Sunday, December 21, 2008

EVERY HUMAN BEING HAS AN IMPACT ON ANOTHER


That’s a line I heard from the movie ‘Patch Adams’ which I saw on DVD. I won’t be talking about the movie here although I must say that it was an inspiring and a feel-good viewing experience.

What impact do you have on another? Is it one lovely thing or something opposite it? Because Mom would push this thought on me as I struggled with my angst in high school -- that always there are two things to everything -- Like you can’t enjoy coffee without cream (well, that’s me), or a table without a chair, or drive a car without gas, or have honey without a bee, or live a happy life without some share of sorrow or pain, etc. Life comes in two’s – it may be complementing or otherwise but definitely something is there which tells you that ‘one’ is not really alone, that there’s more to just one.

When you go about your daily business thinking that you’re doing fine by yourself minding your own affairs, think again. Because even by the mere fact of your standing there on the corner waiting for your bus you impact another person who may be merely looking at you or simply passing you by at the least. You may be shaping his thoughts. Because you have your life experiences etched on your face and that is what the other is catching.

Oh some of us may use the milder term ‘impression’ as it looks far appropriate to them. But I would stick to the word ‘impact’ because it best expresses what happens when people collide with each other in this high social traffic called life. People crash, collide, contact with another being going from here to there. Lives intertwine directly or indirectly, visibly or not, or meet at some point or another or leave something behind. This could be very brief, fleeting, or even linger for some amount of time until it is asked to move on by some unknown force.

In that process something happens. Something from you transfers to the other and stays there or vice versa. It forms our thoughts, opens up our eyes, and nudges our hearts.

I was in this party last week, a reunion of old colleagues (a tight group of about 20) from the company I worked with for twenty years. As all reunions are there were plenty of smiles, guffaws, laughter, teasing, nostalgia, and memories for everyone’s picking. And of course – food! While everybody was feasting on a spread of mouth-watering delights I, seated close to the end of the long table, ‘feasted’ my eyes on the people there. My file of memories opened and names instantly popped out. Oh yes, each one had indeed made an impact on my life and had managed to form my thoughts on several things seen and observed in life. I was never the same person with every encounter and experience. Something was shed and something was gained.

Every human being has an impact on another. You can count on that because God did not mean us to live solitary lives. We were meant to collide, crash, touch, link, connect, interact, or impact each other’s lives. Because only with another or each other can we grow into the persons God meant us to be.

With this thought, I would like to say this to everyone here in Blogspot, visible and 'invisible'…

Thank you for coming into my life and helping make it better – making me a better human being to myself and to others. May our magnificent God pour out His blessings a hundredfold upon you and yours this Christmas and through the years ahead.

A MERRY AND BLESSED CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

GIVING TO YOURSELF WELL - ALLOWS YOU TO GIVE TO OTHERS BETTER


I was at dinner one night with my two best friends. The place was nice, food was good, and so was the conversation. Until halfway through dinner, Jenny suddenly spoke up with a sigh I feel so old and useless. That shook us by surprise. ‘Hey, what’s wrong now? “, May countered at the same time threw a quick glance at me. ‘Oh it’s this feeling I got yesterday. It feels like I’ve done nothing yet for me.’ Well, I won’t tell more about that night or about Jenny except that her words weighed heavily on my mind even long after that evening had past.

When I woke up early this morning I headed straight to my daughters’ bedroom to tidy up. I don’t know why they can’t learn to make up their beds before going to work. I’ve been trying to make them for years now. It’s all rush – rush – rush! Well, I saw this book lying on my daughter’s bed. It was A 2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Canfield and Hansen, authors. With nothing much to do I took it, sat on her bed and leisurely leafed through its pages … and froze on page 181. I remembered Jenny.

It read…

MILLIE’S MOTHER’S RED DRESS

It hung there in the closet
While she was dying, Mother’s red dress,
Like a gash in the row
Of dark, old clothes
She had worn away her life in.

They had called me home
And I knew when I saw her
She wasn’t going to last.

When I saw the dress, I said
“Why, Mother-- how beautiful!
I’ve never seen it on you.”

I sat by her bed
And she sighed a bigger breath
Than I thought she could hold.
“Now that I’ll soon be gone,
I can see some things.
Oh, I taught you good—but I taught you wrong.”

“What do you mean, Mother?”

Well—I always thought
That a good woman never takes her turn,
That she’s just for doing for somebody else.
Do here, do there, always keep
Everybody else’s wants tended and make sure
Yours are at the bottom of the heap.

Maybe someday you’ll get to them.
But of course you never do.

My life was like that—doing for your dad,
Doing for the boys, for your sisters, for you.”

“You did—everything a mother could.”

Oh, Millie, Millie, it was no good—
For you—for him. Don’t you see?
I did you the worst of wrongs.
I asked for nothing—for me!


“Your father in the other room,
All stirred up and staring at the walls—
When the doctor told him, he took
It bad—came to my bed and all but shook
The life right out of me. “You can’t die,
Do you hear? What’ll become of me?’
“What’ll become of me?’
It’ll be hard, all right, when I go.
He can’t even find the frying pan, you know.

“And you children—
I was a free ride for everybody, everywhere.
I was the first one up and the last one down
Seven days out of the week.
I always took the toast that got burned.
And the very smallest piece of pie.

I look to how some of your brothers
Treat their wives now
And it makes me sick, ’cause it was me
That taught it to them. And they learned.
They learned that a woman doesn’t
Even exist except to give.

Why, every single penny that I could save
Went for our clothes, or your books,
Even when it wasn’t necessary.
Can’t even remember once when I took
Myself downtown to buy something beautiful—
For me.

“Except last year when I got that red dress.
I found I had twenty dollars
That wasn’t especially spoke for.
I was on my way to pay it extra on the washer.
But somehow—I came home with this big box.
Your father really gave it to me then.
‘Where you going to wear a thing like that to—
Some opera or something?’
And he was right, I guess.
I’ve never, except in the store,
Put on that dress.

