Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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The Right Way to Live.
    All sorts of people urge me to write all sorts of
things.  There is not an "ism" or a creed I
have not been requested to exalt and glorify.
    I am asked to preach free love and celibacy,
divorce and anti-divorce, atheism and Catholicism,
orthodoxy and liberalism, socialism and patriotism.
Now, in this life of ours, each soul must follow its
own light and seek its own pathway back to the
source from which we all came.   We cannot walk
with another's feet, or see with another's eyes, or
think with another's brain.
    According to my idea of God, He never made us
to be fanatics or freaks, but rational beings.  When
some great occasion arises, and we are at bay, it is
one thing to suffer and die, if need be, for truth's
sake, but it is another to invite suffering and slow
death to no purpose.
    I believe in always keeping the spiritual nature in
the ascendancy over the material; but to do this I
do not believe it is necessary to starve the body,
mind, or heart.  Our appetites were given us to use
and to enjoy, not to sate or starve.
    It is an excellent thing to fast occasionally, and
to be moderate always in eating and drinking; it
helps to keep the brain clear, and adds pleasure to
reasonable indulgence.  It is an insult to the Creator to
suppose that He made this beautiful world and gave
us our powers of enjoyment, and the demanded
that we go through life ignoring everything save
    We should live always with the consciousness that
death awaits us, but that does not signify that we
are to get nothing out of life.  To despise the body
is to despise God's handiwork.  I believe in mar-
riage founded on mutual love and respect.  I
believe in absolute loyalty between husband and
wife, and that in a perfect marriage the ideal exist-
ence of man and woman is to be found.  I not only
believe this, but I know it to be true.
    When love, loyalty, and respect no longer exist in
a marriage, then I believe divorce is a moral insti-
    To my idea, any church and any creed is the right
one if the heart is full of the love of God and
humanity.  That is all there is of religion.  With-
out church or creed, the straight path to glory can
be found by one who worships God and loves his
brother as himself, in business and in pleasure, at
home and abroad.
    No church or creed can help a man who does not
live up to this principle.
    It is perfectly useless for any reader to ask me to
exploit any theory or philosophy or belief which
does not contain the above principles as its plat-
    Faith in God and the triumph of eternal justice--
faith in our own divine inheritance; a healthful,
vigorous discontent with all sham and selfishness
and pretense, whether in individuals, society, pol-
itics or church; a thorough enjoyment in life; a full,
wise use of our six senses (the sixth is developing
rapidly in the power of clairvoyance or clear see-
ing); a control of all selfishness, and the cultivation
of all loving, charitable, and humane thoughts;
kindness and consideration for so-called inferiors
and animals--these are my theories of right living
while in the body, and the standard I attempt to
live up to.
    I want no better one.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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