"Kindness, as a way of life and living, depends on choices made and remade on a daily basis. Sometimes it will be self-evident and easy. Sometimes it will be an effort. Sometimes it will seem intuitive. Sometimes we will have to silence those self-righteous reasons why we should not be kind.

"Perhaps we learn most about kindness when have to think about it, when we are forced by circumstances to leave our comfort zone, question our emotional habits and think hard about the effect of what we are doing or saying. It is particularly powerful when we can be kind for kindness’s sake and because we are free to be kind, rather than because it will make us a hero in other people’s eyes or win us favors.

"Many regard kindness as something sweet. It can sweeten life, sometimes immeasurably. But in practice and as an ideal, it is far tougher than sweet. Whoever we are, and however much self-awareness we have, to behave and life with kindness challenges our egocentricity and the delusion that we are the center of the universe with needs that should always take precedence over others.

"Kindness is learned moment by moment. But it will always carry most weight when we take it up as a fundamental attitude rather than as a series of individual acts: when we see it as cause and as effect."
Everyday Kindness: Shortcuts to a Happier and More Confident Life

The Greatest Power

"The Greatest power we have is to lift the spirits of other people through our choices and behavior — to enhance their lives, and our own.
The greatest responsibility we have is to choose wisely — not just when we feel like it.
The greatest liberty we have is to behave kindly and respectfully without needing a prize or praise — simply because we are free to do so.
The greatest ease we have comes when we can forgive others for their human failings and complexity — and ourselves.
The greatest peace we have is when we can play our vital part in creating harmony between ourselves and other people, regardless of differences.
'I wish the very best for you' is a significant promise of love. It’s one worth keeping."
Everyday Kindness: Shortcuts to a Happier and More Confident Life

The Best Companions

"The best companions in the world are open to new experiences, new ideas, and to beauty. They are widely interested as well as interesting, sharp and well filled yet with room to grow. And even while they are looking forward, they are unafraid to rejoice in the moment.

"Such people are not ageless; they improve with age. It’s a fate we can share."
Everyday Kindness: Shortcuts to a Happier and More Confident Life


"Make this an 'Alleluia' day!
Look at the world through the eyes of love.
Speak up your gratitude.
Celebrate your appreciation.
Silence your complaints.
Choose kindness.
Witness the happiness you bring to others.
Witness the happiness you bring to yourself.
Heaven on Earth: Timeless Prayers of Wisdom and Love

What Is Peace

"What is peace?
Peace is a continuous act of creation.
Realizing that life is precious in all its forms,
we come to see an essential truth.
We are guardians of one another — and of the earth.

Recognizing our power to heal,
we find compassion.
With compassion, comes trust.
With trust, comes openness.
With openness, comes connection.
With connection, comes understanding.
With understanding, comes peace.

Peace is not an absence of conflict.
Peace is a willingness to deal with conflict intelligently.
Taste peace in your own mouth.
Feel the touch of peace on your own skin.
Let your ears fill with the sounds of peace.
Feel the longings for peace that fill your own heart.

Let your mind rest on the word peace.
Open to what peace can bring to you and others.

Without taking a single step from this place,
your thoughts can encircle the world."
Heaven on Earth: Timeless Prayers of Wisdom and Love


"Take a few moments to reflect on which of the freedoms listed below are most important to you.

"Freedom to know your own mind(s), conscious and unconscious.
Freedom to choose your values and to live them out.
Freedom to see what drives you.
Freedom to know what supports you.
Freedom to be creative (in your own way).
Freedom to understand yourself as well as others.
Freedom to make good use of your own insights.
Freedom to understand what really matters to you.
Freedom to make mistakes. (How else can you learn?)
Freedom to stop repeating your mistakes!
Freedom to discover what you need to do about challenging situations.
Freedom to live at the center of your own life while becoming less self-centered.
Freedom to observe your own life unfolding.
Freedom to care about the lives of others.
Freedom to behave well.
Freedom to extend your creativity to every corner of your life."
Creative Journal Writing: The Art and Heart of Reflection