“Oh Millie—I always thought if you take
Nothing for yourself in this world
You’d have it all in the next somehow
I don’t believe that anymore.
I think the Lord wants us to have something—
Here—and now
.


“And I’m telling you, Millie, if some miracle
Could get me off this bed, you could look
For a different mother, ‘cause I would be one.
Oh I passed up my turn so long
I would hardly know how to take it.
But I’d learn, Millie.
I would learn!”


It hung there in the closet
While she was dying, Mother’s red dress,
Like a gash in the row
Of dark, old clothes
She had worn away her life in.

Her last words to me were these:
“Do me the honor, Millie,
Of not following in my footsteps.
Promise me that.”

I promised.
She caught her breath
Then Mother took her turn
In death.

By Carol Lynn Pearson


It’s quite a long piece, isn’t it? But it can’t be written in any other way. This in the way Pearson wrote it is pure gold. Tomorrow I’m going to give Jenny a copy. And I am going to tell her that she would be doing her family a big favor and would love them best if first she learned to do something – for me… and to do it here—and now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

YOU CAN ALWAYS, ALWAYS GIVE SOMETHING --EVEN IF IT IS ONLY KINDNESS


If we wait for the perfect moment, the right timing, the worthy persons, or the highest peak of sympathy and compassion we will never get to do anything worthwhile. Big money is available only to a few lucky ones so we all know; popularity or influence sometimes is inherited through family prominence, so not everybody is afforded the opportunity or chance to do something special for a greater number of people on a grand or grander scale. Ordinary people and ordinary lives is what the world is mainly made of. But we all have the same hearts longing to make a contribution changing the world. So we try.. and thus some of us who can afford to try to make things happen by making out huge donations to a favorite charity, sponsor a gala event to highlight a good cause, finance a research project in a specific field such as medicine, education, environment, outer space, science, etc. Fantastic, isn’t it? Wish we could all be that and do all that but it isn’t quite so.

Instead we are this --- the husband and father rushing to work early in the morning, the wife and mother doing the endless chores around the home, and the children doing what children do. Then there’s the mailman delivering the mail, the power guy fixing power lines, the street sweeper, the plumber, the taxi driver, the salesgirl, and lots of others more. Look to our small neighborhoods and watch how life unfolds each day and you will see yourself mirrored in it.

We can give from what we are, who we are, and from what we have where we are. There’s our laughter, our joys, our apple pies, a cup of sugar for the person next door, a helping hand when sought for, or maybe just a friendly smile and some kindness for someone who appears lost. Those don’t cost much…even easier to give. And believe it or not we have them in abundant supply from within ourselves. I remember what mom used to say to me and my kid brother … ‘Anything of and from the heart is far more precious than a checkbook.’ Yup, it’s all right here in the heart. So give!

"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway... And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!" -- Anne Frank

Monday, December 1, 2008

The BLOG PRAYER BRIGADE of DesertFishing

(This too is my prayer for the country and for the rest of the world. May many heed your call, DesertFishing. God bless you.)



THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, in heaven,
Holy be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.

Give us today
our daily bread;
and forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Do not bring us to the test,
but deliver us from evil.

Amen.

Friday, November 21, 2008

HAVE THE DRIVE - BUT DRIVEN DON'T BE



Having the drive and being driven are two things different. The first one is good, we all know that; it takes you to your dreams; it provides you with the much needed push to plod on persistently towards ambition and dreams. The latter, on the other hand, can make you --- self-destruct. You don’t believe that? I don’t blame you. You must have seen people so driven in their desire to make good and got it. But, you know what, that’s not the whole story. Behind that you will find heartbreaking stories that will rend your heart --- broken families and relationships due to neglect, deprivation, false hopes, unmet expectations, with dear ones and fond ideals ignored – all cast aside as last on one’s priority list. Just because something else comes to you which you think needs you most does not give you the right to do that to the people you love. Because the people around you are part of you; you cannot leave them behind or shelve them, albeit temporarily, just because you are on something important. What’s more important than the people you love – they who mean the world to you – they who help shape who you are – they who stand steadfast and devoted to you regardless? So why not take them with you – involve them in your quest, share with them your joys and sorrows and hardships – keep them close because only they can love you best when you become possibly quite ‘unlovable’ (oh yes, that will happen) through that long arduous grueling demanding journey.

Have the drive, that’s wonderful. It can take you to great and greater heights. Don’t be too driven though because that can be your own downfall - it won’t let you think of anything else. Remember that life isn’t all about things; it’s mostly and primarily about people – especially the ones after your heart.

Monday, November 10, 2008

SOMETHING OLD IS SOMETHING NEW TOO


A small group of college kids sat at a table not far from mine. They were visibly glued to the screen of their friend’s laptop and seeing the expressions on their faces I could gather that something engaged their full attention. Now that pricked my curiosity - A weakness I must admit to having because it always becomes a good resource for writing. Luckily they were close enough for me to snatch bits of their conversation. Is that being nosey? Yes because it should be none of my business… and no because they were talking in loud voices anyway. It bothered the other folks around their table I could see. Oh well, but I was intent to gathering the ‘gems’. So then let’s continue. :-)

This exchange overheard got me particularly interested.

College boy 1: Hey this is terrific, makes sense. He’s got it all figured out that it looks so easy.

College boy 2: It’s a good one, yeah. But some big guy has said that before in a book. It’s not new.

Apparently they were viewing a blog (I caught a glimpse of the screen when the laptop was moved to a particular angle for their better viewing) and seemed impressed by it. But one guy’s remark though dropped the bomb.

“It’s not new.”

Oh but what is or isn’t new? When a person says something and the idea doesn’t seem fresh or original to us, must we straight away or hastily label it as ‘not new’? C’mon, don’t be too quick on that one because even if it were not new, literally, there is still something in there which we should give credit for.

