A few parables worth reading
The two wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret , greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace , love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
The donkey in the well
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw - with each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off.
Moral: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up. Shake it off and take a step up.
Two glasses of wine
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
He next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
As the laughter subsided, he said, 'This jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things: your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter: your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else: the small stuff.'
'If you put the sand into the jar first', he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.'
'Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled, 'It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend.'
When explaining stress management to an audience, a lecturer raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 - 20oz. The lecturer replied,
The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.
In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.
And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work/life down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested.
Life is short. Enjoy!
Some ways of dealing with the burdens of life
• Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
• Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
• If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
• It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
• Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
• Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
• Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
• A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
The farmer and his son
By Jeff Herring, Tallahassee, Florida
Just before the Civil War, there was a farmer who had one son. Having only one horse, the farmer and son worked long, hard days, from sunup to sundown, just to get by, with nothing left to spare. One day as the father and son plowed the fields, their horse got spooked and ran off. The son was devastated. "What bad luck. Now what will we do?" The father replied, "Good luck, bad luck, too soon to tell."
They continued to work the farm. One day, their horse came running back with six other horses. The son said, "What great luck. Now, we have all the horses we'll ever need." The farmer replied, "Good luck, bad luck, too soon to tell." The next day, one of the horses threw the son off and he broke his leg. The son cried, "Father, I am so sorry. Now you have to work the farm all by yourself. What bad luck." Once again,his father replied, "Good luck, bad luck, too soon to tell."
Several days later, the Civil War broke out and all the able-bodied young men were sent off to war. The farmer's son, having a broken leg, was forced to stay at home. After the leg had healed, the father had the only farm around with a son to help and seven horses. They worked the farm and prospered.
replied, "Good luck, bad luck, too soon to tell. Its all in how you look at it. It depends on which one you choose and what you make of it.
The story has three principles that allowed the farmer and his son to prosper:
1. Responding vs reacting. At each turn of events, the son reacted. Reacting usually involves not thinking things through - operating without enough information to make a good decision. The farmer, on the other hand, responded to each event using his brain and the power of perspective. This allowed him to respond to events - good or bad - that came his way. 2. Attitude. The son's attitude was, things happen to us. The farmer's attitude was, things do happen, and what we do with what happens makes the difference.
3. Filters. The son filtered events into two categories: this is either good for us or bad for us. He had 'problem filters', seeing only the bad in events and how he was affected. The father had different filters - 'solution filters'. Whatever the events, he knew that a solution could be found in both good luck and bad luck. We all have filters in our thinking that determine how we see the world.
When one solution doesn't work, another one can be discovered. We face events in our lives that can make us or break us. When we bring the tools of responding, attitude, and solution filters to these events, we have a much better chance of making them work in our favor.