June 2009 'Useletter'
Here we go again ... 6 months until Christmas! What have you done with the first half of the year?Have you achieved those dreams and goals you made in January? Have you spent time with your loved ones, and told them more than once that you love them? This is a good time to reflect of the last six months, and if you cannot say. “Yes” to any of the above questions, you still have time to do it. Make the rest of this year the best year of your life ... remember 2000 and mine?
If you have lost the passion – check out on the right, I have just launched an audio CD for the car or home where I talk you through finding your passion again. I find that many people are especially negative and use the excuse that the current global economic crises is to blame that they haven't achieved their goals this year. Well I have news for you – it's a MINDSET! You have to chose to be positive, and if you think I am being overly optimistic, let the first story this month put a smile on your face and be the start of everything positive in your life.
RECESSION ... HA!
In a small town on the South Coast of France, the holiday season is in full swing, but it is raining so there is not too much business happening. Everyone is heavily in debt. Luckily, a rich Russian tourist arrives in the foyer of the small local hotel. He asks for a room and puts a Euro100 note on the reception counter, takes a key and goes to inspect the room located up the stairs on the third floor. The hotel owner takes the banknote in a hurry and rushes to his meat supplier to whom he owes E100. The butcher takes the money and races to his supplier to pay his debt. The wholesaler rushes to the farmer to pay E100 for pigs he purchased some time ago. The farmer triumphantly gives the E100 note to a local lady of the night who gave him her services on credit. She goes quickly to the hotel, as she was owing the hotel for her hourly room use to entertain clients. At that moment, the rich Russian is coming down to reception and informs the hotel owner that the proposed room is unsatisfactory and takes his E100 back and departs. There was no profit or income. But everyone no longer has any debt and the small townspeople look optimistically towards their future.
COULD THIS BE THE SOLUTION TO THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS?
Everyone is so caught up in materialistic gain, instead of the important things in life such as family, friends and health. The following story is rather sad, but yet very enlightening. If you are letting the global crises get you down, then you need to learn the lessons from the next two stories. True wealth lies in respect and love for each other, our health, and savouring the simple things in life.
THE WOODEN BOWL
You will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl for a long time.
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 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 father”, 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 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 sweetly, “What are you making?” Just as 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 so 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, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
On a positive note, I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: A rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as making a 'life.'
I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.
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 sometimes.
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 whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.
I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.
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 I still have a lot to learn.
And if that didn't give you a reality check as to what really is important in life, I'm sure this story will.
“Watch out! You nearly broad sided that car!” My father yelled at me. “Can't you do anything right?” Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle. “I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving.” My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts.
Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil.
What could I do about him?
Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had revelled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered gruelling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.
The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.
Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing. At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone. My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust. Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticised everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick.
We began to bicker and argue. Alarmed, Dick sought but this didn't help either. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.
The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. In vain. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.” I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.
I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odour of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of grey. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention.
Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly. I pointed to the dog. “Can you tell me about him?” The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him, that was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.” He gestured helplessly. As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you're going to kill him?” “Ma'am,” he said gently, “that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog.” I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I'll take him,” I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. “Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!” I said excitedly. Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it.” Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house. Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. “You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!” Dad ignored me. Did you hear me, Dad?” I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw. Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal. It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.
Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.
Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.
Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed.
I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried him near a favourite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind. For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before. Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter, his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father, and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I had an insight.
Life is too short for drama & petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live while you are alive. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance. Lost time can never be found.
On that note, I trust you have enjoyed this month's motivation and that I have managed to make you realise the importance of family and relationships. Stop being influenced by the negative media and start appreciating those close to you. One day, those will be the memories that count.