A mile is 5.280 feet long. The distance between New York City and London, England is approximately 3,500 miles, New York City to Hong Kong around 8,000 miles. If you took a trip around the globe, you would travel almost 25,000 miles! Yet, this distance is still not the farthest in the sense of importance to an individual and what they do with the life they are given.
What is the greatest, most important distance in the world? It was once said, that the greatest distance in the world is an astounding 18 inches…the distance from a person’s heart to their head. People can have all the knowledge about a particular subject matter in their head and be as smart as the wisest individuals who walk the earth but unless they LIVE it and USE their abilities, it will mean nothing.
Here is a story to illustrate what I am trying to say:
One morning a man was sitting at the breakfast table intently reading the morning paper when his wife came up to him and started to ask him questions about their plans for the upcoming day. The man just sat there, slightly nodding his head and showed no other reactions. Despite numerous attempts to get a conversation with her husband started…he was just too busy reading his paper.
Then the lady had an idea to try and break her husband’s trance from his paper. She said to him in a calm voice, “Honey, there a huge, hairy spider crawling up your sleeve.” The man just sat there, nodded slightly, and continued to read the paper never even giving her a glance. She tried the same tact a few other times…again, to no avail. Suddenly she screamed, “HONEY! THERE’S A HUGE, HAIRY SPIDER CRAWLING UP YOUR SLEEVE!” Her husband screamed, jumped up from his seat, threw down his newspaper, and started making moves that a Ninja would be proud of!
You see, the man had HEARD his wife but he didn’t LISTEN. He knew that there was a spider crawling up his arm but he didn’t do anything about it because he was TOO BUSY doing something else. It wasn’t until he took what he KNEW and put it into ACTION that did anything about combating the evil creature.
Many people are like that man who was reading the newspaper. They hear what is going on and KNOW what to do but without putting their knowledge into action, they are no different than anyone else.
One of my favorite slogans in athletics is also so very true in a person’s everyday life: “The difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary individual, is that little EXTRA.” There are an untold number of people that have great ideas, thoughts, inventions, solutions to the world’s problems, etc., and do actually DO anything about them. They do ACT on their THOUGHTS. A person may have all of the book knowledge of something but if they never actually use it…it is worthless. An individual may know how to build a house, where to place the lumber, the plumbing, the electrical systems, the foundation, etc., but if that person never goes out and physically builds a house…what good is having that knowledge?
So, I ask you today…are you a THINKER or a DOER? How well are you conquering the greatest distance in the world?
It seems to me, generally speaking, that people are becoming increasingly more uneasy, drab, and miserable. Negativity, pessimism, and a general malaise pervade today’s society. Wars, rumors of wars, terrorism, harmful and destructive banter, violence, riots, race bating, etc., have basically resulted in air of melancholy throughout the land. Its negative influence is apparent just about wherever you go in today’s world.
So, what you do? Is there anything that we can do to improve this situation…Maybe in our own small way? It has been said, that for every one negative thing that a person says to another individual, that person should then say seven positive things to offset that negative word.
Our words are powerful weapons that we can use to uplift others, build up their confidence, self-worth, and overall sense of well-being and self-reliance. There are many, many things that we can do to accomplish this goal…share a few kind words to someone, giving others compliments, a courteous acknowledgement, a word of encouragement…the list goes on and on. Today’s story is a beautiful example of the kind of encouragement that warms the heart of another individual, but it also demonstrates the sad illustration of regret.
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his room-mate all the things he could see outside the window.
The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.
Then unexpectedly, a sinister thought entered his mind. Why should the other man alone experience all the pleasures of seeing everything while he himself never got to see anything? It didn’t seem fair. At first thought the man felt ashamed. But as the days passed and he missed seeing more sights, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour. He began to brood and he found himself unable to sleep. He should be by that window – that thought, and only that thought now controlled his life.
Late one night as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough. He was choking on the fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help. Listening from across the room he never moved, never pushed his own button which would have brought the nurse running in. In less than five minutes the coughing and choking stopped, along with that the sound of breathing. Now there was only silence-deathly silence.
The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths. When she found the lifeless body of the man by the window, she was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take it away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”
There are many times throughout our everyday lives that we get caught up in the ”hustle and bustle” of life and forget “the little things”…the things that should be the most important things to live by.
Whether we are experiencing tough situations in life or are enjoying good times, quite often, these little principles, are the nuggets of truth that will help make our lives a little bit happier and more enjoyable.
I recently came across the following article, written by Barry Davenport,“Life Lessons That Have Endured the Test of Time.” via http://liveboldandbloom.com, about these life lessons that I thought would be a good thing to share. So, without further ado, here is today’s encouraging and motivational article.
