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Living Deliberately ~ Guided by the Wisdom of Thoreau


Lesson 1 - Facing the Truth
By Marianne Parady


Who is best served by this email course?
  • Those seeking insight into the teachings of Thoreau (see Henry David Thoreau biography) from an emotional/psychological perspective.
  • Those seeking spiritual healing, leading to a more authentic life.
  • Those seeking to become more aware and conscious of inner and outer worlds, while taking purposeful steps toward wholeness and fulfillment.

Thoughts to Begin our Journey

  • First take a deep breath.
  • Hold it a moment.
  • Then let it out very slowly.
  • Prepare for a journey of emotional healing.
Now consider these famous words...

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
--Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Hello Kindred Spirit,

In this series of lessons we will be following a path inspired by the wisdom of Henry David Thoreau, (see Henry David Thoreau biography), an enthusiast for nature. On this journey of psychological and spiritual healing, we will help you discover and embrace your essential life by learning to live deliberately. Your essential life refers to the life you were meant to live. You discover this life by being true to yourself at the deepest level and by expressing that truth on a daily basis.

When you live deliberately, you become more aware and conscious of your inner and outer worlds, while taking purposeful steps toward wholeness and fulfillment. Only then can you come to the end of your life, knowing that you have truly lived.

Real lives, real happiness.

Before you can begin to live deliberately you must first acknowledge and accept the truth of your life. For until you face the truth of whom and where you are now, you can never know what you, and your life, have the potential to become.

Facing the truth can be difficult however, since we often console ourselves with our own version of reality. For example, you may genuinely believe that you are happy. Yet deep within, a general discontent nags at you, threatening to blow the illusion apart. Terrified of discovering the truth, you may push these feelings away, along with any chance for real happiness.

What does real happiness mean to you?

Examine your ideas about happiness.

- Do you believe that happiness can be a permanent state or condition?
- Is happiness one of your goals in life? Why or why not?
- Generally, how happy have you been in your life?
- Does your happiness come from within or from without?
- What qualities, situations, etc., would make you happy?
- Does spiritual healing provide you with a sense of happiness?
- Can you still be happy during difficult times?
- Do you believe it is possible to find true happiness in this world? Why or why not?

During these lessons, you will come to realize that real happiness is more than feeling delighted and blissful all the time. Instead, it emanates from deep within, culminating in a general sense of well-being and deep contentment. While pain and hurt may sometimes cloud this contentment, at your core you still feel fortunate to be alive.

Contrary to what many believe today, Thoreau believed that vitality creates the basis for real happiness. Rather than viewing happiness as a continuous state of "feeling good," Thoreau tells us to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."

Alice Miller adds to this idea in her classic work, The Drama of the Gifted Child.

"The true opposite of depression is neither gaiety nor absence of pain, but vitality - the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings. It is part of the kaleidoscope of life that these feelings are not only happy, beautiful, or good but can reflect the entire range of human experience, including envy, jealously, rage, disgust, greed, despair, and grief."

How are you living?

Are you living deeply and vitally? If you faced your death today, could you look back over your life and say that you have lived?

Take some time with this question. Don't try to analyze it or think it through. Roll it around in your "gut". Let your answer come from deep within. Use this visualizing exercise to imagine yourself looking back over your life. Are you fulfilled or filled with regrets? Know that your answer depends on one thing -- how you live your life today.

Use what you've learned from the exercise to take an honest look at your life. What can its "facts" teach you? Are you living deliberately, or pushing away real happiness and "deliberately not living"?

Questions for life.

Set aside some time every day to consider these questions:

  • How do you feel about your life right now? Bored, excited, contented, depressed?
  • When you wake up in the morning, what's your mood as you anticipate your day?
  • Do you often feel separate and alienated from people or from life?
  • As the cliché goes, do you often feel life "passing you by"? Do you find it hard to enjoy each moment of your life?
  • Has your daily routine become too routine?
  • Are you using your talents and unique abilities on a daily basis?
  • Perhaps most importantly, do you feel passionate about anything?

Of course, these questions are not comprehensive. They are points of focus to help you determine the general state of your life. Don't be discouraged if you find your answers disturbing or even depressing. Facing the truth can be painful, even though it is the single most important step you can take to heal that pain and transform your life.

Do you need additional guidance, support or information? Click link(s) below to order, access or learn more about resource.

This lesson's suggested reading:
The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller.


Coming up in this Course

Tap into the wisdom of Henry Thoreau guiding you to:
  • Learn to honor yourself and honestly evaluate your relationships.
  • Listen to your inner voice as you accept and embrace the darker aspects of your being, as well as, recognize, claim and mine the gold within you.
  • Examine how self-respect can transform the way you relate to yourself and the world, and the price of self-sabotage.
  • Recognize (the most common addiction in our society) "self-abuse" and your "inner abuser."
  • Honor your dreams, your vision for your life.
  • Face the dark side of your dreams such as disappointment, sadness, anger, and resentment, which often surround your dreams – your deepest longings.
  • Identify and manifest your authentic dreams.
Finally, simplify your life by eliminating the "shoulds" and "ought to’s" – the things and people that drain you. And embrace the things and people that empower, nurture and enliven you. For although it isn't possible to live without problems or challenges, it is possible to live so deeply and fully -- so vitally -- that you too, like Thoreau, can come to the end of your life knowing that you have really lived.

Be well and live deliberately!

Your Friends at Self-Healing Expressions


Course Number 1; Lesson Number 1


Course Outline

Course Length: 20 lessons
Recommended Course Pace: Bi-weekly receipt of lessons

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About the Instructor

Marianne Parady Marianne Parady, MA is the author of 7 Secrets for Successful Living and the upcoming book Living Deliberately. Along with writing a self-help column for the Hunterdon Observer, she has also written for various self-help/spiritual publications. Marianne is also an experienced lecturer and workshop facilitator who has worked with colleges, corporations and non-profit organizations.

Copyright © 2003 Marianne Parady. All rights reserved.
With the exception of one print copy for the personal use of each subscriber, the copyrighted material from the Self-Healing Expressions courses may not be reproduced, forwarded, or redistributed by any means, print or electronic. The material may not be incorporated into other programs/training.