The advantages of growing old

A legend tells of a man who used to carry water every day to his village, using two large pitchers tied on either end of a piece of wood, which he placed across his shoulders.

One of the pitchers was older than the other and was full of small cracks; every time the man came back along the path to his house, half of the water was lost.


For two years, the man made the same journey. The younger pitcher was always very proud of the way it did its work and was sure that it was up to the task for which it had been created, while the other pitcher was mortally ashamed that it could carry out only half its task, even though it knew that the cracks were the result of long years of work.

So ashamed was the old pitcher that, one day, while the man was preparing to fill it up with water from the well, it decided to speak to him.

“I wish to apologize because, due to my age, you only manage to take home half the water you fill me with, and thus quench only half the thirst awaiting you in your house.”

The man smiled and said:
“When we go back, be sure to take a careful look at the path.”
The pitcher did as the man asked and noticed many flowers and plants growing along one side of the path.

“Do you see how much more beautiful nature is on your side of the road?” the man remarked.

“I knew you had cracks, but I decided to take advantage of them. I sowed vegetables and flowers there, and you always watered them. I’ve picked dozens of roses to decorate my house, and my children have had lettuce, cabbage and onions to eat. If you were not the way you are, I could never have done this. We all, at some point, grow old and acquire other qualities, and these can always be turned to good advantage.”

5 Writing Themes – Paulo Coelho

Posted by in E-Books India

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is the proud recipient of many international awards and the author of works like The Alchemist, The Devil and Miss Prym, 11 Minutes, and The Zahir. His most famous novel The Alchemist has sold 165 million copies globally and has been translated into 80 languages. Such is the power his writing holds! Not many would know that he follows an uncommon planning ritual for his writing. He initiates his writing process for a new book only after he has found a white feather in the January of an odd year. Now that is something, right?

 

1. Love

The novel By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept is a tale of forgiveness and love. Pilar and her old friend and lover rediscover each other and realize that God is actually love or the quintessential force. Coelho seems to tell readers that when people are single, they are on their path. When they find a soul mate or a companion, then they need to decide how to merge their paths and find a common ground. Love triumphs in the novel. Coelho describes love as something that is “always new… It can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere.” He seems to equate love to a positive journey. In the novel, the characters learn that “the moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us.” This supports the theme that love is something that we need to seek and our quest through experiences brings us closer to what we yearn for.

2. Battle between good and evil

Another theme that Coelho explores in his writing is the battle between good and evil. Writers can take a leaf out of this and perhaps incorporate the theme in their writing. In The Devil and Miss Prym, Coelho depicts the temptation of evil that a small community has to deal with. The character Chantal Prym manages to overcome her evil tendencies and lets the good in her to triumph. There is a similar situation in his novel By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept also, where the character Pilar must relieve herself from the influence of “the Other” or temptation and evil. All this demonstrates Coelho’s faith in humanity’s triumph over evil.

3. Presence of a supreme power

Coelho’s writings have a vein of reference to the Supreme Power, Allah, God and other divine names. In The Alchemist, there is a frequent reference to the universe; it influences everybody’s journey and works in tandem with them. In The Devil and Miss Prym, the priest plays a great role and so do saints in the lives of the villagers.

4. Foreshadowing

The technique of foreshadowing is often used by Coelho. Readers get to know that the characters are going to do something that helps them in their future. His characters often embark on a journey and then they evolve stronger and live a more fruitful life.

5. Magic realism

He also uses the technique of magic realism in his writings. Magic realism is a narrative technique in which the realistic and fantastic elements seamlessly blend. In The Alchemist, Santiago, a common shepherd, sets off on a journey to pursue his “Personal Legend.” The first few pages sound realistic, and then the narrative slowly progresses to the realm of fantasy.

