A mix collection of inspirational stories gathered from the internet and personal experiences.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


by John Gaudet-Aubichon

My life as a boy was filled with violence, blood and hiding places. My siblings and I were shuffled back and forth between our violently alcoholic parents and a horribly abusive convent.

We were living in a small Saskatchewan town called Swift current with my parents during these rough periods and school was just a blur of new teachers, taunting faces and lonely lunches.

I carried the abuse inside me like a brick. I just felt like I had so many bad secrets that I wasn't supposed to tell anyone and I was so scared to let them slip that I stopped talking. I was also in perpetual mourning for my brothers and sisters. We had made so many promises to each other hiding under the bed crying while real monsters roared and no heroes came to the rescue. We promised that no matter what we would always be together. Well this was easier whispered from a terrified child than done and we were inevitably split up and thrown to the mercy of the convent again.

At best you could say I was barely surviving when I met a very special lady. You have to understand that with all that was going on with my mom and the nuns at the convent I had never had any positive contact with women in my life. That's why I was filled with dread when she asked me to stay after school.

Her name was Mrs. Shannon and she was my second grade teacher. I spent the afternoon filled with anguish as the clock ticked the seconds by. What new torture was I in for now? What ever had I done? I remembered taking a half empty milk carton and a carrot off another child's desk at lunch and eating them. (I was so desperate for milk and real food that I just couldn't help myself.) I thought that this may be what I was to be detained for. At the end of the day the final bell found me numb with fear and anguish.

I sat at my desk as kids bustled by me with taunts of "you're really gonna get it this time" and " what kinds of flowers you want at your funeral," etc...

The classroom soon emptied and it was just her and I. She smiled and said that I wasn't in any kind of trouble and that she just needed some help cleaning up. I was only slightly relieved as we started tidying the classroom up. While we worked she talked to me about everything.

Somehow she seemed to know that I was afraid to talk so she talked for both of us. She told me what it was like on her family farm and of the animals there. She talked about school, her love for kids and and how she became a teacher. I heard with loving detail stories of family and friends that I secretly longed for.

She began to keep me after school every day and I began to look forward to these sessions with this kind woman. Once she gave me a sparkly eraser and I kept it in my pocket for weeks fingering it with a smile on my face.

She encouraged me to read and showed me that not all adults were monsters. I was told that I could be someone, and if I really tried I could do anything that I wanted. She gave me hope.

Well I would like to say that was the start of a new life for me but it wasn't. I was soon moved back to the convent and I lost touch with Mrs. Shannon.

Eventually the department of social services moved me back with my dad as he and my mother had finally divorced. This proved to be a bad mistake and soon he began to drink and get violent. It all escalated until one June day when he took his own life in a fit of depression.

I kicked around after that, moving aimlessly through life until one day my sister called and said she found some things in the attic. In them were boxes of old toys and in one I found the sparkly eraser Mrs. Shannon had given me. I started to cry for this woman and the gift of kindness she had given me as a child.

I changed my life that day. I stopped drinking and started to write. I found God and have turned my life around completely now. I am married with a thirteen year-old daughter who also loves to write. I owe it to a lady who gave me my greatest gift as a child, kindness, hope and a sparkly eraser.

John Aubichon Lives in Northern Saskatchewan with his wife Chantalle and daughter Charisa. His short stories have been published worldwide in many books and magazines such as Chicken Soup for the Soul, Catholic Digest, and A Cup Of Comfort. He is a copywriter for a major network Radio Station by day and in the evenings he lives out his childhood fantasy of playing drums in a rock and roll band. John can be contacted at drmrjohn@hotmail.com drop him a line, he'd love to hear from you!

Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, April 28, 2008


Look back and Thank God.
Look forward and Trust God.
Look around and Serve God.
Look within and Find God!

"I asked God, 'How do I get the best out of life?'

God said, 'Face your past without regrets. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear!'"

"Without God, our week is: Mournday, Tearsday, Wasteday, Thirstday, Fightday, Shatterday and Sinday. So, allow Him to be with you every day!"

"Life is short, so forgive quickly. Believe slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. Never regret anything that makes you happy. And have a wonderful journey!!!"

Anonymous author

Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, April 25, 2008

Are You a Croaker or A Leaper?

By Pamela Perry Blaine
© August 2005

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.
It is then burst into flame by an encounter
with another human being. We should all be thankful
for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
- Albert Schweitzer

We don't often think about the effect that our words have upon others. Our words do have power and everything that we say has a positive or negative impact on others around us.

There is an old story that is told about an army* of frogs that went leaping through the forest one day when two of the frogs suddenly fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the hole to look down on their two fallen comrades. They all began to sadly shake their heads and to croak out dismal warnings. "It's too deep!" croaked one frog. Another croaked that there was no way that they would ever be able to get out of that pit alive.

The two fallen frogs began to continuously jump as they tried to get out of the pit, but the frogs that were watching kept croaking louder at them that they might as well stop because they were as good as dead and just wasting their time. One of the two frogs finally gave up and heeded the pessimistic advice of the frogs at the top. He quit jumping and literally "croaked" and died.

The other frog just kept right on jumping and leaping harder than ever in spite of all the loud croaks of disapproval from the frogs that were watching around the top of the hole. They kept croaking shouts at him to quit jumping and save himself from all the pain and suffering he was incurring as he leaped and fell back down to the bottom of the pit over and over again.

Finally, he leaped even harder than ever and to the surprise of all the other frogs he jumped right out of the deep pit. The other frogs asked him, "Why did you keep leaping even though we yelled and croaked at you to stop?" It was then that the frog explained to them that he was deaf and he had thought they were cheering for him and yelling words of encouragement to him the entire time!

A little encouragement can go a long way and as Babe Ruth once said, "It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."

Our words do have the power to hurt or to heal. What kind of frog are you? Are you a croaker or a leaper?

*Note of interest: A group of frogs is called "an army".

Pamela and her husband live in Missouri, USA.She enjoys writing, music, and country living and writes "Pam's Corner" for the local newspaper. Many of her stories have been published on the internet, as well as in several books. She has loved music and writing ever since she can remember and plays piano at church and is an avid reader. One of her goals is to be able to write for my children and grandchildren, so special memories will not be forgotten.Pamela has a CD entitled "I'll Walk You Home". If you would like copies, they are available by freewill donation. More information as well as a clip from the CD please visit: http://blaines.us/PamyPlace.htm Contact Pam via e-mail: pamyblaine@blaines.us

Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, April 24, 2008

7 Easy Creative Rituals to Spark Your Imagination and Inspire Your Soul

By Nancy Marmolejo

Creativity is a mysterious force that visits us with great ideas, new ways of seeing the world and the courage to do things differently. Revitalizing your creative talents will help you in the most unexpectedly wonderful ways: a new business idea, a renewed commitment to self-care, an appreciation for the beauty that lies all around us.

Finding a small bit of time each day to feed this force will not only reward you with increased creativity, but also an expanded sense of appreciation and gratitude for the creative process.

The following list highlights simple yet powerful actions you can take to spark your creative energy from the inside out.

1. Keep a Daily Journal.
Use a journal to jot down the meandering thoughts of your mind. Write, draw, doodle, paste collages together. Stuck between your great ideas are random thoughts, mental notes, and menial observations. Use your journal as a place to deposit these thoughts, keeping your creative mental workspace clear. Think of it as feng shui for the mind, a way of keeping the creative juices flowing.

2. Create Sacred Space.
Find a place in your home to keep inspiring, motivating and spiritually significant objects. Remind yourself that creativity flows like water and wind, that it is steadfast like earth and powerful like fire. Collect objects from nature to remind you of this. Place things that awe and inspire you, projects you're most proud of, and photos of people who support and encourage your creative action.

