An Empty Boat
A man rowed a small boat upstream, heading toward home, when he felt another small boat, heading downstream, collide with his boat. Since he had the right of way, he felt angry. Turning, he yelled at the other boatman, "Watch where you're going! Be more careful!"
The other man apologized, and passed by without further incident. But an hour later, as the man continued upstream, he felt another boat collide with his. Furious, he turned to yell at the reckless person. His anger vanished when he saw that the boat was empty—it must have come loose from its moorings. Calmly, he pushed it aside and continued on his journey.
He never lost his temper again, because from then on, he treated everyone like an empty boat.
By Dan Millman
When Does Day Begin?
An old Rabbi once asked his pupils how they could tell when the night had ended and the day had begun.
"Could it be," asked one of the students, "when you can see an animal in the distance and tell whether it's a sheep or a dog?"
"No," answered the Rabbi.
Another asked, "Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance and tell whether it's a fig tree or a peach tree?"
"No," answered the Rabbi."
"Then when is it?" the pupils demanded.
"It is when you can look on the face of any man or woman and see that it is your sister or brother. Because if you cannot see this, it is still night."
When my daughter was small she got the dubious part of the Bethlehem star in a Christmas play. After her first rehearsal she burst through the door with her costume, a five-pointed star lined in shiny gold tinsel designed to drape over her like a sandwich board. "What exactly will you be doing in the play?" I asked her.
"I just stand there and shine," she told me. I've never forgotten that response.
By Sue Monk Kidd
A tourist in Vienna is going through a graveyard and all of a sudden he hears some music. No one is around, so he starts searching for the source. He finally locates the origin and finds it is coming from a grave with a headstone that reads: Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827. Then he realizes that the music is the Ninth Symphony and it is being played backward! Puzzled, he leaves the graveyard and persuades a friend to return with him. By the time they arrive back at the grave, the music has changed. This time it is the Seventh Symphony, but like the previous piece, it is being played backward. Curious, the men agree to consult a music scholar. When they return with the expert, the Fifth Symphony is playing, again backward. The expert notices that the symphonies are being played in the reverse order in which they were composed, the 9th, then the 7th, then the 5th. By the next day the word has spread and a throng has gathered around the grave. They are all listening to the Second Symphony being played backward. Just then the graveyard’s caretaker ambles up to the group. Someone in the group asks him if he has an explanation for the music.
“Indeed I do,” says the caretaker. "He’s decomposing."
Start With Yourself
When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country.
But it, too, seemed immovable.
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.
And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.
Heaven and Hell
A man is graced with a vision of the afterlife. He is first shown a great hall with a long banquet table filled with ambrosial delights. Each diner is equipped with a three-foot-long spoon, but no matter how much they contort their arms, thrusting their elbows into their neighbors' faces, their utensils are too long to maneuver even a single morsel into their gaping mouths. They sit together, opposite and side by side, in mutual misery.
"This," says the man's otherworldly guide, "is Hell."
The visitor is then taken to another place and sees an identical banquet table set with the same sumptuous food and the same impossible silverware. Only here the people are well fed, utterly joyous, glowing with health and well-being.
"This," pronounces the host, "is Heaven."
The man is baffled. "What's the difference?"
"In Heaven," says the guide, pointing delightedly as a person lifts his long-handled spoon across the table to the parted lips of a neighbor, "They feed each other."
Told by Caryle Hirshberg and Marc Ian Barasch
Rules of the Air
1. Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.
2. If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.
3. Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous.
4. It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing you were down here.
5. The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
6. The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to keep the pilot cool. When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot start sweating.
7. When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.
8. A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' landing is one after which they can use the plane again.
9. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
10. You know you've landed with the wheels up if it takes full power to taxi to the ramp.
11. The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival. Large angle of arrival, small probability of survival and vice versa.
12. Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes earlier.
13. Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another airplane going in the opposite direction. Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide out in clouds.
14. Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs you've made.
15. There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
16. You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.
17. Helicopters can't fly; they're just so ugly the earth repels them.
18. If all you can see out of the window is ground that's going round and round and all you can hear is commotion coming from the passenger compartment, things are not at all as they should be.
19. In the ongoing battle between objects made of aluminum going hundreds of miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose.
20. Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.
21. It's always a good idea to keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.
22. Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.
23. Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It's the law. And it's not subject to repeal.
24. The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, the runway behind you, and a tenth of a second ago.
From Australian Aviation Magazine
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
"The best way to predict your future is to create it."
"The hardest battle is to be nobody but yourself in a world that's done its best, night and day, to make you like everyone else."
E. E. Cummings
"100% of those who never try, never succeed."
"True life is lived when tiny changes occur."
"A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror."
Ken Keyes, Jr.
"Watch your thoughts; they become your words.
Watch your words; they become your actions.
Watch your actions; they become your habits.
Watch your habits; they become your character.
Watch your character for it will become your destiny."
"Violent behavior is not a revelation of one's strength, but an attempt to conceal their weaknesses."
"Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
"You gain strength, experience and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face ... You must do the thing you cannot do."
"Those who wish to sing always find a song"
"A dog is not reckoned good because it barks well, and a man is not reckoned wise because he speaks skillfully."
"People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did, but
People will never forget how you made them feel."
You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching
Love like you'll never be hurt
Sing like there's nobody listening
And live like it's heaven on earth.
William W. Purkey
Church Bulletin Blunders
1. Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
2. Announcement in the church bulletin for a National PRAYER & FASTING Conference: "The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals."
3. Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
4. Miss Charlene Mason sang "I will not pass this way again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
5. "Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands."
