Death, grief, despair: these scorns of life are devastating. Death is arguably the most sorrowful time an individual can experience in life. Most unfortunate is when people encounter death within a family, a friendship, or an acquaintance. Sometimes, the loss can hurt so bad that it may seem like the pain and suffering will never go away.
Bill, a dear friend of mine, lost his wife to cancer at age 60 and a brother to murder at age 42. He uses faith, philosophy, family, and friends to mitigate his loss.
I would like to share the following story/essay that he wrote a while ago while thinking of these unfortunate events. It is our hope that this story will help ease the pain and sadness of others who may be struggling with the loss of a loved one.
Here is Bill’s story/essay.
As part of the human race, we all suffer loss. Loss is not a one-time occurrence, it happens to us and then it happens again. Loss is always difficult to accept. On the loss of a loved one, we wish to hold open the door into the next world and pull the deceased out. We wish to kiss those vanished lips, to hear that silenced voice; but it doesn’t work that way.
There is an instructive story on grief titled, “Kafka and the Doll.” In the story, Franz Kafka encountered a little girl in the park where he and his friend Dora walked daily. The little girl was disconsolate and weeping as if her heart would break. When Kafka inquired about her tears, the girl said she had lost her doll. Kafka told the girl that he knew for a fact the doll was fine. How he could be so certain, the little girl asked? Why just that morning, Kafka told the girl, he had received a letter from the doll.
Kafka arranged to meet the little girl the next day at the same spot in the park. That night he composed a letter from the doll and read it to the little girl when they met. “Please do not mourn me, I have gone on a trip to see the world. I will write to you about my adventures.”
The meetings and the letters from the beloved doll continued. The little girl was comforted. When the meetings came to an end, Kafka presented her with a new doll. The doll obviously looked different from the original doll. An attached letter explained: “Do not be surprised at my appearance, my travels and adventures have changed me.”
Many years later, the now-grown girl found a letter stuffed into a deep fold in the cherished replacement doll. Kafka had written, “Everything you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.”
Grief and loss are ubiquitous and an inescapable part of being human. Holding the perspective of the universality of loss, helps us deal with our loneliness and regret in times of grief, for if grief is omnipresent, we are less alone, less regretful. Holding the conviction that “love will return” is the path towards healing. As with the little girl in the story, following our loss and a period of grief, our job is to recognize love when it returns in its new form.
Those loved ones for whom we mourn would not want us to be in tears and sadness. They want us to remember them with laughter and with smiles, and to find love in all its new forms.
*Editor’s Note: Bill is simply a wonderful, charming, and outgoing man. After the loss of his wife, he continued teaching until he retired a few years ago. Since then, he has traveled across America, hiked great mountains of the world, explored various countries and cultures, and has see and discovered the many beautiful things in this world. His warm personality and sense of humor have brought encouragement and happiness to all that have met him.
“The song may have ended but the melody lingers on.” ~ Irving Berlin
We all have struggles and burdens that we deal with on a daily basis. For untold thousands of people, they can carry hardships, misery, and a sense of doom with them for years.
Today, I would like to share the following story from a blogger friend of mine, Chuck L., author of a fabulous site, “Dr.JoyFinder.com” I think that you will enjoy his “Bits of Wisdom,” art, and other ways of finding joy.
The Boy Who Saved A Village
Once upon a time in a small mountain village, it was the custom for the villagers to strap on their knapsacks each morning. Then, during the day, each time they worried about something or felt depressed about a problem, they would pick up a small pebble and put it in their knapsack. The knapsacks were heavy and a burden to carry because the villagers never emptied them. They carried their burdens every day. It was all they knew.
One day one of the village elders walked down to the river bank bent over from his knapsack full of burdens and noticed one of the small boys from the village skipping pebbles across the water. The boy’s knapsack was empty.
“What are you doing?” the old man asked. “And why is your knapsack empty? Why aren’t you carrying your burdens like the rest of us?”
“I come down to the river bank at the end of each day,” the boy said, “and skip my pebbles across the water until my knapsack is empty. I see no reason to keep carrying them.”
The old man was stunned and so bent over from his knapsack full of burdens that he could hardly move. He had never seen anyone cast their burdens away like that.
“Would you like to try it?” the boy asked.
