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IF I WERE A CARPENTER.....!

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do . . . Build, therefore, your own world." 
 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
IF I WERE A CARPENTER . . . !
 
Picture a builder hiring a new framing carpenter to help construct his new homes. The first day on the job, the new carpenter shows up without a tool belt . . . and without any tools . . . and asks, "Where do I begin?" How much progress do you think would be made by the end of the first day?
 
Most of us at some point in our lives are like the unprepared carpenter. We show up, but have no tools, and haven't the slightest clue what we want to build. Within us, we have the power to build any life we choose, yet at day's end, nothing has changed.
 
Oh sure, we actively pursue the day-to-day activities of our chosen career, yet we don't take time to visualize the finished product - our life. Thoreau said it best: "Live the life you've imagined." Steven Covey said it this way: "Begin with the end in mind."
 
To "build your own world," begin by deciding what that world will be like. Next, gather the tools required to begin construction. Finally, begin practicing until you are an accomplished master.
 
If you want to be a renowned musician, choose an instrument, take lessons, and practice eight hours each day. If you want financial independence, determine a method, learn how others have achieved wealth, and mimic their approach and techniques.
 
Just remember, the world you get is the world you chose. It's an awesome responsibility - knowing that what you become is the result of the choices you have made. It's also an awesome opportunity to enjoy all the peace, contentment, freedom and riches life has to offer.
 
Carpe diem! Seize the day!

HAVE YOU SPRUNG FORWARD?

by Lorna Calder

    Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly." 
~ Henri Bergson 
 
"All things change; nothing perishes." 
~ Ovid
 
HAVE YOU SPRUNG FORWARD? 
 
The changing of the seasons presents several opportunities throughout the year to consider how life itself changes and how it remains the same. Hearing the first frog calls of spring feels at once reassuring, and also just a little unsettling. 
 
It’s consoling to know that the spring will always follow the winter, that autumn will always follow summer, and so on. But of course, the pattern also points to the fact that another winter has got behind us, and while we enjoy the offerings of spring, that winter season is now gone forever, and there is one less winter in the seasons of our lives. 
 
But the flowers and birds of spring also remind us of the futility of dwelling on seasons gone by. “Be here now,” they tell us, “because the party’s just starting!” The vestiges of the past year haven’t really disappeared, they’ve only morphed into something different and new (again). And the memories don’t vanish; they persist, unchanged, for as long as our minds can hold them. 
 
It’s a basic law of physics that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, so “turn yourself in,” and allow yourself to be subject to the rules of nature. Everything that you can be, you already are. You just have to make the change, like the butterfly from the chrysalis. Then summer will be here before you know it! 

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance." 
 
~ Samuel Johnson 
 
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! 
 
How many times have you heard it? "Don't work harder, work smarter." This modern cliche has almost become an annoyance - its meaning seems so obvious that we don't even pay attention to it anymore. But such simple sentiments often bear closer consideration, especially since they become cliched because of their inherent truth. 
 
You see, sometimes it really isn't how hard you try. Think back to high school: some students studied for hours for an exam and did poorly, while others studied a few notes and highlights for thirty minutes and got A's. Sometimes it just came down to smarts, but often it came down to how well prepared and organized the students were. Performing well on an exam or project doesn't necessarily reflect higher intelligence - it reflects ability to apply intelligence or strength efficiently. It's qualitative instead of quantitative. 
 
Expend great effort inefficiently and you may well end up farther behind than if you expend less effort in a more resourceful manner. The whole goal should be progress, not the total expense of your resources. It's those folks who can analyze and implement an approach that requires less effort who enjoy the greatest success. We all want to minimize our investment and maximize our returns, right? 
 
If you find yourself trying so hard and not getting anywhere, you're probably experiencing a deep feeling of discouragement. Help yourself out by looking at changes you can make to help you focus more on the solution to the task. Eliminate energy spent that isn't producing results. 
 
Apply a little effort on a consistent and targeted basis, and you'll achieve the progress you're seeking. Jacob Riis observed, "When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a 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." 

ARE YOU POLITICALLY CORRECT?

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"It's important to let people know what you stand for. It's equally important to let them know what you won't stand for."
 
- B. Bader
 
ARE YOU POLITICALLY CORRECT?
 
How careful we must be today - to avoid the slightest slight to others. If we continue, we will become totally homogenized - each looking, acting, talking, and walking like each other. The unique identity into which we were born will mellow, fade, and eventually become transparent.  The gifts and talents we have to offer will be so diluted as to go unnoticed.
 
