20 SEC READING: The Asylum


 
A story by Kahlil Gibran
 

I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book.

His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.

I sat down beside him and asked:

‘What are you doing here?’

He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:

‘It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him.
“My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example.
“My mother wanted me to be the image of her beloved father.
“My sister always set her husband before me as an example of the successful man.
“My brother tried to train me up to be a fine athlete like himself.

“And the same thing happened at school, with the piano teacher and the English teacher – they were all convinced and determined that they were the best possible example to follow.
“None of them looked at me as one should look at a man, but as if they were looking in a mirror.

“So I decided to enter this asylum. At least here I can be myself.’

Who stole my story?

When I was active on Myspace (I am not anymore), “Fly me to the moon” (Frank Sinatra) was deleted from my profile.
So who deleted the song? The answer is simple: greed and ignorance.
Greed that does not understand that this world has changed. Ignorance that thinks that, if the music is available for free, people are not going to buy the CD.

A] some will say :
you are rich enough to afford having your texts here for free.
It is true that I am rich (as were Frank Sinatra, and his heirs), but this is not the point. The point is that we want to first and foremost SHARE something. If you go to most of the pages, what will you see? Fantastic pictures, great blogs, amazing photos. For free. My texts are for free here. And you can reproduce them anywhere provided that you name the author.

B] The industry will say:
artists cannot survive without being paid.
But the industry is thinking on the opposite direction of our reality today. I follow Hilal on Twitter (even if she tweets once a year…). Hilal is from Turkey, but lives in Russia (and she is the main character in ALEPH). She first read a pirate edition of “The Alchemist”. Hilal download the text, read it, decided to buy the book. Up to today, I have over 12.000.000 hard copies sold in Russia, and counting.

C] I also decided to create “The Pirate Coelho”, an non-official fan page that allows people to download the full texts in different languages. I am selling more books now than ever. (Where is it? Well, not difficult to find…)

D] How did all these social communities start?
At first it was just wanting to chat with another person. But chatting isn’t enough – we have to share the music, the book or the film that we love. When there was no law against it, this information was exchanged freely. Finally, when the entertainment industry caught on, the repression began.

E] Art is not an orange.
If you buy an orange and eat it, you have to buy another one, and then it makes sense that oranges should not be given for free, because the consumer consumes the product. Art is about beauty. Music is about beauty. If I visit a page and I like the music, I am sure I will buy the CD, because I want to know more about the work of the artist.

F] A woman went to a market and saw two jars.
She asked the vendor for the price:: “ten coins”, he answered.
The woman was surprised: “but one of these jars has been painted by an artist!”
The vendor replied: ” I am selling jars. Beauty has no price.”
 

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30 SEC reading: A saint in the wrong place

‘Why is it that some people can resolve the most complicated problems really easily, whilst others agonize over every tiny crisis and end up drowning in a glass of water?’ I asked.

Ramesh replied by telling the following story:

‘Once upon a time, there was a man who had been the soul of kindness all his life.
When he died, everyone assumed that he would go straight to Heaven, for the only possible place for a good man like him was Paradise.
The man wasn’t particularly bothered about going to Heaven, but that was where he went.

Now in those days, service in heaven was not all that it might be.
The reception desk was extremely inefficient, and the girl who received him gave only a cursory glance through the index cards before her and when she couldn’t find the man’s name, she sent him straight to Hell.

And in Hell no one asks to check your badge or your invitation, for anyone who turns up is invited in. The man entered and stayed.

Some days later, Lucifer stormed up to the gates of Heaven to demand an explanation from St Peter.

“What you’re doing is pure terrorism!” he said. “You sent that man down into Hell, and he’s completely undermining me! Right from the start, there he was listening to people, looking them in the eye, talking to them.
“And now everyone’s sharing their feelings and hugging and kissing. That’s not the sort of thing I want in Hell! Please, let him into Heaven!’

When Ramesh had finished telling the story, he looked at me fondly and said:
 
‘Live your life with so much love in your heart that if, by mistake, you were sent to Hell, the Devil himself would deliver you up to Paradise.’
 
 

The daisy and selfishness


Illustration by Ken Crane

Warriors of Light must be together. The short story below illustrated this:

“I am a daisy in a field of daisies,” thought the flower. “Amidst others, it is impossible to notice my beauty.”

An angel heard what she was thinking and commented:

– But you are so pretty!

– I want to be the only one!

In order not to hear any complaints, the angel carried her off to a city square.

Some days later, the mayor went there with a gardener to make some changes to the square.

