Happiness is a Journey

We convince ourselves that life will be better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we are frustrated that the kids aren’t old enough and we’ll be more content when they are. After that we are frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We will certainly be happy when they are out of that stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire.

The truth is, there’s no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when? Your life will always be filled with challenges. It’s best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway. One of my favourite quotes is from Alfred D. Souza. He said, “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there ways always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have. And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time with… and remember that time waits for no one … So stop waiting until you lose ten pounds, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until spring, until summer, until fall, until winter or until you die to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy….Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Eduardo Galeano

By Eduardo Galeano

Laughter, the best Medicine

laughterAlthough May 1st is celebrated as International Workers Day it is also World Laughter Day!  Started in India almost 20 years ago it has now gone global: Laughter is a positive and powerful emotion that has all the ingredients required for individuals to change themselves and to change the world in a peaceful and positive way.

One of the best feelings in the world is the deep-rooted belly laugh. It can bring people together and establish amazing connections. Everything from a slight giggle to a side-splitting guffaw can change the temperature of a room from chilly unfamiliarity to a warm family-like atmosphere.

There is so much to love about laughter that it seems greedy to look for more, but that’s exactly what researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at the Loma Linda University in California have done. These two doctors have researched the benefits of laughter and found amazing results. Get ready to get your giggle on!

Laughing lowers blood pressure

People who lower their blood pressure, even those who start at normal levels, will reduce their risk of strokes and heart attacks. So grab the Sunday paper, flip to the funny pages and enjoy your laughter medicine.

Reduces stress hormone levels

You benefit from reducing the level of stress hormones your body produces because hormone-level reduction simultaneously cuts the anxiety and stress impacting your body. Additionally, the reduction of stress hormones in your body may result in higher immune system performance. Just think: Laughing along as a co-worker tells a funny joke can relieve some of the day’s stress and help you reap the health benefits of laughter.

Fun abs workout

One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax. Add laughter to your abs routine and make getting a toned tummy more enjoyable.

Improves cardiac health

Laughter is a great cardio workout, especially for those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness. It gets your heart pumping and burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace. So, laugh your heart into health.

Boosts T cells

T cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. When you laugh, you activate T cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on, add chuckling to your illness prevention plan.

Triggers the release of endorphins

Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over.

Produces a general sense of well-being

Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Doctors have found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. So smile, laugh and live longer!

(Taken in part from an article by E.C. LaMeaux)

Don’t Act Like an Elephant!


Strange statement, isn’t it? But listen carefully because it can make a difference of success and failure in your business and private life.


You may know that in India elephants are used for manual labour. But what to do with them when they are not working? How to restrain them? Their handlers came up with the idea to “program” them while they are still very young by setting self-imposed limits into their thinking.


When the elephants are still small, weighing around 150 pounds they get tied up with a very heavy rope. All day long, the elephants try to get rid of it, whine, tug at it and some of them even try to chew it. But they can’t break free. Finally the elephant gives up and the fight is over.

From this moment on, they strongly believe that there is absolutely no chance to get rid of the rope. They accept the “fact” that the rope limits them. And with this imprinted belief in place, their handlers are able to tie them with extremely small ropes, even as adults weighing 8,000 pounds and more, they never attempt to break free, because they “know” they have no chance at all! As you can see, the elephants’ limits are not real but exist only in their mind.

We also have built-in boundaries.They are also not real but exist only in our minds. But it doesn’t have to stay this way. Our negative belief systems don’t have to limit us for good. If you truly want to become successful and are not kidding yourself, you can change your inner belief system, your attitude…

…and break your inner boundaries. You might feel that there are certain characteristics of your personality that are part of you and therefore cannot change; it’s just the way you are, the way God made you.

Although it’s true that you have certain inborn traits, certain strengths and weaknesses,this doesn’t mean that you can never change. You might wonder how this can be, how you can change what you feel is a long-standing habit, an almost ingrained characteristic, and turn it into something different. All things are possible with God!

