Dec 26, 2007

Lessons from the Banyan tree

Click hereThe other day, I was standing at my backyard. The main occupant of our backyard is a Banyan tree, quite old. Not counting the rings, I guess it existed even before the construction took place around it. If you have ever noticed a banyan tree, it is intriguing. A fully grown tree as this is, is immense in size. Its foliage dense and the canopy extends all around like a wide green umbrella. The most distinct feature would be the striggly staggly prop roots which grow downwards like stilts towards the soil, supporting the tremendous growth of the trunk and branches. This particular tree is as much a part of our lives as the other things scattered around. Perhaps, that is why my attention was never drawn pointedly towards it. But this day was different. I was in a melancholic mood. Downcast for no particular reason and was just churning over thoughts senselessly in my mind. My mind was drawn to an allegory on the tree that ‘nothing grows under the Banyan Tree’ . Now, nothing seemed further from the truth. For I could see that the Banyan tree was the epicenter of life around it. Somehow I sat their and started thinking - What lessons can I draw from the Banyan tree. A tree that starts out as a mere seedling and grows into this giant must represent something wondrous which we can draw upon. When I really thought about it a lot of parallels came to my mind.

A Banyan tree like other trees too starts out from a seed…little by little it grows…and one day stands before all as a giant. Can’t we all grow similarly…little by little…growing tiny ‘roots’ here and there. Trusting time to make us grow. Our ‘little roots’ could be the love and support of the relationships we nurture over time.
he tree’s branches continually shoot out new roots into the ground, seeking growth…shouldn’t we also try to grow like the ‘roots’, forever progressing. Rooted to a spot ( the idea of culture, family, morals) can’t we spread ourselves around.
Can we not endevour to grow like the banyan tree…giving sustenance to those below us. Helping them also to grow along, a symbiotic relationship of nurture and caring.
When the tree has grown to its full height, it is rooted in its own strength, giving shelter to other plants and creatures. If one notices, the growth under and around a Banyan tree is a micro world in itself. This metaphor could suggest the moral of humility as a virtue for us humans. More often than not as we grow in life we distance ourselves from those who are less fortunate than us…maybe those who need our very support at that time.

That is why in many cultures it is revered for this symbolism. The Banyan tree is a veritable symbol of calm and wisdom. It is also a tree under which the Buddha is said to have meditated.

In the end to quote:

To study a banyan tree
You not only must know
Its main stem in its own soil
But also trace the growth
Of its greatness in the further soil
For then you can know the true nature of its vitality

- Rabindranath Tagore

Perhaps if we follow the example of the Banyan tree, we will achieve an iota of what the tree finally represents - Longivity.

Nov 18, 2007

Walk your way around the Writer's Block

It is more common than I originally thought it would be. The malaise affects us all who pick up the pen or tap the keys to write something. I also thought that writer's block is just figment and nothing more. We write for pleasure and it's as natural as breathing for most of us. We don't suffer from breath block or fun why should their be a 'writer's block'. The only thing I know I suffer from is verbal diarrhea. I know that I can wake up on a Sunday morning and start tapping on my keyboard just for the pleasure of writing. So I guess I thought myself totally immunized to the so-called block. I was a bit off the mark. Just a few days into my content writing freelance career, I was struck down by this malady. I could put something on the screen no doubt, but it was all incomprehensible. It didn't make sense at all to me. I loved writing. How could I not string together my thoughts into a sentence of words! A bit fazed, I started to a bit of research into the reasons and the cure for this which had laid low my pen-chant (pun intended) for writing.

I guess writer's block happens because we,

i) Run out of ideas...
ii) Don't feel inspired or motivated other words get a case of the writing blues.
iii) Just cannot string together our thoughts and ideas into words.

Their is surely no magic pill. But their are lots of tiny things we all can do. Of course what works for me when caught in a rut might not be what works for you. A cup of tea sometimes for someone else's case it could be a bout of boxing! But the important thing is we all can find out an activity or a combination of activities that take us out of the rut.
For me at least, I found out this prescription,

1. I take long walks just to unclog my brain. Sometimes just observing other people around us makes me think of something new to write about or allows the old ideas to reshape.

2. Every morning for this blog I think aloud, what is one topic which if I write about would advance me somewhere. It could be an article on learning something new, some new inspiration or something just to increase my fun quotient.

3. I try to read a lot. When I can't write for my life, I just pick up a book or go on the net to read something. I always have found that some quality input often acts as a catalyst for some output.