The old man was hesitant, yet it seemed like such a good idea. Slowly he reached into his knapsack that was large and heavy from all the burdens he had accumulated over many years. He grabbed a pebble and studied it, recalling the burden of pain that he felt when he had placed it in his knapsack. He was so bent over that it was difficult to cast the burden away and watch it skip across the water and finally disappear, but he somehow did it.
The boy smiled.
The old man smiled also. It was easier than he thought to let go of the burden. Then he tossed another pebble, another burden, then another, and another. The boy stayed and watched. They built a fire and the old man kept throwing until his knapsack was at last empty. He felt so relieved.
The next day the old man, standing straight and tall, told the other villagers what happened and how good he felt. They could see how happy he was, how he looked and acted like a different person. They were amazed.
At the end of the day, all the villagers joined the old man and the small boy and went to the river bank and skipped their burdens across the water until their knapsacks were empty. They were amazed at how good and happy they felt. They never continued to hang onto their burdens again.
A sign was erected at the entrance to the village that said, “IT’S HARD TO BE ON TOP OF THE WORLD WHEN YOU’RE CARRYING IT ON YOUR SHOULDERS. LET GO AND LIVE.”
There is a medicine that has been around for thousands of years and has been used by millions of people around the world in every culture known to man. It is known for its power to change the way people feel about themselves and have a powerful and positive effect on people that are experiencing anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, depression, and a host of other issues.
The great thing about this medicine is that it will cost you nothing and is available for your use at any time, anywhere.
What is this marvelous medicine? Where can you find it?
Simple. It is called kindness. It is available at any time of day and you can use it wherever you may be.
You see, kindness is an amazing and powerful thing, The simple act of being kind to people and developing a habit of thinking of others instead of focusing on ourselves can have a huge, positive effect on an individual’s total well-being.
Let’s see what the positive impact kindness can have on a person who consistently uses this practice…
Like many medicines that treat depression, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin which is known as the “feel-good” chemical. Seratonin assists in healing wounds, relaxation and is responsible for making people happy.
Acts of kindness can be very contagious. Once someone witnesses another person perform an act of kindness to another individual, they, in turn, will use it to help others. You can see this happen quite often. For example, a person is going to enter a building and the person in front of them stops and holds the door open for them. Sometime later, that person holds the door open for someone else. These actions can create “domino effect” and can improve the day of many people!
It has been shown that kindness can actually reduce a certain amount of pain that a person may be experiencing. When an individual does something nice, their brain releases hormones called endorphins to the nervous system. These hormones interact with receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine.
It that been found that people who are kind have 23% less cortisol in their bodies than people who are living under stressful conditions. This results in a person’s ability to have lower blood pressure and stress levels. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” and can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems. Perpetually kind people also age slower! According to Dr. David Hamilton, not only does acts of kindness lower blood pressure, but it also creates emotional warmth, which releases the “love hormone” called oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the release of the chemical nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. which in turn reduces blood pressure and protects the heart.
Research from Emory University proved that when people are kind to another person, an individual’s brain’s pleasure and reward centers “light up”…as if that person was the recipient of the good deed…not the giver. This phenomenon is otherwise known as the “helper’s high.”
In a study done by the University of British Columbia, it was demonstrated that a group of people who were classified as “highly anxious individuals” performed as little as six acts of kindness a week for a month. After that one month, participants reported an increase in positive moods, relationships, and a decrease in socially anxious people.
Another interesting fact about the power of kindness was reported by Mr. Stephen Post of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine who discovered that when we give of ourselves, everything from life satisfaction to self-realization and physical health is significantly improved. Mortality is delayed, depression is reduced and well-being and good fortunes are increased.
In addition to the aforementioned information, people which practice consistent acts of kindness also enjoy other attributes of a quality life. In a 2010 Harvard Business School survey of happiness in 136 countries found that people who were altruistic…in this case, people who were generous with their money…were the happiest overall.
Lastly, individuals who steadily show kindness to others can have a longer lifespan. According to Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness in Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”, people who volunteer their time, tend to have fewer aches and pains. giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an incredible 44% lower likelihood of dying early…and that’s after eliminating other contributing factors such as physical health, smoking habits, exercise, gender, and a host of other things.
There are two great quotes about kindness from two well-known people that I would like to leave with you…
The great philosopher, Aesop, once stated one of my favorite quotes regarding kindness…“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Mark Twain, the legendary American author, once said about kindness… “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
So, increase your quality of life today…go out and be kind to someone today. It will make you feel great, make your life happier, increase your physical well-being, build your self-esteem, and lead to good fortune!
