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Mindful : October 2018
By Elaine Smookler surviving. Yet you did survive, and maybe your daring even became a turning point for positive change in your life. DO YOURSELF—AND OTHERS—A FAVOR Dexter Manley has two Super Bowl rings. He played football in the NFL and faced the embarrassment of the world when he put himself out there and publicly admitted that he was illiterate. At 28, Manley became a role model for adult learning. By putting it out there, he changed the lives of many who, through his courage and success, saw possibilities for themselves. We have an immense power not just to change our own circumstances, but → Take a Leap We want to live our lives to the fullest, but sometimes it feels like the risks outweigh the rewards. Why not make putting yourself out there a practice? Being a stand-up comic was one of my life’s fantasies. So when the owner of a chain of comedy clubs saw my one-woman show and invited me to perform at his venue, I was pretty excited. But as the date drew closer I became increasingly restless. “Why?” I screamed into my pillow. “Why did I decide to put myself out there?!” Whether you are posting a profile on eHarmony, joining a local ping- pong club, or asking for a raise, mov- ing into new territory takes bravery. This is especially true since there’s no certainty that your courageous act will bring you the approval of others or anything at all that you think you might want. So what’s the appeal? Putting your- self out there can be the depth charge that breaks you out of harmful habits. The very habits you cling to that may seem like they are keeping you safe are actually just keeping you small. And as Nelson Mandela said, “There’s no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Step back from your life and recall any moments you couldn’t imagine ABOUT THE AUTHOR Elaine Smookler is a registered psychotherapist with a 20-year mindfulness prac tice. She is a senior faculty member at the Centre for Mindfulness Studies in Toronto. 28 mindful October 2018 LIVING | inner wisdom PHOTOGRAPHBYAURORAPHOTOS/ALAMY