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You Start Dying Slowly…

 

You start dying slowly

if you do not travel,

if you do not read,

if you do not listen to the sounds of life,

if you do not appreciate yourself.

 

You start dying slowly when you kill your self-esteem…

when you do not let others help you.

 

You start dying slowly if you become a slave to your habits,

walking everyday along the same paths…

if you do not change your routine,

if you do not wear different colors

or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

 

You start dying slowly if you avoid feeling passion and its turbulent emotions,

those that make your eyes glisten and your heart beat fast.

 

You start dying slowly if you do not change your life when you are not satisfied with your job,

or with your love, or with your surroundings.

 

If you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain,

if you do not go after your dream,

if you do not allow yourself, at least once in your lifetime,

to run away from sensible advice…

 

You start dying slowly.

 

Pablo Neruda

“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try accepting yourself exactly the way you are and see what happens!”

 

The Useless Eyebrows

Once upon a time, a person’s eyes, nose, and mouth had a meeting.

First the eyes said,

“We, the eyes, are of utmost importance to the body. Everything must be seen by us to know whether it is beautiful or not, big or small, tall or short. Without eyes, walking around will be very difficult. So we, the eyes, are very important. But we have been improperly placed under the eyebrows, which are of no use. It is just not fair!”

Next, the nose said,

“I, the nose, am the most important. Only I can distinguish a good smell from a foul odor. The act of breathing is also dependent on me. If I do not let the breath pass through, everybody will die. So I am the most important. As important as I am, I have been unfairly placed beneath the useless eyebrows. I am most unhappy.”

Then the mouth said,

“I am the most important part of the human body. I can speak; if not for me, there would not be any communication among people. I take in the food; if not for me, everybody would die of hunger. Such an important part as myself has been placed in the lowest part of the face. The useless eyebrows, however, have been put on the highest part of the face. This I cannot accept!”

After the others had spoken, the eyebrows spoke slowly,

“Please do not fight anymore. We, the eyebrows, are surely the most useless things; we admit defeat. We are willing to be placed below you.”

Having said this, the eyebrows settled down below the eyes. Unfortunately, the person no longer looked like a human being. Next, the eyebrows settled down below the nose. It was still horrible; it still did not look like a human being. Then the eyebrows settled down below the mouth. This looked even more ghastly!

The eyes, nose, and mouth huddled to discuss the situation again. They concluded it was best if the eyebrows returned to their original place on the face; it was the most appropriate spot for them.

When the eyebrows returned to their original spot, the appearance was once again that of a human being. Thus, we can see that what appears to be the most useless thing, may be perfect exactly the way it is.

Master Hsing-Yun

Be the perfect human being you are. By holding ourselves as imperfect beings, we can easily find fault with ourselves, make ourselves wrong and resort to self-blame and criticism.

Isn’t there enough of that negativity in the world? Wouldn’t it be better to accept ourselves the way we are and simply change what we choose to?

 There’s no need to be negative or heap bad feelings on ourselves. Let’s be gentle, kind and understanding of our humanness, while always seeking standards of excellence.

Thank you to my daughter, Gabi,
 for sharing this story with us.

Given the current state of our country’s cultural climate, I think it’s a good time to share this short story. I hope it disturbs you greatly. 

“When I was in seventh grade, our teacher put on a video for us to watch and asked us to take notes. Ten minutes in, she threw the lights on and shouted at Steven Webb Sladki, telling him he wasn’t taking notes and he should have been.

But the thing was, Steve was taking notes. I saw it, we all saw it. The teacher asked if anyone wanted to stand up for Steve. A few of us choked out some words of defense but we were immediately squashed.

Quickly, we were all very silent. Steve was sent to the principal’s office. The teacher came back in the room and said something like, ‘See how easy that was?’

We were reading ‘Anne Frank’. I started to understand.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that what you see with your own eyes isn’t happening.”

Author unknown

My fear is that for some of you, the message of this story will be but a blip on the screen of your daily activities…Do not allow yourself to slowly slide down the slippery slope of the dumbing-down of America.

Speak up! Don’t be silent when the human rights of others are being violated or when the human dignity of another is being demeaned or ridiculed.

Stand up! Demand that laws be followed (not innocent people). Be a person who interrupts injustice and prejudice when you see it, hypocrisy when you hear it, and ignorance when you experience it.  

YOU matter. YOU make a difference and YOUR voice makes a difference.

Thank you to my good friend Sharon Larkins-Pederson 
for this short story.

Refugees

Refugees

By

Brian Bilston

 

They have no need of our help.