You know the old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young?”
I think about that on occasion — how I wish I’d had the self-awareness, confidence, and joy I have now when I was in my twenties and thirties.
So much of life is wasted on worry, regret, pain, and heartache. Of course some of this is inevitable and necessary. But I spent too many of my younger days sweating over things I didn’t need to sweat about.
I simply didn’t know better. Or if I did, it just hadn’t sunk in yet.
I suppose “life lessons” are called that for a reason. You need to experience life in order to learn the lessons. And the more life you experience, the more lessons you accumulate. However, some extremely valuable lessons came from other people. Some I learned from reading great thinkers like Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie. Others were passed on from friends and family.
Although some lessons must be learned through experience, you don’t have to wait until midlife to become aware of what’s truly meaningful and worthwhile. You simply need the curiosity and desire for self-awareness and personal growth. Once you learn the lessons, you can apply them in your life at any age and see the benefits to your happiness and well-being.
Here are 50 important life lessons that have stood the test of time:
Life is now
We keeping waiting for that amazing thing to happen in the future that will be the key to our happiness. But this is it. Right now. Life continues to be a series of right nows. So learn to love right now, and you’ll have an amazing life.
Fear is an illusion (mostly)
Most of the things we fear never happen. Or if they do happen, they are rarely as bad as we fear they will be. For most of us, fear is the worst thing that will happen to us. Reality isn’t as painful.
At the end of the day, what matters most are the people in our lives. Put them first every single day. Before work. Before the computer. Before your hobbies. Treat them like they are everything to you. Because they are.
Debt isn’t worth it
Nothing is more draining and humiliating than being in debt. Spend below your means. Save money. Live free.
Your kids aren’t you
You re the vessel to bring your children into the world and their caretakers until they can care for themselves. You can teach them, love them, and support them, but you can’t change them. They are unique individuals who must live their own lives. Let them.
Things gather dust
Time and money spent accumulating material things will one day irritate you. You must clean, maintain, and move stuff. The less stuff you have, the freer you are. Purchase mindfully.
Fun is underrated
How much of your day is fun? Really fun? Life is short. We should enjoy it. Don’t make things serious that don’t have to be. Create more fun in your life. Don’t worry about what other people think of your fun. Just enjoy it.
Failure is good
We try so hard to avoid failure, but failure is the real evidence that we’ve tried. If you avoid failure, you avoid taking action. Expect and accept that failure is part of the experience. Learn from it and move on.
Friendships need care
One of the top five regrets of the dying is that they let their friendships fade away. Friendships need time and attention. Nurture them like a prized garden. The payoff is so worth it.
The pleasure and positive memories afforded by great experiences far outweigh material things. If you’re trying to decide between the new sofa or the family trip, take the trip every time.
Anger isn’t worth it
The feel-good release of anger lasts a few minutes. The repercussions last far longer. Regret, stress, and unhappiness are the byproducts of angry outbursts. Learn healthier ways to communicate your feelings, and when anger arises, step away until it dissipates.
Small expressions of kindness have an enormous positive impact on other people. It doesn’t take much to be kind. Practice it every day, in every situation, until it’s your natural way of being.
Age is a number
When you’re twenty you think fifty is old. When you’re fifty, you feel thirty. Our chronological age doesn’t have to define us. Don’t allow a number to hold you back or prevent you from being the person you are inside.
Being real, open, and vulnerable invites people in and allows them to relate to you on a much deeper and more intimate level. Vulnerability, practiced with safe and loving people, can heal emotional pain and strengthen relationships.
Posturing builds walls
Creating a persona to impress or shield yourself from pain diminishes intimacy and authenticity. People generally see through this, and it pushes them away.
Exercise is power
Exercise should be a daily priority for everyone. It makes you physically, mentally, and emotionally stronger. It improves your health and your outlook. It is the panacea for just about everything.
Grudges cause pain
Holding on to a grudge is like injecting poison into your body every day. Forgive and let go. There’s no other way.
Passion upgrades life
When you find that thing you love to do with all your heart, every day feels like a gift. If you haven’t found your passion, make it your mission to find it. The joy it brings spills over into all aspects of your life.
Travel expands you
Travel makes you are more interesting, insightful, and accepting person. It expands you, enlightens you, and teaches you about the variety of people, lifestyles, and cultures. It is a pursuit well worth saving for.
You aren’t always right
We think we have the answers, know what’s right and wrong, good and bad, best for ourselves and other people. But we aren’t always right. There’s always more than one version. There are many perspectives that are valid. Keep yourself open to that truth.
