The end of my sophomore year was approaching. Mom called me at the dorm one muggy evening during the last week of May. My summer break would be spent with grandma and grandpa, helping out around their farm. The arrangement made good sense to all the family. I wasn't fully convinced of that myself but figured it was just one summer. Next year would be my little brother's turn。
I packed my car after my last exam and said my good-byes until the fall. My friends would keep until then. Most of them were going home for the summer any-way。
The farm was about a three-hour drive from school. My grandparents were both in their 70s, and I knew they really needed the help around the farm. Getting in the hay would be something grandpa couldn't do by himself. He also needed help with repairs to the barns and a host of other chores。
从学校到农场开车去约三个小时。 我的外公外婆都七十多岁了。我知道他们农场确实也需要个帮手。 把干草收进来外公一个人是干不了的。他也需要人帮他修理谷仓以及干其他许多经常要干的杂活。
I arrived late that afternoon. Grandma had fixed more food than the three of us could possibly eat. She doted over me entirely too much. I figured all the attention would taper off once she got used to having me around, but it didn't. Grandpa wanted to bring me up to date on literally everything. By the time I settled in for bed that night, I'd decided things would be okay. After all, it was just for one summer。
The next morning, Grandpa fixed breakfast for the two of us. He told me Grandma had tired herself out yesterday and was going to rest in bed a little longer. I made a mental note to myself to not ask her to do things for me while I was there. I was there to help, not be a burden。
第二天早晨，外公为我们俩准备了早餐。 他对我说外婆昨天累着了，今天要多睡一会儿。 我心里记住在这儿的日子里千万不要她再为我操劳了。我是来帮忙的，不是为他们增加负担的。
Grandpa surprised me that morning. Once we were out of the house, he seemed more in his own element. The farm was his domain. Despite his age, there was confidence in the way he moved about the place. He didn't seem like the same person who had fallen asleep last night on the couch before the six o'clock news was finished. As we walked the pastures getting a close-up look at the livestock, Grandpa seemed to know each cow. And there were nearly 200 of them!
We didn't do much real work that first day, but I gained a sense of appreciation for what Grandpa had done all those years before I was even born. He wasn't an educated man, but he had raised and provided for four children on this farm. I was impressed by that。
Weeks passed. By June we had already baled one cutting of hay and gotten it safely into the barn. I gradually settled into a routine of daily work with Grandpa. He had a mental schedule of things that needed doing, and we worked on part of it each day. In the evenings I usually read or talked with Grandma. She never grew tired of hearing about college or anything I was involved in. She told me stories about her childhood, family and the early years after she and Grandpa had married。
The last Saturday in June, Grandpa suggested we go fishing, since we were caught up on everything. The pond was in a low pasture near the woods. Years before, Grandpa had stocked it with fish. We drove the pickup to the pond that day, looking over the livestock as we went. We hadn't expected what we saw when we got to the pond that morning: One of the swans was dead. Grandpa had given the pair of swans to Grandma on their 50th anniversary. "Why don't we see about buying another one," I suggested, hoping the situation could somehow be righted. Grandpa thought for a few moments before answering。
六月最后一个星期六，外公提议去钓鱼，因为事情都赶着做完了。几年前外公已经在里面放了鱼苗。那天我们开了那辆小货车去池塘，一路上还查看了牲畜的情况。那天上午到达池塘时见到了一件意外的事：一只天鹅死了。这是一对中的一只，这对天鹅是他们结婚五十周年时外公送给外婆的。我说：“干吗不再买一只？”希望那可以弥补一下这种状况。Swans Mate for Life 生死相依
He finally said, "no... it's not that easy, Bruce. You see, swans mate for life." He raised his finger to point, holding the fishing pole in his other hand. "There's nothing we can do for the one that's left. He has to work it out for himself."
Occasionally, life can be undeniably, impossibly difficult. We are faced with challenges and events that can seem overwhelming, life-destroying to the point where it may be hard to decide whether to keep going. But you always have a choice. Jessica Heslop shares her powerful, inspiring journey from the worst times in her life to the new life she has created for herself:
In 2012 I had the worst year of my life.
I worked in a finance job that I hated and I lived in a concrete jungle city with little greenery. I occupied my time with meaningless relationships and spent copious quantities of money on superficialities. I was searching for happiness and had no idea where to find it.
Then I fell ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and became virtually bed bound. I had to quit my job and subsequently was left with no income. I lived with my boyfriend of then only 3 months who financially supported me and our relationship was put under great pressure. I eventually regained my physical health, but not long after that I got a call from my family at home to say that my father’s cancer had fiercely progressed and that he had been admitted to a hospice.
I left the city and I went home to be with him.
He died 6 months later.
