Welcome to my thoughts on Living with Joy, Purpose, and Conscious Choice. Please subscribe free on the form to the left.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie (jlh @sail7.com)
Here, I share my thoughts on spiritual power, relationships, simple living, managing stress, work-life balance, career decisions, money, politics, the environment, and much more.

See my self-help articles including How to Move On and How to Succeed, browse my large collection of Inspirational Quotes, and sign-up for my free Daily Inspiration - Daily Quote email and my Positive Affirmation of the Day email.

The content of all my blogs/websites consists entirely of personal opinion.
See a medical professional for all issues of physical and emotional health.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

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Addressing the "real world" requires three actions - simultaneously...

A reader wrote: "Your words are so calm. But you have never addressed the real world.
I was beaten...what calm and enlighten words do you have to say to that.
Get with the real life world ...sir❗️"

My Reply...

Thank you very much for writing.

Addressing the "real world" requires three actions - simultaneously...

1) Recognize that whatever has happened in the past cannot be changed. Anger can't change the past. Revenge can't change the past. Acceptance and forgiveness are powerful tools in letting the past be the past, so you can focus on the present and the future.

Anger is often more hurtful than the injury that caused it.
- English Proverb

Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.
- Alice Duer Miller

2) Have a positive attitude. Having a positive attitude is both a tool to make you happier in the present, and a tool from which to launch "real world" actions and success.

Positive thinking will let you do everything
better than negative thinking will.
- Zig Ziglar

3) Take action. Begin now. Begin again each day. Take action with calm focus, and with a well-thought-out plan, but take action, and persevere.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Attitude and action are both essential.
Attitude without action is mere pretense.
Action without attitude is merely frenzied motion.
 - Jonathan Lockwood Huie

May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

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How Much Is Enough?

I often receive emails asking how the writer, in their specific circumstances, can possibly be expected to be happy, or to be grateful for life.  What if they are in constant agonizing pain? What if their children are dying of starvation? What if they are living with relatives because they can't find a job? What if the investment advisor they trusted absconded with their money and they are forced to sell their yacht? Where is the line between "need" and "want?" How much is enough?

Some of the main themes of my Daily Inspirations are: gratitude for all of life, appreciation of the abundance that surrounds us, and the joys of simple living. I continue to assert that those themes are keys to happiness for most of us, but I also acknowledge that there are exceptions - mostly in situations of extreme physical pain (at least in America).

Making a conscious choice to be grateful for what one has, to have a positive attitude toward life, and to choose happiness are VERY powerful tools for living a better life. If a person has enough food, a roof over their head, and a tolerable level of physical pain, I recommend that gratitude and a positive attitude be the first-line tools in life.

There are a few common circumstances which cause severe long-lasting distress, and for which a positive attitude can be especially helpful:
* Being unemployed or underemployed. Recognize that the primary issue here is not money (at least in America, an unemployed worker and their family are not going to starve). The primary issue is a sense of shame and inadequacy.
* Loss of a loved one. They are in a better place. Appreciate what is good in life, and focus on the future.
* A childhood trauma such as bullying, rape, an alcoholic parent. The past cannot be undone. Appreciation of what is good, and a focus on the future are the best tools against past issues.
* Feeling lonely.

In situations where feeling lonely is the issue, or contributes to the issue, I also strongly recommend positive interactions with others, in addition to gratitude and a positive attitude. There are supportive religious groups, there are supportive community groups, and especially, there are opportunities to be of service to those less well off than oneself.

Finally, understand that appreciation and a positive attitude represent a starting point, a base line. A positive attitude not only offers more happiness in the present, but is also the strongest base from which to take action. A person with a positive attitude is better able to find a good job than a person who exudes negativity. A person with a positive attitude is better able to benefit their community through social and political action than a negative person.

Positive thinking will let you do everything
better than negative thinking will.
- Zig Ziglar


The best way to cheer yourself
is to try to cheer someone else up.
- Mark Twain 


I wept because I had no shoes
until I met a man who had no feet.
- old Persian Proverb


He who can give thanks for little
will always find he has enough.
- Anonymous


Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.
- Epicurus

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men
who walked through the huts comforting others,
giving away their last piece of bread...
They offer sufficient proof that everything
can be taken from a man but one thing:
to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one's own way.
- Viktor E. Frankl





Monday, April 10, 2017

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Which Kind of Person are You?

Choose one...

If you need to ask permission, you already know you shouldn't do it.
- Timi Ruiz

or...

If you need to ask permission, you already know you will need courage to do it.
- JLH

Further reading: Need For Approval

How to Deal with Rejection

Thursday, March 30, 2017

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in the depths of depression

a reader writes: I am in the depths of depression, it is hard to breathe each breath, let alone have the energy to be grateful.

My reply:

Thank you for writing.

I am very sorry that you are in the depths of depression. That is a very challenging situation.

There is certainly no single cure-all, but making a list of things you are grateful for is one small step.
See A List of Gratitudes - a Thanksgiving

Whatever you do, DON'T give up. Keep moving forward. Do what you can, and don't sweat the rest.

Do you have a support network? If your friends and others are not sufficient, consider adding a church-based or community-based support group.

Many people find that helping others is a good way to help themselves.

