TRUE STORIES

TRUE STORIES

Friday, 30 September 2016

Peace of mind

Once Buddha was walking from one town to another town with a few of his followers. This was in the initial days. While they were travelling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there and Buddha told one of his disciples, “I am thirsty. Do get me some water from that lake there.”

The disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed that some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy, very turbid. The disciple thought, “How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!” So he came back and told Buddha, “The water in there is very muddy. I don’t think it is fit to drink.”

After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water to drink. The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the lake had absolutely clear water in it. The mud had settled down and the water above it looked fit to be had. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said, “See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be ... and the mud settled down on its own – and you got clear water... Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don’t have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless.”

What did Buddha emphasize here? He said, “It is effortless.” Having 'peace of mind' is not a strenuous job; it is an effortless process. When there is peace inside you, that peace permeates to the outside. It spreads around you and in the environment, such that people around start feeling that peace and grace.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A Story Of Passover

A good Passover story should always involve cakes. Austrian baker Manfred Klaschka is the subject of this year’s story. He was in the news because of his most recent catalogue of cake designs; Klaschka is a pastry specialist.

Of course, Austrian pastries are famous the world over. Now, pastry baker Manfred Klaschka’s most recent catalogue of such tasty delights was in the news this week because it included cakes decorated with swastikas – as well as one with a baby raising its right arm in a Nazi salute.

Herr Klaschka insists he is not a Nazi. After the news story broke, he even met with a Holocaust awareness group, and apologized for what he had done, and he then baked a cake to say he was sorry – a cake with Jewish and Christian symbols. The point of the story – the bit I found interesting – is Herr Klaschka’s explanation for what he did.

"I see it was a mistake, anyone who knows me knows what kind of person I am. I am no Nazi", said Klaschka, who had earlier said he was just a pastry maker fulfilling his customers’ wishes. Fulfilling his customers’ wishes? There is a market in Austria in 2011 for cakes with babies raising their arms in Nazi salutes, cakes with swastikas on them? There are parties where people serve such cakes? Maybe birthday parties for babies?

Of course there are such people, and there are such parties, and because of that, there is a market – there is consumer demand – for swastika cakes. Which is why Herr Klaschka was happy to bake them. And not only in Austria.

You may remember the case of the Campbell family from New Jersey.

When Kurt Waldheim was exposed as a war criminal his popularity rose. The neo-Nazi Freedom Party headed by the late Jorg Haider, won 27% of the vote in the 2000 elections and became part of the coalition government – the first time since 1945 that Nazis had sat in a European government.

But this never happened in New Jersey – which is why I want to talk about the Campbell family. The Campbell family in New Jersey made the news back in 2008 when they tried to get a birthday cake made for their son — they have a son and two daughters — at the local Shop Rite in Holland Township.The store refused their request.

And the reason was that Mr. Campbell wanted the cake to read "Happy birthday Adolf Hitler". Because, you see, his son’s name was Adolf Hitler Campell. One of the daughters is named is named JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell. Well, you get the point.

When I read about the Austrian baker Manfred Klaschka, I thought – here was a marketing opportunity for him. He would have happily baked a cake for the Campbell family. So what does all this have to do with Passover?

This week, when we are forbidden to eat Sachertore or Linzer tort or even the delightfully named Punschkrapfen, we might want to pause and think about something we say every year at the Passover seder: 'In every generation it is the duty of man to consider himself as if he had come forth from Egypt'.

Because in this generation, as in all others, there are those who order custom-made swastika cakes. There are those who name their children after Adolf Hitler. And there are others who fire anti-tank missiles at school busses with Jewish children in them. Because there are those who are building nuclear weapons, having told the world that their intention is to wipe the Jewish state off the face of the earth. Because people like that make Pharaoh look like a nice guy. Because getting out of the house of bondage, out of slavery in Egypt, was not the end of the story for the Jewish people, but was the beginning.

It is a story of a never-ending struggle for freedom, for dignity, for respect, for human rights, that has universal resonance and meaning — for all people, everywhere, always.

Source: Eric Lee

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Two Frog in The Milk

This is the story of two frogs. One frog was fat and the other skinny. One day, while searching for food, they inadvertently jumped into a vat of milk. They couldn't get out, as the sides were too slippery, so they were just swimming around.

