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

Of Own Niche

“Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important.” Jaachynma N.E. Agu

Leafing through the high school year book and the annual school magazine, recollections of the younger days resurface to mind. From photographs with class teachers, medal winners of sports, academic and cultural snaps to the articles written by juniors, seniors and classmates bring out the nostalgia. Those days the aspirations were to be successful in life, have fun and do what we love to do.

“What we love to do in life”

Many a time, the daily grind forces us to be something that one doesn’t want to be, especially career wise. Whether it be an artist trapped in accounting, a writer trapped in the office network, a musician taking salesman post for a living; all these are required when one needs to earn their bread and butter. However, the gifted talents should never be wasted. Yet pursuing something that is completely out of one’s league is alarmingly dangerous not only to them, but to other colleagues. While attaining a basic education and graduation is important; let it not drive one to kill their own originality and become something that one never was. Each one is gifted with a special talent. While it may necessary to engage in the working network to earn the daily living; let those God-given talents never be wasted but worked on, no matter how small the progress be and let one’s work shine and speak for themselves.

“Every man has a specific skill, whether it is discovered or not, that more readily and naturally comes to him than it would to another, and his own should be sought and polished. He excels best in his niche – originality loses its authenticity in one’s efforts to obtain originality.” Criss Jami

Call him Johnnie Martin, a young Canadian boy. He was the son of a carpenter, and his mother worked as a housekeeper. They lived frugal lives, saving their money for the day when they could send their son to college. Johnnie had reached the second year in high school when the blow fell. A psychologist attached to the school called the young man, just reached sixteen, into his private office and this is what he said. ‘Johnnie, I’ve been studying your marks and I’ve gone over your various tests in motor and sensory impressions – your physical examination. I’ve made a very careful study of you and your achievements.’ ‘I’ve been trying hard,’ put in Johnnie. ‘That’s just the trouble.’ said the psychologist. ‘You have worked very hard indeed – but it has not helped. You just don’t seem able to get ahead in your studies. You’re just not cut out for it, and for you to remain in high school would, in my opinion, be a waste of time.’ The boy buried his face in his hands. ‘This will be hard on my mother and father,’ he said. ‘Their one idea is for me to be a college man.’ The psychologist laid his hand on the boy’s shoulder. ‘People have different kinds of talents, Johnnie,’ he said. ‘There are painters who were never able to learn the multiplication table, and engineers who can’t sing on key. But every one of us has something special – and you are no exception. Some day you will find what your special gift is and when you do, you will make your parents very proud of you.’ Johnnie never went back to school. Jobs were scarce in town, but he managed to keep busy mowing the lawns of the householders and puttering in their flower-beds. And then a curious thing happened. Before long his customers began to notice that Johnnie had what they called a ‘green thumb’. The plants he tended grew and blossomed, and the rose trees blossomed. He fell into the habit of making suggestions for re-arranging the tiny front-yard landscapes. He had an eye for colour and could make surprising combinations that pleased the eye.

One day while he was down town he happened to notice a stretch of unused land behind the city hall. Chance or fate or whatever you may like to call it brought one of the town’s alderman round the corner just at that moment. Impetuously the boy said, ‘I can make a garden out of this dump, if you’ll let me.’ ‘The town’s got no money for frills,’ said the alderman. ‘I don’t want any money for it,’ said the boy – ‘I just want to do it.’
The alderman, being a politician, was astounded to find anyone who did not want money, under any and all circumstances. He took Johnnie into an office, and when the young man came out he had the authority to clean up the public eyesore. That very afternoon he borrowed extra tools and seeds and soil. Someone gave him a few young trees to plant. When others heard of it they offered rose-bushes and even a hedge. Then the town’s leading manufacturer heard of it, and volunteered to supply some benches. Before long the dreary old dump had become a little park. There were grassy lawns and little curving walks and restful seats and little house for birds. All the towns people were talking about what a lovely improvement the young man had made. But it was also a kind of show window for Johnnie. People saw the result of his skill and knew him for a natural landscape gardener.

That was twenty five years ago. Today Johnnie is the head of a prosperous business in landscape gardening. His customers extend into neighbouring provinces. Johnnie still cannot speak French or translate Latin, trigonometry is unknown to him. But colour and light and lovely prospects are his bread and butter. His aging parents are proud of Johnnie, for he is not only a success – a man of affairs and a member of the best clubs in town – he has also made his part of the world a lovelier place to live in. Where ever he and his men go, they spread beauty before the eyes of people.
Source – Modern Parables by Fulton Oursler. First published in 1951

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Posted in Daily, Family and Society, poetry, Quotes, Reflections, Work

Deep Within

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.” Chinese Proverb

While stepping into primary school, the enjoyment of the preschooler or kinder-gardener child is at times, marred by the sudden fear of how will school be, will their pre-school friends be there and above all, will one survive. Similar emotions resurface on entering middle school and high school. During each step, there is a constant surge of excitement on attaining the next level, albeit marked by the shadows of fear. During the later high school years, choices, decisions and plans have to be made, on how one wants to shape out their individual lives. From then on, the daily grind involves a battle of fears and uncertainties in own potential as well as the world around one.