3. Reflection.
Reflection can be a minute of appreciating someone or something, or it can be a day of meditation and writing. Find ways to incorporate reflection into your daily routine, noting how experiences and interactions help you grow as a creative person. This is great for surveying what inspires you and what blocks you, what attracts you and what doesn't.

4. Get Away.
If you can, find some time to sneak away and enjoy a creative pleasure. It can be an hour wandering through a craft store, window shopping, a hike in nature or a visit to a special place. If you have kids and can't get away alone, don't worry. Enjoy the outing and reflect on it together. There are no rules to creative getaways. It is whatever touches you at that moment.

5. Do Something Loca.
What's something crazy you've always dreamed of doing but didn't because of insecurity, fear or intimidation? Make a pact with yourself to get to know your Inner Loca (or loco for you guys reading this) and find ways to let her out to play each and every day. Note: in Spanish, "loca" means crazy, but in this case it is the fun, wildly creative crazy that thrills our hearts, ignites our imaginations and takes us closer to turning our passion into reality. I use the word loca the same way others use the word "muse". It is the energy that fuels our best work and puts us in the creative zone.

6. See the World Through a Child's Eyes.
Children have the amazing ability to be open to the possibilities of just about anything. Give yourself playtime to see the world through the eyes of a child. Sometimes it can be simply sitting on the floor and looking at a room from a new angle, or giving yourself permission to laugh and have fun.

7. Chart Your Course.
It s one thing to dream of creative things and it s another thing to make them happen. Look at all the wonderful ideas you have and pick one to act upon. Make a commitment to do at least one daily action to support this idea. Doing the footwork to make your dream a reality will show you how easy it really is to turn ideas into action.

Ritual is a series of repeated acts. By incorporating creative ritual in your life, you will increase your innovation and creativity in ways that will surprise and delight you. Try at least one of these actions and feel your creativity grow!

Nancy Marmolejo helps creative and entrepreneurial women hone in on their core strengths to turn ideas into action. She helps both the wildly creative and the mildly creative launch innovative ideas, enter new markets and build upon natural talents. Visit Nancy Marmolejo on the web at ComadreCoaching.com to receive a free copy of 'Get Creative Now! Four Simple Tools to Boost Your Creativity from the Inside Out' and the award winning newsletter 'The Pocket Comadre'.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Baggy Yellow Shirt

By Patricia Lorenz

The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra-large pockets trimmed in black thread and snaps up the front. It was faded from years of wear, but still in decent shape. I found it in 1963 when I was home from college on Christmas break, rummaging through bags of clothes Mom intended to give away. "You're not taking that old thing, are you?" Mom said when she saw me packing the yellow shirt. "I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954!"

"It's just the thing to wear over my clothes during art class, Mom. Thanks!" I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object. The yellow shirt be came a part of my college wardrobe. I loved it. After graduation, I wore the shirt the day I moved into my new apartment and on Saturday mornings when I cleaned.

The next year, I married. When I became pregnant, I wore the yellow shirt during big-belly days. I missed Mom and the rest of my family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois. But that shirt helped. I smiled, remembering that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant, 15 years earlier.

That Christmas, mindful of the warm feelings the shirt had given me, I patched one elbow, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom. When Mom wrote to thank me for her "real" gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely. She never mentioned it again.

The next year, my husband, daughter and I stopped at Mom and Dad's to pick up some furniture. Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom. The shirt!

And so the pattern was set.

On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt under Mom and Dad's mattress. I don't know how long it took for her to find it, but almost two years passed before I discovered it under the base of our living-room floor lamp. The yellow shirt was just what I needed now while refinishing furniture. The walnut stains added character.

In 1975 my husband and I divorced. With my three children, I prepared to move back to Illinois. As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I wondered if I could make it on my own. I wondered if I would find a job. I paged through the Bible, looking for comfort. In Ephesians, I read, "So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up."

I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was the stained yellow shirt. Slowly, it dawned on me. Wasn't my mother's love a piece of God's armor? My courage was renewed.

Unpacking in our new home, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother. The next time I visited her, I tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer.

Meanwhile, I found a good job at a radio station. A year later I discovered the yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet. Something new had been added. Embroidered in bright green across the breast pocket were the words "I BELONG TO PAT."

Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an apostrophe and seven more letters. Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, "I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER."

But I didn't stop there. I zig-zagged all the frayed seams, then had a friend mail the shirt in a fancy box to Mom from Arlington, VA. We enclosed an official looking letter from "The Institute for the Destitute," announcing that she was the recipient of an award for good deeds. I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened the box. But, of course, she never mentioned it.

Two years later, in 1978, I remarried. The day of our wedding, Harold and I put our car in a friend's garage to avoid practical jokers. After the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite, I reached for a pillow in the car to rest my head. It felt lumpy. I unzipped the case and found, wrapped in wedding paper, the yellow shirt. Inside a pocket was a note: "Read John 14:27-29. I love you both, Mother."

That night I paged through the Bible in a hotel room and found the verses: "I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me."

The shirt was Mother's final gift. She had known for three months that she had terminal Lou Gehrig's disease. Mother died the following year at age 57.

I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love-filled game she and I played for 16 years. Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring in art. And every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets.

The "rest" of The Baggy Yellow Shirt story is that two years after Patricia married Harold they had a child together, right after her mother died of ALS. Then after 5 years, Harold left her for a woman with no children, married her the day of their divorce then died two years later. Patricia raised her four children as a single parent, had kids in college for 17 years in a row and is now an empty-nester living in Florida. Her four kids, their spouses and eight grandchildren live all over the country and enjoy visiting her in the land of sun, sand, sea, surf, seafoodand sensational sunsets.These days she keeps busy writing and speaking.She is the author of seven (soon to be 10) books andthe top-contributing writer in the country to the Chicken Soup for the Soul books with true stories in 30 of them. Patricia co-authored Chicken Soup for the Tea Lover's Soul and Chicken Soup for the Chocolate Lover's Soul.Visit her website www.PatriciaLorenz.com and contact her via email at PatriciaLorenz@juno.com

Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Humbling isn't it?

Most of us have an idea of the relative size of the planets and sun, but it's rather dazzling to see it presented this way.

I certainly thought this was enlightening. Didn't even realize we knew much beyond our sun...It's a big universe.

Anteres is the 15th biggest star in the sky. It is more than 1000 light years away.

Yet amidst all this, God knows when each sparrow falls. He cares about our smallest problem, our biggest hurt, our every joy. But we need to see our lives and ourselves in perspective. We aren't the center of the universe, GOD is. We don't own our next breath. GOD does. Humbling isn't it?

"Do not be afraid of the road ahead of you;
Set a goal to see yourself through;
What you have lost will come back;
It is never gone; Find your happiness,
Go on, Move on... "

From a forwarded e-mail

Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, April 21, 2008



By Henrylito D. Tacio

While reading my favorite daily recently, I came across a news report that multi-awarded singer-actress Barbra Streisand donated US$5 million for research on women's cardiac problems, which kills half a million of American women every year.

"Women need to be educated about female cardiovascular disease, and the medical community must be propelled toward change," explained the Broadway singer who catapulted to stardom with her Oscar-winning 1968 performance in 'Funny Girl,' why she gave such huge amount.

If you were in her shoes, would you give such amount for a cause? Well, you don't have to be millionaire to give huge amount. Just give what you can afford. As Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." Or as what an Arab proverb urges, "If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart."

"Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life's blood. But everyone has something to give," says Barbara Bush. "You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it," pointed out Albert Schweitzer.

