Every Morning We Are Born to a New Beginning

Each morning we are born again What we do today is what matters most Buddha

To many, especially those advanced in age, starting over is a scary proposition. To some, this forecasted mountain of challenges proves to be too crippling to attempt. And they wither under the weight of change. In this piece, I offer a story of my mom’s tumultuous journey and the many start-overs she endured to show that it’s not too late to begin anew.

My Family’s Story Is Proof: You’re Never Too Old to Start Over Again

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

– John F. Kennedy

I waved goodbye to the sleepy neighborhood. It was 4am and not a soul was stirring except for the five of us and the bus driver. It would be our last day in Vietnam.

I don’t know if I could describe what I was feeling at that point. Fear, excitement, and a slew of other emotions — but mostly, I was numb. As we rounded the corner, I shed a tear watching the house I grew up in fade out of view.

But whatever emotional rollercoaster I was on during those first few transitional days from Vietnam to America could never compare to what my parents must have been experiencing. I was young enough that the effects of this new beginning didn’t debilitate me. I could make new friends quicker, learn the language easier, and assimilate to life in America faster. Starting over wasn’t as significant a barrier to me as it was to them.

My parents were in their late forties; their road to societal integration wasn’t as smooth. They struggled. Yet, somehow they managed to rise above the rubble and became contributing members of society within months. Perhaps, they were forced to do so. Fight or flight, you know? And they fought. But, I think a major factor for this quick turnaround had to do with their positive mindset toward change. “It’s never too late to start over,” they would tell me.

And started over they did, for the umpteenth time.

To fully illustrate this point, I will give a brief summary of my mom’s many start-overs in her life and how she never shied away from them.

From the change you never choose

When she was very young, her family moved from the countryside of North Vietnam to the cosmopolitan South. Back in the sixties, North and South Vietnam were as different as night and day. She quickly assimilated to life in South Vietnam and soon became a top student in school.

Then, just as becoming a judge came within reach, the ravages of the Vietnam War caught up with her. South Vietnam fell. Leaving everything behind, she and her new husband fled the city to go into hiding — my father was a ranking officer for the Southern Army at the time, and his life was in imminent danger.

He was captured soon after and sent to “re-education” camps for six years. And just like that, my mom was reduced from a position of honor to one of a countryside daughter-in-law, farming the fields as a quasi-peasant. Even then, she thrived in that environment. Being one of a few educated people in the area, she became a teacher and a respected member of the community.

Through twists and turns

Some years later, on my second birthday, my grandfather from my mom’s side visited us, and appalled by what he saw, plucked us from the farms and brought us back to the city. By then my mom had fully embraced the rural life.

She started over again.

The former Soviet Union and Vietnam were relatively close allies back then. There were a lot of Russian military personnel in the South — and their wives. My mother soon became a somewhat famous seamstress for these Russian women. But just as soon as life stabilized, we got the call from the U.S. embassy: “You’re going to America.”

To a(nother) new beginning in America

In the US, she went back to school at the ripe young age of fifty, received an associate’s degree and soon became an admired team member for a Fortune 500 company. Yet just as soon as life stabilized and the joy of homeownership was upon her, the housing bubble popped. She lost the house she so proudly and deservedly earned.

She was shipped off to Oregon to start over with a different division in the company. By then I, the youngest of three kids, had graduated college and started to earn a good living. To her, her “job” was done, and she retired. And I suppose retirement could be considered “starting over” as well.

Triumphing through change

All said and done, my mom’s life is comprised of many abrupt changes, but through them all, she triumphed. She triumphed because she didn’t let the emotional weight and strain of starting over erect an impenetrable wall before her. She embraced each change, and in doing so, found ways to overcome these hurdles.

Now, when faced with the possibility of starting over, I channel my mom’s fighting spirit to move steadfast toward the future.

So what I’m trying to say is… it’s not too late. You’re not too old to embark on a new journey. The obstacles you see are indeed tangible, but they’re not insurmountable. You might not have that pep in your step anymore, but as long as one foot can go in front of the other, strive forward! My mom’s journey is a testament of that.