It will pass
Whatever is causing you worry or pain right now won’t cause you worry and pain forever. Time heals. Things change. It will pass.
You define meaning
A meaningful life is what you define it to be. If you neglect to define meaning, you won’t experience it. Decide what makes life worth living for you, and then design your life around that.
Risk expands you
To make positive change in your life, you often must take risk. You must tolerate some level of uncertainty. Taking thoughtful, calculated risk strengthens your change muscle and helps you grow.
Change is good
Life is change. We shouldn’t resist it. Remaining stagnant is in opposition to the natural order of life. Flow with change. Embrace it and regard it as an adventure.
Thoughts aren’t real
Every moment of the day, we have random thoughts floating through our brains. Many of the thoughts are negative and limiting. You don’t have to believe them. They aren’t the truth or the whole truth. Thoughts can become our reality, but only if we let them.
You can’t control others
We want people to think and behave as we do. We want them to accommodate us and live the way we think they should live. We want to change them. But with awareness, we realize we can’t and shouldn’t try to control others. Instead, embrace differences and honor the uniqueness of the people in your life.
Your body is a temple
We all have something, or many somethings, we hate about our bodies. But your body houses your very essence. Treat your body with respect and care for the efficient and wondrous way it takes care of you.
Physical touch is healing and intimate. It bonds us to other people and relieves stress and anxiety. It has a myriad of health benefits such as lowering heart rate and improving the immune system. Mindful, loving touch with those you love is a gift that should be shared.
You can handle it
Whatever you think you can’t handle, you actually can. You have more strength, more resilience, and more inner wisdom than you give yourself credit for. You’ll get through it and survive.
Gratitude multiplies happiness
Consciously focusing on all you have rather than thinking about what you don’t have is afar better use of brain power. Gratitude fosters positive feelings and well-being.
Your judgement is important, but your intuition super charges your judgement. Intuition is data from your subconscious mind, based on your past experiences and patterns in life. It can arise spontaneously when you are called on to make a decision or need information.
Please yourself first
Pleasing others for approval and acceptance might feel good in the short term, but eventually you will lose yourself and feel resentful. Please yourself first and give to others based on conscious choice, not the desire for approval.
Self-honesty is freedom
When you are in denial about something, you are blinding yourself to the truth. And even if the truth is temporarily painful, it will ultimately set you free. Be radically honest with yourself so you can live authentically.
Perfection is boring
Perfection is unattainable, and the pursuit of it makes us boring. It is our differences, our foibles, and our imperfections that connect us to humanity and make us real.
Serving creates meaning
If you want meaning in your life, start with serving others. Find a way to make a difference, even a small difference, and your life will feel purposeful.
Little things matter
It’s not the big wins, the great accomplishments, or the status in life that really count. It’s the accumulation of little things — the quiet moments in nature, special time with our kids, seeing the smile on our spouse’s face when we walk in the door. Pay attention to these things.
There is so much to learn and explore in our very short lifetimes. Take advantage of learning every single day. Challenge yourself to acquire a new skill, read something different, take a class. Learning keeps our minds engaged and sharp, even into old age.
Our bodies age. It is a truth we can’t avoid. You can manage aging by doing the best with what you’ve got. But beyond that, do your best to let it go. Enjoying life is the best antidote to getting older.
The person you married will change over time. You will change over time. Hopefully you will change in the same direction or come to love the changes in the other person. Don’t let these changes take you by surprise.
Worry is worthless
Worry is useful only if it leads directly to a solution. But the very nature of worry implies that it doesn’t. You worry about “what if’s” that aren’t real, and the worry itself creates stress and physical symptoms that cause real reason for angst. Learn how to manage your worry thoughts.
Heal your wounds
Don’t allow pain from your past (or present) to linger and cause you suffering. Don’t stuff it down or pretend it doesn’t matter when it does. Seek support from a professional trained to help you heal and renew your emotional health.
Simple is better
A life full of complications, obligations, and an overwhelming schedule make life more difficult and stressful. A simpler life in all regards gives you more space for joy and engagement.
Do the work
If you want something in life, you must do the work to get it. There are rarely shortcuts. But truthfully the work is what affords the most sense of accomplishment.
It’s never too late
This is an excuse for not trying. Great things can be accomplished at any age.
Action beats angst
Action is the cure for worry, procrastination, indecision, anxiety, and frustration. Stop thinking and do something, and you will create momentum that leads to something valuable or at the least heals your turmoil.
Creation beats reaction
Be proactive in your life, designing exactly what you want rather than reacting to what life throws at you. Creation empowers you and expands your opportunities.
