Archive for October, 2007

Animals At Play

October 31, 2007

Watch this incredible 2-minute slideshow in which Stuart Brown describes German photographer Norbert Rosing‘s striking images of a wild polar bear playing with sled dogs in the wilds of Canada’s Hudson Bay (Churchill, Manitoba).

Elsewhere, there is an old tale on the same theme involving a family of dogs and a squirrel. [what snope says about this]

Strength & Courage

October 31, 2007

It takes strength to be firm.
It takes courage to be gentle.

It takes strength to stand guard.
It takes courage to let down your guard.

It takes strength to conquer.
It takes courage to surrender.

It takes strength to be certain.
It takes courage to have doubt.

It takes strength to fit in.
It takes courage to stand out.

It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain.
It takes courage to feel your own pain.

It takes strength to hide your own pains.
It takes courage to show them.

It takes strength to endure abuse.
It takes courage to stop it.

It takes strength to stand alone.
It takes courage to lean on another.

It takes strength to love.
It takes courage to be loved.

It takes strength to survive.
It takes courage to live.

[Author unknown]

Violence in Schools

October 30, 2007

[An extract from Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Advice Book]

Rinpoche gave this advice to the director of a school in Switzerland for dealing with violence at school.

For half an hour a week, or up to one hour, have a meeting about achieving a better quality of life and peace of mind and happiness in life. Discuss the importance of a good heart for teachers and for children.
(more…)

Simple Gestures Of Solace

October 30, 2007

[From DailyOM]

Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.

Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them.

Should we begin to feel the urge arise to offer advice or repair a situation, we can take a few deep breaths, let the impulse pass, and bring our attention back to the present. Even though we may want to do more, we do not have to do anything other than this to be a good friend.

The more we are attuned to what our loved ones are feeling, the more capable we are of truly giving what is best for them in their hour of need. Keeping things simple helps us give the part of ourselves that is capable of the greatest amount of compassion—open ears and an understanding heart.

A Glimpse of Singapore’s Past

October 29, 2007

Without A Net

October 29, 2007

[From DailyOM]

As we create the life of our dreams, we often reach a crossroads where the choices seem to involve the risk of facing the unknown versus the safety and comfort of all that we have come to trust. We may feel like a tightrope walker, carefully teetering along the narrow path to our goals, sometimes feeling that we are doing so without a net. Knowing we have some backup may help us work up the courage to take those first steps, until we are secure in knowing that we have the skills to work without one. But when we live our lives from a place of balance and trust in the universe, we may not see our source of support, but we can know that it is there.

If we refuse to act only if we can see the safety net, we may be allowing the net to become a trap as it creates a barrier between us and the freedom to pursue our goals. Change is inherent in life, so even what we have learned to trust can surprise us at any moment. Remove fear from the equation and then, without even wondering what is going on below, we can devote our full attention to the dream that awaits us.

We attract support into our lives when we are willing to make those first tentative steps, trusting that the universe will provide exactly what we need. In that process we can decide that whatever comes from our actions is only for our highest and best experience of growth. It may come in the form of a soft landing, an unexpected rescue or an eye-opening experience gleaned only from the process of falling. So rather than allowing our lives to be dictated by fear of the unknown, or trying to avoid falling, we can appreciate that sometimes we experience life fully when we are willing to trust and fall. And in doing so, we may just find that we have the wings to fly.

When we believe that there is a reason for everything, we are stepping out with the safety net of the universe, and we know we will make the best from whatever comes our way.

Points to Ponder

October 26, 2007

[Click on the image below to read the current quote from Master Zheng Yan in English and Chinese. Site says it changes every Monday.]

We All Need A Tree!

October 25, 2007

I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start.

While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation.. His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.

Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, those troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children.. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again.” “Funny thing is,” he smiled,” when I come out in the morning to pick ’em up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. We all need a tree!

I Wrote Your Name

October 25, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I wrote your name on a piece of paper, but by accident I threw it away..
I wrote your name on my hand, but it washed away.
I wrote your name in the sand, but the waves whispered it away.
I wrote your name in my heart, and forever it will stay.
I believe in angels,
The kind that heaven sends.
I’m surrounded by angels,
But I call them my friends.

