are needed to live your life.

But you do!  And, isn’t that a grand and wonderful thing?!

Today and this week keep saying to yourself “I like me just the way I am.”  Join me this week on the blog as we continue to talk about this and how it relates to crafting and meaningful life for yourself.

I like you just the way you are and furthermore, I believe in you.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Quotes to Start Your Week Off Right: Viktor E. Frankl

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Viktor E. Frankl survived Auschwitz and went on to found Logotherapy, a method of psychotherapy where the patient is guided to discover the meanings to be fulfilled by his/her future.  Frankl believed that the Will to Meaning, as he called it, is one of the most fundamental driving human forces, along with the need for food, clothing, and shelter.

Here are a few of his thoughts—ones that will encourage you to contemplate the deeper reasons for your existence and, thus, directing you toward a personally compelling meaning and purpose in your life.

 

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.

You don’t have to respond to everything that happens in your day or week.  You can step back, take a breath, and let the situation unfold more fully before choosing how you want to respond—if at all.  Don’t be so quick to judge or to blurt out that snappy comeback.  Perhaps it’s better to wait a beat or two and give yourself a chance to choose what you do or do not want to do.

 

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.

When we encounter situations we don’t like, we’re quick to try to change them.  But perhaps the gift lies not in how strong we are and how well we overcome a setback/challenge/obstacle but rather how we can see what it’s revealing in us that needs strengthening or improving or changing in some way.

 

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.

This is another way of saying what Nietzsche said: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

 

When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.

Pleasure’s satisfactions are fleeting and, like a drug, one finds that they need more and more of it to receive the same level of pleasure.  Meaning, on the other hand, sates the deep need within all of us to live lives that matter.

 

Make a note of the quote(s) that resonated with you and keep them handy; refer to them often this week.

Which quote resonated with you?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks!

Please feel free to pass this post along to a friend who may need a boost.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Back by Popular Demand: You’ve Failed? Congratulations!

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Bad choices, mistakes, and plain old stupidity.  Nobody wants to acknowledge these, much less talk about them.  People want to hear success stories, find the keys to success, and learn the 3 steps or 7 steps or 12 steps–or however many steps are in vogue at this moment–to success.  The media and our culture glorify it, making us feel envious and less-than, which Madison Avenue loves because then they can sell us something to “solve” it.

However, failure is one of the most important things you can do, as long as you don’t let it defeat you and as long as you don’t quit!

In spite of how discouraged–or ridiculous or stupid–you may feel and no matter how hard it is, take the next step!

Moving forward, even if it’s only by an infinitesimally small increment, is the only way to get through (around, under, or over) what seems like failure and defeat.  In reality, it’s a stepping-stone to a breakthrough for you.

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So, in the words of Winston Churchill, “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”  

Here are a few other quotes that might inspire and motivate you:

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

– Truman Capote

Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.

– Marilyn vos Savant,

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

- Japanese Proverb

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

– Michael Jordan

 

Jot down any of the quotes that resonated with you and keep them handy so you can refer to them often.  I’m so proud of you for not giving in, for finding the steel and the fire within, and for moving forward.  

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Irish Blessings and Sayings for a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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May the blessing of light be upon you,
Light on the outside,
Light on the inside.

With God’s sunlight shining on you,
May your heart glow with warmth,
Like a turf fire
that welcomes friends and strangers alike.

May the light of the Lord shine from your eyes,
Like a candle in the window,
Welcoming the weary traveller.

 

May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

 

 

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If God sends you down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.

 

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

 

Here’s to a fellow who smiles
When life runs along like a song.
And here’s to the lad who can smile
When everything goes dead wrong.

 

 

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May you see God’s light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness
Never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
when the shadows fall—
You do not walk alone.

 

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

 

May the saddest day of your future be no worse
Than the happiest day of your past.

 

 

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Always remember to forget
The things that made you sad.
But never forget to remember
The things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget
The friends that proved untrue.
But never forget to remember
Those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

 

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Do not resent growing old.
Many are denied the privilege.

 

May the saddest day of your future be no worse
Than the happiest day of your past.

 

May the most you wish for
Be the least you get.

 

 

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Grant me a sense of humor, Lord,
The saving grace to see a joke,
To win some happiness from life,
And pass it on to other folk.

 

 

 

May your troubles be less

And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness
Come through your door.

 

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been
the foresight to know where you’re going
and the insight to know when you’re going too far.

 

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May there be spring enough in your life
to outlast the winters;
May there be guitars (and drums) enough
to lift your spirits whenever you need it;
May you be gentle enough to comfort those who are hurting,
But revolutionary enough to bring heaven to those who need it now.
May there always be a leprechaun near you
to bring out laughter and dance with the child in you.
And may God always have room enough for you in the palm of his hand!

 

I hope you enjoyed these.  If there is one that resonated with you, keep it handy to refer to often.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

 

Sitting in Silence: Different Types of Silent Meditation

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When we think of meditating, the image that comes to mind is someone sitting cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion, back straight, eyes closed, and hands with palms up resting on the knees.

That’s only one way to meditate or to sit in silence.

If sitting like this doesn’t work for you, try a reclining position on a bed or couch.  For instance, sometimes I will sit in my recliner.  There’s a certain angle that’s impossible for me to achieve when sitting upright that, when I’m leaning back in the recliner at that particular angle, my lower back seems to instantly relax, which then allows me to meditate deeper.

