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Once, an old man was very ill and lay dying in his bed. He had four sons who were al­ways fighting with each other. He always worried about them and wanted to teach them a lesson and asked his sons to come to him. When they came, the old man gave them a bundle of sticks and said, “Can you break these sticks?”

The first son tried to break the bundle but nothing hap­pened. He tried very hard and finally gave up. Then it was the turn of the second son to try his luck. He thought it would be an easy task and picked up the sticks easily. He tried his best to break the sticks but nothing happened. Then, the third son tried to break the bundle of sticks, but he couldn’t do anything either.

Meanwhile, the youngest son jeered at his brothers and thought they were very incom­petent. He thought he was very clever and took one stick at a time and easily broke all of them.

The old father then smiled at his sons and said, “Children, do you understand what hap­pened? It is always easy to break the sticks one by one. But when they are bundled to‑ gether, none of you could break them. In the same way. you four brothers should always be together. No one will be able to hurt you then.” The four brothers realised what their father was trying to teach them and forgot all their enmity and learnt that unity is strength.

From that day onwards, they never fought with each other and lived together in peace and harmony.

this story found here!

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One may be but a drop of water but ban together we can make a wave

(~_~)

The Emperor asked Master Gudo,

“What happens to a man of enlightenment after death?”

“How should I know?” replied Gudo.

“Because you are a master,” answered the Emperor.

“Yes sir,” said Gudo, “but not a dead one.”

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The master walked with his disciples. He taught using questions full of content, riddles that kept within a whole wisdom of life. And he always surprised his disciples with his wise teachings.

On certain occasion, while dusking, he asked his disciples if they knew how to tell when the night ended and the day started.

The first of them said: “When you see an animal at the distance and you can distinguish if it is a cow or a horse.”

“No,” said the master.

“When you see a tree at the distance and you can distinguish if it is a pine or an eucalyptus.”

“Not either,” said the master.

“OK,” said the disciples, “tell us, when is it?”

“When you look at a man in the face and recognize in him your brother; when you look at the face of a woman and recognize in her your sister. If you’re not able to do this, then, be whatever hour it be, still it’s night for you.”

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The master Bankei’s talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras nor indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners.

His large audiences angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The self-centered Nichiren priest came to the temple, determined to debate with Bankei.

“Hey, Zen teacher!” he called out. “Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?”

“Come up beside me and I will show you,” said Bankei.

Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher.

Bankei smiled. “Come over to my left side.”

The priest obeyed.

“No,” said Bankei, “we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here.”

The priest proudly stepped over to the right

“You see,” observed Bankei, “you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen.”

“If nothing exists,” inquired Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

may your bowl be filled with zen this day

(~_~)

In our busy, hustle and bustled busy lives we tend to forget to stop and smell the roses. To stop for a moment and live in the NOW! “To live in a painting,” is what I call the moment where I remember to look up and see the clouds in all their glory for this day. To look around and absorb my surroundings and where I stand in the ‘living picture’ of life. When I catch myself walking fast paced towards a place and I stop and slow my steps to live in every foot step and be in the now, not the …’what I am racing to.’

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A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

(this story found here…)

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An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe.
 

He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits.

When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.
When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”
The message is straight.. “Have Heart, Will care”

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pay exteraordinary attention to everything and everything will become extraordinary

(~_~)

Who was Pavlov’s Dog?

Well, it is an experiment in behavioral psychology. The idea is that if we associate one thing with another (in this case, associate a bell with food), that eventually the same things will happen when the associated thing happens as when the original impetus happens. The dogs would start salivating when they saw their food… so they would ring a bell when the food came, and eventually, the dogs would start salivating when the bell rang… even when it was not accompanied by food.
 