My father was a complete inspiration to me. He was always so strong that, for a minute after he drew his last breath, I honestly thought he would come back to life. I couldn’t believe I would never again cuddle into his big warm chest and feel safe no matter what.
The grief that followed was intense for all of us 5 children and our mother, but we had each other.
But my oldest sister at that time complained of a bad back. It got so bad after 2 months that she too was admitted to hospital.
They discovered that she had highly advanced cancer in her bones and that there was nothing that they could do.
She died 1 month later.
I could never put into words the loss of my sister in my life.
She was a walking, talking angel and my favourite person in the whole world. If someone could have asked me the worst thing that could ever happen, it would have been losing her.
She was my soul-mate and I never thought I would journey this lifetime without her.
The Moment Of Deliberate Choice
The shock and extreme heart break brought me to my knees. The pain was so great and my world just looked desolate. I had no real home, no money, no job, and no friends that cared. Not one person had even sent me a sympathy card for my loss.
I made an attempt of my own life and I ended up in hospital.
I remember lying in the hospital bed, looking up at the ceiling and seeing my sister’s beautiful face. She stayed with me all night long.
I realised during that night that I had a choice. I could choose to end my life or I could choose to live it.
I looked in my sister’s eyes and I made a decision not to go with her just yet. That I would stay and complete my journey here.
I also made the decision that, I wouldn’t just live any life. I would live the life that I absolutely LOVE and nothing less.
In that moment, the clarity that descended around me was like a light shining in a dark room for the first time. As if the earth’s plates had shifted under my feet and everything suddenly looked real for the first time.
We often close ourselves off when traumatic events happen in our lives; instead of letting the world soften us, we let it drive us deeper into ourselves. We try to deflect the hurt and pain by pretending it doesn’t exist, but although we can try this all we want, in the end, we can’t hide from ourselves. We need to learn to open our hearts to the potentials of life and let the world soften us.
Whenever we start to let our fears and seriousness get the best of us, we should take a step back and re-evaluate our behavior. The items listed below are six ways you can open your heart more fully and completely.
1. Breathe into pain
Whenever a painful situation arises in your life, try to embrace it instead of running away or trying to mask the hurt. When the sadness strikes, take a deep breath and lean into it. When we run away from sadness that’s unfolding in our lives, it gets stronger and more real. We take an emotion that’s fleeting and make it a solid event, instead of something that passes through us.
By utilizing our breath we soften our experiences. If we dam them up, our lives will stagnate, but when we keep them flowing, we allow more newness and greater experiences to blossom.
2. Embrace the uncomfortable
We all know what that twinge of anxiety feels like. We know how fear feels in our bodies: the tension in our necks, the tightness in our stomachs, etc. We can practice leaning into these feelings of discomfort and let them show us where we need to go.
The initial impulse is to run away — to try and suppress these feelings by not acknowledging them. When we do this, we close ourselves off to the parts of our lives that we need to experience most. The next time you have this feeling of being truly uncomfortable, do yourself a favor and lean into the feeling. Act in spite of the fear.
3. Ask your heart what it wants
We’re often confused at the next step to take, making pros and cons lists until our eyes bleed and our brains are sore. Instead of always taking this approach, what if we engaged a new part of ourselves that isn’t usually involved in the decision making process?
I know we’ve all felt decisions or actions that we had to take simply due to our “gut” impulses: when asked, we can’t explain the reasons behind doing so — just a deep knowing that it had to get done. This instinct is the part of ourselves we’re approaching for answers.
To start this process, take few deep breaths then ask, “Heart, what decision should I make here? What action feels the most right?”
See what comes up, then engage and evaluate the outcome.
In this life, what did you miss?
The wife asked the husband when she was 25. Despondently, the husband replied: 'I missed a new job opportunity.'
When she was 35, the husband angrily told her that he had just missed the bus.
At 45, the husband sadly said: 'I missed the oppotunity seeing my closed relative before his last breath.'
At 55, the husband said disappointingly: 'I missed a good chance to retire.'
At 65, the husband hurriedly replied: 'I missed a dental appointment.'
At 75, the wife did not ask the husband anymore, the husband was kneeling in front of the very sick wife. Remembering the question the wife used to ask him, this time he asked the wife the same question. The wife, with a smile and peaceful look, replied: 'In this life, I did not miss having you!'
The husband was full of tears. He always thought that they could be together forever. He was always busy with work and trifles. So much so he had never been thoughtful to his wife. The husband hugged the wife tightly and said: 'Over 50 years, how I had allowed myself to miss your deep love for me.'
In the busy city life, there are many people who are always busy with work. These people revolve their lives around their jobs, these people sacrifice all their times and health to meet the social expectations. They are unwilling to spend times on health care. They miss the opportunity to be with their children in their growing up. They neglect the loved ones who care for them, and also their health.
