14 January 2013

Adventure

by PAULO COELHO on JANUARY 13, 2013

avatar

What the future holds for you depends entirely on your capacity for love.

And for that, you must have absolute and total confidence in what you are doing. Don’t let others say: ‘That road is better’ or ‘That route is easier’.

The greatest gift God gave us is the power to make decisions.

The adventure of the days to come needs to be full of romance, because the world needs that; therefore, when you are mounted on your horse, feel the wind on your face and enjoy the sense of freedom.

But don’t forget that you have a long journey ahead. If you surrender totally to the romance of it all, you might fall.
If you don’t stop occasionally to let both you and your horse rest, your horse might die of thirst or exhaustion.

And precisely at the moment when everything seems to be going well and your dream is almost within your grasp, that is when you must be more alert than ever. Because when your dream is almost within your grasp, you will be assailed by terrible guilt.

You will see that you are about to arrive at a place where very few have ever set foot and you will think that you don’t deserve what life is giving you.
You will forget all the obstacles you overcame, all that you suffered and sacrificed. And because of that feeling of guilt, you could unconsciously destroy everything that took you so long to build.

That is the most dangerous of obstacles, because renouncing victory has about it a certain aura of sanctity.

But if a man understands that he is worthy of what he has struggled so long for, he will realise that he did not get there alone and must respect the Hand that led him.
 
 
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

9 November 2012
writing is my therapy

continued.

4 October 2012
the two jewels

by PAULO COELHO on OCTOBER 3, 2012

A deeply religious Rabbi lived happily with his family, an admirable woman and two dear sons. One time, he had to be away from home for several days due to work. When he was away, a serious car accident killed his two boys.

Alone, the mother suffered in silence. But being a strong woman, backed up by her faith and trust in God, she endured the shock with dignity and bravery. However, she constantly worried how she was going to break this sad news to her husband. Even though he was a man of faith, he had already been admitted to the hospital for cardiac problems in the past and his wife feared that learning about the tragedy would kill him too.

On the eve of her husband’s arrival, she prayed earnestly and was given the grace of an answer.

On the following day, the Rabbi returned home, embraced his wife warmly and asked for their sons.
His wife told him not to worry about that, he should take a shower and rest.

Hours later, both of them sat down to have lunch.
She asked him for details about his journey, he told her about everything he had experienced, spoke of God’s mercy, but asked about the boys again.

His wife, in a quiet embarrassed posture, answered her husband, “Leave them alone, we’ll worry about them later. First I want you to help me solve a problem I consider serious.”

Her husband, already worried, asked, “What happened? I noticed you are worn! Tell me everything that goes through your soul and I am sure we will solve any problem together, with the help of God.”

“While you were away, a friend of ours visited me and left two jewels of incalculable worth for us to save. Those are very precious jewels! I have never seen something so stunning! He is coming to get them back and I don’t want to give them back to him as I have already taken a liking to them. What do you say?”

“Well now, woman! I don’t understand you! Vanities have never appealed to you!”
“It is that I had never seen such jewels! I can’t accept the idea of losing them forever!”

And the Rabbi answered:
“No one loses what he doesn’t own. Keeping them would be like stealing! We are going to return them and I will help you get over them. We will do that together, today.”

“Very well, my dear, as you wish. The treasure will be returned. In truth, that has already been done. The precious jewels were our sons. God trusted us their guard and during your trip he came to get them. They are gone…”

The Rabbi embraced his wife, and together they shed many tears, but he had understood the message and from that day on they fought to overcome the loss together.

2 October 2012
Dreams: the 12 steps

by PAULO COELHO on SEPTEMBER 25, 2012

When Joseph Campbell created the expression “follow your blessing,” he was reflecting an idea that seems to be very appropriate right now. In “The Alchemist,” this same idea is called “Personal Legend.”
Alan Cohen, a therapist who lives in Hawaii, is also working on this theme. He says that in his lectures he asks those who are dissatisfied with their work and seventy-five percent of the audience raise their hands. Cohen has created a system of twelve steps to help people to rediscover their “blessing” (he is a follower of Campbell):