The fat frog said to the skinny frog, "Brother frog, there's no use paddling any longer. We're just going to drown, so we might as well give up." The skinny frog replied, "Hold on brother, keep paddling. Somebody will get us out." And they continued paddling for hours.

After a while, the fat frog said, "Brother frog, there's no use. I'm becoming very tired now. I'm just going to stop paddling and drown. It's Sunday and nobody's working. We're doomed. There's no possible way out of here." But the skinny frog said, "Keep trying. Keep paddling. Something will happen, keep paddling." Another couple of hours passed.

The fat frog said, "I can't go on any longer. There's no sense in doing it because we're going to drown anyway. What's the use?" And the fat frog stopped. He gave up. And he drowned in the milk. But the skinny frog kept on paddling.

Ten minutes later, the skinny frog felt something solid beneath his feet. He had churned the milk into butter and he hopped out of the vat.

Author: Melissa D Zartman

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Every Bucket Counts

Once day, having learned that the King of Fez was hunting lions in the neighbourhood, they decided to invite him and his court, and killed a number of sheep in his honour. The sovereign had dinner and went to bed. Wishing to show their generosity, they placed a huge goatskin bottle before his door and agreed to fill it up with milk for the royal breakfast.

The villagers all had to milk their goats and then each of them had to tip his bucket into the container. Given its great size, each of them said to himself that he might just as well dilute his milk with a good quantity of water without anyone noticing.

To the extent that, in the morning, such a thin liquid was poured out for the king and his court that it had no taste than the taste of meanness and greed.

Source: "Leo The African" by Amin Maalouf

Monday, 26 September 2016

A turn of a screw

There was an industrialist whose production line inexplicably breaks down, costing him millions per day. He finally tracks down an expert who takes out a screwdriver, turns one screw, and then - as the factory cranks back to life - presents a bill for £10,000.

Affronted, the factory owner demands an itemised version. The expert is happy to oblige: "For turning a screw: £1. For knowing which screw to turn: £9,999."

Author: Oliver Burkeman in "The Guardian Weekend", 13 August 2011

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Your Influence on the Universe

I read the first chapter of "A Brief History Of Time" when Dad was still alive, and I got incredibly heavy boots about how relatively insignificant life is, and how, compared to the universe and compared to time, it didn't even matter if I existed at all.

When Dad was tucking me in that night and we were talking about the book, I asked if he could think of a solution to that problem. "What problem?" "The problem of how relatively insignificant we are."

He said, "Well, what would happen if a plane dropped you in the middle of the Sahara Desert and you picked up a single grain of sand with tweezers and moved it one millimetre?" I said, "I'd probably die of dehydration." He said, "I just mean right then, when you moved that single grain of sand. What would that mean?"

I said, "I dunno, what?" He said. "Think about it." I thought about it. "I guess I would have moved a grain of sand." "Which would mean?" "Which would mean I moved a grain of sand?" "Which would mean you changed the Sahara."

"So?" "So?" So the Sahara is a vast desert. And it has existed for million of years. And you changed it!" "That's true!" I said, sitting up. "I changed the Sahara!"

"Which means?" he said. "What? Tell me." "Well, I'm not talking about painting the Mona Lisa or curing cancer. I'm just talking about moving that one grain of sand one millimetre."

"Yeah?" "If you hadn't done it, human history would have been one way ..." "Uh-huh?" "But, you did do it, so ...?"

I stood on the bed, pointed my fingers at the fake stars, and screamed: "I changed the universe!" "You did."


Source: "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later.

Friday, 23 September 2016

The hedgehogs

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold.

The hedgehogs, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.

After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.

Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Tiger's Whisker

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit's end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soulmate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.

As Yun Ok approached the hermit's hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: "I hear you. What's your problem?"

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, "Ah yes, it's often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?"

"Make me a potion!" cried the young wife. "Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be."

The old man turned around. "Young woman, your request doesn't exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection."

"I know", said she.

"It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then."

Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit's hut. "Yun Ok", he greeted her with a smile, "I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger."

"What?" she gasped. "Such a thing is impossible!"

"I cannot make the potion without it!" he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. "There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I'm very busy."

That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger - and not a smaller mountain creature - had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger's head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she'd have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

"Actually", she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, "it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it." The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: "Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?" While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit's hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: "I have it! I have the tiger's whisker!"

"You don't say?" he said, turning around. "From a live tiger?"

"Yes!" she said.