You Do Make The Difference

October 25, 2007

If each grain of sand were to say:
One grain does not make a mountain,
There would be no land.

If each drop of water were to say :
One drop does not make an ocean,
There would be no sea.

 If each note of music were to say:
Each note does not make a symphony,
there would be no melody.

If each word were to say :
One word does not make a library,
There would be no book.

If each brick were to say :
One brick does not make a wall,
There would be no house.

If each seed were to say:
One seed does not make a field,
There would be no harvest.

If each of us were to say :
One person does not make the difference,
There would never be love and peace on earth.

You do make the difference.

Empowered Forgiveness

October 24, 2007

[From DailyOM]

In life there will always be times when we are affected by the actions of another person. When this happens, we often receive an apology. More often than not we say, “It’s alright,” or “ It’s okay,” and by saying this we are allowing, accepting, and giving permission for the behavior to happen again. When we say “thank you,” or “I accept your apology,” we are forced to sit in our feelings rather than ignore them.

There are many of us who feel that it is easier to brush off how we really feel than to express our discomfort with something that has happened to us. While this may initially seem like the best thing to do, what it really does is put us into an unending pattern of behavior; since we are not honest with another person, we continue the cycle of letting them overstep our emotional limits time and time again.

By doing this we place ourselves in the position of victim. We can put an end to this karmic chain by first acknowledging to the other person that we accept their request for forgiveness; often a simple “thank you” is enough. To truly create a greater sense of harmony in our relationship, however, we need to gently, and with compassion, express our innermost concerns about what has transpired. By taking a deep breath and calling upon the deepest parts of our spirit, we can usually find the right words to say and verbalize them in a way that lets the other person recognize the consequences of what they have done.

If we can remember that our response to others is important, we can begin to realize that trust and forgiveness go hand in hand. And when we react in a way that engenders a greater amount of honesty and candor, we will establish a more positive and empowering way of being and interacting others.

Stories of Thien

October 23, 2007

[A tale from the book by Venerable Hue Can and Nick Mills]

In his Early sermons Buddha told this following story :

Once there was a rich old man who had four wives. One day the man was very ill. Knowing that death was coming soon, he summoned all the wives and declared, “When I was well I loved you all dearly. I provided you all with luxuries that no girl in the town would ever dream of. I made sure that all of you had servants to wait on your every need. Now I’m about to die. I feel very lonely. My wish is that you join me when I die.”

He expected that the youngest and most recent wife, who he favoured, would happily responded to his wish. Yet her answer was, “My dear husband, I am sure that your adore me the most. You keep me with you at all times, both day and night. I appreciate your love so I’ll see you off at the door.”

The man was deeply disappointed. He looked at his third wife with hope. The woman replied, “You neglected me most of the time. You only showed interest in me for your own benefit, whenever I could render you a service or appreciate your generosity. nevertheless, to show my gratitude I will see you off at the gate.”

The man turned his desperate look to the second wife. The woman said, “When you were well wherever you went, although you didn’t take me like the fourth sister, you always mentioned my name to everybody. Often you boasted about me. For that consideration I will see you off at the service and accompany you to your last moment at the cemetery.”

Three remained the first wife whose existence te man always ignored. To his surprise the woman said, “I’m your first wife. I was betrothed to you when I was very little. Since then my duty has been to be with you, although you forget me all the time. But I will never separate from you. Be assured that whenever you go, I will be your loyal companion.”

The man signed his last breath.

Buddha concluded the story as follows :

We sentient beings, regardless of gender, have these four wives. Who are they ? The fourth wife — money. The third wife — family and friends. The second wife — fame. The first wife — your karma.

Karma is an action which is continuously repeated to form a habit. Eventually we accept its outcome. Karma can be changed. All you need is to be strong and determined to detach from your habits.