1. Tell yourself the truth

Draw two columns on a sheet of paper and in the left column write down what you would love to do. Then write down on the other side everything you’re doing without any enthusiasm. Write as if nobody were ever going to read what is there, don’t censure or judge your answers.
2. Start slowly, but start 
Call your travel agent, look for something that fits your budget; go and see the movie that you’ve been putting off; buy the book that you’ve been wanting to buy. Be generous to yourself and you’ll see that even these small steps will make you feel more alive.
3. Stop slowly, but stop
Some things use up all your energy. Do you really need to go that committee meeting? Do you need to help those who do not want to be helped? Does your boss have the right to demand that in addition to your work you have to go to all the same parties that he goes to? When you stop doing what you’re not interested in doing, you’ll realize that you were making more demands of yourself than others were really asking.
4. Discover your small talents
What do your friends tell you that you do well? What do you do with relish, even if it’s not perfectly well done? These small talents are hidden messages of your large occult talents.
Begin to choose
If something gives you pleasure, don’t hesitate. If you’re in doubt, close your eyes, imagine that you’ve made decision A and see all that it will bring you. Now do the same with decision B. The decision that makes you feel more connected to life is the right one – even if it’s not the easiest to make.
Don’t base your decisions on financial gain

The gain will come if you really do it with enthusiasm. The same vase, made by a potter who loves what he does and by a man who hates his job, has a soul. It will be quickly sold (in the first case) or will stay on the shelves (in the second case).
7. Follow your intuition
The most interesting work is the one where you allow yourself to be creative. Einstein said: “I did not reach my understanding of the Universe using just mathematics.” Descartes, the father of logic, developed his method based on a dream he had.
8. Don’t be afraid to change your mind
If you put a decision aside and this bothers you, think again about what you chose. Don’t struggle against what gives you pleasure.
9. Learn how to rest
One day a week without thinking about work lets the subconscious help you, and many problems (but not all) are solved without any help from reason.
10. Let things show you a happier path 
If you are struggling too much for something, without any results appearing, be more flexible and follow the paths that life offers. This does not mean giving up the struggle, growing lazy or leaving things in the hands of others – it means understanding that work with love brings us strength, never despair.
11. Read the signs
This is an individual language joined to intuition that appears at the right moments. Even if the signs point in the opposite direction from what you planned, follow them. Sometimes you can go wrong, but this is the best way to learn this new language.
12. Finally, take risks! 
The men who have changed the world set out on their paths through an act of faith. Believe in the force of your dreams. God is fair, He wouldn’t put in your heart a desire that couldn’t come true.

2 October 2012
Thoreau and dreams

…. I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

“He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.

“In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. ”

13 August 2012

mattfisher:

My Sister Paid Progressive Insurance to Defend Her Killer In Court

I’ve been sending out some impertinent tweets about Progressive Insurance lately, but I haven’t explained how they pissed me off. So I will do that here as succinctly as possible. There’s a general understanding that says, “insurance companies— oh they’re awful,” but since Progressive turned their shit hose on my late sister and my parents, I’ve learned some things that really surprised me.

I’ll try to cleave to the facts. On June 19, 2010, my sister was driving in Baltimore when her car was struck by another car and she was killed. The other driver had run a red light and hit my sister as she crossed the intersection on the green light.

Read More

3 August 2012
shelled pistachio’s - economics of life

Pistachio’s

To enjoy something immensely one must labour for the enjoyment before,
as in if you get pistachio’s that have already been shelled, one get’s bored of the nuts,
they get too salty, and you look for a drink of whatever…..

while at the same time when you eat one by one, unshelling them as you go, it seems as if one cannot get enough of the taste, and so you hunger for more….

Man is an everwanting machine…… 

3 August 2012
being hit with the same situation is not insanity - it means you haven’t learned.

when the universe keeps sending you the same problem, it means you haven’t learned anything from solving it in previous times…. or that you haven’t solved it.

The thing about repetition - is that not only does it make you hone your skills, but that each repetitive cycle is in itself uniqe, and can provide wisdom. 

Rolling with the punches, picking yourself up, standing up, falling, getting yourself back up - all these things relate to attaining wisdom from repetition. It’s not that your heart gets old and weary, it’s that you have to keep training it - so that your mind never fully takes over - so that you have a place in your life - for listening to your heart.

16 July 2012

3 years since I last lit up, I want one now! Mad Men, Don Draper marathon to blame?

It’s been just over 3 years since I last smoked a cigarette. In fact, as any ex-smoker will tell you, the smell of it is revolting - the taste absolutely horrid - like a cat pissed in your mouth. It really is that bad.