Today’s inspiring story was written by Hung Thai and was shared from the following website: https://www.goalcast.com/2017/08/07/my-familys-story-is-proof-youre-never-too-old-to-start-over-again/

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Personal Power…Your Potential is Limitless!

When you realize nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you Lao Tzu

Living Limitless – An Inspiring Story of Ultimate Human Potential

I was ushered into the auditorium in a wheelchair. Being a tetraplegic (which means paralyzed neck downwards) I cannot move an inch on my own, nor can I do any work without the help of a caretaker. As my caretaker smoothly guided my wheelchair onto the stage, an estimated 500-strong audience broke into applause. I was conducting an inspirational seminar in Mumbai, India for an international IT company. They had certainly been briefed about me, ‘The Positive Man’ – the title given to me by The Times of India. They were curious to know how a 90 percent-paralyzed man completely confined to a wheelchair can inspire or help them in any way. In a split-second, my mind traveled back 16 years, to the accident.

In December 1999, I was in Goa, India with my wife Eesha to welcome the new millennium. That was when I was completely able and traveled internationally for my interior design projects. Deep-sea diving was one of my favorite adventure sports. The spirit of festivity was in the air. We reached my favorite point – a perfect spot for deep-sea diving and soon I was on top of the cliff ready for my dive.

Months passed. I did not die. Something kept me alive, giving me courage even when I had none, soothing my forehead and asking me to relax.

I sprang with a certain experienced acrobatic maneuver towards the sea. 
A couple of seconds later, there was total darkness, only regaining consciousness on a hospital bed, with no track of time. I could only move my head. It was later in the day that the doctor explained the diagnosis – my cervical spinal cord nerves had been entirely pulverized and I was now neck-downwards paralyzed for life.

There was absolutely no cure for my condition and chances of survival were minimal. Even so, I would be living the rest of my life as a vegetable. I was devastated. Totally in denial, I refused to believe that this could happen to me. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. I was being sucked into an abyss.

Months passed. I did not die. Something kept me alive, giving me courage even when I had none, soothing my forehead and asking me to relax. One thing was for sure. This something was growing bigger and bigger within me, almost becoming a rebel, a stronger voice with each passing day.

“Girish. Wake up. Get out of the abyss. You have come into this world for a purpose. Your accident was not meant to defeat you. Wake up and march ahead. Fulfill your mission. Go inspire a billion hearts. Hope and positivity will spring from your heart and inspire all. You are the Hope Factory. Go, Fulfill -Mission Positive Earth. Touch and light up seven billion lives globally. Remember – the greatest success stories come from people who turn biggest adversities into greatest opportunities.”

Nothing made sense to me. I met the doctor who had given me the defeatist prognosis in my wheelchair. And yes. I did approach him in my wheelchair and told him with a determined and passionate voice. “Doctor. I appreciate your diagnosis. But I refuse to accept your verdict. I will not live like a vegetable for the rest of my life. Rather, I will spread hope, inspiration and positivity in the hearts of millions.”

He stared at me with definite awe. Looking at him, I knew that I had motivated him. A certain sense of confidence started building up inside me – if I can motivate a world-class doctor, I can motivate the whole world. Turning my biggest loss into my greatest strength, I can conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I can accomplish –Mission Positive Earth.

One day, our driver drove my father, my caretaker, and me to Mumbai Central Railway Station, the largest landmark in Mumbai. The newly refurbished interiors unraveled before my eyes. The revamping was planned by me, and executed to perfection by the architects, engineers, and workers. This was one of the 15 international interior designing projects, which I did after my life-changing incident.

My father had wondrously exclaimed, “Hats off to you my son. Handling such a daunting task. In spite of being 90 percent paralyzed. Possible only with willpower, enduring passion, perseverance, and sheer determination, simply because you refused to quit and give up in life.” My heart swelled with pride and gratitude. I felt happy to note that several of my projects had featured in many international architectural magazines.