When we see something which we like or appreciate so much and decide to embrace it, that thing becomes ours. This old idea or something takes on a new life with us - Because it will then gain or put on the thoughts, expression, passion, emotions, experience, or insights we would then be honestly pouring into it and as we use it in our daily association with others. Thus it will grow expand and become like new again in our hands. This is what we should try to see. Frankly, whatever we hear or read now has been spoken or written long before in our history. Our thoughts now were somebody else’s thoughts thousands of years ago but retold in so many different ways many times over and will go on and on unto generations coming one after the other. It will have many lives for as long as civilization exists.

I marvel at the many articles and books written on one same subject by different writers and authors but each brilliant as the other in both sameness and diversity. Amazing, isn’t it? You see, it’s not the story but the storyteller… not the song but the singer… not the writing but the writer … it’s the person behind the telling who lends anything its freshness every time. It’s always worth listening to. So then something old is something new too. Pay attention to who’s telling it.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

YOU HOLD OPPORTUNITY IN YOUR OWN HANDS


I just can’t seem to crack this hard nut who happens to be my nephew. You see he has this idea that his golden opportunity is out there in a faraway rich country. So he wants to leave his job and fly out to his perceived land of milk and honey. I told him that it’s not always true, now he looks at me like I was a two-headed monster from outer space – especially when I said that this much sought after opportunity is already there in him, that he doesn’t have to go far to find it. He still doesn’t get it, he thinks I’m weird. So then where’d he get that idea? --No, not of me being weird lols (but I think I am sometimes lols)… but of seeking elsewhere for that good stuff desired by many. So what’s wrong here? Did school do that to him - or did his parents - or media? Who told him that this opportunity can only be found in a strange foreign land just because your friend has gone there before you, in an unfamiliar job that sucks even if it pays well, in high ranking positions and titles which has ‘corrupt’ attached to its name, or in the connections or ‘padrinos’ we are told we must have? Oh those may have their uses as some of us know but look again please and see that these external things are not the opportunities per se but simply the tools with which opportunity operates to accomplish goals, ambitions, or dreams. One word of caution though – choose wisely your tools okay?

Yes, I’ll say it again it’s already there in you and just waiting to be raised to the fore of your life and be set to work in creating your miracles for you. The opportunity within you is that tough strength you possess in coping with life’s trials and tribulations… the diligence and perseverance you arm yourself with in staying on track despite insurmountable obstacles… the intelligence of discovering creating or paving new ways or roads towards your dreams… the patience and wisdom of knowing that life is indeed tough but that you are tougher. Whatever you possess within you and that which pushes you towards excellence and achievement is that thing called opportunity. It’s right there in you alone. So then why not harness that and get it working for you now instead of pining away for a far-off land which you can’t even be sure would give you your dreams. You alone have the power to make your dreams come true wherever you are whatever you do --- it’s not found outside of you but within. And in case you forget or have forgotten, God put it there!

"The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone." - Orison Swett Marden

Monday, November 3, 2008

LESSON FROM A DINOSAUR



"The dinosaur's eloquent lesson is that if some bigness is good, an overabundance of bigness is not necessarily better." -- Eric Johnston

Let me interpret that on the context of an overblown-up ego. -Those whom the gods wish to destroy - they first make proud. I’m sure you have come across that famous line before. Ego and pride indeed has no merit in itself except turn a person into a stupid fool. Here’s this guy with a smug look on his face buoyed up by a successful sales pitch which his staff toiled over the night before. (Give credit where it’s due, man!) Or this young woman who clawed her way up the ladder and now sits in her own office on the seventh floor. (So how many heads did you step on --on the way up, kiddo?!)

You know, if a person is good then everybody will see that – the same thing when he is bad -- It’s easy. Praise or accolade must be deserved; you can’t steal or buy that. Let your deeds speak for you (not your power or position) or better yet let others do it for you. Besides you’ll get what you truly deserve good or bad, it’ll catch up with you sooner or later. So be careful cos that’s how the universe operates. 'Whatsoever you shall sow, so shall you reap!'

There’s just this one thing that you should understand, that we all should understand – that God made you (us) … so then you (we) must be special! Now with that said, let’s go back to the business of being special for others. If there’s anything which will make you feel good about yourself, it’s being a blessing to others. You’ll be surprised how the good vibes get back to you a thousand fold. Be blessed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

WILL BE AWAY FOR A BIT, BACK SOON


Lest you think I've left blogging for good which is quite unlikely lols :-) ... the blog will be quiet for awhile cos I will be off for a few days or a couple of weeks to go into surgery. But do go ahead and leave your messages in the blog and I will get back to it when I return. Take care, everyone. Blessings to you all!


Sunday, September 28, 2008

STICK-TO-ITIVENESS

Stick-to-itiveness’ – that’s a word Mom would freely use when reminding me of my goals. She’d say ‘be like glue and be sticky!’ She was kidding of course but she made sense I soon found out on my own when she passed away several years later.

It’s something like this. It’s determinedly focusing on something which you strongly believe in no matter what other people may say to the contrary. It’s working harder than the rest because you know well deep inside that it’s all going to be worth your blood, sweat, and tears someday. It’s pushing the button even harder when friends say you should give it up. It’s trusting in yourself and in what you are capable of even if they say that you can’t or never can. It’s strongly believing in possibilities and potential and that this could happen to you -- Because, to quote Mom, ‘whatever you give fully from your heart and soul the universe in its wisdom will give back to you in full measure too’.

Goals and dreams are not easy to pursue… whatever they are or whatever size they may be, big ones -- small ones. You’d be up against all known resistance or conflict and impediment that all seem to conspire to get you off the track or make things so hard for you that you’d begin thinking of shifting gears and taking another road – an easier one. I often wondered just where these difficulties real or imagined come from. They usually crop up when least expected or least needed. But then again Mom would say ‘they’re there to see if you got the stuff to follow your dream’. Oh they do huh?! Well, I told Mom with the best bravado I could muster ‘this is one person who won’t buckle down with the slightest difficulty’. Mom would simply smile to that (and that made me feel quite uneasy). Why do mothers always see through their children?! And so to make a long story short -- I persevered doggedly, determinedly, persistently, resolutely, tenaciously, and whatever-else-you-may-call-it but which should mean ‘stick-to-itiveness’ in Mom’s dictionary. But I did get there (…to some of my goals; am working still on the rest) and I’ve loved that word ever since…using it like I use my toothbrush everyday. Next to God, Mothers know best.

