Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Presenting word of God

If you are into channel surfing during commercial breaks, you wouldn't have missed the smiling Joel Osteen on the spiritual channel. That was the way, Me and Feroz, came across his presentation. We were impressed with his presentation skills in presenting the word of God and wondered if other preachers could have such a positive disposition in presenting the word of God as we get to see in him or Sri Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Have you ever heard these words on the need for good presentation from a preacher - "Even many good, godly people have gotten into a bad habit of slumping and looking down. You need to put your shoulders back, hold your head up high, and communicate strength, determination, and confidence. After all, We know we're representing Almighty God. Let's learn to walk tall.". These are words from Joel's book "Become a Better You"

Listening to these ideas about God from Joel's presentation, Feroz said rather than people exchanging emails about the importance of praying, doing good works and fear of the day of judegement, which every adult has been told about all his life since childhood, it would be good to exchange such motivational ideas about God and how he wants us to succeed.

Joel says he sees himself more as a coach, as a motivator to help people experience the life God has for us. Some of his words
- If Jesus were here today, he wouldn't be riding around on a donkey. He'd be taking a plane, he'd be using the media.
- I think God's justice is making wrongs right.
- God didn't make a mistake when He made you. You need to see yourself as God sees you.
- It doesn't please God for us to drag through life like miserable failures. The Creator wants you to succeed; He created you to live abundantly.
- You may make some mistakes-but that doesn't make you a sinner. You've got the very nature of God on the inside of you.
- Prospering just doesn't have to do with money
- Only God can look at somebody's heart
- God wants you to be a winner, not a whiner.
- A good thing to remember is somebody's got it a lot worse than we do
- When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.

Inspirational Mesasge in your inbox every day

Creative Force of Life - No matter where you are in life right now, God has much more in store for you. God wants you to take you to new levels in every area of your life. He wants you to give more wisdom so you can make more decisions. He wants to give you a stronger anointing so you can have a greater influence. He wants to bless you financially so you have be a blessing to others. Don't get stuck in the same old rut - there is so much more to life! God has new frontiers for you to explore and higher mountains to climb! I can tell you with great confidence that your best days are right out in front of you! Doesn't this sounds so much like the Creative force of life when Steven Covey talks about it.

Habit 1 It is time to be aggressive and energetic when it comes to letting go of the past and pressing forward to the abundant life God has in store for you. It is time to rise up and boldly go after your victory! It is time to develop a warrior mentality and proactively pursue the happiness, health and peace that God has promised in His Word. Doesn't Steve Covey talks about experiencing the creative force of our life by making the right choices

Habit 2 If there is an area of life where you are struggling–your marriage, your health, your finances–wherever you may be having difficulty, we encourage you to see yourself succeeding. Once you begin to look at life through your eyes of faith, your actual physical existence will come in line with what you see. If you are going to reap good things, you have to sow good seeds first. Imagine if a farmer decided one year that he really did not feel like planting. We know he must get his seed in the ground if he ever wants to see a harvest. Doesn't Steve Covey talks about this in Habit 2
........and so on

Steven Covey's Seven Habits are principles that are embeded in the word of God. It is Steven Covey's presentation skills that has made them so popular.
In his interview with Businessweek, Joel says his a message is that of encouragement. "I always try to put a seed of hope into people's hearts. I'm not there to teach them doctrine necessarily, but to let them know that God is a good God, and is on their side and has a plan for their lives. Hopefully, that will restore their faith, or draw them into faith."

Q: Some of your critics say that your so-called prosperity Gospel isn't in keeping with the traditional Christian message, which has often been suspicious of material wealth. How do you respond?
A: I believe that God's dream is that we be successful in our careers, and that we be able to send our kids to college. I don't mean that everyone is going to be rich, and I preach a lot on blooming where you're planted. But I don't have the mindset that money is a bad thing. My views may go against some of the older, traditional teachings. But I think we should have a mindset that God wants us to prosper in our relationships, our health, and our finances. God's desire is that we excel.
Some of his responses on Larry King are interesting coming from a Pastor of world repute

KING: But it doesn't quote a lot of biblical passages until the back of the book, right?
OSTEEN: It doesn't do a whole lot of it. My message, I wanted to reach the mainstream. We've reached the church audience. So I just try to, what I do is just try to teach practical principles. I may not bring the scripture in until the end of my sermon and i might feel bad about that. Here's the thought. I talked yesterday about living to give. That's what a life should be about. I brought in at the end about some of the scriptures that talk about that. Put same principal in the book

KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?
OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say, here's what the bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just...

KING: But you believe your way.
OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.

KING: But for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he?
OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let god be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know.

KING: So you make no judgment on anyone?

KING: What about atheists?
OSTEEN: You know what, I'm going to let god be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just -- again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around telling everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their choice. God's got to look at your own heart. God's got to look at your heart, and only god knows that.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What is our brand - Azara Feroz Sayed

One more post on perception! Perception others have about us - our brand!

As we discussed earlier in the post "Parent V/s Child", Seeing ourself from the eyes of a loved one, co-worker, employers helps to gain perspective of the relationship. As we view ourself through other's eyes, we begin to learn how to escape the labels that others have pinned on us, and more importantly, labels that we have unconciously pinned on ourself by snippets of personal behavior that are out of place. Example wearing a ribbon bow is associated with being a little girl and not a mature responsible woman. Unconciously, others will label such a person as lighweight! If your work environment (desk with silly stuff) indicates you don't take yourself seriously nobody else will.

The article below talks about importance of our personal branding.

Feroz stresses on the importance of personal branding often with me as discussed in the below article. When these ideas are presented in an article the importance of those dawn on me. Apart from chitchating for long at work or using office time for personal work, that I talked about in the earlier post, presentation was important too for Feroz. I can't forget how he was upset about me carrying a cheap lunch bag to work and would never let go an oppurtunity to talk about it (he wouldn't touch it too) till I got a decent one.

