Saturday, October 31, 2009

THE 'DONE IT' LIST

We have created so many different kinds of lists for every plausible activity in our small mundane lives. There’s the to-do list, priority list, shopping list, friends list, grocery list, Christmas list, appointments list, book list, popular song list, best dressed list, worst dressed list, or the top ten Hollywood hunks list (hmmm, I’d like to see this one! Lols).

But I haven’t seen anyone do this list --- the “DONE IT” list. Well, have you or anyone you know ever done a list of that kind? Or maybe they have but given a different name.


So what’s in a “Done It” list? If a “To-do” list holds goals, hopes, plans, wishes, and dreams aimed for… the “Done It” list records ‘been there – done that’ moments, eureka moments, and victories. When a ‘To-do’ list is all about work, the ‘done it’ list is its celebration and reward. The former could bring in tension and anxiety, but the latter will bring in joy, happiness, and gratefulness.


Jill is a good friend of mine and here’s what she sent me. A partial list because to quote her ‘everyday I get more and more added to the list and each time it simply doubles up my pleasure’. Unquote.

My Done-It List


-Took driving lessons two weeks ago (Whew!)
-Drove to work and back by myself last Monday (Hurray!)
-Bungee jumped for the very first time last summer (Exhilarating!)

-Danced boogie-woogie in my super high-heeled shoes (Owee feeling sexy!)

-Got on a sailboat for my first sailing in Boracay (Felt good!)
-Led a team of four in a major sales presentation to stockholders and was commended for a good job (Yippee!)

-Parted with a favorite bracelet which reminded me of a bad relationship (Good riddance!)

-Finally read and finished the book that was sleeping under my pillow for weeks and weeks (That WAS a good book; why didn’t I do it sooner?!)


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There you go, Jill and her ‘Done It’ list.

What about you, what’s on your ‘Done It’ list?



TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE

Do you know why quotes on some lips ring empty while on others seem like gems? Famous lines or words have travelled for ages, in different places, and through diverse people. The lines don’t grow old but in the wrong hands fail to serve its intrinsic worth.

When quoting something somebody said long ago or maybe even in the present, be wary of when or how or why you are doing the quote. You can’t simply fling it to the winds expecting a good harvest from those who may catch it. Sometimes it does, most times it does not.

Famous words originally spoken are from people of different backgrounds, point in time, issues or concerns, nuance of character. Out of these they speak their observation, insight, belief as they watch life and the world parade before their eyes. They too stand not only as spectators but are involved in its drama. They are students in the school of life and have learned well.

So why do ‘quotes’ fall flat on some and on others come out genuine? It’s simple….… they mismatch. Maybe it’s the lack of understanding of the idea presented, or the rush to prove wise, or the feeble attempt at 15 minutes of fame. I’ve seen that on TV interviews just recently (such embarrassing blooper!), unfortunately.

Quotes will come out as gems when spoken with honest conviction and true understanding of its origin and purpose and then is used in the same context and principle into the present circumstance. It can't be any other way because being genuine is 'to thine own self be true'. Truth delivered is wisdom served. That is the essence of a quote.



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

THE EYES OF THE HEART

Most of the beautiful things in my life came via my heart. I feel so lucky and thank God to be so blessed to have seen them through the eyes of my heart. Such a beautiful experience of which such delight and pleasure is unparalleled by anything man can conceive. But funny that some of them were the ordinary taken-for-granted unnoticed sometimes mundane things which most people would simply pass by or ignore. Oh they missed it and so missed the chance to be one with beauty - peace - joy - love in its purest form. What is its purest form, people may ask. I can say a thousand words to describe it but none would be adequate. Maybe I could draw it but it won't do justice either. Or maybe I could sing it but the song would come out flat. And do you know why those tangible expressions won't do? It's because.....

"The most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart."


Magnificent, isn't it? Golden lines from Helen Keller. I admire this strong and courageous lady. She contributed so much to the world, far more than people who have sight and hearing. She knew so much more how to live life than most of us do or pretend to.

I thank Parth and appreciate it that he sent me this quote in a forward mail today.


Monday, October 26, 2009

EVERYTHING HAS ITS SEASON

I received a lovely picture in my inbox this morning from Parthasarathi, of a garden oozing with lovely blooms filling the ground like a magnificent floral carpet. I wanted it on a piece I was writing yet couldn't get it here unfortunately. So I searched for something similar and found this.


