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INSPIRATIONAL STORIES

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Instructions for Life  (from the Dalai Lama)

Sub-Personalities  (another perspective on "Aspects")

HO'OPONOPONO  (Hawaiian "Huna" Healing)

Women in Art  500 Years of Female Portraits in Western art.

Nick Vujicic  One of the worlds most incredible courageous human beings !



God is at the Window

There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck. Just out of  impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved. In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood  pile, only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said  nothing. After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes."  But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes. Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper. " Sally just smiled and said," Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help." She whispered again, "Remember the duck?" So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help. After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's, he finally couldn't stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you,  I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done ... and the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.) whatever it is. You need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing. He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven. He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you. The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives you, but He forgets.

The Seven Wonders of the World
A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the Seven Wonders of the World. Thought there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:
  1. Egypts Great Pyramids
  2. The Taj Mahal
  3. The Grand Canyon
  4. The Panama Canal
  5. The Empire State Building
  6. St Peters Basilica
  7. The Great Wall of China
While gathering the votes, she noticed that one student had not finished her pager yet, so she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.
The girl replied "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there are so many."
The teacher said "well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help you."
The girl hesitated, then read "I think the Seven Wonders of the World are...
  1. To See
  2. To Hear
  3. To Touch
  4. To Taste
  5. To Feel
  6. To Laugh
  7. To Love
The room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wonderous ! A gentle reminder - that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man. (and truly, are a gift from God).

The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week  from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and  his step faltered.
The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon and onto the floor. When he grasped the glass milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. "We must do something about Grandfather", said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor." So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner.
Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he had dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor He asked the child curiously, "What are you making?" Sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work
The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew  what must be done. That evening, the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back  to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with  the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, when milk was spilled, or when the tablecloth was soiled.
On a positive note, I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I  usually make the right decision. I've learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.  People love that human touch -- holding hands, a warm hug, or just a  friendly pat on the back. I've learned that no matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life goes on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that, regardless of
your relationship with your parents, you  will miss them when they are gone from your life.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and a late friend. I've learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life.
I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you  focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work, and  doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that you should pass this on to everyone you care about. I just did

The 10 Biggest Lies that Stop People from Getting What They Want
by Cynthia Kersey

They say that "everybody's a critic," and that never seems truer than when you're pursuing a dream. There will always be well-meaning people who want to "protect" you from your "unrealistic fantasies."  Critics tried to discourage the people profiled in Unstoppable.  Everyone ignored the negative input and achieved their goals.  Follow their lead and you, too, will be UNSTOPPABLE!

1. The timing is all wrong. In 1987, prior to accepting Paramount's offer to host a late-night talk show, Arsenio Hall was told by everyone: "It's too hard to crack into the late-night ratings. Television isn't ready for a black talk show host. This is America, and you can forget it."

2. Why don't you get a real job? Not understanding his desire to become Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger's family pleaded with him, saying: "How long will you go on training all day in a gymnasium and living in a dream world?"

3. It'll never work, you'll lose everything. Weeks before she opened her first store, cosmetic tycoon Mary Kay Ash's attorney said: "Liquidate the business right now and recoup whatever cash you can. If you don't, you'll end up penniless."

4. Don't rock the boat . In response to Muriel Siebert√≠s application to be the first woman to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, officials responded: "The language on the floor is too rough and there's no ladies' room."  She bought a seat anyway and remained the only woman there for nine years

5. It's never been done before. Upon applying for a job after graduation from Columbia University, announcers for NBC Radio responded to Sally Jessy Raphael: "You have the perfect voice for broadcasting, but you should get a job as a secretary. We're not using women."

6. You don't have enough talent. Responding to his desire to become a recording artist, Ray Charles' teachers said: "You can't play the piano, and God knows you can't sing. You'd better learn how to weave chairs so you can support yourself."

7. Don't even try, you'll just be disappointed. When auditioning for a part in a high school musical, a teacher rejected Diana Ross saying: "You have a nice voice, but it's nothing special."

8. You don't fit the mold OR you're not the right "type." Trying to convince her she didn't have the right look, fashion photographer Richard Avedon told Cher: "You will never make the cover of Vogue because you don't have blond hair or blue eyes."  When she did make the cover, Vogue sold more copies than it had ever sold before.