Consider the postage stamp, my son. It secures success through its ability to stick to one thing till it gets there." -- Josh Billings



(That's Maxie in the picture there, the youngest of our three dogs. She sure can teach you what 'determination' means. lols :-) Yeah, she succeeded to win a piece of Skittles from us.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

LIFE ISN'T ONLY ABOUT WORK


There was a time long ago in my teens that I would think ‘doing nothing’ was a crime. So I was careful that nobody would see me idle or resting. Made it a point that I would be seen as ‘doing something’ ‘working on something’ ‘performing’ ‘taking action’ – even when it was not necessary at all. Weird, wasn’t it? Well, life was a struggle and I was made to do my part to keep the wheels turning. Mom worked, Dad too, brother did the same—they all worked their butts out for the family. It got so hammered into me that pretty long the idea of rest became an abomination to my young mind. I was no longer comfortable being at rest. I saw the world and life as w-o-r-k!

So it was then and still was when I joined the corporate world… even if the reasons I slaved myself for were no longer there. Oh I still toiled my bones out on some days like I used to – well, habits are hard to shake off. But by some stroke of providence (that would be quite another long story) I began to change. This led me to a better appreciation of work and life, activity and rest, of what I can or can’t do and of what I should do given the right chance or opportunity.

I began to enjoy the day, time, moments, events, people, and the world at large. To my new eyes and mind the sky seemed bluer, the trees greener, the clouds like billows of cotton, the river waters rolling down merrily. I began to notice everything there was to see – hear – touch – experience – because I took the time to rest from my labors. So if I would be asked again… Doing nothing sitting under the shade of a tree or dipping my feet in the waters by the shore or looking up at the star strewn evening skies – is time well spent indeed, believe me. I realized finally that life isn’t all about work and work is not life and that a good balance between work and rest gives us a better handle on life and on ourselves. And so much more – I learned to see God better and His work in my life clearly… and learned well to appreciate it with my whole heart. In turn He taught me how to appreciate me.

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." -- J. Lubbock

Saturday, September 20, 2008

TAKE CHANCES, MAKE MISTAKES, GROW

Why is it that whenever the words chances or mistakes are spoken of most people would cringe hearing it? Now give some reason why that is so. No? You can’t? Okay then, I’ll tell you why – it’s because we’ve been made to believe that ‘sticking your head out isn’t good for your sanity’. Haven’t heard that before? I wonder why because that’s what we’ve been doing all along - all of this time - all of our life. Have you noticed that anything which might or tend to crumple our perceived notions of tranquility or.. those which we think would work to extricate us from our comfort zones we vehemently disallow to encroach on our personal space and time. Yes, we don't. It’s avoided with extreme fear and anathema albeit not understanding the reasons at all or not wanting to. ‘Play it safe’ ‘don’t rock the boat’ ‘Make mistakes and you’re a goner’ ‘Err and you’ll suffer’ are but a few odd things we tell ourselves or we hear from people who say they ‘know’. But do they really?

What I know is this – the only genuine way to true learning is by making or experiencing mistakes and sticking our heads out letting something hit it hard so that we can come to our senses at last. Oh I don’t mean that literally of course, don’t get hurt that way, but of course you know what I mean, right? The best lessons are learned from the strife or struggle wherein we get our hands really dirty and our brains spilled out all over the place and our hearts ricocheting here there and everywhere. Only through heartaches and pain from battles fought tenaciously do we get that which we should be learning from life and own it and finally use it.

"Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being Brave." -- Mary Tyler Moore

Friday, September 19, 2008

PASS QUICKLY THROUGH YOUR TROUBLES


Problems, trials, difficulties, struggles, misfortunes, thorns or whatever else it is called but life surely has a good stack of them to keep us at our wit’s end. Whether they are gigantic or minute these problems can prick us where it can hurt us most -- And how we hurt! The thing is we can’t seem to get us out of there and I wonder why. Is it because being so overwhelmed by it we get dumbstruck and stuck to our shoes where we are? Or… because in our muddled up brains we can’t see anything beyond it? Or…that something got lost inside us and we don’t know how to get it back? Or…might it be that we have hang on doggedly to an idea that someone or something will come soon and pluck us out of our misery? To the latter I’ll say maybe and maybe not.

You do know that ‘life is what you make of it’, as a saying goes. So whether to welter in misery or get on the first plane out of there pronto, so to speak, is all up to you. The longer you stay in a situation where it can hurt you the harder it will hurt you – the harder it will harm you. And soon you will find yourself begin to lose the power to change. You certainly don’t want that, do you? -Because change and only change is your relief and deliverance from your perceived misery.

"Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us." -- Voltaire


Sunday, September 14, 2008

DON’T STAND ON A SMALL HILL, GO UP THE MOUNTAIN FOR A BETTER VIEW

‘Do nothing-do something’ or ‘to act-not to act’ --- these are the two things which life will always unfold or present to us - A dilemma which we are made to wrestle with in our lifelong journey. A number of people would say that some concerns do not require earth shaking solutions, sometimes if you leave it alone it just goes away. Oh I don’t know about that, what I see is that when a problem is left alone it tends to fester, seethe, churn, simmer, then evolve or explode into something much bigger that may go out of hand. No matter what the proponents of the do-nothing-resolve would say… that isn’t always the case. It’s rather more of a person’s preference or adherence to his own comfort zones which hold him to take that stand. Still that will not excuse a person from taking a course of action to solve an issue or concern. Problems require solutions, everybody knows that.

