Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections

Beauty Around Us

Recently as we were browsing for a gift for new home owners in the neighbourhood, the choices were based on whether to get a gift for its’ usefulness or for decorative purpose. Going through the choices for both, one would be struck on how has changed to match the beauty, aesthetics, colours and background of the new era; to the extent that most of our homes can be labelled “ancient”. Today the sense of style and beauty evolves at a fast rate, so that new of today is “old of tomorrow”, not “next month”.

“Walking in the mountains helps me unwind, but it also reminds me in a painful way that the real beauty in life is nature and animals, and that the human race, in all its arrogance, is intent on destroying it.” Sylvie Guillem

No matter how old we grow or how modern we become, nature in her elements never fails to make us appreciate the true beauty of life. From time to time when we stop with surprise at her magnificent marvels; we never fail to appreciate her wonder. The churning waves, the coloured hue of maple leaves, the first snow, the shining of the sun on frost, the changing shapes and white of the clouds, the colors of the sky are just few of the many artistic marvels of nature.

“I appreciate simplicity, true beauty that lasts over time, and a little wit and eclecticism that make life more fun.” Elliott Erwitt

We all are immersed in beauty for the world is unbearably beautiful; just that we don’t pay enough attention to it. True beauty is the world created for us. People with their lively nature of laughing eyes, songs and honest laughter, small children running about with joy and fun, birds chirping in the morning; all these are few of the many things that we miss or take for granted daily. Everything that is beautiful and wonderful is realized when we pay attention. For the artist is not the one who can draw, the artist is the one who is able to notice the beauty of the surrounding world.

“I think that it’s when we step out of the road, step outside the box, become our own person, and we walk fearlessly down paths other people wouldn’t look at, that true progress comes. And sometimes true beauty as well.” JohnMcAfee

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Posted in Family and Society, Life, poetry, Reflections, Work

For “Better” Tomorrow

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Many of us keep planners and appointments, sometimes a s a part of our work requirements and other times to get our work done. Not to get the context wrong, keeping planners is important for without a plan, one would be steered wrong and get lost in the chaos. Yet as life will teach us, there are certain that we can’t keep postponing or rescheduling waiting for the “better tomorrow”.

As we go about our day, keeping a continuous watch on our humaneness is a must irrespective of whether we are in a lack of time or stressed and so on. The more we make excuses, the higher the chances that things will be put off again for the “next tomorrow”. The joy of the gift of “present” or “today” is realized only when we look back at the “yesterday” from the “tomorrows” that we enter. Unless we learn to treat the relationships of today with respect, give time for oneself today and be kind now; there would be no guarantee that tomorrow we may be able to do so. Being aware of this is important as “Time” is known for its fickle nature.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Learn from it… tomorrow is a new day.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We think tomorrow we will be more diligent
And better, more useful, kind
Today we are rude, but tomorrow we are gentle,
After all, tomorrow we will be wiser.

Tomorrow we will see an old friend,
And tomorrow we will write to our relatives.
And tomorrow we will do someone a favor,
Not only our own, but someone else’s.

Tomorrow we will forgive each other without reproach,
And tomorrow we will understand each other.
And tomorrow we will apply the whole experience of spiritual lessons,
and will carry it out!

Tomorrow we will repent in the life of a barren
In the last death-delirium.
Dress naked, feed the hungry,
Share someone else’s need.

So in the plans for tomorrow, then hidden in the fog,
Year after year is carried away …
And what if tomorrow takes and deceives?
What if it doesn’t come at all?

Vera Kushnir

Posted in Christian, Life, Personal Musings, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Proportioning the Ingredients

Life offers its’ own share of ups and downs. At certain phases we feel swamped by the “n” number of “downs” we may be going through. Yet little do we realize that what happens to us may not be in our hands to a certain extent, how we react to it is. And this makes all the difference in the world, of whether we would be able to bring the “downs” to “ups” or reverse the trend of “falls” to our benefit.

The boy complains to his grandmother about his bad life: about problems at school, with his parents, with health. And the grandmother at this time is preparing to eat. She asks her grandson if he is hungry, if she wants something to eat. “Of course,” the grandson replies.
Then the grandmother says:” Here, take the margarine. “
“Foo,” the grandson protests.
– Maybe two raw eggs? – offers grandmother.
– Well, granny!
“What about flour and soda?” – trying to grandmother.
“Granny,” her grandson reasoned, “All this is inedible.”
To which the grandmother responds, ” That’s right, individually, these products are not very tasty, but if they are properly combined, they will make an amazingly tasty cake!”

Likewise for all the sufferings, trials and tribulations; something will come out of it as long as we believe, trust, hope and have faith that things will turn out to be fine eventually. For by His recipe, in the end, something extraordinary will come out.

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World

Echoes In Us

“A boy and a girl were playing together. The boy had a collection of beautiful marbles. The girl had some candies with her. The boy offered to give the girl all his marbles in exchange for all her candies. The girl agreed. The boy gave all the marbles to the girl, but secretly kept the biggest and the most beautiful marble for himself. The girl gave him all her candies as she had promised. That night, the girl slept peacefully. But the boy couldn’t sleep as he kept wondering if the girl had hidden some more tasty candies from him the way he had hidden his best marble.”

