We don't like the world when we don't like ourselves. We see the human race as beyond redemption when we fear we may have done something unforgiveable. We suspect others of having dubious motives when we secretly fear our own intentions are impure. Negative projections are too quickly made and too slowly removed. I'm not suggesting that you are the one now casting aspersions but wherever, in your life, doubt is destroying hope, the solution is to seek sympathy, support and a smile.


Some people say you should 'fake it till you make it.' By this they imply that if you pretend, long enough and hard enough that something is true, you will make it true. How genuine then, can any feeling be if it has had to be so falsely constructed? That depends on the depth of intention, the sincerity of spirit, the purity of the motive that lies behind the action. Sometimes, we don't know what's in our heart till we look into it. And sometimes too, we don't know what magic we're capable of weaving till we make our best effort!


The trouble with questions is that they invite answers. The trouble with answers is that they inevitably invite more questions! The more we engage in debate and discussion, the more we end up taking sides, expressing opinions, defending positions, supporting arguments and attempting to prove or disprove propositions. Before we know it, we're caught up in some endless psychological tennis match, racing to return serves and running ourselves ragged. Today brings a game you don't have to play.


When we make a deliberate effort to banish a particular thought from our mind, there's always the possibility that, even if we are successful, we may push away some other idea that we don't really want to lose track of. Thoughts have friends and relations. They travel in packs. They form all kinds of unexpected connections. Far better than to send them packing is to calm them down and invite them to link themselves more strongly to other more reasonable and more comforting notions. Today brings your chance to do that.


Imagine turning on the TV news and seeing exactly the same reports you saw last night. The same stories, same pictures, same words. The host doesn't even acknowledge the repetition. The information is presented as freshly gathered yet you know that time must have moved on since those tales were told and different factors must be affecting the development of each situation. Now think, for a moment, about your inner newsreel. What is it showing you? Open your mind to the arrival of an inspiring update.


When people who are nearing the end of their time on earth are asked what they most regret, the answer is almost always the same. They say, 'I wish I had worried less and enjoyed myself more.' Nobody says, 'I regret the times I allowed myself to feel good and be happy.' They certainly never say, 'I should have been more anxious, more uptight, more resentful or more negative.' It is may well be right and appropriate to respect a possible problem today. But it is wrong to turn that into a kind of obsession.


Some people seem to think that it takes a rocket scientist to be a brain surgeon. 'Only clever people can do clever things,' they say. And notice how the word 'simple' is often used to imply a lack of intelligence. How can that be right? The smartest thing to do in many a situation is often the least complicated. There may well be an exception to this rule. But, in setting out to solve a problem today, you should begin by looking at whatever takes least thought. That may well lead you straight to the wisest answer of all.


If we are put on earth to learn lessons, why are there no exams? And where do the graduation ceremonies take place? Yet if we aren't here to make discoveries, is that because there are no discoveries to make? When we've finished dwelling on the baffling ins and outs of such questions, we can start wrestling with the confusing issues surrounding a decision you need to make soon. There are arguments in favour, arguments against. But who needs an argument? It's an agreement that's required (and attainable) today.


You can't mend a leak in a bucket that doesn't have a hole in it. You can't satisfy the appetite of a person who isn't hungry. The only way to solve a non-existent problem is to recognise that it doesn't exist. But if someone can't see that their problem isn't really a problem, there's going to be a problem till they do. And they're probably going to have a problem with the person who is trying to tell them that they haven't got a problem. And that may yet create a real, actual problem. Be wary, today, of problem solvers!


There may be blemishes and brushmarks, even on the most perfect paintings. Are they devalued by these? Must something be entirely flawless before it becomes priceless? Or might we argue that our faults, foibles and failings are integrally linked to our talents and our charms? If that's so, then we must be careful before declaring that we know 'what's wrong' with a situation. 'What's wrong' may also turn out to be a key component of 'what's right.' Try being more tolerant, today, of what you suspect may be less than ideal.


If you can't get what you want, is this because you want something you ought not to want? Are you going to have to wait longer, try harder, be more determined? Or might it be more appropriate to explore and experiment, investigating other options and alternatives? There may well now be a perfectly suitable substitute for a declared first preference. It may even prove better than the original aim. To recognise this, though, you may have to first see where you have made an unnecessarily rigid distinction.


It is all too easy to imagine the worst. It is, though, actually very difficult to create it. That takes consistent commitment to a worried perspective. It requires a relentless refusal to acknowledge so much as a single ray of sunshine, creeping in through the blinds of self-created anxiety. Yet the light of hope is strong and the veil of fear is flimsy. You simply can't keep something positive and good at bay today. It is yet going to find its way into your life and inspire much-needed laughter and celebration