What ever happened to our right to speak out against wrong?  Why do we allow ourselves to be hushed and shushed when we verbalize our expectation of respect from the very young?  Why are we so sensitive to what "they" think of our actions when we attempt to do good?
 
Each of us is uniquely individual.  We are one of a kind, not just an ingredient in the soup of humanity.  Each of us is born with the ability to make a difference, to contribute our talent, to expect the best.
 
We have the ability to set standards for ourselves, to choose the principles upon which we live and serve.  We also have the responsibility to teach our children "what we stand for" as well as "what we won't stand for."  By unashamedly living those principles, and expecting the same from our children, we help set the course for others who have not the strength to do so.  We are the example.
 
Political correctness, as it applies to granting full respect for others is perfectly acceptable.  Political correctness, as it is often applied as a choke-chain to restrain the desire to uphold what is right, is a gross misuse of the desire for simple courtesy and politeness.  Let's just drop "political" and be correct!

TIME TO FERTILIZE!

by Lorna Calder

    Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." 
 
~ Anonymous 
 
TIME TO FERTILIZE! 
 
You see them out there, all the folks in the neighborhood fertilizing their lawns for the spring growing season. It’s like a competition, to see whose yard will win the prize for “greenest.” But are they really trying to be the best, or just trying to be better than the guy over the fence? 
 
Well, forget about fences, because the grass grows greenest where it is quite simply tended the best. You can’t blame the fence for poor lawn quality on this side. You and you alone are responsible for discovering the gardening secret that will yield the pleasure and satisfaction you seek at home. 
 
Perhaps you might learn such secrets by building a better relationship with your neighbor, sharing and comparing cultivation routines. They say that good fences make good neighbors, but it should always be about what’s on this side, not that one. “He who leaves his house in search of happiness pursues a shadow.” 
 
If you’re not happy with what you’ve already got, you’re not going to find it "out there." You may learn a lot when you cross the fence and experience the world, but you can only learn satisfaction at home. Once you’ve got that, fences won’t matter anymore. 
 
Why? Because now you’ve carefully cultivated your own green grass, for your own feeling of satisfaction and not for a sense of competition. Now you can carry your watering can over the fence, and tend the grass wherever you may be. Happy gardening! 

PLEASE RELEASE ME!

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:

"Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness."
~ The Buddha


PLEASE RELEASE ME!


Remember the song "Please release me, let me go"? If you've ever felt that someone or something had a hold on you and wouldn't let go, perhaps you needed an "attitude adjustment."

Why? Unless you are literally chained to a wall, people and things don't have a "hold" on you. It is you who have taken hold of them, and refuse to let go. It's so easy to latch on to the situations, relationships, and baggage of others - believing it possible to have some control over their outcome.

The result is never-ending worry, sleeplessness, feelings of helplessness, and other symptoms of being "out-of-control." Anger is another matter - there seems to be so much of it today. TV shows are full of it. Anger is directed at family, the boss, the spouse, or anyone else in sight. Yet anger results from feeling that things or people are not doing what you think should be done. Anger is felt when you can't control the outcome.

The truth is we are only in control of our own lives and actions - nothing more. Buddha had it right when he said, "Learn to let go." Martin Luther said, "Let go and let God." Regardless of who said it, or how it was said, letting go will open many doors of happiness in your future.

THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES!

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"You will become a great philanthropist in your later years."  
 
~ Chinese Fortune 
 
THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES! 
 
Today’s quote was lifted from an actual fortune cookie that a friend opened after a recent dinner at the local Chinese restaurant (Lucky Numbers: 34, 15, 26, 38, 17, 8). It’s got to be the best cookie fortune ever! Its positive message is twofold, a doubly wonderful possibility for the future. 
 
Becoming a great philanthropist is hopefully founded on the premise of becoming very wealthy, so the fortune seems to imply that not only will my friend become rich, but that he'll also be responsible enough to put that wealth to good use. 
 
Capitalism is a “necessary evil” of this global age, and it creates a sense of obligation to help those less fortunate. Or to help them to help themselves, primarily through the improvement of education systems throughout the world. 
 
The idea of the dog-eat-dog corporate mentality (see “The Apprentice”) is becoming outdated. Selfishness is no longer in style, and trampling everyone else down is no longer seen as the best road to success. More and more “celebrity” entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Paul Newman, and Richard Branson are teaching a message of social responsibility. 
 
Even if my friend never attains the kind of wealth those gentlemen have built, it's still certain that the cookie’s fortune will come true, because everyone has a responsibility to help others, no matter who you are, where you live, or the balance in your back account. 