It just takes a sincere desire to receive His help, and determination to follow through. You always have the inner strength, the personal power to change everything in your life for the better. Just try! Never give up. And never act like an elephant!

Love & Madness

They say that one day all the feelings and qualities of man met in a place on earth.

When BOREDOM had yawned for a third time, MADNESS, as crazy as ever, suggested, “Let’s play hide-and-seek.”

INTRIGUE raised an eyebrow, and CURIOSITY, not being able to contain herself, asked, “Hide-and-seek? What’s that?”

“It’s a game,” explained MADNESS, “where I close my eyes, cover my face, and begin to count from one to a million while you all hide, and when I’m done counting, whichever one of you I find first will take my place to continue the game.”

ENTHUSIASM danced of excitement, followed by EUPHORIA.

HAPPINESS jumped so many times that she convinced DOUBT, and even APATHY, who never cared about anything, to join in the game.

But not everyone wanted to play. TRUTH preferred to not hide, for in the end, everyone searched for her anyway. PRIDE said it was a silly game (although what really bothered her was that it wasn’t her idea). COWARDICE preferred not to take the risk.

“One, two, three…” MADNESS began to count.

The first to hide was LAZINESS, who, as always, let herself hide behind the first stone she found along the path.

FAITH soared up to heaven and ENVY hid behind the shadows of TRIUMPH, whom through her own efforts succeeded in climbing up to the top of the tallest tree.

GENEROSITY almost had no time to hide, since every place she found, she believed would be marvellous for one of her friends: a crystalline lake, ideal for BEAUTY; a crack in a tree, perfect for SHYNESS; the flight of a gust of wind, magnificent for LIBERTY. And like that, GENEROSITY ended up hiding in a ray of sunshine.

SELFISHNESS, instead, found a very good hiding place from the start, very comfortable and ventilated, but only for him. LIES hid in the depths of the ocean (Lie, he really hid behind a rainbow) and PASSION and DESIRE in the centre of a volcano.

FORGETFULNESS… I forgot where he hid… but that’s not important.

When MADNESS counted 999,999, LOVE still hadn’t found a place to hide, for everything was already taken, until she found a rosebush and decided to hide amongst its roses.

“One million,” counted MADNESS and began to search.

The first to appear was LAZINESS, only three steps behind a stone.

Then, FAITH was heard talking with God in heaven about theology, PASSION and DESIRE were felt in the vibrations of the volcano.

Because of carelessness, ENVY was found, and of course, it was deduced where TRIUMPH was hiding.

SELFISHNESS didn’t even have to be found, since he came out of his hiding place on his own, it having been a beehive.

From all the walking, he was thirsty and approached the lake where he discovered BEAUTY.

DOUBT was even easier to find, for she was still sitting on the fence, without having decided which side to hide on.

That’s how they went along finding everyone. TALENT was hidden in a fresh meadow, ANGUISH in a dark cave, and LIES behind the rainbow (Lie, she was in the depths of the ocean). Even FORGETFULNESS, who had already forgotten he was playing hide-and-seek, was found.

Only LOVE could not be found. MADNESS looked behind every tree, every stream of the planet, in the mountaintops, and when she was about to give up, she saw the rosebush and its roses. She took a fork and began to move the branches when suddenly, a painful cry was heard. The thorns had injured LOVE’s eyes. MADNESS didn’t
know what to do to apologize. She cried, she begged, she asked for forgiveness, and she even promised to be her sidekick.Mario-Benedetti

Since then, since that first game of hide-and-seek on the earth…

LOVE is blind and MADNESS is always by her side.

By Mario Benedetti

The Wolf Within

loboThe elderly Cherokee Grandfather said to his grandson who came to him with anger at his friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those who have taken so much with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.

I have struggled with these feeling many times. It is as if two wolves are inside me…. It is a terrible fight.

One wolf is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offence when no offence was intended. It will only fight when it is right to do so and in the right way. This wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The other wolf is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of a temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing. This wolf represents fear, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, lies, false pride and superiority.

Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me for both of them try to dominate my spirit. This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person too.