Nobody knows what is going to happen one year from now.
Life is not permanent, so always live in the now. Express your gratitude to your loved ones in words. Show your care with actions. Treat everyday as the last episode of life. In this way, when you are gone, you loved ones would have nothing to feel sorry about.
Truly happy and successful people get that way by becoming the best, most genuine version of themselves they can be. Not on the outside--on the inside. It's not about a brand, a reputation, a persona. It's about reality. Who you really are.
Sounds simple, I know. It is a simple concept. The problem is, it's very hard to do, it takes a lot of work, and it can take a lifetime to figure it out.
Nothing worth doing in life is ever easy. If you want to do great work, it's going to take a lot of hard work to do it. And you're going to have to break out of your comfort zone and take some chances that will scare the crap out of you.
But you know, I can't think of a better way to spend your life. I mean, what's life for if not finding yourself and trying to become the best, most genuine version of you that you can be?
That's what Steve Jobs meant when he said this at a Stanford University commencement speech:
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice.
You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.
Now, let's for a moment be realistic about this. Insightful as that advice may be, it sounds a little too amorphous and challenging to resonate with today's quick-fix culture. These days, if you can't tell people exactly what to do and how to do it, it falls on deaf ears.
Not only that, but what Jobs was talking about, what I'm talking about, requires focus and discipline, two things that are very hard to come by these days. Why? Because, focus and discipline are hard. It's so much easier to give in to distraction and instant gratification. Easy and addictive.
To give you a little incentive to take on the challenge, to embark on the road to self-discovery, here are three huge benefits from working to become the best, most genuine version of yourself.
It will make you happy. Getting to know yourself will make you feel more comfortable in your own skin. It will reduce your stress and anxiety. It will make you a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend. It will make you a better person. Those are all pretty good reasons, if you ask me.
Besides, you really won't achieve anything significant in life until you know the real you. Not your brand, your LinkedIn profile, how you come across, or what anyone thinks of you. The genuine you. There's one simple reason why you shouldn't try to be something you're not, and it's that you can't. The real you will come out anyway. So forget your personal brand and start spending time on figuring out who you really are and trying to become the best version of that you can be.
Love Is Not Like Merchandise
A reader in Florida, apparently bruised by some personal experience, writes in to complain, "If I steal a nickel's worth of merchandise, I am a thief and punished; but if I steal the love of another's wife, I am free."
佛罗里达州的一位读者显然是在个人经历上受过创伤, 他写信来抱怨道: “如果我偷走了五分钱的商品, 我就是个贼, 要受到惩罚, 但是如果我偷走了他人妻子的爱情, 我没事儿。”
This is a prevalent misconception in many people's minds---that love, like merchandise, can be "stolen". Numerous states, in fact, have enacted laws allowing damages for "alienation of affections".
这是许多人心目中普遍存在的一种错误观念——爱情, 像商品一样, 可以 “偷走”。实际上，许多州都颁布法令，允许索取“情感转让”赔偿金。
But love is not a commodity; the real thing cannot be bought, sold, traded or stolen. It is an act of the will, a turning of the emotions, a change in the climate of the personality.
When a husband or wife is "stolen" by another person, that husband or wife was already ripe for the stealing, was already predisposed toward a new partner. The "love bandit" was only taking what was waiting to be taken, what wanted to be taken.
We tend to treat persons like goods. We even speak of the children "belonging" to their parents. But nobody "belongs" to anyone else. Each person belongs to himself, and to God. Children are entrusted to their parents, and if their parents do not treat them properly, the state has a right to remove them from their parents' trusteeship.
Most of us, when young, had the experience of a sweetheart being taken from us by somebody more attractive and more appealing. At the time, we may have resented this intruder---but as we grew older, we recognized that the sweetheart had never been ours to begin with. It was not the intruder that "caused" the break, but the lack of a real relationship.
On the surface, many marriages seem to break up because of a "third party". This is, however, a psychological illusion. The other woman or the other man merely serves as a pretext for dissolving a marriage that had already lost its essential integrity.
Nothing is more futile and more self-defeating than the bitterness of spurned love, the vengeful feeling that someone else has "come between" oneself and a beloved. This is always a distortion of reality, for people are not the captives or victims of others---they are free agents, working out their own destinies for good or for ill.
But the rejected lover or mate cannot afford to believe that his beloved has freely turned away from him--- and so he ascribes sinister or magical properties to the interloper. He calls him a hypnotist or a thief or a home-breaker. In the vast majority of cases, however, when a home is broken, the breaking has begun long before any "third party" has appeared on the scene.
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