Archives for March 2014

Folsom State Prison & The Alchemist


Dear Mr. Coelho,

I am a psychologist working at Folsom State Prison and have therapy group designed to help inmates think positively and take positive action in their lives.

Recently, we have begun reading The Alchemist in group because I thought it would be good for the inmates to start thinking about their own personal legends so they can start to nurture their own paths.

I must say they are taken by the story and are freely sharing their hopes and dreams with one another. They are contemplating their obstacless and what they can do to get through them.
Society has told them that they are done but, as they journey with Santiago, they are learning otherwise and are inspired.

Thank you for The Alchemist on behalf of the inmates in the Positive Mood Group at Folsom State Prison!

Sincerely,

Rachel Couzens, Psy.D.”

Dear Rachel

I just posted it here because this may serve as an example to many.
I also strongly encourage my friends in this blog to support you in whatever you need.
Here is a link to Folsom State Prison – Mission Statement with all the relevant addresses.
Thank you very much
Paulo

You, who they call Lord

___________________________
EM PORTUGUES AQUI: Vocíª, que eles chamam Senhor
EN ESPANOL AQUI : Tu, a quien ellos llaman Seníµr
___________________________

by Abbot Burkhard

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.

When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.

You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.

Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.

I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.

Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.

Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.

Amen

_____________________________
Istanbul, Turkey, on March 19, 2011. You can see the video of Abbot Burkhard praying in German in 6:09 min of our collective prayer

(translated by Nayla )

The mouse and the books

In 1967,When I was interned in Dr. Eiras Mental Institution (yes, I was considered to be a lunatic), I began to have panic crises.
One day, I decided to consult the psychiatrist in charge of my case:

“Doctor, I am overcome by fear; it takes from me the joy of living”.

“Here in my office there is a mouse that eats my books”, said the doctor.
“If I get desperate about this mouse, he will hide from me and I will do nothing else in life but hunt him.
“Therefore, I put the most important books in a safe place and let him gnaw some others.

“In this way, he is still a mouse and does not become a monster.

“Be afraid of some things and concentrate all your fear on them – so that you have courage in the rest.”

Sant Joseph 2014 (March 19)

by Keith Parkins

A man without friends, a woman without friends, does not exist. “” Paulo Coelho

An annual tradition friends gather together to celebrate St Joseph Day.

What purpose is life without friends?

A St Joseph Day Party, Paulo Coelho and friends at Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho.

Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho is a recently restored 17th century fortress-like complex along the coast from Cascais, which is along the coast from Lisbon.

The Portuguese were adventurers and navigators, what is life without adventure, without taking risks?

The evening started with cocktails, followed by Paulo and Christina welcoming everyone.

Rudolf sent his best wishes, he was sorry he could not be there, but Scorpions were performing in Moscow.

Prayers in many languages, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Urdu, English, starting with Portuguese.

TO CONTINUE READING, PLEASE CLICK HERE)

20 sec reading: Envy

According to the dictionary: s.f., from the Latin Invidia. Mixture of pain and anger; feeling of displeasure about the prosperity and happiness of someone else; desire to have what others have.

In a Jewish parable: A disciple asks the rabbis about the passage in Genesis:
“The Lord was pleased about Abel and his offer, whereas he was not pleased about Cain and his offer. Cain was exceedingly angry and his face fell. Then the Lord said to him: Why are you angry and why did your face fall?”
The rabbis answered:
“God should have asked Cain: Why are you angry? Was it because I did not accept your offering, or because I accepted the offering of your brother?”

Envy and ethics: For the scientist and researcher Dr. William M. Shelton, envy is a reaction provoked by losers, who seek to evade reality by hiding behind a crusade seeking to reinstate “moral values”, “noble ideas”, and “social justice”.
The situation becomes dangerous when the school system begins to develop in the student the conditioning for despising all those who manage to be successful, always attributing any success to corruption, manipulation and moral degradation.

As the pursuit of success is something inherent to the human condition, the students end up in a schizophrenic process of hating exactly that which would lead them to happiness, thereby increasing the anxiety crises, and reducing the capacity to innovate and improve society.

Satan and the demons: The demons came to complain to the Prince of Darkness. For two years they had tempted a certain monk who lives in the desert.
“We have offered him money, women, all we have in our repertoire, and nothing worked.”
– You don’t know how to do it properly – replied Satan. – Come and see how you should act in a case of this sort.
They all flew to the cavern where the holy monk lived. There, Satan whispered in his ear:
– Your friend Maccarius has just been promoted to Bishop of Alexandria.
Immediately the man blasphemed against the heavens, and lost his soul.

30 sec reading: let’s not waste time

A carpenter and his apprentices were travelling through the province of Qi in search of building materials.
They saw a giant tree; five men all holding hands could not encompass its girth, and its crown reached almost to the clouds.

