5 Seconds…

28 05 2010

5 Seconds

Every morning I spend an hour exercising this aging body of mine. I do so in hopes of keeping this collection of blood, skin, muscle, and bones healthy and strong for the rest of my time here. When it comes to exercising my soul, however, I know that a daily morning workout just isn’t enough. Our souls are ageless and eternal. They can fill us daily with energy, vitality, love, joy, and light, but to keep them in shape we need to exercise them often.

Don’t worry, though. Exercising your soul doesn’t require heavy weights, expensive machines, or gym club memberships. It just requires a willing heart and a giving spirit. In fact, some of the best soul exercises I know can be done in 5 seconds or less. They always leave you feeling better than when you started them and they can be done anytime of the day as well. Best of all they help get your soul fit not just for here but for Heaven as well.

Here are just a few of my favorite 5 second soul strengtheners. Feel free to try them all and then to try out some of your own as well. There is no limit to what you can do to build a healthy soul. You can: give someone a hug, share a smile, hold a purring cat, pet a friendly dog, glance joyfully at the sun setting over the hills, hum a happy song, read an uplifting passage from an inspiring book, smell a flower, listen to a bird sing, jump in a pile of Autumn leaves, share a kind word, think a positive thought, pray for someone, wave at a neighbor, laugh at a good joke, tell someone you love them, tickle a child, smell a baby’s hair, put some money in a Salvation Army kettle, touch a loved one, look them in the eye, and listen to them. Most of all you can take those 5 seconds to say, “I love you God and I thank you for my life here.

Have fun exercising your soul then. Five seconds may not seem like a long time, but it is long enough to share some love, spread some joy, change a life, and make Heaven smile.

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True Happiness…

16 05 2010

“A simple life costs less.” -selected

Leo Tolstoy has this story about a Bakshir couple who searched for happiness for half a century and finally unraveled what it actually entailed to feel it.

Elias married Sham Shemagi, as arranged by his father just before the latter died. He inherited merely 7 mares, 2 cows, and a score of sheep. But they worked hard, and their industriousness earned them 200 horses, 150 heads of cattle, and 1,200 sheeps after 35 years.

Elias became renowned for his wealth and generosity. He entertained friends and acquaintances in feasts of mutton, kurmiss, tea and sherbet. He was admired and envied.

Elias had 3 children. When they were poor, the 2 sons looked after their flocks. When they grew rich, they got spoiled and took to drinking. One figured in a brawl and was killed. The other married an aggressive woman, had disagreements with his father and settled far away. His substantial share of  the inheritance reduced Elias’ wealth considerably.

Soon after, string of tragedies happened. Sheep died from disease. Crop harvest failed. Cattle froze in winter. Horses were stolen. Property dwindled. Elias wealth weakened.

By the time he was 70, he was completely broke. His only daughter had also died. Except for the clothes they had on and a cup, Elias and his wife had nothing and nobody else. Their neighbor, Muhammad Shah, pitied them and hired them to labor for him.

Elias tended the garden and fed the cattle. Sham-Shemagi milked the mares and made kurmiss. Though uneasy at first, they eventually got used to it. Having been masters themselves, they managed well, worked hard and were appreciated.

One day, Muhammad Shah was visited by relatives. After a meal prepared by Elias and his wife, he introduced them and related their past prosperity and present misfortunes.

The relatives did hear of their prominence before. Out of curiosity, one of them asked Elias how he felt about his sad plight.

Elias prodded his wife, whom he said had her heart in her tongue, to answer.

And Sham-Shemagi  obliged: “My old man and I lived for 50 years seeking happiness and not finding it. It is only now, these last 2 years, since we had nothing left and lived  as laborers, that we have found real happiness. “

The guests were incredulous. They scrutinized their faces and found their smiles genuine. “What does happiness consists for you?” they asked.

Sham-Shemagi explained that when they were rich, she and Elias had so many cares and did not have time to talk to one another, or to think of their souls or to pray to God. When they had visitors, they had to prepare delicious food and good presents lest they spoke ill of them. They were on the look out for laborers who were goofing off or stealing while they too, wanted to squeeze the most from their workers.

