This blog will hopefully inspire you, warm your heart, make you smile and feel positive.

Ring the Bell

A priest is walking down the street one day when he notices a boy trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, the boy is very small, and the doorbell is too high for him to reach.

After watching the boy’s efforts for some time, the priest decides to help. The priest steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child’s shoulder, leans over and gives the doorbell a solid ring.

The child looks over his shoulder and smiles at the priest. “Thank you father,” he says. “Now we run!”

5 Ways to Bounce Back

1. Don’t take what happened too personally, it might not be your fault.

If you were having a normal day and somebody decided to show negativity around it’s not up to you to take it to yourself. For example, if your boss was having a bad day himself and yelled at you for no reason at all you just need to let it go. Of course, it feels bad especially when you’re on the right track and things are going smoothly with you at work. Everyone hates being targeted for something they don’t rightfully deserve. But you need to be professional and shrug it off. Do not take those people or their actions to heart.

2. Take a half-day leave and go home to rest and relax.

Ideally, you should keep work life and personal life separately; this is one of the reasons why they have strict rules against dating your colleagues. If your day is getting worst at work then it is probably a bad idea to stick around and sulk while showing no productivity at all. It can have a negative influence on your peers as well. If you can’t seem to escape your issues at work you should probably call it a day and go home to rest on your bed.

3. Find a distraction to keep you calm and sane.

The best way to deal with a bad day is to forget about it. As it can be quite a task to forget things like that you should try to look for a distraction. Do something that makes you happy or has a calming effect on your mind. Like reading a book after a long day or going for a evening run. You can also have peppermint green tea and feel better for the rest of the day. If being alone doesn’t help, go out with a friend or on a date to get things off your mind. Having a distraction can be a blessing when you’ve spent the day sulking.

4. Rant and vent every single ounce of frustration out.

It often happens that after a very bad day at work you might end up feeling so heavy and consumed with various emotions. The best way to deal with it is to vent it out. Scream, write about it or tell your friend or someone who is willing to listen. The sooner it is out of your system, the better. Ranting actually proves to be one of the most effective solutions to feel better after a bad day.

5. Evaluate the day and think it through in your mind.

Do you even know the reason why it happened? Have you tried evaluating the facts that led you to have a bad day all along? It is important to think it through, run the whole scenario in your head before you put it back and move on. If you know the reason why it happened, you’ll be able to cope with it accordingly. It is vital that you make things easier for yourself by learning the reason behind it.

Embrace the Struggle

No matter what happens, the morning will still come tomorrow. The world keeps spinning, everyday seems the same. Wake up alone, stand up straight, pick up your feet, take it like a man, be nice to others, don’t swear, oxygen in, carbon dioxide out. But little things are changing gradually over time without notice. One day, you will suddenly feel bored with your once favorite song, give up one of your lifelong habits, let go those people and things that you think you will never let go. Time is so tough and all you can do is to adapt and overcome.

Most of us believe happiness is the absence of heartache and struggle. We prefer a life of comfort and ease, void of problems. However, happiness is actually shrouded in struggle and facing challenges that gives us the traction needed to move forward and live a more meaningful life. Changes accompany growth. So don’t be afraid of change and don’t run from challenges. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth. Avoiding struggle will only doom yourself to a life of mediocrity. Failure is the best way to learn. It makes you think, determine what went wrong, and make you change.

We are just normal people, not superheros. We will sometimes get emotional and complain the world is unfair. Afterwards, some people give up, some persist. It all depends on your choice. There are many ways to live your life. If life is a movie, you are the scriptwriter, director, and the leading actor. You may also be the only audience. But many people simply make their life movies that will be liked by other people. This doesn’t mean they can’t make one that they really like, they just don’t have courage to ignore the ways how others see them.

Life’s inherent challenges are what make it possible to thrive. Pain produces progress. Without challenges and the weight of your own personal load, there will be nothing to overcome, nothing to achieve, nothing that could bring you happiness. You can’t appreciate the good without experiencing the sting of the bad. Bad is what makes “good” good.