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” Francis of Assisi

While attending the graduation of children of family friends, the emotions across many “graduated faces” all echoed the above sentiments. Looking back on own struggles, difference and growth in life largely involves believing in oneself. During the struggle for the better, emotions range from determination, intermittent fear and insecurity as well as hopes continuously flit in and out. The degree of how much one gives in to the “negative emotions” than the positive ones, all changes the outlook, the effort and ultimately the outcome.

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Oprah Winfrey

Each individual has the potential to be better than the other at something or the other. Talents are unique in manner, form, presentation and outcome. While others may view facets of these; the entire picture is viewed by the individual alone. That alone makes the big difference for it settles the restlessness in one’s mind, body and soul. The journey in life moves forward by keeping all the senses in motion. For happiness, peace and contentment to touch one’s life, learning to conquer their inner world made of fears, temporary obstacles, insecurities and the like, makes the “better parts of life” attainable and worth every effort to get them.

“The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change and the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward

There’s nothing you cannot do
There’s nothing to fear, you’re as good as the best.
As strong as the mightiest, too.
You can win in every battle or test.
For there’s no one just like you.

There’s only one you in the world today.
So nobody else, you see.
Can do your work in as fine a way.
You’re the only you there’ll be.

So face the world, and all life is yours.
To conquer and love and live.
And you’ll find the happiness that endures.
In just the measure you give.

There’s nothing too good for you to possess.
Nor heights where you cannot go.
Your power is more than belief or guess.
It is something you have to know.

There is nothing to fear, you can and you will.
For you are the invincible you.
Set your foot on the highest hill.
There’s nothing you cannot do.
Author Unknown
(Source: vk.com)

“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Reflections, Stories Around the World, Work

Risks to Take

“Fire is the test of gold; adversity, of strong men.” Martha Graham

Decisions. Changes. Progress. Stagnation, growth or downfall. Uncertainty.

One of the innate emotions that human nature craves for is the feeling of contentment and comfort within one’s own zone. Making a slight change in those factors sets off the warning bells in the mind, invoking the fear of the change. By the time, the opportunity knocks and waits for the response; staying indecisive for more time than allotted results in the “chance walking away” with the possibility for it being lost for ever. On hindsight, regret bites and those stings hurt for long.

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” Molière

Stepping out and facing what deemed difficult would result in the latter, being re-judged as feasible if one is willing to give every reasonable challenge or opportunity a try. Risks are there in the everyday life. From walking to the market for the daily shopping or taking the long car commute on the highway; risks are there in every nook or cranny. While at times we may realize, other times may be not so. When risks are involving a change from the comfort zone; grabbing the opportunity with both hands, especially if it centers around the dream goals in life, is better than looking back with regrets.

Risks are there in everything that may be achieved for the better. By avoiding risks and change; one may avoid imbalance, uprooting, temporary sufferings or sorrows. On the other hand, the better things of life which help one learn, grow and live to one’s potential is lost. Whether one would prefer being chained to the comfort zone or servitude, losing out on all freedom of emotions and growth; or would prefer to soar like the eagle, knowing when to fly down and catch the prey of opportunity, setting no boundaries to attained by aiming for the skies, is the individual choice alone. These thought all make the difference when deciding to risk the change or not. Life is all about balancing the change. Learning to do so at the earliest helps in the short time that one is allotted in this world that we live in.

To Risk
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.

(Source: vk.com)

“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” Barbara De Angelis

Posted in Christian, Daily, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Gentle Reminder

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (Proverbs 8:17)

During the Christian life, one often longs for subtle signs during difficult times and moments that God is with us. What one often fails to realize is that what we perceive as a sign, mayn’t be so. In general there was a principle followed by my parents, “If at first it doesn’t feel just within, then it mayn’t be right.”

During the perceived difficult situations, as promised through His Word and the Scriptures, the Lord is always beside His People. Though the voice mayn’t be loud or advice sounded with a blaring horn; certain distinct pointers and emotions may be felt, recalled to mind or highlighted from the situations around us. Then the innate sixth sense comes to life, reassuring one of the prayers for a way out and the hope for a brighter tomorrow; as one learns to believe.

