Getting to the Basics and the Heart of Things

Success is my topic on this blog. Success is not simply one thing and definitely not about money.

That is why I have a tendency to write more about concepts in personal development and less about personal finance. I write much less about in specifics and details in what to do with your money. Besides the fact that there are plenty of info and references on the internet already, the truth is that if you can master the basics, success in life (and therefore personal financial life) will soon follow. Kinda like martial arts practice – the ability to a more advanced move comes from the mastery and understanding of doing a more basic move.

How do I mean? What are the basics? These qualities quicly come to my mind:

You may be thinking, “Compassion? Wha…?” Don’t laugh because compassion IS a basic and requirement in success in life.

Use the “Search” on the right to locate my posts on these topics.

Originally posted 2008-01-30 23:45:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Place Called Home

Home is not just a place where members of the same family live under the same roof.
Home does not necessarily have to be a physical place.

One thing I am certain we can agree on — we want a place to belong, a place where we feel at home.

This sense of belonging, in my humble opinion, is telling us to return to the awareness we possess, in order to be present in the moment. To feel truly at home, we need to find the home within ourselves. Ultimately, I think a person can and need to find the place within himself where peace and happiness healthily come from.

I may seem to be derailing, but please bear with me for 5 minutes and finish reading :)

To accomplish such, it takes time, determination, and persistence to allow and overcome lots of self-questioning, through which we increase self-knowledge. In fact, this goal is not an ending per se, because life is a journey that never ends and so shall the inner search. It is impossible for any of us to know everything about ourselves and the world around us.

Maybe everyone is driven by this inherent need to belong, and everything we do is a result of that. This is a reasonable explanation for why we like to simulate each other, trying to fit into certain groups of people. This maybe why we like to do what other people do, like keeping up with the Jones and following the fashion trend. However, to satisfy this inherent thirst to belong, the only way to do so is by returning to the Self within. Yet, how many people are actually doing that? People are predisposed to seek outside due to many of the conditionings they received growing up. I digress. Food for thought.

We can all agree life is a journey. Along the way, we need something to allow us to find comfort and feel safe until we find the courage to look within ourselves. And because none of us is perfect, we can use such a thing when we are down…

A physical place to find peace? Something that makes you happy? A smile that melts your heart? A precious memory that restores confidence? A good friend who listens?

We all need something like that to give us strength, until we learn to draw strength from the Self.

If I ever have kids, I would like to provide such a home for them. And if I don’t have kids, I shall be such for my niece, who is 2 years old now. To them, I would like to convey the sentiment:

If you ever need a place to return to, a person to tell things to, a person to ask questions, never hesitate. Whatever it is, I will have my open heart, open arms, open ears… I will be here. This is a place you can always return to. To rest. To recover. To get stronger. To hide for a little while. To have someone understand you. I will not lay judgment upon you. My knowledge is yours. And if I ever forget, you are allowed to beat the crap out of me until I remember.

But do not rely on me. I will not do things for you, nor can I because your life is your own experience. I want you to go experience and learn things through your own experience. I will kick you out there to do so if you cannot make that choice yourself. Just remember that, there is still this place called home. That I will be here.

That is what I intend to be for the youth to come after me. To let them know that there is a home to return to, so that they can fearlessly venture out and eventually, find the home within themselves. At which point, I can retire 

I lacked such a home growing up, so I want to be such for the young ones. In fact, I felt less at home when I was “at home”. No, I am not angry, not anymore. I understand that my parents did the best they could. It did take a lengthy struggle to come to term though, and it did make struggles out of other things before I arrive here. Not that I am alone to struggle with such situation, but you can see why such desire now. That is why I am so adamant about bettering myself.

The next generation should be okay if we can supply them such a home until they become stronger themselves.

Originally posted 2008-12-06 22:31:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Splitting the bill at a meal with friends and “others”…

friends_dining_painting

So this has been on my mind for awhile. Recently I was at at dinner with my girlfriend, her friend aka Mary, and Mary’s date aka John. The “others” in the title applies to John, haha.