 

 

 

20 sec reading: Matisse and Renoir meet

 

Ever since he was young, the painter Henri Matisse used to visit the great Renoir at his atelier every week. When Renoir was crippled with arthritis, Matisse began to visit him daily, taking food, paintbrushes and paint, always trying to convince the master that he worked to hard. He needed to rest a little.

One day, noting that each brush stroke made Renoir groan of pain, Matisse couldn’t stay silent: “Great master, your work is  already vast and important. Why continue to torture yourself that way?”

“Very simple,” Renoir answered. “Beauty remains; pain ends up passing.”

The silence of the night

 

A Sufi master and his disciple were walking in an African desert. When the night fell, both of them built a tent and prepared to rest.

“What a silence,” observed the disciple.

“Never say ‘what a silence’,” answered the master. “Always say: I am not being able to listen to nature.”

Khrisna and the teacher

A widow from a village in Bengal didn’t have the money to pay her son’s bus fare, for she had enrolled him in a school far away from home.

The boy would have to cross a forest all by himself.

In order to reassure him, she said: “Don’t be afraid of the forest, son.

“Ask Lord Krishna to be with you. He will hear your prayer.”

The boy did what his mother told him to do; Krishna appeared and began to take him to school every day.

On his teacher’s birthday, the boy asked his mother for money to buy him a gift.

“We don’t have money, son. Ask your brother Krishna to arrange a gift.”

On the next day, the boy told his problem to Krishna. He gave him a pitcher full of milk.

Cheered up, the boy handed the pitcher to his teacher. But as the other gifts were prettier, his teacher didn’t give any attention to it.

“Take this pitcher to the kitchen,” said the teacher to an assistant.

The assistant did what he was told to do.

As he tried to empty the pitcher, however, he noticed that it would fill up again by itself. Immediately, he went to tell it to the professor, who got perplexed and asked the boy: “Where did you get this pitcher and what is the trick that keeps it full?”

“The one who gave it to me was Krishna, the Lord of the Forest.”

The teacher, the students and the helper, all of them laughed.

“There is no God in the forest, this is superstition,” said the teacher.

“If there is one, let us go outside to see him.”

The entire group went out. The boy began calling for Krishna but he didn’t appear.

Desperate, he made a last try: “Brother Krishna, my teacher wants to see you. Please appear.”

At that moment, a voice that echoed through all corners came from the forest: “How is it that he wants to see me, son? He doesn’t even believe I exist!”

Which Sexual Fantasies Are Normal?

Capture

sent by Pierre Rotschild
for the full article, go to Jewish Business News

 

Hoping for sex with two women is common but fantasizing about golden showers is not.

That’s just one of the findings from a research project that scientifically defines sexual deviation for the first time ever. It was undertaken by researchers at Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal and Institut Philippe-Pinel de Montréal, affiliated with University of Montreal. Although many theories about deviant sexual fantasies incorporate the concept of atypical fantasies (paraphilias), the scientific literature does not describe what these types of fantasies actually are.

In North America, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) refers to “anomalous” fantasies, while the World Health Organization talks about “unusual” fantasies in defining paraphilias. But what is an unusual sexual fantasy exactly?

The prestigious Journal of Sexual Medicine published the answer today.

  • The nature of sexual fantasies are varied among the general population. Few fantasies can be considered statistically rare, unusual, or typical
  • However, not surprisingly, the study confirms that men have more fantasies and describe them more vividly than women.
  • Importantly, unlike men, women in general clearly distinguish between fantasy and desire. Thus, many women who express more extreme fantasies of submission (e.g. domination by a stranger) specify that they never want these fantasies to come true. The majority of men, however, would love their fantasies to come true (e.g. threesomes).
  • As expected, the presence of one’s significant other is considerably stronger in female fantasies than in male fantasies. In general, men in couples fantasize much more about extramarital relationships compared to women.

One of the most intriguing findings has to do with the significant number of unique male fantasies, for example, regarding ‘shemales’, anal sex among heterosexuals, and the idea of watching their partner have sex with another man.