The same thing happens in everyday life to a certain extent. For instance, someone who hates their job will get grumpy whenever they are at work… but they could also start to associate it with other things, like the whole company, the whole city, the whole state. Eventually “I hate California” would express that person’s hatred of doing a particular thing or interacting with a particular person, because they have associated other things with whatever they detest. Whether it is worth addressing all of our associations and working through them or just moving to another state depends on the circumstances.Read more: here
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So, every time I hear a bell… I get hungry? (grinin’)
Perhaps not, but I can relate to ill feelings stemming from my past. For instance, alcohol. I don’t drink, recalling so many hang-overs and events from my past (like pancreas). Seeking more self-control in my life, offering to be the designated driver and still enjoy the company of family and Friends on an outing.
 
The crutch in life. I have seen (at work) where many come in with a broken leg or had been shot and years later, even though they don’t need it, they still have a cane or walking stick.
 
So, where are you going with all this Art?
 
One of the things that helps me in my life; is Zen. When confronted with a situation (more often strong emotions) I will place my hands together, take a deep breath, close my eyes and begin now, recalling all that I know clouds judgment (yes experience is a helpful tool) but often times it is past emotions that are triggered by certain things (like the ringing of the bell) and even though I know not what triggered this emotion, I drop it and do what I know is right and that is live in the now. Zen is a state of being, in the now, there-fore I use this to suppress anger or anxieties and open my mind before I open my eyes. Then see it for what it is, for it is what it is!
 
 
The more I think about Pavlov’s dogs, the more I realize that there have been so many triggers instilled in our lives and to untangle them will take time. Just a little tid-bit, I recall my father when I was about 9 coming home drunk and tearing the house apart. He turned the refrigerator over in the kitchen. I came downstairs to see what the loud noise was and saw this, my mother ‘crying,’ orders me to go back to bed. In seeing someone get out of control has instilled in me to be in control of one’s anger and emotions. Yes, we are a direct result of our up bringing and environment.
 
I think of my mother as an Angel, that makes me a Demi-Angel!
 
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Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist who lived from 1849-1936. He founded the Institute of Experimental Medicine in 1890, where his primary interest was digestion.

Pavlov’s Dogs is the name given to Ivan Pavlov’s seminal research in the early 20th century (there was not actually one dog as a pet but many dogs used in experimentations) which established some essential principles of Classical Conditioning in the field of human psychology. Classical Conditioning concerns ‘learned’ or conditioned behaviour, (which also forms the basis of behaviour therapy).

We all have behaviours that we might seek to change. The Pavlov’s Dogs illustration helps us to understand more about why we respond sometimes irrationally to certain situations.

Pavlov’s Dogs provides a wonderful and true example for anyone seeking to explain or understand how our past experiences can prompt certain behaviours in the future, for example, phobias (irrational fears), neurosis (severe nervous or emotional responses to particular situations), and even mild feelings of concern or anxiety that virtually all of us are prone to in one way or another (eg., public speaking, fear of heights, flying, being reprimanded or tested, etc.)

The initial Pavlov’s Dogs experiment was simply to place a dog in a sound-proof, smell-proof cubicle, with no outside view – a controlled environment in other words. A sound was made when food was given to the dog, and the amount of salivation the dog produced was measured. After repeating this several times (called ‘trials’), the sound was made but no food was given. The dog still salivated.

This simple experiment established that the dog did not necessarily need the food in order to respond to food. The dog was responding to a stimulus or ‘trigger’ that produced the same response as the real thing. Pavlov could make the dog salivate whenever the sound was made.

This is expressed technically: a ‘Conditioned Stimulus’ (the sound) can produce a ‘Conditioned Response’ (the salivation), which was the same ‘Unconditioned Response’ (salivation in response to food) for the original ‘Unconditioned Stimulus’ (the food)…. read more of this article here!

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~may your day be filled with zen~

(~_~)

 
A soldier returning home alone from a great battle found a monster blocking his path. It wasn’t much of a monster. In fact it was quite pathetic. It was small, its claws were blunt, and most of its teeth were missing.The solder had won all the battles he had ever been in and was considered something of a hero. He decided he would deal with the rather feeble looking monster there and then. He had run out of bullets, so using his rifle as a club he brought the creature to the ground with a single blow.Then he stepped over it and continued along the path. Within minutes, the monster was in front of him again, only now it looked slightly larger and its teeth and claws were a bit sharper.

