Posted in Family and Society, Life, Stories Around the World

Keeping Our Dream Alive

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” Albert Einstein

From the very early days of school, in the course of growing up and gleaning knowledge we all dream of doing something or being that someone. In the course of time, some of us follow up on them while others shelve them waiting for the right time or completely foregoing them. During the period of achieving the dream, we come across various faces of people, some who burst our bubble, a couple of people who try explaining the practical aspects so as to make sure we know the reality and “hard facts” while others just watch to criticize and the very few who observe and offer unasked help or when requested.

“Don’t let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.”  Unknown

What happens when someone tells us that our dreams will never happen? Despite all the facts of reality, when our dreams come from an inner belief, no realism will put out the fire. To question our dream, the ideal response is to either ignore but what really happens is that we break down our dream to smaller sizes or forego it completely. But when we silently work and prove ourselves right would be like the cat that got the cream. Just as the story “Keep your dream” says, strive to prove that your dream will happen, not simply to set others right but also to keep your inner light, desire and wish burning bright.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C.S. Lewis

 

Keep Your Dream

I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs. The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up. That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch. He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?’ The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’ Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all. He stated, ‘You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.’”

Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week. When the teacher was leaving, the teacher said, ‘Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.’
“Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Follow your heart, no matter what.” – Jack Canfield

If your mom asks you to do the dishes, do not pull out your pirate attitude. But if someone tells you you’re not good enough, says your dreams are too lofty, or claims there is no room in showbiz for a dancing violinist – well then, by all means, pull out your eye patch, my friend, and take to the high seas. Lindsey Stirling

Keeping our dreams alive despite all odds is never easy. Yet the fruit of the toil is worth the sweat and the efforts as well as the dust and the grime. For all of us who have shelved our dreams, restore them and start off working on them so that we can look back and cherish the happiness of our hearts’ desires. To quote Emma Heatherington, “Life is, most of all, about love – follow your heart, live out your dreams, smile, be happy, see the good in everyone you meet and rise above those who try to make you feel low. Fill your heart and fill your soul – love, no matter what, is always the answer.” 

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Posted in Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Building the House

There was a foreman. All his life he built houses, but he became old and decided to retire. “I quit,” he told the employer. “I am retiring. I will be with my old woman with grandchildren to nurse. His boss was sorry to part with this man, and he asked him: ” Listen, let’s do it, build the last house and we will retire. With a good premium!” The foreman agreed. According to the new project, he had to build a house for a small family, and it began: coordination, search for materials, testing. The foreman was in a hurry because he had already seen himself in retirement. If he didn’t finish something, he simplified it, bought cheap materials, as they could be delivered faster. He felt that he was not doing his best work, but he justified himself by saying that this was the end of his career. Upon completion of construction, he called the owner who inspected the house and said, ” Now this is your house! Take the keys and move in. All documents are already completed. This is a gift from the company for many years of work.” What the foreman experienced was known only to him alone! He was standing red with shame, while everyone around them clapped their hands, congratulated him on his new home and thought that he was blushing with shyness, and he was blushing with shame for his own carelessness. He was aware that all the mistakes and shortcomings were now his problems, and everyone around him thought that he was embarrassed by an expensive gift. And now he had to live in the only house that he built poorly.
Today we are building a house in which we will move in tomorrow. And how your house will be depends only on you.

Like the foreman, we all are involved in our businesses, work, neighbourhood and various other activities that set off a chain reaction. When we don’t resolve to put our heart into our work, actions and words; considering that the outcome will not affect, we would have never been more wrong in our estimation and forecast.

Everything we do matters. Going about our lives as we see fit, if not right may dearly cost us. Whether with passion or disinterest; with desire to excel or with carelessness; with effort or a lazy attitude, in the end what goes around comes around.

We are all in the process of constructing something in life. When we are not happy with what we see or the consequences of what we have been building over the years, its’ time to change before it becomes too late. Time never waits but when it gives us an opportunity for corrective measures, grab it with both hands before that too is taken out of the picture.