Let’s say it’s 7:30pm and you’re going home in your car (alone of course) after an unusually hard day on the job. You find yourself really tired, upset and frustrated. Your job has been very stressful, the boss has been giving you a hard time, and your deadline for getting a project done is fast approaching.
Suddenly you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to drag out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only a few minutes from the hospital nearest your home. Unfortunately, you don’t know if you’ll be able to make it that far. You have been trained in CPR, but the guy who taught the course did not tell you how to perform it on yourself.
What do you do? HOW DO YOU SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN ALONE?
Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack without help, the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.
There is good news, however! These victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly
and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.
Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way,
heart attack victims can get to a hospital.
If everyone who gets this little note decides to send it to 10 people, you can bet that we’ll save at least one life!
Tell as many other people as possible about this. It could save their lives!!
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you had the opportunity to meet an angel? Even better…imagine if you could live with an angel? Well, I would like to tell you…I do! This past summer, I was going to leave home for 6 weeks, work a job in another state by myself, leaving her home with my son. The day I was to leave, she gave me a small “Care Package” which was full of little goodies such as snacks, mosquito repellant, toiletries, but most lovingly, a little notepad that she called, “Words of Wisdom for Rich.”
There, written on every page were simple quotes, Scripture verses, and other encouraging and inspiring words. I thought that it was such a thoughtful and loving thing to do. During that time while I was away, I looked forward each day to read my angel’s new “Words of Wisdom.” I thought to myself, that not only did these things mean a lot to me, but I decided that they would be great things to share with others.
So, without further ado, here are the “Words of Wisdom” that my wife found and gave to me during my absence from home. It is my hope, that you will find encouragement and inspiration in one or more of these nuggets of truth, and help you on your journey of life.
“I have told you these things so that in me, you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
“All God wants from Man is a peaceful heart.” ~ Meister Eckhart
Always Pray. Pray Always.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body, you were called to peace…and be thankful.” ~ Colossians 3:15
What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that His grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.” ~ Rick Warren
When you feel like quitting, think about what you started.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is ve, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.” ~ Galatians 5:22
“Peace begins with a smile.” ~ Mother Teresa”
Jesus gives us hope because He keeps us company, has a vision and knows the way we should go.” ~ Max Lucado
Be so happy that when others look at you, they become happy!
“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” ~ Hebrews 12:14
PEACE If does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work…it means to be amid these things and still be calm in your heart. ” Let God’s promises shine on your problems.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom
Your attitude determines your direction!
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase…just take the first step!
“If you can’t fly, then run.
If you can’t run, then walk.
If you can’t walk, then crawl,
But whatever you do,
You have to keep moving forward.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King
Go the extra mile…it’s never crowded!
“Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:15
Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is rather than what you think it should be.
“Courage is contagious. What brave person takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened. ~ Billy Graham
Don’t stop until you are proud!
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18
“Lord, if it’s not your Will, let it slip through my grasp and give me the peace not to worry about it.” ~ Tony A Gaskins Jr.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9
If it doesn’t challenge you…it won’t change you!
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:7
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers to all the problems men face.” ~ Ronald Reagan
If you were able to believe in Santa Claus for like 8 years, you can believe in yourself for like 5 minutes!
“Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.” ~ Proverbs 12:20
May every sunrise hold more promise, and every sunset hold more peace!
“My dear child, you worry too much. I’ve got this…remember?” ~ God
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” ~ Karim Seddiki
“The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” ~ Psalm 29:11
Don’t let people pull you into their storm…pull them into your peace.
Everything will be okay in the end. If it is not okay, it’s not the end.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” ~ Romans 12:18
Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, hate, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best person that you can be.
Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for
“Turn from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it.” ~ Psalm 34:14
It is possible to choose peace over worry.
Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.
“Create the life that you cannot wait to wake up to!” ~ Josie Spinardi
“Great peace has those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” ~ Psalm 119:165
Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” ~ Billie Jean King
Always to remember to fall asleep with a dream and wake up with a purpose.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust you.” ~ Isaiah 26;3
Real peace is not the calm. Real peace is the presence of God in the storm.
“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” ~ Vince Lombardi
“Be so good they can’t ignore you.” ~ Steve Martin
“Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” ~ Isaiah 26:12
Patience is the key to paradise.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ~ Nelson Mandela
PROVE THEM WRONG!