Once again he hit the monster, but this time it took several blows to bring it down. Again he stepped over it, and again, a few minutes later, the monster appeared before him, bigger than ever.

The third time, no matter how much he hit the monster it would not go down. It grew larger and more ferocious with each blow the solder aimed at it. Defeated, the soldier fled back down the path, with the monster chasing after him.

Yet by the time it arrived at the spot where he’d first seen it, the monster had returned to its original size.

When another traveller appeared on the path the soldier stopped him and warned him of what had happened. ‘Maybe we can fight it together,’ he suggested, ‘then we will overcome it.’

‘Let’s just leave the feeble little thing where it is,’ said the traveller. ‘If you pick a quarrel with something unpleasant when you don’t really have to, then it simply grows more unpleasant. Let’s just leave it alone.’

And so they did. They walked around the toothless little monster and

MORAL

Don’t let your toothless little monsters wind you up!

 
This story found… here~
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A man was polishing his new car; his 4 yr old daughter picked up a stone and scratched on the side of the car. In anger, the furious Man took his child’s hand & hit it many times, then spanked the child in anger. He looked up and saw all the neighbors watching. 
 
The man was so hurt and speechless because of what he had done to a 4 year old child that he walked over to the car and kicked it many times. Devastated by his own actions, sitting in front of the car he looked at the scratches, His daughter had written ‘LOVE YOU DAD’.
 
Moral: Remember, Anger and Love have no limit.  Always remember that “Things are to be used and people are to be loved”.  But the problem in today’s world is that “People are being used & Things are being loved”.
 
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Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference
 
(~_~)

The Historic 36th chamber and 18 wooden warriors of Lohan Hall in a southern province, Shaolin Temple, is shrouded in some mystery, for they were destroyed in the early 1700’s. In the movie, Kung Fu, with David Carradine the last part of this test was depicted with the 500 pound urn filled with red hot coals that burn the mark of the Dragon and the Tiger into the fore-arms as the urn is moved in order to pass and graduate.

It is said that many students did not survive the hall of wooden warriors and this in turn caused a lot of students to run away. But those that did pass the test, bore the symbol on the fore-arm and became teachers themself. Below is a description of each of the 18 wooden warriors and what you had to do to pass each one.

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The Fukien or southern Siu Lam (Shaolin) temple was built on Gau Lin Shan in Fukien province near the border of Gwan Dung Province. Built in 1399 a.d. during the Ming dynasty, the temple became known as “South Siu Lam/ Shaolin” before being utterly destroyed during the Qing (1644-1911 a.d.) dynasty.

The abbot Jee Sim Sim See (Sim See means Zen master) put Hung Yan Sim See in charge of thirty six chambers. Here, Siu Lam’s (Shaolin) warrior monks and unshaven disciples learned the Siu Lam (Shaolin) martial arts in a step by step manner, not advancing until each skill had been mastered. An “unshaven disciple” was a person who stayed at the temple primarily to study the martial arts and did not take Buddhist vows and become a monk. Jee Sim is also credited with devising the “wooden dummy hall”. (Lohan Hall)

The wooden dummy hall was erected in the Lohan Tung or Buddha hall. The eighteen wooden dummies purpose was to test the kung fu skill of potential graduates. The dummies names and movements were as follows:

01 – Lohan Or Ga Yit:
When the student entered, this dummy was in a seated position holding a monk’s ornamental staff. As the student approached, the dummy swung the weapon toward the middle of the student’s body. If the student retreated, the dummy would close, swinging the weapon faster and faster until the rear wall was reached. The student in this case would have to either duck or jump over the weapon which would shatter the student’s bones if it connected. If the student avoided the blow, he was expected to kick the dummy over, defeating it. All of these dummies were activated by the pressure of the students weight on the floor. Also, defeating all the dummies was achieved similarly by knocking them over.

02 – Lohan Or Lan Tor:
The dummy is seated with its hands together as if in prayer. The student is alternately punched and kicked by this dummy. The blows must not be directly blocked because contact with the dummy would result in broken bones. The student must avoid the blows and knock the dummy over.

