Archives for February 2018

Beauty exists not in sameness

childrenBeauty exists not in sameness but in difference.

Who could imagine a giraffe without its long neck or a cactus without its spines?
The irregularity of the mountain peaks that surround us is what makes them so imposing. If we tried to make them all the same, they would no longer command our respect.

It is the imperfect that astonishes and attracts us.

When we look at a cedar tree, we don’t think: ‘The branches should be all the same length.’
We think: ‘How strong it is.’

When we see a snake, we never say: ‘He is crawling along the ground, while I am walking with head erect.’
We think: ‘He might be small, but his skin is colourful, his movements elegant, and he is more powerful than me.’

When the camel crosses the desert and takes us to the place we want to reach, we never say: ‘He’s humpbacked and has ugly teeth.’
We think: ‘He deserves my love for his loyalty and help. Without him, I would never be able to explore the world.’

A sunset is always more beautiful when it is covered with irregularly shaped clouds, because only then can it reflect the many colours out of which dreams and poetry are made.

Pity those who think: ‘I am not beautiful. That’s why Love has not knocked at my door.’
In fact, Love did knock, but when they opened the door, they weren’t prepared to welcome Love in.

They were too busy trying to make themselves beautiful first, when, in fact, they were fine as they were.
They were trying to imitate others, when Love was looking for something original.

They were trying to reflect what came from outside, forgetting that the brightest light comes from within.

taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

2 min Sufi legend: the lost horse

By Paulo Coelho

Many years ago in a poor Chinese village, there lived a peasant with his son. His only material possession, apart from some land and a small straw hut, was a horse he had inherited from his father.

One day, the horse ran off, leaving the man with no animal with which to till the land. His neighbors – who respected him greatly for his honesty and diligence – came to his house to say how much they regretted what had happened. He thanked them for their visit, but asked:

– How can you know that what has happened has been a misfortune in my life?

Someone mumbled to a friend: “he can’t accept reality, let him think what he wants, as long as he isn’t saddened by what happened.”

And the neighbors went off, pretending to agree with what they had heard.

A week later, the horse returned to the stable, but it was not alone; it brought with it a fine mare for company. Upon hearing this, the villagers – who were flustered since they now understood the answer the man had given them – returned to the peasant’s house, in order to congratulate him on his good fortune.

– Before you had only one horse, and now you have two. Congratulations! – they said.

– Many thanks for your visit and for all your concern – answered the peasant. – But how can you know that what has happened has been a blessing in my life?

Disconcerted, and thinking he must be going mad, the neighbors went off, and on the way commented: “does he really not understand that God has sent him a gift?”

A month later, the peasant’s son decided to tame the mare. But the animal unexpectedly reared up and the boy fell and broke his leg.

The neighbors returned to the peasant’s house – bringing gifts for the wounded boy. The mayor of the village offered his condolences to the father, saying that all were very sad at what had happened.

The man thanked them for their visit and their concern, but asked:

– How can you know that what has happened has been a misfortune in my life?

They were all astonished to hear this, since no one could be in any doubt that the accident of a son was a real tragedy. As they left the peasant’s house, some said to others: “he really has gone mad; his only son might limp forever, and he is still in doubt about whether what happened is a misfortune.”

Some months passed, and Japan declared war on China. The Emperor’s envoys traveled throughout the land in search for healthy young men to be sent to the battle front. Upon arrival in the village, they recruited all the young men except the peasant’s son, whose leg was broken.

None of the young men returned alive. The son recovered, the two animals bred and their offspring were sold at a good price. The peasant began visiting his neighbors to console and help them, – since they had at all times been so caring. Whenever one of them complained, the peasant said: “how do you know it is a misfortune?” If anyone become overjoyed, he asked: “how do you know it is a blessing?” And the men in that village understood that beyond appearances, life has other meanings.

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

Loyalty

FOTOLoyalty can be compared to a shop selling exquisite porcelain vases, a shop to which Love has given us the key.
Each of those vases is beautiful because it is different, as is every person, every drop of rain, every rock sleeping on the mountainside.

Sometimes, due to age or some unsuspected defect, a shelf collapses and falls. And the shop-owner says to himself:
‘I invested years of my time and my love on this collection, but the vases have betrayed me and broken.’
The man sells his shop and leaves. He becomes a solitary, embittered individual, believing that he will never trust anyone again.

It’s true that some vases do break – a promise of loyalty broken. In that case, it’s best to sweep up the pieces and throw them away, because what was broken will never be the same again.
But sometimes the reasons why a shelf collapses and falls go beyond mere human intentions: it could be an earthquake, an enemy invasion, clumsiness on the part of someone who enters the shop without looking where he is going.