“Though the mountains are shaken, and the hills removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord.” ~ Isaiah 54:16
Which one of these statements is your favorite? Are there more than one? It is my hope that you can use one of them and apply them to your life.
One of the best, well-known chapters of the Bible worldwide, is 1 Corinthians 13…otherwise known as “The Love Chapter.” It has been used down through the ages in weddings, vows, ceremonies, and various other events.
Recently, I came across a “Christmas Version” of this popular passage of Scripture from a friend of mine that I thought would be fun to share with you. I hope that you will enjoy it and inspire you to remember the real reason for the season (and hopefully, every day of your life).
1 Corinthians 13 (A Christmas Version)
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I am just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I am just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing I the choir’s cantata, but do not focus on those that I love the most, I have missed the point.
…In other words,
Love stops the cooking to hug a child
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, and golf clubs will rust.
But the gift of love will endure.
In case you would like to know what 1 Corinthians 13 says in Scriptures, here it is (the small numbers are the verses in the chapter) …
1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love.
Have you ever felt worthless? Have you experienced the isolation and loneliness that your life was going nowhere and there was nothing that you could do to help others or make a positive contribution to today’s world? If so, then I have just the thing for you that will hopefully help encourage and inspire you today.
Have you ever felt worthless and your life had no purpose? Have you experienced the isolation and loneliness that your life was going nowhere and there was nothing that you could do to help others or make a positive contribution to today’s world? If so, then I have just the thing for you that will hopefully help encourage and inspire you today.
Consider the following story….
It was a beautiful mid-April morning along the seaside port of San Francisco. The weather was unseasonably warm and there was a slight breeze lazily blowing in from the northeast. Most of the city’s population were sleeping while some of the “early birds” began to wake up and get ready for another day.
Then, at 5:45 a.m., their world changed in a disastrous instant that forever changed their lives…and the spirit of the nation. In the next horrifying minute or so, the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, shook the city to the ground. More than 3,000 people were killed and over half of the 400,000 occupants of the city lost their homes and everything that they owned.
The tremendous earthquake, (later estimated as a 7.8 on the Richter Scale) not only caused hundreds of buildings and structures to topple, but the powerful shaking also destroyed the city’s water and gas lines. The gas from the ruptured pipes soon ignited, caught fire and spread quickly throughout San Francisco, spreading more havoc and terror throughout the land. The fires went on to burn for the next three days and over 500 city blocks were destroyed.
One of the reasons the fires were so devastating and destructive was because of the destroyed water network of the city. Almost all the fire hydrants in the system were useless…except for one. This one fire hydrant was the only working one in the entire city and it, single-handedly, saved the city’s famous Mission District from certain obliteration. Located on top of a hill, the horses that pulled the fire wagons were so tired that they could not climb the hill and get to the hydrant. So, the people in the area gathered together, pushed the horses and pulled the fire wagons to the water supply and for the next few days, was the center of the water usage for the firemen.
The fireplug was later fondly nicknamed, the “little giant”, and is referred to today as “the Golden Fire Hydrant” by the folks of San Francisco. Each year, on April 18, at 5:45 in the morning, a ceremony is held in which the hydrant is spray painted once again with a fresh coach of gold spray.
So, why do I tell you about this story? A tale of this one fire hydrant that helped to save the Mission District and parts of the surrounding neighborhood? It is because of this…think of how this little structure had such an enormous impact on the surrounding community and how much this small but powerful instrument not only helped to extinguish some of the fires, but it was a tremendous encouragement and help to the people that needed it! It may have looked small and insignificant, but it had a huge impact! This is also so true with a person’s life. No matter how little and worthless or insignificant that you may feel, you were put in the world to make an impact on others. Your personality, characteristics, and abilities are unique, and they are your own. No one in the world is exactly like you. You can have an impact on someone else, your neighborhood or community in your own individual and unique way.
We all are all “little” compared with the vast, untold billions of people living in the world today, but we can be “giants” by what we do for others in the small worlds that we live in every day!
A mile is 5.280 feet long. The distance between New York City and London, England is approximately 3,500 miles, New York City to Hong Kong around 8,000 miles. If you took a trip around the globe, you would travel almost 25,000 miles! Yet, this distance is still not the farthest in the sense of importance to an individual and what they do with the life they are given.
