Shifting Perspectives For The New Year

January 1, 2009

Shifting Perspectives
©marty kleva
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∞ Happy New Year to you all.

To ring in this New Year of 2009, I would like to share a collection of some of my favorite stories and quotes that follow a theme of shifting perspectives. Perhaps these can lend a guide and help us to move through this coming year with a bit of grace.

We so often hear about shifting paradigms, and I have often wondered to myself would we recognize a new paradigm once we are in it?
How can we possibly choose to move into a new paradigm when we are so comfortably set in the old one? Who in their right mind wants to abandon what has worked for so many for so long?

Well it seems that we are witnessing the answers to all these questions. In fact we don’t willingly enter a new paradigm, it gets hoisted upon us and we get thrust into it regardless, and
as we enter 2009, it appears that we are at the crucial intersection between an old and new paradigm.

Many people around the world are in the midst of a most horrendous place of violence, some of it is a result of violent weather, and in other cases the violence is from weapons of war being hurled against neighbors.

Hatred is a violent emotion. After generation upon generation of fostered hatred against perceived enemies, what can be expected to change? What possible remedy will create an opening for a peace to be settled upon numerous adversaries?

Not to be simplistic about this, however, if we are ever to know PEACE in our time, then all the
issues of violence and hatred that seem to have immense meaning to us and our adversaries will need to become like water flowing beneath the bridge, carrying away all those things that stand between us, the stones of violence, the words of hatred, the paper that they are written upon, and the retribution that we seek for all the wrongs that have been done to us for generation upon generation. These are the things that impose invisible barriers between neighbors, family, friends and countries, and eventually they become visible walls of concrete and steel.

Paradigm shifting sometimes (or maybe every-time) is prefaced with a challenge to the status quo, and the status quo is more about clinging to the familiar and less about fearlessly bounding into the unknown.

There are a few very good tools to help us make the switch of changing perspectives. They have names like forgiveness, and love. Their application is non-selective. It is in forgiving anyone and everyone without exception that creates the transcendent forms of Absolute Forgiveness and Absolute Love.
This begins with forgiving ourselves.

In forgiveness, everything is let go of any attachment to keep it in its old and over-worn place. With forgiveness we free ourselves of bonds and shackles that stifle our creativity to love and by releasing these destructive forces that are attached to us we are open to receiving the ability to interact in a constructive way through a new paradigm of our own vision.

Ironically, destructive and violent actions are like an outward desperate cry for help in a distorted attempt to fill wounded and empty hearts with Love.

It is in the achievement of the transcendent function where perspectives suddenly change for no apparent reason that the seemingly impossible transforms to a level where everything is possible, even WORLD PEACE.

My wish for you this New Year of 2009, is to embrace and roll with the waves of changing perspectives that are upon us.

May each of us seed the Love of PEACE
May our neighbors Sow PEACE upon fertile grounds

May our families cultivate and water in the Gardens of PEACE

May our friends reap and rejoice in the Harvest of PEACE

May ALL our adversaries discover the Wonder of PEACE filling their hearts

con molto amore,

~ mek


"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns,
To surrender to too many demands,
To commit oneself to too many projects,
To want to help everyone with everything Is to succumb to violence."

- Thomas Merton

Here’s a great story that illustrates that sometimes we need to go the long way around to get to the beginning.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. "Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American. The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs. I have a full life."

The American interrupted, "I have a MBA from Harvard and I can help you.

You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the revenue, you can buy a bigger boat. With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle-man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge enterprise.

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards?" That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really?" "And after that?" asked the fisherman.

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife, and spend your evenings drinking and playing the guitar with your friends!"

Such Wonders as the ones below should never cease

A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present "Seven Wonders of the World." Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:

1. Egypt's Great Pyramids

2. Taj Mahal

3. Grand Canyon

4. Panama Canal

5. Empire State Building

6. St. Peter's Basilica
7. China's Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. So she asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list. The girl replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many."

The teacher said, "Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help." The girl hesitated, then read, "I think the 'Seven Wonders of the World' are:

1. To See

2. To Hear

3. To Touch

4. To Taste

5. To Feel

6. To Laugh

7. And to Love.

The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous! A gentle reminder -- that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man.

Here is a very poignant reminder of our origins

The Wooden Bowl

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess."We must do something about Grandfather," said the son. I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, "What are you making?" Just as sweetly, the boy responded, "Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up." The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

Three ways to handle adversity — or if you’re hungry, fill your belly!

A Carrot, An Egg and a Cup of Coffee

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.

She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.

She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.

She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it.

After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity ... boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?"

"Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Children are our best teachers when it comes to changing perspectives — of course they have less to give-up, nevertheless, it could be remarkable to remember that we all have a child within us.

First Grade Students’ Answers to Proverbs

A first grade teacher had twenty-five students in her class and she presented each child in her class the first half of a well known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb.

It's hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you.

1. Don't change horses .......................... until they stop running.
2. Strike while the ....................................... bug is close.
3. It's always darkest before ..................... Daylight Saving Time.
4. Never underestimate the power of ....... termites.
5. You can lead a horse to water but ....... how?
6. Don't bite the hand that ....................... looks dirty!
7. No news is ..................................... impossible.
8. A miss is as good as a ........................... Mr.
9. You can't teach an old dog new ............ math.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you'll ......... stink in the morning.
11. Love all, trust ……………………… me.
12. The pen is mightier than the ……………….. pigs.
13. An idle mind is ............................ the best way to relax.
14. Where there's smoke there's ................ pollution.
15. Happy the bride who ......................... gets all the presents.
16. A penny saved is .................... not much.
17. Two's company, three's ....................... the Musketeers.
18. Don't put off till tomorrow what ........ you put on to go to bed.
19. Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and ..... you have to blow your nose.
20. There are none so blind as ................. Stevie Wonder.
21. Children should be seen and not ......... spanked or grounded.
22. If at first you don't succeed ............... get new batteries.
23. You get out of something only what you ..... see in the picture on the box.
24. When the blind lead the blind ............ get out of the way.

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