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Put Mind at Ease

One day, Buddha was walking from one town to another with a few of his followers.

While they were traveling, they happened to pass by a lake. They stopped to rest there and Buddha asked one of his disciples to get him some water from the lake.

A disciple walked up to the lake. When he reached it, he noticed some people were washing clothes in the water and, right at that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake.

As a result, the water became very muddy. The disciple thought, ““How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink!””

So he came back and told Buddha, “”The water in the lake is very muddy. I don’’t think it is suitable to drink.””

After a while, Buddha again asked the same disciple to go back to the lake and get him some water.

The disciple obediently went back to the lake. This time he found that the mud had settled down and the water was clean so he collected some in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water then looked up at the disciple and said, ““See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be and the mud settled down on its own. It is also the same with your mind. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time and it will settle down on its own.”

Author Unknown

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Making Assumptions

A policeman was heading home after a long, hard day on patrol. He had dealt with a whole succession of difficult people, and a mountain of frustrating paperwork. All he wanted at this point was to kick back, unwind, enjoy some peace and quiet, and maybe watch a few innings of baseball on TV.

But, as he neared home, he was startled by a vehicle that came careening around a sharp curve and narrowly missed his squad car. As the car passed within a few inches of him, the other driver shouted “Pig!”

The police officer was suddenly energized. He slammed on brakes, all set to turn his squad car around and head off in hot pursuit. But as he rounded the curve, … he ran head-on into a large pig that was standing in the middle of the road!

It’s a lesson we learn early in life if we’re lucky: don’t assume! No matter how confident we are in our understanding of the issue. No matter how certain of another’s reasoning or motives. No matter how obvious the point may be to us. Effective communication is far more complicated and difficult than we think. With barriers like cultural differences, personal “filters,” different definitions, etc., it’s amazing that any of us ever understand one another. But these aren’t the most difficult obstacles. The biggest reason we aren’t able to hear what another is saying to us is simply… “fear!”

Oh, we may camouflage it behind anger, self-importance or any number of other false fronts, but at the root is fear. Fear of being “found out,” or of being disappointed, or of not getting what we want. It’s a powerful if crippling motivator. And most of us can summon up plenty of reasons why we shouldn’t take another at face value. Honest communication requires trust, and taking a risk. And we’ve been burned too many times. So we settle for safety, make the natural assumption, and run head-on into our own version of that pig as we journey down life’s highway!

There is a better way. A way that recognizes our similarities. That sees others as a source of community and healing. That looks past our own frustration and previous disappointments to explore the possibility that even a “stranger” may have something positive to say. The Apostle Paul described it in Corinthians, chapter 13. It’s the “higher way” of love. I almost hesitate to use that term these days because of the way our culture misuses it. But when you read Paul’s description, try substituting “maturity.” It’s a perfect fit. The risks are higher for this way of living, but so are the rewards.

Another (anonymous) writer cautions:

“To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ideas, your dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try is to risk failure. But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. Chained by their certitudes they are a slave, they have forfeited their freedom. Only a person who risks is free.”

That doesn’t mean we should be naive. It does mean we should be careful what we assume. Check it out. Give others the benefit of the doubt. And if someone shouts something unexpected at us, at least entertain the possibility that perhaps it may be more than a personal insult. Who knows, that approach could change our life.