6. The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.
7. The sermon this morning: "Jesus Walks on the Water." The sermon tonight: "Searching for Jesus."
8. Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack's sermons.
9. The Rector will preach his farewell message after which the choir will sing "Break Forth into Joy."
10. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say "hell" to someone who doesn't care much about you.
11. Don't let worry kill you off—let the Church help.
12. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
13. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.
14. Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
15. The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.
16. Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
17. For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
18. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person(s) you want remembered.
19. Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.
20. The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
In the Hospital the relatives gathered in the waiting room, where their family member lay gravely ill. Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and somber. "I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news," he said as he surveyed the worried faces. "The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain transplant. It's an experimental procedure, semi-risky, and you will have to pay for the brain yourselves."
The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. After a great length of time, someone asked, "Well, how much does a brain cost?" The doctor quickly responded, "$5,000 for a male brain, and $200 for a female brain."
The moment turned awkward. Men in the room tried not to smile, avoiding eye contact with the women, but some actually smirked. A man, unable to control his curiosity, blurted out the question everyone wanted to ask, "Why is the male brain so much more?"
The doctor smiled at the childish innocence and so to the entire group said, "It's just standard pricing procedure. We have to mark down the price of the female brains, because they've been used."
A String of Events
Some months ago I was in my office looking over a project that needed some cover art, but I knew no professional illustrators. As soon as I had the thought "I wonder whom I can find?" the phone rang. It was my grown daughter, Mallika, calling from India, and when I mentioned my problem, she immediately suggested an Irish artist named Suzanne Malcolm (not her real name). Neither of us had any idea where she lived.
I hung up and thought nothing more about it, until that afternoon when a publisher friend called from London. On the off chance, I asked if he knew Suzanne Malcolm, but he didn't. An hour later he found himself at a cocktail party when the person next to him got a call on his cellular phone. He put it to his ear and said, "Suzanne?" My publisher friend gave in to a sudden impulse. "Could that possibly be Suzanne Malcolm you're talking to?" he asked. Astonishingly, it was. My friend took down her telephone number and also asked her to call me.
By this time we are still on the same day had flown to Los Angeles for a scheduled lecture. I was early, however, so I pulled my rental car over to the curb; I had no idea exactly where I was. Checking my message on the cell phone, I found one from Suzanne Malcolm. This was good news, and I dialed the number she had left me.
"Hello?" A woman's voice answered.
"Suzanne," I said, introducing myself, "I was wondering whether you could fly over from Dublin. I think I have an art assignment for you."
"Well, actually, I'm not in Ireland at the moment. I'm in Los Angeles."
"Really? Where are you staying?" I asked.
"I'm not sure," she replied. "Oh yes, it's 3312 Dominic." I looked outside the car window and felt a shudder pass through me--I was parked directly in front of her house.
How unwittingly we fall into God's reach. This example clearly goes beyond intuition, because no one involved in the story had any. It amounts to more than synchronicity, since this wasn't just a chance encounter that turned out to be significant. What can we call it when a string of events begins with a faint intention, only to be orchestrated across two continents, several time zones, and the random lives of four people?
The answer is creativity. The mind field, being beyond time and space, can manipulate them for its own use... Now the time has come when fate no longer has to be hidden from view. This happens when a person gives up all notions of accident, coincidence, and random events, and instead claims responsibility for each and every incident, however trivial. Events no longer happen "out there" but are guided by one's own intentions.
By Deepak Chopra
Interpretations of nature from junior high, high school, and college test papers and essays submitted to science and health teachers (spelling errors preserved)
"When you breath, you inspire. When you do not breath, you expire."
"H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water"
"To collect fumes of sulphur, hold a deacon over a flame in a test tube"
"When you smell an oderless gas, it is probably carbon monoxide"
"Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin and water."
"Three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, vanes and caterpillars."
"Blood flows down one leg and up the other."
"Respiration is composed of two acts, first inspiration, and then expectoration."
"The moon is a planet just like the earth, only it is even deader."
"Artificial insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead of the bull."
"Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire."
"A super-saturated solution is one that holds more than it can hold."
"Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so they look like umbrellas."
"The body consists of three parts - the brainium, the borax and the abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the bowls, of which there are five - a, e, i, o, and u."
"The pistol of a flower is its only protections against insects."
"The alimentary canal is located in the northern part of Indiana."
"The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have ben taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch meat to."
"A permanent set of teeth consists of eight canines, eight cuspids, two molars, and eight cuspidors."
"The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends towards the moon, because there is no water in the moon, and nature abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight."
"A fossil is an extinct animal. The older it is, the more extinct it is."
"Germinate: To become a naturalized German."
"Liter: A nest of young puppies."
"Magnet: Something you find crawling all over a dead cat."
"Momentum: What you give a person when they are going away."
"Planet: A body of Earth surrounded by sky."
"Rhubarb: A kind of celery gone bloodshot."
"Vacuum: A large, empty space where the pope lives."
"Before giving a blood transfusion, find out if the blood is affirmative or negative."
"To remove dust from the eye, pull the eye down over the nose."
"For a nosebleed: Put the nose much lower then the body until the heart stops."
"For drowning: Climb on top of the person and move up and down to make artificial perspiration."
"For fainting: Rub the person's chest or, if a lady, rub her arm above the hand instead. Or put the head between the knees of the nearest medical doctor."
"For dog bite: put the dog away for several days. If he has not recovered, then kill it."
"For asphyxiation: Apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead."
"For head cold: use an agonizer to spray the nose until it drops in your throat."
"To keep milk from turning sour: Keep it in the cow."