Don’t become too attached to outcomes or beliefs. Remain open to all possibilities and ideas. You will be surprised how much more there is to life when you don’t cling to your life experience.
Your words matter
The words you speak have power. Consider your words carefully. Use them for good rather than harm. Once they are out, you can’t take them back.
Make every day count
If you live to age ninety, how many days do you have left? It is a finite number, and one day you will reach the last one. Be conscious of the value of every single day.
Love is the answer
Love is why we are here. It is the force for good in this sometimes random and harsh world. Share it freely. Express is daily.
I love to find and read all kinds of stories. I like tales that warm the heart, stir the soul, fire up the imagination, explore history, and discover lessons that I can apply throughout my lifetime. Well, today’s true story is one that is a fascinating account of…what some people refer as…the “Luck of the Irish.”
I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did!
In the Young Irish disorders, in Ireland in 1848, the following nine men were captured, tried and convicted of treason against their majesty, the Queeen, and were sentenced to death: John Mitchell, Morris Lyene, Pat Donahue, Thomas McGee, Charles Duffy, Thomas Meagher, Richard O’Gorman, Terrance McManus, and Michael Ireland.
Before passing sentence the judge asked if there was anything anyone wished to say. Meager, speaking for everyone in the group said, “My lord, this is the first offense, but not our last. If you will be easy on us this once, we promise, on our word as gentlemen, to try to do better next time. And next time, we sure won’t be fools enough to get caught.”
Thereupon the indignant judge sentenced them all to be hanged by the neck until dead and then drawn and quartered. Passionate protest from all over the world forced Queen Victoria to commute the sentence to transportation for life…to the far…wild Australia.
In 1874, word reached the astounded Queen Victoria that the Sir Charles Duffy who had been elected Prime Minister of Australia was the same Charles Duffy who has been transported 25 years ago. On the Queen’s demand, the records of the rest of the transported men were revealed and this is what was uncovered….
Thomas Francis Meagher – Governor of Montana
Terrance McManus – Brigadier General, United States Army
Patrick Donahue – Brigadier General, United States Army
Richard O’Gorman – Governor General of New Foundland
Morris Lyene – Attorney General of Australia
Michael Ireland – Succeeded Morris Lyene as Attorney General
Thomas D’Arcy McGee – Member of Parliament Montreal, Minister of Agriculture and President of Council Dominion of Canada
John Mitchell – Prominent New York politician. He was the father of John Purray Mitchell, Mayor of New York at the outbreak of World War 1
Albert Einstein, the legendary German physicist is a person that has always fascinated me. This genius who developed the theory of relativity and E=MC2, loved his music, had a remarkable sense of humor, and, surprisingly, valued money very little.
So, I have decided to share with you, a few interesting short stories about him that I think that you will find not only fascinating but also entertaining. They will also give you a little insight and appreciation for one of the smartest men the world has ever known.
Albert Einstein used to have a personal driver that drove him to each one of his lectures. During his speeches, his chauffer would sit at the back of the hall and listen to Einstein’s words of wisdom. After a period of time, the driver remarked to the famous researcher that he could probably give the lecture himself because he had heard it so many times.
At the next lecture stop, Einstein and the driver switched places…with Einstein sitting at the back of the room, dressed in the driver’s uniform. The driver gave the lecture flawlessly..
At the end of the lecture, a member of the audience asked a detailed scientific question about some kind of scientific matter. Without missing a beat, the “lecturer” replied, Well, the answer to that question is so simple, I’ll let my driver, sitting at the back there, answer it.”
When Albert Einstein was in residence at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton during his later years, a guest asked him if Einstein would show him his laboratory.
The famous scientist and mathematician smiled, held up his fountain pen and pointed to his head!
Money meant very little to the legend, Albert Einstein. When he first joined the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, he requested a salary so low, officials had to double it to preserve some semblance of institute standards.
He once used a $1,500 check from the Rockefeller Foundation as a bookmark…then lost the book! The foundation’s records were out of kilter for months. When they finally sent a duplicate check, Einstein wrote back, “What’s this for?”
Einstein, who thought himself as an accomplished violinist, was rehearsing a Haydn composition with a string quartet.
When Einstein failed for the fourth time to get his entry in the second movement, the group’s cellist looked up and somewhat annoyed and said, “The problem with you, Albert, is that you can’t count.”
Einstein was once asked by the press for an explanation of his theory of relativity which would be meaningful to the common, everyday lay person. The scientist then gave a statement to his secretary which read, “An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute, but a minute sitting on a hot stove seems like an hour.”
