Until a several weeks ago my wife had an almost 105 year old great-aunt who was in perfect mental and physical health until a couple of months before her death, when she had a fall. She was doing meals-on-wheels for others until the age of 93. This dear lady enjoyed a busy and useful life surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Loved by everyone and contributing in conversation and loving and caring interest in each of their lives. What a way to go! She will be immortalised for many years to come in the memories of those who knew and loved her and the stories passed down for some generations to come.
And isn't this the sort of thing that matters most when we're gone? What impact we made on the world and the life of others. What footprint we left behind in the sand.
Many of our habits and personality are formed in early childhood and some believe character is fixed in childhood and can never be changed. But I believe that any person who wants to can change at any age - if he/she has the courage.
If we are at odds with our fellows we are blocked in other relations - it comes back often to being able to forgive and release grudges. Worry, fear, anger and hatred are poisons that can destroy the body as well as the mind. A man's thoughts are the theatre of his soul.
Have you ever noticed that the people who most lock their doors and hearts against us are often the most in need of being reached. So persevere with that "difficult" person. Perhaps go to that person for advice and when they recognise that you have trusted them, they may return the confidence. When we are sure that we are not just seeking gratification out of curiosity but a genuine desire to relieve another's distress then it is almost a right and a duty to risk the dangerous adventure of interference, even though we may fail. By intruding we may set someone who is on the edge of disaster back onto the road to rehabilitation.
How about considering the following thoughts:-
Take Time to do something for somebody else - particularly the elderly. If you don't have an elderly parent, grandparent or other relative or friend, then think about visiting a Nursing Home. Apparently two thirds of old people feel unwanted and many of them are right. A longer lifespan can mean years of tragedy unless younger people help their elders overcome the frustrations of old age. We know that psychologically our society is geared to the young. But don't you want to be old one day too? (otherwise, as the saying goes ... "would you prefer the alternative?")? Most older people just want somewhere to live, something to do and someone to care.
Get to know the real you, as other people see you - listen to yourself. Weigh up your thoughts and impulses before speaking or acting. Do not indulge in gossip or one-upmanship. Do not speak ill of others.
Help to keep your neighbourhood clean. Be loyal, patriotic. Remember your grandmother's waning - "If you haven't got anything good to say then don't say anything at all."
If a new neighbour moves in - take them a plate of freshly baked muffins. It means so much.
It is human nature to enjoy praise - don't you like it yourself? So remember to acknowledge good things about your friends and family - pay a compliment. If parents and bosses gave praise more often? - self esteem would flourish.
On Letting Go ... a wise woman once said: "There are only 2 lasting legacies we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other - wings."
You may enjoy the following story as much as I did ...
What Route To Take?
Maybe you've read this somewhere before ...
Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.
When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away.
But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.
So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
"Would you mind carrying my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
"It's nothing," I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."
"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said.
When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"
"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.
"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."
I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
"I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse. "Nothing," I said.
"You have to make a living," she answered.
"There are other passengers," I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.
What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware--beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Good story - it brings tears to my eyes
In closing, yet another question to ask is: Can we really Create Happiness Intentionally? I think so and wrote a book of the same name - it's based on my 4-day live-in CHI (Creating Happiness Intentionally) seminar, which is open to those who have firstly attended my 2-day CALM Life Skills Seminar. I will be conducting CHI from 26th February to 2nd March 2003 at a beautiful retreat in Sydney.
That's all for now, except to add that below are some wonderful success stories.