Posted in Christian, Quotes, Stories Around the World

True Spirit of Christmas

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

These and similar verses have been narrated, taught, delivered and read in plays, sermons, fellowship prayers and the like in the past couple of days. The essence of Christmas lies in the birth of Christ for the new beginning of man and for his redemption from the trap of sins he had weaved or caught himself in. In the process of celebrating the grace of God, sometimes we forget how to truly celebrate His Kindness and His Grace.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Dr. Seuss

Strengthening relationships, making amends and spending quality time is what spreads the Christmas spirit. Like the neighbourly friendship between Watson and his neighbour Cadi, the spirit of Christmas brings us together despite our differences and makes the bonds strong with love, hope and kindness. As written in the famous tale of “A Christmas Carol”, Christmas is not restricted to gaeity, joyous celebrations or gatherings for a few days every year. Christmas means a lot more. It has to be celebrated all year round in our hearts and minds.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Calvin Coolidge

Keeping the spirit of Christmas alive year round is never easy as it requires tremendous effort on our part. Like the path that Christ had taken, it requires us to put immense faith, love and bear the fruits of His Spirit to enjoy the feeling of Christmas year round. To quote Oren Arnold, “To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To you, respect.”

On this Christmas as we wish everyone the season’s tidings, keeping in mind the true essence of Christmas will help us live the next year with happiness and self satisfaction; even in the face of all odds, difficulties and trials. As Charles Dickens said, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

 

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

To Heart’s Content

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” Dale Carnegie

Once a lady was talking to a psychologist, where she sadly listed what she did not have. “There are no true friends. There is no good salary. No decent car. Apartments are not good. There is no youth anymore. And there is no hope to have it all someday.”  The plump, pleasant psychologist, straightened his glasses and said complacently, “Of course, you do not have much. And you can continue the list. There is no severe incurable disease. There are no millions of debts. There is no responsibility for someone, for a sick relative or a weak-minded old man. There is no physical disfigurement and no hump. And there is no disability. A lot of things you do not have. And, if you write down what you do not have, then your mood will improve immediately. And hope will appear that this is not only not, but will not.” And the lady thought in her mind counted and smiled.

So, we have a lot of things. Do not need. And everything else can be earned, improved, received as a gift or just get by temporarily. Nothing wrong. The main thing is to be alive and well. And that loved ones were alive and well. And there was no bad. And this is already good. With this, we begin, as they say, the enumeration of what we do not have … Anna

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”  Oprah Winfrey

Many of us have been in the shoes of the lady above, where we were so caught up in the let-downs that we thought we had, forgetting to enjoy the better moments and what we were blessed with. Like the above account from one of my social networking pages reminded me, we discover the joy of living only when we learn to be content. This is no easy feat as each time we turn around or look into any direction, there would be a million comments made, comparisons and disappointments. Yet when we learn to appreciate, enjoy and thank for what we have; we realize that we are blessed in many special ways that we can’t count.

There is a fine distinction in being content or being stuck in a rut and stagnating as well as the yearning to grow. Being content doesn’t imply that you don’t desire more or than you don’t want to grow and progress; it simply means that you’re thankful for what is there at present and patiently working for what is yet to come. For contentment and happiness go hand in hand, with the latter coming to only those who appreciate and use what they have. As quoted, “Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the realization of how much you already have.” (Anonymous) We learn to be happy when we stop looking around. Instead when we focus our time, energy and thoughts on the bunch of “haves”, we realize that inner peace was always there within us and happiness was not lurking round the corner but residing in us all the time.

Posted in Daily, Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Attain Peace of Mind

“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.” Thomas Huxley

Very often we feel that our minds are too restless, filled with disturbing thoughts of “what-ifs”, “whys”, “hows” and “when”. Yet the reality is that all these are suppositions of things that have yet to happen or sequence of events that we are trying to predict. The truth is man by nature is restless and in trying to alleviate this feeling, we dwell in unnecessary chaos. Finally we claim that the peace is disturbed.

“If you want peace of mind, stop fighting with your thoughts.” Anonymous

Peace of mind revolves around a state of calmness both mental and emotional, not harbouring thoughts of no worries, fears or stress. Then the mind is quiet and one experiences a sense of happiness with freedom. Although such peaceful moments are not rare, they are hard to attain unless we empty our thoughts once in a while. Once we practice the art of “let it be, let go” and putting our stress in a jar to hand over to God, we then discover that the weight of jar has reduced after sometime. Slowly over time, the peace within returns and the days don’t become dreary anymore.

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.

Posted in Family and Society, Life, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Firefly among the Butterflies

In a playground, a crowd of children will be involved in a game with one or two kids coordinating the game. Some days sitting a little apart, one would find a child scribbling away on a piece of paper, few would be just watching while one would be trying to climb a tree instead and the other may be watching a ladybug crawl in the ground.

Fast forward a few years ahead, among the bunch of college goers, few would shine at the events, some behind the scene to make the event happen while others watch the show. Yet there will few who prefer to curl up with a good book, or sketch their dreams and designs or enjoy creating what they fancy in the kitchen.

