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Problems as Opportunities (Quotes to live by)

When we face challenges in our lives, it can really throw us off track and destabilize us. Once we start getting some perspective, we can learn and grow from the challenges and use the challenges as catalysts to propel us onto a path of learning, healing and growth.

Here is how Louise Hay thinks about it:

If we can use our problems and illnesses as opportunities to think about how we can change our lives, we have power.

When there is a problem, there is not something to do, there is something to know.

Louise Hay is the one who popularized positive affirmations as tools for transformation and growth. Used wisely, affirmations can be helpful in changing thought patterns and beliefs that no longer serve us. Here are two powerful affirmations from Louise:

When we want to change a condition, we need to say so. "I am willing to release the pattern within me that is creating this condition." You can say this to yourself over and over every time you think of your illness or problem. The...

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On generosity (Quotes to live by)

Continuing with our exploration of the wisdom from Maya Angelou, today's quotes are about the value in being a giver.

I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
Maya Angelou

Are we giving more than we are taking from life or do we have catcher's mitts on both our hands?

She recognized that it is more blessed to give than to receive

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. Maya Angelou

Along the same lines, here is the link to a podcast on the benefits of generosity from the #EssentialVirtues series.

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On empathy and kindness (Quotes to live by)

Maya Angelou lived a challenging life. What is so inspiring about her work and words is that she did not lose hope and she believed in the inherent goodness of people (despite how many of them had treated her).

She believed that no matter how we have been treated, we can choose not to pass on the pain to others:

I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. Maya Angelou

Her words encourage kindness, love and connection. Here are my some of my favourites:

At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

Each one of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm, when we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other and empathize with each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.
Maya Angelou

If you have only one smile in you, give it...

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On moving forward (Quotes to live by)

When we are going through challenges, it is easy to get stuck in the past.

Here is what Maya says about moving forward:

If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you will look forward, do so prayerfully. But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully.
Maya Angelou

We cannot change the past, but we can change our attitude toward it. Uproot guilt and plant forgiveness. Tear out arrogance and seed humility. Exchange love for hate - thereby, making the present comfortable and the future promising.

Maya Angelou

Given that Maya was a civil rights activist, her words did not mean that we do not learn from the past, take the easy way out and/or not hold ourselves and others accountable for ours and their actions.

She said:
I not only have the right to stand up for myself, but I have the responsibility. I can't ask somebody else to stand up for me if I won't stand up for myself. And once you stand up for yourself, you'd be surprised that people say, "Can I be of...

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On courage (Quotes to live by)

Yesterday we talked about living with integrity. To live with integrity, we need courage, which is today's quote from Maya Angelou.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

Courage, let us remind ourselves is not the absence of fear.

As Nelson Mandela said
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Courage is also to keep doing the work you were meant to do, despite fear the fear you feel:

Finding the courage to write does not involve erasing or 'conquering' one's fears. Working writers aren't those who have eliminated their anxiety. They are the ones who keep scribbling while their heart races and their stomach churns.
Ralph Keyes

What areas of your life are you letting your fear get the best of you?

Here is...

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On doing the right thing (Quotes to live by)

We are exploring wisdom from Maya Angelou this week.

Today's quote is about doing the right thing.

Just do right. Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that bodyguards can't give you. So try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity. Take up the battle. Take it up. It's yours. This is your life. This is your world.
Maya Angelou

She also said:
We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yay, or nay – and rise!

Activists such as MLK have said similar words:

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.
Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Doing though difficult, is the...

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Learning from history (Quotes to live by)

Continuing with our series on Quotes to live by, this week lets explore some words of wisdom from Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. A prolific writer, she published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years.

Maya lived a rich and varied life. She was also a journalist who worked in Africa, a historian, songwriter, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer and singer. And as an activist, she was one of the Civil Rights Movement's most prominent women, who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, and devoted her life to being a tireless voice for women and black people — and for an open-hearted vision of humanity where all could find their place.

One of the great spiritual voices of our time, Maya left behind a legacy of simple but powerful practical wisdom to inspire us.

Today's quote...

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The stuff of life (Quotes to live by)

Continuing with our series on Quotes to Live By, let us explore some quotes on the passage of time.

Does't thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.
Benjamin Franklin

How often do we say that "we don't have time" to do the things that really matter?

Here is a quote to reflect on our excuses:

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
H. Jackson Brown Junior

Ever wonder about how the busy-ness of daily tasks did not distract them from their life's work?

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Whose business are you in? (Quotes to live by)

Byron Katie, developer of a method of self-inquiry called The Work, teaches that our time can be occupied worrying about one of three businesses: someone else's business, God's business or OUR business.

To minimize suffering and maximize effectiveness, we want to stay out of other people's business and we want to stay out of God's business and focus exclusively on our own business – things that we have control over, that is only our own thoughts and behaviours.

This reminds me of The Serenity Prayer which is today's "quote to live by":

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

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Leave the harbor but adjust your sails (Quotes to live by)

In Daily Wisdom, we talk quite a bit about taking action within the sphere on our circle of control and influence. Here are a couple of favourite quotes on the same subject using images of water and boats.

A ship in harbour Is safe, But that Is not what ships are built for
Attributed to John A. Shedd and also Murray/Grace Hopper

Is your ship safely docked in harbor or is it exploring the seas as it was meant to do?

And here is another quote on taking action within your circle of control:

I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.

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