Save Your Sanity: Three Simple Ways

October 23, 2007

[By Cait Johnson, author of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air]

Modern life is pretty crazy: Too much stress, too much information, too much speed, too much too much. And many of us are so relentlessly busy. Who has time to read all the self-help books that get churned out every season? Can’t we somehow boil down it all down into something we have time for? Yes, we can. Try these three simple sanity-savers to feel more at peace with yourself and the world:

  1. Slow Down.
    Stop what you’re doing. Breathe. Close your eyes. Listen to the sounds where you are. Can you identify them? Now allow your imagination to fill with the image of a beautiful place in nature. It could be one you’ve actually seen, or one you’ve seen in photographs or a movie, or one you have only imagined.
    Walk there (or sit or lie down) and experience it with as many of your senses as you can imagine. What does it smell like? Feel like? What season is it? What time of day? What plants are growing there? Enjoy this nature break as often as you can. If you have access to the real thing, spend time outside simply observing the sky, the changing vegetation. Allow your mind to rest.
    Most of us race through life in a blur of activity. Simply slowing down for five minutes and replacing frantic mental images with a calming picture of nature can be a lifesaving stress reducer.
  2. Pay Attention to Your Body.
    Close your eyes. Scan your body from the top of your head down to your toes. Where is a feeling or a sensation coming up? Go to anyplace that feels something–a twinge, an itch, numbness or tingling–and just be with it, without trying to fix it or label it. Just allow it to be, held in your open and compassionate attention. Imagine the feeling speaking to you, telling you what it needs, or what it wants you to know.
    Many of us are not even really in our bodies, only in our heads. Every moment of every day, our bodies are sending us signals, which all too often we ignore. Paying attention to our precious bodies is a wonderful healing practice. We can get in the habit of spending just a few minutes of every day doing this.
  3. Be Kind to Others.
    Do something kind for someone else. This may sound like just one more thing on the endless To Do list, but they can be very simple things: Calling a distant friend to say hi, holding the door for someone, picking up and recycling the empty water bottle on the sidewalk, smiling at a grouchy checkout clerk, repeating the compliment about a friend that you overheard. Or you could perform an act of service: Cook a meal for a shut-in, take out the garbage for an elderly neighbor, clean up a local park, offer to babysit for a frazzled single mom. Doing something kind for someone else has a profoundly uplifting effect–and it is often wonderfully contagious.
    We can remake the world in a kinder, more compassionate image when we take the first step and perform simple acts of kindness for others.

Empowering Feminine Energy

October 23, 2007

[From DailyOM]

So often in our world we tend to think of strength as a quality that arises from a place of firm determination and a will to succeed no matter the cost. Even though we might want to think of a strong woman as being defined in this way, what really makes a woman confident is her capacity for listening to her true self and being able to call upon her feminine wisdom to any situation that may arise. A woman does not need to step into an assertive role or act like a man in order to be effective at what she does—she simply needs to get in touch with her insight and sense of compassion to truly demonstrate the depth of her strength.

Listening to the feminine side of ourselves may not seem easy at first for this type of energy is something that is often overlooked in many aspects of our everyday lives. If we can connect with this part of who we are, however, we will find that there is an unlimited wellspring of strength available to us. Our capacity to tap into our intuition and listen to our inner guides, to take into account the needs of those around us, and to view a situation with compassion and love are ways that we can show the world the true power that is part of our feminine nature. When we learn to integrate this source of strength into our daily tasks and decision-making, we will find that we can be more flexible and open to the things that happen around us and more receptive to new ideas. Not only will we see the world in a different light, but we will truly start to realize the potential for this form of energy to both empower ourselves and those around us.

As we cultivate our feminine energy we can redefine the meaning of strength. By embracing our feminine power as something that is strong in its own right, we are able to use it with true assurance and determination and draw upon what truly belongs to us.

Candle of Light

October 22, 2007

[Author: Mona Adams — cancer survivor]

Be a candle of light;
To someone today.
Bring hope and care;
Along their way.

Reach out your hand;
To a survivor’s path,
Help them now;
To smile and laugh.

For love is healing,
No greater gift.
Found in a heart;
Who gave a lift.