The Tortoise or The Hare?

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"Despair is the price one pays for setting himself an impossible aim." 
 
~ Graham Greene 
 
THE TORTOISE OR THE HARE? 
 
This weekly column often encourages you to reach high and focus your energy towards achieving your dreams. What happens when the dream eludes you, or you feel that you're not measuring up against the standards of your peers? 
 
Sometimes we do set our sights too high, or expect to reach them in an unreasonably short period of time. Just as important as establishing a goal is to map out an intelligent route. It's not usually all Super Highway between where we are and where we want to go. There are often plenty of other roads leading to and from that freeway, and you shouldn't drive 70 mph on a narrow two-lane country road! 
 
But... what better place to slow down and enjoy the scenery? It's these paths that define the greatest part of our experience, and we shouldn't overlook them because we're so focused on the ultimate objective. Strangely enough, the things we see and experience along the way often lead us to change our path - or even our destination. 
 
Ignore the worry-warts and over-achievers who want to know why it's taking you so darn long to get there. There is no time limit on success. You'll get there when you get there, and you won't be too old for it when you do. Success is sweet at any age, but it tastes best washing down a lifetime of experience, pleasure, and pride in one's work. 
 
Achievement is a certificate that never expires, and there's no "due date." With the right attitude, you'll find small successes every day to keep your outlook positive and your life moving forward - at your own pace. When you make it clear that you are in the driver's seat and enjoying the trip, others will find themselves wanting to get on board. Happy motoring! 

The Power of Negative Thinking!

by Lorna Calder

Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
“So is cheerfulness, or a good temper, the more it is spent, the more remains.”  
 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
THE POWER OF NEGATIVE THINKING! 
 
"If everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane." We've all read or heard similar humorous observations regarding the idea that, when all seems to be going well, it's merely the precursor to some sort of disaster. Unfortunately, many people seem to base their attitudes on that perception and, even more regrettably, they often permit such negativity to influence not only their lives but also the lives of others. 
 
Is it possible you’ve never been guilty of this transgression? When a colleague made a particularly impressive sale, did you ever say something along the lines of "Well, it'll probably take forever to top that one!" or "Too bad you can't do that all the time, huh?" 
 
Ever told someone going on a trip that you've been there before and had a terrible time? Even telling a child who brings home a good report card to "Keep it up!" can lessen the moment, because it implies that the current achievement isn't truly enough or that you fear poor performance in the future. Such statements carry “conditional approval” that demands future accomplishment as well. 
 
One of the keys to harmony, in the workplace or at home, is for everyone to feel good - about themselves and about their accomplishments. The next time you have the opportunity to make a comment, take a moment and carefully consider what you're saying - and how you're saying it. Squash any negativity right then and there. 
 
It's an attitude that’s easy to change once you're aware of it and its effect on those around you. Simply put, view the glass as being half full, not half empty. The power of negative thinking can make an even stronger impression than that of positive thinking, so be careful how you wield that power! 

Spring Forward!

by Lorna Calder

    Monday Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
 
"The moment of change is the only poem." 
 
~ Adrienne Rich 
 
SPRING FORWARD! 
 
The beginning of Spring always seems like a good time to appreciate the changing of the seasons, and to ruminate on how the cycle of life continues. The shrubs and flowering plants are all green now, and we're just waiting to see those first beautiful blossoms that symbolize another cycle of death and rebirth. 
 
Sooner than we know it, Spring will blend into Summer, which will likewise end, and then Fall, and finally Winter again. While we certainly look forward to Spring during the chill of Winter, it must be said that even during the Summer we sometimes find ourselves longing for a view through the leaf-barren trees and the first flakes of snow. 
 
But we have to be careful not to look so far ahead that we're missing what's right in front of us! Don't wait to take an opportunity to watch the plants bloom and the hummingbirds return. Waiting until next Spring just won't do. 
 
Ponder how the fluidity of the seasons gives us the chance to realize change in our own lives. It teaches us to learn to accept how everything changes, everything passes, and everything eventually returns. It reveals a spirituality that goes beyond, and yet includes, any religion. We begin to recognize and embrace these ever-changing yet never-changing cycles in nature and ourselves. 
 
If you already abandoned your New Year's Resolutions a couple months ago, why not look at Spring as truly the ideal time to imagine changes you'd like to make? It seems to make more sense at this time of year anyhow, when everything is transforming and thriving and beginning anew, while Winter passes away behind us. And when Winter does come again, how will it find you different? Now is the "moment" to write the first line of your "poem of change." 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 40

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