Imagine living in a place overlooking a garden such as this and to have the privilege of gazing out to its exquisite beauty for endless hours all day long.
Wouldn't that be simply wonderful? But flowers too have their seasons, don't they? All of God's creation has its own time for being and living. A time for happiness, sorrow, sadness, joy, anger, disappointment, love, live, die.

Everyone and everything has its season. Thus the wisdom of learning how to savor moments, the times of your life, and appreciate the blessings God so wisely showers upon every person anywhere in the world would make every thread of life and moments so precious -- such a treasure.

Treasure -- that's what we have right here in our hands. But it's not the kind which we oftenly stubbornly seek to further material gain, prestige, or fame. These things don't connect to our inner core. If I may use the language of my brother, 'it's superficial -- skin deep.' It will wear off or tire you down.

The real treasure I so speak of lies where we are centered in our hearts. Whenever we see or touch or feel or appreciate or live... beauty - truth - joy... and feel it engulf our whole being down to the very core of our existence, that is our treasure.

But as we may want it to last a lifetime, it won't and it can't. Because it has its natural flow of life -- just as we are born, live, and die -- it stays in its own time and season and then passes on.

But if we have listened well and paid attention, we can hold on to its memories and remember the moments long after it has gone. Everything has its season, that is true... but memories are timeless. Memories are for all seasons.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

KNOW YOURSELF

I found this in a book just recently. Wisdom right there in every line. So I'm sharing this with you. Listen well and listen with your heart.

To quote...

DON'T EVER DOUBT YOURSELF

You have so much to offer,
so much to give,
and so much you deserve to receive in return.
Don't ever doubt that.

Know yourself and all of your fine qualities.
Rejoice in all your marvelous strengths of mind and body.
Be glad for the virtues that are yours,
and pat yourself on the back
for all your many admirable achievements.

Keep positive.
Concentrate on that which makes you happy,
and build yourself up.
Stay nimble of heart, happy of thought,
healthy of mind, and well in being.

-Janet A. Sullivan
Unquote.


Don't let anyone make you feel small. You are so much more than you think you are. Your power is right there in you. It's not in external things although people will tell you it is. Agreed that money, power, position have their uses too but it waits for the right person to take it to even greater heights. It is a willing slave to a worthy master. It will definitely need someone worthy to work it to good use or serve a better purpose. And you have the power to do that. If you see something which you must do to improve your life, other people's lives, or make this world a better place (which we all pine for), then do it. Don't wait for someone to do the job for you.

Believe in yourself... believe in you.


Friday, October 23, 2009

FILL LIFE WITH MOMENTS

A wonderful gentleman and friend Parthasarathi sent me this in email recently -- "Life never seems to be the way we want it, But we have to live it the best way we can. There is no perfect life, But we can always fill it with perfect Moments..." Thanks, Parth. -- Lovely, isn't it? And I particularly loved this line.... 'There is no perfect life, But we can always fill it with perfect Moments...'

That seemed to be my guiding principle when I started in retirement. When one comes to a close in one chapter of one's life (one of several chapters, of course), he has then to change gear and move in another direction to fill in the void created. Because there is a lingering void or a brief spell between chapters of life. It's like a landing on a long flight of stairs wherein one is given the chance to catch his breath and energize for the next flight up that stair.

I took that chance to rethink my directions in moving forward. The plans I had before seemed insufficient now and irrelevant with some things taken away and some more added which I didn't plan for. This made me think how fragile life can truly be. So I decided to scratch off 'forever' from my dictionary and resolved to live in -- moments.

Moments cannot be bought or bargained for, I thought then that I will and should create my own. But it turned out that I was going to be blessed far more that I expected wished or prayed for!

MOMENTS.....

-when my youngest daughter surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers on Mother's Day

-when my second daughter gave me a surprise treat on my birthday by taking me to lunch in Tagaytay City overlooking the magnificent Taal Volcano

-when my eldest daughter gave me a fantastic massage on my back which pain made my day grumpy

-when my pet dog came to me as I sat on the sofa watching TV and lovingly nestled her head close at my side

-when the soya vendor with a warm smile added two free packs to the ones I bought

-when I watched the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen

-when I heard a tiny bird somewhere up the treetops singing his tiny song and a gentle breeze nudged the leaves to a dance

.....and zillions more through the years!

