The King’s Ring.

kings ringAn ancient legend says that a famous king decided to gather his leading wise men and scholars in a conclave to request a favor.

I just brought a large ring from my latest conquest” – said the king – “It is very valuable and it gives me the possibility to save something even more valuable, inside. I need you, at the end of the day to give me a phrase that is the wisest of all. I want to arrive at a conclusion of wisdom and then write it on a tiny roll. Then, I want to keep that phrase in my ring. And if one day, misfortune happened and I’m in the middle of a deep crisis, I will open my ring, and I’m sure that sentence would help me at the worst time of my life.”

So the wise men spent the day discussing which phrase can sum up all the knowledge that no human had ever heard. When the night fell, one of the wise men of the kingdom, on behalf of all others, approached the king with a sentence written on a small scroll.

Here it is, your Majesty. Simply store it in your ring and read when a crisis hits your life and your kingdom. This is what we have decided.

The king kept the paper in his ring and forgot all about it.

Within a few years, the kingdom was ransacked by his enemies, and the palace turned to rubble. The king managed to escape from the shadows and hidden among some rocks outside the devastated court. There, watching at a cliff, he considered the possibility of suicide by jumping, before falling into enemy hands. It was when he remembered he still retained the ring. The king decided to open it, unrolled the small paper and it read: “This too shall pass.” The king quietly smiled, and he mustered all the encouragement to hide in a cave, in the dark, until he was no longer in danger.

The legend says that twenty years after the king had recovered all its glory, by way of new battles and conquests, the bitter spell was left behind. Now, the king was returning triumphant from the war, amid cheers and claps from a multitude that gave him an ovation.

One of the ancient sages who walked alongside the royal carriage, an old man, whispered to the king: “Your Majesty, I think today should also look again inside your ring. – Now? What for? I’m not in the middle of a crisis, but rather the opposite”  -replied the king.

The sentence was written not only for the tough times but also when you think that everything good seems to be last for eternity. The king, amidst applause, opened the ring and he read: “This too shall pass”, and discovered at that moment, that he felt the same peace which he had when he was about to kill himself. The same calm, the same restraint completely overwhelmed him.

One day he discovered that the phrase that had been delivered was wise to read on defeat and above all, in times of victory.

I would have given anything for someone to tell me this fantastic story when I was much younger. I always imagined I had a time machine (like Spielberg saga “Back to the Future”) I wanted to travel to the past to find myself when I was about … ten or eleven. I would go to the past and tried to locate that child I once was. Look at him face-to-face and say something like: “Do not ask me who I am, because in any case, you are not going to believe me. I just came to give you a phrase I want you to keep forever: “This too shall pass.” Enjoy the adolescence that lies ahead, enjoy every moment you can, do not miss the now, just to be worried about the future. Everything will be fine, I promise. Someday, your own fears, complex and low self-esteem will be history. In a few years, you will laugh off your problems today. Your life will be resolved sooner than you think. Relax, there’s nothing wrong.”

I was tempted to do the same. Whenever I tell this story, a tear escapes from listening to myself, mainly because most of us have some form of pity for that child we once were.

Somehow, it is a sort of paraphrase of many biblical promises. The Lord tells us not to be anxious for tomorrow, not to worry about what will come, to enjoy God’s new mercies every morning. But for some reason, the anxiety we had, played a prank on us and accidentally, stole some valuable bits of wisdom that we were meant to have.

In these years, I’ve been despondent, have experienced moments of great distress, and on the other hand, encountered great moments and experienced awesome memories. Good or bad times passed. Now I think differently, I do not like to anchor myself to crises or victories. I do not dwell on harboring criticism or applause. For that reason, this phrase is my daily review.

In a way,  I decided that I will not dwell on spending the rest of my life thinking about what will I do in the future to the point where I become anxious about it. I do not want to live thinking that last year was the brightest moment in my life. Or that my bliss will be in the summer or spring. I do not want to think that the highlight of my life will be once I graduate or when I’m traveling to this or that country. Or when I retire or when my kids grow up. Happiness is not a destination, Happiness is a journey. It is an ideal place where one gets a good day, but we’re traveling a path little by little, with small fragments of today.

When I was young, I used to get anxious about what career I was going to have, what wife was I going to have? Where was I going to live? One day with tears in my eyes I opened my heart to my father about this, and he said: “Drew, imagine you are a car, and you are traveling to the beach at night. Imagine you have your lights on and you can see the road a few meters away from you. You have enough vision to dodge the holes in the street and continue your journey to where you want to go. In the same way is the vision that God gives you, you only can see ahead just barely enough to keep moving, because those lights will not reach ALL the way to the beach, so as long as you keep on moving, your vision will continue to guide you.