The boy looked intently into his grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied.… “The one you feed.”

A Morning Wish

SunriseThe sun is just rising on the morning of another day, the first day of the New Year. What can I wish that this day, that this year, may bring to me?

Nothing that shall make the world of others poorer, nothing at the expense of others; but just those few things which in their coming do not stop with me but touch me rather, as they pass and gather strength:

  • A few friends who understand me, and yet remain my friends.
  • A work to do which has real value without which the world would feel the poorer.
  • A return for such work small enough not to tax unduly anyone who pays.
  • A mind unafraid to travel, even though the trail be not blazed.
  • An understanding heart.
  • A sight of the eternal hills and unbelting sea, and of something beautiful the individual hand has made.
  • A sense of humor and the power to laugh.
  • A little leisure with nothing to do.
  • A few moments of quiet, silent meditation. The sense of the presence of God.
  • And the patience to wait for the coming of these things, with the wisdom to know them when they come.

W.R. Hunt

Christmas is for Love

woodboxChristmas is for love.  It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends. But, mostly Christmas is for love.

Matthew was a 10 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter woman greatly annoyed with having to care for him. She never failed to remind young Matthew, if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif.  Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Matthew particularly until he began staying after class each day to help me straighten up the room.  We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but when we did talk, Matthew spoke mostly of his mother.  Though he was quite young when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman who always spent time with him.

As Christmas drew near however, Matthew failed to stay after school.  I looked forward to his coming, but the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class,  one afternoon I told him how I had missed him, and his large brown eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, ‘Did you really miss me?’

I explained how he had been my best helper, ‘I was making you a surprise,’ he whispered.  ‘It’s for Christmas.’ With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room.

Finally came the last school day before Christmas.  Matthew crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back.  ‘I have your present,’ he said timidly when I looked up.  ‘I hope you like it.’  He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.

‘It’s beautiful, Matthew.  What’s in it?’ I asked opening the top to look inside.  ‘Oh you can’t see what’s in it,’ he replied, ‘and you can’t touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights and safe when you’re all alone.’

I gazed into the empty box.  ‘What is it, Matthew’ I asked gently, ‘that will make me feel so good?’

‘It’s love,’ he whispered softly, ‘and mother always said it’s best when you give it away.’ He turned and quietly left the room.

So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile when inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them there is love in it.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth, song, and for good and wondrous gifts.  But mostly, Christmas is for love.

The Farmer & the Travellers

farmerThere once was a man walking a very long road from one village to another. At the outskirts of the new village he encountered a farmer labouring in his field.

He said to the farmer, “I have walked a great distance to come to this village of yours. I have left my village looking for a new home, perhaps I will find it here. Tell me, how are the people in this village? What kind of people are they?”

The man in the field thought a moment, then asked, “What were the people like in the village you came from?”

The traveller replied, “They were uncaring, self-absorbed, cynical, and unfriendly. That’s why I left.”

The farmer paused before replying and then said, “I think that’s how you’ll find the people here, too.”

The traveller replied, “In that case, I’ll just move on and look somewhere else.”

A couple of days later, the farmer was again out in his field when another man approached him and said, “My village was destroyed and the people scattered. I am looking to find myself a new home, perhaps in this village. Can you tell me, how are the people in this village? What kind of people are they?”

The farmer asked, “What were the people like in your village?”

The traveller replied, “They were wonderful people, loving, close, helpful, and I will miss them terribly.”

The farmer said, “I think that’s how you’ll find the people here also.”

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. – The Bible.

The Burning Hut

hutteThe only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stung with grief and anger. “God, how could you let this happen to me!” he cried out. After much grief & sorrow, he fell asleep on the beach.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him. “How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers. “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

Life challenges us with numerous & incredible opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. A stone in your path can be seen as an obstacle or a stepping stone, an opportunity … A lot depends on your attitude and the perspective with which you consider things.