All the best,
Firstly I would like to thank you for providing a place for growth and understanding to develop in your seminar. I really enjoyed those two days. When I went into the releasing hurt meditation during the seminar I did not have very strong impressions when I asked the hurt what it was trying to tell me, other than that I would receive answers and everything was going to be alright. After the seminar my husband and I discussed what we were going to do to be able to benefit in an ongoing way from the things that we had learned. We had decided that we would get up half an hour earlier every morning and share a time of meditation together. We also decided that we would study your book "Switch on to Your Inner Strength" every evening together. On the Monday morning, true to our promise, we arose the half hour earlier and put on a meditation tape. I decided to do a releasing hurt meditation - I had wonderful results. Firstly I was taught about forgiveness. I was told that there was no hurt, pain or loss left when forgiveness is complete. That the pain that I was feeling and the hurt of that pain was the result of the grief that I felt in the loss of an important relationship. I was told that we all have sinned in some way and that it was only in the degree of pain that we cause that our sins differed. Forgiveness is the ability to take the hurt of the sin and cast it "into the light" - this was the way that it was expressed to me. I was told that I need do no other thing than forgive. When I am home I have two tiny bowls in the kitchen in which I have placed 20 tiny white buttons. After I have gone to my PP I take a button from one bowl and put it into the other, then I set the timer on my oven so that I will be reminded when I will next go there. Thank you again Sandy for the work that you do. The world is a much better place because of people like you. You have been through so much but your hurt was not in vain, nor did your daughters leave this world for no reason. LJ, SA.
I took away so much from your seminar and I wanted to thank you again for your kind words: "Be kind to yourself". I certainly am starting to now. I have a lot less expectations from myself - I don't have to be perfect, rather I do as best I can with the tools I have (sound familiar?!). I have learnt a lot and am consistently doing my PP! In fact I really look forward to doing it! Thank you muchly, you are really a terrific person to know. Love SA, Sydney.
I am halfway through your book "Switch on to Your Inner Strength" and I am so touched by it that I thought I would write to you and let you know how good it is. Too often these days we only let people know if something is wrong, so I am trying (in my own way) to change that. I believe you must be spiritually guided to have such an impact on so many people. The average person gets so caught up in the day to day things that they lose sight of the bigger picture - ourselves. Thank you for making me realise this. Your destiny is obviously to help people and you are doing this. I can't help but think how very wonderful it must be to discover your true destiny and apply it to today's world and achieve it. Congratulations - you seem to have achieved this. ML. Vic.
Several years ago my father and I attended your two-day seminar. Since that time my father's illness worsened and he passed away some months ago. It was very comforting for him to listen to your meditation tapes and I certainly believe that they helped him through a very difficult time during his illness and more especially in the last weeks of his life. I can always remember at your seminar he was very skeptical at first, but by the end of the second day a constant back ache due to his cancer seemed to have dissipated and gave him some welcome relief even though only for a short time. Since that time he passed on his knowledge of meditation and relaxation to family and friends and his famous words were "just relax". Thank you for your help. JM. Vic.
I am a 79 year old pensioner who was diagnosed with lung cancer approximately 2 years ago. Since that time I have had an operation which removed half of my left lung, however abnormal cells still remain resident in my system. I have always been an active individual and believed strongly in my own capacity to control my own destiny. My medication since the operation has assisted in relieving the pain somewhat, but as you're probably aware this is nothing more than a bandaid measure. I have also used various other meditation tapes and whilst I felt that they've been of assistance I have never really found them convincing enough to have any real impact. I have worked diligently on the meditation 2 to 3 times a day. However, your tape Sandy? was a different story and I sensed a deep empathy with your words almost instantly. I have often felt my hand shaking strongly and tears welling up as the dialogue proceeded. I don't know as yet whether this has had a positive impact on reducing the number of abnormal cells, but I feel good about what has been occurring. Thank you for your care and for making this tape available. RF. WA.
And from the CHI Seminar ...
I have moved out of my "comfort zone" of 17 years with a secure job (secure income/stressful lifestyle) to start my own business with wonderful challenges (control of my own destiny/enjoyable lifestyle) .... best move I ever made, and I couldn't have even contemplated this without the foundations being laid for me at the CHI Seminar I attended. Thank you so much Sandy. It wasn't without dark clouds, thick walls and rock-bottoms - but I have come through the worst and am enjoying re-planning my Life's Plan. Your wisdom has truly been my guiding light! Fond thoughts are with you.
Thank you for the CHI Seminar - it was wonderful meeting such a diverse group of people and watching them develop during the five days. I was extremely impressed with the professional way you ran the course - you have obviously put a lot of time, thought and practice into the preparation of the seminar. The progression of activities leading us through different ways of identifying our goals and Life's Purpose. Thank you again for sharing your experience and knowledge. C L. Qld.
If you would like the opportunity to possibly help others by sharing your own Success Story, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org