I think that it is safe to say that most people like to help others. The gesture makes us feel good about ourselves and makes our lives a little brighter and happier. Conversely, there are instances in which it can seem like we do kind and caring things for people as well as try to “live the good life.” Have you ever noticed that? You try to do things the right way over and over again…yet some individuals that you may know (or don’t know) keep finding the one wrong thing that you may have done and focus on that.
Today’s story serves as an encouragement for you…to remind you to always keep your eyes on the positive things in life and not the mistakes that you may have made.
One day a school teacher wrote the following math equations on the blackboard;
When he was done, he looked at the students who were all laughing at him, because the first equation was wrong. The teacher then said the following….”I wrote that first equation wrong on purpose because I wanted you to learn something important. This was for you to know how the world out there will treat you. You can see that I wrote the correct equations 9 times correctly but none of you congratulated me for it; you all laughed and criticized me because of the one wrong thing that I did. So this is the lesson…”
“The world will never appreciate the good you do a million times, but will criticize you for the one wrong thing that you do…don’t get discouraged.”
“ALWAYS RISE ABOVE THE LAUGHTER AND CRITICISM…STAY STRONG!.”
The annual celebration of New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite times of the year. It is during this time that we reminisce about the past year and, at the same time, look ahead, plan, and make resolutions for the future. Millions and millions of people around the world take part in the festivities and revelry as they welcome in the New Year.
As with many of the holidays that we have throughout the year, I always find it very interesting and enjoyable to find some history and fun facts about each day. This holiday is no different. So, I decided to share some interesting facts with you about the celebration of New Year and some other intriguing things…so…here we go.
Interesting Things That Are Dropped New Year’s Eve
Most people from around the world, know that every year, New York City welcomes in the New Year in Times Square, by dropping a big “ball” which gradually descends from the top of a pole to the bottom, where it rests while all kinds of lights blink and shine as the new year begins. It all started in 1907 after there was a fireworks ban. In 1907, the iron and wood ball weighed 700-pounds and was covered with 25-watt bulbs made of iron. Today, it weighs 11,875 pounds, is 12 feet in diameter and is adorned with 2,668 Waterford crystals. Meanwhile, close to a million people in the square, dance, party, hug and kiss, and have a good time at this joyous moment. Around the world, approximately 1 billion people watch world-wide festivities from their televisions or computers.
But are there other things that are dropped in celebration of New Year’s instead of a giant ball? You bet there is!!! Here are some remarkable objects that are “dropped.” So, without further ado, here are some things from around the United States that I think you will find entertaining.
In Brookville, Florida, a giant tangerine was dropped 40 feet in 2009.
In Traverse, Michigan, a cherry is dropped.
In Flagstaff, Arizona, a pine cone is dropped from a hotel.
In Prescott, Arizona, a boot is dropped
In South Lake, California, a gondola is lowered.
In Temecula, California, a bunch of grapes is dropped.
In Niagara Falls, Ontario, a 10 foot guitar is dropped from a specially designed 120-foot scaffold at the Hard Rock Café.
In Easton, Maryland, a red crab is dropped.
In Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a 100-pound stick of bologna is dropped.
In Easton, Pennsylvania, and giant M&M is dropped
In St. George’s, Bermuda, a paper-Mache Bermuda onion covered with Christmas lights is dropped.
In Black Creek, North Carolina, a large red heart drop is lowered.
In Eastover, North Carolina, a three-foot tall, thirty-pound flea is dropped.
In Elmore, Ohio, a sausage is dropped.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, a flying pig is “flown”, not dropped, demonstrating to everyone that there is at least one occasion “when pigs fly.”
In Red Lion, Pennsylvania. A wooden cigar held by a lion, is raised.
In Panama City, Florida, a 800-pound beach ball is lowered from a tower 12 stories high.
In Praire du Chien, Wisconsin, A carp (real but dead) caught by a local fisherman and weighing between 25-30 pounds is lowered.
In Vincennes, Indiana, a giant 18-foot, 500 pound steel and foam watermelon is raised 100 feet during the final 60 second countdown to midnight.
…..and there are many, many others!!!
Several Amazing Facts About the New Year Celebration
The Babylonians celebrated New Years over 4,000 years ago.
The New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne,” means, “times gone by.”
If you want to have a happy new year, don’t eat lobster or chicken. Lobsters can move backward and chickens can scratch in reverse, so it is thought these foods could bring a reversal of fortune.
The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. Apples and honey are usually eaten to celebrate.
In Italy, people wear red underwear on New Year’s Day to bring good luck all year long.
In some countries, the use of fireworks are used for more than just celebrations…they are also believed to scare off evil spirits and bring good luck
44% of American adults plan to kiss someone at midnight.