"Tell me", said the hermit, interested. "How did you do it?"

Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.


"Yun Ok", the hermit said softly, "you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?"

Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.

Source: Korean fable

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Two Hospital Patients

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 holiday.

And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate 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 colour 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 colour 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. Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body 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 for 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."

Saturday, 17 September 2016

The law of garbage truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!

The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck'.

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally, just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

Friday, 16 September 2016

I wanted change the world

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

Author: unknown monk around 1100 AD

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Last Ride

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes, I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift, I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.

'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.' 'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?' 'It's not the shortest way',' I answered quickly. 'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice.' I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left', she continued in a soft voice. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

'What route would you like me to take?' I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now'. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. 'How much do I owe you?' She asked, reaching into her purse. 'Nothing', I said 'You have to make a living', she answered. 'There are other passengers', I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. 'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy', she said. 'Thank you.' I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.

Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware - beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.


Author: New York City taxi driver

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Two Lumberjacks

It was the annual lumberjack competition and the final was between an older, experienced lumberjack and a younger, stronger lumberjack. The rule of the competition was quite simply who could fell the most trees in a day was the winner.

The younger lumberjack was full of enthusiasm and went off into the wood and set to work straight away. He worked all through the day and all through the night. As he worked, he could hear the older lumberjack working in another part of the forest and he felt more and more confident with every tree he felled that he would win.

At regular intervals throughout the day, the noise of trees being felled coming from the other part of the forest would stop. The younger lumberjack took heart from this, knowing that this meant the older lumberjack was taking a rest, whereas he could use his superior youth and strength and stamina to keep going.

At the end of the competition, the younger lumberjack felt confident he had won. He looked in front of him at the piles of felled trees that were the result of his superhuman effort.

At the medal ceremony, he stood on the podium confident and expecting to be awarded the prize of champion lumberjack. Next to him stood the older lumberjack who looked surprisingly less exhausted than he felt.

When the results were read out, he was devastated to hear that the older lumberjack had chopped down significantly more trees than he had. He turned to the older lumber jack and said: “How can this be? I heard you take a rest every hour and I worked continuously through the night. What's more, I am stronger and fitter than you old man”.

The older lumberjack turned to him and said: “Every hour, I took a break to rest and sharpen my saw”



 - Sent from Inspirational Short Stories (android app), https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.inspirational.stories.personality.development

The other side of the wall

There was a young woman who took great pride in the growth and care of the flowers in her flower garden. She had been raised by her grandmother who taught her to love and care for flowers as she herself had done. So, like her grandmother, her flower garden was second to none.

One day while looking through a flower catalogue she often ordered from, a picture of a plant immediately caught her eye. She had never seen blooms on a flower like that before. “I have to have it,” she said to herself, and she immediately ordered it.

When it arrived, she already had a place prepared to plant it. She planted it at the base of a stone wall at the back of her yard. It grew vigorously, with beautiful green leaves all over it, but there were no blooms. Day after day she continued to cultivate it, water it, feed it, and she even talked to it attempting to coax it to bloom. But, it was to no avail.

One morning weeks later, as she stood before the vine, she contemplated how disappointed she was that her plant had not bloomed. She was giving considerable thought to cutting it down and planting something else in its place.

It was at this point that her invalid neighbor, whose lot joined hers, called over to her. “Thank you so much! You can’t imagine how much I have enjoyed the blooms of that vine you planted.” The young woman walked through the gate into her neighbor’s yard, and sure enough, she saw that on the other side of the wall the vine was filled with blooms.

There were indeed the most beautiful blooms she had ever seen. The vine had crept through the crevices and it had not flowered on her side of the fence, it had flowered luxuriantly on the other side.

Just because you cannot see the good result of your labour does not mean that it bore no fruit.

Author: Randy Reynolds

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Two brothers

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labour and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?" "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighboor. In fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down anyhow."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you." The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.

The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge - a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work - handrails and all - and the neighbour, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done." The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand.

They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, " but I have many more bridges to build."

Everyday we have the choice of building fences or bridges. One leads to isolation and the other to openness.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

How to change the world

The ninth week of SEAL training is referred to as Hell Week. It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and one special day at the Mud Flats. The Mud Flats are an area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slues—a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing-cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure from the instructors to quit. As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some "egregious infraction of the rules" was ordered into the mud. The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit—just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold.