What is the greatest, most important distance in the world? It was once said, that the greatest distance in the world is an astounding 18 inches…the distance from a person’s heart to their head. People can have all the knowledge about a particular subject matter in their head and be as smart as the wisest individuals who walk the earth but unless they LIVE it and USE their abilities, it will mean nothing.
Here is a story to illustrate what I am trying to say:
One morning a man was sitting at the breakfast table intently reading the morning paper when his wife came up to him and started to ask him questions about their plans for the upcoming day. The man just sat there, slightly nodding his head and showed no other reactions. Despite numerous attempts to get a conversation with her husband started…he was just too busy reading his paper.
Then the lady had an idea to try and break her husband’s trance from his paper. She said to him in a calm voice, “Honey, there a huge, hairy spider crawling up your sleeve.” The man just sat there, nodded slightly, and continued to read the paper never even giving her a glance. She tried the same tact a few other times…again, to no avail. Suddenly she screamed, “HONEY! THERE’S A HUGE, HAIRY SPIDER CRAWLING UP YOUR SLEEVE!” Her husband screamed, jumped up from his seat, threw down his newspaper, and started making moves that a Ninja would be proud of!
You see, the man had HEARD his wife but he didn’t LISTEN. He knew that there was a spider crawling up his arm but he didn’t do anything about it because he was TOO BUSY doing something else. It wasn’t until he took what he KNEW and put it into ACTION that did anything about combating the evil creature.
Many people are like that man who was reading the newspaper. They hear what is going on and KNOW what to do but without putting their knowledge into action, they are no different than anyone else.
One of my favorite slogans in athletics is also so very true in a person’s everyday life: “The difference between an ordinary person and an extraordinary individual, is that little EXTRA.” There are an untold number of people that have great ideas, thoughts, inventions, solutions to the world’s problems, etc., and do actually DO anything about them. They do ACT on their THOUGHTS. A person may have all of the book knowledge of something but if they never actually use it…it is worthless. An individual may know how to build a house, where to place the lumber, the plumbing, the electrical systems, the foundation, etc., but if that person never goes out and physically builds a house…what good is having that knowledge?
So, I ask you today…are you a THINKER or a DOER? How well are you conquering the greatest distance in the world?
There are many times throughout our everyday lives that we get caught up in the ”hustle and bustle” of life and forget “the little things”…the things that should be the most important things to live by.
Whether we are experiencing tough situations in life or are enjoying good times, quite often, these little principles, are the nuggets of truth that will help make our lives a little bit happier and more enjoyable.
I recently came across the following article, written by Barry Davenport,“Life Lessons That Have Endured the Test of Time.” via http://liveboldandbloom.com, about these life lessons that I thought would be a good thing to share. So, without further ado, here is today’s encouraging and motivational article.
You know the old saying, “Youth is wasted on the young?”
I think about that on occasion — how I wish I’d had the self-awareness, confidence, and joy I have now when I was in my twenties and thirties.
So much of life is wasted on worry, regret, pain, and heartache. Of course some of this is inevitable and necessary. But I spent too many of my younger days sweating over things I didn’t need to sweat about.
I simply didn’t know better. Or if I did, it just hadn’t sunk in yet.
I suppose “life lessons” are called that for a reason. You need to experience life in order to learn the lessons. And the more life you experience, the more lessons you accumulate. However, some extremely valuable lessons came from other people. Some I learned from reading great thinkers like Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie. Others were passed on from friends and family.
Although some lessons must be learned through experience, you don’t have to wait until midlife to become aware of what’s truly meaningful and worthwhile. You simply need the curiosity and desire for self-awareness and personal growth. Once you learn the lessons, you can apply them in your life at any age and see the benefits to your happiness and well-being.
Here are 50 important life lessons that have stood the test of time:
Life is now
We keeping waiting for that amazing thing to happen in the future that will be the key to our happiness. But this is it. Right now. Life continues to be a series of right nows. So learn to love right now, and you’ll have an amazing life.
Fear is an illusion (mostly)
Most of the things we fear never happen. Or if they do happen, they are rarely as bad as we fear they will be. For most of us, fear is the worst thing that will happen to us. Reality isn’t as painful.
At the end of the day, what matters most are the people in our lives. Put them first every single day. Before work. Before the computer. Before your hobbies. Treat them like they are everything to you. Because they are.
Debt isn’t worth it
Nothing is more draining and humiliating than being in debt. Spend below your means. Save money. Live free.