Evolutionary biological theories cannot explain these fantasies, which, among males, are typically desires.

Overall, these findings allow us to shed light on certain social phenomena, such as the popularity of the book ‘Fifty Shades of Grey‘ with women,” Joyal said. “The subject is fascinating. We are currently conducting statistical analyses with the same data to demonstrate the existence of homogeneous subgroups of individuals based on combinations of fantasies. For example, people who have submission fantasies also often report domination fantasies. These two themes are therefore not exclusive, quite the contrary. They also seem associated with a higher level of satisfaction.”

Stories for parents, children and grandchildren

Stories for parents, children and grandchildren- Volume 1 Stories for parents, children and grandchildren- Volume 2
Amazon iBooks
Amazon iBooks

20 sec reading: bored to death

As soon as he died, Juan found himself in a very beautiful place, surrounded by all the comfort and beauty that he had dreamed of.

A figure dressed in white came up to him: “You are entitled to anything you want.”

Enchanted, Juan did everything he had dreamed of during life.
After many years of pleasure, he sought out the figure in white.
He said that he had experienced everything and that now he needed a little work to make him feel useful.

“That’s the only thing I cannot get for you,” said the figure in white.
“But I’ll spend eternity dying of boredom! I’d much rather be in hell!”

“And where do you think you are?”

Act of love

Rabbi Iaakov’s wife was always looking for an excuse to argue with her husband. Iaakov never answered her provocations. Until one night, during a dinner with some friends, when the rabbi had a ferocious argument with his wife, to the surprise of all at table.

“What happened?” they asked. “Why did you break your habit of never answering?”

“Because I realised that what bothered my wife most was the fact that I remained silent. Acting in this way, I remained far from her emotions.

“My reaction was an act of love, and I managed to make her understand that I heard her words.”

20 sec reading: I want to see you – Rumi

“I want to see you.

Know your voice.

Recognize you when you
first come ’round the corner.

Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.

Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.

Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
“more”

by Rumi

20 sec read: when pain doesn’t hurt

The Cistercian priest Marcos Garcia, who lives in Burgos, Spain, commented: “sometimes, God takes away a certain blessing, so the person can understand Him beyond the favors and requests. He knows how far to go in testing a soul – and never goes beyond this point.

“At such moments, we never say God has abandoned us. He never does so; it is we who at times abandon Him. If the Lord puts us to the test, he also always provides enough graces – more than enough, I’d say – to get us through it. When we feel far from His face, we should ask ourselves: are we making the most of that which He has placed along the way?”

If what you are following is the path of your dreams, commit yourself to it. Don’t leave the back door open with excuses: “this still isn’t quite what I wanted.” This sentence – heard so often – contains the seed of defeat.

Embrace your path. Even if you need to take uncertain steps, constantly destroy and build, even if you know you can do better than at present.

If you accept the possibilities of the present, you will certainly improve in the future.

10 sec reading: Do you feel useful?

Capture

CaptureAsk a flower in the field: ‘Do you feel useful? After all, you do nothing but produce the same flowers over and over?’
And the flower will answer: ‘I am beautiful, and beauty is my reason for living.’

Ask the river: ‘Do you feel useful, given that all you do is to keep flowing in the same direction?’
And the river will answer: ‘I’m not trying to be useful, I’m trying to be a river.’

Nothing in this world is useless in the eyes of God. Not a leaf from a tree falls, not a hair from your head, not even an insect dies because it was of no use. Everything has a reason to exist.

Even you, the person asking the question. ‘I’m useless’ is the answer you give yourself.

Soon that answer will poison you and you will die while still alive, even though you still walk, eat, sleep and try to have a little fun whenever possible.