The best way to cheer yourself
is to try to cheer someone else up.
- Mark Twain



As we work to create light for others,
we naturally light our own way.
- Mary Anne Radmacher



One thing I know: the only ones among you
who will be really happy are those
who will have sought and found how to serve.
- Albert Schweitzer



If there is anything else I can do for you, please don't hesitate to ask.

May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Further reading: How to Think Positive

Five Questions to Ask Yourself When You Feel Sad for No Apparent Reason

Conscious Breathing to Relieve Stress

   

Thursday, May 26, 2016

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What is "True Love?"

A reader's question: I would like to know more about true love...

Ah, "true love"

First, let's talk about different kinds of "love"

1) There is the kind of "love" that matches the phrase "love at first sight." I think the word "lust" is much more apt for this emotion, but...

2) There is conditional love: I will "love" you as long as you do what I want, e.g. take out the trash, have sex with me, cook and clean house, have a well-paying job, be home for dinner every night...

3) There is unconditional love: This is an emotion that does not require any reciprocity. When Christians talk about "Jesus' love," this is the kind of love they refer to.

In a marriage, or long-term intimate relationship, all three of the above are present, to some degree, and are intermixed is ways that cannot always be distinguished.

So what is "true love" in an intimate relationship? For me, true love is a long-lasting relationship with lots of #3, some #1, and as little #2 as possible.

No partner in a love relationship...
should feel that he has to give up
an essential part of himself to make it viable.
- May Sarton

True love is a process of co-creation
in which neither feels ownership or superiority.
Jealousy is a highly destructive force
for love and relationships.
- JLH

True love is never a selfish emotion.
If you want something from someone -
especially if that something is sex -
what you are feeling is not true love.
True love is about wanting happiness for the person you love -
and not about seeking happiness for yourself.
Fortunately, in most cases our own loving presence
is the greatest gift we can give to a person we love.
Nonetheless, the litmus test of love is knowing
we would choose never to see that person again
if we believed that distance would bring them greater happiness.
- JLH

Great relationships begin with two people who are each
self confident and who come to each other with the openness
to see and accept the other as a unique and wonderful person.
If there is true love and an alignment of fundamental values,
choose to join your life with your new partner
and vow never to criticize their nature -
the essence that makes them uniquely themselves.
- JLH




May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

        

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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When You are Feeling Depressed and Hopeless

If you are having a major health crisis, I really feel for you. However if you are reasonably healthy, have enough to eat, and have a roof over your head, you have an opportunity to look on the bright side of your life - to appreciate what is right with your life.



I don't think of all the misery
but of the beauty that still remains.
- Anne Frank

If you want to feel rich,
just count all of the things you have that money can't buy.
- Anonymous 

He is a wise man who does not grieve
for the things which he has not,
but rejoices for those which he has.
- Epictetus 

The enlightened give thanks
for what most people take for granted.
- Michael Beckwith

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect.
It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.
- Anonymous

The best way to cheer yourself
is to try to cheer someone else up.
- Mark Twain

Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind,
than on outward circumstances.
- Benjamin Franklin

May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
   

Monday, February 15, 2016

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Presidents of Their Own Times

Today, Presidents' Day, may be a good day to examine our feelings about our earlier Presidents and other great people who lived in days gone by.

Generally, Americans have focused praise and gratitude upon the likes of Washington and Jefferson, but more recently, many people make the case that as slave-holders Washington and Jefferson were terrible and morally-flawed people. This early-stage movement follows upon the older and better established movements that declares Christopher Columbus to be a genocidal invader rather as one who "opened up" America to European settlement, and the likes of Robert E. Lee to be slave-holding traitors.

Can we reconcile these opposing points of view. I believe we can once we recognize that Washington, Jefferson and everyone who lived in the past were creations of their own time, and each stage of history has its own customs, its own values, and its own morality. If we are unwilling to acknowledge that morality is a function of the times, we must condemn ourselves and everyone living today for failing to live up to the evolving morality we will be judged by a century from now (how could those people let children starve? why did they shoot each other? and perhaps other concerns we can't even imagine today: why didn't they let 12 year-olds vote? why didn't they require a license for procreation to prevent overpopulation?)

Look at life as described in the Old Testament - the sacred book of Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. The Old Testament records, without condemnation: polygamy, genocide, torture, mutilation, infanticide, incest, slavery, and many other practices that today's Americans regard as immoral. Yes, times change. Abraham, David, and other heroes of the Old Testament, like Presidents Washington and Jefferson, must be judged as people of their own times.

Today, let us appreciate the best of Washington, Jefferson, and the others. And let us also appreciate our own time for having moved past practices like slavery and dueling.

Keep pace with the times.
We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy,
as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
- Thomas Jefferson

My first wish is to see this plague of mankind,
war, banished from the earth.
- George Washington


What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends,
and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world;
to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors,
and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world! 
- Robert E. Lee

We have abundant reason to rejoice, that, in this land,
the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition,
and that every person may here worship God according to the dictates of his own heart.
- George Washington [Washington was a little premature on this one]

All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion;
nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution.
- Thomas Jefferson - Draft Constitution for Virginia (June 1776)

Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions,
any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.
- Thomas Jefferson

The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. 
- Thomas Jefferson

I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property.. a  means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. 
- Thomas Jefferson

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.
- Thomas Jefferson

Merchants have no country.
The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment
as that from which they draw their gains. 
- Thomas Jefferson