Your kids aren’t you
You re the vessel to bring your children into the world and their caretakers until they can care for themselves. You can teach them, love them, and support them, but you can’t change them. They are unique individuals who must live their own lives. Let them.
Things gather dust
Time and money spent accumulating material things will one day irritate you. You must clean, maintain, and move stuff. The less stuff you have, the freer you are. Purchase mindfully.
Fun is underrated
How much of your day is fun? Really fun? Life is short. We should enjoy it. Don’t make things serious that don’t have to be. Create more fun in your life. Don’t worry about what other people think of your fun. Just enjoy it.
Failure is good
We try so hard to avoid failure, but failure is the real evidence that we’ve tried. If you avoid failure, you avoid taking action. Expect and accept that failure is part of the experience. Learn from it and move on.
Friendships need care
One of the top five regrets of the dying is that they let their friendships fade away. Friendships need time and attention. Nurture them like a prized garden. The payoff is so worth it.
The pleasure and positive memories afforded by great experiences far outweigh material things. If you’re trying to decide between the new sofa or the family trip, take the trip every time.
Anger isn’t worth it
The feel-good release of anger lasts a few minutes. The repercussions last far longer. Regret, stress, and unhappiness are the byproducts of angry outbursts. Learn healthier ways to communicate your feelings, and when anger arises, step away until it dissipates.
Small expressions of kindness have an enormous positive impact on other people. It doesn’t take much to be kind. Practice it every day, in every situation, until it’s your natural way of being.
Age is a number
When you’re twenty you think fifty is old. When you’re fifty, you feel thirty. Our chronological age doesn’t have to define us. Don’t allow a number to hold you back or prevent you from being the person you are inside.
Being real, open, and vulnerable invites people in and allows them to relate to you on a much deeper and more intimate level. Vulnerability, practiced with safe and loving people, can heal emotional pain and strengthen relationships.
Posturing builds walls
Creating a persona to impress or shield yourself from pain diminishes intimacy and authenticity. People generally see through this, and it pushes them away.
Exercise is power
Exercise should be a daily priority for everyone. It makes you physically, mentally, and emotionally stronger. It improves your health and your outlook. It is the panacea for just about everything.
Grudges cause pain
Holding on to a grudge is like injecting poison into your body every day. Forgive and let go. There’s no other way.
Passion upgrades life
When you find that thing you love to do with all your heart, every day feels like a gift. If you haven’t found your passion, make it your mission to find it. The joy it brings spills over into all aspects of your life.
Travel expands you
Travel makes you are more interesting, insightful, and accepting person. It expands you, enlightens you, and teaches you about the variety of people, lifestyles, and cultures. It is a pursuit well worth saving for.
You aren’t always right
We think we have the answers, know what’s right and wrong, good and bad, best for ourselves and other people. But we aren’t always right. There’s always more than one version. There are many perspectives that are valid. Keep yourself open to that truth.
It will pass
Whatever is causing you worry or pain right now won’t cause you worry and pain forever. Time heals. Things change. It will pass.
You define meaning
A meaningful life is what you define it to be. If you neglect to define meaning, you won’t experience it. Decide what makes life worth living for you, and then design your life around that.
Risk expands you
To make positive change in your life, you often must take risk. You must tolerate some level of uncertainty. Taking thoughtful, calculated risk strengthens your change muscle and helps you grow.
Change is good
Life is change. We shouldn’t resist it. Remaining stagnant is in opposition to the natural order of life. Flow with change. Embrace it and regard it as an adventure.
Thoughts aren’t real
Every moment of the day, we have random thoughts floating through our brains. Many of the thoughts are negative and limiting. You don’t have to believe them. They aren’t the truth or the whole truth. Thoughts can become our reality, but only if we let them.
You can’t control others
We want people to think and behave as we do. We want them to accommodate us and live the way we think they should live. We want to change them. But with awareness, we realize we can’t and shouldn’t try to control others. Instead, embrace differences and honor the uniqueness of the people in your life.
Your body is a temple
We all have something, or many somethings, we hate about our bodies. But your body houses your very essence. Treat your body with respect and care for the efficient and wondrous way it takes care of you.
Physical touch is healing and intimate. It bonds us to other people and relieves stress and anxiety. It has a myriad of health benefits such as lowering heart rate and improving the immune system. Mindful, loving touch with those you love is a gift that should be shared.