Choose to do something, act on the issue – this is far more rewarding and enriching, sometimes life-saving. It does not matter if you can only do so much, nonetheless do it just the same. But if you decide to do nothing because you think there isn’t much you can do, junk that thought right now because it is much better to take those small steps forward ---if that’s gong to take you closer to your goal each time. Try to see it from another perspective, not always yours, and see the problem for what it may or truly could be. There must be something in there you might have missed or didn’t notice. Try to see it with attentive detachment or objectivity. If you are viewing it from a small hill, then go up a mountain to get a better view.

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." -- Edmund Burke

Friday, August 29, 2008

DON'T WAIT TILL EVERYTHING IS JUST RIGHT


We always expect perfection, in ourselves, in others, in things. Anything which is not right or falling short of our expectations ruffles our peace and composure. Gee, that is a short-sighted way of looking at things or at life in general, don’t you think? “It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions” (Mark Victor Hansen) He is definitely right about that. Nothing is ever perfect, something will be lacking or will never be enough or be made differently from what we had hoped for. So are we going to just sit there and moan the situation or circumstance? Bang our heads against the wall or bang the other guy’s head on the wall for not doing it right? Hansen has an answer to that too… “Don’t wait until everything is just right. Get started now.” He’s referring to you – he says it’s time to get kicking ass – yours! He further added…”With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” Imperfections push you to become better! I’ve read this line somewhere though I don’t remember now --- ‘Excellence not perfection is what we’re all aiming for- isn’t it?’



LIFE WON'T ALWAYS GIVE US WHAT WE WANT - BUT BE READY FOR SURPRISES


“So why am I here – in this place in this time? Never planned it nor dreamed about it but I’m here. What am I supposed to be doing here; there is nothing I can see that would tap into my reserves or stack of knowledge talent or skills. I’ve trained for something else – this isn’t what I had hoped for but this is what I get.” --lines from a friend's diary... or somebody's too at some point or another.

Is that frustrating, disappointing, exasperating, maddening, annoying? It sure is. I know; those were my lines before too. But I’ve learned, oh yes I’ve learned. To quote Morgan Freeman ‘…..once you get wherever it is you are going, that is where you were going to be….’ Life is unpredictable, it’s full of surprises – ‘you never know what’s going to happen’ (Freeman said that too). Sometimes you don’t get what you want or hope for. But life moves you to a course where it wants you to journey, I think by Someone’s supreme design. Odd thing is, it pushes you to do the next best thing – give it your best shot whether for the challenge it poses or simply to survive. And what do you get for it? – a smarter and wiser you! Perhaps it was best that it happened this way, if you think about it -- Because would you have ended up this smarter or wiser or successful if you had things going your way? We don’t know that, do we? Ah life!



CHANGING HOW YOU THINK - CHANGES THINGS



"You are the embodiment of the information you choose to accept and act upon. To change your circumstances you need to change your thinking and subsequent actions." -- Adlin Sinclair

When I get some bit of bad news, I immediately feel bad about it and behave like I was hit by a huge brick on the head. It eats me up and I begin to act the way I feel. But that isn’t always the smart or wise thing to do. It could be lots better of course, at least in my reaction towards it so that its negativity won’t have to affect or influence me or my day or my life to an extent. So have I learned? Yes, I have; to change the effect of bad news, I need to change my attitude towards it or my way of thinking. It’s somebody else’s bad news. All that I can give to it is sympathy understanding compassion and prayer. I could too do my bit to help alleviate the other person’s pain but there’s only so much that I can do or anyone can do, for that matter. Realizing that then releases me from having to wrestle with odd or unnecessary emotions which shouldn’t be there anyway. Because, truth is, the other person has to deal with the bad news himself his way. He alone will have to extract the lessons that he should be learning – that’s the reason why it’s there – solely for his learning. God meant it that way, you know. This business of living it’s all for the purpose of making ourselves grow – become better. There’s no sidetracking that Divine plan.


Friday, August 15, 2008

IMPLAUSIBLE DOES NOT MEAN THAT IT WON'T WORK



We are used to looking at the bad side of things that whatever does not meet our expectations are quickly thrown into the ‘will not work’ bin. And definitely we’ve accumulated piles and piles of those ‘will not work’ reasons and have changed bins several times through the years. I don’t know where we got that myopic view of looking at life and living but it sure does not do anything for us at all - Albeit lots of amazingly good opportunities are lost in that manner.

The thing is that something which we may have categorized ‘not plausible’ will just might have one teeny-weeny cause in there which might work to its favor and perhaps turn things around if given the chance -- Unless of course we’ve exhausted our search inside out and satisfyingly proved to ourselves that the case is downright hopeless -- Then and only then should that be bulldozed out of our life. But yes, that would be the exception rather than the rule.

Do you know what keeps scientists, inventors, businessmen et al do their respective tasks a thousand times over – doggedly going back to the drawing boards when stumped with an obstacle, flaw, or hurdle? They keep searching for that one good reason that will tell them that it will work! The things which we are enjoying now from that unflagging effort definitely tell us that they found it. Who’s telling us now that we can’t do the same??

"Forget about all the reasons why something may not work.
You only need to find one good reason why it will."
- Dr. Robert Anthony

(That picture there is Malen on her way to a big adventure towards her dream. God bless, Honey!)


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I HAVE LEARNED THAT.... Part 8

Looking back through the years much had happened in my life which certainly could be called as the ‘School of Hard Knocks’. Have you even seen a cartoon in which the leading character just unwittingly got him into a bunch of adventure and misadventure? That wherever he would turn he’d either come up against a thick wall or a steep mountain or perilous sea or some weird unexpected disaster? – Quite insurmountable in every way. That would be me.

But it wasn’t really that terrifying nor was it hopeless because every tale had a quite lovely ending. Credit goes to Someone up there.

What I’m driving at is in those times in-between or when the world seems to suddenly stop turning and you find yourself alone, lonely, isolated from the rest of humankind or so it seems... And something kicks so badly in your gut - That’s when you wish so hard that someone would stop awhile and hold your hand and tell you that everything will be alright - Even if you very well know that it’s farther from the truth. But no matter because all that you ever need and want in that moment is just to have someone to hold your hand and understand.