I must mention here that had it not been for the tremendous moral support of my parents, my sisters and my wife, it would not have been possible for me to keep up the fight. 

However, something was still bothering me. I confided in Eesha – “I am still feeling an emptiness within.” Eesha helped me to see that I wanted to reach out to others. Inspire them to fight against their adversities. Share my own example of resilience, grit and death-defying survival into victory.” Eesha’s words got etched deep in my mind. “Yes,” I acknowledged, “Now it’s time to share my life.
We came to observe life very closely. We realized that the human spirit is far stronger than anything that could happen to it, and also realized that giving is the highest level of living.

However, tragedy was to strike again. Eesha was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a deadly degenerative disease which also has no cure.

 Over the months and years, her condition deteriorated, and she gradually lost 70 percent of her vision and 90 percent of her speech. She too became completely paralyzed neck downward, unable to move even an inch or do anything on her own.

Despite her being completely bedridden for the last nine years of her debilitating condition, we stood stoically beside each other like pillars of support. Rock bottom became the foundation on which we rebuilt our lives.

We came to observe life very closely. We realized that the human spirit is far stronger than anything that could happen to it, and also realized that giving is the highest level of living. I shut down my thriving interior designing business to answer my divine calling – which was to reinvent myself as an inspirational and motivational speaker.

Considering the world as one global family, duly loving and respecting each individual unconditionally, sharing our example of resilience in the face of grueling adversities with everybody and inspiring them to transform from victim into victory and trial into triumph – like a diehard optimist. And though my wife cannot accompany me physically for my seminars, in spirit she is always a part of Mission Positive Earth.

Obstacles actually strengthen our resolve even more. Struggles help us build character. Every challenging situation actually brings us closer to our inevitable victory.

Looking back at all these incidents today, I feel that every adversity I went through and am still going through is actually a divine plan to prepare me for the bigger challenges lying ahead in the global pursuit of Mission Positive Earth. I also feel that each of us has that powerful voice deep within and that the deepest core of every human being is a field of infinite possibilities.

I was finally beginning to understand what that voice was trying to tell me – “If we human beings realize that all the power we need to succeed is already within us, and if we can channelize this untapped potential, nothing is impossible. In every human being’s heart lies a spark of fire, which lights up in the darkest hour of adversity. All that lies behind us and all that lies in front of us is too little in comparison to what lies within us, and when we realize this, we find that limitations are but imaginary. And if we simply accept this miracle and march ahead with a positive belief in ourselves, we can overcome all our hardships and turn all our dreams into reality.

Obstacles actually strengthen our resolve even more. Struggles help us build character. Every challenging situation actually brings us closer to our inevitable victory. 
The small seminars at orphanages, old age homes, leprosy homes, home for the blind, non-profit organizations, etc., soon turned into much bigger corporate seminars for multi-national companies and educational institutions (my first corporate seminar being at Taj Palace Hotel, Mumbai.) A pulsating burning desire within me broke the shackles of my disabled condition. I – “The Positive Man” – became regular news in the media. I received the Karmaveer Chakra, The Positive Real Life Hero Award, and the MTC Global Top Ten Thinkers Award. But I do not work for awards or honors.

Someone once asked me how much I earn. I replied that my current turnover is a staggering seven billion good wishes and blessings from people all around the world. My real award is when someone tells me – “IF YOU CAN DO IT, SO CAN I”. Yes, I do receive generous donations from big corporations for every motivational seminar that I conduct, most of which I channel towards similar programs for the underprivileged sections of society.

A living is made by what we get, but honestly, life is made by what we give. I sincerely believe in receiving graciously and giving unconditionally. For it is said that our potential is God’s gift to us. And what we do with it is our gift to him. I believe that ultimately the collective energy of billions of humans can achieve anything, including fighting climate change and attaining World Peace. And I am determined to achieve these through my global pursuit called Mission Positive Earth. Sharing these thoughts with people through social media platforms is the main activity of my global mission. Every fiber of my being stands for this noble cause as I believe that total commitment is paramount to reach the pinnacle of success.