Don’t try to be useful. Try to be yourself: that is enough, and that makes all the difference.
 
 
taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Thank you for being by my side in 2014

My prayer for 2015

 

Lord, protect our doubts, because Doubt is a way of praying. It is Doubt that makes us grow because it forces us to look fearlessly at the many answers that exist to one question. And in order for this to be possible…

Lord, protect our decisions, because making Decisions is a way of praying. Give us the courage, after our doubts, to be able to choose between one road and another. May our YES always be a YES and our NO always be a NO. Once we have chosen our road, may we never look back nor allow our soul to be eaten away by remorse. And in order for this to be possible…

Lord, protect our actions, because Action is a way of praying. May our daily bread be the result of the very best that we carry within us. May we, through work and Action, share a little of the love we receive. And in order for this to be possible…

Lord, protect our dreams, because to Dream is a way of praying. Make sure that, regardless of our age or our circumstances, we are capable of keeping alight in our heart the sacred flame of hope and perseverance. And in order for this to be possible…

Lord, give us enthusiasm, because Enthusiasm is a way of praying. It is what binds us to the Heavens and to Earth, to grown-ups and to children, it is what tells us that our desires are important and deserve our best efforts. It is Enthusiasm that reaffirms to us that everything is possible, as long as we are totally committed to what we are doing. And in order for this to be possible…

Lord, protect us, because Life is the only way we have of making manifest Your miracle. May the earth continue to transform seeds into wheat, may we continue to transmute wheat into bread. And this is only possible if we have Love; therefore, do not leave us in solitude. Always give us Your company, and the company of men and women who have doubts, who act and dream and feel enthusiasm, and who live each day as if it were totally dedicated to Your glory.

Amen

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tomorrow…

No one can go back, but everyone can go forward.

And tomorrow, when the sun rises, all you have to say to yourselves is:
I am going to think of this year as the first year of my life.

I will look on the members of my family with surprise and amazement, glad to discover that they are by my side, silently sharing that much-talked-about, but little understood thing called love.

I will pass a beggar, who will ask me for money. I might give it to him or I might walk past thinking that he will only spend it on drink, and as I do, I will hear his insults and know that it is simply his way of communicating with me.

I will pass someone trying to destroy a bridge. I might try to stop him or I might realise that he is doing it because he has no one waiting for him on the other side and this is his way of trying to fend off his own loneliness.

I will look at everything and everyone as if for the first time, especially the small things that I have grown used to, quite forgetting the magic surrounding them. The desert sands, for example, which are moved by an energy I cannot understand – because I cannot see the wind.

Instead of noting down things I’m unlikely to forget on the notebook I always carry with me, I will write a poem. Even if I have never written one before and even if I never do so again, I will at least know that I once had the courage to put my feelings into words.

When I reach a small village that I know well, I will enter it by a different route. I will be smiling, and the inhabitants will say to each other: ‘He must be mad, because war and destruction have left the soil barren.’

But I will keep smiling, because it pleases me to know that they think I am mad. My smile is my way of saying: ‘You can destroy my body, but not my soul.’

Tonight, before leaving, I’m going to spend time sorting through the pile of things I never had the patience to put in order. And I will find that a little of my history is there.
All the letters, the notes, cuttings and receipts will take on their own life and have strange stories to tell me – about the past and about the future. All the different things in the world, all the roads travelled, all the entrances and exits of my life.

I am going to put on a shirt I often wear and, for the first time, I am going to notice how it was made. I am going to imagine the hands that wove the cotton and the river where the fibres of the plant were born. I will understand that all those now invisible things are a part of the history of my shirt.

And even the things I am accustomed to – like the sandals which, after long use, have become an extension of my feet – will be clothed in the mystery of discovery.
Since I am heading off into the future, I will be helped by the scuff marks left on my sandals from when I stumbled in the past.

May everything my hand touches and my eyes see and my mouth tastes be different, but the same. That way, all those things will cease to be a still life and instead will explain to me why they have been with me for such a long time; and they will reveal to me the miracle of re-encountering emotions worn smooth by routine.

taken from THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

Kingdom of God

 

By the Trappist monk Thomas Merton (in Open Questions):

“The kingdom of God is the kingdom of love. But if the possibility of a decent standard of living doesn’t exist and there is lack of freedom, justice and education in human society, how can we build this kingdom of love?”