But of course we don’t say it out loud, do we? We would rather hope and wish in the silence of our hearts that someone would read our minds and see what we see or look deep into our hearts and feel what we feel. How we wish that they won’t be afraid to be there when needed or share that one precious moment of vulnerability of the soul. Is that too much to ask for?

I have learned that sometimes all that a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.



(P.S. The picture there is courtesy of Malen's cam-phone.)
Smiley


I HAVE LEARNED THAT.... Part 7

Two very real things happen in life – those things which we can influence or dictate upon --- and those things which we have no direct control over, truly just totally beyond our control.

When you tell yourself that you’ve lost one good opportunity because you failed to do quite enough, that’s only being too hard on yourself. If one thing doesn’t work, there will be lots more, definitely. Your opportunity or chance does not disappear when one excellent prospect flies out the window. Opportunities are still there, it’s only the choices which have been reduced. And it’s no fault of yours either. Remember that it takes two to tango – you and the company you’ve targeted. So you may think that you have what it takes for the job you seek, but think again, that company has its own criteria (they always do) on the people they’d like or want working for them. You may be a multi-faceted and very talented applicant but unfortunately you are not what they need. So say goodbye and walk out the door smiling and move on to the next one on your list. By the way, truth is that opportunity isn’t lost at all because some other guy or girl will be sure to take it. Think good thoughts and wish that person well.

And so I’ve learned that opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.


I HAVE LEARNED THAT.... Part 6


Yup, I have learned that anyone who stops learning is -- old.

I just don’t get it whenever I hear people say --- ‘enough of learning’ ‘had my fill when I was in school’ ‘am too old for that’ ‘got better things to do’ ‘what Again?!’ Why? What is wrong in searching for learning and even more learning? Do they think that school is all the learning that one should do in life? That once one is done with that one can move on to other things? Oh my goodness, with a big wide world such as ours and with life containing a huge stock pile of experiences, knowledge, facts, adventure, mystery, wonder, diversity, and even more--- wouldn’t it be exciting to get to know all that? Yet my mother would say with a funny smile on her face ‘honey, we would need several lifetimes to hold everything there is to know and learn… and we only got one.’ But with a twinkle in her eye she’d tell me ‘who’s stopping you from trying?’

I got my cue from that, so I say don’t stop learning or wanting to. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s a waste of time. Truth is they are wasting their precious time sitting on their butts unwilling to let go of their comfort zones. So what I’m saying is get on with it --- Gather new information into your learning barn; pile up new recipes-new ideas-new discoveries-new adventures… Learn how to do things you’ve never tried before. Read on new subjects which you never laid your hands on before. Pursue new passions. Learn to ride a bike or a car if you’ve never done so ever. Just don’t stop learning. And please – no excuses. Life is too short to make any. I’m sure that you’ve heard that line before. Well, hear it and write it in your heart.

Okay, have to go now. Am trying out how to put in videos unto my blog.

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."
-- Henry Ford

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I HAVE LEARNED THAT.... Part 5

I have learned that the search for success or value are two different roads.

What is a person of success? Is he one with dozens of plaques of recognition lined up on his shelf, numerous titles to his name, a huge fortune in the bank, or a string of achievements making the headlines in the papers every month? Does he drive a Rolls Royce and own dozens more, has several homes in other countries, is surrounded by a bevy of beauties everywhere he goes, and a wife who heads every charitable institution in town decked out in her diamonds and haute couture clothes?

What is a person of value? This I know. He respects the individual and acknowledges the right of every living thing to co-exist, believes in the basic goodness of man regardless of how he may have made an asshole of himself, believes in hope – progress – change – honor - justice - faith - innate abilities and potential, pursues right, defends truth, wishes good for all people and the world and puts in his two-cents worth to make it happen, has the ability to see through deceit–pretense–sadness–fear–hopelessness–greed… and understands that everything has its reason for being but that we have a choice to seek out the good and reject anything that would and could work to harm it.

A tall order you say? --Maybe and because some say that it would run contrary to a man’s human nature of self-preservation and self-pampering. Yes it would, it will but I will stake my bottom dollar on this idea that value far outweighs success. Because I think success will and can’t always buy you value where it counts, but value can ultimately and definitely lead you to success --- the kind which truly matters in life!

"Try not to become a person of success, but rather to become a person of value." - Albert Einstein


Thursday, July 24, 2008

I HAVE LEARNED THAT.... Part 4


I have learned that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

Okay so that person has hurt you or robbed you of what you think is rightfully yours. If I told you that that does not count, it does not count for a reason to strike back at the other person – that wanting to get even may hurt him yes and which will make you in turn very happy bout it too yes again. But truth of the matter is – you’re the one who’ll be hurting most by it. Why? --Because you are making yourself quite open or vulnerable for a counter-strike again and again. You are giving him permission to hurt you repeatedly because apparently he won’t just sit there taking your punches too but will punch you right back in – cause he is the type who would. And you know what, in always thinking about your rage it would only serve to enrage you some more. That’s even hurting you more than you ever know. Your own rage will destroy you. So you see the other guy is winning over you without even trying hard enough.

But think about this --- can he be so sure that what he has stolen from you is the thing for him that it would work well for him too? You see, wanting something just because it looks good on the other person does not guarantee that the same thing would look good or will work well for you too. Nope, that’s not how it works. One man’s medicine may be poison for another.

So what to do? Well, leave! Your leaving will douse cold water over his fiery temper and greed. How can he be continually angry too when there’s nobody around to be angry with or at? There’s nobody or nothing that would add coal to the fire in the furnace…his furnace.