61% of people say a prayer.
Over 1 million people line the 40 miles of shoreline of the city of Sydney, Australia.
In Japan, at the stroke of midnight, Buddhist monks strike the gongs 108 times in aneffort to drive out the 108 human weaknesses.
New Year’s Day is the oldest celebrated holiday.
Many people in America, eat Black Eyed Peas, cabbage, and ham on New Year’s Day for good luck.
Well, I hope that you enjoyed these tidbits and facts. I would like to personally wish each and every one of you the healthiest and happiest New Year!!
Grief. Despair. Pain. Suffering. These are just a few words that describe the feelings and emotions that millions of people experience everyday around the world. The death of a family member or loved one, the loss of a job, a separation from a spouse, personal injury, loss of a job, the passing of a pet, sickness, cancer…the list goes on and on.
Grief and depression can sometimes be overwhelming and lead an individual to suffer from a variety of physical problems such as fatigue, headaches, sore muscles, heart and chest pains…just to name a few. People can also experience emotional stresses such as numbness, bitterness, detachment, inability to show or feel joy, etc. Like I said, grief and depression can be downright devastating!!
If you have experienced times like these or are currently fighting through a difficult time in your life, the following story might, very well, be just for you. It tells of a great approach that you may be able to use to help you deal with grief in a positive fashion.
I read the following short story that I felt would be a fantastic post for my blog. It is my hope and prayer that this illustration might help you, even in a small way, to change your outlook and perspective on your life and help you heal a wounded soul and a broken heart!
Someone on Reddit wrote the following heartfelt plea online:
“My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”
A lot of people responded. Then there was one old man that wrote an incredible comment that stood out from the rest that might just change the way that we approach the turmoil of life, death, and other negative experiences.
“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here is my two cents.
“I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep…so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing…a happy memory, a photograph, etc. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. staying alive.
“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing…but in between waves…there is life.
“Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you will find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging onto some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
“Take it from an old guy…the waves never stop coming and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you will survive them. And other waves will come…and you will have to survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves…and lots of shipwrecks.”
Memorial day, here in America, is a solemn and somber day in America in which people from around the country can stop, remember, and thank the men and women who have fought and have given parts of their lives for our freedom.
It was once said that Freedom is a lot like oxygen: when you have it, nobody notices it…but go without it, and, wow, do you wish you had it!! It is SO true!
Even though I have celebrated Memorial Day every year since I was a kid, I was wondering the other day…what is the truth and facts behind this hallowed day? In today’s blog, I decided to find out and then, let you know by sharing my findings with you!
Memorial Day originally started during the Civil War.
Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day and was meant to honor both the Union and Confederate men who lost their lives during the Civil War. By the 1900’s it became a day to celebrate and remember all of the soldiers who died in the military.
One of the earliest ceremonies honoring the fallen was organized by freed slaves!
Memorial Day actually didn’t become an official federal holiday until 1971.
In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson named Waterloo, New York, as the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
According to custom, the American flag is to fly at half staff until noon, and then raise it to full staff until sunset.
In 1915, a Georgian school teacher named, Moina Michael, began a movement to make the Red Poppy the national symbol of tribute to veterans and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” The idea of wearing Red Poppies originated from a poem written in 1915, by John McCrae, “In Flanders Field.”
It is common for volunteers to place American flags on the graves in the national cemeteries.
It has been estimated that 30-35 million people travel by car over the Memorial Day Weekend.
We all know that life in today’s world is getting faster and faster. Lifestyles are getting busier, more complicated, and less enjoyable. One of the skills that a good number of individuals have lost along the way, has been the skill or ability to actually be quiet, listen and hear to what people (or things) are saying.
How many times have you found yourself “going through the motions” responding to people in robotic, mechanical ways, and never really hearing to what is being said?
Let’s really take the time each day to stop and authentically listen and hear to what our friends, loved ones, or other things” are being said…the results may surprise you!
Today, I have included four very short stories that will illustrate the importance of listening to different things. I hope that these stories will help you in some small way, to maybe improve your relationships with people.
The story is told of Franklin Roosevelt, who often endured long receiving lines at the White House. He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said. One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment. To each person who passed down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir.” It was not till the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Nonplussed, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”
The Signal Gets Weaker
I listen to my local radio station while I’m driving in my car. When I drive away from the radio tower, the signal gets weaker and weaker. But if I turn the car around and drive back into town, the signal becomes stronger and I can hear it again.