By CAPT J. David Atwater, CHC, USN

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The Alphabet Of Happiness

the-alphabet-of-happiness

The Alphabet:
A – ACCEPTAccept others for who they are and for the choices they’ve made even if you have difficulty understanding their beliefs, motives, or actions.
B – BREAK AWAYBreak away from everything that stands in the way of what you hope to accomplish with your life.
C – CREATECreate a family of friends whom you can share your hopes, dreams, sorrows, and happiness with.
D – DECIDEDecide that you’ll be successful and happy come what may, and good things will find you. The roadblocks are only minor obstacles along the way.
E – EXPLOREExplore and experiment. The world has much to offer, and you have much to give. And every time you try something new, you’ll learn more about yourself.
F – FORGIVEForgive and forget. Grudges only weigh you down and inspire unhappiness and grief. Soar above it, and remember that everyone makes mistakes.
G – GROWLeave the childhood monsters behind. They can no longer hurt you or stand in your way.
H – HOPEHope for the best and never forget that anything is possible as long as you remain dedicated to the task.
I – IGNOREIgnore the negative voice inside your head. Focus instead on your goals and remember your accomplishments. Your past success is only a small inkling of what the future holds.
J – JOURNEYJourney to new worlds, new possibilities, by remaining open-minded. Try to learn something new every day, an you’ll grow.
K – KNOWKnow that no matter how bad things seem, they’ll always get better. The warmth of spring always follows the harshest winter.
L – LOVELet love fill your heart instead of hate. When hate is in your heart, there’s room for nothing else, but when love is in your heart, there’s room for endless happiness.
M – MANAGEManage your time and your expenses wisely, and you’ll suffer less stress and worry. Then you’ll be able to focus on the important things in life.
N – NOTICENever ignore the poor, infirm, helpless, weak, or suffering. Offer your assistance when possible, and always your kindness and understanding.
O – OPENOpen your eyes and take in all the beauty around you. Even during the worst of times, there’s still much to be thankful for.
P – PLAYNever forget to have fun along the way. Success means nothing without happiness.
Q – QUESTIONAsk many questions, because you’re here to learn.
R – RELAXRefuse to let worry and stress rule your life, and remember that things always have a way of working out in the end.
S – SHAREShare your talent, skills, knowledge, and time with others. Everything that you invest in others will return to you many times over.
T – TRYEven when your dreams seem impossible to reach, try anyway. You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.
U – USEUse your gifts to your best ability. Talent that’s wasted has no value. Talent that’s used bill bring unexpected rewards.
V – VALUEValue the friends and family members who’ve supported and encouraged you, and be there for them as well.
W – WORKWork hard every day to be the best person you can be, but never feel guilty if you fall short of your goals. Every sunrise offers a second chance.
X – X-RAYLook deep inside the hearts of those around you and you’ll see the goodness and beauty within.
Y – YIELDYield to commitment. If you stay on track and remain dedicated, you’ll find success at the end of the road.
Z – ZOOMZoom to a happy place when bad memories or sorrow rears its ugly head. Let nothing interfere with your goals. Instead, focus on your abilities, your dreams, and a brighter tomorrow.

Author Unknown

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The Grass Cutting Days

The pastor called me to come forward. I walked to the pulpit confident and proud. I looked out at my family. Some wore somber expressions. Others had faces still damp with tears. Then I gazed down at the shiny black coffin crowned with yellow flowers.

My father, Charlie Lyons, was gone. It was my turn at his funeral earlier this year to pay tribute to the man who taught me so much growing up on the Northside. How do you sum up a lifetime in 10 minutes?

I flashed to Dad holding the handlebar and jogging alongside my bike until I felt ready to ride on my own. I saw him pulling up to my broken-down car at night, doing a quick fix and trailing me home. I thought of the hug we shared at my wedding.

Then, I started talking about a special moment I draw from now. Dad was always full of advice, but one of the biggest lessons he taught me one summer was about having a strong work ethic. When my brother and I were growing up, we mowed yards during the summer to earn pocket change. Dad was our salesman. He pitched our service to neighbors and offered a price they could not refuse. My brother and I got $10 per yard. Some yards were a half-acre. I later found out our friends were charging $20 or more for the same amount of work.

Every time we headed out to mow lawns, Dad was there to watch. I used to wonder why he came with us. He stood supervising our work in the sticky Florida heat when he could have been inside relaxing with air conditioning and an icy drink.

One day we were cutting our next-door neighbor’s yard. She always waited until the grass was knee-high to call us over. To make matters worse, we had an old lawn mower that kept cutting off as we plowed through her backyard jungle. This particular afternoon, I was finishing up and was tired and sweaty. I pictured the tall glass of Kool-Aid I would gulp in a minute to cool down.

I was just about to cut off the lawn mower when I saw Dad pointing to one lone blade. I thought about the chump change I was getting paid for cutting grass so high it almost broke the mower. I ignored him and kept walking. Dad called me out and yelled, “You missed a piece.”

I frowned, hoping he would let me slide and go home. He kept pointing. So beat and deflated, I went back to cut that piece of grass. I mumbled to myself: “That one piece isn’t hurting anyone. Why won’t he just let it go?”

But when I reached adulthood, I understood his message: When you’re running a business, the work you do says a great deal about you. If you want to be seen as an entrepreneur with integrity, you must deliver a quality product. That single blade of grass meant the job was not done.

Other neighbors took notice of the good work we did and we soon garnered more business. We started out with one client, but by the end of the summer we had five, which was all we cared to handle because we wanted time to enjoy our summer break from school.

The lesson my dad taught me stayed with me: Be professional. If you say you are going to perform a job at a certain time, keep your word. Give your customers the kind of service you would like to receive. It shows how sincere you are and how much pride you take in your work.

Before I knew it, my tribute was over. I saw my wife jump to her feet in an ovation. The pastor embraced me. People rushed to shake my hand. Though Dad’s body lay inside the coffin, I felt his spirit there. I pictured him standing in the sanctuary, wearing the white T-shirt and blue shorts he did on grass-cutting days. Always there for me and always proud.

By Patrick A. Lyons

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Buying an hour of daddy’s time

The 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 an hour.”

“Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed. Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $10 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. Think about why you’re being so selfish. 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 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 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 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 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”

The father was crushed and he put his arms around his little son.

Author Unknown

It’s just a short reminder to all of us working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $20 worth of your time with someone you love.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

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