After watching this, if your mind ever complains, tell it to "Just. Shut. Up."
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life changing experiences that you hear other people talk about, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly.
This one occurred a mere two feet away from me. Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.
First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!"
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.
While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last," and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be.
I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?"
"Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those," he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face.
"Well, then, how long have you been away?" I asked.
The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile.
"Two whole days!"
Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he'd been gone for at least several weeks, if not months. I know my expression betrayed me, I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"
The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don't hope, friend...decide!"
Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!" With that, he and his family turned and strode away together. I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, "What'cha looking at?"
Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!"
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Ahmed and Hamid are both beggars at several motorway services in England.
Ahmed drives a Mercedes, lives in a mortgage free house and has a lot of money to spend.
Hamid only brings in 2 to 3 pounds a day.
Hamid asks Ahmed how he manages to bring home a suitcase full of £10 notes every day?!
Ahmed says, "Look at your sign. It says, 'I have no work, a wife and six kids to support.' Britons who see that do not feel as if they have accomplished anything by giving you money. You will still have no job and a large family! Now look at my sign."
So Hamid looks up and Ahmed's sign reads: "I only need another £10 to move back to Pakistan"
Friday, October 15, 2010
I have a friend who is falling in love. She honestly claims the sky is bluer. Mozart moves her to tears. She has lost 15 pounds and looks like a cover girl. "I'm young again!" she shouts exuberantly.
As my friend raves on about her new love, I've taken a good look at my old one. My husband of almost 20 years, Scott, has gained 15 pounds. Once a marathon runner, he now runs only down hospital halls. His hairline is receding and his body shows the signs of long working hours and too many candy bars. Yet he can still give me a certain look across a restaurant table and I want to ask for the check and head home.
When my friend asked me "What will make this love last?" I ran through all the obvious reasons: commitment, shared interests, unselfishness, physical attraction, communication. Yet there's more. We still have fun. Spontaneous good times. Yesterday, after slipping the rubber band off the rolled up newspaper, Scott flipped it playfully at me: this led to an all-out war. Last Saturday at the grocery, we split the list and raced each other to see who could make it to the checkout first. Even washing dishes can be a blast. We enjoy simply being together.
And there are surprises. One time I came home to find a note on the front door that led me to another note, then another, until I reached the walk-in closet. I opened the door to find Scott holding a "pot of gold" (my cooking kettle) and the "treasure" of a gift package. Sometimes I leave him notes on the mirror and little presents under his pillow.There is understanding. I understand why he must play basketball with the guys. And he understands why, once a year, I must get away from the house, the kids - and even him - to meet my sisters for a few days of nonstop talking and laughing.
There is sharing. Not only do we share household worries and parental burdens - we also share ideas. Scott came home from a convention last month and presented me with a thick historical novel. Though he prefers thrillers and science fiction, he had read the novel on the plane. He touched my heart when he explained it was because he wanted to be able to exchange ideas about the book after I'd read it.
There is forgiveness. When I'm embarrassingly loud and crazy at parties, Scott forgives me. When he confessed losing some of our savings in the stock market, I gave him a hug and said,"It's okay. It's only money."
There is sensitivity. Last week he walked through the door with that look that tells me it's been a tough day. After he spent some time with the kids, I asked him what happened. He told me about a 60-year-old woman who'd had a stroke. He wept as he recalled the woman's husband standing beside her bed, caressing her hand. How was he going to tell this husband of 40 years that his wife would probably never recover? I shed a few tears myself. Because of the medical crisis. Because there were still people who have been married 40 years. Because my husband is still moved and concerned after years of hospital rooms and dying patients.
There is faith. Last Tuesday a friend came over and confessed her fear that her husband is losing his courageous battle with cancer. On Wednesday I went to lunch with a friend who is struggling to reshape her life after divorce. On Thursday a neighbor called to talk about the frightening effects of Alzheimer's disease on her father-in-law's personality. On Friday a childhood friend called long-distance to tell me her father had died. I hung up the phone and thought, This is too much heartache for one week.
Through my tears, as I went out to run some errands, I noticed the boisterous orange blossoms of the gladiolus outside my window. I heard the delighted laughter of my son and his friend as they played. I caught sight of a wedding party emerging from a neighbor's house. The bride, dressed in satin and lace, tossed her bouquet to her cheering friends. That night, I told my husband about these events. We helped each other acknowledge the cycles of life and that the joys counter the sorrows. It was enough to keep us going.
Finally, there is knowing. I know Scott will throw his laundry just shy of the hamper every night; he'll be late to most appointments and eat the last chocolate in the box. He knows that I sleep with a pillow over my head. I'll lock us out of the house at a regular basis, and I will also eat the last chocolate.
I guess our love lasts because it is comfortable. No, the sky is not bluer: it's just a familiar hue. We don't feel particularly young: we've experienced too much that has contributed to our growth and wisdom, taking its toll on our bodies, and created our memories.
I hope we've got what it takes to make our love last. As a bride, I had Scott's wedding band engraved with Robert Browning's line "Grow old along with me!" We're following those instructions.
"If anything is real, the heart will make it plain."
--By Annette Paxman Bowen
Monday, October 4, 2010
A man calls his mother in Florida.
“Hey Mom, how are you?”
“Not too good,” says the mother. “I’ve been very weak.”
The son says, “Why are you so weak?!”
She says, “Because I haven’t eaten in 38 days.”
The man says, “That’s terrible! Why haven’t you eaten in 38 days?!"