Their is one more aspect about personal branding that would need a separate post in itself and it is about team relationships. All the training programs that we attend talk about having fun with the team, being one with them and having no barriers with team members. Feroz would talk to me against it. He believed it was important to ensure the manager relationship doesn't deteriotes. I would argue with Feroz on this till I read article by Marc Crammer (Wharton Professor) who writes weekly in Bulletin (philadelphia newspaper). Does familiarity with Feroz (refer once again the parent v/s child post) gets in the way of me accepting Feroz's ideas without arguing while readily accepting the ones posted on the net!!
I recently spoke at a conference with a guy who (I was informed) gets paid over $15,000 for his forty five minute presentation. Was he good? Yep. Was he mind-blowingly incredible? Nope. Was he fifteen times better than the $1,000 speaker? Nope. Then why did that company pay so much for his services? Because they were buying a brand that's why. A name. A reputation.

What do you think would have happened if I had told the conference organiser that I could have provided a $1,000 speaker (unknown brand) to deliver the exact same message (same info, same style, same passion, same quality) for one fifteenth of the cost? More than likely he or she would have said "thanks, but no thanks." Because:
1. They want the brand.
2. On some level they don't really believe that the $1,000 speaker could deliver like the $15,000 guy and
3. Even when it comes to corporate speakers, we're label shoppers!

That's the genius of great branding! it often has nothing to do with reality (what you're actually buying) and everything to do with perception (what you believe you're buying). It's about making people feel and think a certain way about something (a product, person, program, company, system).

What is your brand right now? Whether or not you know it, want it or like it, you have your own brand already!

How other people perceive us. Now, of course we don't want to be obsessed with, or insecure about what people think of us but at the same time, it is important that we all realise that our personal brand (how we are perceived) will have a great impact on virtually every area of our life.

If people perceive us as untrustworthy and unprofessional individual, then they won't want to do business with us or have us on their team. If your brand reeks of arrogance and ego they won't respect us or want to listen to us. If we are wearing the needy, insecure and high-maintenance labels then they'll avoid us like the plague.

However, if our brand is synonymous with quality, integrity, reliability, honesty, generosity and thoughtfulness then we (and our skills, products, services) will be in demand.

Everything we do (and don't do) says something about our brand - who we are!
Our communication style, our habits (chitchating for long), our values, how we present ourself (r, what shape we are in physically, how we deal with different situations and challenges, how we manage relationships, how we resolve conflict, how we interact with our staff / work colleagues, our ability to get stuff done and the results we do and don't produce.

The questions we might want to ask yourself moving forward are:
1. What kind of branding do I have right now and
2. How can I improve the value of my brand?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dog Lovers - Azara Feroz Sayed

Came across a short story (see tail end of this post) and could understand the emotions of being spouse of a Dog Lover. I grew up without having any pets and never gave them much of a thought. Overtime, in Feroz's company, I learnt the pleasure of being with dogs, cats, birds or animals while we were outdoors and yes animal planet!

I recollect our second meeting in Pune University campus. Feroz and me were having dabba lunch in an open space and were joined by a stray dog and soon there was a dog party around! Feroz was busy talking with them and feeding them, ensuring everybody gets equal share, shoving away the dog not letting others eat, helping a clumsy one to have his share. He was having such a good time with them and I thought this man can be happy in any circumstance if his pleasures are derived from the small things. If he spends so much time with dogs because he loves them - I just have to ensure his love for me never fades and everthing else he will be fine!

I wish, I had access to the picture on our Andaman trip with almost a dozen dogs on Feroz. We had been to the beach to see the sun rise and there were a few stray dogs. Feroz patted one of them and soon in a matter of minutes there were about a dozen dogs all over Feroz. We forgot we were there for the sun rise!

When he is around with dogs, he calls them with names and talks to them as if talking to people. I am a glucose biscuit fan and most of my share would be for the dogs or rather I would get a share from the dogs. He buys bread, biscuits for feeding the dogs in his college campus. At times, he feeds his entire lunch, dinner of chicken, meat (Feroz's favourite) to dogs, birds. His best meal is the one spent with feeding the dogs, birds. Read the story below to know what that means to a spouse!

I was a person who would be scared of dogs and not get close to I want to pat them and talk to them! It started with Feroz telling me stories that dogs smell if a person is scared i.e. when we are scared our body gives out a special kind of odour that dogs use to get to the scared person all the more. Knowing that, I started being relaxed letting the dogs know I am OK when I wouldn't be! Feroz showed me spots where an animal should be stroked and it will be comming to you to do that again and again. I saw it work on a huge texas bull too!

The same is true with birds too. Feroz taught me the pleasure of bird feeding and talking to them. Watching the bold sparrow fight a pigeon for a piece of bread - with Feroz's commentary on one of the sparrow who was eating for a long time is going have to have stomach upset etc. I love to hear him talk with them and provide me the entertainment of a movie in the outdoor - without spending hours!

I remember what a spoil sport I was when I didn't let Feroz enjoy his bird feeding by pestering him for dropping the food on the floor of the terrace of a posh hotel. I thought others wouldn't like it - as sparrows, pigeons came over and there would be food left over too on the floor if the birds didn't finish. Feroz went on with his feeding without listening to me. He cleaned the floor with tissues after he was done. I missed on all the pleasure that day due to my worrying about how annoying it would be for others to see Feroz talking and feeding to the birds!

Now I don't pass a bird with talking to it!

The List
He read the note, folded it, tucked it in his pocket. He’d found it by the roadside. He’d hoped for something more interesting, not: lemons, dish detergent, butter, Scones. The handwriting was old-fashioned, an old lady’s, limp and loose; one could see the well-formed characters but they’d lost definition, the hand a bit shaky.