4. I maintain an ideas book. Its like a scrap book, filled with top of the head ideas to write about.

5. I try to just think about the title of a particular piece and carry on from their.

6. Sometimes on a piece of paper, I scribble everything that is going through my mind...its like doodling with words, half of it is pretty non-sensical but it works to clear up the clogged channels of the mind.

7. Just write 5 lines. I take it by the numbers. 5 lines or sentences don't take much out us. As in all things, the first steps are the hardest, then its all Newton’s law of momentum.

8. Sometimes just chilling out is the best solution. As they say, take a break.

These are not complete solutions by themselves but they do help me to break the idling of my brain and give it a jumpstart. Do comment on ways you use to break free from your version of 'writer's block'.

Nov 17, 2007

The Power of the 101 List

I don't exactly recollect where I first heard about this. But to me it sounded quite interesting. Think about this...

If you knew that whatever you could wish for would come true in your lifetime what wishes would you make? Their must be an entire treasure trove of wishes you would like to go for. Call this is a Mega List for you life. God has given all of us our own personal calendars. With our years, days and hours page marked. Instead of making minute lists of mundane activities why not create a super dream list. As we go about our lives I have realized that micromanaging each day sometimes makes me lose out on 'LIFE'...with a capital 'L'. Instead of micromanaging I have put the milestones I want to achieve in the form of the Super List of 101. The 101 things I want to do before I die. Theirs a quite finality about that title. My own personal list is populated with 'dreams' from the trivial to the arcane. Things like just learning technical writing to the adventurous sport of bungee jumping. I want to travel to Antarctica at least once. Want to learn the harmonica. Want to just play cricket again. Or just buy a good book a month. Oh yes! Writing a blog is certainly there too.
I haven't reached the figure of 101 yet, its just 50 at the last count...but I know that even if I achieve 25-30 of those wonder goals I would have made it for myself on the journey of life. I carry the list around with me in my wallet. Sometimes, I take it out and wonder about all the dreams I have put down on paper. It does give me a slight booster charge. I look forward to my time in dotage taking out this time worn list and striking out all that I have reached and hopefully surpassed. And I do hope I get to cross out my goal number 23: Bungee Jumping!

Nov 12, 2007

The Power of Lists

Their are shopping lists and then their are lists. Nothing but an ordered itemized account of items to do one at a time and then consigned to the dustbin. I used to believe that lists meant a series of infinite steps leading to a gradual headache. It took me some while to discover the 'power' of lists. And it was a serendipitous offshoot of my own procrastination through which I stumbled upon the benefits of lists. That is to say in simple enough words that I was damn lazy...and finally fed up of my own activity, I decided to accomplish tasks with a vengeance which was hitherto absent in my human make-up. The first list I 'created' included items ranging from cleaning my scooter to clipping my toenails. And it was rather long. I thought that if I could accomplish everything in a single day, it would be great. To my chagrin, I could follow the list only till the fourth item. At the end of the day, I was tired, pooped and thoroughly de-motivated. In short, I was back to square one.

Is their a method to creating a perfect list? Something which makes you accomplish more without making you feel like a rushing locomotive without brakes. I set out to find it. I did devise some means of my own along the way and it has brought me successes too. What I discovered was,

1. Put everything into perspective - Determine what exactly you want to do. What is important and what is less important. We only have 24 hours and 365 days. Putting everything in its proper frame helps us to de-clutter our mind after all their is only some things we can do in a day or a year. So pick the ones which are the most important for you. List them in no particular order. Just a random collection of items on a piece of paper. Next, rank them in order of priority. on and so forth. Remember the Pareto 80:20 rule - 80% of the results from any series of actions are caused by 20% of the actions themselves.

2. Visualize - Imagine how completing the tasks would benefit you. Creating a list involves two things, first effectively creating a list itself and secondly 'motivating' oneself to go through the list in a day. Take it like a movie in reverse, from the ending to the beginning. How would you feel?

3. Create buffer time - Life is busy making its own plans while we are making ours. Each day throws hurdles in our path. An unscheduled meeting, a system crash or whatever. Build these 'potholes' into your list too. One way to do this is to create a short un-crowded list. If the 'potholes' don't come about you can always do something extra or reward yourself for finishing the day sooner...either way you win.