You can handle it
Whatever you think you can’t handle, you actually can. You have more strength, more resilience, and more inner wisdom than you give yourself credit for. You’ll get through it and survive.
Gratitude multiplies happiness
Consciously focusing on all you have rather than thinking about what you don’t have is afar better use of brain power. Gratitude fosters positive feelings and well-being.
Your judgement is important, but your intuition super charges your judgement. Intuition is data from your subconscious mind, based on your past experiences and patterns in life. It can arise spontaneously when you are called on to make a decision or need information.
Please yourself first
Pleasing others for approval and acceptance might feel good in the short term, but eventually you will lose yourself and feel resentful. Please yourself first and give to others based on conscious choice, not the desire for approval.
Self-honesty is freedom
When you are in denial about something, you are blinding yourself to the truth. And even if the truth is temporarily painful, it will ultimately set you free. Be radically honest with yourself so you can live authentically.
Perfection is boring
Perfection is unattainable, and the pursuit of it makes us boring. It is our differences, our foibles, and our imperfections that connect us to humanity and make us real.
Serving creates meaning
If you want meaning in your life, start with serving others. Find a way to make a difference, even a small difference, and your life will feel purposeful.
Little things matter
It’s not the big wins, the great accomplishments, or the status in life that really count. It’s the accumulation of little things — the quiet moments in nature, special time with our kids, seeing the smile on our spouse’s face when we walk in the door. Pay attention to these things.
There is so much to learn and explore in our very short lifetimes. Take advantage of learning every single day. Challenge yourself to acquire a new skill, read something different, take a class. Learning keeps our minds engaged and sharp, even into old age.
Our bodies age. It is a truth we can’t avoid. You can manage aging by doing the best with what you’ve got. But beyond that, do your best to let it go. Enjoying life is the best antidote to getting older.
The person you married will change over time. You will change over time. Hopefully you will change in the same direction or come to love the changes in the other person. Don’t let these changes take you by surprise.
Worry is worthless
Worry is useful only if it leads directly to a solution. But the very nature of worry implies that it doesn’t. You worry about “what if’s” that aren’t real, and the worry itself creates stress and physical symptoms that cause real reason for angst. Learn how to manage your worry thoughts.
Heal your wounds
Don’t allow pain from your past (or present) to linger and cause you suffering. Don’t stuff it down or pretend it doesn’t matter when it does. Seek support from a professional trained to help you heal and renew your emotional health.
Simple is better
A life full of complications, obligations, and an overwhelming schedule make life more difficult and stressful. A simpler life in all regards gives you more space for joy and engagement.
Do the work
If you want something in life, you must do the work to get it. There are rarely shortcuts. But truthfully the work is what affords the most sense of accomplishment.
It’s never too late
This is an excuse for not trying. Great things can be accomplished at any age.
Action beats angst
Action is the cure for worry, procrastination, indecision, anxiety, and frustration. Stop thinking and do something, and you will create momentum that leads to something valuable or at the least heals your turmoil.
Creation beats reaction
Be proactive in your life, designing exactly what you want rather than reacting to what life throws at you. Creation empowers you and expands your opportunities.
Don’t become too attached to outcomes or beliefs. Remain open to all possibilities and ideas. You will be surprised how much more there is to life when you don’t cling to your life experience.
Your words matter
The words you speak have power. Consider your words carefully. Use them for good rather than harm. Once they are out, you can’t take them back.
Make every day count
If you live to age ninety, how many days do you have left? It is a finite number, and one day you will reach the last one. Be conscious of the value of every single day.
Love is the answer
Love is why we are here. It is the force for good in this sometimes random and harsh world. Share it freely. Express is daily.
The speed and pace of today’s world is absolutely incredible. It seems as though time is flying by quicker and quicker, and we find ourselves with less time to do the things that we once did. The Technology Age, computers, the internet, social media, etc., has made it so that information can be found instantly and at the touch of a button.
Unfortunately, statistics also show us that people are under more stress, have less social skills, and are more out of shape, then ever before. How often do we desire to do something with our loved ones, family or friends…then “put it off”, and never get to do it?
The following poem, “Slow Dance,” written by David Weatherford, is an awesome reminder of the importance of spending our time wisely. Using our limited time here on Earth, to enjoy friendships, the beauty of the world, the joy of life, etc. It is my hope that the following words touch your heart and inspire you to understand the sweet importance of time and how we should use it.