So do not tell me

these haggard faces could belong to you or me

Should life have dealt a different hand,

We need to see them for who they really are

chancers and scroungers

Lay-abouts and loungers,

with bombs up their sleeves,

cut-throats and thieves

They are not

welcome here.

We should make them

go back to where they came from.

They cannot

share our food

share our homes

share our countries.

Instead let us

build a wall to keep them out.

It is not okay to say

these are people just like us.

A place should only belong to those who are born there.

Do not be so stupid to think that

The world can be looked at another way.

(Now read from the bottom to the top)

“I believe we are here on earth to help others. What others believe they are here for I don’t know.”

 

Thank you to my good friend, Sherry Edensmith for sharing this.

Mercy

Mercy

after Nikki Giovanni

She asked me to kill the spider.

Instead, I get the most peaceful weapons I can find.

I take a cup and a napkin.

I catch the spider; put it outside

and allow it to walk away.

If I am ever caught in the wrong place

at the wrong time,

just being alive

and not bothering anyone…

I hope I am greeted

with the same kind of mercy.

“All any of us truly want is to be accepted and loved just the way we are.”

When you go out into the woods and you look at the trees, you see all these different trees. Some of them are bent and some of them are straight. Some are evergreens and some are whatever.

And you look at a tree and you allow it. You see why it is the way it is. You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light and so it is turned and bent a certain way. And you don’t get all emotional about it. You just allow it.

You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all of that. You’re constantly saying,

“You’re too this” or “I’m too this.” That judging mind comes in.

So I practice turning people into trees. Which means appreciating them…

Just the way they are.

~ Ram Dass

A line of elephants approaching the Anthony house

“We must support the dignity of life.”

Lawrence Anthony was a conservationist and author known as “The Elephant Whisperer” who passed away on March 2, 2012.

Anthony, who grew up in rural Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, was known for his unique ability to communicate with and calm traumatized elephants. In his book, The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild, he tells the story of saving the elephant herds, at the request of an animal welfare organization and how he rescued and rehabilitated a group of wild South African elephants who were deemed dangerous and about to be shot.

Anthony concluded the only way he could save these elephants, who were categorized as violent and unruly, was to live with them.

“To save their lives, I would stay with them, feed them, talk to them. But, most importantly, be with them day and night”.

When Anthony died suddenly of a heart attack, a group of elephants he had rescued, who were grazing miles away in different parts of the park, appeared to remember what he had done for them. They gathered together and travelled over 12 hours to reach his house in the South African KwaZuku.

According to Anthony’s son, the herd arrived shortly after his death. They hadn’t visited the compound where Anthony lived for a year and a half, but his son said, “In coming up there on that day of all days, we certainly believe they had sensed it.” They stayed for two days, then departed as silently as they had arrived.

While it’s hard to say how they could have sensed Anthony had died, elephants are known for their grieving rituals, both in the wild and in captivity. According to many researchers, elephants grieve the deaths of their relatives, as when a child or parent dies.

For another look at the emotional bonds elephants may experience with one another, the short documentary link (below) details the experience of two elephants, Shirley and Jenny, who were reunited after over 20 years of being apart. Each had separately known extensive abuse as circus animals. Scarred and crippled, they were finally being saved by Urban Elephant and sent to retire at an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. They went on to live together for six years before Shirley’s death in 2006, at which time Jenny remained alone in the woods and didn’t eat for two days.

Shirley and Jenny

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My friends, it’s important we let our hearts be emotionally moved. It’s important for us to feel our feelings and to touch each other with tenderness. It’s important for us to experience empathy and compassion and to realize the connection we have with all our fellow humans. Like the elephants, we need to value life and mourn when others are hurt or in need of a helping hand – or be sensitive when a person simply wants someone to stand beside them in support. Considering our current cultural climate, we surely have a lot to learn.

Right now . . . will you please set aside whatever you feel is so important and just take seven minutes to experience the power of connection? Just put down whatever it is you’re working on and click on the link below. You can go back to your busy important life in seven minutes. Our world desperately needs you to awaken and reconnect with what is truly important . . .

Two elephants reunited after 20 years

Many people in our world today have become so hardened and hateful, so focused on themselves, their own agendas and being right, they completely disregard human decency. They are so intent on getting their own way, they purposefully hurt others in the process.

We need to shed those tough external walls that keep us so separate and apart. We need to care for, respect and value one another. The elephants, who have graced this earth much longer than we humans, seem to understand this. Certainly, we have a lot to learn from them. . . But will we?

Many thanks to my good friend Bill Holmes 
for sharing this sweet story with us.