It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold.
The hedgehogs, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions.
After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.
Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.
Gift-Giving with a Difference
For many people, whether they care to admit it or not, Christmas is about presents. Far-sighted folks will start stockpiling gifts from summer sales, whilst the ‘last minute dot coms’ will be harrying around (last minute) to find the right offering.
Presents are a good thing, satisfying to give and nice to receive. Yet as you go about your shopping spree this year, you should ask the question, just how much time and energy do you want to expend finding the right thing for the right person and creating endless lists for Santa?
We often bemoan that Christmas has lost its real meaning: in fact it cannot get more commercialized than it is already in most places of the world. Shops begin to display their Christmas wares at least three months before the event. Somehow, Christmas gift-giving has also lost its original purpose as a symbol of loving and caring; instead it has become a stress-inducing exercise! We give out of obligation rather than appreciation, or in order to fulfill the insatiable expectations of the kids who, under the influence of media and peer pressure only want the latest and most expensive gadgets or designer labels. The children may be happy for a few weeks (or days, or hours!) but the damage to the bank balance may last much longer.
This year make a difference in your gift giving. Buy thoughtful, uplifting and practical gifts, not just those that stand idly in the corner all year and collect dust. Practical can mean anything that helps improve, mind, body or spirit.
Be clear and focused as you go on your shopping blitz. The Three Kings brought with them Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – your budget may not be in the same league, yet you can bring others much joy with a more modest but meaningful offering.
Create a theme for your gift-giving. Make your gifts ones that will last longer than a week, and can benefit your loved ones for a lifetime. Make them soul uplifting, nourishing and rewarding.
Giving a blanket may be snug and cozy, but why not buy personal development books and cd’s instead that will warm up the soul. Or sign up someone for hatha yoga classes which will benefit the body and uplift the spirit, rather than cinema tickets which probably won’t. Consider getting children motivated and creative with painting or modeling or with healthy outdoor pursuits instead of indoor PlayStations. Although it’s nice to receive a present in hand on Christmas day, yet try to make it small and practical and let the bigger item be more meaningful and inspirational.
Be mindful also to reduce the packaging material this year – boxes with colorful wrappings, ribbons, tissue paper, plastic film and the works, don’t help the environment! Make your gifts unique by wrapping presents cheaply yet beautifully using creative ideas and recyclable and environmentally friendly goods. Better still, send your friends an eco-friendly e-card telling them that your gift to them this year is a donation to a charity; a tree planted in their name; or will contribute in some way towards saving the planet.
What people really want at Christmas is your time, your attention and love. Remember the ones whom others often forget, give them a quick call, a visit and happy face. Stay cheerful, loving and considerate. These are the greatest gifts of all, and they don’t cost anything!
This notion of meaningful gift giving need not only apply at Christmas time but on all other occasions that gifts are exchanged. As your gift becomes a means to lift their mind, body and soul, they will be eternally grateful and this is the true sign of love and care.
It’s time… to be mindful of the gifts you buy this season. Make them practical, environmentally friendly, and most of all those that uplift the mind, body and soul. Reduce Santa’s list by being a creative shopper! Give the gift of your love and attention – these are the greatest gifts of all and they don’t cost anything!
..........................A village potter used to make pots and planters. He would go to a near by town to sell his wares. He had a donkey on whose back he would load the pots etc.
Diwali was fast approaching, so the potter decided to make some statues of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi, to sell in town. He made some beautiful statues and painted them in bright colours. He then loaded them on to the back of his donkey and set off towards the city.
On the way, he crossed many people. They would invariably fold their hands and bow to the statues of Ganesha and Lakshmi. By the time they reached the city, many people had bowed their heads before the deities.
They reached the exhibition ground where the artisans could exhibit their things. Soon the potter was able to sell his statues for a good sum. He was pleased indeed!
The potter took his donkey by the muzzle and set off on the road leading back to the village. Every time they would cross anyone, the donkey would stop and preen himself prettily as if he were a model. But what was the matter! No one seemed to as much as glance at him! Why were people not bowing their heads before him anymore? Desperate to catch their attention, the donkey started to bray louder & louder...
He-haw, he-haw...... He went on. The passers-by started pelting stones at him in annoyance. The potter was bewildered too.
The poor donkey had thought that everyone was bowing to him, little realizing that their reverence was directed to the idols of God tied to his back and not to him!
Many of us make this mistake. A person occupying a seat of power, often finds people saluting him. If he thinks that the salutations are in his honour, he is living in a fool's paradise, like the donkey in the story!
The respect is given to the chair and not to the person occupying it. As soon as he steps down from the position, the people around him vanish.
Frogs croak only when it rains, as soon as the rain stops, they vanish.
Lets make sure that we treat people in such a way that they love and Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed monitor of the church's morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business.
Several members did not approve of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when one afternoon, she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar, announcing to all, including poor Frank, that every one seeing his pickup outside the pub knew what he was doing!
Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing.
Later that evening, Frank quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house.....
.... walked home ..... and left it there all nighNamaste:
This is message synthesizing the paradox of our life in the modern times a
power-point file containing a slide show with music is
available in the file folder at the following link:
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller
buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower
viewpoints. We spend more, but have less. We buy more, but
enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more
conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less
judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but
less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too
recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry,
stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV
too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We've added years to life not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble
crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space but not inner space.
We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce
more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men
and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier
houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway
morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that
do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when
there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the
stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you,
and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or
to just hit delete.
Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are
not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe,
because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because
that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it
doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved
ones, but most of all mean it.
A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep
inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment,
for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to
love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious
thoughts in your mind.