Today once again, I set out to touch hearts, inspiring all to live out their highest vision. Because each man is capable of doing more than he thinks he can do. Does it matter that I have lost sensation in 90 percent of my body and my respiratory function is only about 50 percent, that I cannot drink a drop of water on my own or eat a morsel of food on my own, that my four limbs don’t function leaving me completely dependent on my caretaker round the clock, that I have zero control of my bladder and bowels or that if I am neck downwards completely paralyzed ?

What really matters in life is that I am neck upwards wise and positively analyzed. I still have a heart that beats, a soul that feels and a mind that thinks optimistically.

Dear readers – never give up in life or lose hope, as we humans are born to win. And only those who have the strength to overcome are faced with hardships. So don’t run away; don’t escape. Let those hard times ignite the strength within your heart and blow away your adversities. Let us each be grateful and thankful for this wonderful, amazing and priceless opportunity called life. Indeed our I cans, I ams, and I wills are far more important than our IQs.

With this, I take your leave, dear readers, as I commence my seminar: 

“Good morning ladies and gentlemen! What a miraculous journey life is …”

Today’s inspirational story was written by Girish Goggia and is shared from the following website: https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/living-limitless-an-inspiring-true-story-of-ultimate-human-potential-bbab/

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Building Our Lives and Overcoming Ourselves…

In the final analysis The battleground is, for each individual, within Himself Marion G. RomneyBuilding Your House

— Author Unknown

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, “This is your house… my gift to you.”

The carpenter was shocked!

What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently.

But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.

Someone once said, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.” Your attitude, and the choices you make today, help build the “house” you will live in tomorrow.

Build wisely!

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: http://inspire21.com/stories/lifestories/BuildingYourHouse

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You Can Be an Inspiration…No Matter What Your Age!

We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are Max Depree

Grandma Moses – An Inspiration

In her late 70s and struggling with severe arthritis, the farmer’s widow from Eagle Bridge, NY loved to do needlework, but her fingers no longer were as nimble for the small detail work of embroidery. The elderly woman found she could hold a small paintbrush much easier than a needle, and tried her hand at painting. She thought her farm and country scenes were good enough to show at the fair, but she only won prizes for her preserves and canned fruit.

Then one day an art collector noticed several of her paintings on display in the window of a local drug store. He bought them all. When he showed them to his friends in the art circles of New York city, they were more curious about the painter.

Soon, “Grandma Moses” gained an international reputation. Her widely-collected works of art were featured on calendars, greeting cards and in exhibitions in the leading galleries, including the Modern Museum of Art in New York City.

Even more amazing, it’s reported that twenty-five percent of her more than 1,500 paintings were done after she had turned 100!

Isn’t it time you got started?

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: http://truthbook.com/stories/old-age/grandma-moses-an-inspiration

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You Have the Power to Change Your Life in Positive Ways!

A saint is a sinner who keeps on trying Mother Teresa

I am proof that anyone can turn their life around: How to battle your demons

AFTER battles with anxiety, alcoholism and homelessness BETH BURGESS, 32, explains how she won the fight with her demons.

I have a vivid memory of myself at 20 years of age sitting in a stranger’s bath. I don’t know how I got to that house but could vaguely remember getting into a car with three men the night before.They’d promised me money and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s in return for a “party”.

I felt so down the next morning that I looked at a razor blade and seriously considered ending it all.

Instead I just lay there while the men I’d come home with were in the next room drinking and smoking drugs.

As a young girl growing up in the suburbs I could never have imagined sinking so low.

Even though my parents divorced when I was 10 we were a normal, loving family. After the split my dad went to live in Wales and I stayed with my mum and older sister in the south of England.

When I was about 14 I started smoking and drinking with friends. Sometimes I took amphetamines and LSD. It was stupid to get into drugs but I just saw it as normal teenage rebellion.