The food was enjoyable, conversation was flowing, and we were having a decent time. The bill came and we split it evenly by 4 while I paid for my girlfriend and myself. No awkward moment on the spot, but there is a minor hiccup…

My girlfriend and I thought and discussed about it later. Neither of us is into drinking a lot of alcohol so we each had one drink for the night. Well, the minor hiccup is that Mary and John each had 3 or 4 drinks for the night.

Our biggest gripe is that neither of them think of to offer to pay a little bit more for the bill. How inconsiderate! At least make the simple gesture, right?

I don't want anxiety for dinner bill...

I don’t want anxiety for dinner bill…

I have no rules and I generally don’t fuzz about a few extra dollars. In this case, the difference is quite a bit more because of the disproportion between the pairs. I let it pass on the spot because I know this is an occasional outing. At the same time, my GF and I now know to be mindful about going out with Mary and a date, lol. Perhaps say something about it before the bill comes next time? Perhaps…

The good thing for me is that the close group of friends I keep are always great about when splitting the bill, none of us care about paying a bit extra while at the same time, we all offer to pay more when clearly we’ve consumed more. Love my friends :)

If I end up dining with a group of new people, I set no expectation and am ready to pay the extra if necessary.

Back to the story… The other point from our discussion is that, this John guy is obviously not that great of a date after all because it obviously didn’t cross his mind that their extra drinking had really tip the bill. This suggests a lack of attention and sensitivity.

I think it’s generally very hard to have rules set-in-stone to deal with these social situation. What do you think? How do you deal with splitting the bill in general?

Originally posted 2013-03-21 00:19:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Mother Earth and Nature are Precious

Let me repeat, Mother Earth and Nature are precious. Sometimes we all get so caught up with our busy life and we forget. We forget that humans are part of the animal kingdom. We forget the existence of nature that sustains our livelihood. We have come to act like we are separate and bigger than nature, while the entire time…

We human beings are a part of nature…
As the air we breath.
As the water we drink.
As the ground we walk.
As the sun that shines.

Upon expressing my sentiments, a colleage shared with me a poster on his wall. It is a wonderful piece written by Chief Seattle, as a letter in response to President George Washington’s offer to purchase his tribe’s land. Upon research, I found that it is not the authentic writing. Nonetheless, I love the messages brought to life by the words.

THIS EARTH IS PRECIOUS

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

ALL SACRED

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us.

The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.

The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man–all belong to the same family.

NOT EASY

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.

He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land.

But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.

This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.

If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

KINDNESS

The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.

The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.

He leaves his father’s graves behind, and he does not care.

He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care.

His father’s grave, and his children’s birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads.

His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect’s wings.

But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand.

The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand.

The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinion pine.

PRECIOUS

The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath–the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath.

The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes.

Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.

And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.

ONE CONDITION

So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

I am a savage and I do not understand any other way.

I’ve seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train.

I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.

For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

THE ASHES

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know.

All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it.

Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.

We may be brothers after all.

We shall see.

One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover, our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white.

This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.

The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.
Where is the thicket? Gone.
Where is the eagle? Gone.
The end of living and the beginning of survival.

Whatever we do to nature, it will come back to us. If we don’t live to experience it now, then may our children do so in our place. People can keep talking about going green. People can market about carbon offsets all they want. People can keep urging for lower emission cars. People can keep arguing. People can keep asking for more and better evidence.

In the end, if people truly care for nature and the environment, they will come to understand that we are part of nature and their action will speak such understanding. If their intention is pure, it will be clear in their action. The same for ill intention.

Everything’s connected. What we do to other things on earth will be done upon us eventually. If our doings cause fast extinction to other species, then so shall be our fate. We are part of nature. If we are harming it, we are harming us. We are all one.

Originally posted 2008-01-09 23:26:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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