4. Make a short list - As I said earlier, start small, keep time for enjoyment. Keep the list simple. The direct benefit of a small manageable list is that you don't have to hurry through the day; you can focus on each task much better. And also keep yourself motivated. Remember, at the end of the day its not the list that is important but the items on that list.

5. Stay committed - Take it for the long haul. Even if you finish 60-70% of the tasks on the list, its a victory. How were you doing before you started on the lists? Better or worse? Are you doing the work in a better way now than before? Decide on these yourself. Fine tune the list according to your own requirements and abilities.

(I make an Excel sheet with the columns as days and the rows for each task. At the end of the day, I fill each cell against the task with yellow to signify -Task completed. Also keeping track of each day and week makes me aware whether I am improving or sliding down. )
Lists are like maps. They provide us with a direction to steer. Our own discipline and commitment are the oars by which we can give direction to our efforts. Lists again are personal tools. What works for me many not necessarily work for you.
(I make an Excel sheet with the columns as days and the rows for each task. At the end of the day, I fill each cell against the task with yellow to signify -Task completed. Also keeping track of each day and week makes me aware whether I am improving or sliding down. )
But all of us have a finite number of seconds a day, and finally a list is about managing those seconds and having a good time doing it .So work on it and try again and...develop your own method to tackle the 'madness'.

Nov 7, 2007

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

Max EhrmannThis entry is for a poem I just discovered. I discovered it at the back of a picture post card. I looked up the meaning of 'Desiderata'. It signifies - Something desired as a necessity. The poem touched my heart and reminded me of another similar equally inspiring piece of work - 'If' by Rudyard Kipling. Sometimes it’s quite wondrous to discover the story behind such works. Works which have endured are treasures of wisdom and beauty. I wonder how I 'discovered' this so late...but I am thankful I did.
A pure heartedly simple poem. The legend behind its origin is ambiguous, but their is no faulting the writer's purpose. This apparently simple piece of penmanship remains as relevant as it was decades ago. Perhaps more so...because the strife of society is more pertinent for us today. The writer appears to be a master of apposite and evocative thoughts. Without being excessively preachy, the poem could serve as a mirror to our soul and a map for our actions. ( Go placidly amid the noise and haste,and remember what peace there may be in silence...) It tells us to be always happy amidst the chaos of life ( With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world...)

Spare a few moments for this poem, and leave a comment if you share a similar view as mine. Perhaps you know of some other similar inspiring work?


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

Nov 6, 2007

Improve Relationships - Ctrl+Alt+Del your Email for a Day

I have about 42 email id's in my contact list, a few more in my favorite social networking website. A large circle of friends one can say. I have had many conversations with them over the years. Some sober and some filled with laughs. Only, I don't remember when I saw them last. The keyboard has been my mouthpiece, the email and chat my means of dialogue. I have cracked a joke and shared a laugh...and I couldn’t have done it without those emoticons. Of those on the list, a select few are the very close friends. Friends with whom I went miles for a tête-à-tête and a guffaw. Today, its just a handshake across the cyberspace. Of course, I believe our relationship is still going strong but gradually battered by the daily grind it is losing the warmth which is makes a relationship special. All of us confined to our cubicles, staring at a 14 inch plastic cube are losing touch with those who made our yesterday's special. Their might be six degrees of separation between me and another but the degree right now seems rather wide. It is true for me and I have a feeling its true for a lot of others too.

It dawned on me that I answer about 25-30 emails on an average every day. Single line replies, cc's and forwards. I share information at the speed of thought but do I manage to share my feelings with the same alacrity. Is it a paradox that technology is creating more spaces rather than bridging them? I put a lot of thought into this.
I put together the following action steps which I hope benefits you as it did me.

1. We have Friendship Day. Why not have Friendship Days - Any time is a good time to catch up with old friends and acquaintances.

2. Realize that an email or a chat session is non verbal - A phone call is infinitely better. Nothing has replaced the sound of human voice so far.

3. Sms’s are all too impersonal - Use the latest means of communication for your benefit but do not be a slave to it.

4. Keep reminders for all birthdays and anniversaries - They are nice times to reestablish contact and break the ice. The latest mobiles have reminder functions. Their are websites like or your mail client which can give you advance notice of any due date.

5. Share time - Schedule time for a conversation or a meeting. A face to face meeting with a friend is a wonderful stress buster.

6. Stay away from the send button of your email for a day - Instead, talk on the phone...make your voice heard. Cross the road to meet someone.