 NEW START: Beth at the peak of her addiction

I was seriously addicted to alcohol

However, at 16 I started to develop deep feelings of anxiety. Now I know they were part of a condition known as social phobia but I couldn’t cope as a teenager and I started self–harming.The pain helped distract me from my emotions. I couldn’t turn to my parents because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I just felt ashamed and embarrassed.

By the time I got to sixth–form college at 17 I was smoking 20 cannabis joints a day. It helped to ease the anxiety, as did alcohol.

I can’t pinpoint the cause of my problems though the family break–up probably didn’t help as I always felt different from everyone else as a child.

I left home to go to University College London to study English literature and German when I was 18 and I dreamed of being a teacher or a writer.

By this time though I was seriously addicted to alcohol and would carry a bottle with me everywhere I went.

During the first year of university I got glandular fever and was too ill to carry on so I had to go back home and live with my mum.

I’d hide booze under the bed and got away with appearing sober.

In my second year I had to apply for house shares but kept turning up to interviews drunk.

After one disastrous meeting I picked up a man in a bar and he offered me a place to stay. With a fair amount of alcohol inside me, it fair amount of alcohol inside me, it seemed a reasonable thing to do and I lived with him for five months.

Over the next few years this became a habit. Men would give me money for the night or take me in.

I’d more or less given up with university as I was too ill. They eventually awarded me a degree on the basis that if I’d been well enough I would have passed.

I was desperate to find out why I was so unhappy and needed to drink. I tried everything from cognitive behavioural therapy to antidepressants but nothing worked. NHS alcohol services couldn’t see me because I always came in drunk.

Things eventually got too much and at 21 I attempted suicide by overdosing on paracetamol.

When I woke up in hospital the next day mum and dad were standing by the bed.

They had no idea how I’d been living. They told me that if I didn’t admit myself to a mental hospital they would have me sectioned.

they would have me sectioned. I had no choice and went to a place in London. I was put on an addiction programme but they threw me out after a month for smuggling in alcohol.

AT 23 I was drinking a litre–and–a–half of gin every day and my GP told me I had a year to live. At the time I didn’t care and would have been happy for my life to end.

Eventually mum told me about NLP, or neuro linguistic programming, which she had read could be good for treating anxiety and phobias.

I had no idea what it involved but was willing to try anything.

The 90–minute session consisted of visualisation techniques and tapping areas of the body to break the pattern of thoughts.

I learned that phobic responses are triggered by memories (usually stored as pictures, mental “movies'” and sensations). For me, if I thought about going outside I immediately saw a “movie” of the last time I did. I would feel the same terror it had caused, accompanied by a tight feeling in my chest and then panicky thoughts about going out again.

NLP interrupts that process by breaking the association between the memory and the phobic response. Practitioners calm the memory’s effects by changing it, such as interrupting the movie with tapping, or by changing the colours or sounds. This causes the body to respond more calmly.

I walked out of the practitioner’s feeling so much better. For some, NLP can take away anxiety instantly and for the first time in my life I wasn’t scared and felt hopeful. I almost skipped home.

However, although it can help elements of addiction (reducing cravings, for example) it can’t cure it and I was still drinking heavily.

Then my dad told me about another form of therapy, DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy). It teaches you to change negative into positive thinking.

Despite earlier relapses it was a combination of DBT and the support of Alcoholics Anonymous that enabled me to stop drinking for good in 2010.

Being sober has completely changed my life. I’m so much happier and healthier and it’s amazing to be able to think clearly and make commitments.

The best thing about the new me is that in 2010 I qualified as an NLP practitioner.

Since 2011 I’ve also qualified in life coaching, EFT (emotional freedom technique), hypnotherapy and mentoring.

I’m very lucky and things could have turned out so differently but I’ve written a book about my experiences and I am determined to give others hope.

The Happy Addict: How To Be Happy In Recovery From Alcoholism Or Drug Addiction, by Beth Burgess (Eightball Publishing, £9.99) is available on amazon.co.uk

Today’s story is shared from the following website: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/417321/I-am-proof-that-anyone-can-turn-their-life-around-How-to-battle-your-demons

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