Inspirational Stories

The Flow of Life 

If the sky above seems cloudy, And you are left out in the rain, If you are searching for a rainbow,
But the colors bring you pain, If your world is not revolving, And there is no end in sight, 
If you are looking for the sunshine, But all you see is night, If all around are smiling, 
But all you can do is frown, If you are tired of all this living, When life just brings you down,

Then look beyond your teardrops, at the wonders of this land, The beauty of a flower,
Like velvet in your hand. Feel the air around you, The smell of new mown hay, 
Laughing children in the park, The innocence there at play,

Imagine floating with a butterfly, As she flutters between the trees, Or the whispers of the ocean, 
On warm hot summer’s breeze, Think of the taste of candy floss, As it melts upon your tongue,
Or the melody of morning birds, As they greet each day with song, Remember words of beauty, 
Told in your mother's embrace, Feel the gentleness of her touch, As she softly kissed your face, 

Seek the good within you, Cast the clouds from your sky, Don’t look toward the pavement,
But hold your head up high, Think not what life owes you, But of all you have to give, 
Forget about tomorrow, Then you can start to live.

So Bless this age your are living in, With the gifts you can bestow, Don't disregard the stream of life,
Go gently with the flow.



A Jury to be proud of   (Warning: May leave you somewhat misty eyed!!!)

I arrived at the address where someone had requested a taxi. I honked but no one came out. I honked again, nothing. So I walked to the door and knocked. 'Just a minute', answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. 

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, any knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware. 'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, and then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. 'It's nothing', I told her. 'I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated'. 'Oh, you're such a good boy', she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, 'Could you drive through downtown?'

'It's not the shortest way,' I answered quickly. 'Oh, I don't mind,' she said. 'I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice'. I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. 'I don't have any family left,' she continued. 'The doctor says I don't have very long.' I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. 'What route would you like me to take?' I asked. For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. 

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. 

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, 'I'm tired. Let's go now. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. 'How much do I owe you?' she asked, reaching into her purse. 'Nothing,' I said. 'You have to make a living,' she answered. There are other passengers,' I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly. 'You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,' she said. 'Thank you.'

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? 

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. 

People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, But they will always remember how you made them feel.




Just Five more minutes 

While at the park one day, a woman sat down next to a man on a bench near a playground. "That’s my son over there," she said, pointing to a little boy in a red sweater who was gliding down the slide. "He’s a fine looking boy" the man said. "That’s my daughter on the bike in the white dress." Then, looking at his watch, he called to his daughter. "What do you say we go, Melissa?" 

Melissa pleaded, "Just five more minutes, Dad. Please? Just five more minutes." The man nodded and Melissa continued to ride her bike to her heart’s content. Minutes passed and the father stood and called again to his daughter. "Time to go now?" Again Melissa pleaded, "Five more minutes, Dad. Just five more minutes." The man smiled and said, "OK." "My, you certainly are a patient father," the woman responded. 

The man smiled and then said, "Her older brother Tommy was killed by a drunk driver last year while he was riding his bike near here. I never spent much time with Tommy and now I’d give anything for just five more minutes with him. I’ve vowed not to make the same mistake with Melissa. She thinks she has five more minutes to ride her bike. The truth is, I get five more minutes to watch her play."

Life is all about making priorities, what are your priorities? Give someone you love 5 more minutes of your time today!




The Fern and the Bamboo (By Eric Garner) 

One day I decided to quit…I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality. I wanted to quit my life. I went to the forest to have one last talk with God. "God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?" His answer surprised me. "Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?" "Yes", I replied.

"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. 

And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. "In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. The same in year fou……then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. 

I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle. "Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. "Don’t compare yourself to others." He said. "The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful."

"Your time will come", God said to me. "You will rise high" "How high should I rise?" I asked. "How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return. "As high as it can?" I questioned. "Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can." I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me. And He will never give up on you. 

Never regret a day in your life. Good days give you happiness; Bad days give you experiences; both are essential to life.






The Burnt Biscuits

(Contributed by Dr GM Singh)


When I was a kid…my mom liked to make food for breakfast and for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made dinner after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite! When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits."

Later that night...I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired...And besides - a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!”