Anne Frank, who wrote 'The Diary of Anne Frank,' stated, "No one has ever become poor by giving." To which British Prime Minister Winston Churchill added, "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

"For it is in giving that we receive," reminded Saint Francis of Assisi. German-born American physicist Albert Einstein echoed the same sentiment. "The value of a man," he wrote, "resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving."

At one time, a rich man complained to his friend. "People don't like me," he said. "They say I'm selfish and stingy. And yet in my last will and testament, I have donated all that I own to a charitable institution."

Hearing his explanation, the friend told him. "Well, maybe the story of the cow and the pig has a lesson for you. The pig came to the cow and grumbled, 'People always talk about your friendliness. Well, it's true: you give them milk. But they get much more from me. They get ham and bacon and lard, and they even cook my feet. And yet – no one likes me. To all of them, I am just a pig. Why is that?'

"The cow thought it over a bit and then said, 'Perhaps it's because I give while I am still alive.'" This reminds me of a line from a Shaina Twain song, "It's important to give it all you have while you have the chance."

An open hand can receive but a closed hand cannot. The phrase has a Biblical ring, and a Biblical wisdom that applies profoundly to everyday human affairs. The man who will not share himself with his neighbors receives little friendship in return. The tight parental grip that holds children too closely, defeats its own purpose in the end. It is no accident, probably, that in many countries the symbol of totalitarianism is the one that you can't shake hands with: a clenched fist.

"To be sower of seeds, a man must open his hand," said Arthur Gordon. "He must do this, clearly, before he can reap. And the process doesn't stop there. To possess knowledge or wisdom, he must open his mind. If he wants to receive love, he must offer it – and to do this, he will need an open heart. A closed hand cannot receive – partly because it is shut, and nothing can get in. But mostly because it has nothing to give."

A very conscientious Christian lady looked back on her childhood in a big city. She was from a wealthy family and as she puts it, "The poor were our pets." On Sunday, it was the favorite charity of these superior Christians to make the rounds of the cells at the police station. The men in particular did this. They visited the week-end drunks, lectured them, forced them to take the pledge, and then bailed them out of jail so they would be back to work on Monday.

These do-gooders were smugly respectable, very visibly in a different moral category from those to whom they gave. They had only one fault: they never gave themselves. Lebanese-born American philosophical essayist Kahlil Gibran once wrote: "You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."

Dr. Karl Meninnger, the famous psychiatrist, once gave a lecture on mental health and afterward answered questions from the audience. "What would you advise a person to do," asked one man, "if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?"

Most people expected the doctor to reply, "Consult a psychiatrist." To their astonishment, he replied, "Lock up your house, go across the highway, find someone in need, and do something to help that person."

"Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more," Anthony Robbins said.

Each of us has the responsibility to give. We get the best out of others when we give the best of ourselves. American philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. urged, "Think of giving not as a duty but as a privilege." The Lord Jesus Christ himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

For comments, write me at henrytacio@gmail.com

From a forwarded e-mail

Add to Technorati Favorites

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sure-Fire Mental Strategies to Fight Stress

By Karla Brandau

I distinctly remember my first experience with a tiger at the zoo. The tiger was a gorgeous creature. It moved with subtle power. The fur was radiant and I had an urge to cuddle up and stoke that soft coat like I would cuddle and pet our precious family kitten, Mollie.

Then the zookeeper came to feed the tiger and I stood in amazement as it grabbed a 30-pound steak and--without any manners--wolfed it down in two bites.

Satisfied with its meal, the huge feline opened its mouth and roared. The sound was deafening and I took four steps backwards with astonishment to make sure I was well out of harm's way. The strong steel fence separating us suddenly looked frail!

Stress can be as seductive as this tiger at the zoo. There is a very flimsy fence that separates us from the good stress that moves us into action (the fulfilling kind of stress called 'eustress' or urgency) and the bad stress that cripples productivity (that we experience as 'distress'). For instance, when we are seduced by a personal "pity party" - the magnificence of the tiger - we elicit unwarranted sympathy from others while excusing ourselves from taking action. We are figuratively stroking a fierce tiger that has the power to devour us in two bites.

Science has proven that distress affects your body in a myriad of ways from headaches to backaches. So figuratively speaking, the fierce tiger of distress eats at your body. How long has it been since you were still for a moment and "listened" to the tension in your body? Does your body have to ROAR like the tiger to get you to slow down and reduce your distress levels? Or can it whisper to you and have you take action?

Just last week I picked up a book I had not opened for years, The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. Again I read the first paragraph: "Life is difficult. Once you accept that, it no longer matters." I was inspired to reevaluate my stress levels and stop stroking the stress tiger but rather, strengthen my stress fence.

Your stress fence, or the wall between you and the tigers of life, helps you accept the things you cannot change. This, in turn, helps you find life wonderful, even though it is definitely not perfect.

Five strategies to help you stop stroking the stress tiger are:

1. Understand what you can and cannot control. Taxes, God, the weather, and whether your kid parts his hair on the right side of his head, are things you cannot control. When you stop and realize that you can't control something, this step alone puts you closer to mental health. You can stop banging your head against the wall trying to control events and people performing out of sync with your preferences. Once you accept the fact that you can't control an event or a person, you can take direct action by applying coping skills.

2. Use your power of choice. Your mind is a phenomenal organ: it has the ability to make choices. Once you realize that you have a choice between stress or distress, or that you can see obstacles as opportunities, you have developed the ability to choose healthy alternatives to distress. You can choose to re-label events, see other viewpoints, and let go...

3. Re-label events. Your mind labels everything that happens to you, assigning each event as 'good', 'bad', 'terrible', 'wonderful', etc. If you don't like the stress the assigned label is causing inside of you, use the mental technique of re-labeling. For example, imagine with me that you made a mistake at work, which was then dutifully brought to your attention by a co-worker. Your mind will probably quickly label this as a 'bad' experience. To re-label this event, consciously label it as a 'learning' experience.

4. See other viewpoints. If your car battery dies - a bad thing - you take the attitude of gratitude that it happened at home, not at the grocery store or the edge of a major freeway.

5. Learn to let go. Perhaps the hardest of all the skills discussed here, this may be the most difficult because, to a certain extent, we love our individual pity parties that enable us to feel sorry for ourselves. We wrongly think that no one else in the world has pain like our pain. One easy way to let go is to take a look around, observe someone else experiencing distress, step out of your world and step into theirs, and then help them. It is amazing how much better you will feel.

Karla Brandau, CSP, is an expert in change, leadership and team building in the flat world. She offers keynotes and workshops to move your organization forward. Sign up for her monthly newsletter, From the Desk of Karla Brandau by going to Karla Brandau.com. Karla is available for consultation on how to reduce stress and increase efficiency in your workplace. Call 770-923-0883 to schedule some time with Karla today.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just for Laughs: "Good bye, Mom"

This is a poignant story of a young man and a little old lady he met at Wal-Mart.

"Good bye, Mom"

I was shopping at a Wal-Mart and noticed a little old lady following me around. I stopped, she stopped. Furthermore she kept staring at me.

She finally overtook me at the checkout, and she turned to me and said, "I hope I haven't made you feel ill at ease. It's just that you look so much like my late son."

I answered, "That's okay."

"I know it's silly, but if you'd call out "Good bye, Mom" as I leave the store," it would make me feel so happy."

She then went through the checkout, and as she was on her way out of the store, I called out, "Good bye, Mom."

The little old lady waved, and smiled back at me. Pleased that I had brought a little sunshine into someone's day, I went to pay for my groceries.

"That comes to $121.85," said the clerk.

Surprised, I said, "How come so much...I only bought 5 items."