In the same way, we stop hearing God when we drift away from Him. But if we will turn around and come back to Him, we’ll hear His voice again. The closer we are to God, the clearer we can hear Him. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
On December 9, 1902, on Mt Desert Rock off the coast of Maine, a young lighthouse assistant awakened the lighthouse keeper to tell him that he thought he heard a steamboat whistle nearby. The two of them went out into the bitter cold and saw, on the tip of a rock ledge, what appeared to be a wrecked boat. The two men took a rope and fought their way through the icy wind until they saw a tugboat with several men aboard pinned to the rock. It took several attempts, but at last they reached the boat, and despite the frigid conditions, pulled 18 men to safety. Had the young assistant keeper not heard the whistle in the night, some of the crewmen might have perished, for the boat sank shortly after the last man was rescued. Afterwards, as the survivors warmed up and talked about their ordeal, they marveled that their distress whistle could even have been heard over the howling wind and pounding waves. One of the seamen remarked, “That whistle was the voice of God; and thankfully, someone heard it.” (LecAid ibid.) God speaks to us. And when you hear that word, it brings comfort, solace, strength, guidance, courage, and wisdom. God speaks to YOU. And when you hear that word, when you LISTEN to that word, when you RESPOND to that word, you have in your hands a strong rope to lead you over the most troubled waters. For God’s word is the word of life. This is the word of the Lord! AMEN.
An Old Man’s Wisdom
There is a story told of an old man and his grandson who were walking down a business street in a downtown district. As they walked along, the grandfather suddenly stopped, turned his head slightly, and tweaked his ear. After a moment he said to his grandson, “Follow me.”
They slowly moved from where they were standing to a small planter box next to a sidewalk café. The planter was filled with various seasonal plants, but as the old man gently pushed back the flowers, behind them revealed a small bird’s nest filled with baby chicks; their chirping almost indistinguishable from the din of lunchtime dinners and people on the sidewalk.
No one seemed to pay any attention to the old man, his grandson or the little nest, but the grandson was amazed. After watching for a few minutes and then moving away the little boy looked up at his grandfather.
“Grandpa, how did you hear the birds? There is so much noise, so much happening, how could you hear?”
Without saying a word the old man took several coins from his pocket and tossed them on the ground.
With the tinkling of the coins on the sidewalk it seemed everything came to a stop. People turned around. Diners stopped eating to look their way. Several almost seemed to want to reach down and pick up the dropped coins. Then as quickly as it had happened – everything went back to the way it was.
That’s when the old man spoke, “It’s all in what you are listening for, my child, its all in what you are listening for…”
Sometimes I think we are much like the crowd walking down the street. We fail to hear the most important things in life. We’ve filled our lives with so much noise that it’s difficult to hear anything anymore. And when we do hear, we often mistake what we are hearing for what we want to hear instead of what we should be hearing.
Remember this little bit of trivia: The word LISTEN has the same letters as the word SILENT!
I decided that for the next few blog posts, which I am going to share some great stories of friendships that I have found. When you read this (and other forthcoming stories), try to envision yourself in the environment and situation that these people were experiencing at the time. Hopefully, it will give you a “feel” of how they felt and why their story of friendship is so special.
The 1936 Olympics was held in Berlin, Germany. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party had risen to power three years earlier and were already to spread their evil beliefs of racism and hate. Hitler believed that the “perfect” person was from an Aryan race…a blue-eyed, blond haired, the perfect physique without any blemishes or handicaps.
Hitler saw the Games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy to the world. The official Nazi party newspaper wrote in the strongest terms that Jews and Black people should not be allowed to participate in the Games. However, when threatened with a boycott of the Games by other nations, Hitler relented and allowed Black people and Jews to participate.
After much deliberation and debate whether or not to boycott the Olympics, the United States and other nations decided to participate in the Games.
One of the American athletes was a Track and Field star named Jesse Owens and he was black. Jesse Owens seemed sure to win the long jump at the 1936 games. The year before he had jumped 26 feet, 8 1/4 inches — a record that would stand for 25 years.
As he walked to the long-jump pit, however, Owens saw a tall, blue eyed, blond German taking practice jumps in the 26-foot range. Owens felt nervous. He was acutely aware of the Nazis’ desire to prove “Aryan superiority,” especially over blacks. At this point, the tall German introduced himself as Luz Long. “You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed!” he said to Owens, referring to his two jumps. For the next few moments the black son of a sharecropper and the white model of Nazi manhood chatted. Then, Long made a suggestion. Since the qualifying distance was only 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches, why not make a mark several inches before the takeoff board and jump from there, just to play it safe? Owens did and qualified easily. In the finals Owens set an Olympic record and earned the second of four gold medals.