9. Don't give up your day job. Commenting on the first manuscript of an unpublished author, a New York publisher told James Michener: "You're a good editor with a promising future in the business. Why would you want to throw it all away to try to be a writer? I read your book. Frankly, it's not really that good." Michener's first book, Tales of the South Pacific, later won a Pulitzer Prize and was adapted for stage and screen as South Pacific.

10. There's no market for it. When hearing his plans to launch Perrier in the United States, several consulting firms advised Gustave Leven: "You're foolish to try to sell sparkling water in the land of Coca-Cola drinkers."

The only opinion about your dream that really counts is yours. The negative comments of others merely reflect their limitations --- not yours. There is nothing unrealistic about a dream that aligns with your purpose, ignites your passion, and inspires you to plan and persevere until you attain it. On the contrary, it's unrealistic to expect a person with such drive and commitment not to succeed.

Choose to be unstoppable

REGRETS OF THE DYING

Article by Bronnie Ware from her book titled "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying".
It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed by the regrets of dying people.


For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. 
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five: 

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.  It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

 3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
 
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
 
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. 
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying. 
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life.
Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
Bronnie Ware


BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS
I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no SantaClaus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"
My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."
"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything.
As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.
I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar  bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.
I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.
Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never  went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.
"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby."
The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it.
Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going."
I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.
Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.
Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were -- ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his
team. I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care...
And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

Ten Spiritually Transmitted Diseases
by Mariana Caplan
It is a jungle out there, and it is no less true about spiritual life than any other aspect of life. Do we really think that just because someone has been meditating for five years, or doing 10 years of yoga practice, that they will be any less neurotic than the next person? At best, perhaps they will be a little bit more aware of it. A little bit. It is for this reason that I spent the last 15 years of my life researching and writing books on cultivating discernment on the spiritual path in all the gritty areas—power, sex, enlightenment, gurus, scandals, psychology, neurosis—as well as earnest, but just plain confused and unconscious, motivations on the path.

Several years ago, I spent a summer living and working in South Africa. Upon my arrival I was instantly confronted by the visceral reality that I was in the country with the highest murder rate in the world, where rape was common and more than half the population was HIV Positive men and women, gays and straights alike. As I have come to know hundreds of spiritual teachers and thousands of spiritual practitioners through my work and travels, I have been struck by the way in which our spiritual views, perspectives, and experiences become similarly “infected” by “conceptual contaminants”—comprising a confused and immature relationship to complex spiritual principles—that are as invisible, yet as insidious, as sexually transmitted disease.

The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.

1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking, and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.

2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress, and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.

3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill
our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering, and spiritual ambition—the wish to be special, to be better than, to be “the one.”

4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that
have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.

5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure
that is “bullet-proof.” When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.

6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and–bam! –you’re enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they
represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.

7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting
down to further experience. A feeling of “spiritual superiority” is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that “I am better, more wise, and above others because I am spiritual.”

8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality, or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional codependence. A spiritual group
makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with “group mind” reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.

9. The Chosen-People Complex: Unfortunately, the chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and,
simply put, better  than any other group.” There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher, or community for themselves, and having found The One.

10. The Deadly Virus: “I Have Arrived” This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that “I have arrived” at the
final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.


I believe that a critical part of learning discernment on the spiritual path is discovering the pervasive illnesses of ego and self-deception that are in all of us. That is when we need a sense of humor and the support of real spiritual friends. As we face our obstacles to spiritual growth,
there are times when it is easy to fall into a sense of despair and self-diminishment and lose our confidence on the path. We must keep the faith, in ourselves and in others, in order to really make a difference in this world.

[adapted from Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path
© Sounds True, 2009]

Value
A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill.
In the room of 200, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”
Hands started going up.
He said, “I am going to give this $20 bill to one of you, but first let me do this.”
He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. He then asked “who still wants it”?”
Still the hands were up in the air.
“Well, “he replied, “what if I do this?” He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?”
Still the hands went in the air.
“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you.
The worth of your lives come not in what we do or who we know but by WHO WE ARE!”

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