The clerk replied, "Yeah, but your Mother said you'd be paying for her things too."

From a forwarded e-mail

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

All just part of my job!

by Keith Ready

Recently, a business associate and I went to call on a retail customer, and we experienced one of the real challenges in visiting a very large regional shopping centre that is over 2 kms long, with in excess of 300 shops spread over three shopping levels. How do find a store when you haven't been to this shopping centre for some considerable period of time?

Well when we first arrived at the centre and had parked our car, the first thing we did was look for a centre directory or the customer service desk, but without any success. As we weaved our way past a host of customers and shoppers who all seemed to be well aware of where they were going, out of the crowd appeared one of the shopping centre security officers. He was as you may well expect dressed in a black suit, white shirt and dark tie, with the shopping centre logo emblazoned on his jacket. He was holding a two-way radio hand set with an ear piece and remote microphone in his ear, which obviously allowed him to speak to other security officers working in the centre at that time.

Seizing the opportunity to seek some assistance from someone who would no doubt know where the store was located, I approached him and asked for directions. He smiled at us both and indicated that the store was on the next level, only some 75 metres from where we were standing.

Before we could thank him, he added.

'However, please allow me to show where it is.'

We thanked him, but said that there was no need, as we would now be able to find it with the help of his directions. His immediate reply came as a real surprise to us both.

'No not at all, please follow me, it is not very far and it is all just part of my job.'

Almost without realising it, we were walking with him and moved onto the travelator that took us to the next level of the shopping centre and the short walk to store. As we walked, he asked how our day had been and then added that it was a very busy day in the centre, mainly because it was school holidays. When we reached the store, we both thanked him for his courtesy and asked for his name.

He replied with a grin on his face, 'my name is Rob and I suppose you could say that it is not such a great name, given the work that I do here as a security officer.'

We both laughed at his zany sense of humour and once again thanked him for his courtesy and great customer service. As he moved away, he replied for the second time, 'it is a pleasure, all just part of my job.'

The visit to our retail customer lasted about 20 minutes and then we head back towards the car park, only this time we were more certain which way we had to go.

As we walked along the shopping mall level we came across the customer service desk which we could not find on our arrival at the shopping centre, so we stopped to speak to the customer service attendant at the counter. We asked if we could speak to the centre manager and was quizzed in a friendly manner about why we wanted to see him - our answer was that we wanted to give some feedback about a positive customer service experience we had just had. Sadly, the centre manager was not available; however, the customer service attendant suggested we could speak to the duty manager in charge of centre security. So we decided that we would go down to the security office located on the loading dock on the first level of the centre.

On arriving at the security office we were greeted by the duty manager who had a very apprehensive look on his face, which we concluded was due to the fact that when similar contact was made with him by members of the public, it was to lodge a complaint of some sort. When we told him we wanted to give some feedback about a great service experience offered by of one of his team members, his face changed to a positive expression as we went on to praise Rob for making our visit to the centre an enjoyable one. We asked him to pass on our thanks to Rob and make sure that the centre manager was made aware of what he had done for us.

As we left the office and walked back to our car, we both discussed the likelihood that our expression of appreciation would make its way back to Rob and to the centre manager. We agreed that whilst it would have been great if the praise was passed on to Rob we realised that he would have no doubt been the recipient of many other expressions of appreciation from other customers just like us, who had experienced Rob's all part of my job attitude to his work. Whether other people would have taken the time express their appreciation to his boss as we did - is a matter of speculation, the fact that we did express it to Rob and then to his manager, was all that mattered to us at the time.

There is little doubt in my mind that people like Rob don't walk their talk selectively, it just isn't in their nature to be obligingly beyond expectations to one or two people as he did with us and then not do the same with others. I am sure Rob's job as a security officer is full of daily challenges with lot's of not so good things to deal with, so no doubt doing what he did for us and I am certain many others, is more than likely the part of his job that makes his day just that more enjoyable and rewarding.

There can be nothing better in life than to offer caring and genuine service to others and not expect anything in return, however, I am sure that the praise you receive for a job very well done will never go astray - will it!

Inspired by Rob - the dedicated, customer service focused security officer and written by Keith Ready. Keith Ready lives and works in Sydney, Australia and is affectionately known as Mr Inspiration. He is publisher of InspirEmail which provides inspirational messages to refresh the spirit and boost the emotional bank account.

You can visit his website at www.agiftofinspiration.com.au and he can be contacted via e-mail at info@agiftofinspiration.com.au

Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The 9 Insights of the Wealthy Soul

By Dr. Michael Norwood

When my father was slowly progressing through the phases of a terminal illness, as a final legacy he revealed to me a sequence of 9 extraordinary "wealth-building" steps he nicknamed, "The 9 Insights of the Wealthy Soul."

On the surface, his lessons appeared to be about building material wealth. On a much deeper level, these insights held the secret for overcoming our greatest challenges and achieving the highest wealth of the soul.

My father, himself, had used these same insights as an army pilot-trainee to turn several near- crashes into soaring flights. Later, these insights were the means through which he would raise himself up from the devastating death of his beloved daughter - my sister.

Four years after my father's last great lesson to me, while actually writing a book on the subject, I awakened one morning perceiving a profoundly deeper significance of his 9 Insights. I suddenly understood that they are the actual stages of "TRANSFORMATION."

Whether you desire to transform a dream into reality, failure into triumph, grief into grace, or a relationship breakdown into a bridge of love and higher understanding, these universal principles are the means you can naturally accomplish your goals. Here is a summary of my father's "9 Insights of the Wealthy Soul":

Insight 1: INSIGHT
Just as a tree begins with a seed, so too, is Insight the "seed" that begins your transformation. One of the greatest insights is simply the knowledge that "You Can." You CAN overcome your greatest challenges. You CAN transform your dreams into your own living, breathing reality. You CAN create a new life for yourself and your loved ones.

Insight 2: TIMING
The saying "timing is everything" is not just a nice expression. Without developing excellent timing, you will always be fighting the natural ebb and flow of the universe. Just as most seeds sprout on a particular day in springtime, YOU can develop the ability to recognize the precise day of spring for all you do.

Whether asking for a raise, launching a business venture, or bringing up a difficult subject to a friend, loved one or business partner, your ability to recognize the often brief moments of maximum opportunity will determine how much success and balance you achieve.

Insight 3: PATIENCE
Only humans are impatient. Seeds do not attempt to turn into trees in winter. Eagles don't try to soar during rainstorms. And mayflowers do not blossom in August. Developing patience - your ability to wait for the right moment in your life cycle to accomplish a particular task or goal - is all important to develop excellent timing and great success.

Insight 4: SURRENDER
What must you do to let go of your need to control things? How can you let go of your past mistakes and history that may be preventing you from moving forward? How do you spiritually surrender to "the process?"

Without spiritual surrender, you will never be content, you will never have patience and excellent timing. You will never experience the joy and "flow" of having the greatest business and life partner you could ever possibly have: namely, "The Universe" and "God."

Insight 5: GROUNDING
With strong roots, a tree will survive any storm. When YOU create a strong foundation, your greatest efforts will withstand the many storms and challenges you inevitably face in achieving your goals.

Grounding is what you use to nourish and nurture your goals. Grounding is the books, tapes, schooling, seminars, and people you surround yourself with to support yourself in whatever you want to achieve.

Want to have a great relationship? Learn from those who already have one. Want to earn a million dollars? Read books, listen to tapes, and receive coaching by those who show you how. When you have ample "grounding" to support your dreams, the challenges that come along are merely temporary storms that ultimately make you stronger and more highly energized.