03 – Lohan Mook Jit Lin:
One foot of the dummy is on top of a lion with the other standing on the floor. This dummy tries to use a low sweeping kick to hit the student. Once it starts, the move is repeated, faster and faster while rushing toward the student. The correct response is to use a jumping kick to floor the dummy while avoiding the sweep at the same time.

04 – Lohan Seh Lei Fut
This dummy stands holding a staff in the right hand and holding its left hand at the breast. It uses the staff to block the student ‘s path and attacks with the free hand. The student must lock the arm and sweep the dummy to down it.

05 – Lohan Ah Lah Luet:
This dummy stands holding a begging bowl. It tires to slam the bowl on the student’s head. If the bowl land precisely, the student will be unable to easily removie it. Avoiding the initial attack is the most essential element in defeating the dummy.

06 – Lohan Seui Pou Tai:
This dummy stands holding prayer beads. When approached, the dummy tries to hit the student in the abdomen. Suddenly, the beads are swung towards the student’s head. The second blow was designed to catch the student unaware as he was trying to stop the first blow.

07 – Lohan Fu Lao La:
The dummy stands with a wine cup in its left hand. The dummy strikes with one hand using drunken style and then throws the cup at the student. The student must avoid these movements and immediately counter.

08 – Lohan Ga Jim Ting:
As it is approached, the dummy stands erect. If the student comes close, the dummy uses a low kick against the student. The dummy must be kicked down before it can continue its attack which becomes faster & faster.

09 – Lohan Fuk Law Lei:
The dummy stands in a bow and arrow stance facing the student. When the student comes into range, the dummy attacks with repeated thrust punches to the body. The student must sidestep to kick the dummy over.

10 – Lohan Dat Mo:
The dummy is seated sideways holding a book. If the student tries to pass, the dummy throws a sidekick as the student goes by. If he can avoid the kick, the student must fell the dummy from behind.

11 – Lohan Chung Haw:
The dummy stands holding a head sized temple bell. As the student approaches, the bell is thrown. The student must avoid the bell.

12 – Lohan Jang Chan
The dummy sits facing the student holding a book next to a pile of stones. The student is shot with projectiles that shoot out of the head of the dummy. The difficulty is in trying to close in on the dummy while it shoots these projectiles.

13 – Lohan Dou Shuen:
The dummy is holding a staff, but is making awkward, stupid looking movements. This is an attempt to lure the student into thinking that the dummy is not functioning properly. The student is attacked as soon as he attempts to go by. The student is expected to be able to avoid such surprise attacks.

14 – Lohan Yan Lang:
The dummy stands looking at the ground. When the student stands on the proper part of the floor, the dummy will thrust its fingers towards the student’s eyes. Students failing this test did not graduate for obvious reasons.

15 – Lohan Hung Lung Sau:
This dummy holds a shiny begging bowl. Suddenly, the student has a blinding light in his face. As soon as this happens, the dummy throws a barrage of blows. The key point is not to get blinded by the light reflected from the bowl. If the student is not blinded, the dummy may be kicked over relatively easily.

16 – Fuk Fu Lohan:
The dummy stands on one foot on the back of a tiger. In one of it’s hands is a large ring. The dummy tries to put the ring over the student’s head while kicking him from below. The student must avoid the ring in order to not get kicked in the groin.

17 – Lohan La Gum Luet:
The dummy stands holding a monk’s spade. The dummy charges while spinning the spade in a figure eight pattern. The student who had stopped was considered eligible for graduation.

18 – The final step
The door to the hallway leading out of the Lohan La Gum Luet was blocked by a one hundred fifty pound urn containing hot coals with the mark of the tiger head/dragon body on the handles. The student had to hug the urn with their forearms. This branded him with the mark of a Sui Lam master. The highest experts had marks only on one arm, having used one arm to lift the urn.