‘Let’s not waste our time with this tree,’ said the master carpenter.
‘It would take us for ever to cut it down. If we wanted to make a ship out of that heavy trunk, the ship would sink. If we tried to use it to build a roof, the walls would have to be specially reinforced.’

The group continued on its way. One of the apprentices remarked:

‘Such a big tree and no use to anyone!’

‘That’s where you’re wrong,’ said the master carpenter. ‘The tree was true to its own destiny.
“If it had been like all the others, we would have cut it down. But because it had the courage to be different, it will remain alive and strong for a long time yet.”

Saint Joseph 2014

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by Keith Parkins

An annual tradition friends gather together to celebrate St Joseph Day.

What purpose is life without friends?

A St Joseph Day Party, Paulo Coelho and friends at Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho.

Hotel Fortaleza do Guincho is a fortress-like complex along the coast from Cascais, which is along the coast from Lisbon.

The Portuguese were adventurers and navigators, what is life without adventure, without taking risks?

The evening started with cocktails, followed by Paulo and Christina welcoming everyone.

Rudolf sent his best wishes, he was sorry he could not be there, but Scorpions were performing in Moscow.

Prayers in many languages, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Urdu, English, starting with Portuguese.

(TO CONTINUE READING, CLICK HERE )

20 SEC READING: part of the ocean


Illustration by Ken Crane

There was once a wave in the ocean, rolling along, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the swiftness of the breeze.
It smiled at everything around it as it made its way toward the shore.

But then, it suddenly noticed that the waves in front of it, one by one, were striking against the cliff face, being savagely broken to pieces.

‘Oh God!’ it cried. ‘My end will be just like theirs. Soon I, too, will crash and disappear!’

Just then another wave passing by saw the first wave’s panic and asked:
‘Why are you so anxious? Look how beautiful the weather is, see the sun, feel the breeze…’

The first wave replied:
‘Don’t you see? See how violently those waves before us strike against the cliff, look at the terrible way they disappear. We’ll soon become nothing just like them.’

‘Oh, but you don’t understand,’ the second wave said.
‘You’re not a wave. You’re a part of the ocean.’

______________________________

in “The missing rose” by Serdar Ozkan

True skill

By Paulo Coelho

The yogi Raman was a true master of the art of archery. One morning, he invited his favourite disciple to watch a display of his skill. The disciple had seen this more than a hundred times before, but he nevertheless obeyed his teacher. They went into the wood beside the monastery and when they reached a magnificent oak tree, Raman took a flower which he had tucked in his collar and placed it on one of the branches.

He then opened his bag and took out three objects: his splendid bow made of precious wood, an arrow and a white handkerchief embroidered with lilacs.

The yogi positioned himself one hundred paces from the spot where he had placed the flower. Facing his target, he asked his disciple to blindfold him with the embroidered handkerchief.

The disciple did as his teacher requested.

‘How often have you seen me practise the noble and ancient sport of archery?’ Raman asked him.

‘Every day,’ replied his disciple. ‘And you have always managed to hit the rose from three hundred paces away.’

With his eyes covered by the handkerchief, the yogi Raman placed his feet firmly on the ground, drew back the bowstring with all his might – aiming at the rose placed on one of the branches of the oak tree – and then released the arrow.

The arrow whistled through the air, but it did not even hit the tree, missing the target by an embarrassingly wide margin.

‘Did I hit it?’ said Raman, removing the handkerchief from his eyes.

‘No, you missed completely,’ replied the disciple. ‘I thought you were going to demonstrate to me the power of thought and your ability to perform magic.’

‘I have just taught you the most important lesson about the power of thought,’ replied Raman. ‘When you want something, concentrate only on that: no one will ever hit a target they cannot see.’

We and the critics

I am convinced that most of you also feel hurt when someone criticizes your work. Don’t take critics too seriously. They don’t have the power to make (or to avoid) someone buying a book, a CD, or to go to an exhibition. Don’t give them the importance they don’t have. They are trying to make a living, and that’s all.

If I did not manage to convince you, please read the comments below:

Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway. ~ Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. ~ David Brinkley

A painting in a museum probably hears more foolish remarks than anything else in the world. ~ Edmond and Jules De Goncourt

To escape criticism — do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. ~ Elbert Hubbard

It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper. ~ Errol Flynn

If criticism had any power to harm, the skunk would be extinct by now. ~ Fred Allen

Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against, not with, the wind. ~ Hamilton Mabie

Before you criticize people, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away. And you have their shoes. ~ JK Lambert

A negative judgment gives you more satisfaction than praise, provided it smacks of jealousy. ~ Jean Baudrillard

I have always been very fond of them (drama critics) . . . I think it is so frightfully clever of them to go night after night to the theatre and know so little about it. ~ Noel Coward

Sticks and stones are hard on bones, aimed with angry art,
Words can sting like anything but silence breaks the heart.
~ Phyllis McGinley

A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still. ~ Samuel Johnson

If any human being earnestly desire to push on to new discoveries instead of just retaining and using the old; to win victories over Nature as a worker rather than over hostile critics as a disputant; to attain , in fact, clear and demonstrative knowlegde instead of attractive and probable theory; we invite him as a true son of Science to join our ranks. ~Sir Francis Bacon

Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves. ~ Brendan Francis Behan

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet

The swords of Damascus

The remarkable characteristics of Damascus steel became known to Europe when the Crusaders reached the Middle East, beginning in the 11th century.
They discovered that swords of this metal could split a feather in midair, yet retain their edge through many a battle with the Saracens.
The swords were easily recognized by a characteristic watery or ”damask” pattern on their blades.