Insight 6: BALANCE
This is a tough one, especially for the most successful people. Even when a tree is well developed, without regular water, sunshine and nourishment, it will not be healthy. What must you do to balance yourself?

How much sunshine do you get?
How much exercise do you regularly do?
How nourishing is your diet?
How much quiet time do you take on a daily basis with yourself and your loved ones?

Life is a balancing act. Isn't the minute, hour, day or month you save by working through your natural point of balance just another minute, hour, day or month you subtract from your lifetime?

Take breaks to smell the roses along the way, and in fact, you'll naturally discover the universe rises up to become your partner rather than it being you against the world.

Insights 7, 8 & 9:

GROWTH automatically occurs in direct proportion to your ability to empower yourself with the first 6 Insights.

EVOLUTION blossoms when your growth takes you to a new and higher stage of life, unfolding a powerful Vision of your life you probably never foresaw.

TRANSFORMATION occurs when you become something very different than that which you started off as. Your initial seed of Insight becomes a tree of knowledge and accomplishment. You are ready for something greater than achieving for your own personal gain.

You, the student, become the teacher, the mentor, the leader. You are the vessel of seeds to birth a new generation. You enjoy the glow of knowing you have followed your highest path that ultimately leads you to helping others follow theirs.

All along, you have been transforming into a balanced, wealthy and fulfilled human being.

All along, you have been transforming yourself into a "Wealthy Soul."

Dr. Michael Norwood is the author of "The 9 Insights of the Wealthy Soul." The book is actually a 279 page unforgettable story. It's nearly impossible to put down from the very first sentence on the very first page. It reads: "They were the most beautiful and difficult words I ever heard spoken." I won't take away from your reading pleasure by telling you what those very "beautiful and difficult" words were the author reveals. But I will share with you that The 9 Insights of the Wealthy Soul truly is life-changing. Get it.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Letters

By Linda Hastings

"Well, it's confirmed, you're pregnant", the Doctor said. I looked at him as if he were speaking a foreign language. After all, 7 years and 4 months had passed since I had married my high school sweetheart and we were still childless. Oh, we hadn't really 'tried' for me to get pregnant all that time, but the last few years was definitely in the category of 'trying'. We had been taking my temperature, watching the calendar and in a final desperate measure, began infertility treatments and fertility drugs.

I can still hear the advice of so many people in my family and our friends already with children of their own. "Don't try so hard and it will happen". "Relax, you're just too uptight about this". "Quit thinking about it all the time". And my most favorite one of all, "Buy a house, you always get pregnant when you can't afford it". So we bought a house, a new car, a boat, another new house and still we couldn't conceive.

The romance had gone out of our bedroom and our intimacy was now on a schedule that I kept by the bed. Bill was in construction, working out of town during the week and coming home on weekends. When it was "time" he would drive all night to get home. Exhausted and weary, we would follow the instructions of our doctor and he would leave in the wee hours of the morning to make it back to his job site in time.

For the first several months after the doctor confirmed my pregnancy, I refused to believe it was true. With no real symptoms like morning sickness or fatigue I convinced myself that it may not be true and therefore prepared myself for the let down when the truth were known.

One night while visiting my best friend out of town, as I lay perfectly still next to my sleeping husband, I felt this strange sensation - like someone plucking a spring in my tummy. It was then and there that I believed.

Ashley Christine was born that next February at the end of fourteen long and laborious hours. Later that night, Dallas/Fort Worth would be blanked in the biggest snow storm of the present century. I awoke to a wonderland of white - and pink!

The first night when I finally made it home from the hospital and got my daughter, my husband and my mother to sleep, I sat down and I wrote my precious new daughter a letter. I told her of how I had prayed so long and so hard for a child. That I asked God not for a perfect child or even a healthy child, but for a happy, loving and caring child and no matter what he gave me I would be thankful and proud and honored by his 'gift'.

I sealed the letter and placed it in her baby book.

The following year, when she turned one, again I waited until everyone had left the party and my beautiful little one year old slept to again take pen in hand and write to her.

Writing the letters soon became as much a part of having her birthday as making her cake. Each one would chronicle the past year and all the things only a Mother sees and remembers. She was everything I had asked God for, loving, kind and happy.

By the time we celebrated her second birthday, she had already been introduced to her two-week old baby sister, Regina. In keeping with my tradition, year after year, I would sit down alone in the quiet hours following their party and write the girls a letter. Through tears of joy and smiles of pride, I shared my personal feelings and observations with them.

The girls are grown now, Ashley recently graduated from a local University and Gina is in her third year of college as well.

The letters?

On their 16th birthdays, along with the cake and presents and family and friends came one final gift.

Stacked one on top of the other and tied with a dainty pink ribbon were seventeen handwritten letters from Mom.

Linda has been writing for a number of years now and writes about true experiences that are near and dear to her heart. Many of her stories are tributes to family members. In addition to writing, Linda is a full time Executive Assistant with two grown daughters and a loving husband that enjoys spending leisure time with her on the lake or on their Harley Davidson. Linda's love for writing stories began when her children were small; she would create tales to entertain them using their names and their friends as the characters. Linda's stories have been published in "Chicken Soup for the Soul", the book and the weekly newspaper syndicate, "Fort Worth Business Press" and several other local newspapers. Linda can be contacted at lghastings@embarqmail.com

Add to Technorati Favorites

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Questions I've never been able to answer


Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

What is the speed of darkness?

Are there specially reserved parking spaces for "normal" people at the Special Olympics?

If the temperature is zero outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?

If it's true that we are here to help others, what are the others doing here?

Do married people live longer than single ones or does it only seem longer?

Do you cry under water?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Did you ever stop and wonder......
Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these pink dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"

Why do toasters always have a setting so high that could burn the toast to a horrible crisp, which no decent human being would eat?

Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?

Why do people point to their wrist when asking for the time, but don't point to their bum when they ask where the bathroom is?

Why does Goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs !

Can blind people see their dreams? Do they dream ??

If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests? (This one kills me!!!!)

If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Why do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?

Stop singing and read on . . . . . .. . . . .

Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Does pushing the elevator button more than once make it arrive faster?

Do you ever wonder why you gave me your e-mail address in the first place???????

-- Shared by Gloria Lilly

From a forwarded e-mail

Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, April 11, 2008

Happiness: The Highest Gift

By Julian Kalmar
Founder, The Happiness Campaign

Part 1: Sitting Still

Can you imagine living happily no matter what happens? Thirty-eight years ago a great master craftsman began teaching me how to do this. Unbelievably, it took me 36 years to truly appreciate his enormous gift.

In 2002, a back injury sentenced me to living in bed 22 hours a day. I lost my business, a 6-figure income, and the ability to move about freely. When a friend asked me how I could still be so happy, the value of the master's lessons snapped into focus: It had never occurred to me to be unhappy!

The master, an old-world Hungarian watchmaker, began my lessons when I was four. He granted me the privilege of sitting beside him as he repaired watches and clocks.

My first happiness lesson was to sit quietly, without distracting him from his delicate repairs. Amazingly, I succeeded almost without trying, for as the master worked something magical happened. A great love and peace filled the workshop, and I fell into the deafening silence that surrounded him. As I focused on his work, my stillness on the outside was soon reflected by stillness on the inside. All sense of misfortune, stress, and unhappiness melted away.

The master taught me that focusing on your tasks destroys negative emotions. Negativity thrives when you focus on what's wrong. Focusing on your tasks suffocates the negatives by stilling your thoughts. Focusing also improves the quality of your work, brings satisfaction in a job well done, and eventually profound joy.