At night, they lay awake fearing a wolf might kill a fowl or calf, thieves might steal the horses or the ewes overlie their lambs. They would get up again to see that all is well.

There  would always be one thing or another to attend to.  They often disagreed with each other and with the children. They were filled with worries  and disputes, there was neither rest nor serenity.

And now?” the relative pressed on.

My husband and I awake in the morning  with a loving word to each other. We live in peace with nothing to quarrel about. We have no other except  to serve our master best, that he may profit from our work. We have  a place to sleep in, food to eat, fuel to burn and warm our bodies, and our fur cloak on our back. We also have time to talk, to think of our souls and to  pray.

The guests shook their heads and laughed.

But Elias added: “Do not laugh, friends. This is no matter for jesting. It is the truth of life. We were also foolish at first  and wept at the loss of our wealth. But now God has shown us the truth.

They ceased laughing and became thoughtful.

Moral lessons of this story:

– The simpler the system the less it breaks.

-The simpler the system the easier it is to fix.

-A simple life allows lots of room for life to flow…opportunities.

-A simple life allows you to feel  and hear what is really going on.

-A simple life requires less energy.

-A simple life allows you to tell the difference the truly important and everything else.

-Simplicity is attractive. Complexity puts many people off.

-Simplicity greatly reduces the need dependence on adrenaline.

Keep on living. Life is beautiful.

God bless you as you bless God!

Preparing for Milo 42K Marathon this coming July 2010.





How To Stay Young?

10 05 2010

“Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows
old.”– Franz Kafka

Let me share with you the “10 Commandments” for staying young written by an unknown author.

1. Throw out non-essential numbers. This include age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay “them.”

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp your breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us in our entire life is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health. If it’s good, preserve it. If it’s unstable, improve it. If it’s beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next country; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Worship God. We were created to do that, in season and out of season.

In short, live an active, challenging life.

God be Praised!





Finally…

8 05 2010

“However long the night, the dawn will break.” -African Proverb

Let me thank the Lord and to those people who have prayed for me during the darkest and the most difficult time of my life, for finally…I do have a job offer and will start a new career this coming Tuesday somewhere in Makati City. With this good news, I can say, I can join again races in the next few weeks.

I’m so disappointed because I was not able to join TNF and PAU due to financial difficulty as I became a ‘bum’  during the last 2 months.

My faith was tested to the limit but when I’m about to give up, the dawn peeks in giving me a sign of relief. It is cool and very comforting.

Now, there are few things I learned when I encountered this dilemma…

1.  Everything here on earth is but temporary. We own nothing. In a snap of a finger, all your possessions can be lost.

2. You will know people’s loyalty when you’re at the bottom. Few will stay, majority will abandon you.

3. Life is unpredictable. In time of peace, prepare for war.

3. In good times and in bad times, running will always be a part of my life.

To all of my loyal friends who adopted me  (You know who you are) during those difficult times, I want to say this…I’ll be loyal to all of you too! And someday, I wish to return the favor.

See you at the races.

God be Praised!







Failure!

4 05 2010

“Not failure, but low aim, is crime.” -Lowell

Robert Wise in his book Your Churning Place, shared this wonderful story about failure.

Allow me to share it with you and encourage you to stand up in spite of many life’s blows…

Before becoming a screen star, young Burt Lancaster was a circus performer – a job he was fortunate to land, considering his less- than-flawless audition. He was asked to perform  on the parallel bars, so he leaped on the bars  and began his routine. Because he was nervous, his timing was off, and he spun over the bar, falling flat on his face some ten feet below. He was so humiliated that he immediately leaped backed on the bar. As he spun again at the same point, he flipped off  and smashed to the ground once more.

Burt’s tights were torn, he was cut and bleeding, and he was fiercely upset . He leaped back again, but the third time was even worse, for this time he fell on his back. The agent came over, picked him up and said, “Son, if you won’t do that again, you’ve got the job.”

Let me end with Charles Swindoll’s quote, taken from his book Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life…”The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails , but rather the one  who moves on in spite of  failure.

Don’t give up, for God has a plan for you.

God be praised.