“SLOW DANCE” by DAVID WEATHERFORD
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round
Or listened to rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight
Or gazed at the sun fading into the night?
You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
Time is short, the music won’t last.
Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?” do you hear the reply?
When the day is done, do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores running through your head?
There is nothing better in the world than a nice, big laugh…a good belly-laugh. Laughing and smiling is an awesome remedy for the soul. It can brighten your day. It can turn a dark time into an enjoyable light. It’s funny how an individuals view of life can sometimes drastically change when they “take the frown and turn it upside-down.”
I recently came across the following story which demonstrates to us the wonderful power of the gift of laughter. It is my hope that this story might help someone who may be suffering some kind of hardship.
Many years ago, Norman Cousins was diagnosed as “terminally ill”. He was given six months to live. His chance for recovery was 1 in 500.
He could see the worry, depression and anger in his life contributed to, and perhaps helped cause, his disease. He wondered, “If illness can be caused by negativity, can wellness be created by positivity?”
He decided to make an experiment of himself. Laughter was one of the most positive activities he knew. He rented all the funny movies he could find – Keaton, Chaplin, Fields, the Marx Brothers. (This was before VCRs, so he had to rent the actual films.) He read funny stories. He asked his friends to call him whenever they said, heard or did something funny.
His pain was so great he could not sleep. Laughing for 10 solid minutes, he found, relieved the pain for several hours so he could sleep.
He fully recovered from his illness and lived another 20 happy, healthy and productive years. (His journey is detailed in his book, Anatomy of an Illness.) He credits visualization, the love of his family and friends, and laughter for his recovery.
Some people think laughter is a waste of time. It is a luxury, they say, a frivolity, something to indulge in only every so often.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Laughter is essential to our equilibrium, to our well-being, to our aliveness. If we’re not well, laughter helps us get well; if we are well, laughter helps us stay that way.
Since Cousins’ ground-breaking subjective work, scientific studies have shown that laughter has a curative effect on the body, the mind and the emotions.
So, if you like laughter, consider it sound medical advice to indulge in it as often as you can. If you don’t like laughter, then take your medicine – laugh anyway.
Use whatever makes you laugh – movies, sitcoms, Monty Python, records, books, New Yorker cartoons, jokes, friends.
Give yourself permission to laugh – long and loud and out loud – whenever anything strikes you as funny. The people around you may think you’re strange, but sooner or later they’ll join in even if they don’t know what you’re laughing about.
Some diseases may be contagious, but none is as contagious as the cure. . . laughter.
By Peter McWilliams
From “Chicken Soup for the Surviving Soul”
Grief. Despair. Pain. Suffering. These are just a few words that describe the feelings and emotions that millions of people experience everyday around the world. The death of a family member or loved one, the loss of a job, a separation from a spouse, personal injury, loss of a job, the passing of a pet, sickness, cancer…the list goes on and on.
Grief and depression can sometimes be overwhelming and lead an individual to suffer from a variety of physical problems such as fatigue, headaches, sore muscles, heart and chest pains…just to name a few. People can also experience emotional stresses such as numbness, bitterness, detachment, inability to show or feel joy, etc. Like I said, grief and depression can be downright devastating!!
If you have experienced times like these or are currently fighting through a difficult time in your life, the following story might, very well, be just for you. It tells of a great approach that you may be able to use to help you deal with grief in a positive fashion.
I read the following short story that I felt would be a fantastic post for my blog. It is my hope and prayer that this illustration might help you, even in a small way, to change your outlook and perspective on your life and help you heal a wounded soul and a broken heart!
Someone on Reddit wrote the following heartfelt plea online:
“My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”
A lot of people responded. Then there was one old man that wrote an incredible comment that stood out from the rest that might just change the way that we approach the turmoil of life, death, and other negative experiences.
“Alright, here goes. I’m old. What that means is that I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not. I’ve lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here is my two cents.
“I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever someone I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep…so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
“As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. All you can do is float. You find some piece of wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it is a physical thing…a happy memory, a photograph, etc. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. staying alive.
“In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing…but in between waves…there is life.
“Somewhere down the line, and it is different for everybody, you will find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging onto some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
“Take it from an old guy…the waves never stop coming and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you will survive them. And other waves will come…and you will have to survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves…and lots of shipwrecks.”