Part 2: Facing The Unknown

Over the years, I'd seen the old Hungarian master craftsman fix just about every type of watch and clock imaginable. But I was always amazed at his uncanny ability to put the mechanisms back together. So one day I said to him, "You know, for years I've watched you repair watches and clocks. Carefully you'd take them apart, clean them, and finally put them back together. How do you know where all the pieces go?"

Without hesitation, and with a wry smile, he said, "I don't always!"

For a moment I was struck dumb, and then filled with roaring laughter. He was kidding, or so I thought. After we'd finished laughing, he said, "Whenever you do something you've never done before, don't panic. You can do it. Look at it very carefully. Make notes. Draw pictures. Take it apart slowly. Take your time. Carefully watch how things go together."

Not knowing how to do something can threaten self-esteem, confidence, and credibility. The master's technique converts these threats into opportunities. Admitting you don't know (but that you'll find out), demonstrates intelligence and credibility. You also won't have to live up to a self-created illusion, so you'll focus better on solving the problem.

Using every available tool, including time, and other people's know-how, you'll work things out and learn a lot doing it. Unknowns will become a source of gratifying intellectual challenge. Your ego will shrink, and you'll be proud of your new skills. You'll develop genuine confidence and self-esteem.

Part 3: Single-Pointed Focus

Watches and clocks contain many screws, gears, jewels and springs. In contrast to the complexity of these little machines, the way the old Hungarian watchmaker worked was profoundly simple. He fully focused on each part he touched as if it were the most sacred part in all the world. To him, in that moment, nothing else existed. He would pick up a part, place it carefully into position, and fasten it with care. There was no haste.

Once the part was installed, there was an almost imperceptible pause while the master stopped to admire the perfection of the careful placement. Only then would he direct his attention to the next part, again devoting his entire being to it. His single-pointed focus on one tiny part after another, created a beautiful serenity in his workshop. This was nothing less than a communion: The spirit of the master and the spirit of each part became inextricably and forever intertwined. It was a cosmic dance.

Most of us race frenetically from one place to another, trying to do three things at once, and rarely giving full attention to anything. We do not properly honor our tools, possessions, time, or other people. Our rushing keeps us in a constant state of tension. Achieving the master's deep sense of peace and well being, requires doing only one thing at a time. By choosing to honor each thing, person, place, and time, we can live richly spiritual lives even during activities we once considered chores.

Part 4: Changing Viewpoints

During his watch repairs, the master craftsman was exceptionally careful. However, once in a great while, a little part would jump out from between his tweezers and fly onto the floor. The irregularities in the wooden floor made superb camouflage for the little parts, so finding them sometimes took half an hour. Slowing our searches was the very real danger of destroying a part by stepping on it.

As a youngster, I wasn't allowed to move until the part was spotted. Later, when it was clear I could be careful, the master showed me a new way of searching.

After visually scanning an area big enough for my body, the master had me lie down. Then, by sighting along the floor with one eye closed, the errant part became instantly visible! My new viewpoint made finding parts easy. So it is with life. Many of life's difficulties result from poor viewpoints. We make things harder than they need to be--and prolong our suffering--because we don't think of changing viewpoints.

For example, is stubbing your toe a source of upset, or is it a reminder that awareness keeps you from harm? Is breaking your foot an inconvenience, or does it give you great appreciation for your hands and feet? Is your teenager 'uncooperative', or is this a chance to improve your people skills and learn to choose your fights? Each difficulty is a doorway to a happier life when used as a cue to finding a better viewpoint.

Part 5: Pain vs. Suffering

Happiness lessons weren't restricted to the master's workshop. Once as we drove to a store, a three-legged dog limped by trying to keep up with two other dogs. As a six-year-old I became terribly sad for the poor dog. When the master asked what was wrong, I told him. He said, "Oh, don't worry about him, he's perfectly happy. Don't you see his wagging tail and happy smile?"

"Yes," I said, "but he's lost a leg. I feel so sorry for him."

"Julian, that dog was probably hit by a car and was in terrible pain. A vet amputated his leg to save his life," said the master. I got a lump in my throat and started tearing up.

"Julian, if that dog felt sorry for himself, he'd be hiding somewhere with his tail down. Look at him. He's playing with his friends, tail in the air, sniffing things, and exploring. He's too involved to care about his missing leg. People mope around for months if they lose a leg. They keep thinking about all the things they can't do. They 'suffer' more pain by keeping it going in their minds. So that dog is smarter than most people. He's doing what he's always done, and he probably doesn't even think about his leg. Pain can't be avoided sometimes, but suffering is a choice. We suffer when we dwell on past pain. So always try to be like that dog: Focus on what you want to do, and do it."

Part 6: Your Future’s In Your Hands

One day I asked the master why his workshop always felt so peaceful. This is what he taught me. "Julian, just like these watches and clocks, with all their gears, jewels, springs and screws that can't be seen from the outside, people have hidden mechanisms."

"What kind of mechanisms," I questioned eagerly.

"There are many. One of them is responsible for the peace in this workshop. Do you know why I've asked you to be quiet while I work?"

"So you can concentrate," I said, a bit unsure.

"Yes, but there's much more to it. By focusing your mind and hands on the same task, peacefulness and joy are naturally produced. I create a tangible sense of peace and joy in this workshop using this natural hidden mechanism. Everyone can do this.

"Working with your hands also builds confidence in your personal abilities. You feel powerful knowing you know how to transform your world. For example, when I'm faced with a broken watch, I don't know what I'll find on the inside. That's a lot like life. You'll face a problem and not know how to fix it at first, so you'll feel a bit nervous. Every time you solve a problem you'll build confidence.

"Eventually you feel you can solve any problem and create anything you want in your life. That's when life becomes easy. You simply decide what you want and focus your mind and hands to create it. Your future is quite literally in your hands."

Copyright 2005 by Julian Kalmar. All rights reserved.

The Greatest Obstacle to Happiness... And How to Overcome It

Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, April 10, 2008

You'll never know.

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.

His name was Kyle.

It looked like he was carrying all of his books.

I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.'

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.

As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him.

They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt.

His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him.

He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes.

My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.

They really should get lives.

' He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!'

There was a big smile on his face.

It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.

I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived.

As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.

He said he had gone to private school before now.

I would have never hung out with a private school kid before.

We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books.

He turned out to be a pretty cool kid.

I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends

He said yes.

We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.

I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!

' He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends..

When we were seniors we began to think about college.

Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.

I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem.

He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship..

Kyle was valedictorian of our class.

I teased him all the time about being a nerd.

He had to prepare a speech for graduation.

I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak

Graduation day, I saw Kyle.

He looked great.

He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school.

He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.

He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.

Boy, sometimes I was jealous!

Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech.

So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!'

He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.

' Thanks,' he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began

'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.

Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends...

I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.

I am going to tell you a story.'

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met.

He had planned to kill himself over the weekend.

He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.

He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile.

'Thankfully, I was saved.

My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable..'

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.

I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile.

Not until that moment did I realize it's depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions..

With one small gesture you can change a person's life.

For better or for worse.

God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way.

Look for God in others.

From a forwarded e-mail

Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, April 4, 2008

Simple Ways to Overcome Fear

By Ian Cameron
Author of "Heal Thyself"

Fear weakens us. It invites stress and illness into our lives. It silently affects every aspect of our lives - our health, relationships, even our finances. So how do we overcome this fear? How do we attract health, happiness, and peace of mind? There are a number of ways.

First, you can simply observe the sensations in your body when fear arises. When your heart races, your chest tightens, the adrenaline pumps, and the butterflies flutter in your stomach, be with all of these sensations. Observe the unpleasant sensations caused by fear, go deeply to them, and they will dissolve. Every emotion in the mind has a corresponding sensation in the body. So when we observe sensations in the body, we released them, and our mind becomes clear.