– There is nothing of interest here. Dig up the earth and plant geraniums.

– Hold on a minute! – cried out the daisy. – You’ll kill me if you do that!

– If there were some others like you, we could make some nice decoration – answered the mayor. – But there are no daisies to be found around here, and you on your own do not make a garden.

Then he tore the flower from the ground.

32 Life Lessons I Learned by Age 32

by Susie Moore (you can read the full post HERE)

1) There has never been a better time in history to live an extraordinary, unlimited life.

2) Don’t listen to others when it comes to making big decisions. Your inner voice has the answers.

3) How good you look is a reflection of how good you feel inside. The woman who taught me this is the incredible Rupa Mehta, founder of Nalini Method, here in New York!

4) We’re all connected. As Mark Nepo says, “being human is looking so deeply into the other person that you recognize yourself.”

5) Life is better when you’re in it (not on the sidelines, watching).

6) Take your desires seriously. They’re all you’ve got. Deepak Chopra teaches, “Inherent in every desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment.”

7) You don’t have to work in a corporate job. It’s not safe anyway, despite what they tell you. There’s much more fun and money to be had if you can handle a little uncertainty (warning — most people would choose misery over uncertainty, but you don’t have to be one of them). Doing work that you truly love is the best gift you will ever give yourself.

8) Laugh often. People who laugh vs. get offended or get upset over small stuff have way healthier lives.

9) Ask for a raise when you feel it’s due. Always. It adds up to more than you believe.

10) Kindness counts above all else. It does not matter how good looking, educated or interesting someone is. It all means nothing without kindness.

11) Worry less. As happiness researcher Shawn Achor says, “Adversities, no matter what they are, simply don’t hit us as hard as we think they will. Our fear of consequences is always worse than the consequences themselves.”

12) Visualize! Picture your ideal life daily and consistently take small steps towards your vision. Each small step adds up to a life.

13) Always be de-cluttering! Closets, paperwork, unsupportive friends, apps, inboxes. Simplicity is heaven.

14) It’s never about where you start. I come from a small town, a broken home, an alcoholic father and no money. If you hate your situation, I guarantee you that you can change it. Your current circumstances are always temporary (both good and bad).

15) Qualifications mean less than you think. Knowledge is only potential power. Doing/creating/building is what counts (and it’s where you gain the real knowledge).

16) The best way to do it is to do it. Take risks. You’ll be dead soon. As my friend Sean Behr says, “don’t die wondering.”

17) Read like a maniac — biographies especially. All mistakes that can be made and lessons that can be learned have already been experienced by someone else. Reading is like a Cheater’s Guide to navigating your life.

18) The biggest regrets come from pleasing other people. A Buddhist monk said if you meditated for 20 years the final message you would arrive at is, “Be yourself.”

19) Live where you want to live. Despite what you might think — you are NOT stuck! If your dream is to live in London, Paris, San Francisco — go!

20) Love yourself. Especially when you don’t “deserve” it.

21) Forgive others no matter what they did to you. This is like inner-peace on a platter. BUT you don’t have to be friends with people who’ve hurt you.

22) Success isn’t passive. Elizabeth Gilbert nailed it when she said, “Participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own blessings.”

23) Talk to new people. All opportunities come from the people you meet. It’s humans who make things happen, nothing else.

24) Time cures heartbreak. Nothing else. As Regina Brett says, “Give time time.”

25) It’s OK if people don’t like you. Truly. I love what Paulo Coelho says, “Haters are confused admirers who cannot understand why everyone loves you.”

26) Say no and don’t feel guilty about it. Martha Beck put it best, “When it comes to saying yes or no to something or someone, choose the answer that feels like freedom.”

27) No one is ever ready. Just begin, baby!

28) Focus on your strengths, always. Crafting your strengths will get you much further than improving your weaker areas. Let your strengths shine and don’t apologize for them!

29) Everyone is scared.

30) “No-one knows what they’re doing either.“As Ricky Gervais says. We are all just doing our best as we go along. Let this make you feel free, liberated and tolerant of all others who are just doing their best, too.

31) Love is stronger than death. When we lose our loved ones all that’s lost is their physical form.

32) You are going to be OK.

Buying time

(the story below was a comment in “The fisherman and the businessman” by Benseddik. I liked it so much that I decided to post it in the main page)

A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year-old son waiting for him at the door.
“Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
“Yeah, sure, what is it?” replied the man.
“Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?
“That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.

