Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom’

It's those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

It’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

This recently came into our inbox:

If you will take the time to read these. I promise you’ll come away with an enlightened perspective. The subjects covered affect us all on a daily basis. They’re written by Andy Rooney, a man who had the gift of saying so much with so few words.

I’ve learned…. That the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned…. That when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned…. That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.

I’ve learned…. That having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I’ve learned…. That being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned…. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned…. That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him in some other way.

I’ve learned…. That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned…. That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

I’ve learned…. That simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned…. That life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.

I’ve learned…. That we should be glad God doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

I’ve learned…. That money doesn’t buy class.

I’ve learned…. That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I’ve learned…. That under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.

I’ve learned…. That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I’ve learned…. That when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned…. That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned…. That the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I’ve learned…. That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’ve learned…. That no one is perfect until you fall in love with them.

I’ve learned… That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

I’ve learned…. That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I’ve learned…. That when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I’ve learned…. That I wish I could have told my Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I’ve learned…. That one should keep his words both soft and tender, because tomorrow he may have to eat them.

I’ve learned….. That a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I’ve learned….. That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little fist, that you’re hooked for life.

I’ve learned…. That everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

I’ve learned…. That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

Do you have any lessons learned to add?


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In telling the stories the Elders made sense of The People’s everyday lives.

In telling the stories the Elders made sense of The People’s everyday lives.

Most traditional people just call themselves, The People. Other ways of describing traditional people is to say, First Nation People. These titles respect these people and indicate some sort of understanding of why identity is very important to THE PEOPLE.

In traditional lifestyles of our Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders the role of The Elders was paramount. The Elders held the stories and the wisdom of the past. In telling the stories the Elders made sense of The People’s everyday lives.

Knowing that the earth provides just as a mother does must be respected and cherished. It not only makes sense but it is not a mystery to be solved or ignored. Elders gave counsel to those in need; listened to the problems of the group; helped shed light on difficult situations; told and guided the young and in return they were revered, nurtured, respected and cared for until they passed on in to the spirit world.

The People looked forward to passing on; they didn’t fear it. Passing on was not dying. Life after you pass on is not an issue if your life on earth has meaning.

Meaning was in everything. Every part of creation had meaning and purpose. The People relied on each other for their very existence. Without co-operation life was impossible.

Without The Elders where would life be?

The Elders had the answers to the questions of:
Who are we?
What are we doing on the planet?
What do we need to do and who do we need to be to give our life meaning and purpose?
(Notice how it is we not ‘I’ who is asking the questions but ‘we’)

Without The Elders life was meaningless and had no purpose.

Oh Great Spirit

Make me ever ready to come to you,
With clean hands and straight eyes,
So when life fades like a fading sunset,
My spirit may come to you without shame.

Yellow Hawk
Sioux Chief

In traditional life The People had more fulfilment in their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual lives. Every part was recognised as important. They viewed their lives as whole. Surviving was about 5-10 % of their time and the rest was devoted to living and being with the group; telling stories, participating in ceremonies and rituals and having fun. In Australia it lasted for tens of thousands of years until the white people came.

What appeared to be a simple and childlike culture was actually a rich and spiritually alive life. When the white people came they saw only the externals of the life of the Aboriginal people, only the outside; and because they didn’t value or even understand their own spiritual life, the white people didn’t know what to look for in others. This pattern was repeated in Australia and throughout the world for hundreds of years until The People of the world were colonised.

In the white people’s ignorance, they almost wiped out completely lifestyles that were based on spiritual understandings.

It is that spiritual understanding that we all long for today but are too busy doing our lives to stop and reflect on what has happened to both peoples in the process. So now we have an opportunity to learn from the very people we almost destroyed.

We now long for this less sophisticated and more balanced lifestyle. It’s often called a tree change, a sea change, early retirement, getting out of the rat race, to name a few.

Some questions to reflect on:

Where do we look for some answers?
Have we finally done the full circle of development?
Are our current systems serving the people they were designed to?
Is our world working for us?
What does it take for us to embrace change?
The simple fact is that what we are doing in the world isn’t working for most of ALL the people.
What are you going to do about your life?

Change starts with each of us. As an old Jewish saying goes, “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?”

I remember reading, “when the last whale is left to die on the ocean floor we may well have killed the most intelligent species on this earth”.

What do you think about all this?

Please join us in a conversation.

Wendie Batho

Wendie Batho

Wendie Batho

Wendie has co-facilitated residential programs with Petrea for more than sixteen years. Prior to that Wendie spent over 25 years as a teacher, school principal and was involved in educational leadership and facilitation of school executive groups.

Ten years of this time was spent in PNG where she taught and worked for the government. Wendie has been travelling since the early sixties and is especially attracted to Asian cultures. She holds degrees in Anthropology, Education, Sociology, Theology and Political Science. Her current passions are her grandchildren, travel biographies, exploring Asia, 4×4 driving, reading everything she can get her hands on, and watching movies on the big screen at home.

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Bernadette Arena

Can attitude affect our experience?  Many studies prove it can. A wise man once said “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be…”

And the Buddha said “We are what we think.   All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world…”

Here’s a story from the yoga tradition about attitude.

A wise teacher was sitting by the side of the road immersed in meditation.

A student on pilgrimage to a far town spotted the teacher and stopped to speak with him.

He asked many questions about life the universe and everything and the wise teacher gave him counsel.  As he was preparing to leave, the student asked the old man “what are the people like in the next town?”

The master replied with a question “What were the people like in the town you have just left?”

The student said “Oh, they were unfriendly and snobbish.  Surly and greedy.  Not one soul offered to help me or offered food or shelter, they were awful.”

“Well”,  said the teacher, “I have some bad news, the people in the next town are exactly like those you have left…      Try to enjoy your pilgrimage and learn from what you encounter.”

A little later another student stopped for a chat.  As he was leaving he asked the wise teacher about the people in the next town.  The teacher again asked “what were the people like in the town you’ve just left?”   The student said “Oh, it was amazing, they were warm friendly, and they offered me food and shelter.  They were so kind and generous”

The master said “I have good news for you, the people in the next village are exactly the same … enjoy your journey”

Hmmm…   I ask myself “What kind of student am I?  What attitude am i bringing along with me?
who am I becoming?  When do I look on the bright side…?”

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette is a yoga and meditation teacher and group facilitator and has been teaching since the early 1990s.  She has worked with people of all ages, from diverse backgrounds and cultures and has developed skills of serving people dealing with significant life issues.  She taught community classes for children, teens, people with disabilities, the elderly, sports professionals, and also in corporate environments.

Bernadette has worked with the Quest for Life Foundation since early 2006 and is the Senior Facilitator on our residential programs.  Her work is treasured by our participants and our team. She has also been developing and refining a deep understanding of the use of appropriate yoga and meditation approaches for use in oncology and with serious illness.

Bernadette maintains close association with International Yoga Teachers Association and is a senior lecturer for their Teacher Training Course.  She has designed and delivered yoga teacher training courses for other organisations.  During 5 years in the UK she taught retreats, workshops and classes across the UK and in Europe and worked as a personal ‘lifestyle’ coach.  Bernadette brings a gentle and loving nature with insight and compassion borne out of her experience. She can assist a deeper connection with the body as a means to rejuvenate the spirit.

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