You know…life is full of imperfect things……and imperfect people. I’m not the best at hardly anything and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. What I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each others faults – and choosing to celebrate each others differences – is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing and lasting relationship. Learn to take the good, the bad and the difficult parts of your life and take them for what they are worth. Because in the end, a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal–breaker! We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband–wife or parent–child or friendship!

"Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket…keep it in your own." So Please pass me a biscuit and yes…the burnt one will do just fine. Life is too short to wake up with regrets.




A Legacy Of Love

What should be our legacy of love be? Here is something for you to ponder about.

As a young man, Al was a skilled artist, a potter. He had a wife and two fine sons. One night, his oldest son developed a severe stomachache. Thinking it was only some common intestinal disorder, neither Al nor his wife took the condition very seriously. But the malady was actually acute appendicitis, and the boy died suddenly that night. 

Knowing the death could have been prevented if he had only realized the seriousness of the situation, Al’s emotional health deteriorated under the enormous burden of his guilt. To make matters worse his wife left him a short time later, leaving him alone with his six–year–old younger son. The hurt and pain of the two situations were more than Al could handle, and he turned to alcohol to help him cope. In time Al became an alcoholic. As the alcoholism progressed, Al began to lose everything he possessed – his home, his land, his art objects, everything. Eventually Al died alone in a San Francisco motel room.

When I heard of Al’s death, I reacted with the same disdain the world shows for one who ends his life with nothing material to show for it. "What a complete failure!" I thought. "What a totally wasted life!"

As time went by, I began to re–evaluate my earlier harsh judgment. You see, I knew Al’s now adult son, Ernie. He is one of the kindest, most caring, most loving men I have ever known. I watched Ernie with his children and saw the free flow of love between them. I knew that kindness and caring had to come from somewhere. I hadn’t heard Ernie talk much about his father. It is so hard to defend an alcoholic. One day I worked up my courage to ask him. "I’m really puzzled by something," I said. "I know your father was basically the only one to raise you. What on earth did he do that you became such a special person?"

Ernie sat quietly and reflected for a few moments. Then he said, "From my earliest memories as a child until I left home at 18, Al came into my room every night, gave me a kiss and said, ‘I love you, son.’"

Tears came to my eyes as I realized what a fool I had been to judge Al as a failure. He had not left any material possessions behind. But he had been a kind loving father, and he left behind one of the finest legacy of love, a most giving man I have ever known.





Why it is so hard to let go

The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.

"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?" Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face. "A dollar ninety–five. That’s almost $2.00. If you really want them, I’ll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday’s only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma." As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents.

On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?" "Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you." "Then give me your pearls." "Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess – the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite." "That’s okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. 

About a week later, after the story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, "Do you love me?" "Daddy, you know I love you." "Then give me your pearls." "Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper." "That’s okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you" And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.

With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime–store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime–store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure. 

So it is with our Heavenly Father. He is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that he can give us beautiful treasure. Isn’t God good? 

Are you holding onto things which God wants you to let go of. Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities which you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe this one thing…………… 

An Inspirational Story 
(Contributed by Dr. BR Mardia, Consultant ENT Surgeon)

You may have seen this before, but reading again will refresh your memory!

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, ‘Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty–seven years old. Can I give you a hug?’ I laughed and enthusiastically responded, ‘Of course you may!’ and she gave me a giant squeeze.. 

‘Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?’ I asked. She jokingly replied, ‘I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…’ ‘No seriously,’ I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. ‘I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!' she told me. After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this ‘time machine’ as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.. 

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, ‘I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.’ 

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ‘We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty–seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty–eight. Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are hose with regrets..’ 

She concluded her speech by courageously singing ‘The Rose.’ She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it! 

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE. 

Remember, growing older is mandatory. growing up is optional. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.



God will never take away something without giving you something better in…




Excellence

A man once visited a temple under construction where he saw a sculptor making an idol of God. Suddenly he noticed a similar idol lying nearby. Surprised, he asked the sculptor, "Do you need two statues of the same idol?" "No," said the sculptor without looking up, "We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage." The gentleman examined the idol and found no apparent damage. "Where is the damage?" he asked. "There is a scratch on the nose of the idol." said the sculptor, still busy with his work.

"Where are you going to install the idol?" The sculptor replied that it would be installed on a pillar twenty feet high. "If the idol is that far, who is going to know that there is a scratch on the nose?" the gentleman asked. The sculptor stopped his work, looked up at the gentleman, smiled and said, "I will know it."