Looking around the mud flat, it was apparent that some students were about to give up. It was still over eight hours till the sun came up—eight more hours of bone-chilling cold. The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything. And then, one voice began to echo through the night—one voice raised in song. The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm. One voice became two, and two became three, and before long everyone in the class was singing. We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well. The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing—but the singing persisted. And somehow, the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away.

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan named Malala—can change the world by giving people hope.

So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you're up to your neck in mud.

Source: The commencement address by Admiral William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at the University of Texas at Austin on 17 May 2014

Friday, 9 September 2016

The magical mustard seed

There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and asked, "What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?"

Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, "Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life." The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed.

She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, "I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me."

They told her, "You've certainly come to the wrong place," and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them.

The woman said to herself, "Who is better able to help these poor, unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my my own?"

She stayed to comfort them, then went on in search of a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hotels and in other places, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune.

The woman became so involved in helping others cope with their sorrows that she eventually let go of her own. She would later come to understand that it was the quest to find the magical mustard seed that drove away her suffering.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

What love is all about

It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman, in his 80s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry and that he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs, and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On exam it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redressed his wound. While taking care of him, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor's appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for awhile and was a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.

As we talked and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, and hadn't recognized him in five years. I was surprised, and asked him, "And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?" He smiled and patted my hand and said, "She doesn't know me, but I still know who she is." 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Women

They smile when they want to scream.
        They sing when they want to cry.
        They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
        They fight for what they believe in.
        They stand up for injustice.
        They don’t take “no” for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
        They go without new shoes so their children can have them.
        They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
        They love unconditionally.
        They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.
        They are happy when they hear about a birth or a new marriage.
        Their hearts break when a friend dies.
        They have sorrow at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
        They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
        Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes.
        They’ll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.
        The heart of a woman is what makes the world spin!
        Women do more than just give birth.
        They bring joy and hope. They give compassion and ideals.
        They give moral support to their family and friends.
        Women have a lot to say and a lot to give.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

A Smile

A smile costs nothing, but gives much.

        It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give.

        It takes a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

        None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor, but that he can be made rich by it.

        A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friendship.

        It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and it is nature’s best antidote for trouble.

        Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone, until it is given away.

        Some people are too tired to give you a smile;

        Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

 - Sent from Inspirational Short Stories
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.inspirational.stories.personality.development

Monday, 5 September 2016

Life

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become.

        You never know who these people may be – a roommate, a neighbor, a professor, a friend, a lover, or even a complete stranger – but when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment they will affect your life in some profound way.

        Sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart.

        Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved straight flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.

        The people you meet who affect your life, and the success and downfalls you experience, help to create who you are and who you become. Even the bad experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are sometimes the most important ones.

        If someone loves you, give love back to them in whatever way you can, not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to things.

        If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart.

        Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people that you have never talked to before, and listen to what they have to say.

        Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don’t believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you.

        You can make anything you wish of your life. Create your own life and then go out and live it with absolutely no regrets.

        And if you love someone tell them, for you never know what tomorrow may have in store.

        Learn a lesson in life each day that you live!

        Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday.

        Think About it? Was it worth it?

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Value and Invest in yourself

If you are into financial investment, you’re probably very familiar with Mr. Warren Buffet (1951–present). He is the most successful investor in the world. His investment strategies are legendary and many people seek to learn after him.

        Even more respectable, he pledged to give away 99% of his wealth (more than $30 billions at the time of the pledge in 2006) to non-profit foundations, mostly to Bill Gate’s Foundation.

        Mr. Buffet often travels to universities to give speeches to educate and motivate students. Here is one of his speeches to teach us the value of our body, to invest in ourselves, in education for a great future.

        Imagine that a Genie offers you any car in the world. The catch is that it is the only car you will ever own. What would you do?

        You would read the manual ten times, change the oil twice as often as required, and you would take fastidious care so that that car remained the car of your dreams forever.

        Think about what this tells you about your body.

        You get only one mind and one body–the same ones you will have at 20, 40, 60, etc.

        Take care of them and maximize their potential. It will be too late to take care of your body and mind (and car) later on. You can maintain them, but it is hard or impossible to undo big mistakes or negligence later on. You do not want to end up with a wreck on your hands.

        Your main asset in life is yourself.

        Treat yourself as a valuable asset. I often explain to students that I would be willing to pay today for a percentage of the future earnings of good students.