Perhaps a walking meditation would suit you better, especially if it’s in a lovely garden or lightly wooded park.  You may find that being near moving water works for you, such as walking along a beach or sitting beside a burbling brook.  Or maybe it’s still water that does the trick for you.  A serene and calm lake or pond with its mirror-like surface may inspire you to release, let go, and to become calm and unruffled like the tranquil waters.

I came across this website that lists and explains 23 types of meditation.  Try a few of the methods.  Perhaps you’ll find that by combining a few and tweaking them a bit, it’ll be the perfect vehicle for your daily silent mediation practice.

Give it a try!

Let me know which of the meditation styles you like.  And, please let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Sitting in Silence: Those Pesky Thoughts!

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One of the most common reasons people give to explain why they don’t meditate—or have given up trying to establish a meditation practice—is because of those unruly and pesky thoughts.  The ones that either sneak in when you don’t even realize it until your quiet is so thoroughly disrupted, or the thoughts that won’t let your mind calm down in the first place.

One thing my daily practice has taught me is to not fight the thoughts.

Don’t try to turn them off and don’t feel you’ve failed if the thoughts just won’t let you go.  Instead, use your thoughts as a clue to what facets of your life need your attention.  Your thoughts are guides pointing you toward new gifts and new experiences that will lead you into a better life.

Be a detective when it comes to your habitual and disruptive thoughts.  What is the core issue?  What will addressing that issue do for you and your life?

Take the time to think it through.  Turn those thoughts that debilitated you into tools that power you forward into the bright future that awaits you.

You can do it!  I believe in you!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

How Does Sitting in Silence Relate to Pi Day?

 

Happy Pi Day (3.14 = the mathematical constant that describes the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter)!  Will you celebrate with enjoying a piece of pie?  I’m going to have a few Lemon Oreo cookies!  🙂

I say we also add sitting in silence to our celebration of pi!

How does pi relate to sitting in silence?  Simply because some of the most learned, innovative, creative, spiritual people throughout time have all regularly scheduled time alone in contemplation and thinking.

When we think of sitting in silence and contemplation, we automatically think of Buddhist monks, Mother Teresa, the Pope, the Quakers, and other religious and spiritual people.  But sitting in silence and making time for contemplation is not limited to religion, spirituality, or enlightenment.  Many scientists, scholars, and successful people have made this practice a regular part of their day.

A few names you may recognize:

Nicola Tesla

Thomas Edison

Albert Einstein

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Henry David Thoreau

Warren Buffet

Oprah Winfrey

Socrates

Susan Sontag

Thomas Jefferson

George Washington

…and more…

 

For more names of famous people who meditate, here is a Wikipedia listing.

Pi Day is celebrating an aspect of science, and scientists have been known to sit in silence and contemplation, therefore let’s sit in silence to celebrate Pi Day—and then enjoy a piece of pie afterward, or Lemon Oreo cookies!  😉

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Sitting in Silence: Unbound

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In the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am – unbound. ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

This is quote states one of the best reasons to sit in silence and stillness every single day.

There are so many messages that each of us hears every day.  Messages that tell us we’re too old/young, we’re too tall/short, we’re too smart/dumb….  You get the idea; you hear the messages just like I do.

It’s sitting in still silence every day and connecting with the Divine within that counteracts all these wrong messages.  When we touch the Infinite within, we know that we are limitless.  Even though we may be facing difficult circumstances in our lives, when we’re connected with the All-Knowing we know that the circumstances are temporary—they’re just passing through—and beyond them is something much better.

Join with me this week in sitting in silent stillness every morning this week.  Don’t stress over sitting at a particular time that’s the same time as everyone else.  In the Infinite, there is no such thing as space or time, which means that no matter when you are sitting, we are there with you in spirit.

We’ll be talking about sitting in silence all week so let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Start Your Week Right with Inspirational Quotes from Earl Nightingale

 

Today would have been Earl Nightingale’s birthday.  In his honor, here are a few of his quotes that I think will help you get a good start on the week.

Enjoy!

 

Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.  ― Earl Nightingale

 

…peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind. ― Earl Nightingale

 

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.  ― Earl Nightingale

 

A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before we changed.  ― Earl Nightingale

 

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice… it is conformity.  ― Earl Nightingale

 

People credited with all kinds of ability, talent, brains and know how, including the ability to see into the future, frequently have nothing more than the courage to keep everlastingly at what they set out to do. They have that one great quality that is worth more than all the rest put together. They simply will not give up! When a man makes up his mind to do something then it’s only a matter of time. Staying with time take bulldog persistence. This seems to be the entrance examination to success – lasting success — of any kind!  ― Earl Nightingale

 

I hope at least one of these quotes resonated with you.  Keep it handy and refer to it often this week.  Let the inspiration of the quote you chose power you through this week.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Thoughts on Reading from Earl Nightingale

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Here’s a wonderful essay from Earl Nightingale (who would have been 96 tomorrow) on the importance of reading.  Enjoy!

How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it’s so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics…I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That’s dangerous. It’s extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent.

In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes.

You do not read a book for the book’s sake, but for your own.

You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind.

You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life.

You may read because you did go to college.

You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too.

You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people.

Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise.

Books are a source of pleasure – the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight.

Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it.

Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: “Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.”
― Earl Nightingale

 

Make time in your week to read.  You’ll be glad you did!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren