Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thirsty Fish

One night a baby fish was sleeping under some coral when God appeared to him in a dream. "I want you to go forth with a message to all the fish in the sea,"

God said. "What should I tell them?" the little fish asked. "Just tell them you’re thirsty," God replied. "And see what they do." Then without another word, He disappeared. The next morning the little fish woke up and remembered his dream. "What a strange thing God wants me to do," he thought to himself. But as soon as he saw a large tuna swimming by, the little fish piped up, "Excuse me, but I’m thirsty." "Then you must be a fool," then tuna said. And with a disdainful flick of his tail, he swam away. The little fish did feel rather foolish, but he had his orders. The next fish he saw was a grinning shark. Keeping a safe distance, the little fish called out, "Excuse me, sir, but I’m thirsty." "Then you must be crazy," the shark replied. Noticing a rather hungry look in the shark’s eye, the little fish swam away quickly.

All day he met cod and mackerels and swordfish and groupers, but every time he made his short speech, they turned their backs and would have nothing to do with him.

Feeling hopelessly confused, the little fish sought out the wisest creature in the sea, who happened to be an old blue whale with three harpoon scars on his side. "Excuse me, but I’m thirsty!" the little fish shouted, wondering if the old whale could even see him, he was such a tiny speck. But the wise one stopped in his tracks. "You’ve seen God, haven’t you?" he said. "How did you know?" "Because I was thirsty once, too." The old whale laughed. The little fish looked very surprised. "Please tell me what this message from God means," he implored. "It means that we are looking for Him in the wrong places," the old whale explained. "We look high and low for God, but somehow He’s not there. So we blame Him and tell ourselves that He must have forgotten us. Or else we decide that He left a long time ago, if He was ever around." "How strange," the little fish said, "to miss what is everywhere." "Very strange," the old whale agreed. "Doesn’t it remind you of fish who say they’re thirsty?"

By Michael Jackson.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Acomodador

The acomodador: there is always an event in our lives that is responsible for us failing to progress.

It described exactly what happens in marriages in general and what had happened in my relationship with Esther in particular.
I could now write my article for that magazine. I went over to the computer and within half an hour I had written a first draft and was happy with the result. I wrote a story in the form of a dialogue, as if it were fiction, but which was, in fact, a conversation I had had in a hotel room in Amsterdam, after a day spent promoting my books and after the usual publishers’ supper and the statutory tour of the sights, etc.
In my article, the names of the characters and the situation in which they find themselves are omitted. In real life, Esther is in her nightdress and is looking out at the canal outside our window. She has not yet become a war correspondent, her eyes are still bright with joy, she loves her work, travels with me whenever she can, and life is still one big adventure. I am lying on the bed in silence; my mind is far away, worrying about the next day’s appointments.

"Last week, I interviewed a man who’s an expert in police interrogations. He told me that they get most of their information by using a technique they call ‘cold-hot.’ They always start with a very aggressive policeman who says he has no intention of sticking to the rules, who shouts and thumps the table. When he has scared the prisoner nearly witless, the ‘good cop’ comes in and tells his colleague to stop, offers the prisoner a cigarette, pretends to be his friend, and gets the information he wants.”
“Yes, I’ve heard about that.”
“Then he told me about something else that really frightened me. In 1971, a group of
researchers at Stanford University, in California, decided to create a simulated prison in order to study the psychology of interrogations. They selected twenty-four student volunteers and divided them into ‘guards’ and ‘criminals.’
“After just one week, they had to stop the experiment. The ‘guards’—girls and boys with normal decent values, from nice families—had become real monsters. The use of torture had become routine and the sexual abuse of ‘prisoners’ was seen as normal. The students who took part in the project, both ‘guards’ and ‘criminals,’ suffered major trauma and needed long-term medical help, and the experiment was never repeated.”
“What do you mean ‘interesting’? I’m talking about something of real importance: man’s capacity to do evil whenever he’s given the chance. I’m talking about my work, about the things I’ve learned!”
“That’s what I found interesting. Why are you getting so angry?”
“Angry? How could I possibly get angry with someone who isn’t paying the slightest bit
of attention to what I’m saying? How can I possibly be angry with someone who isn’t
even provoking me, who’s just lying there, staring into space?”
“How much did you have to drink tonight?”
“You don’t even know the answer to that, do you? I’ve been by your side all evening, and you’ve no idea whether I’ve had anything to drink or not! You only spoke to me when you wanted me to confirm something you had said or when you needed me to tell some flattering story about you!”
“Look, I’ve been working all day and I’m exhausted. Why don’t you come to bed and       sleep? We can talk in the morning.”
“Because I’ve been doing this for weeks and months, for the last two years in fact! I try to have a conversation, but you’re always tired, so we say, all right, we’ll go to sleep and talk tomorrow. But tomorrow there are always other things to do, another day of work and publishers’ suppers, so we say, all right, we’ll go to sleep and talk tomorrow. That’s how I’m spending my life, waiting for the day when I can have you by my side again, until I’ve had my fill; that’s all I ask, to create a world where I can always find refuge if I need it: not so far away that I can’t be seen to be having an independent life, and not so close that it looks as if I’m invading your universe.”
“What do you want me to do? Stop working? Give up everything we’ve struggled so hard to achieve and go off on a cruise to the Caribbean? Don’t you understand that I enjoy what I’m doing and haven’t the slightest intention of changing my life?”
“In your books, you talk about the importance of love, the need for adventure, the joy of fighting for your dreams. And who do I have before me now? Someone who doesn’t read what he writes. Someone who confuses love with convenience, adventure with taking unnecessary risks, joy with obligation. Where is the man I married, who used to listen to what I was saying?”
“Where is the woman I married?”
“You mean the one who always gave you support, encouragement, and affection? Her body is here, looking out at the Singel Canal in Amsterdam, and she will, I believe, stay with you for the rest of her life. But that woman’s soul is standing at the door ready to leave.”
“But why?”
“Because of those three wretched words: We’ll talk tomorrow. Isn’t that enough? If not, just consider that the woman you married was excited about life, full of ideas and joy and desires, and is now rapidly turning into a housewife.”
“That’s ridiculous.”
“Of course it is! It’s nonsense! A trifle, especially considering that we have everything we could possibly want. We’re very fortunate, we have money, we never discuss any little flings we might have, we never have jealous rages. Besides, there are millions of children in the world starving to death, there are wars, diseases, hurricanes, tragedies happening every second. So what can I possibly have to complain about?”
“Do you think we should have a baby?”
“That’s how all the couples I know resolve their problems—by having a baby! You’re the one who has always prized your freedom and put off having children for later on. Have you really changed your mind?”
“I think the time is right.”
“Well, in my opinion, you couldn’t be more wrong! I don’t want your child. I want a child by the man I knew, who had dreams, who was always by my side! If I ever do become pregnant it will be by someone who understands me, keeps me company, listens to me, who truly desires me!”
“You have been drinking. Look, I promise, we’ll talk tomorrow, but, please, come to bed now, I’m tired.”
“All right, we’ll talk tomorrow. And if my soul, which is standing at the door, does decide to leave, I doubt it will affect our lives very much.”
“Your soul won’t leave.”
“You used to know my soul very well, but you haven’t spoken to it for years, you don’t know how much it has changed, how desperately it’s begging you to listen. Even to banal topics of conversation, like experiments at American universities.”
“If your soul has changed so much, how come you’re the same?”
“Out of cowardice. Because I genuinely think that tomorrow we will talk. Because of everything we’ve built together and which I don’t want to see destroyed. Or for that worst of all possible reasons, because I’ve simply given up.”
“That’s just what you’ve been accusing me of doing.”
“You’re right. I looked at you, thinking it was you I was looking at, but the truth is I was looking at myself. Tonight I’m going to pray with all my might and all my faith and ask God not to let me spend the rest of my days like this.”

From Paulo Coelho's book The Zahir. 

It might be useful to know that if "I dont know," is the answer to every question you ask; "I know it," is the reply to every fact you tell; and "You know nothing," is the response at every comment you make ... you must know that you have encountered the acomodador!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Relationship: Thine & Mine

“Marie, let’s suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterward, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, while the other man’s face is completely clean. My question is this: Which of the two will wash his face?”

“That’s a silly question. The one with the dirty face, of course.”

“No, the one with the dirty face will look at the other man and assume that he looks like him. And, vice versa, the man with the clean face will see his colleague covered in grime and say to himself: I must be dirty too. I’d better have a wash.”

“What are you trying to say?”

“I’m saying that, during the time I spent in the hospital, I came to realize that I was always looking for myself in the women I loved. I looked at their lovely, clean faces and saw myself reflected in them. They, on the other hand, looked at me and saw the dirt on my face and, however intelligent or self-confident they were, they ended up seeing themselves reflected in me and thinking that they were worse than they were. Please, don’t let that happen to you.”

I would like to have added: that’s what happened to Esther, and I’ve only just realized it, remembering now how the look in her eyes changed. I’d always absorbed her life and her energy, and that made me feel happy and confident, able to go forward. She, on the other hand, had looked at me and felt ugly, diminished, because, as the years passed, my career—the career that she had done so much to make a reality—had relegated our relationship to second place.

If I was to see her again, my face needed to be as clean as hers. Before I could find her, I must first find myself.

From The Zahir- Paulo Coelho

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Feed Your Wolf Well

One evening an old Apache told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

"One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
"The other is The Spirit - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Apache simply replied, "The one you feed..."

- Anon

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Don't Go Back To Sleep

One night a man was crying,
Allah! Allah!

His lips grew sweet with the praising,
until a cynic said,
"So! I have heard you
calling out, but have you ever
gotten any response?"
The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.
"Why did you stop praising?"
"Because I’ve never heard anything back."

"This longing you express is the return message."

- Rumi

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Enjoy Your Coffee

A group of highly placed alumni visited their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work & life.
Offering them coffee, the professor returned from kitchen with a pot of coffee & an assortment of cups - porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, some exquisite.

He asked them to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said, "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain ones. 
While it is but normal for you to want only the best, that is also the source of your stress. What you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you still went for the best cups & were eyeing each other's cup.
If life is coffee, then jobs, money & status in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold & contain life.
Don't let the cups drive you,

Enjoy the coffee!" :)


Hey, and dont forget to listen to this ;)

Saturday, January 7, 2012


As the first of drizzle shimmered on the black coat & the wafts of steamy coffee made my glasses go foggy; it reminded of the realness of this surreality. I fell in love.

The first rain drops kept their naughty trailing path over my face, as my eyes followed the ripples in the little puddles on that marble floor.

The heart beat with the sound of those falling drops.

The mind wandered. 
Somewhere between the idle talk, and somewhere there in a room, inside that building. It was such a to-and-fro trip: an idle talk, in the afternoon of a day somewhere in early January of 2012 ... and inside that room, in the afternoon of a day somewhere in late March of 2010.

'Things end.' I reminded myself. 'Like this cup of coffee. Or like the sound of this throaty laugh'.

I inhaled the scent of winter again.

First rain.

The wet earth.

The lavish heavens.

The damp cold.

That warmth of the styrofoam cup in my hands. 

I let my painted nails peel a little of that white cup.

It was all real.

The present. 
Just that it was so magical, it was making me go back into a time tunnel that does not exist.

I felt the moisture of those flirty rain drops on my face. And recalled the tears of that other afternoon. Inside that room, in the afternoon of a day somewhere in late March of 2010. 

This is real. I remind myself. This moment. This smile. This breath that turns to fog as I exhale.

Standing on those marble steps, I looked back into the welcome gallery of that building.
This is the present. And in the afternoon of a day somewhere in early January of 2012 I stood outside of this  building with my back towards the welcome gallery of the REDC.