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The One Thing People Often Forget

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Landon Saunders

 

            “You think trying to do the right thing pays off? Forget it!”

            The woman was angry, but near tears. She then told her story. “I have two sons. They’re married and have children. But I rarely see them. I reared them—by myself.. Their father never had time for them when they were small. He abandoned us altogether. I was left alone to rear the boys. And I did the best I could. I took them camping, took them to ball games, attended their school functions.” She was getting angrier as she talked. Her face was red. “And I had to work my heart out to make ends meet. I mean, I did everything for them. And, after all that, who do you think they spend their time with now? You guessed it—their father!”

            I finally said, “Yes, you did a lot of things for them, didn’t you?” “Yes, I did,” she said. Then I said, “But do you know what the question now really is? The question is, Were you any fun to be with?”

            It was as though someone had slapped her. She became very quiet. As tears welled in her eyes, she whispered, “Fun to be with?”

            “Yes. You see, you were very hurt yourself. It’s not easy, being left alone to rear two boys. It’s not easy to be abandoned. You had to deal with all of your own hurt as well as try to be mother and father to your sons. And make the living as well. Without knowing it, duty may have outrun your joyful love.

            “And now they’re gone, but you’re still very much alone. How do you greet them when you see them? I don’t see how you could keep from expressing your anger toward them.

            “But listen, it’s not too late. You must go to them immediately, and you must say, ‘Boys, I must explain something to you. Yes, when you were growing up, I tried to do a lot of things I thought you would want to do. And I did, as you know. But I’ve just realized something. In all the things I did with you, I think I forgot one thing—I wasn’t any fun to be with. And I’m sorry. I want to be different. I want to be a mother who’s fun to be with, and I want to be a grandmother who is fun to be with, and I just hope it’s not too late.’

            “I believe those boys will give you another chance, You’ll be able to pick up and go on. There will still be some scars, but you can live with those. Healing can take place.”

            Fun to be with. Isn’t it easy to forget? And how often we forget.

            We forget because we’ve allowed the idea of joy to slip too far from our consciousness. It has been crowded out by quasi-entertainment, empty humor and hollow laughter. It has been overtaken by over-seriousness.

            Even children worry over the power of our weaponry. It is not uncommon to hear people speak of the destruction of all living things.

            Change is all about us, creating uneasiness and anxiety. How, then, can we talk about joy, about being fun to be with?

            In this case, what appears to be the problem is really the solution. Instead of joy being contradictory to our experience, it is the only thing that can save us.

            I believe joy is the deepest thing in the universe. If it’s possible, even deeper than love. I also believe it is the deepest thing in the human heart. Joy in a turbulent life is like the stillness of the ocean’s depth during a horrible storm. It is there; it is untroubled; it is unthreatened.

            Joy is powerful. When understood, it is the perfect antidote to anxiety and tragedy. Joy is the only thing I know before whom tragedy loses its steam.

            How to be joyful—this is our task.

COMING WEDNESDAY: “Get Over Yourself!”

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book in this blog, with posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.]

A Daily Time For Insight

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Landon Saunders

            There’s hardly anything more draining on a human being than activity without insight. You know the feeling. You go for days under pressure, working so hard that you scarcely have time to stop and think about what you’re doing.

            Activity without insight gets your life out of synch with itself. Your outward life starts to conflict with your inner needs. Outside, you feel attacked by ringing phones, demanding people, paperwork, responsibilities, deadlines. Inside, you might experience increased anxiety, loneliness, headaches, ulcers, or stress.

            How can you get the insight you need to gain mastery over the activities of your life? How can you get your inner life in synch with your outer life?

            It might help to take a few moments in the morning., before the machine starts rolling, to think. To reflect on what’s really important in life, to remember who you are to remember that you have all the time you need to do everything important in your life, to decide how to respond to your day.

            Snoopy set aside a time for insight in his morning. He said: “Sometimes when I get up in the morning, I feel very peculiar. I feel like I’ve just got to bite a cat! I feel like if I don’t bite a cate before sundown, I’ll go crazy. But then I just take a deep breath and forget about it. That’s what’s known as real maturity.”

            I understand, Snoopy, I understand.

            I do?

COMING MONDAY: The One Thing Most People Forget

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book in this blog, with posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.]