"Your journal is an ideal place to 'educate' yourself by recording and reflecting on your own experiences. It is also an ideal place to write out passages from books or include articles that are especially meaningful for you. I have been writing out notes from other people's books for years and know those notes themselves, and the choices they reflect, are central to my writing life. I have used them directly in my writing and as an unparalleled source of inspiration from the 'unceasing conversation' that takes place between readers and writers, across countries, cultures, and centuries. There have been chunks of time when I didn't do this, and I genuinely regret those gaps. (And I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes, now committed to memory, from one of my all-time favorite writers, Joseph Campbell: 'Regrets are illuminations come too late.')"
Creative Journal Writing: The Art and Heart of Reflection

What Did You Learn Today?

"Most of us are unused to thinking in fresh ways about our lives. Habits of thought rule us. This is what makes us feel stuck and limits our choices. It may even make us feel much more helpless than we are.

"You will be abundantly rewarded by spending just a few minutes each day or evening reflecting on the question, 'What did I learn today?' And maybe, 'What surprised me?'

"You can use the practical list above as a prompt. One day you might learn something about your impact on others; another day it may be an insight about what makes you happy and how you are allocating your time.

"Don't discount small insights; sometimes they make the greatest difference."
Choosing Happiness: Life & Soul Essentials

What's Right About Your Day?

"Let yourself be positive about each day, as it comes and goes again.

"Take care that when you are discussing your day with friends or family that you select and emphasize what went well, what you appreciated and enjoyed, and what you found stimulating, amusing or touching. Let the negatives of the day go.

"Don't ignore small details. Often it's the smallest moments that genuinely 'make our day.' "
Choosing Happiness: Life & Soul Essentials

Use the Negative Moments

"Sometimes your rage at what others are failing to do, or your envy of what others have, will bring you invaluable insights about what you yourself are wanting. Use those 'negative' moments or emotions positively. Transform them by learning something of value from them. Then put what you have learned into practice."
Choosing Happiness: Life & Soul Essentials

Practice Gratitude

"Nothing changes attitude faster than practicing gratitude.

Thank people for everything they do for you.

Look for opportunities to express pleasure in what comes your way.

Focus on what's uplifting.

See more and more to be pleased about. Comment on that.

Monitor what you talk about. Complain less. Or not at all!

Treat strangers with real courtesy.

Treat family with real courtesy.

Practice kindness on the roads.

Wake up to all your senses: how they allow you to engage with and appreciate other people and the world around you.

Have something beautiful in every room.

Let yourself notice how much goodness is in the world."
Choosing Happiness: Life & Soul Essentials

Honoring Love

"It is an extraordinary honor to become close to another human being, to glimpse their inner reality, vulnerability and tenderness.

" 'Taking this honor seriously, you experience the wonder of it.' This person has opened their life to me. They are allowing themselves to be vulnerable in my presence."

"You are formed and shaped, illuminated and chastened, supported and cared for by the people who know you best and who allow you to know them. Opening your heart and mind, you see how deeply those people affect you. With luck, you also recognize how deeply you are affecting them.

"This power to affect others positively is your greatest blessing. It is also your greatest responsibility."
Choosing Happiness: Life & Soul Essentials

Holding Back

"It has taken me years to learn how powerfully love is expressed in the moments when we hold back from taking action for the sake of someone else (and for the sake of love).

"Sometimes not speaking is perfect.

Sometimes not advising is perfect.

Sometimes not pushing is perfect.

Sometimes not gossiping is perfect.

Sometimes not holding on to the past is perfect.