“A starving man isn’t in conditions to think of God — unless as an escape of his own problems, and this doesn’t seem to me an act of faith. There are saints who overcame their adversities, even under conditions considered impossible for ordinary men.”

“Nevertheless, the kingdom of God isn’t limited to saints, but to ordinary people like us. We have to seek — even if for the sake of egoism — to build a better world for our fellow men: our inner despair will diminish and our lives will begin to have more meaning. Living together with happy people will make everything easier for ourselves.”

Two masters

Always smile 

Someone said to William James, an American philosopher and psychologist: “You are the only happy person I know: you always have a smile on your lips, even when facing great difficulties.”

“I am not always smiling because I am happy,” answered William James. “I am happy because I am always smiling.”

Wise man’s answer 

A king asked Saadi of Shiraz: “While travelling through the cities of my country, do you use to think of me and about my works?”

“Oh King, I think of you, whenever I forget about God,” was the wise man’s answer.

Christmas Tale : The music coming from the house

Send to your friends this tale in English – click here
Envie a sus amigos este cuento en castellano – pinche aquí
Envie aos seus amigos este conto em português – clique aqui
Envoyez ce conte à vos amis en français – cliquez ici
Um dieses Märchen nach Irhen Freunden auf deutsch schicken – bitte klick hier

On Christmas Eve, the king invited the prime minister to join him for their usual walk together. He enjoyed seeing the decorations in the streets, but since he didn’t want his subjects to spend too much money on these just to please him, the two men always disguised themselves as traders from some far distant land.

They walked through the centre of the city, admiring the lights, the Christmas trees, the candles burning on the steps of the houses, the stalls selling gifts, and the men, women and children hurrying off to celebrate a family Christmas around a table laden with food.

On the way back, they passed through a poorer area, where the atmosphere was quite different. There were no lights, no candles, no delicious smells of food about to be served. There was hardly a soul in the street, and, as he did every year, the king remarked to the prime minister that he really must pay more attention to the poor in his kingdom. The prime minister nodded, knowing that the matter would soon be forgotten again, buried beneath the day-to-day bureaucracy of budgets to be approved and discussions with foreign dignitaries.

Suddenly, they heard music coming from one of the poorest houses. The hut was so ramshackle and the rotten wooden timbers so full of cracks, that they were able to peer through and see what was happening inside. And what they saw was utterly absurd: an old man in a wheelchair apparently crying, a shaven-headed young woman dancing, and a young man with sad eyes shaking a tambourine and singing a folk song.

‘I’m going to find out what they’re up to,’ said the king.

He knocked. The music stopped, and the young man came to the door.

‘We are merchants in search of a place to sleep. We heard the music, saw that you were still awake, and wondered if we could spend the night here.’

‘You can find shelter in a hotel in the city. We, alas, cannot help you. Despite the music, this house is full of sadness and suffering.’

‘And may we know why?’

‘It’s all because of me.’ It was the old man in the wheelchair who spoke. ‘I’ve spent my life teaching my son calligraphy, so that he could one day get a job as a palace scribe. But the years have passed and no post has ever come up. And then, last night, I had a stupid dream: an angel appeared to me and asked me to buy a silver goblet because, the angel said, the king would be coming to visit me. He would drink from the goblet and give my son a job.

‘The angel was so persuasive that I decided to do as he said. Since we have no money, my daughter-in-law went to the market this morning to sell her hair so that we could buy that goblet over there. The two of them are doing their best to get me in the Christmas spirit by singing and dancing, but it’s no use.’

The king saw the silver goblet, asked to be given a little water to quench his thirst and, before leaving, said to the family:

‘Do you know, we were talking to the prime minister only today, and he told us that an opening for a palace scribe would be announced next week.’