I come out of coffee shops and see those smokers out there and detest the whiff of smoke reaching my nose. The butts and spit marks on the pavement don’t make it any better either. When it rains - that’s just a cherry on top, as everything around the smoker absorbs all that tar resin, and now in addition to the stink of a cigarette it’s permeated by the smell of a wet dog.

So what’s up? I hate the smell and I certainly don’t miss the nicotine - why now?

The last few days, I’ve hung out with my friends, I looked at that cigarette with a longing creeping in my mind. Naturally, I don’t partake, knowing that I don’t want to be swallowing cat piss - but I still felt like smoking.

Indeed, as with all temptations - the question on my mind is the perpetual why? 

What are the trigger points? I’ve seen my friends smoke before, and this has never seduced me. Not even when the alchy touches the lips, - believe me this was so hard after I quit, that I had to quit coffee and beer at the same time.

I remember dissecting my behaviour patterns when I wanted to quit. Social situations, personal time and a little escape, bars, coffee mornings, stressful situations, and the famous and oh so needed smoke after eating.

Each pattern needed a replacement behaviour to supplement the lack of a cigarette. The hardest was bars and after meal smoking. I let go of my coffee mornings, found other instant gratification methods for stressful situations (for a while this was chocolate - now it’s intrinsic). Bars had to go for a while and most social situations which involved alcohol were minimized to 0 outings. After meal smoke was the hardest. You still gotta eat, not like you can quit that. A smoke would lighten the load it seemed. You overeat a little, a smoke would help you out with that. A little nicotine boost and it felt like you didn’t have to roll over to sleep it off. 

Self discipline was the primary key. Second, under eat. Third, forget about eating greasy/oily/high fat items - this is what puts you to sleep.

Ok! Fast forward 3 years. What is going on? Why do I want smoke now? And then it donned on me (pun intended). I’ve been doing a mini marathon of Mad Men for the last 3-4days. Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Betty Draper - you name it - they all keep smoking like chimneys. I’m always so shocked when both Francine and Betty kept smoking and slugging whisky when fully pregnant - but these ladies are the reason we know now how bad that is.

Here’s a nice video rundown:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtMfzasLbu8

Every situation I used to smoke in - is super replicated in that series. For the last few days, every time I see smoking over and over and over again - as a form of escape and relaxation. So yeah it works, boy does that ever work. Lucky strike must’ve dropped a mill in kickbacks for being so prominently featured. It’s toasted right?

Looks like I might just have to wean myself off from Mad Men rather than smoking.

Stupid TV…

27 June 2012

Remember Back to the Future - Future Day?

Well it’s today!

Now where’s my hover board?

27 June 2012

HOW TO: FEEL CLASSY IN 3 EASY STEPS

Step 1: Open this in a new tab.
Step 2: Open this in a new tab.
Step 3: Open this in a new tab.

Credit to: http://funniest.1000notes.com/post/11612706305

29 April 2012

Quality over Quantity - Work life balance 4day/week. Interesting Concept - too early for me.

ryanleecarson:

A lot of folks had more questions about our 4-day week at Treehouse so I recorded this 11 minute video to delve into more detail.

(Source: ryanleecarson)

27 April 2012
Listserve letter - from a Bee Keeper in Germany!

Hi all,

I want to write about a subject that is very close to my heart - bees! I started bee keeping last year, and have two colonies right now. These two already managed to supply my family and my friends with more than enough honey, and keeping the bees is a tremendously satisfying activity. They smell so good, and are very tidy animals, and are just very, very interesting overall. The insects’ way of dealing with the world is just so very different from how we as mammals approach it - it seems almost alien.

Anyways, what is probably most impressive is the workload these little animals deal with. For one kilo of honey, they visit 4 million flowers, and fly a distance equivalent of more than 4 times around the earth. Think about that for a second.

And then, if you start to think about how they “furniture” their housing themselves by the wax they sweat out, how they can control temperature inside the hive to the tenth of a degree, how they collectively make decisions in a group of 50’000 (the queen has nothing to say in that sense, she is only the breeding unit)… the amazement never stops.

Anyhows, next time you complain about how tough your life is - have a spoon of honey and think of the bees. And start to keep some! (You can also do it in the city - no excuses!)

That is all :) Best wishes,

Moritz from Germany
moritz@stefaner.eu

18 April 2012
If you could say something to a million people, what would you say?First e-mail from the listserve

Got this as a first e-mail at the listserve. Check em out, a novel concept. No idea, what I’m gonna say at all.

