Unity…The Art of Building Bridges

Individually, we are one drop Together, we are an ocean Ryunosuke Satoro

The Bridge

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side. They had been sharing machinery, trading a labor and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference which exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on elder brother’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I am looking for a few days of work”, he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?”

“Yes!” said the elder brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother and we don’t get along. Last week he dug a wider passage for water into his farm. But he ended up creating a very wide creek in between our farms and I am sure he did it just to annoy me. I want you to build me something so that we don’t have to stand and see each other’s face from across.”

The carpenter said “I think I understand the situation. I will be able to do a job that will please you.” The elder brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.

At sunset when the elder brother returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The elder brother’s eyes opened wide and his jaw dropped. It was not what he had even thought of or imagined. It was a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, beautiful handrails. And to his surprise, his younger brother across the creek was coming to meet him with a big smile and arms wide open to hug him.

“You are really kind and humble my brother! After all I had done and said to you, you still shown that blood relations can never be broken! I am truly sorry for my behaviour”, the younger brother said as he hugged his elder brother. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I have a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.

“I’d love to stay on”, the carpenter said, “but, I have many more bridges to build!”

Moral: There is no shame in accepting your mistake or forgiving each other. We should be kind and humble. We should try to stay together as a family and not break away from it over the petty arguments.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: https://www.moralstories.org/the-bridge/

 

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Ways to Live a More Meaningful Life

Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games Babe Ruth10 Ways to Live a More Meaningful Life

It can be easy to run through the maze of life without pausing to think of its meaning.

Does what I’m doing matter?

More importantly, does it matter to me?

Feeling that what you’re doing has a real purpose and meaning that matters to you can make a huge difference in your life. It makes getting up each day the most exciting thing in the world. You can’t wait to get started. Forget trying to force yourself to work hard, it becomes more important to remind yourself to take breaks to eat!

But how can we cultivate a more meaningful life? The answer is usually complicated. It can depend on many factors. I’ve written down 10 ideas that I believe will help you find meaning in your life every day, so that you can’t wait to get up in the morning and see what the day will bring.

1. Know What’s Important

Know what’s important for you. Write down your top 5 things that you believe are the essence of how you want to live life. This can include things like “family time,” or “sing every day.” It could also include more complex ideas, like “honesty” and “simplicity.”

2. Pursue Your Passion

I believe everyone should pursue their passion in life. It’s what makes life worth living, and gives our lives true meaning and purpose. Each time you work on something you love, it creates joy inside you like nothing else. Finding a way to use your passions to give back to the world will give your life ultimate meaning.

If you can’t manage (or aren’t ready) to work on your passion for a living, be sure and make time for it every day. By working on your passion and becoming an expert in it, you will eventually have the opportunity to make money from it. Be ready to seize that opportunity!

3. Discover Your Life’s Purpose

If you had to give yourself a reason to live, what would it be? What would you stand for? What principles do you hold highest? Is your life’s purpose to help others? Is it to inspire others with great works of art, or you words? Finding your life’s purpose is a daunting task, and when I first heard the idea, I had no idea where to start. For methods on discovering your life’s purpose, I recommend Steve Pavlina’s blog entries on the subject. I also recommend reading the article What Makes Life Worth Living.

4. Be Self-Aware

Be aware of yourself and your actions. Remain mindful of what you do at all times, and make sure you are living life according to your principles, your life’s purpose, and what you are passionate about. Review your actions each day, taking stock of those that strayed from your path. Work towards correcting any incidents in the future. Meditation is a great tool for accomplishing this task. It helps us increase our self-awareness throughout the day.

5. Focus

Rather than chasing 3 or 4 goals and making very little progress on them, place all of your energy on one thing. Focus. Not only will you alleviate some of the stress associated with trying to juggle so many tasks, you will be much more successful. Try and align your goal with something you are passionate about, so that there will be an intrinsic drive to work hard and do well.

6. People More Than Things

Often, we are faced with wanting to buy material goods. I recommend you consider carefully what you purchase, and think more about spending your money on experiences with friends and family. Not only will this give deeper meaning to your life by focusing on your relationships rather than material wealth, but you will be a happier person as a result.

7. Live With Compassion

Both for yourself, and others. Keep in mind the following quote:

"One must be compassionate to one's self before external compassion" - Dalai Lama

For some, compassion is the purpose of life, what gives it meaning, and what leads to ultimate happiness.