What I'm trying to say is --- FILL LIFE WITH MOMENTS, PERFECT OR IMPERFECT; THAT DOESN'T MATTER. WHEN IT MAKES YOU SMILE... THAT IS PERFECT.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

JUST A THOUGHT TODAY

Well, the day is not turning out as expected. The same sluggish feel is hounding the neighborhood too it seems, but.. it's okay still. There's a nice gentle breeze blowing outside, I hear the sound of perky roosters crowing in the distance (from a breeder's yard outside the subdivision I think), and a strange symphony of song coming from birds atop tree branches lols. All well and good. Sometimes God's blessings come in small packages. :-) 'Tis something a person should be on the lookout for or teach himself to. Because it's not always that blessings come wrapped up in huge bright paper tied 'round with colorful ribbons and fireworks blasting away up in the startled sky Lols! Sometimes a blessing is in a smile, a loving look, a warm and gentle hug, or in a small kind word.

I like to look at how God spreads out blessings and what those are. It always astounds me to find out that there is so much we do not see around us or in our day. Maybe it's because we were conditioned to look for what is beautiful, noble, or great in a manner of a grand or grander scale, like something drenched in high drama or coming out in spontaneous combustion that blows the mind away. Lols! Yeah, that can be really exciting to receive or see blessings wrapped up in that manner and meant just for you. Makes you feel very happy and special.

It happens, true. But what happens more often are those blessings which come wrapped in 'small ordinary packages', 'delivered by small ordinary people', and via 'unlikely events'. Those are figures of speech of course, but I think you know just what I mean.

A blessing can be..... a baby's cooing, grandma's grateful smile when you hugged her, dad's proud boasting over your achievement, a kind gentleman helping you with your packages up the stairs, a spouse who'd rather spend the evening with you instead of working the night away at the office, a friend who patiently listens to your woes, a bouquet of gorgeous flowers sent by Mr. Anonymous, or someone praying for you.

You know these and I know that you know there's so much more like it.

Have a blessed day, my friends.



Monday, October 19, 2009

THE DIFFERENCE LIES IN THE CHOICES WE MAKE

We all get the same stuff in life. I'm referring to those things which make us happy, cry, angry, love, lose, succeed, bitter, foolish, brilliant, or just downright stupid. Because you and I are the same. You may not fancy the green bitter gourd I eat but you have your own idiosyncrasies about food like a peanut butter and mustard sandwich. I like walking boots anywhere I go and you like dark leather jackets in rain or sunny weather. I like soft soothing music to calm my hassled nerves at night while you like the loud ear-screeching sounds of an electric guitar to wake you up mornings. I guess we can put up with all that because we know that we're so much different as we are so much the same with one another.

But in things which matter in the course of trying to live a life the best we can, it would be wise to pay attention to certain things. We all aim for happiness and success. But to get there in the best possible time and in top form we must learn what or where we should put our emphasis or attention. Why? It’s because so many things could and would encroach on our territory thereby taking us off the track or derailing us from our goal. But we can do something about that.

If our emphasis is on ...

..... hard work, responsibility, determination, excellence, persistence, consistency, accountability, knowledge, self-confidence, respect, hope, faith, the willingness to learn, the ability to bounce back from a disappointment or failure, and the passion and love for doing what is right

-- we will get there no matter the road we take or challenges we face. If we put in our best effort into our goals, the universe can do no other but grant our heart's desires.

On the other hand, if we engage in ....

--- lackadaisical effort, are content with mediocrity, are lazy, can't leave our comfort zones, can't make commitments, resent authority, procrastination, evade responsibility, and would opt for the shorter easier (yet not always the smarter) way to do things

-- we won't get there, that's certain. We'll simply end up as miserable as we started - Perhaps twice as miserable. To this the universe will simply say to us -- 'Buddy, you've got a problem.'

Both kinds of activity use up the same hours, days, weeks, years and energy put into it. What would make the huge difference is on deciding which road we would choose to travel -- the road to success or the road to misery. The choice is solely ours to make.

"The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same." -- Carlos Castaneda



Sunday, October 18, 2009

NO DAY BUT TODAY

Have you seen the movie 'Rent'? It's a Broadway musical turned into a movie. If you haven't yet, then go see it or get the cd. You won't regret it.

"No Day But Today" is just one of the several beautiful songs in it. This one is on my list of all time favorites.

You know why? Because it tells me this...

No day but today......