Another powerful weapon against fear is to realize that you belong. You belong to God, to the universe or some power. Find comfort in the fact that God is taking care of you. He is taking care of all your concerns and worries. God is right there behind you one hundred percent. You are not separate from God. You are part of God. He is looking after you in the same way that a mother looks after her child - with total love.

See the impermanence in everything. Everything is changing within you and around you. The world is constantly changing. You are not the same person you were last year. Emotions come and emotions go. When fear arises, know that the intensity of the fear is always changing and that it will soon subside and disappear. It is not possible for the dark cloud of fear to permanently obscure the sun, which is the joy and love within you. All clouds move on. A great strength comes to us when we see everything as impermanent.

We can empower ourselves even more by simply letting go. Fear is clinging onto something, holding on, and not letting go. But what can you hold onto in this life? Nothing. It's all flowing, dissolving, and growing. Life moves like a movie. You cannot stop the movie and hold onto any one frame. Let go and let God. Let go and the shackles off fear and worry will fall from you.

Yet another trick to overcome fear is to realize that you only have the present moment. Right now is all that exists! We are anxious about the future. We torture ourselves with disturbing thoughts of what will happen tomorrow, next week, or next year. But these are only imaginings, nasty tricks played by our minds. Live in the present moment. Meditate, and dive into the profound, healing present moment.

Fear creates a physiological imbalance in our bodies and we feel stressed. If we are stressed over a long period, we soon begin to suffer from a certain type of disease. And the fear of having a serious illness makes us feel even more anxious, which exacerbates our health. A downward spiral of fear soon brings us despair and misery. But, with a little courage, we can spiral back up to good health. Above are a few powerful ways of achieving this and I encourage you to try them in your daily life. You will feel lighter, have more energy, and be happier!

So, why do we suddenly feel so much better after applying the principles above? The reason is that we are attending to the very source of the mind, which is pure consciousness, pure love, and love is the highest healer on the planet. Love is not an emotion - it is your very existence. An infinite ocean of love exists within you.

By applying the ancient wisdom above in your life, you bathe your mind and body in this vast healing ocean within, cleansing yourself of fear, stress, and illness. You quickly find relief, feeling calm and refreshed.

For the past thirteen years, I have studied profound knowledge from the world's highest authorities and applied it to overcome severe anxiety, depression, and arthritic pain. Today, thanks to this knowledge, I experience abundant energy, joy, clarity, and peace of mind. And I continue to attract loving relationships and experience great personal success!

Now it's your turn - I wish to share this sacred and powerful wisdom with YOU through my book, Heal Thyself. This book explores over 50 Truth Statements that target and resolve your deepest issues, which you've struggled with for so long. It is a poetic sharing of valuable lessons from recovery. Heal Thyself will dramatically improve your health and experience of life!

In my book, I show you how to reconnect with the deepest part of yourself, which is the very source of healing. Through easy-to-understand language, I creatively cover topics such as:

* The cause and purpose of suffering

* Powerful ways to beat depression and dissolve difficult emotions such as fear and anger

* Effective techniques to overcome stress and virtually any disease

* Increasing peace, love, and joy in your life

* Managing periods of crisis effectively

* Your true identity and how you belong to this entire creation

Wishing you health and joy,
Ian Cameron, Author of Heal Thyself.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, April 3, 2008

How to Experience Total Freedom

By Eckhart Tolle
Author of "The Power of Now"

Are you stressed? Are you so busy getting to the future that the present is reduced to a means of getting there? Stress is caused by being "here" but wanting to be "there," or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It's a split that tears you apart inside.

Does the past take up a great deal of your attention? Do you frequently talk and think about it, either positively or negatively? The great things that you have achieved, your adventures or experiences, or your victim story and the dreadful things that were done to you, or maybe what you did to someone else?

Are your thought processes creating guilt, pride, resentment, anger, regret, or self-pity? Then you are not only reinforcing a false sense of self but also helping to accelerate your body's aging process by creating an accumulation of past in your psyche. Verify this for yourself by observing those around you who have a strong tendency to hold on to the past.

Die To The Past Every Moment

You don't need it. Only refer to it when it is absolutely relevant to the present. Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being. Feel your presence.

Are you worried? Do you have many "what if" thoughts? You are identified with your mind, which is projecting itself into an imaginary future situation and creating fear. There is no way that you can cope with such a situation, because it doesn't exist. It's a mental phantom.

You can stop this health- and life-corroding insanity simply by acknowledging the present moment.

Become Aware Of Your Breathing

Feel the air flowing in and out of your body. Feel your inner energy field. All that you ever have to deal with, cope with, in real life -- as opposed to imaginary mind projections -- is this moment. Ask yourself what "problem" you have right now, not next year, tomorrow, or five minutes from nöw. What is wrong with this moment?

You can always cope with the Now, but you can never cope with the future -- nor do you have to. The answer, the strength, the right action, or the resource will be there when you need it, not before, not after.

Are you a habitual "waiter"? How much of your life do you spend waiting? What I call "small-scale waiting" is waiting in line at the post office, in a traffïc jam, at the airport, or waiting for someone to arrive, to finish work, and so on. "Large-scale waiting" is waiting for the next vacation, for a better job, for the children to grow up, for a truly meaningful relationship, for success, to make monëy, to be important, to become enlightened. It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.

Waiting is a state of mind. Basically, it means that you want the future; you don't want the present. You don't want what you've got, and you want what you haven't got. With every kind of waiting, you unconsciously create inner conflict between your here and now, where you don't want to be, and the projected future, where you want to be. This greatly reduces the quality of your life by making you losë the present.

For example, many people are waiting for prosperity. It cannot come in the future. When you honor, acknowledge, and fully accept your present reality -- where you are, who you are, what you are doing right nöw -- when you fully accept what you have got, you are grateful for what you have got, grateful for what is, grateful for Being. Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is true prosperity. It cannot come in the future. Then, in time, that prosperity manifests for you in various ways.

If you are dissatisfied with what you have got, or even frustrated or angry about your present lack, that may motivate you to become rich, but even if you do make millïons, you will continue to experience the inner condition of lack, and deep down you will continue to feel unfulfilled. You may have many exciting experiences that monëy can buy, but they will come and go and always leave you with an empty feeling and the need for further physical or psychological gratification. You won't abide in Being and so feel the fullness of life nöw that alone is true prosperity.

Give Up Waiting As A State Of Mind

When you catch yourself slipping into waiting... snap out of it. Come into the present moment. Just be, and enjoy being. If you are present, there is never any need for you to wait for anything.

So next time somebody says, "Sorry to have kept you waiting," you can reply, "That's all right, I wasn't waiting. I was just standing here enjoying myself -- in joy in my self."

These are just a few of the habitual mind strategies for denying the present moment that are part of ordinary unconsciousness. They are easy to overlook because they are so much a part of normal living: the background static of perpetual discontent. But the more you practice monitoring your inner mental-emotional state, the easier it will be to know when you have been trapped in past or future, which is to say unconscious, and to awaken out of the dream of time into the present. But beware: The false, unhappy self, based on mind identification, lives on time. It knows that the present moment is its own death and so feels very threatened by it. It will do all it can to take you out of it. It will try to keep you trapped in time.

In a sense, the state of presence could be compared to waiting. It is a qualitatively different kind of waiting, one that requires your total alertness. Something could happen at any moment, and if you are not absolutely awake, absolutely still, you will miss it. In that state, all your attention is in the Now. There is none left for daydreaming, thinking, remembering, anticipating. There is no tension in it, no fear, just alert presence. You are present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body.