The mother answers, “Because I didn’t want my mouth filled with food should my son finally call.”
Do you also need a reason, a special moment, or a day once an year, to keep in touch with someone special in your life?
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
One day a magnificent eagle landed on his windowsill, and when he saw it, he exclaimed, “Oh! What an ugly creature it is! You can look much better, Mr. Eagle”, he said and pulled it into his house.
“First, I’m going to fix that curved beak of yours.” He used a file to remove the hook in the eagle’s beak. “Those claws are vicious looking,” the man said as he clipped the eagle’s claws until there was little left. When he finished, the man said, “There, now you look better”, and he put the bird back on his open windowsill and shooed it away. The eagle pulled its wings in pain and dragged itself into the sky. The man was happy to see a new beautiful reformed creature enjoying the flight.
Moments later, the bird collapsed of its handicaps. It couln't survive the wild for long.
Friday, September 3, 2010
She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?"
The operator said, "I'll be glad to help, dear. What's the name and room number of the patient?"
The grandmother in her weak, tremulous voice said, "Norma Findlay, Room 302."
The operator replied, "Let me put you on hold while I check with the nurse's station for that room."
After a few minutes, the operator returned to the phone and said, "I have good news. Her nurse just told me that Norma is doing well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back normal and her physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged tomorrow."
The grandmother said, "Thank you. That's wonderful. I was so worried. God bless you for the good news."
The operator replied, "You're more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?"
The grandmother said, "No, I'm Norma Findlay in Room 302. No one tells me anything."
The Principal asked, "What have you joined the University for? To appear in the exam, you will need atleast 75% attendance and this way you are not going to make it to exams. I in any case would not support you to get that 75% attendance."
The student thought for a while and replied, " Sir do you want to know where do I spend my time? If I satisfy you and you have no arguments then you will see to it that I get 100% attendance, will you?"
The Principal nodded, almost taken aback at his confidence. The principal followed as the student took him to the university library. He asked the librarian to tell the Principal how often he visited the library.
"Sir, this boy comes daily to library, right from the time it opened and keeps on reading till it closes. There were many instances when we even had to tell this boy to go since it was time to close. Even on holidays he came and if the library was closed would sit in the garden and read!"
The kid looked at the Principal, "Sir, your professors don't teach anything new. They teach from these same books. So I thought it better to directly refer to the books rather then having a second-hand knowledge. Ask any professor if he has anything new to offer which is not mentioned in these books and I will be the first one to attend their session."
The Principal stood speechless at the stark truth, finally gave in, and did mark 100% attendance for his brilliant performer.
So many times, our false beliefs push us towards the self-fulfilling prophecy that we are more knowledgeable since the day we got those degrees. The truth is that people who are practically on the job, who've learned their lessons through life's hardships, can shake our mis-beliefs any day of our life.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
In Burma, one Buddhist monk was ordered to make a design for the new temple, particularly for the gate. So he was making many designs. He had one very talented disciple, so he told that disciple to be near him. While he made the design the disciple was simply to watch, and if he liked it he had to say that it was okay, it was right. If he didn’t like it then he had to say no. And the master said, ‘When you say yes, only then will I send the design. If you go on saying no, I will discard the design and will create a new one.’
Hundreds of designs were discarded in this way. Three months passed. Even the master became afraid, but he had given his word so he had to keep it. The disciple was there, the master would make the design, and then the disciple would say no. The master would start another one.
One day the ink was just about to be finished, so the master said, ‘Go out and find more ink.’ The disciple went out. The master forgot him, his presence, and became effortless. His presence was the problem. The idea was constantly in his mind that the disciple was there, judging. He was constantly wondering whether he was going to like it or not, whether he would discard it again. This created an inner anxiety and the master could not be spontaneous.
The disciple went out. The design was completed. The disciple came in and he said ‘Wonderful! But why couldn’t you do it before?’
The master said, ‘Now I understand why – because you were here. Because of you – I was making an effort to get your approval. The effort destroyed the whole thing. I couldn’t be natural, I couldn’t flow, I couldn’t forget myself because of you.’
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
The 12 Things All Good Managers Know
- I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.
- My success — and that of my people — depends largely on being the master of obvious and mundane things, not on magical, obscure, or breakthrough ideas or methods.
- Having ambitious and well-defined goals is important, but it is useless to think about them much. My job is to focus on the small wins that enable my people to make a little progress every day.
- One of the most important, and most difficult, parts of my job is to strike the delicate balance between being too assertive and not assertive enough.
- My job is to serve as a human shield, to protect my people from external intrusions, distractions, and idiocy of every stripe — and to avoid imposing my own idiocy on them as well.
- I strive to be confident enough to convince people that I am in charge, but humble enough to realize that I am often going to be wrong.
- I aim to fight as if I am right, and listen as if I am wrong — and to teach my people to do the same thing.
- One of the best tests of my leadership — and my organization — is "what happens after people make a mistake?"
- Innovation is crucial to every team and organization. So my job is to encourage my people to generate and test all kinds of new ideas. But it is also my job to help them kill off all the bad ideas we generate, and most of the good ideas, too.
- Bad is stronger than good. It is more important to eliminate the negative than to accentuate the positive.
- How I do things is as important as what I do.
- Because I wield power over others, I am at great risk of acting like an insensitive jerk — and not realizing it.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
One gem of audio-visual presentation I've come across after a while... the message is a fresh reminder at the very least, that a quiet relaxing pause in this hussle of life, is much more important than we consider it to be.