At every place where God leads me, I try to dedicate a message to motivate people to enjoy the ever-present now. But above all things, that anxiety of what we still do not have or the memories of what we have lived, not steal the thunder of what we already have in our hands, which is never little nor insignificant.

For my part, I am more than happy with what God has given me over the years. But I have very clear, above all things that even “This too shall pass”.

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When was the last time that you truly connected with someone?

 

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Here is some advice out of the readings I had been doing from different books:

  1. Give people your full attention. Your presence can be a healing agent for someone. Be fully present.
  2. Have an open body language. What is your body communicating to others? Does your body match yourwords?
  3. Be genuinely interested. I think being genuine and honest in everything you do is key.  We complain about “fake” people, don’t be one of them. Be congruent.
  4. We love connecting with people who are most like us. With other people whom you are trying to connect, seek common ground.
  5. Ask deep questions. You can talk about the weather if you like, but deep down, everyone is wanting to connect. See #3.
  6. Completely listen with your heart and mind. Sometimes it is difficult to listen intently because there is too much noise, mental noise and otherwise. I must admit that I am a guy and that “y-chromosome” to want to fix things get in the way. However, this is something that I’m getting better at the more I practice.
  7. Don’t be afraid to initiate contact and conversation. What do you have to lose? Think about the last time someone reached out to you and you thanked them for it. You can also do it for others. Reach out.
  8. Be an open book. I was reading that generosity is emotional generosity towards others.  Don’t confuse emotional generosity with being co-dependent, but rather to be open to others and to experiences. This is critical to be in authentic relationships.
  9. Suspend judgment. Put your perspectives on hold. If you want to show others that you care about them, don’t jump to conclusions. Feel and Be with them.
  10. Be mindful of others. What do others like/dislike? What do they need/want? Whats priority/not priority? Sometimes its easy to forget those things, especially those things that we don’t really care about or like, but by being interested in what others are interested, is demonstrating your gift of love towards them.
  11. Exude love, warmth & empathy. You may wonder how?
  12. Being close to the source of love, God.  Love emanates from God for God is love. Our best effort is to be Christ-Like. See all points above.

Merci, Gracias, Danke, Thank you!

Merci, Gracias, Danke, Thank you! It doesn’t matter how we say it, we could get a whole lot better saying it.

I think more importantly is not so much that we say is, I think its more important for us to understand why we are saying it, and how we are saying it. Let my ‘thank yous’ reflect accurately a token of my appreciation for others.

Let’s face it: In this life we don’t ~ we can’t accomplish much without the assistance of others. Other people show us gentleness, appreciation, honesty and unselfishness and love. Their random (or not so random) act of kindness gets passed on to me. Ever so deftly that holly molly ~ we fail to appreciate and sometimes even notice how our collective lives are improved by this experience.

Sometimes we raise our noses to other people and think “look what I have accomplished” career-wise, but we forget that in our previous moments, others helped us to get to where we are at today. My dad always quipped “nobody is born learned.” I never really liked this because it was hard to comprehend for me. Yes, I understood what it meant at face value, but never really appreciate the wisdom.

I have always been so blessed with a bevy of people who have made me smile in dark times. To patiently be there for me to help me connect the dots of life. Well, tomorrow is a new day, set aside to show some of my appreciation for those folks who help me in my everyday life. Those who are around me to cheer me up or correct me in every which way they can.

I wish to spend the day recognizing more how fortunate I have been to have those people around me. Those who taught me invaluable lessons in life but I never got to fully say “thank you”. Some of those people have passed on. Some of those people still live on. Regardless of this, they live in my heart, ever so presently because over time I get to live their kindness I have a huge smile on my face. And I know in my heart of hearts this is how they would’ve wanted it.

My Theory of Relativity

When we go on and say that all things are relative, is to say such statement can be true and negative at the same time. If an individual and I look at a same concatenation of events that occur in a certain time and a certain place, then that individual and I may bear in mind some elements hold true for that event. Nevertheless, his truth is relative to mine since we both are seeing things from different angles and different perspectives, even when we are at the same time and place.

Moreover, the other individual can’t say that the earth is flat, if and only the earth is flat to him. The definition of his perspective is relative to that specific person, but does not make the statement true. Therefore, all things can be relative to a person, but that does not mean that his version of the “truth” is true to everyone else. Thus, relativity relies on the human perception, not on a factual statement. Glass half empty-half full effect.

When we speak that all things are interrelated, it holds true for a cycle of energy within an ecosystem. For instance, the atoms of the sun provide the energy to a plant, that produces fruit, which is eaten by an animal, which provides energy for daily living, multiplication of the species and so on. To predicate that everything has a cause and effect, is to imply that one thing must be connected to another one to produce a desired or undesired effect.