In that state, the "you" that has a past and a future, the personality if you like, is hardly there anymore. And yet nothing of value is lost. You are still essentially yourself. In fact, you are more fully yourself than you ever were before, or rather it is only now that you are truly yourself.

The past cannot survive in your presence. Whatever you need to know about the unconscious past in you, the challenges of the present will bring it out. If you delve into the past, it will become a bottomless pit: There is always more. You may think that you need more time to understand the past or become free of it, in other words, that the future will eventually free you of the past. This is a delusion. Only the present can free you of the past. More time cannot free you of time.

Access the power of Now. That is the key. The power of Now is none other than the power of your presence, your consciousness liberated from thought forms. So deal with the past on the level of the present. The more attention you give to the past, the more you energize it, and the more likely you are to make a "self" out of it.

Don't misunderstand: Attention is essential, but not to the past as past. Give attention to the present; give attention to your behavior, to your reactions, moods, thoughts, emotions, fears, and desires as they occur in the present. There's the past in you. If you can be present enough to watch all those things, not critically or analytically but nonjudgmentally, then you are dealing with the past and dissolving it through the power of your presence.

You cannot find yourself by going into the past. You find yourself by coming into the present.

Eckhart Tolle is the author of the internationally-acclaimed "The Power of Now" and "Stillness Speaks."

Add to Technorati Favorites

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Why Go To Church?

Author Unknown

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this.. They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!" When you are DOWN to nothing.... God is UP to something! Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible! Thank God for our physical AND our spiritual nourishment!

From a forwarded e-mail

Add to Technorati Favorites

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


by Kent Nerburn

I have never met a man who didn't want to be loved. But I have seldom met a man who didn't fear marriage. Something about the closure seems constricting, not enabling. Marriage seems easier to understand for what it cuts out of our lives than for what it makes possible within our lives.

When I was younger this fear immobilized me. I did not want to make a mistake. I saw my friends get married for reasons of social acceptability, or sexual fever, or just because they thought it was the logical thing to do. Then I watched, as they and their partners became embittered and petty in their dealings with each other. I looked at older couples and saw, at best, mutual toleration of each other. I imagined a lifetime of loveless nights and bickering and could not imagine subjecting myself or someone else to such a fate.

And yet, on rare occasions, I would see old couples who somehow seemed to glow in each other's presence. They seemed really in love, not just dependent upon each other and tolerant of each other's foibles. It was an astounding sight, and it seemed impossible. How, I asked myself, can they have survived so many years of sameness, so much irritation at the other's habits? What keeps love alive in them, when most of us seem unable to even stay together, much less love each other? The central secret seems to be in choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both dearly want the relationship to succeed. It is important to find someone with whom you can create a good relationship from the outset. Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages.

Sexual hunger draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things by which relationships eventually survive or fail. You need to find a way to see beyond this initial overwhelming sexual fascination. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and ride out the most heated period of sexual attraction in order to see what is on the other side. This can work, but it can also leave a trail of wounded hearts. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. But they cannot see clearly, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what life would be like together. The truly lucky people are the ones who manage to become long-time friends before they realize they are attracted to each other. They get to know each other's laughs, passions, sadness, and fears. They see each other at their worst and at their best. They share time together before they get swept into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality.

This is the ideal, but not often possible. If you fall under the spell of your sexual attraction immediately, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility. One of these is laughter. Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each other's company over the long term. If your laughter together is good and healthy, and not at the expense of others, then you have a healthy relationship to the world. Laughter is the child of surprise. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise each other. And if you can always surprise each other, you can always keep the world around you new. Beware of a relationship in which there is no laughter. Even the most intimate relationships based only on seriousness have a tendency to turn sour. Over time, sharing a common serious viewpoint on the world tends to turn you against those who do not share the same viewpoint, and your relationship can become based on being critical together.

After laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they are sharing obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again. If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can't accept, you will inevitably come to grief. Look at the way she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each deal with the world around you, eventually the two of you will not respect each other.

Look also at how your partner confronts the mysteries of life. We live on the cusp of poetry and practicality, and the real life of the heart resides in the poetic. If one of you is deeply affected by the mystery of the unseen in life and relationships, while the other is drawn only to the literal and the practical, you must take care that the distance doesn't become an unbridgeable gap that leaves you each feeling isolated and misunderstood.

There are many other keys, but you must find them by ourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we will not deny. If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish those inviolable parts of you, or if you cannot nourish them in her, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you live in separate worlds where you share the business of life, but never touch each other where the heart lives and dreams. From there it is only a small leap to the cataloging of petty hurts and daily failures that leaves so many couples bitter and unsatisfied with their mates.

So choose carefully and well. If you do, you will have chosen a partner with whom you can grow, and then the real miracle of marriage can take place in your hearts. I pick my words carefully when I speak of a miracle. But I think it is not too strong a word. There is a miracle in marriage. It is called transformation. Transformation is one of the most common events of nature. The seed becomes the flower. The cocoon becomes the butterfly. Winter becomes spring and love becomes a child. We never question these, because we see them around us every day. To us they are not miracles, though if we did not know them they would be impossible to believe. Marriage is a transformation we choose to make. Our love is planted like a seed, and in time it begins to flower. We cannot know the flower that will blossom, but we can be sure that a bloom will come. If you have chosen carefully and wisely, the bloom will be good. If you have chosen poorly or for the wrong reason, the bloom will be flawed. We are quite willing to accept the reality of negative transformation in a marriage. It was negative transformation that always had me terrified of the bitter marriages that I feared when I was younger. It never occurred to me to question the dark miracle that transformed love into harshness and bitterness. Yet I was unable to accept the possibility that the first heat of love could be transformed into something positive that was actually deeper and more meaningful than the heat of fresh passion. All I could believe in was the power of this passion and the fear that when it cooled I would be left with something lesser and bitter. But there is positive transformation as well. Like negative transformation, it results from a slow accretion of little things. But instead of death by a thousand blows, it is growth by a thousand touches of love. Two histories intermingle. Two separate beings, two separate presence, two separate consciousnesses come together and share a view of life that passes before them. They remain separate, but they also become one. There is an expansion of awareness, not a closure and a constriction, as I had once feared. This is not to say that there is not tension and there are not traps. Tension and traps are part of every choice of life, from celibate to monogamous to having multiple lovers. Each choice contains within it the lingering doubt that the road not taken somehow more fruitful and exciting, and each becomes dulled to the richness that it alone contains. But only marriage allows life to deepen and expand and be leavened by the knowledge that two have chosen, against all odds, to become one. Those who live together without marriage can now the pleasure of shared company, but there is a specific gravity in the marriage commitment that deepens that experience into something richer and more complex.

So do not fear marriage, just as you should not rush into it for the wrong reasons. It is an act of faith and it contains within it the power of transformation.

If you believe in your heart that you have found someone with whom you are able to grow, if you
have sufficient faith that you can resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen, if you have the strength of heart to embrace the cycles and seasons that your love will experience, then you may be ready to seek the miracle that marriage offers. If not, then wait. The easy grace of a marriage well made is worth your patience. When the time comes, a thousand flowers will bloom...endlessly.

From Chaper 26 entitled "Partners and Marriage" of the book Letters to My Son, A Father's Wisdom on Manhood, Women,Life, and Love written by Kent Nerburn. It was published in New York by the New World Library in 1994.

A beautiful piece. Pls pass it on especially to the young people who restarting to get into relationships or are in a relationship. It would save them a lot of heartaches and bitterness down the road.

"Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means you've decided to see life beyond the imperfections. So, don't Say you're happy because everything is alright. Be happy because everything sucks but you're just fine..." anonymous

From a forwarded e-mail

Add to Technorati Favorites