8. Find a Way to Give Back

Do something that both honors your beliefs and passions, while giving something back to the world. By giving something back, we inevitably find purpose in the act. By cultivating more of these activities, you will find your life has more meaning and purpose behind it.

9. Simplify Your Life

By simplifying your life, you’ll have more time to do what fulfills you and gives your life meaning. It can also help reduce stress and make your overall life easier to manage. It can also greatly improve your productivity. If you’ve never tried to simplify things before, it really is a great feeling.

10. Set Daily Goals

In the morning, before you start your day, create a list of 3 goals that you find fulfilling and meaningful. Make sure they adhere to your set of principles and beliefs. Tackle the hardest things first! Don’t make this list too long. By placing too many things on the list, you’ll feel the urge to multi-task, which is not good, or you’ll feel overwhelmed, which isn’t good either. By trying to do less, you’ll end up doing more.

Doing all of these things at once may seem daunting, but you can pick one thing at a time and slowly incorporate the ideas into your life. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Living a life of purpose gives both fulfillment and meaning to your journey.

Today’s article was written by David Loker and is shared from the following website: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-ways-to-live-a-more-meaningful-life.html

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6 Tips to Living a Life with Purpose and Meaning

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others Mahatma Gandhi6 tips to living a life with purpose and meaning

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” For centuries, the greatest thinkers have suggested the same thing: Happiness is found in helping others.

For it is in giving that we receive — Saint Francis of Assisi

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity —Leo Tolstoy

 

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give — Winston Churchill

 

Making money is a happiness; making other people happy is a superhappiness — Nobel Peace Prize receipient Muhammad Yunus

 

Giving back is as good for you as it is for those you are helping, because giving gives you purpose. When you have a purpose-driven life, you’re a happier person — Goldie Hawn

And so we learn early: It is better to give than to receive. The venerable aphorism is drummed into our heads from our first slice of a shared birthday cake. But is there a deeper truth behind the truism?

The resounding answer is yes. Scientific research provides compelling data to support the anecdotal evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. Through fMRI technology, we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it’s pleasurable. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.

But it’s important to remember that giving doesn’t always feel great. The opposite could very well be true: Giving can make us feel depleted and taken advantage of. Here are some tips to that will help you give not until it hurts, but until it feels great:

1. Find your passion

Our passion should be the foundation for our giving. It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving. It’s only natural that we will care about this and not so much about that, and that’s OK. It should not be simply a matter of choosing the right thing, but also a matter of choosing what is right for us.

2. Give your time

The gift of time is often more valuable to the receiver and more satisfying for the giver than the gift of money. We don’t all have the same amount of money, but we all do have time on our hands, and can give some of this time to help others—whether that means we devote our lifetimes to service, or just give a few hours each day or a few days a year.

3. Give to organizations with transparent aims and results

According to Harvard scientist Michael Norton, “Giving to a cause that specifies what they’re going to do with your money leads to more happiness than giving to an umbrella cause where you’re not so sure where your money is going.”

4. Find ways to integrate your interests and skills with the needs of others

“Selfless giving, in the absence of self-preservation instincts, easily becomes overwhelming,” says Adam Grant, author of Give & Take. It is important to be “otherish,” which he defines as being willing to give more than you receive, but still keeping your own interests in sight.

5. Be proactive, not reactive

We have all felt the dread that comes from being cajoled into giving, such as when friends ask us to donate to their fundraisers. In these cases, we are more likely to give to avoid humiliation rather than out of generosity and concern. This type of giving doesn’t lead to a warm glow feeling; more likely it will lead to resentment. Instead we should set aside time, think about our options, and find the best charity for our values.

6. Don’t be guilt-tripped into giving

I don’t want to discourage people from giving to good causes just because that doesn’t always cheer us up. If we gave only to get something back each time we gave, what a dreadful, opportunistic world this would be! Yet if we are feeling guilt-tripped into giving, chances are we will not be very committed over time to the cause.

The key is to find the approach that fits us. When we do, then the more we give, the more we stand to gain purpose, meaning and happiness—all of the things that we look for in life but are so hard to find.

Today’s article was written by Jenny Santi and is shared from the following website: http://time.com/collection-post/4070299/secret-to-happiness/

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Why Should We Be of Service?

Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others Buddha

For the last two years I have volunteered for a local organization called The Ophelia Project where I mentor teenage girls enrolled in high school. While not well known, I first learned of the organization from another volunteer named Sandy who told me how much she loved the experience. She explained that although it was an eight-month long commitment per year, adding up to about 12 to 15 hours a month, the time spent was some of the most rewarding things she did in her life. Right after that conversation, I got in touch with the director of Ophelia and signed up. Sandy was right — it is a big commitment and quite a bit of work. But she was also right about the benefits.

Looking back over my life I must admit that most of my happiest times have occurred when I was actively engaged in helping others. That’s why it should come as no surprise that it is practically impossible to create a happy, meaningful and rewarding life without being of service to others in some way. Even more, new information about philanthropy shows that serving others ultimately serves us in many ways. Here are the top seven benefits we each gain by compassionate helping.

  1. More happiness. According to Stephen G. Post, professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University in New York and author of The Hidden Gifts of Helping, a part of our brain lights up when we help others. That part of our brain then doles out feel-good chemicals like dopamine, and possibly serotonin. According to Post, “These chemicals help us feel joy and delight — helper’s high.” A common reaction is that “some people feel more tranquil, peaceful, serene; others, warmer and more trusting.” When we volunteer we often give ourselves deeper purpose and meaning and that nearly always leads to greater happiness.
  2. Reduce stress. When we help others our bodies release a hormone called oxytocin, which buffers stress and helps us maintain social trust and tranquility. Along with oxytocin are the other chemicals like dopamine, which is a mood-elevating neurotransmitter. These drugs tend to push aside negative emotions and reduce the stress level.
  3. Relief from pain. A study done by Pain Management Nursing reports that on a scale from 0 to 10 that people’s pain ratings dropped from nearly 6 to below 4 after attending a volunteer training program and leading discussion groups for fellow sufferers. Volunteering takes our mind off our pain and also makes us feel more in control of it.
  4. Longer lifespan. Over 40 international studies confirm that volunteering can add years to your life. In fact, current studies suggest up to a 22% reduction in mortality rates! How much do we have to do? Studies confirm that a regular commitment of as little as 25 hours per year is beneficial.
  5. Lower blood pressure. A study done by Psychology & Aging reports those adults over 50 who volunteered for 200 hours in the past year were 40 percent less likely to have hypertension than non-volunteers. It is believed this is accomplished because of the lower stress, and the effects of being active, social and altruistic.
  6. Reduce mild depression. A study of alcoholics going through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) points out that those who volunteered to help others were twice as likely to stay clean a year later and their depression rates were correspondingly lower as well. Plus, in many cases mild depression is linked to isolation. Volunteering helps to keep a person in regular contact with others and to help develop a social support system.
  7. Benefit your career. That’s right. A book entitled The Halo Effect by John Raynolds insists that volunteering for the right reasons can so turn your life around that the benefits will extend to your work. Raynolds says, “Remember, when you become involved, when you lead with your heart as well as your head, the result is always good.” Instead of feeling depressed or unfulfilled at work, Raynolds is convinced that you will feel more happy, confident and energized when you find something that makes you feel generous and purposeful — and that of course will spread to every single area of your life.

So does all volunteering prove beneficial? No. Dr. Michael Poulin, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo in New York says, “Helping appears to only be good for you if you really care about those you’re helping.” In other words, feeling resentment or obligation will erase the benefits that we might otherwise receive in both our emotions and our physiology. If you feel exploited in any way, it is better not to take the action than stress yourself out doing something for the wrong reason.

My time as a volunteer isn’t always fun — there is usually time, energy and even money involved — but it is always meaningful and gratifying. Looking back at the times when I helped at a local food distribution service, delivered gifts for seniors, helped a young boy get braces, wrote a check when I could, and so much more, my feelings of contributing to others and my community have always boosted my awareness of the blessings in my life. Plus, I honestly feel that offering words of encouragement, and sharing ideas, on my blog SMART Living 365 is a gift to readers around the world.

A big part of what I write about is sharing ideas that can lead to a happy, peaceful and meaningful life for each of us. Even though there are lots of ways to do that, and some of them seem incredibly obvious, if you’re any thing like me you appreciate being reminded of ideas that often slip under the radar or are routinely taken for granted. Volunteering and serving others are like that. So even if you already know that volunteering offers huge benefits, if you haven’t done it in a while, it’s definitely SMART to make it a regular part of your life.

Today’s article was written by Kathy Gottberg and is shared from the following website: volunteering7-reasons-why_b_6302770.html.