Such blades were reputed to be not only tough and resistant to shattering, but capable of being honed to a sharp and resilient edge.

The original method of producing Damascus steel is not known. Due to differences in raw materials and manufacturing techniques, modern attempts to duplicate the metal have failed.

For eight centuries the Arab sword makers succeeded in concealing their techniques from competitors -and from posterity. Those in Europe only revealed that they quenched in ”red medicine” or ”green medicine.” A less abrupt form of cooling, according to one account, was achieved when the blade, still red hot, was ”carried ina furious gallop by a horseman on a fast horse.”

Writings found in Asia Minor said that to temper a Damascus sword the blade must be heated until it glows ”like the sun rising in the desert.”

According to Dr. Nickel, once blades of Damascus steel had been rough-shaped by hammering, they were ground to a fine edge. When they were hammered chiefly on one side, a curved shape resulted – the origin of the sabre, he said.

The finest blades ever made, he added, were the Samurai swords of Japan, whose blades may contain a million layers of steel. The layers resulted from hammering out a bar to double its original length, then folding it over as many as 32 times.

The multiple layers used by the Japanese and by makers of the Malay dagger or kris are sometimes referred to as ‘ ‘welded Damascus steel.” Although the production method differs from that of true Damascus steel, the blades may show a very similar pattern.

from a 1981 article by Walter Sullivan and Wikipedia

Witches and rebellion

In today’s society (as it was the case in the past) there is a tremendous amount of energy spent on trying to make people conform to established behavior, to established religions, namely, to a certain type of thought.

This uniformity is very tricky because it comes through a certain «political correctness» that stifles people’s spontaneity.

Women who rebels against this sort of general “inertia” were called in the past witches and the stigma still strive nowadays.

Actually these rebellious women pay a price, doing things in a way that probably will not make a lot of sense to others but that are vital to them. Athena is very bold and she takes a risk – as anyone who stays true to oneself does.

I wanted to particularly explore the prejudices that we have when we embrace our compassionate side.

People that accept that God is more than rules and commandments and try to dwell into the adoration of beauty and passion, this feminine energy, are called “witches”.
But in fact, Athena is someone who intuitively understands the soul of the world and tries to abide to its freedom.

I felt the need to question why society had tried to lock away the feminine side. The character of Athena, with her freedom and courage, was my way to tackle this subject and to unveil the shackles of dogma.
 
 
 
In The Witch of Portobello

10 SEC READING the writer and God

EM PORTUGUES CLIQUE AQUI > Kazantzakis e Deus
______________________________
 

During his whole life, the Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba, The Last Temptation of Christ) was an absolutely coherent man.
Although he touched on religious themes in many of his books – such as an excellent biography of Saint Francis of Assisi – he always considered himself a confirmed atheist.
Well, this confirmed atheist wrote one of the most beautiful definitions of God that I have ever come across:

“We gaze with perplexity at the highest part of the spiral of force that governs the Universe.
“And we call it God.
“We could give it any other name: Abyss, Mystery, Absolute Darkness, Total Light, Matter, Spirit, Supreme Hope, Supreme Despair, Silence.
“But we call it God, because only this name – for some mysterious reason – is capable of making our heart tremble with vigor.

“And let there be no doubt that this trembling is absolutely indispensable for us to be in contact with the basic emotions of the human being”.
 
 
 

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Your thoughts in my blog : Dreams by Thao Bui

As a child, we all have dreams, aspirations, unimaginable feats we’re unrealistically trying to achieve.
Why is it that when we’re young, we’re so imaginative and willing to believe?
Is it because we are still so innocent?
What happens between childhood and adulthood that makes us all forget who we really are?

Maybe it’s this ideology that we’ve all taken up as a coping mechanism.
Don’t expect much and you won’t be disappointed. Maybe it’s the realities of life that makes us push aside what we really want just to get by.

That’s the process that I find most unfortunate of all processes in life. There’s this ever encompassing idea that dreams can be too big for one individual to handle.
We’d rather give up and settle than run that extra mile.
We’re distracted by things we think we need and when we are unable to grasp it, our world goes awry.

Everything is wrong, but nothing is really wrong.

The difference between childhood and adulthood is the ability to put your dreams into actions.
The child inside you believes..while the adult inside you acts.

If it’s just one life that we have now..it’s everything in between that makes it a great ending.