He’d been hoping for something more revealing, revelatory, a sign or portent:
Meet me at the boathouse at 2:00pm
You will soon receive an unexpected visitor.

He thought no more about it. Just a shopping list—someone else’s unmet needs. What were his own? What would his list look like?
a love relationship
a more rewarding job
a goal and destination…

He hadn’t always been so without definition. His figure had once cut a sharper shape. He hadn’t always had his father’s ailing health to look after…

The smell of pine sap reached him. He was walking past the park where he and Elena had first met, she with her little dog—Clémence, she called it—which seemed to him too much of a person’s name. But then Elena and Clémence were awfully bonded, and that was the problem, wasn’t it--it left no room for him—how, after all, does one compete with cute little fluff ball of fur? Something that promised loyalty, fun and affection, yet never really demanded anything—just some food and caressing—a minimum of fuss.

Of course, Elena thought him crazy—jealous of a Yorkshire Terrier. But he was. She couldn’t see that her devotion was extreme, her attachment unhealthy. Instead it was: “You’re the one with the problem! Unable to attach yourself to anyone!”

There was perhaps some truth to the statement, he could admit, which showed finally that he was much more reasonable than she—who could admit nothing, nothing was ever wrong with her or Clémence—how quickly she flew to her dog’s defense! “She doesn’t shed, what are you talking about?” “She does not eat too much!“ “She doesn’t smell—what’s the matter with you?”

It was all his problem then. His obsessing over a dog. Poor Clémence. It’s true he’d thought of killing it. He’d sometimes wanted to. But the thought of the aftermath—Elena mad with grief and rage—was not a happy picture. It wouldn’t make her run to him, he knew. She’d just burrow further into her devotion and commitment, if only to the memory of Clémence.

Was it too difficult to form a new attachment at age 48? We’ve lived too long, he thought. Loved enough, or not enough, but have enough of our identities intact that the need for someone else just isn’t strong enough. And yet… The last time he saw her he’d wanted her with a ferocity that surprised him. Her smile, the way her hair fell in wisps around her ears, her legs—still shapely and attractive beneath her short skirt. She was kind and funny and physically attractive, and having been in a number of relationships over the years, from two days to 14 years, he knew this was all that mattered to him now, it had boiled down to this: thoughtfulness, a sense of humor, an attractive physique. But sans Clémence. Just get rid of the dog.

He'd wandered onto the trail that began in the park and wound its way through the woods. He trod the path without thinking, without noticing: faint sound of birds, insects, twigs crackling. Soon the sun would be sinking. He thought of the list he’d pocketed: lemons, dish detergent, butter, scones

He could remember the items easily. And if he placed those four items in his shopping basket? Would he have the answer? How simple, really, so simple. His step quickened. He knew the Quick Mart would be open now; the trail led almost to its doorstep. He smiled—at nothing, to no one in particular.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Using Oracle for generating ideas - Azara Feroz Sayed

Came across the summary of the book A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech. This was one of the book apart from Bono's that Feroz recommended me for creativity. It is a fun book to read with lots of humor and quiz to make you think creatively - How do you keep a fish from smelling? The answer is embeded in this post. My earlier post on metaphors for life was based on this book about using metaphors for creating perspective. The last two chapters in the book are brilliant - the epigrams of Heraculitis is a must read!

I could relate to the thought mentioned about a creative person with Feroz's creativity, excitement to know-it-all and attributing his creativity to his association with Farukh Mamu's creative work The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things: ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, flower arranging. He never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later or six years down the road. But the creative person has faith that it will happen. Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different. The key to being creative lies in what we do with our knowledge. By changing perspective and playing with our knowledge we can make the ordinary extraordinary. It is all about setting the mental channel, after you buy your new car, you see that make everywhere. Make it a point to keep on the lookout for novel and interesting ideas that others have used sucessfully. Your idea has to be original only in its adaption to the problem you are currently working on.

I should mention this anecdote to drive how a creative person sees what everyone see but thinks differently. I watched Patriot movie with Feroz and never thought about qualities of leadership. Feroz used the clipping of the movie in the training session he conducted for our neighbour's staff, a couple of weeks later. He played the clip where Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) and his men return to see their family mercilessly killed by the British. He asked the participants to think what a leader should do at such times - Benjamin Martin in the movie asks his men to go and take care of their family!

One of the tool mentioned in the book as part of generating ideas is using an Oracle. One of the Oracle's best known prophecies came in the year 480 B.C. The persians under Xerces invaded Greek. The Athenian city-fathers were concerned as to which course of action they should take against the oncoming Persians. They realized, however, that before any decision could be made, they should send supplicants to Delphi to get a reading from the oracle. The supplicants received the prophecy : The wooden wall will save you and your children. The city-fathers thought over what the prophecy meant. Someone suggested build a wooden wall on the Acropolis and take a defensive stand behind it. The city-fathers tried to think of all the contexts - both literal and metaphorical - in which the words would make sense. Could the "wooden wall" be the result of all the Athenian wooden-hulled ships lined up next to each other. From a distance the ships would indeed look like a wooden wall. The city-fathers decided, therefore, that the battle should be a naval one rather than a land one.

The book mentions about using our own ideas for creating such props (oracles) to generate ideas.

Refer Roger's blog to know more about another prop (Indian's map) similar to the oracle used by the Athenians to generate random ideas and to consult our deeper wisdom and intuition to consider alternatives.

The blog below mentions about one such prop used by the group

The summary that was the motivation for this post,ideas
The book begins with 10 myths (“mental blocks”) stopping us from being creative. The best way to opening the mental locks is to be aware of them and then temporarily
forget them when trying to generate new ideas.
1. The right answer. Our education system teaches us to look for the one right answer. Trouble is, in business, as in life, there are often several right answers. “Many of us,” says von Oech, “have a tendency to stop looking for alternative right answers after the first right answer has been found. This is unfortunate because often it’s the second, or third, or tenth right answer which is what we need to solve a problem in an innovative way.”. If you have only one idea, you have only one course of action open to you, and this is quiet risky in a world where flexibility is requirement for survival. Also with one idea, you don't have anything to compare it to. The best way to get a good idea is to have lot of ideas.
Tip: Ask questions that solicit multiple answers. Change question's wordings

2.That’s not logical. Logic is great at the implementation phase of an idea, but when you are searching and playing with ideas, excessive logic can short-circuit your creative process. Our educational system doesn't provides scope for Soft thinking (imaginitive thinking) all the attention is on hard thinking (focus on implementation during thinking). Like in the question, "How do you stop the fish from smelling?" a soft thinking answer would be seal the fish's nose!
Tip: Try some “soft thinking”. Ask “what if?”, “why not?”, "what rules can we break?”, “what assumptions can we drop?”, “how about we look at this backwards?”

3. Follow the rules. Most organisations have rules that were once sensible but are now obsolete. We tend not to challenge them because “that’s how it’s always been”. Breaking the rules won’t necessarily lead to creative thinking, but it’s one avenue. If you don't ask why this? often enough somebody will ask ehy you? Creative thinking may simply mean the realization that there is no particular virtue in doing things the way they have always been done. Many rules outlive the purpose for which they were intended. Don't fall in love withan idea if you do you will want to use it everywhere.
Tip: Have rule-inspecting and rule-discarding sessions within your organisation.

4. Be practical. Most people have a natural tendency to be critical of new ideas and focus on why they won’t work. The amount a person uses her imagination is inversely proportional to the amount of punishment she will receive for using it. Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after growing up.
Tip: Try evaluating a new idea, not on its practical merits, but as a provocative stepping stone to come up with other ideas, some of which might eventually work.

5. Play is frivolous. Some good ideas emerge from necessity or deadline pressure. Just as many come over a boozy lunch, or when you aren’t thinking about the problem too seriously. A playful attitude is fundamental to creativity. We generate most of our new ideas while playing in our mental playground. That's becuase our defenses are down, our mental locks are loosened and there is little concern about rules, practicality or being wrong.
Tip: Introduce humour or wackiness into a meeting to stimulate the flow of ideas. Make your workplace a fun place to be.

6. That’s not my area. Many exciting ideas have come from transferring knowledge from one area into another. But most people don’t consult colleagues in other disciplines to get answers to problems. The more specialised you are, the less likely you are to explore other fields. Anyone can look for fashion in a boutique or history in museum. The creative person looks for history and fashion in airport.
Tip: Develop the outlook that wherever you go and whoever you talk to, there are ideas waiting to be discovered.

7. Avoid ambiguity. Many cultures use the concept of an “oracle” to take advantage of our ability to make sense out of ambiguous situations. The oracle gives its pronouncements in an ambiguous way, and leaves its hearers to come up with a creative interpretation. Trouble is, these days we tend to avoid ambiguity, seeing it as a potential cause of communication problems and time wasting.
Tip: If you are giving someone a problem that has the potential to be solved in a creative way, try, at least initially, to pose it in an ambiguous way, so as not to restrict their imagination.

8. Don’t be foolish. The classical “fool” was an antidote to the yes-men surrounding the king. His role was to parody the common view on an issue and force the king to re-examine his assumptions and entertain alternative ideas. Reverse your viewpoint. You can't see the good ideas behind you by looking twice as hard at what's in front of you.
Tip: If you are in a rut about a problem, try freeing up your thinking by taking the contrary position or disagreeing with the common sense view.

9. To err is wrong. From an early stage we are rewarded for the right answer and punished for the wrong one. We learn to keep mistakes to a minimum. Actually there are two benefits of failure: you learn what doesn’t work, and you get an opportunity to try a new approach. Use error as a stepping stone to an idea you might have not otherwise discovered.
Tip: If you aren’t making many errors, ask yourself, “How many opportunities am I missing by not being more aggressive?”

10. I’m not creative. A major oil company hired psychologists to find out why some of its engineers produced more creative product than others. The answer: the ones doing creative things thought they were creative; the others didn’t think they were.
Tip: A major factor differentiating creative people from the rest is that they believe their small ideas could lead to something bigger and build on these ideas. Do it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Poem of the Week - Azara Feroz Sayed

Marilyn Vos Savant recommends one of the ways to increase our comprehension is to read a poem - reading the same poem many times to see how many different meanings, perspectives come out of it

I came across 'Poem of the Week' blog which will help me look at a poem for a week.

The blog has Johannan Wolfgang Goethe's banner "A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful implanted in the human soul.”

The poem below is from last week
The Winter by Linda Bierds
A little satin like wind at the door.
My mother slips past in great side hoops,
arced like the ears of elephants
on her head a goat-white wig,
on her cheek a dollop of mole

She has entered the evening,
and I her room with its hazel light.
Where her wig had rested is a leather head,
a stand, perfect in its shadow but carrying in fact,
where the face should be, a swath of door.

It cups in its skull-curved closure clay hair stays,
a pouch of wig talc that snows at random
and lends to the table a neck-shaped ring.

When I reach inside I am frosted,
my hand like a pond in winter,
pale fingers below of leaves or carp.

I have studied a painting from Holland,
where a village adjourns to a frozen river.
Skaters and sleighs, of course,
but ale tents, the musk of chestnuts,
someone thick on a chair with a lap robe.

I do not know what becomes of them when the flow revisits.
Or why they have moved from their warm hearthstones to settle there—
except that one step is a method of gliding,
the self for those moments weightless and preened as my leather companion.

And I do not know if the fish there have frozen,
or wait in some stasis like flowers.
Perhaps they are stunned by the strange heaven—
dotted with boot soles and chair legs
and are slumped on the mud-rich bottom—
waiting through time for a kind of shimmer,
an image perhaps, something known and familiar,
something rushing above in their own likeness,
silver and blade-thin at the rim of the world.

For a novice to poetry like me, whose knowledge of poetry is limited to school curiculum, using the reading guide and from the poetry foundation helped me appreciate the arcs of elephants, the snow, the pond
Using the reading guide doesn't serves the purpose of improving comprehension and perspective as I am using the poetryfoundation author's perspective on the poem. I am assuming it is the fear of peotry as a medium which made it difficult for me to appreciate the poem and I should be able to get over it soon.

When we were getting to know each other Feroz would send me poems and it would be an embarassing situation as I would ask him to explain the poem. This eventually then reduced to discussing poems from school. Hopefully I should be doing without the reading guide some day and would be able to be a better poetry companion to Feroz.

Reading Guide: Linda Bierds by Averill Curdy
A boy’s mother goes out for the evening, and his vision of her as she leaves is otherworldly—elusive, estranged, alluring:

A little satin like wind at the door.
My mother slips past in great side hoops,
arced like the ears of elephants—
on her head a goat-white wig,
on her cheek a dollop of mole.

She has entered the evening, and I
her room with its hazel light.

But all of this remains hidden in the boy’s future. For now, he investigates his mother’s room:
Where her wig had rested is a leather head,
a stand, perfect in its shadow but
carrying in fact, where the face should be,
a swath of door. It cups in its skull-curved enclosure
clay hair stays, a pouch of wig talc
that snows at random and lends to the table a neck-shaped ring.

When I reach inside I am frosted,
my hand like a pond in winter, pale
fingers below of leaves or carp.

Here, another door opens. As he reaches inside the head-shaped wigstand, his gesture leads readers into his own imagination. He compares his powdered hand to a pond, his fingers to leaves or fish—all images, like those used earlier to describe his mother, associated with an animated, natural world opposed to hoopskirts and wigs
A happy accident of this kind occurs when the similes of the first stanzas lead him to the memory of the painting, enabling the imaginative leap of his poem’s conclusion.

Darwin’s comparisons of talc to snow, of his hand to a pond, allow him to reach the memory of the Dutch painting he once studied. The poem’s section closes with a splendid re-creation of the scene in the painting—a skating party on a frozen pond—proceeding to what the boy imagines lies beneath the surface, the fish “frozen, or . . . in some stasis / like flowers.” He wonders if
Perhaps they are stunned
by the strange heaven—dotted with
boot soles and chair legs—
and are slumped on the mud-rich bottom,
waiting through time for a kind of shimmer,
an image perhaps, something
known and familiar, something
rushing above their own likeness,
silver and blade-thin at the rim of the world.

“strange heaven,” of heaven as a human invention of “something known and familiar” in death

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Parent v/s Child - Azara Feroz Sayed

In one of the brain builders, Marilyn Vos Sant, talks about how lack of perspective by parents contributes to the change in Parent Child relationship from kid to a teenager and beyond.

When children are small, their parents tend to think that everything that comes out of their rosebud mouths is adorable, intelligent, precious and worth repeating endlessly. The years roll by, and the kids get older. Suddently thier parents no longer think they are budding geniuses. Parents tend to treat children as they know nothing! Does famililarity breeds contempt?

Due to lack of perspective, they still perceive you as a child but since you do not continue to do childish things, they don't find you cute anymore. Even when you are an adult, parents still see you as their child, but see other adults as they are! (even though those other adults are seen as children by their parents). It produces rage to see your parents accepting statements and opinions of others while degrading your own. If you pass off a statement of your own as coming from someone else, they may very well nod their acceptance!

Is that the reason so many people "leave home", moving from the cities or areas in which they were born - searching for the respect they can't get from "thier people" while they know they can get it from strangers.

Will it be OK if we treat family members more impersonally as we would business associates. We wouldn't expect a client or fellow-worker to respect our opinion if we presented it in our nightgown. When we say "Mom", "Dad", we ask for babying, not respect!

Not to be emotional with parents as we wouldn't be with a client or co-worker is important too - to earn respect for our ideas!

We exhibit self confidence with our business associates extending it to parents will help in earning parent's respect and also better managing our concern if they really do or not!

Seeing ourself from the eyes of a loved one, co-worker, employers helps to gain perspective of the relationship. As we view yourself through other's eyes, we begin to learn how to escape the labels that others have pinned on us, and more importantly, labels thar we have unconciously pinned on ourself by snippets of personal behavior that are out of place. Example wearing a ribbon bow is associated with being a little girl and not a mature responsible woman. Unconciously, others will label such a person as lighweight! If your work environment (desk with silly stuff) indicates you don't take yourself seriously nobody else will.

When we were getting to know each other and in my excitement I would get into long phone calls with Feroz at work - Feroz would stop me and ask him to call before or after work. He insists on dressing with dignity and exhibiting behavior at work for people to take you seriously.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Building Perspective - Azara Feroz Sayed

Feroz talks to me a lot about perspective - your mind is your greatest friend and biggest enemy!

I recollect how like a a good neighbour (you know what it means!) I was scuttlebutting Feroz about our muslim neighbour wearing a bindi and he said so what? Feroz made me feel stupid by his comment and got me thinking - yes if we can wear lipstick and other kinds of paint on us why not a bindi - with my limited knowledge of Islam - I do know - women should not dress like a man - is what Islam prescribes about dress code - there shouldn't be a reference of wearing lipstick, makeup, bindi anywhere in the Hadiths - and Indian Muslims have conviniently accepted wearing lipstick and makeup is OK while wearing a bindi is not right! my frame of reference changed!

We, Maharashtrian Muslims, are required to wear managalsutra (wedding chain with black beads, a important part of Hindu wedding ritual) after marriage. I take pride in wearing it - as it is gift from Feroz to me and is as dear to me as my wedding ring! The mangalsutra is one of the many customs, traditions, rituals that muslims adopt from their geographical location. I am sure a Tamilian or Keralite muslim would have similar wedding chain requirements based on the wedding customs in Tamilnadu and Kerala. In other words - apart from believing in the words of God (quran) and the life & living of the Prophet (Hadith) - the customs (day to day living) of a Maharashtrian Muslim or a Tamilian Muslim etc would have tinge of the customs of Maharashtra or Tamilnadu respectively. So next time you see a Indian Muslim - don't think of the Arabs or Pakistani! With that said, if wearing a managalsutra is OK then why not a bindi!

Talking with Feroz always helped to see things from different perspective. In another incident, while watching wedding pictures of our muslim acquaintance, I commented on the plunging neckline of the bride and once again I was stupified by Feroz's so what? I put together his thoughts on this matter that he mentioned so many times and I knew what his "so what" meant - One thing you can be sure of these people are not hypocrites. He comments about muslim women wearing scarf over a figure hugging dress. I thank God for blessing me with Feroz everytime he forces me to think about my judegements!

Perspective is the most important ingredient in forming judgements. There are so many things that have been defined as right and wrong when we were born and we accept it each day without questioning! Marilyn Vos Sant, the author of brain builder, had suggested as part of one of her brain building exercise to conciously make a note of ideas that we accept without questioning and to start looking at them from a different frame of reference.

Identifying people by gender, age, race makes us use those categories for judgements as though they were to blame for everything e.g. a pakistani muslim etc Why not list the political party that they associate with - as belonging to a political party is voluntary and indicates something about the person's mind!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Being a Parent - Azara Feroz Sayed

A Parent makes sacrifices each day to ensure a better future for their child sometimes these sacrifices are as hard as knowingly hurting the child for the child's own good - as in this touching story about Parenting in one of the forward emails - where 'Easy Eddie' leaves his child fatherless.

Two interesting real life stories, read on,

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago .. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but also, Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him. Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object. And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great.

So, he testified; Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine. The poem read:

The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still.

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold: a squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction. Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II , and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29.

His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.

Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Being 'Nobody' to Everybody - Azara Feroz Sayed

Came across the article by Shri Shri Ravi Shankar about pasted below about the importance of broad minded education - one which helps us to be friendly and compassionate, to be a "nobody" with everybody.

Feroz's versatility in being one with the small town people from my home-town at the same time with corporate VPs is one of the things I admire. He easily gels with everyone by going down or up to their level as the situation needed and win over everyone! He insists on me having the same versatility. I should talk about this situtation that he pulls-my-leg whenever there is a mention about my home town and couldn't stop thinking about it now too. When I was looking for a job, in an interview by an Indian Consulatant in US, I was asked where in India I was from. I mentioned about being from a town on the border of Goa and Maharashtra. What I meant was my original home town. After the interview, Feroz mentioned in an interview you are supposed to make an impression, if you say you are from a small place it is not right while you have been born and brought up in Mumbai. The Professor's last lecture post tells us that people who care spend time with you in correcting you, improving you. I thank god everytime I see Feroz do that to me!

When talking about versatility, Me and Feroz talk about Amir Khan's versatility in Lagaan, Dil Chahata Hai roles. A creative person using his blog to connect with fans rather than media. His thoughts on Olympic Torch Relay are good and were on my mind when I was reading Shri Shri Ravi Shankar's article.
Another example of Amir Khan's out-of-the-box thinking, something we need to apply in our daily lives too to make sure we are not giving up on the low hanging fruits - Apart from his remuneration, Aamir Khan also charges 30% money on any brand that is promoted in his film. While other actors haven’t realized the potential of this deal, Aamir takes a considerable amount of every product endorsed in the film. Other actors promote these brands for free, but Aamir uses the power to command for share from in-film branding too.
Only an education that can nourish inbuilt virtues can impart true intelligence

Today, it is the concern of every parent that their children should grow up to be well-educated human beings with certain values in their lives, and that they should be happy. But somewhere along the line, the link to happiness appears to be getting severed. We are losing the goal of happiness.

Look at a child, a baby, what a beautiful smile it has. What joy and friendliness it exudes. But see the face of the same child by the time he passes out of school and college. Does it still retain that joy, that innocence, that beauty that it was endowed with as an infant?

This is what we need to take a really good look at, and think: is there any way that the innocence of an individual can be retained despite growing older, despite maturing? If we can achieve that, then we will have attained something really marvellous; because innocence brings with itself a certain beauty.

Even an ignorant person can be innocent, but such innocence does not have much value. And an intelligent person can be crooked, but such intelligence does not have much value. What is worth having on this planet is an intelligence that is complementary with innocence, that does not destroy innocence.

Can we not introduce such values in our education system that every child learns to be friendly? In schools and colleges, if you ask the children how many friends they have, they’ll count on their fingers — one, two, three, four, five... Not more than that. I have a question for children: if you don’t know how to be friendly with the 40-50 children present in your classroom over a period of a year, how will you ever become friendly with the 6 billion people on the planet?

The basic tendency to make friends has been lost somewhere in the pursuit of selfish education. As a part of their education, children should be encouraged to make one new friend a day.

Like the protons and neutrons are in the centre of the atom while the negative charged particles are only on the circumference, similarly in human consciousness, mind and life also, all the negativities are in the periphery. At the core of every being, there is positivity and virtue. And if we are successful in finding the means to nourish this virtue, we will see the youth come up radiant and endowed with human values.

To me, the sign of true and lasting success is a smile (which nobody can take away from you) together with friendliness, compassion and a willingness to serve each other. That’s why it’s very painful to hear that there are shootouts in colleges today. I think it’s high time that we came together to identify ways and means of restoring the respect, honour and dignity that education has commanded historically.

The need of the day is a broad-minded education accompanied by a warm heart. It is of no use if you acquire good education and then begin to look down upon everybody else. A well-educated person is one who is friendly and compassionate, who can be a ‘‘nobody’’ with everybody.

And whether terrorism has its roots in leftist doctrine or in religious doctrine, they are all spawned in schools and colleges. That’s where the children and the youth start reflecting what is what is right and what is wrong; which, in turn, leads to deliberation as to what they should do to put the entire world right. A multicultural and multi-faith open-mindedness can come from education alone. Even if a small part of the planet is left ignorant on this level, the world will still not be a safe place.

So all the big thinkers and good minds in society today must ponder on a holistic, healthy education that will help us retain the virtues and values which we are all naturally endowed with. Together, we must help spread the significance of human values, broadmindedness and warm hearts; that should be our goal while bringing up our children.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Our Legacy - How much backward can we trace - Azara Feroz Sayed

We all know about Anne Sullivan, Hellen Keller's teacher, the article below talks about how Anne Sullivan's life was in turn changed by her teacher.

Do we know how some of the beautiful things instilled in us has a similar connection. Wish there was a way to trace how far back does it go. Isn't it interesting to know how we pass these beautiful things to others, we touch, as we go thru our lives - how many lives going forward will our legacy touch?

Feroz can never stop talking about his family's contribution in his formation years like Farooq Mamu for instilling creativity in him, Usman Manu for his discipline, Abba for his quiet dispostion and intellect, Mummy for her keenness in education and religion, Khala for her music, Naseem Appa for his education. I am wondering, will each of them would have something similar to say.

My pappa didn't have close family (parents, brother passed away early) - his hard work, enthusiasm and postiveness to life, friends and love for his family(wife and children) were his strength. These were inculcated in me. And yes, unabashed praising of his wife - you now know the reason I talk so much about Feroz.

God blessed me with Feroz so I could catch on all the good things in his life too. This gift in life inspires me to touch other people's life too. We have been blessed with family and friends who enrich us with their life and experience - inspiring us to share with the world the good things we have been blessed with in life.

In the "Professor's last lecture" post, Professor talked about leaving a legacy of character for others to catch on. Isn't it interesting to know, we are creating this legacy everyday, every minute. Wondering how much forward will our legacy go on? As the article mentions at the end, You can never overestimate the power of love. It is a fire that, once lit, may burn forever!
How do you account for your remarkable accomplishment in life?" Queen Victoria of England asked Helen Keller. "How do you explain the fact that even though you were both blind and deaf, you were able to accomplish so much?"

Ms. Keller's answer is a tribute to her dedicated teacher. "If it had not been for Anne Sullivan, the name of Helen Keller would have remained unknown."

Annie Sullivan was almost sightless herself (due to a childhood fever) and was, at one time, diagnosed as hopelessly "insane" by her caregivers. She was locked in the basement of a mental institution outside of Boston. On occasion, Little Annie would violently attack anyone who came near. Most of the time she generally ignored everyone in her presence.

An elderly nurse believed there was hope, however, and she made it her mission to show love to the child. Every day she visited Little Annie. For the most part, the child did not acknowledge the nurse's presence, but she still continued to visit. The kindly woman left cookies for her and spoke words of love and encouragement. She believed Little Annie could recover, if only she were shown love.

Eventually, doctors noticed a change in the girl. Where they once witnessed anger and hostility, they now noted an emerging gentleness and love. They moved her upstairs where she continued to improve. Then the day finally came when this seemingly "hopeless" child was released.

Anne Sullivan grew into a young woman with a desire to help others as she, herself, was helped by the loving nurse. It was she who saw the great potential in Helen Keller. She loved her, disciplined her, played with her, pushed her, and worked with her until the flickering candle that was her life became a beacon of light to the world. Anne Sullivan worked wonders in Helen's life, but it was a loving nurse who first believed in Little Annie and lovingly transformed an uncommunicative child into a compassionate teacher.

"If it had not been for Anne Sullivan, the name of Helen Keller would have remained unknown." But if it had not been for a kind and dedicated nurse, the name of Anne Sullivan would have remained unknown. And so it goes. Just how far back does the chain of redemption extend? And how far forward will it lead?

Those you have sought to reach, whether they be in your family or elsewhere, are part of a chain of love that can extend through the generations. Your influence on their lives, whether or not you see results, is immeasurable. Your legacy of dedicated kindness and caring can transform lost and hopeless lives for years to come. You can never overestimate the power of your love. It is a fire that, once lit, may burn forever.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Metaphors for Life - Azara Feroz Sayed

We use Metaphors to understand new or complex things in relation to the things we already know…once we pick a metaphor it helps us guide our thinking.

Metaphors allow us to understand something as complex as “life” by thinking of it in terms of something we already know like “a gift.” When we see life as a gift, we see that it is to be appreciated, unwrapped, shared, opened, cared for, and celebrated. A gift brings delight, opportunity, privilege, and a responsibility to use it thoughtfully.

Our metaphors help us make sense of the world. They inspire us to be a better spouse, parent, friend, leader, open up career possibilities etc. We often have metaphors for our lives that either help us or hinder us. Some people see life as a battle. Every encounter is a struggle, and if they don't win, they feel like they have lost. Others view life as an adventure, A new day brings new opportunities to explore, If something goes badly today, there's always tomorrow.

As we begin to understand and organize the world, we label things in our mind based on our experiences. We start shoving new experiences in our mind using these labels. The best part is we can change the labels, the metaphors, If the one metaphor we have been using is not helping us live our our best possible life.