Although this is a childhood tale; at some time in our lives, we would have behaved a little like the boy or the girl. For those of us who remember those moments, the niggling sense of unease fills us all, disturbing our inner peace and quiet. On occasions like these when one looks back, what comes forefront to mind is that, “Was the holding back worth it or would the peace brought by honesty made our day more beautiful instead ?”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson

As we grow older and mature with age, we realize that there are many things in life that are more worth when shared than kept hidden. There would be occasions that would call for an honest response on one hand, but would cause unrest and distress on the other hand. Dealing with an honest attitude is like stepping into murky waters sometimes. Brute honesty while well appreciated can cause more hurt when delivered in a thoughtless and tactless manner. Being honest isn’t confined to being brute. Instead one can be honest with a heavy dose of kindness laced with gentleness. The endpoint is the clarity of the conscience. There is nothing more disturbing that having a niggling thought intruding the mind, like a pesky buzz near the ear. As we strive to make sure that the conscience is always at ease, life becomes simple, better and sweet.

“A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth.” Tagalog (Filipino) saying

Posted in Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

Finding the Peace

“As we all know, there is inner beauty and outer beauty. If we examine inner beauty, to me there is nothing more beautiful than inner peace, in a man or a woman.” Alice Greczyn

Nature has always withstood the test of time, surviving amidst the chaos and regaining the inner calm from the storms. Likewise, we humans are always in a constant silent battle between the external influences and the inner being in order to preserve one’s harmony, peace and quiet. As the outer forces try to knock us off our track; staying true to oneself echoes to the world that each one rules oneself. Even in the midst of the chaos, true inner peace still rules us as long as we remember to acknowledge, nourish and cherish its’ existence.

The parable of peace

Once a rich man wanted to hang a picture in his room, at one glance at which he would feel at ease in his soul. And for the most “quiet” picture, he promised to pay one million. Learning of this, artists from different parts of the country began to send him their work. After reviewing thousands of paintings, the rich man chose only two, which seemed to him the most successful.
The first was bright, rainbow and peaceful. On it, the artist depicted an absolutely idyllic landscape: the crystal clear blue lake glistened brightly under the rays of the summer sun, the trees standing around stretched towards the water with their branches; majestic white swans cut through the watery surface, and on the horizon could be seen a village and graceful horses grazing in the meadow.
The second picture is radically different from the first. On it, the artist depicted high cliffs, at the foot of which the sea raged. The storm waves were so high that they reached almost the middle of the cliff. Low dark gray clouds obscured the sky, and at the top of the cliff were frightening silhouettes of trees, illuminated by flashes of lightning.
To call this picture calm even the language did not turn. But, if you look closely, you could see a small bush that grew out of a gap in the rock. On it was a small nest with a tiny bird inside. She hatched out her chicks with a proud and imperturbable air, without worrying at all about the insanity surrounding her.

What picture do you think the rich man chose? Of course, the second. Because it radiates peace of mind much stronger than the first. After all, real peace is manifested not when everything is quiet and serene around, but when, in spite of everything that happens around you, you continue to keep calm inside yourself!

Posted in Christian, Daily, Life, Quotes, Stories Around the World

As the Facade Crumbles

“I was like a chocolate in a box, looking well behaved and perfect in place, all the while harboring a secret center.” Deb Caletti

One of the defaults of living in the modern era is to encounter the “art of donning a facade”. As communication, travel and opportunities have evolved, so have interactions and relationships. Consequently at some point of time we all put on a front depending on the scenario, time and situation. The purpose behind this is individual to each one, ranging from self protection, self-preservation to self-glorification or of good intentions versus the bad.

“The unconscious mind is decidedly simple, unaffected, straightforward and honest. It hasn’t got all of this facade, this veneer of what we call adult culture. It’s rather simple, rather childish. It is direct and free.” Milton H. Erickson

As a rule, facades are dangerous; for the revelations once they are unmasked would blight the work done till that point. Yet at times we are forced to put on facades to survive especially at work and in the community. While we mayn’t be able to control these situations, what we could do is to modulate the facade that we put on. As we evolve and mature through time, we discover that facades that we put on once were unreal and tiring. The underlying principle of “Primum non cere” or “do no harm” would help us find our way out of the chaos.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

As narrated by various incidents commonly read on the social sites, while one day we would all be unmasked for who we really; meanwhile living our life by the inner conscience of truth, kindness and tact would help us face these eventual disclosures with quiet grace.

“It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Posted in Christian, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Work

Echoes of Praise

“Not to be cheered by praise, not to be grieved by blame, but to know thoroughly one’s own virtues or powers are the characteristics of an excellent man.” Satchel Paige

“Praise” is one of the more dangerous attributes even when given free of choice has the potential to destroy a person, settling on one slowly and like rust begins to erode. Then a person who was once mentally and emotionally strong becomes dependent on praise, craving for it.

“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” John Wooden

When the “words of praise” are not heard; one begins to look for them everywhere, at times compromising on one’s standards, abilities and perfection just to hear those words. Then efforts are made to hear those words to boost the self vanity, to the extent that one fails to acknowledge the actions, consequences and reality behind the empty words of praise.

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” Norman Vincent Peale

When there is no praise, the mood then deteriorates, things get worse; all because “no one appreciates me.” As a result, the person is not working from the heart with the fruits of the Spirit in mind. Work, interactions and character becomes a need to appease one’s self-esteem, accumulate more pleasant opinions about himself and not an honest reflection of one’s true being. The opinions of other people though momentary, changes our essence.

“The biggest challenge is to not be affected by praise because a lot of it is not from the heart. Being true to yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, when everyone out there has a strong opinion and wants to give advice, is another challenge.” Tena Desae

It is sad if we do good deeds only for the sake of this short flash – “I was praised.” For woe beckons to the man who spends his strength, effort and energy to earn the approval of others. One of the terrible sins is vanity, because after vanity and praise is lost a person is left with nothing.