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.” – Andy Rooney

The Horai Box

Kathleen met Albert and his wife Sally at a Christmas party which was held at Kathleen’s home. Sally caught the attention of Kathleen. She never spoke. It was hard to tell whether she was ill, tired or bored. When the tea was served, she hesitantly took a sip, then tried to put the cup and saucer aside. But to do so she had to move the writing box, which Kathleen had inadvertently left on the coffee table. Kathleen noticed as Sally pushed back her chestnut hair and focused on the intriguing box, her dour mask had dropped. She was much younger than she looked – perhaps not yet 30.

The writing box looked like a miniature Japanese tansu, a chest of drawers, but it measured only 20 inches long, 12 inches high, and 8 inches deep. All the corners were covered with thin right-angled black iron, the top compartment had a hinged cover and was only deep enough for a thin charcoal ink block and brushes, and the front was inset with seven drawers of different sizes. Each drawer had its own tiny lock and was painstakingly cut, mitered and assembled with bamboo pegs in place of nails.

“Most Japanese were illiterate in the early 1800s,” Kathleen explained, “These boxes were used by itinerant scribes who carried their writing equipment in them as they went from village to village.”

The attempt to start a conversation proved useless; Sally’s mind was elsewhere again for the rest of the party.

Kathleen received a call from Albert the next day. “I want to apologize for last night,” he said. “Sally suffers from depression. When we were informed that there is a party, I hope new people or the party might cheer her up. I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

Albert continued, “We had a baby three months ago. The baby was strong and healthy when he was born. After being home four days we found him dead in his crib. Doctors called it SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. No warning. No cause. No cure. That’s when Sally went into depression. Doctors gave her tranquilizers and mood elevators, but they only mask the symptoms; they really don’t help.”

After hearing Sally’s story, remembered how Sally’s face lit up when she first saw and touched the writing box, Kathleen emptied all the drawers and cubicles in her Japanese writing box. She found out the address of Albert and Sally from her friends, wrapped the box, enclosed a card, and sent it to them.

However, Kathleen received no thank-you or other acknowledge from Albert and Sally after that.

One year later, Kathleen found her precious little writing box in a package delivered to her. Inside was a letter:

Dear Kathleen,

I know I’ve been remiss in not writing sooner, but perhaps after reading this letter, you will understand my reasons for not doing so – and hopefully forgive me.

I vaguely remember receiving your gift, unwrapping it, then ignoring it as I retreated into my solitude. The next morning, the first thing I saw after waking was the box. An errant beam of sunlight highlighted it, like a spotlight on a single performer in a darkened theater. Its simple lines and exquisite craftsmanship penetrated my muddled mind. I began to perceive elegance and beauty. I played with the drawer, the locks, hinges and drawer pulls, captivated by its detail and precision.

I quickly dressed for the first time since I became ill and went shopping. I bought wax and buffing cloths for my new box. The next day and daily after, I went out looking for pens and inks and papers, exploring new places, meeting new people and thinking of poetry. I started going to the library to read up on Japanese arts and crafts. I learned a lot about the box and the special techniques of Japanese wood crafting. I also learned about Horai, a place where there is no winter and flowers never fade – and by reason of being young at heart, the people always smile. I named my box Horai.

I also went to museum where I could learn even more about the arts and culture of Japan. I am now a docent there. Between my new avocation, museum work and household chores, I was too busy and too excited to be depressed.

At this point, when I was so happy, I suppose I should have written to you, but then I found out I was pregnant. Old fears and doubts resurfaced. In any event, we had a lovely little girl in November – now two months old – at last I find myself free of the past. I can write to you honestly, appreciatively and candidly.

I’ve often wondered why you gave me the box. One day I learned that Horai is also called Shinkiro, which means mirage – the vision of intangible. Now I understood that through intuition you perceived the intangible. You sensed what the gift would do.