The desire to excel is exclusive of the fact whether someone else appreciates it or not."Excellence" is a drive from inside, not outside. Excellence is not for someone else to notice but for your own satisfaction and excellence.



You may have seen this before, but reading again will refresh your memory!

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, ‘Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty–seven years old. Can I give you a hug?’ I laughed and enthusiastically responded, ‘Of course you may!’ and she gave me a giant squeeze.. 

‘Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?’ I asked. She jokingly replied, ‘I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…’ ‘No seriously,’ I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. ‘I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!' she told me. After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this ‘time machine’ as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.. 

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she revelled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.

Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, ‘I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.’ 

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ‘We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humour every day. You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty–seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty–eight. Anybody! Can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are hose with regrets..’ 

She concluded her speech by courageously singing ‘The Rose.’ She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those months ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be.

When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it! 

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE. 

Remember, growing older is mandatory. growing up is optional. We make a Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.




We are all made to fly...


Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons from Arabia. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.

Months passed and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “May be I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”

In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”

The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”
With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, “ It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”

We are all made to fly-- to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But instead of doing that, we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

So let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight !!!!!!!


Mind the genie in the lamp

There once was a very poor man, who woke up hungry with only one rupee left in his pocket. He decides to go to the market and see if his rupee could buy him some left over fruit. At the market he meets a fancy clothed man behind a table with a beautiful oil lamp on it, and a sign that reads "1 rupee".
The poor man can’t believe his eyes, and asks the man what the catch is.
It’s true, the lamp only costs 1 rupee, the man says. And he explains that in the lamp there lives a genie, who fulfills all your desires."Then why do you sell it?", the poor man wants to know.

"Well, the genie is always active and rather impatient", it is explained. "And if you don’t pay attention to him, he’ll start taking things away again". "Well OK", the poor man says. "Since I don’t have much to lose I will buy it from you". 
When he arrives back home, he rubs the lamp and the genie appears. "How can I serve you, master?", he asks. "Prepare me a meal worthy of a king", the poor man commands. Within a second the genie serves an opulent meal with 87 courses. The poor man is delighted, but when he wants to start eating, the genie asks again – "And how can I serve you master?"

Keeping in mind that the genie can also take away all the goodies, the poor man commands: "Build me a beautiful castle, suitable for a maharaja!" Only a few seconds pass by, and the man now finds himself in a beautiful palace. He likes to explore it, but there comes the genie again, asking "How can I serve you, master?" Every wish is immediately fulfilled, and when ignored, the genie takes away everything. 

The poor man is annoyed and goes to the village sage, where he explains his problem. After a silent conversation, the poor man steps to the genie and says: ‘Genie, build me a large pole and stick it in the ground". The genie immediately builds a pole and sticks it in the ground. "Now genie, I want you to climb up and down the pole, over and over again". The genie starts climbing right away. And now the man has time to eat his meal, explore his palace and do other things. When he and the sage go to see what the genie is doing, they see that he has fallen asleep next to the pole.

"And so it is with the thinking genie of every man", explains the sage. "It is restless in its desire to satisfy every desire, and fragments our being. The pole is a tool called a ‘mantra’. By repeating it over and over again, our restless mind is kept busy until it gets so bored that it falls asleep. And this way our true self can enjoy the world."

Lesson: You are more than your mind – don’t worry and enjoy yourself.



A box of kisses

Some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree. 

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.” He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty.

He yelled at her, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside it?” The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said, “Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you Daddy.”The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness. 

It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there. 

In a very real sense, each of us as humans have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, friends, family and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.



Happiness is a Voyage

We convince ourselves that life will be better once we are married, have a baby, then another. Then we get frustrated because our children are not old enough and that all will be well when they are older. Then we are frustrated because they reach adolescence and we must deal with them. Surely we’ll be happier when they grow out of the teen years. We tell ourselves our life will be better when our spouse gets his/her act together, when we have a nicer car, when we can take a vacation, when we finally retire. 

The truth is that there is no better time to be happy than right now. If not, then when? Your life will always be full of challenges. It is better to admit as much and to decide to be happy in spite of it all. For the longest time, it seemed that life was about to start. Real life. 