Sometimes relinquishing your agenda is perfect."
Choosing Happiness: Life & Soul Essentials

Courage and Consciousness

"Without courage there can be little consciousness. Increasing our consciousness or awareness of who and what we individually and collectively are — and may be — demands courage and allows it. It takes courage to wake up to how mysterious and profound life is, and not to avoid, deny, scorn, repress or contain what doesn't fit easily with our world view. It takes courage to know how wrong we can be, and allow our minds to be changed as well as broadened. It takes courage to live wholeheartedly through the range of all our emotions: to be as thoroughly sad and uncertain as we are sometimes buoyant and sure. It takes courage to dive into the murky complexities, ambiguities and contradictions that make up each life, to think about what lies beneath the surface of things that are available to the rational mind. To bring up what is usually revealed only indirectly through dreams, symbols, slips of the tongue, jokes; the way we react when someone speaks to us; the way we breathe, walk, make gestures, sit, smile; the way we dress, cook meals, pick our hobbies, our friends; the way we care for the earth, create our homes. None of us has the courage to face the meaning of all that, all of the time. It is not even desirable that we should. Life is for living, as well as for some commitment to discovering what is — what is open and free in ourselves, as well as what is shadowy and unpalatable — then we are, inevitably, equipping ourselves also to face the unknown."
Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love


"Many people go through their entire lives as slaves to their drives or impulses. They genuinely believe that their feelings are more powerful than they are, or that something mysterious within themselves causes them to do what makes them unhappy and prevents them from doing what could make them happy.

"Yet the rule of thumb on human behavior is so simple. Doing what harms others will hurt you also. Doing what relieves others or offers them happiness will at least bring you peace.

"Applying this formula to life is self-evidently not so simple! We live in a greedy, arrogant, angry society. Those emotions and attitudes are not just outside us. They live within us. It is only with consistent awareness, consistent reflection, and a consistent regard for the truth that we can reduce their power and let other qualities flourish."
Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love


"And in our most creative moments it's reverence as well as awe that allows the whole world to change as we stay still, even our eyes scarcely moving, yet perceiving something freshly and taking it deep within ourselves. Or it lets us express something in such a way that someone else is touched, moved, inspired, or consoled. I have seen someone simply light a candle with such presence that the moment becomes reverent and unconditionally sacred.

"In any moment of true communion there is reverence. And humility. So many of the personal recollections in this and all the other sections of the book affirm that. But I also love the idea that some of the holiest moments in our lives may be the least predictable. Experiencing reverence, we are not just whole but wholly present. Reverence is also a gift. Like the best gifts, it is often a surprise. And, like all sacred gifts, we need do nothing to deserve it."
Seeking the Sacred: Transforming Our View of Ourselves and One Another

Good Wishes

"[When you are enticed by ignorance, helplessness or pessimism, practice prayers of compassion and loving-kindness.] This doesn't mean that I ceased worrying. If only! But I have certainly tamed that rather feral capacity and am confident that when I promise people that I will pray for them or for their situation I am promising something that is genuinely connecting and encouraging. Perhaps it is also healing. When others promise to pray for me, my heart always lifts. It feels like a gift.

"Sending prayers and good wishes to all — the good, the bad, the loved, the unloved — may seem trivial. I believe it is not. It does not replace action and outward-directed service. It deepens and augments it. Nor does it mean that we cease to see that some people are victims of violence and others are perpetrators of it. That distinction remains relevant. But it does acknowledge that if those who cause damage and sorrow are to have any change of heart — to cease their violence and their self-pitying or arrogant justifications for violence — they also need prayer.

"With its unconditional emphasis on including all members of the human and divine family, this spiritual practice shifts the way we see ourselves. And it changes forever the way in which we think about and relate to others."
Seeking the Sacred: Transforming Our View of Ourselves and One Another


"Awareness of psychological boundaries helps put an end to 'dumping.'

"Dumping means that you feel entitled to criticize me, blame me, spoil my pleasure, talk over the top of me, ignore me, scream or shout at me — because you feel 'bad.'

"Doing that, you are ignoring that I am a separate person and you are responsible for your own emotional well-being.

"Of course if you feel bad, you may want me to know how you are feeling. It's possible to do that without dumping, especially when you don't expect me to fix you, make up to you for what's wrong, or feel as miserable as you do.

"Dumping is driven by self-pity as well as rage that the external world is not following your internal agenda. The finest antidote combines self-responsibility with self-respect: 'What's needed here? How can I best help myself?' "
Choosing Happiness: Life & Soul Essentials