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How to make your life soar

Sometimes I see books promising a happy, abundant life that seem kind of complicated to me. As we move into 2012 I offer a recipe for a happy life that is simple and straightforward -- but which I guarantee works. I know it works because I've proven it in my own life, and I've seen its results in the lives of countless other people over the ages.

Just two ingredients -- courage and compassion

There are only two ingredients for this recipe I'm going to share with you today, and they are courage and compassion. But don't be fooled into thinking that this recipe is too simple to be any good. It actually requires considerable skill and attention to do it properly.

For example, it is important to make sure that you apply these two ingredients of courage and compassion in precisely the right proportion according to the need of the moment. One circumstance may be so gut-wrenching that it demands an immediate expression of courage on our part. Nothing else will do.

But then, as we all know, another moment may come along that doesn't especially call for courage. It calls for a change of heart so that we can see another person’s point of view in a difficult situation. Or feel the pain of another person, or of nature -- or our own pain – and act with new understanding and love.

 Personally, I think one of the hardest things in life is to be truly kind to ourselves. Let me remember the gift of compassion given freely to each of us at our birth, and if I am pushing myself too hard -- as perhaps I am beginning to do right now -- let me realize that and offer kindness and compassion into the situation so that balance is restored in my experience.

I have learned in nearly 80 years that these two virtues of courage and compassion are one. They are always together. They are the core of true character and we separate them -- or attempt to separate them -- at our peril. “A house divided cannot stand," it was said long ago, and the words are as true today as they ever were.

I wish you success and joy as you meet the challenges and opportunities of the year to come. One of my own hopes or goals for 2012, by the way, is to get to know you better. What a pleasure this will be. Surely whoever we are, and wherever we live, we are all in this together.

PS JoAnn and I will be traveling south to the balmy (I hope) shores of Mexico for a few days this weekend. I will publish a new post after we return. Please know I love you and care for you and am delighted to hear from you anytime about anything.

If you enjoyed this post please share it with a friend.

Photo credit randomguru


{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Timaree January 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Very nice post to start the new year with. I hope you two have a great vacation.
Timaree recently posted..Merry Christmas


Christopher Foster January 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Thanks for your kind good wishes Timaree. I wish you all the very best in 2012. Very happy to be connected with you.


Letsboomon January 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Last year I had a change of heart. I decided that life was too short to continue working so hard in order to ‘not be a burden on anyone in old age’. After all , the media keeps telling us baby boomers that we are of such large numbers, that as we age we will become a huge drain to everyone and everything .

Through this change of heart I have developed courage and compassion, mostly within myself. With this courage and compassion I look forward to starting my own blog in 2012. So I agree that the two ingredients are courage and compassion and that a change of heart may give us a clearer understanding of what a happy, abundant life really means for each and every one of us. Thank you for your post and enjoy your holiday.


Christopher Foster January 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm

What an inspiring report Priska, thankyou so much for sharing this testimony. Good for you. I wish you a ton of success with your blog, please keep me informed okay? You’re going to be very successful.


Evan Griffith January 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I’m going to add a third ingredient for the happy life: Reading the occasional Christopher Foster. Precisely because you’ve bushwhacked your way through eight decades and are reporting back with love, light and laughter, you give us hope.

Thank you again —
Evan Griffith recently posted..What is it about giving up (that is so effective)?


Christopher Foster January 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Evan, you’ve made my day. Thank you for your comment and thank you for the friendship I feel with you. Every good wish for 2012.


Evan Griffith January 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm

PS, Christopher — If you’re travels ever bring you to Palm Beach County, Fla, we’d love to host you here at our home . . . .
Evan Griffith recently posted..What is it about giving up (that is so effective)?


Christopher Foster January 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm

This is so kind of you Evan. Thank you for this lovely invite. Will surely keep it in mind. Best to you.


bongyz January 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Thank you very much for this powerful reminder.


Christopher Foster January 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Thankyou Bongeka. I’m happy to hear from you and send you best wishes for a very happy new year. What country are you in?


Lucy Raja January 4, 2012 at 1:35 am

Hi Mr. Foster,

I find your messages are really very helpful and comforting. I wish you and your family a very happy new year and happy vacationing.

Take care.

Lucy Raja


Christopher Foster January 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Thank you so much for your kind message Lucy. Happy to welcome you to this little corner of the great ocean we call the internet. Happy new year to you too.


The Vizier January 4, 2012 at 4:54 am

Hi Christopher,

Happy New Year to you and JoAnn! 🙂

I have always preferred simple recipes to complex ones. They are easier to follow and adhere to.