To deny that all things are interrelated, is to close our eyes to the very intercourse of every single element within our planet.

Dear Displeasing Drew

Don’t deny it. I am with you twentyfour-seven. I remember so vividly like it was yesterday!  You were at the Seattle Airport. You were tight on catching your flight. It was your fault. It has been snowing for the last couple of days so it wasn’t a surprise that the weather wasn’t cooperating. You knew that the airport shuttle driver was as reliable as uncle Alfred.

When you arrived at the airport, you were unloading all of your luggage and pushing through the line to get rescued by the airline personnel. Then after that you wanted to push through the security line. “Excuse me, excuse me. I am running tight. My plane is going to LEAVE ME!” As if the entire airport personnel will move faster because you are running late.

I noticed how you stared down the security person, to check the items inside your carry-on and re-run it through the X-Ray machine. Your mumble and grunts probably made that officer move a little slower… just probably. Because we know that if the security officer would have security protocol you would be HALFWAY home right? ~ no, wrong!

I know you Displeasing Drew. I think the same thing happens when you go to the grocery store. When you have your items in the conveyor belt and you inch them forever so closely to the person ahead of you. Invade their space, watch your watch, tap on your shoes, cross your arms and sight loudly. You want to make it seem evident that you are in a hurry.

You act as if you are in the verge of a worldwide catastrophe with a deadline for yesterday and you are the only one who can solve it.  From the way I see it, you are embarrassing me at times. I have an idea. Let’s learn how to count to ten and take deep breaths. How about under every breath, you be thankful? Yes, Be thankful that you have the opportunity to fill your cart with food that you need and junk that you don’t. Be thankful that you can get to travel and have a hotel to rest your head while away from home.

How about writing your feelings… put them in a letter maybe?

Sincerely

Me, myself and I.

Drew

About oranges, crimes, Narnia and punishment

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– “Everybody to the Rec Room, NOW!”

Apart from being a blogger and a counselor I also work part time in a grocery store. This supermarket is kind of like a national chain of supermarkets. I work part time so it doesn’t interfere too much with my life. They pay well, but they exploit you like an asian in a chinese sweat shop, like an african digging for blood diamonds, like a…. well, you get the hint.

 “OK, I need your attention now.”

The boss man is too strict, and he does not tolerate no ruckus or disorder. That night he called us and made make a line, after we closed the doors. This was a serious misconduct, that deserved to be punished swiftly. Someone had stolen fruits from the fruit stand, and they left the evidence in the bathroom when everything was closed.

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 “I found a lot of orange peels in the bathroom, AND I noticed that there are oranges missing in the stand. This happened after the store was closed, so one of you might’ve been”

Thus, he began the classic sermon of the good collaborator, the employee of the month, the prestige of the company we work for. He gave the opportunity  for the scoundrel to ‘fess up’. No one spoke. I thought he was exaggerating a little – but ultimately I was tired and didn’t want to make a bigger deal – The Chief said that we had until the shift change to come and confess personally ” … or nobody is getting out of here“.

We went back to work with dull laughs. For a moment I started wondering if they would start paying us with oranges, may be. I went back to what I was doing. The thing is almost at the end of our shift we had almost nothing to do, but we had to keep working because the boss man “…didn’t pay us to see us talk…”

I started moving boxes of books (huge boxes by the way) towards the book stand. I was bored so I was doing it slow. One of the book of boxes read “The Chronicles of Narnia”. I knew it was going to be a heavy one. I mustered all the strength I could and lifted it up rather quickly, instead of books, out came oranges.

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I was so scared…. What did this mean? It was almost like a corpse! I quickly looked around, but no one was watching.  My first impulse was to hide the evidence! But, where if the box is already broken? Oh I thought behind the books! Surely nobody is going to notice the difference right?

Tomorrow when the client comes and picks up a book and the oranges come jumping, should I tell my boss? nah….

After all it wasn’t necessary. The oranges were rolling like blood throughout the floor. One of them rolled to the feet of my boss. I was kind of nervous  when he looked at me, I just stared back and him and blurted out “… they are from Narnia!” and grinned nervously.

The problem was resolved. A workmate made an erroneous inventory. Because he was lazy he didn’t want to inventory the oranges so he put them in the book boxes, so that the person who was working on the books, would have to do his job for him. that was unforgivable. That same guy, because he was hungry, he went to the bathroom and started downing oranges  like there was no tomorrow.  It was unforgivable and he was sanctioned.

OK actually I don’t work or ever worked at a grocery store. This was just an exercise for me to let you know that not everything has a point  🙂