“I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.
“If you must know, I make $20.00 an hour.”
“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $10.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. I work long, hard hours everyday and don’t have time for such childish games.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $10.00, and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.
“Are you asleep son?” he asked.
“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man. “It’s been a long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $10.00 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, beaming. “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills.
The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.

“Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled.
“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.

“Daddy, I have $20.00 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”

Timeless Truths We Learned from “The Alchemist”

By Ryan Covel

On finding your Personal Legend
:When we’re young we dream of becoming astronauts, professional athletes, actors and writers, captains and firefighters, but as we grow older, and move through the education system and society, it’s continually suggested that we ‘think more reasonably’ and consider things such as job-security – like how Paulo’s parents suggested he become an engineer. As Paulo shows us though, sometimes it’s best we don’t listen to the voices of suppression, and continue to dream big throughout our whole life.

On fate and freewill: Many times when an event occurs in our lives, whether good or bad, we will tell ourselves, “it was fate”. We like to give the universe its power and convince ourselves that we have no control over what happens – but we do. The world’s biggest lie is when we, or others, tell ourselves that we don’t have control over our lives. We do. We are each in full control of our individual lives – and until we stop believing in that lie, we won’t be able to reach our full potential; our Personal Legend.

On life: The hardest part of any goal worth achieving comes in the moments when you think it has become an impossible task, but in reality, you are so close to achieving whatever it is that you have asked the universe for. It’s about persevering those tough moments, and continuing your journey, that will help you realize your dreams. As Paulo says,

“It is said that the darkest hour of night came just before the dawn.”

St Joseph’s Party 2016

Easter 2016 – the sun rises again

“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.””
John Muir

“He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in eternity’s sunrise”
William Blake

“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.”
Walt Whitman

“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise”
George Washington Carver

“What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?”
E. M. Foster

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.”
Bern Williams

“Sunrise doesn’t last all morning, a cloudburst doesn’t last all day, seems my love is up and has left you with no warning. It’s not always going to be this grey. All things must pass, all things must pass away.”
George Harrison

“The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrise.”
Clement of Alexandria

Rabindranath Tagore


Einstein and Tagore, 14 July 1930

“Spiritual life is the emancipation of consciousness. Through it we find immediate response of soul everywhere. Before we attain this life, we see men through the medium of self-interest, prejudice or classification, because of the perpetual remoteness around us which we cannot cross over. When the veil is removed, we not only see the fleeting forms of the world, but come close to its eternal being, which is ineffable beauty.
Some seek for the evidence of spiritual truth in the outside world. In this quest one may stumble upon ghosts or some super-sensual phenomenon of nature, but these do not lead us to spiritual truth, as new words in a dictionary do not give us literature.

So busy used I to be under the belief that I was indispensable, that I hardly dared to wink.
My doctor now and again would warn me, saying: “Stop, take it easy.”
But I would reply: “How will things go on if I stop?”
Just then my health failed me, the wheels of my car broke down and it came to a stop beneath this window. From here I looked out upon the limitless space. There I saw whirling the numberless flashing wheels of the triumphal chariot of time,–no dust raised, no din, not even a scratch left on the roadway. On a sudden I came to myself. I clearly perceived that things could get along without me. There was no sign that those wheels would stop, or drag the least bit, for lack of anyone in particular.
But is this to be admitted so easily as all that! Even if I admit it in words, my mind refuses assent. If it be really quite the same whether I go or stay, how then did my pride of self find a place in the universe, even for a moment? On what could it have taken its stand? Amidst all the plentifulness with which space and time are teeming, it was nevertheless not possible to leave out this self of mine. The fact that I am indispensable is proved by the fact that I am.

THE question is: “In which Truth is my entity to realise its fullest value,–in Power or in Love?” If we accept Power as that truth we must also recognize conflict as inevitable and eternal.”

Thought Relics by Rabindranath Tagore

In the restaurant

(story sent by Anshul Maheshwari)

A son took his old father to a restaurant for an evening dinner.
Father being very old and weak, while eating, dropped food on his shirt and trousers.
Other diners watched him in disgust while his son was calm.

After he finished eating, his son who was not at all embarrassed, quietly took him to the wash room, wiped the food particles, removed the stains, combed his hair and fitted his spectacles firmly. When they came out, the entire restaurant was watching them in dead silence, not able to grasp how someone could embarrass themselves publicly like that.

The son settled the bill and started walking out with his father.

At that time, an old man amongst the diners called out to the son and asked him, “Don’t you think you have left something behind?”.