But there was always some obstacle along the way, an ordeal to get through, some work to be finished, some time to be given, a bill to be paid. Then life would start. I finally came to understand that those obstacles were life. That point of view helped me see that there isn’t any road to happiness. Happiness IS the road. 

So, enjoy every moment. Stop waiting for school to end, for a return to school, to lose ten pounds, to gain ten pounds, for work to begin, to get married, for Friday evening, for Sunday morning, waiting for a new car, for your mortgage to be paid off, for spring, for summer, for fall, for winter, for the first or the fifteenth of the month, for your song to be played on the radio, to die, to be reborn… before deciding to be happy. Happiness is a voyage, not a destination. 

There is no better time to be happy than… NOW!

Live and enjoy the moment.



My Mom Only Had One Eye

My mom only had one eye. I hated her… She was such an embarrassment. She cooked for students and teachers to support the family. There was this one day during elementary school where my mom came to say hello to me. I was so embarrassed. How could she do this to me? I ignored her, threw her a hateful look and ran out. The next day at school one of my classmates said, ‘EEEE, your mom only has one eye!’ 

I wanted to bury myself. I also wanted my mom to just disappear. I confronted her that day and said, ‘If you’re only going to make me a laughing stock, why don’t you just die?’ 

My mom did not respond… I didn’t even stop to think for a second about what I had said, because I was full of anger. I was oblivious to her feelings. I wanted out of that house, and have nothing to do with her. So I studied real hard, got a chance to go abroad to study. 

Then, I got married. I bought a house of my own. I had kids of my own. I was happy with my life, my kids and the comforts. Then one day, my Mother came to visit me. She hadn’t seen me in years and she didn’t even meet her grandchildren. When she stood by the door, my children laughed at her, and I yelled at her for coming over uninvited. I screamed at her, ‘How dare you come to my house and scare my children!’ GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!’ 

And to this, my mother quietly answered, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I may have gotten the wrong address,’ and she disappeared out of sight.

One day, a letter regarding a school reunion came to my house. So I lied to my wife that I was going on a business trip. After the reunion, I went to the old shack just out of curiosity.

My neighbors said that she died. I did not shed a single tear. They handed me a letter that she had wanted me to have.

My dearest son, I think of you all the time. I’m sorry that I came to your house and scared your children. I was so glad when I heard you were coming for the reunion. But I may not be able to even get out of bed to see you. I’m sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up. You see………when you were very little, you got into an accident, and lost your eye. As a mother, I couldn’t stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So I gave you mine. I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, in my place, with that eye. With all my love to you, Your mother.



If and When Planted

How is "if and when" planted? The short stories below are examples of planting "if and when":

Karen, one of my coworkers was stressed about where she was living. She hated the apartment she was in and complained every day about it. One day over coffee, I asked her why she didn’t look for another apartment – it seemed like an easy solution to me. Karen’s reply to this was, "I will look for another apartment when I come back from vacation."

Sam hated his job. He dreaded getting up in the morning. He hated the work he was doing and it started to take a toll on him. He had a love for photography and was currently taking a two–year course to obtain his certificate. Every night he complained about his work. After listening to his complaints for a month, I asked him why he didn’t finish his course and start a small business doing photography on the weekends. His reply, "if only I had more time to finish my course. When I finish my course I will start a business."

Sarah had saved all her life and now was retired and living comfortably. The house she bought had a dishwasher in it; however, the dishwasher was old and didn’t work. She hated doing dishes, and every time we visited with her she complained about doing the dishes. One night, I asked her, "Why don’t you buy a new dishwasher Sarah." Her reply, "I have been thinking about it, if they would only come on sale I would."

Larry worked for a company that allowed early retirement. Larry had both the years of service and his age, which allowed him to retire, but at a reduced pension. He was having difficulty coping with all the changes that were being made in his work. He had a couple of mild attacks, not a heart attack but similar to one. He called me and we talked for hours. I was worried about the stress of his job and the effects it was having on his health. "Why don’t you retire Harry? Do something that you have always wanted to do," I asked. Harry's reply to my question was, "If only I was older then I would get my full pension." I got bolder in my conversation with him, "But Harry, you have your house paid off, you have no bills, the kids are grown up. You could sell your house and downsize, it really is not worth your health is it? Harry then said, "When the summer comes maybe I will."

All of these stories have the same theme running through them. There is a proverb that says it all:

"If and when were planted, and nothing grew."