And what have you lost? If you seriously think about it, not much really because you can always get it back into your life again just the way you are. That's how you have succeeded in the first place.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Now it can be told


http://xtineslife.blogs.friendster.com/lifes_lemonade/2008/02/we_will_miss_yo.html


I didn't want to have this in my blog because of the pain it caused. But I think it is time to face up to that pain again -- maybe this time it won't hurt so much anymore. So here is the story as told by my second daughter Christine in her Friendster blog. I couldn't have done it any better. Their father passed away last December 9, 2007 after a bout of severe complications caused by his diabetes. The picture above was him -- in his last visit to his parents grave last year in November. He was buried beside them, December 14 same year.


Many dreams have been dashed to the ground, many hopes disintegrated in the air ---- leaving behind an empty space.. a void.. which no one nor nothing can ever fill. If there is one thing which my family and I have learned --- it is this:

THAT GOD is truly a Magnificent God. When He says that I shall not leave you, you bet your bottom dollar that He won't. When He says that I will move mountains and seas for you, trust that He will. When He says that it will be according to your faith when you believe, He proves it true. When He says that 'I shall carry your burdens', He does!

So don't be too hard on yourself - don't make things so much harder for yourself than they truly are. Help - love - life - joy - provision - miracles .... are simply just a prayer away -- even a small whispered prayer. God is listening 24/7 -- no jammed lines, no messed up connections, no missed calls. No false hopes or promises either. He is trustworthy dependable and reliable.

Just believe.


Monday, July 7, 2008

STOP BEING A GLASS -- BE A LAKE


Yes, that’s us -- we are glasses indeed – of different shapes, sizes, thickness, and colors. Interesting in its diversity but a glass is small and can hold only little water. So are we. We have such very small opinion of ourselves seeing ourselves as insignificant people undeserving and unworthy of good things. We hold so little of life in our hands because we do not give ourselves the chance to hold more of what life can offer us. We buckle down with the slightest problem when we could rise above it and cut its power to defeat us. We hold only a trickle of blessings in our lives when we could have so much more. We cannot give to others much – how can we from such a meager supply? We do not believe in a big God because our small minds cannot. We do not get what we hope and pray for because our small faith cannot handle that either.

Be a glass no more.

Rather be a lake --- A vibrant bubbling lake within which all of life runs through. It never gets ruffled by both the big and minute life forces which heap on it all of its burdens of living and dying. It doesn’t mind the stones and pebbles thrown on it because it simply lets it sink down to the bottom lost and forgotten. It savors the raindrops falling or the sun’s rays beating down on its crystal clear fluid face. It reflects all of beauty around it --- receiving and giving back freely. It gives and gives never running out never tiring of giving because it holds even so much more. It delights in being big – wide – immense – large – open - vast. It is there to give life, to teach life, to share life -- there for all the seasons of life unchanging, happy in receiving blessings God pours upon it, and literally opens its heart to anyone who seeks its genuine treasures.

And so must we be --- a lake. Not a glass. Life has so much in store for us if only we believe. God is simply waiting to bless us if only we let Him.



Sunday, June 29, 2008

I HAVE LEARNED THAT..... (PART 3)

I have learned that I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way. --a friend

When talking with people online I have learned to keep my heart open to signals for help. Well, I have found out that the hurt, pain, issue, concern or whatever else it’s called which a person goes through in life manages to slip out in the chat or conversation. Even his silence can be telling.

Yet I also know my limitations. No matter how much I want to help sometimes I can’t because I don’t have the ready answers to it in my hands. I’m not superwoman or a fairy godmother or some deity who has the solution easily turning woes to joys – and no human being is. Not right to pretend at it either – not good to give out false hopes. And maybe I’d be tempted to simply disappear from the chat and blame it on the ‘failed’ internet connection the next time we meet. Often though I find that neither is my strength sufficient for such a deep need. I may be just like the other person frail and weak; I know I am.

But then I can’t let the moment pass without trying to help ease someone’s burden when the moment calls for it. It’s something Mom was very good at with friends and strangers alike in her time. She never turned her back on a hurting heart. Maybe I am unable to give concrete solutions but I stay and listen. It tugs right at my heartstrings I guess just like Mom.

Yet my human limitations are not a drawback in helping people I now understand. There is something that I can do that transcends everything else. I can --- PRAY.

I can pray and pray I will. I don’t need a church to do that nor a prayer book nor some grand manifestation or external trappings of ‘feigned holiness’ which admittedly is often seen around us unfortunately. Just like this lady I saw in a passenger jeep with closed eyes and fingers on her rosary supposedly ‘praying’. Ten minutes later, her fingers were still on the same bead unmoving! -- Quite amusing indeed. Several days after in another jeep I saw this old woman with her rosary -- finishing ten Hail Mary beads before she got off for her stop. That was something. Just an observation. Not saying that one is better than the other -- I can't read minds nor intent. We each have our ways in pursuing piety or religion. That is not the issue here.

You and I can pray for anyone where we are at with what we have in the silence of our souls – with nobody knowing at all. It’s called the ‘heart prayer’. It’s accurate, foolproof, speedy, and effective because it travels from heart to heart --- from your heart to God’s heart. Straight, direct, no jammed lines or messed up signals. And you’re sure to catch His attention because you know what --- He always keeps tuned-in to --- hearts.

So then when you find yourself saying to someone ‘I’ll pray for you’ --- do it please. You’ll be doing the very best you can do for that person.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I HAVE LEARNED THAT..... (PART 2)

"I have learned that being kind is more important than being right."

Why do people have this fierce quest to be right all of the time? Why do people think that being right ups their personal value more than anything else? Well, maybe yes, or maybe no.

‘Does it matter? He is wrong and we are right.’ That’s what we would always say. Aww c'mon, is that what it is?! But life isn’t all about being right all of the time. Right doesn’t always make us the good guys. If we pursue and defend right in a manner that appears heartless, mean, ruthless, or demeaning then whatever our good intent that sense of being right would be lost in the pieces of a shattered heart --- a broken spirit.

We go to extra lengths to defend being right or prove a point which we think is the correct one. But did we ever stop to think just how this hard badgering and hammering is affecting the other person? That the words we speak although of good intent may not be the right things to say to him? That we have become blind in our hearts and fail to see that the other person is hurting?