As the college goers grow, some become the life of the party, some become the charismatic leader who can make things happen by encouraging others to scale the wall while others enter the groups of people who follows the order so that the final outcome would be beneficial to all. And yet among all of group, there would be a few who would be silently lost in their world of books, poetry, art, animation, photography, writing indulging in what they love and glowing there. Yet if they are stuck in the mould of the world for long, the light in them dies.

“I had a dream about you last night. I was alone on a dark night and you came to me as a firefly. I knew it was you because you were the brightest.” Crystal Hudson

We label one group of people introverts and other as extroverts. Yet the author Rachel Stafford refers to them as fireflies and butterflies. She discovered these terms during a conversation with her 7 year old daughter. Her daughter had described a school activity that day where the teacher asked, “What is Your Favorite Insect?” Stafford’s daughter said that her favorite insect was the firefly even though the other students in the class chose the butterfly. She admitted to her mother that sometimes she fills different at school as a firefly. Stafford told her daughter that she agreed that her little girl was very much a firefly because she shines from within. She assured her daughter that Stafford’s role as a mother was to protect that light and asked her daughter to let her know when others at school tried to dim her light.

The world does not need a large number of “successful people” or extroverts alone. The planet desperately needs peacekeepers, restorers, storytellers, writers, dreamers and thinkers. She needs all people to live well with. There are a lot of fireflies among us, in our family and at our workplaces as well as daily interactions. The world needs both the butterflies and fireflies. Extinction of one will affect the other and surplus of one will imbalance the entire ecosystem. While fireflies will shine when it’s their time, it’s important to not kill their light.

“Don’t be anyone’s firefly in a jar! A lot of people are attracted to the light. Some are also intimidated by it. They selfishly try to keep it for themselves. Sometimes it happens so fast, you don’t even realize you’re being captured. There is magic within you that will suffocate in a jar. If you wake up one morning and realize there’s a lid above you, do whatever it takes to free yourself. Life is much better beyond the jar. The world needs your light! Shine, Baby, shine!” Sheri Fink

The fireflies among our children, family and friends have to be encouraged, cared and helped instead of being suppressed, laughed on and imprisoned or remodeled into another frame. Each firefly has their own special light or spark that brings the magic to the night and add little light to the dark. As for the fireflies out there, keep of on shining, singing and creating the special light, knowing that each courageous firefly is special with their own light and own area to shine. Remember, no butterfly can shine like the firefly.

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

The Three Sieves

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.” Fran Lebowitz

The greatest ability that puts man apart from the rest of the oxygen dependent genres is the ability to read, write, think, comprehend and speak various languages understood with all of his kind. The gift of verbal and non-verbal communication of man is at a higher level than the rest of the living species.

“There is a time and a place for things. Sometimes one needs to put a filter on oneself. That can be a good thing.” Tori Amos

Which is why before we say something rash or simply repeat the hearsay, think if doing so is worth the time, effort, energy as well as the consequences and the aftermath. The wheel of time is such that it can be only move forward. Once a particular event has happened for good or bad, we can’t change it but only deal with it or take corrective measures.

“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” Mahatma Gandhi

Unless we learn to sieve our words and thoughts when we tweet, speak or cast them to the world around us; we would end up with a whole load of regrets, guilt and uneasiness. It is easy to fill in conversation gaps, catch attention or be the first with the information; yet unless it is true, beneficial, required, non intrusive and kind; saying nothing is more restful to oneself and others as well.

“Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.” William Arthur Ward

“One day, the old wise Socrates walks down the streets, when all of the sudden a man runs up to him “Socrates I have to tell you something about your friend who…”
“Hold up” Socrates interrupts him “About the story you’re about to tell me, did you put it trough the three sieves?”
“Three sieves?” The man asks “What three sieves?”
“Let’s try it” Socrates says.
“The first sieve is the one of truth, did you examine what you were about to tell me if it is true?” Socrates asks.
“Well no, I just overheard it” The man says.
“Ah, well then you have used the second sieve, the sieve of good?” Socrates asks “Is it something good what you’re about to tell me?”
“Ehm no, on the contrary” the man answers.
“Hmmm” The wise man says “Let’s use the third sieve then, is it necessary to tell me what you’re so exited about?”
“No not necessary” the man says.
“Well” Socrates says with a smile “If the story you’re about to tell me isn’t true, good or necessary, just forget it and don’t bother me with it.”
Socrates