Many great teachers were trained at this temple. After the end of the Ming dynasty, the Ming loyalists used this temple as the headquarters in Southern China. Eventually, the Qing Emperor Hong Hei (1662-1723 a.d.) found this out and ordered two generals Chan Man Yiu and Jeung Gim chao to take three thousand soldiers and rout the temple. General Chan Man Yiu knew well the reputation of the Siu Lam people had earned for their martial arts.

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The Temple was burned to the ground, every monk; except five were killed. These five survivors seperated and each kept the Art alive. They were Wu Dak Dai, Choy Dak Jung, Lei Sik Hoi, Fong Dai Hung, and Ma Chiu Hing.

Many movies have been made where the wooden warriors theme was dipicted, such as “The 36th Chamber,” “Kung Fu,”  and lots more in the Asian film industry.

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source:  Kung Fu Fever, Shaolin 18 wooden men                                             Header Picture: Gaiaonline.com                                                                               Lower Pic; Shaolin Warriors                                                                                           Two wooden warriors with Shaolin monk; KingFilms.TV  

  Tiger and Dragon picture        Shaolin with sword                                              Monk meditates on one leg                                                                           

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~Life is a training ground for the tests that will come~

(~_~)

There was a man who slandered a friend big time, all because of the envy he had for him and for the success he had reached.

After he repented of the ruin he brought with his calumnies on that friend, he visited a highly wise man to whom he said: “I want to fix all the evil I did to my friend, how can I do it?”


The man responded: “Take a sack full of small and light feathers and let one loose on any place you go.”

The man very happy for that so easy thing took the sack full of feathers and at the end of one day he had turned them all loose.

He returned to the sage and said: “I have finished.” 

To this the sage answered: “That is the easiest part.  Now you have to go back to fill the sack with the same feathers you’ve let loose.  Go to the road and search for them.”

The man felt very sad since he knew what that meant and could not find any of the feathers.  When returning, the wise man said to him: “As you could not get again the feathers which flew with the wind, likewise the evil you did flew from mouth to mouth and the damage is already done. Slander means saying something that is untrue about another person that hurts their reputation.  People spread rumors and bad news as fast as feathers blow in the wind.  The news spreads whether it is true or false, and it can never be taken back.”

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A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.  The teacher said that, “it was physically impossible that a whale swallowed a human being because even though it was a very big mammal its throat was too small.”  The girl affirmed that Jonah had been swallowed by a whale.

Irritated the teacher repeated that a whale could not swallow any human being; physically it was impossible. 

The little girl said: “When I arrive to Heaven I will ask Jonah.”


The teacher asked her: “And what happens if Jonah went to Hell?”

The girl answered her: “Then it should be you who should ask him.”

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“wisdom whispers, foolishness shouts”

(~_~)

One day, a spider and a silkworm crossed paths and struck up a conversation. The spider said to the silkworm,

“I admit your silk is better than the silk from the spider. It is yellow and white, dazzling and bright. You use the silk that you spin yourself to make a beautiful comfortable cocoon, which you live inside thinking falsely you are kings. You dream in your little cocoon until the women put you in scalding hot water and peel your silk off strand by strand. Then your beautiful cocoons are all gone. What a shame, though you have the ability to create such beauty, then die because of it, is this not stupid?”

The silk worm thinking about what the spider said, answered:

“Our actions are actually like suicide, but we spin silk so that people can weave beautiful fabrics, giving all the people the ability to look beautiful. Can you really say our labor is a waste?

Look at you spider, your whole reason for weaving is to make a trap that will let you eat the little bugs that fly into it. You may not regret it, but don’t you at least think that is a little cruel?”

Bowing his head, the spider left.

With his words, the silkworm reminded the spider that in the end, humanity makes wondrous things out of his thread, while the spider is killed and his webs are brushed away with a broom.

Moral: On one hand, many people think it is a waste to do things that do not personally benefit them. These people cannot understand why making sacrifices for the benefit of others would be either logical or acceptable. On the other hand, there are some people who are satisfied knowing that their sacrifices benefit others. They have learned the joy of service to others.

When we learn to look up from our small needs, leave our egos behind and look at the broader picture and needs of humanity, we have taken a significant step on the path to enlightenment.