7. Be friends with your postman again - Get back into the habit of sending cards rather than those pesky e-cards. I still have all the cards I have received. It's an effort but give the special occasion your caring touch.

8. Share the moments - Always inform your friends of any special moment in your life. Be it marriage, birth of a child or even a second honeymoon.

9. Have your cup of joy - Meet-up over the weekends. Take your family along. Go for a movie or schedule a picnic.

10. Stay logged on - Relationships need work. Good relationships are the result of consistent, time worn habits. Treat good times and bad times with equal measure.

Nov 5, 2007

Have a True Friendship Day

Let me confess that I am a 'Net Junkie'. This is a confession born out of hours spent in the virtual world, trawling the cyberspace. My idea of a birthday wish is an e-card or a SMS. More often than not its the same one I had sent last year. I have a couple of friends, living practically next door. The window through which I carry out a conversation with them is not made of glass and wood...but it was made by someone called Bill Gates. This habit carries on with my other friends too. My 'social interaction' is limited to the confines of my office. It mostly happens near the loo or the coffee machine and lasts exactly for one cup of coffee...then its back to the grind.
This story could be remindful in most of our lives. We spend most of our walking and waking hours consumed by the rat race, racing from one deadline to the other. The ones 'unlucky' to be married share a worse fate with the added responsibilities. It's the life of the fast and the furious. Their is hardly any time to pause and smell the roses.
Today, we build bridges...but the chasm between people has grown. TV and cable bring the world into our living rooms, but we don't know the first name of our next door neighbor. Social networking in the digital age is synonymic with Orkut. A feeling is an emoticon. Being in touch means SMS's and mail forwards. The advance of the net and telecommunications with cell phones, sms's, chats, emails, video chat should have given us more time for our leisure pursuits but it has become a fact that we are doing more and more in less and less.

Awareness dawned on me a few days back when I dug out an old scrapbook from my footlocker. Some of us might remember them as those decorated thin notebooks we used during our school leaving days to collect the 'What U Think of me' and 'What do U think about our friendship' scraps of thoughts from our friends. As I dusted it off, I wondered, how long it has been since I had caught up with my old friends. These were the very friends who had made my 'wonder years' possible. Some of them existed, yes, but more as IM nicknames rather than flesh and bones. Today I knew them more from their online avatars.

A resolution was thus born in me. I decided that I had spent a considerable part of my life forming deep friendships with most of them. It was an investment in time, love, memories and pocket money. I just couldn't let it flow under the bridge like that. I had some catching up to do.

And so it started...

I fixed a day on the weekends. Shut down my computer, closed my doors...dialed their numbers...and started talking. It caught on like fire and the links of friendships started joining once again. I can tell you that by the end of all our tête-à-têtes, I was a content man. We had caught up old times shared. Had a few laughs. Committed to meet up next weekend. Finally it felt like old times.

Oh, yes! I did return to my social networking site. But this time to make a friends circle with all my friends. Just to cut down on the distances. That is our permanent scrapbook.

An emoticon can never replace a smile. The sound of a heart laugh sounds so more enjoyable when you just have space separating you rather than a telephone line. We have 8760 hours in a year. Spending a few of them in the real world with friends is always time well spent.

Oct 24, 2007

I Said No to Multitasking

        Multitasking, said to be the 'chant' of the new age. With demands on our time increasing with the advance of time itself, multitasking is touted as the ultimate skill. Look at some of the famous names in the world...from boardrooms to ballooning over the alps, they seem to have time for everything. One day you see them at a social do, by the time you switch to another channel they are sitting on a chat show.

       Wow! I say to myself, I wish I could just manage to wash my a novel...catch up on the latest match...and finish my coffee with the same dexterity. Simple tasks for us simple folks. Needless to say, I fail miserably. Even at the office, if you tell me to go through the mail inbox and finish a presentation in the same breath, I will tell you not to hold your breath. I just won't be able to do it. I guess being able to juggle two or more things at once is like being ambidextrous. Some people have it and some don't. I don't, so I have left it at that.

     Its not that I have never tried. I did read up on some fangled book with the ubiquitous 'How to do...' title. Went through a week with all the wisdom in it. By the end of it, I felt back on square one. Tired...stressed...and unaccomplished. 'Jack of all tasks, master of none' would quite aptly have defined my situation. I decided for myself that I am just not built for 'parallel processing'. Let me take one thing at a time. Finish one task and then move on to the next. Multitasking be damned. Back to my old ways but with a new perspective, I started focusing on ONE task, finished it but more importantly felt more involved in it. More vitally, my enjoyment factor also increased. Finally order reigned over chaos...and in this already chaotic world, its no mean feat. Perhaps, it did take me more time to go through all the tasks but the means did justify the end!