I am returning the Horai box, not that I love it less, but so that you may have it in your hand if you ever need it to sustain another hapless soul. Should this never be the case, then I hope it will forever serve as a happy reminder between you and me.

Sincerely and gratefully,
Sally
P.S. Our little girl is named Kathleen.

Cut the Branch

falcon

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 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 head bowed, the farmer said, “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 hidden. 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 cut the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight.

The Spilt Milk

milk

This is a story about a famous research scientist who had made several very important medical breakthroughs. He was being interviewed by a newspaper reporter who asked him why he thought he was able to be so much more creative than the average person. What set him so far apart from others?

He responded that, in his opinion, it all came from an experience with his mother that occurred when he was about two years old. He had been trying to get a bottle of milk out from the refrigerator when he lost his grip on the slippery bottle and it fell, spilling its contents all over the kitchen floor.

When his mother came into the kitchen, instead of yelling at him, giving him a lecture, or punishing him, she said, “Robert, what a great and wonderful mess you have made! I have rarely seen such a huge puddle of milk. Well, the damage has already been done. Would you like to get down and play in the milk for a few minutes before we clean it up?”

Indeed, he did. After a few minutes, his mother said, “You know, Robert, whenever you make a mess like this, eventually you have to clean it up and restore everything to its proper order. So, how would you like to do that? We could use a sponge, a towel, or a mop. Which do you prefer?” He chose the sponge and together they cleaned up the spilled milk.

His mother then said, “You know, what we have here is a failed experiment in how to effectively carry a big milk bottle with two tiny hands. Let’s go out in the back yard and fill the bottle with water and see if you can discover a way to carry it without dropping it.” The little boy learned that if he grasped the bottle at the top near the lip with both hands, he could carry it without dropping it. What a wonderful lesson!

This renowned scientist then remarked that it was at that moment that he knew he didn’t need to be afraid to make mistakes. Instead, he learned that mistakes were just opportunities for learning something new, which is, after all, what scientific experiments are all about. Even though the experiment doesn’t work, we usually learn something valuable from it.

It was a bitter cold evening. The old man’s beard was glazed by winter’s frost while he waited for a ride across the river. The wait seemed endless. His body became numb and stiff from the frigid north wind.

He heard the faint, steady rhythm of approaching hooves galloping along the frozen path. Anxiously, he watched as several horsemen rounded the bend. He let the first one pass by without an effort to get his attention. Then another passed by, and another. Finally, the last rider neared the spot where the old man sat. As this one drew near, the old man caught the rider’s eye and said, “Sir, would you mind giving me a ride to the other side? There doesn’t appear to be a passageway by foot.”

Reining his horse, the rider replied, “Sure. Hop aboard.” Seeing the old man was unable to lift his half-frozen body from the ground, the horseman dismounted and helped the old man onto the horse. The horseman took the old man not just across the river, but to his destination, which was just a few miles away.

As they neared the tiny cottage, the horseman’s curiosity caused him to inquire, “Sir, I notice that you let several other riders pass by without making an effort to secure a ride. Then I came up and you immediately asked me for a ride. I’m curious why, on such a cold winter night, you would wait and ask the last rider. What if I had refused and left you there?”

The old man lowered himself slowly down from the horse, looked the rider straight in the eyes, and replied, “I’ve been around here for some time. I reckon I know people pretty good.” He continued, “I looked into the eyes of the other riders and immediately saw there was no concern for my situation. It would have been useless even to ask them for a ride. But when I looked into your eyes, kindness and compassion were evident. I knew, then and there, that your gentle spirit would welcome the opportunity to give me assistance in my time of need.”

Those heart-warming comments touched the horseman deeply. “I’m most grateful for what you have said,” he told the old man. “May I never get too busy in my own affairs that I fail to respond to the needs of others with kindness and compassion.”

With that, Thomas Jefferson, the President, turned his horse around and made his way back to the White House.