I’m sorry to break this to you, in an e-mail from a random stranger like this, but it needs to be said: Most of your life won’t be fantastic. I’m not joking. The adventures you’ll tell your children about will be a minuscule part of it. So if you want to avoid the feeling of utter disappointment as you grow older, you need to accept that fact. Sorry.

This leads us to the insight: You should focus more on the non-fantastic parts. The parts where you eat breakfast, walk to the bus, have a boring day at work, eat your ordinary lunch, shop groceries, and brush your teeth. After all, this is the major part of your life, and neglecting it is a wasted opportunity.

Here’s the thing: Most of the boring stuff in your life is so dull, that even the tiniest thing can make it seem fun. The tiniest thing. This means the you could make it better with extremely simple means.

What exactly am I talking about here? Little things. Like these:

* Challenges: When brushing your teeth tonight, use your left hand.
* Mind games: When you enter work (or school!), imagine the sound “Kabaaaam!” as you enter, as if your presence changed the whole room.
* Action: Jump down from the side-walk, instead of just stepping down.
* Changes: Buy some fancy tomato sauce tonight, instead of your usual brand.
* More action: Count the number of pink things on your way to work, as if your life depended on it.

See? Easy stuff. I really try to live by this “Everyday Action” idea, and I think it works for making the boring parts of life more fun. Because that’s the thing: just because the fantastic moments are few, there’s no reason to just sit there, waiting for the next big thing to swipe you off your feet. Have some fun meanwhile, it’s easy…

/Emil

Emil Stenström
em@kth.se
Stockholm, Sweden

14 November 2011
Children Write to God

Recently, almost by accident, I stumbled upon a very moving book. “Children Write to God”. The author of the book asked children to write down what they would like to tell God, and received many delightful letters with the answer to his question.

Below are some of the touching excerpts from the book that are sure to put a smile on your face:

  • Hello God, if you will cause a doomsday, who will be left to pray to you?
  • A blue sky, Lord, is this when you are in a good mood?
  • Do you service other countries?
  • I understood that you are the most important on Earth, even if you live in the sky. Won’t you be re-elected?
  • Lord, did you listen to your mom as a child?
  • Of course, I love You, but I love mom and dad more. Is that ok?
  • The candles for sale at church, is this your business?
  • I read that Jesus was a Jew, but him being Your son, that means you’re also a Jew?
  • When is a person considered an adult? When they aren’t afraid of needles, or when he likes Svetlana?
  • They trimmed the trees in our park. When I asked why it was done, it was explained to me that it helps the trees grow. So, if I don’t go to the hairdresser,  I won’t grow, mature, or get old and I won’t die?
  • Catholics have one good, Muslims have another, Jews have a third, Lutherans fourth, and the Orthodox fifth. So how many are you there?
  • A person can’t eat meat, but what about cutlets?
  • Dear God, if he gave me a bite of Snickers, is this love?
  • Why did you have to turn off the day?
  • Why is the world round?
  • How is your life in the sky? Do you have everything? Maybe you need something?
  • Why don’t schools pay a stipend?
  • Are you created for the whole world?
  • If you live in the sky, how come the Sun doesn’t burn you?
  • How many classes will I finish, and how will I live in the future?
  • Did you make illnesses for the needles?
  • Will Aliens have an end of the world too?
  • You created man in your image and likeness, what about the alien?
  • Lord, please send me an idea before Sunday how to make 6 dollars out of 3. Just don’t send me the idea about borrowing them from someone. This idea, you’ve already sent me for the first 3 dollars.
  • Could you please turn on the sun, our home heating was turned off, and my grandma is cold.
  • Could you make my handwriting better, then I can write my exam, and it’ll be easier for you to read my letters.
  • I would like to become a magician? What, you can’t do it?
  • When I see you for the first time, Lord, I won’t ask for anything. That way you’ll think – what a humble boy, and give me a Mercedes.
  • If you find my glove, please return it. Just be Honest!
  • Well, why wouldn’t you make rain fall with music?
  • If you first made the woman, you wouldn’t have to bother with the ribs.
  • A bad grade in school – is this my sin? So if yes, then I can skip classes. I mean, keeping away from sin and all…
  • How come you’re so uncertain, on day you’re cold, the other hot, also you can be so windy.