(note: You see it all the time, online and on the streets, “webs” of deceit made to trap you for the gain of the all mighty dollar. There are a lot more spiders than there are silk worms, yet there are still a great number of silk worms that sacrifice themselves for others, which are you?)

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re-posting

 

Once upon a time there was a serpent that was persecuting a firefly. The poor firefly fled from the ferocious predator, using all the energy created by fear to speed him along.

The serpent, however, never considered giving up his pursuit, so he chased the poor firefly run away one day, and again for the second day.

The ordeal continued, until the third day.

Without the strength to continue, the firefly stopped and asked the Serpent, “May I ask you three questions?”

The Serpent said with a haughty tone, “I’m not used to answering anyone, but since I am going to devour you, you can ask me anything”.

“Am I part of your food chain?”

“No” answered the Serpent

“Did I hurt you or provoke you in any way?” asked the firefly.

“No” repeated the serpent.

“So, why do you want to devour me?”

“Well”, said the Serpent, “because I can’t stand to see your shining light.”

In your life, there will always be “serpents” that will come about to try to steal your light and dreams; you will have two options:

You can stop shinning your light, so no serpent will be after you any longer, or you can let your light shine even brighter and learn how to deal with people like that. But it will always be your choice.

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Sources:

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Did you know~ Outdoors, spider’s make their webs facing south. (South of the equator they make them facing north… always toward the sun)

 

~In the spider web of facts many truths are strangled~

(~_~)

Charles Plumb was a navy jet pilot. On his seventy-sixth combat mission, he was shot down and parachuted into enemy territory. He was captured and spent six years in prison. He survived and now lectures on the lessons he learned from his experiences.

One day, a man approached Plumb and his wife in a restaurant, and said, “Are you Plumb the navy pilot?”

“Yes, how did you know?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb was amazed – and grateful: “If the chute you packed hadn’t worked I wouldn’t be here today…”

Plumb refers to this in his lectures: his realisation that the anonymous sailors who packed the parachutes held the pilots’ lives in their hands, and yet the pilots never gave these sailors a second thought; never even said hello, let alone said thanks.

Now Plumb asks his audiences, “Who packs your parachutes? ….. Who helps you through your life?…. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually?……. Think about who helps you; recognise them and say thanks.”

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The story goes: upon completing a highly dangerous tightrope walk over Niagara Falls in appalling wind and rain, ‘The Great Zumbrati’ was met by an enthusiastic supporter, who urged him to make a return trip, this time pushing a wheelbarrow, which the spectator had thoughtfully brought along.

The Great Zumbrati was reluctant, given the terrible conditions, but the supporter pressed him, “You can do it – I know you can,” he urged.

“You really believe I can do it?” asked Zumbrati.

“Yes – definitely – you can do it.” the supporter gushed.

“Okay,” said Zumbrati, “Get in the wheelbarrow…”

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I saw this on “Transformers 3” and thought how cool, they are as close to flying like a bird as you’ll ever get.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Queen made a memorable entrance at the Olympics (!_!)

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may your parachute always open and the ground greet you softly~

(~_~)

A tale is told about the Buddha, Gautama (563-483BC), the Indian prince and spiritual leader whose teachings founded Buddhism. This short story illustrates that every one of us has the choice whether or not to take personal offence from another person’s behaviour.

It is said that on an occasion when the Buddha was teaching a group of people, he found himself on the receiving end of a fierce outburst of abuse from a bystander, who was for some reason very angry.

The Buddha listened patiently while the stranger vented his rage, and then the Buddha said to the group and to the stranger, “If someone gives a gift to another person, who then chooses to decline it, tell me, who would then own the gift? The giver or the person who refuses to accept the gift?”

“The giver,” said the group after a little thought. “Any fool can see that,” added the angry stranger.

“Then it follows, does it not,” said the Buddha, “Whenever a person tries to abuse us, or to unload their anger on us, we can each choose to decline or to accept the abuse; whether to make it ours or not. By our personal response to the abuse from another, we can choose who owns and keeps the bad feelings.”