    From my experiences I have found that, pound for pound multitasking is less efficient more chaotic and certainly more stressful. Their is a better way.

My prescription reads something like this:

1. Have a 'Priority List'. Don't put anything and everything into it. Do it according to decreasing order of value. Finish the most important ones first. I don't put more than 4 items on the list.

2. Keep some buffer time for unplanned work...believe me they will come out from nowhere.

3. Divide your day into 'blocks of time'. Put the respective tasks into the blocks according to your preferences. I for example put the lightest work like answering mails in the afternoon, when I am feeling drowsy.

4. Work on the most important task first thing in the morning. With that out of the way, you will find that the rest of the day goes smoother.

5. Take breaks after every hour if possible. Keep up your energy levels.

6. Take up 'monthly projects'. For e.g. Learning Photoshop is my current monthly project. I won't look at another piece of software during this time.

7. Keep phone conversations to a minimum. It's the invisible sponge which soaks away some of our most valuable time.

8. Be neat, tidy and organized. Believe me keeping a tidy desk makes a tidy mind.

9. Learn to say 'No'. Time is our most precious commodity. Protect it with a 'No'.

10. Enjoy work and play, involve yourself with complete focus.

At the end of the day, I hope your basket of work will be empty and you will have more energy to carry it around.

Oct 20, 2007

Al Gore - Man on a Mission

Nobel Prizes are always hotly debated, more so the peace prizes. This time the Nobel committee made quite a radical departure by recognising the environmantal crusaders.

Al Gore's Nobel citation said,"His strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change.He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted."

Al Gore, has risen like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes of failed,close run presidential bid which saw him losing out to George Bush by a whisker. (The world would definitely have been a different place had he come into the White House.). In the span of the last decade, he went from being the vice-president to the presumptive Democrat nominee for president to winning the popular vote for president only to lose in the electoral college after an intervention by the supreme court made his 537-vote loss in Florida official.Gore’s decision to give up the fight after the supreme court decision left some of his more die-hard supporters bitter, and he, by and large, retreated from public view for several years.The once political incumbent chose to quit the political arena to espouse a cause he was keen on-The environment.
Shedding his image as a brainy but dull policy wonk, Gore oversaw the Live Earth concert in July, which elevated him to Bono-like coolness in some quarters. “If you had told me 10 years ago that people were going to be appealing to me for tickets to a hot rock concert through my parents, I would have fallen over,” his daughter Karenna Gore Schiff told Vanity Fair magazine.

Today. on the centerstage again, he is in a vantage position to make a positive influence on the policy authors.

Footnote: British bookmakers once put 100-to-1 odds on Gore winning an Oscar, becoming a Nobel laureate and becoming president. He has now accomplished two of the three, and on Friday bookies slashed the odds to 8/1 from 10/1.

(This article is a commentary on an archived news article...some content is quoted from there)

Nobel Prize recognizes the environment

According to Alfred Nobel's will, the Peace Prize should be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses. "

Cut to 2007.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 is to be shared, in two equal parts, between the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.
The Nobel committee in no small measure recognizes the primacy of environment vis-a-vis political and peace issues. The politics of peace (or its absence) threatens nations...the fallout of global warming thretens our very planet.

Global warming is ‘The Topical Theme’, which shows no sign of cooling down. And why not, as the earth gets hotter and progressively hotter with each passing year.
For a long time now the effect of man's industrialization and technological progress has quietly yet continuously eked away at the delicate balance of the planet's atmosphere and ecosystem, but within the last 30 or so years the pace of this damage has markedly accelerated. Within our lifetime we are experiencing change in weather patterns manifested in hotter summers, hurricanes, deluges brought about by cyclonic rains, increased incidences of diseases to name just a few. Is it realistic to blame it all on global warming and should we be concerned?
It is not easy to decipher to what extent this human-induced accumulation of greenhouse gases is responsible for the global warming trend. Other factors—natural climatic variations, changes in the sun’s energy, and the cooling effects of pollutant aerosols—affect our planet’s temperature, and understanding in these areas is incomplete. Nevertheless, evidence states that there is a discernible human influence on climate. There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. It is without doubt that we are sitting on a volatile time bomb, one that could send the entire planet into a tailspin of destruction.