The first person to congratulate him was Luz Long — in full view of Adolf Hitler. Hitler was furious and embarrassed. Owens never again saw Long, who was sent out to the front lines and was killed in World War II. “You could melt down all the medals and cups I have,” Owens later wrote, “and they wouldn’t be a platting on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long.”
~ David Wallechinsky in The Complete Book of the Olympics ~
This is an amazing story of how a friendship trumped the hatred and racism of a nation and a crazy man’s ideology! How thankful are you of the friends that you have? Could your friendship(s) withstand the “storms” of life and the hard times that might come your way? How much can you go out of your way to be a friend to someone in unpleasant situations? REALLY good friends are hard to find…and if you have one…Be THANKFUL!
Sometimes, simple illustrations teach us simple but important life lessons…..
One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They waited anxiously at their desks for the test to begin. The professor handed out the question paper, with the text facing down as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked his students to turn the page and begin. To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions….just a black dot in the center of the page. The professor seeing the expression on everyone’s face, told them the following:
“I want you to write what you see there.”
The students confused, got started on the inexplicable task.
At the end of the class, the professor took all the answer papers and started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students. All of them with no exceptions, described the black dot, trying to explain its position in the middle of the sheet, etc. etc. etc. After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor began to explain:
“I am not going to grade on you this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same happens in our lives. We have a white paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus on the dark spots. Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and care, and we always have reasons to celebrate – nature renewing itself everyday, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood, the miracles we see everyday…….
However we insist on focusing only on the dark spots – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend etc
The dark spots are very small compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds.
Take your eyes away from the black spots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you.
Self-confidence and a strong belief in oneself and the things that you can achieve is a strong trait that an individual can have. When a person has a good self-image, they find that they can not only accomplish their goals but they can achieve things far and above anything that they ever imagined. In other words, sometimes a person who possess a high level of self-confidence, can discover something within themselves that they might not have thought never existed.
Today’s story is a great illustration of this power of self-confidence.
One of the greatest violinists of all time was named Niccolo Paganini. He was born in 1782 and he enjoyed a well-known and memorable career before his death in 1840.
One day as Paganini was about to perform before a packed opera house, he suddenly discovered that he had walked out on stage with the wrong violin. What he was holding was not his valued instrument but one that belonged to someone else. His cherished violin was made by the master violin maker, Guarneri.
Paganini was horrified and panic-stricken but knowing that he had no other choice, he began to play with all of the skill that he possessed. Everyone agreed, after the performance, that he had given a performance of a lifetime. When he finished his concert, the audience gave him a standing ovation.
After the concert, in his dressing room, he was praised and commended for his marvelous performance, Paganini replied, ” Today, I learned the most important lesson in my entire career. Before today, I thought the music was in my violin but today I learned that the music is in me.”
There has been an untold amount of research over the years that the power of positive thinking can have a fantastic effect on the way a person lives their life and how they feel about themselves. They have better self-esteem, self confidence, a healthier outlook with life, suffer less stress related illnesses, etc. Many successful individuals in all areas of life, become that way because of the approach that they have towards their life, the jobs they have, their faith, and other aspects of their life. For example, athletes use a method called “mental imagery” in which the athlete closes their eyes, visualize game situations that they would experience in real-life competitions, envision themselves reacting in certain ways, etc. Then, later on when they are actually playing in a actual game…they perform better because they have experienced the situations many times before.
Transversely, there is also the flip-side…the power of negative thinking. People fail many times because they either do not envision themselves at succeeding at a certain task or job, or they lack the confidence, motivation, or will-power to accomplish a specific goal.
Such is the case of the story of one the greatest tightrope walkers of all time, Karl Wallenda. He walked tightropes over great distances, high in the air, and he did so without a safety net.
As he grew older, Wallenda continued to do his death-defying walks. He performed the same breathtaking stunts up into his seventies that he had done as a young man in his twenties.
Then in 1978, he fell to his death while walking a tightrope between two buildings in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
His wife was interviewed on television several weeks later and was questioned about Wallenda’s fall.
“It was very strange,” she said, “For months prior to his performance, he thought about nothing else. But for the first time, he didn’t see himself succeeding. He saw himself failing.”
Mrs. Wallenda went on to say that he even went so far to personally check the installation and construction of the wire itself. “This,” she said, “was something Karl had never done previously.”
There seems little doubt that Karl Wallenda’s negative mental imagery and fears contributed to his failure.
The lesson and encouragement is this: Believe in yourself and be confident knowing that you will succeed with the tasks, jobs, and projects that may come your way. Stay strong and persevere when things or situations get tough and be assured, that you will be rewarded with the satisfaction knowing that you just enjoyed the power of positive thinking!