It is easy to get discouraged when the situation gets tough. But we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember next time your little hut is burning to the ground- – it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Stress Busters – Practical  Ways  to Reduce Stress

stressExercise  Regularly. Exercise  aerobically  for  at  least  15  – 20  minutes  per  day.  This  is  probably  one  of  the  most   effective  ways  to  reduce  tension.

Eat  Well! Avoid  excessive  caffeine  or  other  stimulants  as  they  may  cause  anxiety.  Fresh  fruits  and  vegetables   are  often  recommended  to  reduce  stress.    Stressful  foods  can  include:  processed  foods,  artificial  sweeteners,   carbonated  drinks,  chocolate,  eggs,  fried  foods,  junk  foods,  pork,  red  meat,  sugar,  white  flour  products,  chips   and  similar  snacks,  foods  containing  preservatives  or  heavy  spices.

Get  Adequate  Sleep. Most  people  need  7-­‐9  hours  per  night.  Sleep  not  only  rests  your  body,  it  also  gives  your   brain  the  time  to  organize  the  material  you’ve  been  studying.

Laugh. Don’t  take  things  so  seriously.  When  we  laugh/smile,  blood  flow  to  the  brain  is  increased  and   endorphins  are  released.  In  turn,  the  level  of  stress  hormones  drops.  Studies  show  that  laughter  not  only   relieves  tension,  but  actually  improves  immune  function.

Be  Decisive. Indecision  prevents  you  from  taking  appropriate  actions,  thus,  intensifying  stress.

Be  Assertive. Openly  communicate  your  thoughts,  feelings,  etc.  with  others  even  when  there  are  differences.   Don’t  be  aggressive,  though.

Encourage  Yourself. If  you  are  inclined  to blame  yourself  for  problems  (even  when  they’re  not  your  fault),  you   may  be  guilty  of  negative  self-­‐talk,  which  is  a  great  stress  maker.  Accept  mishaps  as  routine  and  normal   occurrences  in  life  and  you’ll  have  a  higher  self-­‐ esteem  and  a  much  lower  stress  level.  Use  positive  self-­‐talk.

Slow  Down  and  Relax. Slow  down.  Don’t  rush.  Take  a  walk.  Getting  “away”  will  relax  you  and  allow  you  to  think   more  logically  when  you  return.

Reward  Yourself. When  you  accomplish  a  task,  even  a  small  one,  reward  yourself.  Surf  the  internet,  browse  a   book store,  go  to  a  movie.  Those  who  do  this  experience  a  boost  in  the  disease-­‐fighting  quality  of  their  immune   systems  for  several  days.

Nurture  Your  Spirituality. Religious  or  spiritual  beliefs  give  us  a  context  larger  than  ourselves,  which  can  put   things  into  perspective  when  we  are  stressed.

Don’t  Be  Afraid  to  Ask  For  Help. Seek  counselling/health  care  if:    you  suddenly  feel  panicked,  you  are  unable  to   work  because  of  anxiety,  self-­‐treatment  has  failed,  or  cause  of  anxiety  is  unknown.

Establish a  Routine. By  establishing  a  daily  routine,  you  can  save  time  and  prevent  stress. With  predictability,   you  can  be  assured  that  even  with  everyday  mishaps,  some  things  remain  constant.

Create  Lists. Have  a  daily  written  list  of  what  you  expect  to  accomplish  that  day.  Prioritize. It  will  help  you  think   more  realistically  about  your  schedule  and  time.  Once  you  cross  off  an  item  from  your  “TO-­‐DO”  list,  it  relieves   stress  by  removing  one  concern  from  your  mind.

Don’t  Procrastinate. It  lessens  productivity  and  quality,  compounds  stress,  and  may  cause  the  stressful  by-­‐ products  of  guilt,  anger  and  low  self-­‐esteem.  Remember:  the  worse  your  stress  gets,  the  greater  the  tendency  to   procrastinate!

Adapted  from:  Stress:  63  Ways  to  Relieve  Tension  and  Stay  Healthy,  People’s  Medical  Society,  1996.  11  Ways  You  can   Beat  Stress,  by  Christina  Frank.