A few examples:
A dance - Thinking of life as a dance - brings pictures of graceness - of pleaseure - of sexuality. I remember the song "Life is a dance you learn as you go - sometimes you lead sometimes you follow - don't worry about what you don't know - you learn as you go". This is one of my favourite country song -'s-A-Dance-lyrics-John-Michael-Montgomery/632685EA1F9991EE4825694C0010D710
A Grinding Stone - The stuff you are made of will determine whether it grinds you down or polishes you up
A Bagel - Its delicious when it's fresh and warm, but often its just hard. The whole in the middle is its great mystery, and yet it wouldn't be a bagel without it. This is from the book, 'Whack on the side of the Head', one more of Feroz's recommendation of books to read apart from Bono on creativity. Thought about writing this post as I read it.
A Puzzle - But you don't have the picture on the front of the box to know what it's supposed to look like. Sometimes, you're not even sure if you have all the pieces.
A Battery - Every encounter seems to drain energy. We need the weekends to recharge.
A Game of Cards - You have to play the hand you are dealt
A Prison - Feeling like we don't have choices, like others have all the power.
A Classroom - There are always new lessons to learn.
A Poker Game - You deal or are dealt to. It includes skill and luck. You bet, check, bluff and raise. You learm from those you play with. Sometimes, you win with a pair or lose with a full house. But whatever happens, it's best to keep on shuffling along.
A Maze - Life is like a maze: just when you think you have found the way out, another interesting path opens up before you.
Cooking - It all depends on what you add and how you mix it. Sometimes you follow the recipe and other times, you're creative.
Stepping Stones - We barely get comfortable where we are before we are looking for better job or a bigger house.
School - Life is school and we are here to learn, pass all our tests. Problems are simply part of the curiculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but lesson you learn will last a lifetime.
Fragile - Life is fragile, handle with care
A Race - always finding the fastest route
A Courtroom - Everything in life should be fair.
A Battle - Everything is a competition or a struggle. We are always either winning or losing.
A Garden - Relationships are cultivated like flowers or vegetables - growing, flowering, producing.
A Mission - We believe that we have the truth and we need to convince others that our point-of-view is right.
A Journey or an adventure - We travel from place to place meeting new people and exploring.
A Building - Starting with a solid foundation, then adding floors and rooms.
A Roller Coaster - Life consists of ups and downs, and we are along for the ride.
A Stained-glass window - full of light and colors.
A Mountain Climb - Life consists of hierarchies. We are always climbing the corporate ladder.
A Carousel - Sometimes you’re up, Sometimes you’re down, and Sometimes you just go round and round.
A Test - Donald Trump considers life as a test - you either win or lose and you have to do all you can to win - you can't lose - and offcourse you have to study or be prepared for it
A Game - We need to play a lot. We need skill. Also there may be losers
Asset - For businessmen, Life is an asset - family is part of the unified team.
life is a stage - We are performing all the time and nothing is real - this could be very disempowering

Below are some thoughts from Anthony Robbins - Lessons in Mastery
We don't experience reality, what we feel or picture is what defines reality. How we feel is based on the pictures we have in mind. We use metaphors frequently to learn or teach. Metaphors affect the way we feel. Metaphors are the filters which affect our beliefs and decision. We can use a different metaphor to change our state e.g. 'I am at the end of the rope' metaphor can be distorted by simply asking a question "what will happen if we drop the rope?" This will also distort the pattern in our head and if the pattern in our head is repeatedly distorted than it can be easily replace with something more powerful to change our state - something that will help us breathe freely. From burntout switch to charging! From mountainful of work to stack(it keeps going down)! We have to chose our metaphors carefully. If we consider family as business than we have a problem as we cannot fire family. If whatever we are doing isn't working, changing the metaphor would help. For e.g. Lawyers use the metaphor of examining evidence, argument - they come home and start doing the same - examing evidence and argument and that causes trouble - we need to have different set of metaphors for different environment - one for home and one for work in this case. If we don't create metaphors, the environment will create one for us - which may be disempowering.

When we are in good mood we use a different metaphor for life than when we are in bad mood. The metaphors we use provide us a reference to focus on. If we hold the belief that 'people are rotten and they will take advantage of you if you give them a chance', this will have an impact on what we focus on and will be different from if we believe that 'people are god'. We create references based on experience e.g. belief that we are intelligent is based on some previous experience. The reason people behave differently that we do - it is because they have different reference than us based on their experience. e.g. eating dog is fine in some asian countries imagining it would make american nausiatic at the same time eating cow makes Indian nausiatic. Everyone has different references. The metaphors that we use, references that we use to focus on, shape our life and destiny. A baby picks up a cigarette butt from ashtray and chews it as they don't have a reference about the cigarette butt. 'Ship at harbour is safe' but that is not what Ship is meant for, choosing right metaphors is important. We can create references for future - metaphors for future - using imagination. Using memories of past pictures we can create pictures for actions in future. Past is a place to learn from and not live. Past is a place to spring forward from.

We can borrow references from other people by reading about their life. By reading great books, we can learn to imagine like they did. Faith is the ultimate reference. References are not real, they are what we focus on. Loss is imaginary. Everything changes form. Willingness to trust is most important. God's delays are not denials. The worst thing happening in your life drives you towards development eventually. Walk on fire is a reference that if I can do this I can do everything else that I want in life. To help live life consciously.

William Edwards Dening an american consultant taught quality to Japanese by changing the view the workers had about themselves - he told them they were craftsmen!

T.S. Eliot in 'Little Gidding', the last poem in his 'Four Quartets':
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

Compares life with a voyage of discovery. T.S. Eliot alludes to a spiraling-inwards and deepening of the inner eye of wisdom, as we recognize new truths, discovering ourselves again in the place where we started the voyage.

What is your metaphor for life?

The post at is about snorkeling as metaphor for life.

I saved the best for the last. is analysis of the metaphors of life in the movie "Trueman Show".

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