Kathy Gottberg believes in living healthy, authentic, fearless and SMART. Follow her journey at SMART Living 365.com.

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A Purpose Greater than Ourselves…

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth Muhammed Ali

10 Life Lessons From Muhammad Ali

When you hear someone shouting out, ‘I am the greatest!’ – then most of us would not necessarily want to hear any more. We’d leave.

But there is one man who stated this and captivated our attention. The fact was that Muhammad Ali would have to have been one of the greatest and famous boxers to enter the ring. In addition to his quick feet, he also had a quick mouth that ignited his audiences as much as his fighting prowess gained the respect of his opponents in the ring.

Here are 10 of his golden gems – that if applied to your life – will make you great.

1. It’s not the action that makes a thing right or wrong, but the purpose behind the action.

I know that I constantly encourage my readers to take action. But it goes deeper than that. We must take ‘right’ action motivated by a purpose greater than ourselves. It must be a purpose designed to help others and to make for a better world.

If our purpose is selfish, its longevity will be unsustainable, but if it is given as an act of generosity, then who knows what power is emitted by such action?

2. We have one life; it soon will be past; what we do for God is all that will last.

You and I have been created for a divine purpose. Have you discovered what yours is?

This is not a question about religion, but rather about a responsibility we have as humans while planted here on planet earth.

Find your purpose. Fulfill your purpose. And while you’re at it check in with the boss to make certain you’re not trying to fill someone else’s shoes. Nothing worse than getting to the end of your life not fulfilling your calling and applying your potential.

3. I would have been the world’s greatest at whatever I did. If I were a garbage man, I’d be the world’s greatest garbage man! I’d pick up more garbage and faster than anyone has ever seen. To tell you the truth, I would have been the greatest at whatever I’d done!

If you’re going to do anything – be the greatest. Don’t be satisfied with second best. Go first class. Put 100% effort into everything you do. Don’t be slap dash. Add excellence as your secret ingredient to every task you undertake. Don’t remain a follower. Determine to be a leader.

4. To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.

I see myself as a channel through which flows the riches that overflow in the direction of my life.

I am not a dam, nor a blocked aqueduct. I am a river – a steward of the wealth that I attract, and then dispense as directed by my heart. Therein lies a rich life.

5. I don’t have to be what anyone else wants me to be. I am free to be who I want to be.

To be me is to be free. Break all chains that seek to entangle you – whether it be parental expectations, organizational demands or societies conformities. You are unique, and in order to operate in that uniqueness you must resist conformity if you are to truly embrace your destiny.

6. Love is a net that catches hearts like a fish.

Let love do its powerful work within you. Love draws. Love attracts. Love builds. Love heals. Love captivates.

Love is the magnet that will pull the very best that life has to offer into your world, while at the same time act as a beacon of light and heat that will warm the hearts of generations.

7. I am riding on my horse of hope, holding in my hand the rein of courage. Dressed in the armor of patience, with the helmet of endurance on my head, I started out on my journey to the land of love.

Each of us is on a journey filled with hope – and to that hope attach courage, patience and endurance, and it will lead you to the land of love. Add faith to that combination – faith in yourself, faith in your creator, and faith in the universal law that states that as you sow in love you will reap love.

8. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.

Take time to pause a moment in order to remove any pebbles you may have picked up along the way. These can take the form of small bad habits, seeds of unforgiveness, lack of discipline, secret fears, or even devious doubts.

Pull aside, even for a moment. Address them. Deal with them. Destroy them. For many a mountaineer has fallen to their death because of an unaddressed pebble. Deal with the pebbles in your life decisively, and you will conquer many more mountaintops.

9. Wisdom is knowing when you can’t be wise.

We are human. We cannot know everything. We cannot be good at everything, for we have strengths and we have weaknesses. If you do not have the wisdom in a certain area of your life then seek out the wise and make them your friends. Together we can become all wise and all knowing.

10. Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.

What does your record look like thus far? Every day you and I breathe we are writing the next page that will be included in the volume called, ‘My life’.

Within its record will be scribbles, mistakes, smudges, scratchings, all mixed up with moments of great joy, eloquence, sadness, wisdom and folly. But by the time we reach the last page – may it end with the words, ‘I have lived a full and fulfilled life – read and learn from my mistakes – and for the rest of the success story contained – there went I, but by the grace of God.’

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.motivationalmemo.com/10-life-lessons-from-muhammad-ali/

 

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