...to follow your dream
...to take dance lessons
...to finish that book
...to paint that masterpiece
...to get a sauna with your wife..or husband
...to treat your kids to Disneyland
...to be friendly to your neighbor who hates your red hair
...to write to your congressman about misfits in the government
...to give away your old stuff to people who might have need for it
...to pray - and pray - and pray not just for yourself but for others too
...to believe in yourself - there is only one you
...to forgive and be forgiven
...to sleep under the stars
...to hug your parents and grandparents
...to be kind to your household help
...to be a friend in both good times and bad
...to teach your child how to bike
...to buy yourself a bouquet of your favorite flowers
...to write that long overdue letter
...to eat healthy foods and stay with it
...to exercise regularly and stay with it
...to believe in God
...to not wait for a special occasion to give
...to say thank you
...to do a good deed
...to say 'no' when you should
...to say 'yes' when it's good
...to get down from your ivory tower and get down to real life and true living
...to plant a tree -- lots of it
...to love and take care of Mother Earth
...to recycle garbage
...to not throw garbage into rivers and streams
...to clean up your clutter
...to listen to reason and good intentions
...to get a job and not bum around anymore
...to use your college education to better lives... yours and others
...

There's more, much more. So how about adding to this list? Or create your own in your blog. Let me know 'cos I'd love to visit. Or maybe share here what list you have now. I would be interested to see it and I'm sure our readers would too.



Monday, October 12, 2009

LOVE AS GOD LOVES YOU

It's quite easy to turn your back to the misery of others. But not so when misery hits you. Then you wish that friends wouldn't turn their backs on you.

-"Love one another as much as I love you." - I've heard this spoken so many times, read it a thousand times over. I have realized that none can be more truer than this. God in His magnificent love has given us all of the earth... land - sea - air... under our care and management, for our living joy and pleasure. And too each other to love and care for. Every individual does not stand alone no matter how he says he does and can.. or tries. For no man is an island, each one is dependent to and on another for many different things. I need you as much as you need me. So how is it that we can't... love?

Love will turn the tide. Believe coz it's been done for ages, by many, in different circumstances, with the smallest or greatest of hearts and hands. Love breaks down all barriers -- real perceived imagined.

Don't make it difficult for yourself or for the next guy beside you or for the rest of the world. Love ...and you will make a reality your and everybody's wish that the world were a better place. It'll start with you, me, them, us.



Friday, October 9, 2009

HAVE WE LEARNED YET?

What's on my mind? How fragile life is. How things - possessions - memories - can easily be lost. How the unexpected can touch & alter people's lives. How miserable this world can be. And how we have contributed to this misery in some stupid way or ways.

Are we learning our bitter lessons now? Or do we need another disaster or calamity to tell us to love...

ourselves,
life,
people,
Mother Earth, and
our God BETTER!

MUCH MUCH BETTER!

Where to from here?


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Blogger Sindhu :) said...
Its pretty strange how people get carried away by material things in search of some temporary happiness while they end up ignoring the really valuable things in life.

The world would be so much more a better place to live in if we could only stop for a moment to look around ourselves and give a thought to people/beings around us!

Friday, October 09, 2009

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Blogger Ellen said...

Hi Sindhu,

How true. Sadly, we tend to take for granted those things which truly matter most. Maybe that's human nature. But then we also fail to understand that we are gifted with 'free will' and by this we can try to change us. And that by changing ourselves, we can hope to change the world and truly make it a better place.

Tall order? Maybe. But who's stopping us from trying? :-)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

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Blogger Being Pramoda... said...

hi ellen,

good qsn..i dont have answer nw..may be humans can answer this with time..lets hope for the best .. thanks for ur wishes..yaa at our place also it hit very badly,,:(

hwo abt the recovery thr?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

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Blogger Ellen said...

Hi Pram,

Yes, you're right, some things can only be answered in time. But maybe we could help it quickly along by laying the groundwork now.

Recovery here is ongoing. Slow due to some inadequacies but pushing hard. Gratitude flows towards the thousands who have lent their hands, time, energies, hearts, skills, talents, resources... both the public and private sectors, domestic and international .. in giving help where help was urgently needed. And still is. Steadfast prayers will undoubtedly set our battered sails to safer ground. I wish the same too for your own disaster stricken areas.

God bless you and your people.

Saturday, October 10, 2009




Saturday, October 3, 2009

OFF FOR A BIT.


Sorry but I shall be off for a bit. My country is still reeling from the onslaught of tropical storm Ondoy (Ketsana - its foreign name) and now following on its trail is super typhoon Pepeng bashing the northern part of the country as I write. So everybody, the government and the private sector, have joined hands in helping the thousands of displaced families. We all do our part in any way we can. Your prayers in this national effort will be truly appreciated.


Bye for a bit.
God bless!
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To my friends in India,

I have watched on CNN today 'bout the floods in your country. These are terrible times indeed for your country and mine. My prayers to your people. God keep them safe.