The son replied, “No sir, I haven’t”.

The old man retorted, “Yes, you have! You left a lesson for every son and hope for every father”.

Where God lives

On one hand we know that it is important to seek God.
On the other hand, life distances us from Him – because we feel ignored by the Divine, or else because we are busy with our daily life.
This apparent double law is a fantasy: God is in life, and life is in God.

Relax. When we start our spiritual journey, we want so very hard to speak to God – and we end up not hearing what He has to tell us.
That is why it is always advisable to relax a little.
It is not easy: we have a natural tendency to always do the right thing, and we feel that we are going to improve our spirit if we work at it non-stop

But if you relax and keep moving, if we manage to penetrate the sacred harmony of our daily existence, we shall always be on the right road, because our daily tasks are also our divine tasks.
And God is there.

Saint Joseph’s Day

St joseph
As I do every year, today we are going to celebrate (this time in Prague, Czech Republic) the day of my patron, Saint Joseph. Together with 120 friends, we will say the prayer below at 8:30 PM. Be welcome to join us!

Glorious St. Joseph
model of all who are devoted to labor,
obtain for me the grace
to work conscientiously by placing love of duty above my inclinations;
to gratefully and joyously deem it an honor to employ and to develop by labor
the gifts I have received from God,
to work methodically, peacefully,
in moderation and patience,
without ever shrinking from it through difficulty to work;
above all, with purity of intention and unselfishness,
having unceasingly before my eyes
the account I have to render of time lost,
talents unused, good not done,
and vain complacency in success.
St. Joseph, inspire and guide me for the time to come.

 
 

I don’t want to offend you (Islamic tradition)

During his pilgrimage to Mecca, a holy man began to feel the presence of God.

In the midst of a trance he knelt down, hid his face and prayed:
“Lord, I ask for only one thing in life: that I be given the grace of never offending you.”

“I cannot grant you that grace,” answered the Almighty. ‘If you don’t offend me I shall have no reason to pardon you.

” If I have no need to pardon you, soon you will also forget the importance of mercy towards others.

“So go on your way with Love and let me grant pardon now and again so that you don’t forget that virtue as well.”

_______________________________________
Durante su peregrinación a La Meca, un hombre santo comenzó a sentir la presencia de Dios.

En medio de un trance, se arrodilló, escondió su rostro y oró:
“Señor, te pido una sola cosa en la vida:. Que se me dé la gracia de nunca ofender Usted”

“No puedo conceder esa gracia”-respondió el Todopoderoso. “Si no me ofendes no tendré motivos para perdonarte.

“Si no tengo necesidad de perdonarte a ti, pronto también te olvidas la importancia de la misericordia hacia los demás.

“Así­ que sigas tu camino con amor, te perdonaré de vez en cuando, y tu perdonarás a los otros.”

30 sec reading: why tell stories

The great Rabbi Israel Shem Tov, when he saw that the Jews were being mistreated, went into the forest, lit a holy fire, and said a special prayer, asking God to protect his people.
And God sent him a miracle.

Later, his disciple Maggid de Mezritch, would go to the same part of the forest and say:
“Master of the Universe, I do not know how to light the holy fire, but I do know the special prayer; hear me, please!”
The miracle always came about.

A generation passed, and Rabbi Moshe-leib of Sasov, during some dire times, went to the forest, saying:
“I don’t know how to light the holy fire, nor do I know the special prayer, but I still remember the place. Help us, Lord!”
And the Lord helped.

Fifty years later, Rabbi Israel de Rizhin, in his wheelchair, spoke to God:
“I don’t know how to light the holy fire, nor the prayer, and I can’t even find the place in the forest. All I can do is tell this story, and hope God hears me.”
And the Lord helped. ‘”

That’s why I adore storytelling; stories are how we learn. The progenitors of the world’s religions understood this, handing down our great myths and legends from generation to generation

As someone said: “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.”

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple


___________________________
ESPANOL AQUI > Cuando sea una mujer mayor, vestiré de morado
___________________________

by Jenny Joseph

WHEN I AM AN OLD WOMAN I SHALL WEAR PURPLE
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells

And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Pilar


__________________________
EN ESPANOL CLICAR AQUI > Pilar
EM PORTUGUES, CLICAR AQUI> Pilar
__________________

If one person really wants us, everyone does. But, if we’re alone, we become even more alone. Life is strange.
“Have you ever heard of the book called the I Ching?” I asked her.
“No, I haven’t.”
“It says that a city can be moved but not a well. It’s around the well that lovers find each other, satisfy their thirst, build homes, and raise their children. But if one of them decides to leave, the well cannot go with them. Love remains there, abandoned – even though it is filled with the same pure water as before.”