“No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:11)

“The man whispered:
– Lord, talk to me.
And meadow grass sang. But the man did not hear. And then the man cried out:
– Lord, speak to me!
And thunder and lightning rolled across the sky. But the man did not hear. He looked round and prayed:
– Lord, let me see you.
And the stars shone brightly. But the man did not notice. He cried in despair:
– Touch me, Lord, and let me know that You are here.
And the Lord touched the man. But the man brushed a butterfly off his shoulder and went away …”

“Know therefore that the LORD your God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” (Deuteronomy 7:9)

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

The Way We Phrase Them

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.”
– George Gordon, Lord Byron

Reasoning with a child especially of the preschool years, or getting out of their earnest request for their wishes is never easy. The reason being simply is the way they put across their choices with words. From the initial demand of “I want that” to requests pleading “may I please have it” to outright tantrums and then finally the round-about way. The latter is the most difficult one to get out of. The “round-about” ways include “If I would get that new cycle, then I’ll be able to spend less television time and more play”, “new roller blades translates as more exercise” or “the more ice cream and the more veggies trade” and so on. During most of these occasions, what strikes me as most remarkable is their way with words as they put across what they want.

“You can change the course of your life with your words.” Anonymous

The age old conflict of the “pen or the sword being mighty”, it’s the essence of the words that have the power over both. The way we say things have a powerful effect. While positive words leave a good feeling behind, besides changing many perspectives for the better along the way; negative words can have a drastic impact as well. For instance the negative emotions especially at the work place; to put across one’s anger, from direct hurtful words to pointed polite reminders or snide remarks, there are different ways to express out the emotion. Although in doing so, the task may or mayn’t be done; but more than that the bitter taste of the words have the potency to darken the mood of the day. What we say matters. The way we say matters. The “how” we say matters.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela

For those days, when we think silence speaks louder than words; at times they may do; but when those words which should be spoken aren’t said, misunderstandings may happen, sometimes reversible; or not. It’s so easy to break, but difficult to repair whether they be people, time or relationships.

Words when born out of concern, kindness, humaneness, love and understanding have the brightness to turn the most stark, dull or difficult occasions into stepping stones as well bring courage to brave the darkness and survive. Yet words when in haste, when in anger, thoughtless or out of tune to the situation and scenario, have the potential to destroy and impair beyond the perceived boundaries.

Words and communication are a gift. While on one hand we have the gift of the using the right words at the right times, the other deep end is either ceaseless chatter, verbal diarrhea, thoughtless and hurtful talk. Being at both ends, that of the sender and the receiver, will teach us through experience and lessons that words can change one’s live, no matter how small or big it may be.

“For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. Their articulation represents a complete, lived experience.” Ingrid Bengis

One day a blind man was sitting on the steps of a building with a hat near his feet and a sign saying: “I am blind, please help.”
One person passed by and stopped. He saw a disabled person who had only a few coins in his hat. He threw him a couple of coins and, without his permission, wrote new words on the tablet. He left her a blind man and left.
By the end of the day, he returned and saw that the hat was full of coins. The blind man recognized him step by step and asked if he was the person who had rewritten the tablet. The blind also wanted to know exactly what he wrote. He replied:
– Nothing that would be wrong. I just wrote it a little differently.
He smiled and left.
A new inscription on the plate was: “It’s spring now, but I can’t see it.”

“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.” Diane Setterfield

Posted in Daily, Family and Society, Life, poetry, Quotes, Reflections

At the Next Chapter

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” Roy T. Bennett

With one of the extended members of the family entering into the “college” phase of their life, stepping out of the “home nest” becomes a must in order to enter the accepted college. As the young adolescent enters the “independent phase” maturing into the young adult; adapting to the new environment, doing well both in academics and social life, making wise decisions and moving on comfortably in life is the prayer in the mind of every family elder, especially parents.

“Do what is right, not what is easy nor what is popular.” Roy T. Bennett

Being solely independent for the first time in college life may be slightly scary where one is uncertain of the next step or what may happen. Yet staying true to the own conscience, doing right, being fair, understanding, kind as well as practical helps in the transition from home to college. Meeting various fellow individuals with different perspectives and personalities may seem a bit daunting at first, especially for the pure introverts. Yet believe in oneself and the goodness of life; things mayn’t seem so difficult then. Situations will arise, judgement and opinions will be made, either within or out loud by society. Be kind when judging for those shoes may be worn by oneself at some other point of life.

“Judge tenderly, if you must. There is usually a side you have not heard, a story you know nothing about, and a battle waged that you are not having to fight.” Traci Lea Larussa

Be kind. Be just. Think well. Do one’s own best. Be prepared for the worst. When yours truly had attended college and “dorm life” for the first life, these were the first few pieces of advice received. Following these basic guidelines will help later in life as well. Life is there to make memories, receive new teachings, learn, undergo experiences to remember as well as to make mistakes, forgive and learn from the “bad moments”. The journey is complete when one learns to use the downhills to view the uphills. The path was never easy but that’s what makes the travel beautiful and meaningful.

