“The only work that will ultimately bring any good to any of us is the work of contributing to the healing of the world.” ~ Marianne Williamson

One of those subjects that’s easy to push under the rug.  Pretend it doesn’t really happen.  Pretend it doesn’t really hurt anyone.  Ignore.  Look the other way.

Not today.

As told by Jen, from are you there God? it’s me, generation X

If you do nothing else today, view this short slideshow below. 

To view full screen click the "Fullscreen" icon in the lower corner of the slideshow.

Note:  If you’re having trouble viewing this, please click here.

This originally appeared on Jen’s blog. I was deeply moved by her courage, and sharing of this story. In the short time I’ve known her, I’ve come to see that she speaks very much from her heart.  The words in this you’re seeing today speak to something that’s all too easy to ignore.

Will you run away?

For more information on Jen, visit her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Rebirth of my hope
Creative Commons License photo credit: MoRpH Snim•°

Your presence is a present to the world.
You’re unique and one of a kind.
Your life can be what you want it to be.
Take the days, just one at a time.

 Count your blessings, not your troubles.
You’ll make it through, whatever comes along.
Within you are so many answers.
Understand, have courage, be strong.
 
Don’t put limits on yourself.
So many dreams are waiting to be realized.
Decisions are too important to leave to chance.
Reach for your peak, your goal and your prize.
 
Nothing wastes more energy than worrying.
The longer one carries a problem, the heavier it gets.
Don’t take things too seriously.
Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.

Remember that a little love goes a long way.
Remember that a lot . . . goes forever.
Remember that friendship is a wise investment.
Life’s treasures are people . . . together.
 
Realize that it’s never too late.
Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
Have health, hope and happiness.
Take the time to wish upon a star.
And don’t ever forget . . .
For even a day . . .
How very special you are.

~ Author Unknown

Don't wait for the world to change. Fix it.

Creative Commons License photo credit: giarose

 

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~ Steve Jobs

 

 

Old Hat, New Hat

by Lance Ekum on June 17, 2009 · 62 comments

Old Hat New Hat
Creative Commons License photo credit: Beau B

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” ~ Frederick Keonig

"I need this."

My thoughts last week, as I looked for a new bike. 

"I’m competing in two triathlons.  I want a nice bike!"

July will bring two triathlons in which I’ll compete.  It sure seemed like a nice shiny new bike would be just the ticket to success.

Old Hat, New Hat

Growing up, a favorite book of mine was Old Hat New Hat, by Jan and Stan Berenstain.  For those not familiar with the book, it’s about a bear who has this old beat up hat.  And he thinks it’s time for a new one.  So he visits the hat store (do they still have those?) in search of that perfect hat.  And he tries on many different hats, hats of all different shapes and styles.  And then he sees his hat – the beat up old hat he’s had.  And he puts that back on, and it fits just right.  Out he goes, no new hat.  Just the hat he came in with.

Back to that bike…

So, I tried out several bikes.  Oh, they all looked really nice!  And there weren’t any scratches on them.  All of the latest "technology" there.  The first one, though, was difficult to shift.  The second one was uncomfortable to ride.  The third one, to it’s credit, all felt good.  Although I didn’t feel like I was going faster.  Was it worth the cost?  It sure looked pretty…

How often do we get pulled into something by the superficial?

Ever wanted to go out on a date with the hottest girl or guy you knew?  Maybe dreamed about it? 

Ever wanted that new car, the one fresh off the lot, sweet paint job, the one you’d look really good in?

Ever wanted that new pair of shoes, they’d look perfect on "you"?

Ever wanted that new "hat", when the "hat" you have is one you really like already?

Think about that for a minute.

Why do we buy the things we do?  You.  Me.  Everyone.

Necessity.

Wants.

That’s all okay.  Some things we need (like food, or transportation).  Some things we want (like that new digital camera). 

Do we tie our happiness to these "things" in our life, though?  Will I be happier when…

  • I have the newest car in the neighborhood
  • People’s heads turn when I walk by because of the body I’ve "bought"
  • I arrive at my class reunion in the latest designer clothes and impress everyone
  • Everyone runs over to see the latest "toy" I’ve bought
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

In short, when our self-worth is tied to materialistic items (and who hasn’t at some point in their life done this?), this isn’t going to bring about true and lasting joy in our lives.  That true happiness, the "real" joy – that comes from within.  From connecting with our inner beings.  And that isn’t the flashiest pair of sunglasses, or a dinner date at the hippest restaurant in town.  Not if that’s to provide some immediate joy as we show off our new shades, or dine with the movers and the shakers.  It won’t last, these moments of joy.  Not if that is the end all to our happiness.  Now, if that same dinner out is to also experience the ambiance and to enjoy some deliciously wonderful food in the company of someone we care deeply about, then this experience is very much a spoke in keeping that wheel of happiness within our lives spinning.  The meaning behind these purchases matters.

Back to the bike once more…

I left the bike store…torn.  And then I came home.  And rode my "old" bike.  And as I rode it, I thought to myself that this was a comfortable ride, that it goes pretty fast, that the gear installed on it is top-notch, and that it really is a great bike.

I kept the "old hat"…

In no way does this mean that "new" is a bad choice.  In my case, where I’m at, and with what I already have – at this time it was really the more superficial I was looking at. 

So Where Does That Leave Us?

"Possessions are usually diminished by possession." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The next time you’re going out to buy something, ask yourself "why". 

Why are you buying this thing?

And if there’s no good reason other than you will superficially feel "good", then it’s probably time to put that something down, and really spend some quality time with yourself.  Away from the distractions of life.  Away from the "noise" you’re normally surrounded by.  Away from the hustle and bustle of daily living.

Get away and get connected.  To "you".

And away doesn’t have to be a physical location away from where you are (although it can be).  It can be as simple as setting aside some time every day (or maybe a couple of times a week) where you focus on "you"

True happiness is there…

We just have to find it sometimes, buried amongst all the piles of other things that clutter our lives.

Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum

  photo credit: Adam Dale “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and […]

55 comments Read the full article →

The Sunset Of Our Soul

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: Philipp Klinger “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore The sun going down.  Amongst a few clouds, the backdrop an array of colors. The sky afire with a golden glow. Breathtaking. In the right place.  […]

73 comments Read the full article →

Sunday Thought For The Day

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: Doblonaut “Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.” ~ Jhumpa Lahiri  (Interpreter of Maladies)

58 comments Read the full article →

Flip It

by Lance Ekum

Today, it is with much excitement that I present to you Marelisa Fábrega.  Marelisa has been a constant supporter and friend here at “The Jungle of Life” for the past year, and was one of my early visitors when I first started out.  Her articles are always thought-provoking and with a real focus on each […]

53 comments Read the full article →