Love is always new. Regardless of whether we love once, twice or a dozen times in our life, we always face a brand-new situation.

Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere. We simply have to accept it, because it is what nourishes our existence. If we reject it, we die of hunger, because we lack courage to stretch out a hand and pluck the fruit from the branches of the tree of life.
We have to take love where we find it, even if it means hours, days, weeks of disappointments and sadness.

“You shouldn’t have asked,” I said. “Love doesn’t ask many questions, because if we stop to think we become fearful. It’s an inexplicable fear; it’s difficult even to describe it. Maybe it’s the fear of being scorned, of not being accepted, or of breaking the spell. It’s ridiculous, but that’s the way it is. That’s why you don’t ask-you act. As you’ve said many times, you have to take risks.”

Wait. This was the first lesson I learned about love. The day drags along, you make thousands of plans, you imagine every possible conversation, you promise to change your behaviour in certain ways – and you feel more and more anxious until your loved one arrives.
But by then, you don’t know what to say. The hours of waiting have been transformed into tension, the tension has become fear, and the fear makes you embrassed about showing affection.

Love is like a trap. When it appears, we see only light, not its shadows.


Pilar
is the main character of “By the river Piedra I sat down and wept”

Help me to find this man

20160309_174912_002
20160309_174655

click in the image to enlarge

Dear friends
In 1982, my wife and I decided to start travelling without any specific place to go, wandering around and visiting many countries for several months. In January 1982 we ended up in Praha (it was during the communist regime).

Sunday morning, January 24 in the The Golden street of Alchemists, we saw a lone person drawing. It was winter, freezing cold, but this young man was there, following his call (today there are many dozens doing the same). My wife and i were the only ones walking in this street. I decided to buy one of his drawings. He was so happy that he decided to draw my wife for free.
I was a little bit embarrassed, but while watching him doing this, I thought: “this is an example for me. A lesson of a lifetime, I must never forget this moment. Nobody is here, nobody is buying anything , but this does not stop him to do what he wants to do.”

At the end, I gave him TWO GIFTS, the only things that I had in my pocket.

I wish I can meet him again in March 19, when I will hold my annual party, this time on Praha. He is probably doing something completely different now. When we met him, he was around 25 years old. He will be my guest of honour. I will know if it is him because he MUST identify the two gifts I gave him.

UPDATE 19 MARCH 2016- Thank you my My Czech friends!

ivan1

Happy International Women’s Day!

Montsegur, 1989

Monica and I reached the foot of the Montségur Mountain one August evening. We stood in the place where 220 Cathars were buried alive in 1224.
We had planned to climb it the following day.

The weather was overcast, with clouds so low that we could not even see the ruins at the top of the gigantic rock. Just to provoke Monica, I said that it might be interesting to make the climb that very night.
She said no, and I was relieved, imagine if she had said yes!

At that moment a car drove up, the same make and color as mine.

An Irishman stepped out and asked us as if we were from the region, from what point the rock could be climbed. I suggested that he make the climb the next morning with us, but he was determined to go up that very night.
He wanted to see the sunrise from up there, claiming that perhaps he had been a Cathar in a past life.
“I wonder if you could lend me a lamp?” he asked.

I went to the hotel in the village where we were staying and borrowed a lamp, the only one they had.
“¨It is a sign – we need to climb this rock now.”

Monica seemed scared, but I said that we have to go ahead. ‘Signs are signs’, I said.
The newcomer asked where the path was. I told him it did not matter and to just start going up.

And for some time, (I cannot remember how long) the three of us climbed a mountain that we did not know, at night, and with the fog that only allowed us to see a few yards ahead of us.

Finally, we were above the clouds; the sky filled with stars, the moon was full, and standing before us was the gate of the fortress of Montségur.

We entered and contemplated the ruins. I looked at the beauty of the firmament, wondering how we got there without any accident, but then I thought that it’s better not to ask any questions and just admire the miracle.

For the next few years, I sent several letters to the mysterious Irishman, but he never replied back.
I have returned to Montségur and climbed the mountain several other times, but have never again managed to find the path that we used that August night in 1989.

_______________________________________

(one week after this experience, I met Brida O’Fern in the Pyrenees Mountains, and it happens that she was a Cathar in her previous life. Her story is in my book BRIDA )