“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.” Roy T. Bennett

Going out into the world from the threshold of the earth
Do not deprive yourself of good thoughts, –
Do not judge strictly and unequivocally,
And do not rush down to look down.

Understand: maybe something did not understand
You’re in a strange, very difficult fate.
Or outta – in the pursuit of truth?
Did pride leap at you?

Maybe before you invade the soul,
You forgot to look in the eyes?
Very rarely we know how to listen,
Very few are able to endure.

Do not judge unequivocally and strictly –
Keep the joy of your heart.
Do not judge: we all walk under God,
All are His beloved children.
-Rus Svyataya

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

Circles, Time and Again…

“I drop kindness pebbles in still water everyday, and I watch the effect they have on other people’s lives. My favorite kindness pebbles are compliments. Drop a compliment and watch the ripple affect that it has in your life.” John A Passaro

Amidst the melee of living the modern life, very often one never stops to think of the far reaching impact of one’s actions, words and thoughts. Little does one realize that when one is really happy, it blooms from within silently triggering the “blooming effect” in those around them. Similarly with kindness. A single kind thought stems the anger or unrest growing within. That stemmed unrest is instead transformed to kind words, starting off a chain reaction that may or mayn’t end with the initiator. Although it mayn’t end in a full circle, the peaceful and mental calm that kindness leaves behind is worth the effort taken to practise a little bit of kindness daily.

“Don’t look to others to give you happiness. Grow it within yourself and share it with the world around you. Bets are, if you give a bit of your happiness to the world, it will begin a ripple effect, and who knows how many other people you can help. It’s never too late to decide that your happiness (or whatever it is that you want) is yours to create and not the other way around.” Leigh Hershkovich

Time and time again, the existence of few laws of life that withstands the test of time has been proven. Among them, is the law of kindness; which like the ripples of a pebble dropped into water has consequences far reaching even after the initial ripple has faded away. The more one practises creating the “good ripples”, the more one experiences life to its’ fullest with the best moments that the latter offers.

“The help we give to others creates the ripple of good feeling we give to ourselves.” Gina Greenlee

Once in a woman’s apartment a cactus bloomed. Prior to this, it was four years old, stuck on the windowsill, like a gloomy and unshaven janitor and suddenly such a surprise. In pleasant thoughts about a blooming cactus, she accidentally stepped on the foot of a gloomy man in the subway. She didn’t scream her remark as usual with an offended look. But smiled:
“Do not be angry with me, please, I had nothing to hold on to; if you like, you can step on my foot and we will be quits.” The grim man swallowed what he was going to voice about her. Then he went to his station and bought a newspaper. Instead of haggling the saleswoman, confused with the calculation of delivery or calling her stupid, he said to her: ” It’s okay, count again, I am not good at math either early in the morning.”
The saleswoman, who did not expect such a response, was deeply moved and gave free of charge two old magazines and a whole pile of old newspapers to an old man, a pensioner who was a regular customer, fond of reading but buying only one cheap newspaper every day.

A contented old man went home with an armful of newspapers and magazines. Having met a neighbor from the upper floor, he didn’t give her a daily talk on the topic: “your child is stomping around the apartment like an elephant and is preventing rest, it is necessary to bring up better”, but he looked and said: “Your daughter has grown. I don’t understand whom she is more like you or her father, but she will definitely be a fine lady.” The neighbor took the child to the garden, went to work at the reception and did not shout at the senseless grandmother who had signed up for an appointment with the doctor for yesterday, but came today. Instead she said,” Come on, don’t be upset, I also sometimes forget my schedule. You can sit for a minute, and I will check with the doctor the visit for now.” Having received an appointment, the grandmother did not demand that she be given a very effective, but inexpensive medicine that can instantly help cure the disease; threatening in case of refusal to write complaints to all public bodies or media but sighed and said: – “I am not completely out of my mind. I understand that old age cannot be cured, but can you forgive me, doctor, for dragging myself to you all the time. ”

And the doctor walking home in the evening, suddenly remembered his grandmother and felt sorry for her. He suddenly thought that life in its usual rush flies by, and, giving in to a sudden impulse, stopped at the nearest supermarket, bought a bouquet of flowers, a cake with cream roses and went the other way. He drove up to a house, climbed to the third floor and knocked on the door. “I’ve been thinking, about time and you. I bought you a cake, but I accidentally put my briefcase on it. I hope this is not a bad thing, because it will not affect the taste. I also bought you flowers, but they also got a little crushed by the same portfolio. Maybe they can be saved ?” “That will be alright,” the woman replied, “we will reanimate them. And I have news. Just imagine, I woke up today, I looked at the window, and my cactus has bloomed. See? ” (Source: vk.com, translated to English)

“Our power lies in our small daily choices, one after another, to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.” Mollie Marti