How about trying on his shoes for a change and see how that feels? Maybe then you will wish so hard that the world or people were a little bit kinder? That it’s not so much being right but being kind which truly matters? That people can be wrong, true, but are we always kind?

Being right is okay in its proper time intent and place, but being kind is more important --- because it’s in being human and humane that we truly make the grade.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I HAVE LEARNED THAT.....



“I’ve learned that I can’t choose how I feel, but I can choose what I do about it.”

I like that line. Why? Because I’ve heard it often people say that they can’t help feel a certain way (predominantly downbeat) – that they can’t do anything about it. Don’t you think that’s simply an admission of weakness and defeat -- Two things which we should never allow to set in our life?

I agree that it requires a mind of steel to veer away from feelings which grip you like a vise but if those feelings can’t provide you with a general state of calm or peace, then wouldn’t it be just right to do something about it? Why choose to remain at a place where ugly emotions such as anger, jealousy, fear, vengeance, envy, etc. gnaw at your sense of well-being? Why not try to shift gear and take it to an upbeat situation or course thereby serving a better purpose? You can’t let those ugly emotions ride or control you, especially when you know that it is hurting another person or better yet hurting you. I’ve learned that much.

You can certainly choose what to do about it. It’s been said that mainly there are two approaches to a problem – one is to solve the problem, the other is to change your attitude towards the problem. With feelings you either stay with it or decide what to do about it.


“I’ve learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

Oh how I know that! I’ve climbed lots of mountains and trekked rugged roads in this life journey. Each not bigger or larger than the other because all were HUGE! Climbing or walking them gave me bruised hands and calloused feet. I got scars from it – emotional scars.

Life’s problems don’t leave us unscathed by it all. It leaves its mark on us, no doubt about it. But you know what, where it hurts us most is where we can experience happiness and growth at its very best.

You probably may have gone through a very difficult phase or situation in life, struggled with it, put in everything you know how, gave it your best shot. And then finally succeeded with it! Remember how you felt with that? The sense of achievement, of learning how strong you can be, of seeing your stack of wisdom grow by leaps and bounds, and of having your cup of joy spill over the brim. Wonderful, isn’t it?

You wouldn’t get that at the mountain top. Rather it’s found as you journey to the top of the mountain.


“I’ve learned that the Lord didn’t do it all in one day. What makes me think I can?”

Yes, impatience ‘kills’ me. That’s what Mom would always say to me. Things have to be done in the shortest possible time with results following right at its heels. I fret when they don’t. I always believed that time is not to be wasted, that one should do-do-do or work-work-work to get things done pronto!

Impatience was a flaw, I say ‘was’ because I think that I have learned my lesson. Or maybe it has something to do with getting older too. Or maybe Mom finally got through to me. Oh boy! Anyway I have learned that impatience is not a virtue – no matter what some smart aleck says to the contrary claiming that it pushes a person to do more and better. Do more - maybe but better I doubt it. That’s not certainly the case although some genius in our midst may be the exception but rarely.

The average normal person would largely benefit with a process that is well-thought out, studied carefully, and smartly carried out. And this would take TIME, and time requires PATIENCE. Patience to sit down to paperwork or research or brainstorming or to wait for an opportune moment to invest one’s time, energy, and money or to wait till the right puzzle pieces are in place before taking the first momentous step. Don’t you think it is less risk that way?


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

GET A HOBBY!




A friend once told me that all she ever knows is work, work, work. That didn't impress me at all, even if she managed to take home a fat no fatter paycheck. Because what I saw was a person all dried up, withering away as the years were adding up wrinkles on her face. So I said 'get a hobby!'.. and she replied 'I don't have any!'. Can you believe that?!

So okay my point in telling you about her is to say to you.... "GET A HOBBY!" Whatever it is -- needlecraft, photography, cooking, scrap booking, gardening, writing, etc. -- make room for your passion and creativity. Indulge in it because you got it, it's in there just waiting to be tapped or brought out to the surface... by you!

I have a niece in New York who loves to draw and I hope she gets to read this. The best way to draw is to -- draw!! Draw till your fingers drop. And if it's designing clothes... put your ideas down on paper immediately when the idea comes to you. It may look odd, absurd, or grotesque but it doesn't matter. The puffed skirt was grotesque when it first came out, but look how it's become a big influence in fashion now.

Well, not everybody will become a fashion czar or a famous artist but do it because you love doing it - it's your passion and that's all that matters.





Saturday, June 7, 2008

DREAM IT - PLAN IT - WORK IT



"You will recognize  your own path when you come upon it,  because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need."  -- Jerry Gillies

That about answers the question asked me so often when among the young hopefuls I’ve interviewed for a job before. They tell me that they have so many plans, so many dreams, and yet never seem to know which one is the right one for them. Confused and bewildered they keep on hammering at a wide range of choices believing that the right one will surface and show its face and that somehow things will break and they will hit gold – but maybe or maybe not. I’m not convinced with that method.

It’s not always smart to spread yourself thinly over a wide field of prospects. It’s like using up energy and shooting wild bullets with no specific target in sight. Besides it will wear you out faster and pretty soon you will find yourself dragging your feet from one place to another. That’s a candidate for frustration and disappointment and a waste of precious time and talent – one which you can’t afford to lose.

And I have seen other young people take on a well-thought out and planned approach. These boys and girls start out with a well-defined and definite sense of self and purpose; have equipped themselves with the necessary education and training, and studied their prospects sorting out those which they believe will be a sure fit. They don’t bother with anything which does not fill the criteria they have set down. In such a way they succeed to narrow down the choices to the best of the crop. Once this has been decided then and only then do they gear up for the pursuit and journey. Armed with a clearer vision of who they are, what they have and what they hope to achieve..... amazingly the required enthusiasm energy and imagination needed to see it through springs out or bursts forth in unexplained measure and further throughout the journey would gain even greater momentum as each time the goal becomes closer to one’s view and reach.

"Start believing now that we can be who we are." --- (Anon.)