The old man nodded, not really believing what he was hearing, and bade farewell to the strangers. The following morning, however, a royal proclamation was read out in all the city streets; a new scribe was needed at court. On the appointed day, the audience room at the palace was packed with people eager to compete for that much-sought-after post. The prime minister entered and asked everyone there to prepare their paper and pens:

‘Here is the subject of the composition: Why is an old man weeping, a shaven-headed woman dancing, and a sad young man singing?’

A murmur of disbelief went round the room. No one knew how to tell such a story, apart, that is, from the shabbily dressed young man sitting in one corner, who smiled broadly and began to write.

(Based on an Indian story)

Translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa

AP Interview: Coelho says Sony hack threatens all

GENEVA – The bestselling author said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press that he was prepared to make himself an example — even if it meant inviting criticism and potential threats — if Sony Pictures had taken him up on his $100,000 offer for the rights to its cancelled film.

Defending these values is a matter of the highest concern for “everyone on the planet, everyone who believes in freedom of expression,” he said, drawing parallels with the plight of fellow author Salman Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after his novel “The Satanic Verses” drew death threats from the Iranian government.

His plan was to release the film on his blog in the unlikely event Sony took him up on his spontaneous offer via Twitter for the controversial film “The Interview” that Sony cancelled after threats from anonymous hackers.

“I thought that they could take the offer so as not to lose face,” Coelho said. “You know, ‘In a gesture of good will, we are going to accept $100,000 even if we put $44 million in this movie because we believe in freedom of information.’ … Tomorrow the film would be there.”

The author of “The Alchemist” acknowledged he would have been afraid if he had released the film, particularly because he travels and could be vulnerable, but he would have been more ashamed of himself if he didn’t at least try.

“So live with fear or live with shame? Better to live with fear,” he said at his luxury Geneva home, where his phone and Internet service were mysteriously out of service in an apparent attack directed at him. “In the name of something that is more important than I am, as a physical person.”

Sony defended its decision after President Barack Obama said during a press conference that the studio had “made a mistake” in dropping “The Interview,” a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond “in a place and manner and time that we choose” to the attack that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government.

Sony said the cancellation happened only because the country’s top theatre chains pulled out. “This was their decision,” Sony said in a statement.

Coelho made clear he wasn’t defending the movie itself but rather that he decried the “culture of fear” and apparent willingness to “negotiate with terrorists” that he said undercuts people’s freedom of expression and the principle of not negotiating with terrorists. He also expressed admiration for actor George Clooney’s attempt to highlight the same values of sticking one’s neck out to defend our freedom of information by putting forward a petition for Hollywood bigwigs to sign — though none did.

Clooney said the entertainment industry should seek release of “The Interview” online, telling the trade site Deadline that he urged Sony to “do whatever you can to get this movie out. Not because everybody has to see the movie, but because I’m not going to be told we can’t see the movie. That’s the most important part.”

Coelho said he was unable to reach any executives to discuss the decision not to screen the film before a projected Dec. 25 release, but he thinks the studio ignored his offer because of fear that more Sony hacked emails would be divulged.

“What I’m doing here is much more a kind of political statement: fight for you rights,” he said. “We live in a moment where fear rules, and this cannot continue.”

Fighting injustice

By Paulo Coelho

T.H. Huxley says:

“The consequences of our actions are scarecrows for the cowards and beams of light for the wise. The world is a chessboard. The pieces are the gestures of daily life, the rules are the so-called laws of nature.”

Although he concentrates on what he is doing, the warrior of the light does not look on injustice with indifference. He knows that everything is one thing alone, that each individual action affects all the men on the planet, and if he sees someone being a victim of cowardly attacks, he uses his sword to put things in order.

But although he fights against oppression, at no moment does he try to judge the oppressor. Each one will answer for his acts before God, and that is why, once his task is accomplished, the warrior makes no further comment. A warrior of the light is in the world to help his brothers, not to condemn his neighbors.

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