insults and praise

One of my favourite writers, Paulo Coelho, tells the story of a novice who went to Abbot Macarius seeking advice about the best way to please the Lord.

“Go to the cemetery and insult the dead.” said Macarius.

The brother did as he was told. The following day, he returned to Macarius.

“Did they respond?” asked the abbot.

The novice said, “No, they didn’t.”

“Then go to them and praise them.”

The novice obeyed. That same afternoon, he returned to the abbot, who again wished to know whether the dead had responded.

“No.” said the novice.

“In order to please the Lord, behave as they do,” said Macarius.  “Pay no heed to the insults of men, nor to their praise; in this way, you shall forge your own path.”

I love this reminder to pay less attention to the opinions of others.  I know that when I spend my days worrying about those who would criticise me or feel compelled to please others, the quality of my work suffers.

But when I follow my calling and focus on the work, I’m more inclined to take risks and be truer to myself.

So, remember the wise words of Macarius and “pay no heed to the insults of men, nor to their praise.”

I got this story from Darren’s blog “Better life coaching”



A 32 year old patient sought out the therapist, Richard Crowley. “I cannot stop sucking my thumb,” he complained.

“Don’t be too concerned about that,” Crowley told him. “But suck on a different finger each day.” The patient tried to do as instructed. But each time he brought his hand to his mouth, he had to make a conscious choice as to which finger should be the object of his attention that day. Before the week was over, the habit was cured.

“When a vice becomes a habit, it is difficult to deal with,” Richard Crowley says. “But when it requires of us that we develop new attitudes, make new decisions and choices, we become aware that it is not worth the effort.”

Paulo Coelho




A Lion was walking down a small trail in the jungle when he came upon an Elephant whom was going the opposite direction. “Move out of my way so that I may pass.” Bellowed the Lion.

“Me, move?” The Elephant replied. ” I am larger and should have the right of way. It is easier for you to move aside than I.”

“But I am the King of the jungle. It is you who should move aside for your king.” The lion replied. “So I command you to move.” With this the Elephant reached out with his long trunk and picked up the Lion. He pounded the Lion into the ground several times and then banged him against a tree then dropped him on his head.

With the Lion dazed and laying to the side, the Elephant then passed and began walking away, down the small trail. The Lion regained himself and shouted, “Well, you didn’t have to get mad about it.

Moral: Some never change their beliefs even when they are shown they are wrong.



have a quality day


pace yourself

An explorer, a white man, anxious to reach his destination in the heart of Africa, promised an extra payment to his bearers if they would make greater speed. For several days, the bearers moved along at a faster pace.

One afternoon, though, they all suddenly put down their burden and sat on the ground. No matter how much money they were offered, they refused to move on. When the explorer finally asked why they were behaving as they were, he was given the following answer: “We have been moving along at such a fast pace that we no longer know what we are doing (for money). Now we have to wait until our soul catches up with us.”

Paulo Coelho



helping others

In Japan, a man breaks open the wall to renovate his house. Japanese houses normally have a hollow space between the wooden walls, and when when tearing down the walls, he found that there was a lizard stuck there because a nail from outside had been hammered into one of its feet. The man sees this, feels pity, and at the same time is curious because upon checking the nail he realized it had been there since the house was built ten years ago.

What happened?

The lizard had survived in that position for ten years! In a dark wall partition for 10 years without moving, the man found this to be impossible and mind boggling. Then he wondered how this lizard survived for ten years without moving a single step–since its foot was nailed!

So the man stopped his work and observed the lizard, what it had been doing, and what and how it has been eating. Later, not knowing from where it came, appeared another lizard… with food in its mouth.




“How can I know the best way to act in life?” the disciple asked the master.

The master asked him to build a table.

The disciple drove in the nails with three precise blows. One nail, however, struck a hard spot and the disciple needed to deliver one more blow – which drove in the nail too deep all the way into the wood.

“Your hand was used to three blows of the hammer,” said the master. “You had so much trust in what you did that you lost your attention and skill.”

“When action becomes a mere habit it loses its meaning and may end up causing harm, so never let routine be in command of your movements.”

Paulo Coelho



passing the baton (commentary)

George Bernard Shaw said, “Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

From Adam and Eve to the present moment life has been passed down from generation to generation like a baton race and we presently hold the baton ready to pass it on to those who will carry it on into the future.

A good friend of mine (Ron, who is no longer with us) once told me, “The Earth is like a baseball tossed up in the air, it has a beginning and an end. Imagine if you will how short the time is that we are on this ball, spinning in the air.”

In English when we say “pass the baton“, it is similar in meaning to “hand over the reins“.   It signals that a transition of responsibility is taking place. ( Landawei )

In this race we hold tightly to the baton (our lives, our responsibilities) till the last possible moment, then we must let go as the race (human race) goes on. I shall burn as a brightly lit torch before handing it on to future generations. (~_~) Art~

One may be but a tiny match, but banned together we can shine as a bon- fire, brightly lit, like a star, to shine across the vastness of this universe so that whom so ever may be out there will see, me shine.