Men and women blame each other for the disaster. They say: ‘Someone should have foreseen what was going to happen.’ Or: ‘If I had been in charge, these problems could have been avoided.’
Nothing could be further from the truth. We are all prisoners of the sands of time, and we have no control over them.

Time passes and the shelf that fell gets mended.

Other vases fighting for their place in the world are put there. The new shop-owner, who understands that nothing lasts, smiles and says to himself: ‘That tragedy opened up an opportunity for me and I will try to make the most of it. I will discover works of art I never even knew existed.’

taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Character of the week: The Alchemist

EN ESPANOL : Personaje de la semana: El alquimista
EM PORTUGUES: Personagem da semana: O alquimista

“Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked, when they had made camp that day.

“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

“But my heart is agitated,” the boy said. “It has its dreams, it gets emotional, and it’s become passionate over a woman of the desert. It asks things of me, and it keeps me from sleeping many nights, when I’m thinking about her.”

“Well, that’s good. Your heart is alive. Keep listening to what it has to say.”

“My heart is a traitor,” the boy said to the alchemist, when they had paused to rest the horses. “It doesn’t want me to go on.”

“That makes sense. Naturally it’s afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won.”

“Well, then, why should I listen to my heart?”

“Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet. Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world.”

“You mean I should listen, even if it’s treasonous?”

“Treason is a blow that comes unexpectedly. If you know your heart well, it will never be able to do that to you. Because you’ll know its dreams and wishes, and will know how to deal with them.

“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

“Every second of the search is an encounter with God,” the boy told his heart.

“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,” his heart said. “We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them—the path to their destinies, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out indeed, to be threatening place.

“So, we, their hearts, speak more and more softly. We never stop speaking out, but we begin to hope that our words won’t be heard: we don’t want people to suffer because they don’t follow their hearts.”

From “The Alchemist”

I wish you enough


(today a received an email from a very close friend of mine. I asked her if I could share it here, and she agreed)

Dear Friends,
Amongst all the activities I enjoy in London (shows, galleries, big parties etc…), the moment I enjoyed and cherished most was spending time with my 86 year old neighbor, who always took time to make me his own special coffee with a plate of cookies so graciously served to me on a white linen We used to spend hours talking…primarily me talking and he listening… with his advice whenever I asked.
Yesterday, I sent an email to him (the text is not mine) which was bounced back to me, and after having my husband (who is presently in London) check on him, I received a call to tell me that he had passed away on Jan 28th. My message of appreciation to him was a bit too late…
Below you find my message
Love
I.C.

Recently I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure.
Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the father said, ‘I love you, and I wish you enough.’

They kissed and the daughter left. The father walked over to the window where I was seated. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but I could not refrain from asking:
‘When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?’

He began to smile. ‘That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.’
He paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and he smiled even more.
‘When we said, ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.’
Then turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more..

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting…
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good- bye.

Past and Present


How do you make peace with a negative past and with those who have wronged you?
(By Alex)

In order to move from the past to the present you need to accept your scars. But you need to do everything in your power in order to heal them so that the ghosts of your past will no longer barge in your present life.

It is a long and difficult process I grant you – but it’s a way out of guilt and hatred in my eyes.

How does one keep enthusiasm, especially when you meet people who are well.. scary and mean?
(By Gina)

It’s normal that we don’t always keep our enthusiasm in front of obstacles. Indeed some people truly make an effort in destroying our plans and hopes and so they appear as evil.

But in these moments, if you are able to remind yourself of the reason of your actions and also see that those that are committed in creating pain around them are actually their first victims – then you may at least find an extra dose of consolation in your path. Ally yourself with those that wish you the best and don’t give strength to those that want to see you down. Don’t even grant them the right to be called your “enemies”.

How do you stop sadness? (By Nuri)

By welcoming it and living it intensively for a determined amount of period. In my case I give myself three days to be completely submersed in this feeling.

Once I’ve let sadness pay me a visit, then I kindly ask it to leave. Sadness is then satisfied and leaves.

10 sec reading: stay in the desert

Illustration by Ken Crane

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EN ESPANOL: Quedarse en el desierto
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“Why do you live in the desert?”

“Because I can’t be what I want to be.
” When I begin to be myself, people treat me with a reverence that’s false.
“When I am true to my faith, then they begin to doubt.
“They all believe they are holier than I, but they pretend they are sinners, afraid to insult my solitude.
“They try all the time to show that they consider me a saint, and in this way they become emissaries of the devil, tempting me with Pride.”

And the gentleman answered, walking off:

“Acting in this way, it’s better to stay in the desert. Your problem isn’t trying to be who you are, but trying to be accepted by everybody in the way you think you should be accepted”