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a ‘good pebble’

A British family were on holiday in a rented motor-home in the USA. Travelling through California they visited the Magic Mountain amusement park close by Los Angeles. Mid-afternoon, halfway through what was turning out to be a most enjoyable day at the park, Mum, Dad and the three kids came upon a particularly steep plummeting ride. In the queue, the ride attendants strongly warned everyone about the risks of losing hats, spectacles, coins and keys, etc., and these warnings were echoed by large signs around the ride. During the ride, Dad lost the keys.

Due to the fact that the motor-home was a replacement vehicle resulting from a breakdown earlier in the holiday, there were no spare keys. And there were six keys on the lost bunch: ignition, front doors, side door, fuel tank, propane tank, and storage cupboards.

The park attendants drove the family back to the motor-home, suggesting the least damaging ways to break into it.

Fortunately a window had been left slightly open, enabling the middle son to be put in and to open the doors from the inside.

Inside the motor-home Mum and Dad discussed what to do. They were stranded.

Middle son (all of six years old) said he’d got a key – said he’d found it – but no-one was listening properly. “Perhaps it will fit, I’ll get it.” (The optimism of young children of course knows no bounds.)

Not thinking for one second that little lad’s key would fit, Dad tried it. Incredibly the key fitted the ignition – and the driver’s door. Middle son is a hero. It seems he’d found the key in a cupboard when packing his clothes soon after the motor-homes were swapped after the first vehicle broke down.

The next day back at the camp site, Dad called a local locksmith to see what could be done.

“I might be able to make new keys from the locks, if you bring the vehicle to me,” said the locksmith, so the family drove to the locksmith, whose business was in a small shopping centre in the California countryside.

The locksmith looked at the motor-home, and said he’d try. “If you come back in an hour I’ll know better what I can do for you.”

The family went to the nearby shops and a coffee bar to pass the time. Dad returned to the locksmith to see how things were going. The locksmith says he thought he could make new keys for all the locks, but it would be a long job.

In fact the job took the locksmith most of the day. The family hung around the locksmiths, visited the shops again, and generally made a day of being at the little shopping centre. While working on the locks and the keys, the locksmith talked with the family about England, about America, about the rides at Las Vegas, about motor-homes, about business, about locks, about families and kids, about lots of things.

Late on in the afternoon the locksmith said that he’d nearly done – “But you have time to go get something to eat if you want. When you come back I’ll be done.” So the family went to a burger bar for something to eat.

An hour later the family returned to the locksmith’s shop. It was 4pm and they’d been at the shopping centre since 10.00 in the morning.

When Dad entered the locksmith’s shop the locksmith was smiling. He put two new gleaming bunches of keys on the counter. “Here you go – a new set of keys for all the locks, and a spare set too,” said the locksmith, “And I tell you what I’m going to do…”

Dad offered his credit card, gratefully.

“You know, I’ve had such a great time with you guys today,” says the locksmith, “You can have these for free.”

This is a true story. It happened over ten years ago. I still tell people about it now, like I’m telling you. The company is Newhall Valencia Lock & Key, in the El Centro Shopping Center, Canyon Country, California. This little company gave me and my family an experience that transcended customer service, and I was delighted when I found their business card in my kitchen drawer the other day, because it prompted me to share this story and to properly express my thanks.

Just a final note – I’m not suggesting that great customer service is about giving your products and services away. Obviously that’s not a particularly sustainable business model. What I’m saying though, is that there are times when you’ll see opportunity to do something really special for a customer, or for another human being, and when you do it, the ripples of your ‘good pebble’ can stretch around the world, and last for years and years. So, within the boundaries of what’s possible and viable for you, drop in a good pebble whenever you can and make some ripples of your own.

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I use to have a habit of picking up pretty pebbles. I would polish it by rubbing it with my thumb, calling it my worry stone. Then when I came across another that was riddled with worry I’d give them the pebble.

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may you give a ‘good pebble’ today, the ripple of goodness will spread.

(~_~)

 

Art~

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Art~

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