Now a year later,

Karen is still living in the apartment she hates! 

Sam is still complaining about his job and still has not finished his course!

Sarah is still washing dishes!

Larry is still working and his health is not what it used to be! 

The sad part of all of these stories is that all of these people had a lot of stress in their lives that they could have taken action to reduce. But, all of them defeated themselves by thinking "if" or "when". Life is too short for "if’s and when’s". 

The next time you are in a stressful situation and you find yourself saying or thinking – "if or when" – remember the saying, "If and when were planted and nothing grew!" Change your thinking and take action, so that you can reduce your stress right now.






Believe in yourself
Sport is a terrific metaphor for life, and there are several sporting stories that inspire and motivate us.

Kàroly Takàcs was a sergeant in the Hungarian army. In 1938, the twenty-eight-years-old was the country’s top pistol shooter, having won most major national and international championships. He was –by a mile-the favourite to win gold at the 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Then, disaster struck.

At an army training session, a hand grenade accidentally exploded in Kàroly’s hand. And blew it away. His shooting hand. Not only did his entire Olympic dream crash, he also lost a limb.

‘Why me?’ Kàroly could have been excused for asking the question most of us would have asked. You would understand it too if he wallowed in self-pity, an understandable reaction for someone after such a tragic turn of events. You would sympathize with him if he were to become a recluse, a living example of how fate can devastate the best-laid plans.


Oh no, not Kàroly. He was made of sterner stuff. Instead of focusing on what he had lost-his right hand, his potentially gold medal-winning shooting hand-he chose to focus on what he still had. He had belief in himself. He had mental strength, the mindset of a winner, the determination to succeed and yes, a healthy left hand. A left hand which, he thought, he could train and transform into the world’s best shooting hand.

After a month in hospital, Kàroly went out and, away from the glare of the world, began practicing to shoot with his left hand. Despite the pain his body still reeled under, despite the strain the left hand had to undergo to also do all that the right hand had earlier done, he stayed focused on his goal: to make his left hand the best shooting hand in the world.


One year later, Kàroly resurfaced at the national shooting championship in Hungary. His colleagues were delighted to see him. They complimented him on his courage, and his fabulous gesture of coming over to see them shoot. But they were taken aback when Kàroly told them that he wasn’t there to see them shoot; he was there to compete with them.


And compete he did. In fact, Kàroly won the championship. Just one year after losing his right hand. He won with his left hand.


Kàroly’s decision to practice quiently, away from scrutiny, was significant. It is easy for people to ridicule you for dreaming big. It is also very easy for you to stay afloat in your misery for a sympathy wave laps at you from all over.


Unfortunately for Kàroly, his Olympic dream remained unrealized for a while, as two successive Games were cancelled due to the world war.


In 1948, the Olympics came to London. Kàroly was chosen to represent Hungary in the pistol shooting event. And he won gold. Shooting with his left hand.


Imagine being a gold medal favourite, losing your shooting hand in an accident, yet picking yourself up from the shattered mess, training your left hand to shoot as well or better, and going on to win the Olympic gold.


Four years later. Helsinki Olympics 1952 pistol shooting event. Who won gold? No surprises here. Kàroly Takàcs.


That is the stuff champions are made of.


We all have moments in our lives when we seem so close to glory but suddenly lose everything. When it seems that world is conspiring to destroy us. Our dreams get shattered. We feel vanquished. Crushed. Beaten. Defeated. And we cry aloud, ‘Why me?’


When that happens, thinks of Kàroly. In fact, think like him. Don’t worry about what you’ve lost. Focus on what you still have. Your inner strength. Your mental toughness. No one can take these away.


Don’t lose yourself to self-pity. Pick yourself up quickly. Momentum is key. Kàroly was back on the practice range a month after the accident. When you are down, think like a boxer: if you are knocked down, you need to stand up in ten seconds or less. One extra second, and it’s all over.


Set yourself a goal and focus on achieving it. A goal helps channelize the mind and body to work on what needs to be achieved, rather than looking back and worrying about past losses, about what might have been. When you mind is flooded with negative thoughts, it’s not easy to wish them away. You need a positive thought-a goal-to replace and banish negative thoughts.


Winning a gold medal in pistol shooting is less about the hand, more about the mind. Life’s like that. Winning is less about skills, more about attitude.













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