What Makes YOU Happy?

Mike Boswell

Photo Credit: Mike Boswell via CC Flickr

A crow lived in the forest and was absolutely satisfied in life. But one day he saw a swan. “This swan is so white,” he thought, “and I am so black. This swan must be the happiest bird in the world.”

He expressed his thoughts to the swan. “Actually,” the swan replied, “I was feeling that I was the happiest bird around until I saw a parrot, which has two colors. I now think the parrot is the happiest bird in creation.” The crow then approached the parrot. The parrot explained, “I lived a very happy life until I saw a peacock. I have only two colors, but the peacock has multiple colors.”

The crow then visited a peacock in the zoo and saw that hundreds of people had gathered to see him. After the people had left, the crow approached the peacock. “Dear peacock,” the crow said, “you are so beautiful. Every day thousands of people come to see you. When people see me, they immediately shoo me away. I think you are the happiest bird on the planet.”

The peacock replied, “I always thought that I was the most beautiful and happy bird on the planet. But because of my beauty, I am entrapped in this zoo. I have examined the zoo very carefully, and I have realized that the crow is the only bird not kept in a cage. So for past few days I have been thinking that if I were a crow, I could happily roam everywhere.”

That’s our problem too. We make unnecessary comparison with others and become sad. We don’t value what God has given us.  This all leads to the vicious cycle of unhappiness.  Learn to be happy in what you have instead of looking at what you don’t have.   There will always be someone who will have more or less than you have.  The person who is satisfied with what they have, are the happiest people in the world!

Are You REALLY Thankful?

Photo Credit: Peasap via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Peasap via CC Flickr

Every once in a while, I come across a short story or illustration that reminds me of things that I may have forgotten…such was the case when I found this brief tale. It made me remember really how fortunate that I am and how important it is to always give thanks and be thankful!

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels.

My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, ‘This Is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are Received.’

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.

The angel then said to me, ‘This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them.’

I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the Door of a very small station To my great surprise, only one angel was Seated there, idly doing nothing.

‘This is the Acknowledgment Section,’ My angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed ‘How Is it that there is no work going on here?’ I asked.

‘So sad,’ the angel sighed. ‘After people receive the blessings that they asked For, very few send back acknowledgments .’

‘How does one acknowledge God’s blessings?’ I asked.

‘Simple,’ the angel answered. Just say, ‘Thank you, Lord.’

‘What blessings should they acknowledge? ‘ I asked..

‘If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy .’

‘And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity. ‘

Also ‘ If you woke up this morning with more health than illness … You are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day .’

‘If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation .. You are ahead of 700 million people in the world.’ ;

‘If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three billion people In the world .’

‘If your parents are still alive and still married …you are very rare .’

‘If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you’re unique to all those in doubt and despair.’

Ok, what now? How can I start?

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Remember to always be thankful…and GIVE thanks!

Regrets of the Dying

Photo Credit: John Trumbull via Qikimedia

Photo Credit: John Trumbull via Qikimedia

I have bad news for you…someday you are going to pass away. We all are. It is just a part of life. The million dollar question is…how well are we living the life that we have been given? Are we doing everything that we can do to help others? Make a difference in this world? Are we satisfied with the way that we are living our lives? Is our soul at ease and at peace? Have you achieved all of your life’s goals and have done everything that you wanted to do?

Well, if you have answered “no” to a few of the questions that I previously mentioned, then I have GREAT NEWS…you still have time to do the things that you may want to do (or at least some of them). No one wants to pass from this earth or lay on their death bed, regretting the things that they could have done in their life or the ways that they could have treated others (or themselves) when they were still able to do so.

I read an article a week or so ago on Tip News (DNA, March 12, 2014) that talked about the regrets of the dying. It made me really think how fast my life is going and how life passed these people by, so fast, that they never had a chance to do the things that they always wanted to do and suffered great regret because of it. It is my hope and prayer that after you read the following article, it will inspire you to live your life in such a way, that in the end, you will have no regrets. What will you decide to do?

“For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly.

Choose happiness.”