Is their a panacea for this ill plaguing the planet. The answer is in the affirmative. But it demands universal cooperation and universal sacrifice. We cannot afford to wait for our neighbor to take that first step. We have to step up, for the cure lies in individual and civil action. It’s a veritable race against time and for the moment we are running against the clock.
Thankfully, today there is much greater empathy towards the environment. There is a heightened sense of awareness. The known and unknowns of our world have put up their hand and stepped up to save the planet from the proverbial apocalypse. These modern day ecological evangelists have managed to push the environmental agenda to the very top of political deliberations. The Kyoto protocol was a direct fallout of universal concerns. The challenge though seems to be in arriving at a global consensus. For that man will have to challenge his own greed. That remains the BIG ‘Q’.

Earth will survive global warming but will we? Maybe…but the only place we call home may not look the way we know it.

(This article is a commentary on an archived news article...some content is quoted from there)

Oct 19, 2007

Inspired by a cancer survivor

Megan Blunt recently won the Child of Courage award at the Pride of Britain Awards 2007. The outstanding aspect of the award? Megan Blunt is a 15 year old cancer 'survivor'. She was so influenced by her own struggle against the usually fatal diesease, that she wrote a book to motivate others with the same ailment.
This news item caught my eye because the headline read - 'Rowling Breaks down at Pride of Britain Awards.' The famed creator of Harry Potter, presented the young heroine with the award and was moved to tears.
Her achievement by itself is stupendous. What makes it extraordinary is her age. She chose to go beyond the fact of her survival, and through her book is attempting to inspire others towards recovery.
Here's an excerpt from an interview (sourced:

Q: How will your book help other young people?

A: Hopefully my book will help other young people as it contains hints, tips and easy definitions of some of the long technical medical words. I hope that my book can be used as a reference book on how to survive cancer. It’s good to read something positive when you first get diagnosed!

Medicines can help. But the person first has to help himself. Megan chose to stay positive and focussed on that positive end. She avoided going into the ugly side of cancer. She says in her own words that,'it is normally only the scary and upsetting stories that are published.' Her positive approach is a testimony to the fact that the mind cures faster than any medicine can. The mind is the ultimate placebo.
We face so many supposed problems in our daily lives...problems which pale in comparison to that of Megan. Why do we give up so easily. I think we give up in the mind first, the rest of the body just tags along. Around us their are a lot many more Megan's, who jump through the hurdles to create their dreams. If they don't give up...why do we. Often, overcoming hurdles is just about putting one foot in front of the other and moving on inch by inch. It only helps to look at those who are less fortunate than us...count our blessings...understand that our own troubles could be insignificant if we really care to look at it that way. Let's get inspired!

Oct 11, 2007

God is There...A Snippet

This is one of the best explanations of why God allows pain and suffering that I have ever read.

A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and have his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they struck up a good conversation. They talked about many things and on various subjects. When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."
"Why do you say that?"
asked the customer.
"Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving God who would allow all of these things."

The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long unkempt dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and dishevelled.
The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."
"How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"
the customer exclaimed.
"Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside." said the customer.
"Ah, but barbers DO exist! That's what happens when people do not come to me." countered the barber.
"Exactly!" affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! That's what happens when people do not go to Him and don't look to Him for help. That's! why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

Good Mornings and Good News

Why is it that bad news is so prominently highlighted and the good ones relegated to the inside pages? This is a question I have always asked myself . The morning brings with it hope and fresh promises. But the morning papers brings death, accidents, robbery and general despair. A cursory glance at today's paper ...and their it was again. Line after byline giving away information on the bad and the ugly. The good was conspicuous by its absence. I had to turn three or four pages to arrive at the first bit of positive news. Is their so much wrong with the today of our world.? I honestly wonder...
That is why perhaps the odd human victory makes for compelling reading. Why don't we gravitate towards it more.?Why don't we have some positive press?
The answer perhaps lies in what we seek...we shall find. The old Biblical statement.
(Of course the correct one is:“Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”)
Lately, as a result, I have started reading the papers from the back pages...closer to the sports columns which at least give me some semblance of positive news.
Consciously, now I have started to develop a positive attitude especialy when I step outside the comfort zone of my home. This blog is also an attempt to seek out all that is positive in this world. Life may not be all rosy...but I guess it pays sometimes to just pause and smell the roses.