The Synergy of Work and Love

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Landon Saunders

            A friend of mine declares this is a true story. A busy executive was late leaving for work one Monday morning. Completely preoccupied as usual, he grabbed his briefcase and headed for the door.

            Lying on the floor between him and the door was his wife, the victim of a fainting spell. No matter; he simply stepped over her and went barreling on out the door. Just as he shut it, he reopened it and shouted—she was still lying on the floor—that dinner should be ready by 6:30. Then he drove off to work. (I won’t go into what she thought as she lay there for a few moments, pondering the whole scene!)

            For a lot of people, it seems that work and love are competing forces, struggling for preeminence in their lives. Actually, though, work and love are opposites that attract.

            Work is structure, love is freedom. Work defines the self, love dissolves the self. Work prefers future goals, love seizes the present moment. Work is mastery, love is mystery.

            When they are properly put together in a life, they put the life together. They create a synergy of energy and purpose. But when they are out of synch with each other, they wear each other down like two gears grinding against each other.

            Between them there is a creative tension like the tension that makes a violin string capable of such beautiful music. Without the tension, there is no music in the life. It’s when the tension gets out of control that something snaps in people—they reach their breaking point.

            Work and love. Today. They need attention.

            But isn’t it amazing the way we approach these two? Very often a person will bury down in his work for ten to twenty years, trying to make it big. And then he looks up, and his children are grown and moved out of the house. The relationship he has with his wife is one designed for minimal friction…but minimal intimacy as well.

            Now, after ten or twenty years, he sets about the awesome task of trying to settle his accounts with love. And hopes it’s not too late. But what an incredible waste of life. Think of all the love that could have been.

            What was missing? Maybe a little insight could have made all the difference.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Work is structure, love is freedom. Work defines the self, love dissolves the self. Work prefers future goals, love seizes the present moment. Work is mastery, love is mystery. Together, they create a synergy of energy and purpose.

COMING FRIDAY: A Daily Time for Insight

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book in this blog, with posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.]

Nothing Succeeds Like Real Success

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Landon Saunders

 

            Woody Allen says, “It is better to be rich than poor if only for financial reasons.” But there’s more to success than lots of money.

            Remember King Midas with the golden touch—how he lost his daughter when he touched her and she turned to gold? Don’t you see a lot of people becoming financially successful but losing their families?

            Real success is succeeding in your work, and with your family—both at the same time.

            There are two keys to this kind of dual success. One is flexibility and the other is timing.

            Flexibility reminds you that there are lots of ways to achieve your goals.

            Timing reminds you that your ability to know when to take advantage of an opportunity may pay off more than years of exertion and sacrifice.

            Many of our greatest leaders would tell you they spent years in the shadows, paying their dues and keeping their priorities in order. Then, when they did reach the top, what they learned from the time spent in the shadows gave them the character they needed to stay at the top.

            Success is more than money. As Sandburg said, “Money buys everything except love, personality, freedom, immortality, silence, peace.”

            Or as another man said, “It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy; but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Today I’ll write out my own definition for real success and make sure it includes quality time for the people I love most—as well as time for the things that matter most—the things money can’t buy. Then I’ll put this definition somewhere I can see it every day.

COMING WEDNESDAY: The Synergy of Work and Love

[This is an excerpt from, How To Win 7 Out Of 8 Days A Week by Landon Saunders which is out of print and used by permission. In 2024 we will work through the entire book in this blog, with posts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.]

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Welcome to The Living Conversation 

“I did not wish to live what was not life; living is so dear. I wanted to live deep.”  

Henry David Thoreau

Someone has said that the greatest source of stress is not the petty annoyances, frustrations and problems.

The greatest source of stress is the living we don’t do—that underlying feeling that we’re somehow missing out, or not living the way we could be.

And the greatest source of joy? The living we do well.

The Living Conversation is about mining that joy for all it’s worth! It’s based on the belief that every person counts and it’s never too late to have a life that loves to happen, no matter what happens.

This blog is based on the groundbreaking work of Landon Saunders and the Heartbeat educational organization over the past 50 years. (See the About page for details.)

Our brief posts come out two or three times a week and there’s never any charge or obligation. This is a public service.

So I invite you to sign up. Read. Ponder. Share. And most of all, enjoy!

Geoffery Moore

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