Courage and compassion might seem simple, but as you rightly say, it is the application that is difficult. Each moment demands different responses from us. If we do not respond in the right way at the right time in the right manner, things are unlikely to turn out well.

Indeed most situations either require courage or compassion from us. I cannot think of a simpler way to make our lives soar than what you have said. You have certainly summed up the core of true character nicely.

Thank you for sharing this lovely article and have a great trip!

Irving the Vizier
The Vizier recently posted..The Vizier on Dealing with Guilt


Christopher Foster January 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Absolutely delighted to hear from you Irving. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts on these matters. Very happy to reconnect with you and send you blessings and every good wish for a happy new year.


Susan Minarik January 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

Thanks so much for this beautiful bit of wisdom, Christopher. Seeing these two strengths as the joined sides of a coin gives them both more meaning.

Delighted to hear your compassion for yourself is taking you to sunny climes for a bit. Wishing you much pleasure and discovery.
Susan Minarik recently posted..Listening to the Stillness


Christopher Foster January 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Thanks Susan. Did I tell you how much I love your blog? That’s a lovely way to think of courage and compassion, joined sides of a coin.

It seems to me Buddha said something to the effect it’s so important to love ourselves. But I know speaking for myself it seems easy at times to forget. Blessings to you as we move forward fearlessly into the unknown of 2012.


Hiten January 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Really nice post Christopher. As a person who stutters, I know it can take huge amounts of courage to do what most people take for granted – go out in the world and speak. And when one has experienced the pain that stuttering can cause, one’s compassion towards others just increases. Having said this, I think sometimes people want to show compassion but are afraid to. It can take courage for some people to do so.


Davek January 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Christopher, thanks for this great post. Talking to people, opening oneself to the world is really hard. Indeed only a good coach can really explain the compassion and courage. One thing i take from my reading today is this: “that these two virtues of courage and compassion are one. They are always together. They are the core of true character and we separate them — or attempt to separate them — at our peril.”

I hope everyone makes that his motto for 2012!
Davek recently posted..Mignon Mclaughlin – Reputation


Noch Noch January 12, 2012 at 12:45 am

my fiance always told me to have more compassion towards others and to myself, just to understand things from others’ perspectives!


Jeffrey Willius January 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Hi CHristopher – You have a knack for distilling an idea down to its essence. Thank you for your wise counsel.
Do you mind my asking where you like to go in Mexico? (My wife and I have fallen in love with Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.)
Jeffrey Willius recently posted..IN HOT WATER – As If For the First Time


Christopher Foster January 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Jeffrey, Hi, good to hear from you. This was our first visit to Mexico, we stayed at a rsort just a few miles south of downtown Puerto Vallarta, so it was nice and secluded. Actually I did wonder about going to Zihuatanejo, I exchanged a few emails with a guy who owns a small resort there called La Quinta deTroppo if I remember right. It does look a lovely spot. How often have you been there and where do you stay when you go?


marc van der Linden January 16, 2012 at 12:48 am

hi christopher,

I never have seen courage and compassion as opposite pairs of emotional states which always come together, but now I see they are. Having the courage to see the point of view of the other and feel their pain, makes us feel compassion.

Thanks for sharing this great insight!


Christopher Foster January 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I appreciate your comment so much Marc. Thanks for sharing and every good wish to you.


Tess The Bold Life January 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm

“Surely whoever we are, and wherever we live, we are all in this together.”
Christopher…these words made me smile. You are fine company for the journey home!
Tess The Bold Life recently posted..150 Bold Tips About Life, People, and Wisdom


Michelle, C'est Moi June 8, 2012 at 7:07 am

Hi Christopher, in May you turned 80 and in March I turned 40. One of the things I have missed terribly over recent years and more so as I enter this new chapter of life is the wisdom of my elders. I have found this in your blog and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time and sharing all you do with the rest of us.

God bless you


Christopher Foster June 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Michelle, I’m very touched by your words. Thank you so much for your comment. Love and blessings and I wish you all the very best in your journey.


Linda Schardine February 18, 2016 at 9:38 am

I find your words and feelings inspiring~ I have saved your blog site and will continue to read..
I just started a blog site myself and want to share with others and learn from others ..


thank you for sharing your life, feelings and story~~


Christopher Foster February 23, 2016 at 9:48 am

Linda, I’m so sorry I didn’t respond sooner. But thank you for your encouraging words and I wish you lots of success with your blog. I love the name you have chosen. Blessings.


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