        If you value yourself, and invest in yourself, you will be worth a great deal through out your lifetime, both to yourself and to your community.

        Author: Warren Buffet

Friday, 2 September 2016

Benefits of struggling

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

        Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily.

        But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

        Neither happened!

        In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

        It never was able to fly.

        What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

        Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If God allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.

        And we could never fly.

Mother Teresa Quotes

“We forget that forgiveness is greater than revenge. People make mistakes.
        We are allowed to make mistakes. But the actions we take while in a rage will haunt us forever.

        Pause and ponder. Think before you act. Be patient. Forgive and forget. Love one and all.

        If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

        “Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

        “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”

        “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”

        “It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us.

        It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home.

        Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.”

        “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”

        “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

        “It is a kingly act to assist the fallen.”

        “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

        “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

        “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

        “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

        “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

        “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do… but how much love we put in that action.”

        “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

        “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

        “Peace begins with a smile.”

        “Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.”

        “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

        “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”

        “Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”

        “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”

        “I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”

        “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

        “I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.”

        “There must be a reason why some people can afford to live well. They must have worked for it. I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things that we could use.”

        “The greatest destroyer of peace is abortion because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing between.”

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The doll and the white rose

I was walking around in a Target store, when I saw a Cashier hand this little boy some money back. The boy couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old. The Cashier said, “I’m sorry, but you don’t have enough money to buy this doll.” Then the little boy turned to the old woman next to him: ”Granny, are you sure I don’t have enough money?” The old lady replied: ”You know that you don’t have enough money to buy this doll, my dear.” Then she asked him to stay there for just 5 minutes while she went to look a round. She left quickly.

        The little boy was still holding the doll in his hand. Finally, I walked toward him and I asked him who he wished to give this doll to. It’s the doll that my sister loved most and wanted so much for Christmas. She was sure that Santa Claus would bring it to her. I replied to him that maybe Santa Claus would bring it to her after all, and not to worry. But he replied to me sadly. “No, Santa Claus can’t bring it to her where she is now. I have to give the doll to my mommy so that she can give it to my sister when she goes there.”

        His eyes were so sad while saying this. “My Sister has gone to be with God. Daddy says that Mommy is going to see God very soon too, so I thought that she could take the doll with her to give it to my sister.” My heart nearly stopped. The little boy looked up at me and said: “I told daddy to tell mommy not to go yet. I need her to wait until I come back from the mall.” Then he showed me a very nice photo of him where he was laughing. He then told me “I want mommy to take my picture with her so she won’t forget me.” “I love my mommy and I wish she doesn’t have to leave me, but daddy says that she has to go to be with my little sister.” Then he looked again at the doll with sad eyes, very quietly.

        I quickly reached for my wallet and said to the boy. “Suppose we check again, just in case you do have enough money for the doll?” “OK” he said, “I hope I do have enough.” I added some of my money to his without him seeing and we started to count it. There was enough for the doll and even some spare money. The little boy said: “Thank you God for giving me enough money!” Then he looked at me and added, “I asked last night before I went to sleep for God to make sure I had enough money to buy this doll, so that mommy could give It to my sister. He heard me!” “I also wanted to have enough money to buy a white rose for my mommy, but I didn’t dare to ask God for too much. But He gave me enough to buy the doll and a white rose.” “My mommy loves white roses.”

        A few minutes later, the old lady returned and I left with my basket. I finished my shopping in a totally different state from when I started. I couldn’t get the little boy out of my mind. Then I remembered a local news paper article two days ago, which mentioned a drunk man in a truck, who hit a car occupied by a young woman and a little girl. The little girl died right away, and the mother was left in a critical state. The family had to decide whether to pull the plug on the life-sustaining machine, because the young woman would not be able to recover from the coma. Was this the family of the little boy? Two days after this encounter with the little boy, I read in the news paper that the young woman had passed away. I couldn’t stop myself as I bought a bunch of white roses and I went to the funeral home where the body of the young woman was exposed for people to see and make last wishes before her burial. She was there, in her coffin, holding a beautiful white rose in her hand with the photo of the little boy and the doll placed over her chest. I left the place, teary-eyed, feeling that my life had been changed forever. The love that the little boy had for his mother and his sister is still, to this day, hard to imagine. And in a fraction of a second, a drunk driver had taken all this away from him.

        The value of a man or woman resides in what he or she gives, not in what they are capable of receiving…