Mother Earth and Nature are Precious

Let me repeat, Mother Earth and Nature are precious. Sometimes we all get so caught up with our busy life and we forget. We forget that humans are part of the animal kingdom. We forget the existence of nature that sustains our livelihood. We have come to act like we are separate and bigger than nature, while the entire time…

We human beings are a part of nature…
As the air we breath.
As the water we drink.
As the ground we walk.
As the sun that shines.

Upon expressing my sentiments, a colleage shared with me a poster on his wall. It is a wonderful piece written by Chief Seattle, as a letter in response to President George Washington’s offer to purchase his tribe’s land. Upon research, I found that it is not the authentic writing. Nonetheless, I love the messages brought to life by the words.

THIS EARTH IS PRECIOUS

How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

ALL SACRED

Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.

The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man.

We are part of the earth and it is part of us.

The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers.

The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man–all belong to the same family.

NOT EASY

So, when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves.

He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land.

But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us.

This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.

If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.

The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father.

KINDNESS

The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children. If we sell you our land, you must remember, and teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs.

The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.

He leaves his father’s graves behind, and he does not care.

He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care.

His father’s grave, and his children’s birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads.

His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.

I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways.

The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect’s wings.

But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand.

The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand.

The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinion pine.

PRECIOUS

The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath–the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath.

The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes.

Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.

And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow’s flowers.

ONE CONDITION

So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers.

I am a savage and I do not understand any other way.

I’ve seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train.

I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive.

What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit.

For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.

THE ASHES

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin.

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.

This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know.

All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it.

Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny.

We may be brothers after all.

We shall see.

One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover, our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you wish to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white.

This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.

The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man.

That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.
Where is the thicket? Gone.
Where is the eagle? Gone.
The end of living and the beginning of survival.

Whatever we do to nature, it will come back to us. If we don’t live to experience it now, then may our children do so in our place. People can keep talking about going green. People can market about carbon offsets all they want. People can keep urging for lower emission cars. People can keep arguing. People can keep asking for more and better evidence.

In the end, if people truly care for nature and the environment, they will come to understand that we are part of nature and their action will speak such understanding. If their intention is pure, it will be clear in their action. The same for ill intention.

Everything’s connected. What we do to other things on earth will be done upon us eventually. If our doings cause fast extinction to other species, then so shall be our fate. We are part of nature. If we are harming it, we are harming us. We are all one.

Originally posted 2008-01-09 23:26:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Why Track Your Assets, Liabilities, And Cash Flow?

I frequently mention the importance of communicating with the “self” and understanding the “self” for the sake of personal development. Tracking your assets, liabilities, and cash flow is the equivalent for your personal finance. It is also imperative for solving your money problems and solving your money problems.

When you want to find out the health of a company, a division in a company, a deli at the street corner, or any other business, what do you do?

Interview their executives? No.
Simply observe their customer flow? No.
Based on reputation? No.

Ok, I know you are not that stupid.
You will look at their:
– balance sheet for total outstanding assets, long-termand liabilities, and short-term liabilities
– cash flow for revenue, fixed operation cost, variable cost, and essentially, profit.

If you want to know the health of your financial situation, you have to keep track of the same thing.
To improve your financial situation, or to simply GET RICHER, you have to understand those same parameters for yourself.
Hence, the need to track your assets, liabilities, and cash flow.

If for nothing else, you should at least know your expense and income in order to spend less than you earn, which is the most basic thing in personal finance everyone should be doing, in order to NOT go brankrupt!

You don’t have to keep track of every nickel and dime, unless you want to.

There are softwares out there that can assit you in doing this AceMoney, Microsoft Money, Quicken… convenience includes allowing you to import a file with all the transactions in the month from your online credit card account into the software. It really only takes 5-10 minutes each week if you perform updates weekly.

Otherwise, you can simply keep a spread sheet of the balance of all your saving/loan accounts and major assets, updated on a monthly basis. With the total balance showing monthly, you can compare and see which direction your finance is heading… either be up or down!

The most significant thing that I’d say about this is that it will at least keep you above negative or from going bankrupt, even if you are too lazy to implement any concrete strategy to improve.

Why?

Because when you actually SEE your total balance in real, concrete numbers and it is going downward and perhaps, in the negative, in RED… I’m quite sure 99.99% of you can no longer deny the fact and notice that something’s wrong and something must be changed. Hopefully before you can no longer pay all your bills.

Versus just having one of these thoughts in your head, “Darn, I’m poor”, “Hmmm, I’m spending too much”, “Oh, I think I don’t have enough money”.

That is in equivalence to something I always think –
That if wars are still fought with knives and swords, spears and halberts, people would be much less willing to kill because they’ll actually feel the refuting sensation every time weapon enters the flesh of another fellow human’s body.

Seeing the numbers is kind of the same thing.
You feel the stings and blows every time you see your total balance decreasing.
Worse yet, in the red.

On a personl note, tracking of my expense is telling me that I am spending quite a bit lately, which is okay because I’m still spending below my income and it’s money worth-while to make myself and others around me happy. However, I am reminded that I should buckle down a little.

Originally posted 2007-08-29 23:34:26. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What would you like to do if money were no object

So much of what we do in life is done with the purpose of making money to allow a comfortable living in life. It’s not that it is a bad thing. It’s just that it can be so easy to get lost in focusing about money and our actions become immensely dictated by it.

I’d even take the leap that more of the people who are most influential in the world, and even local communities, become who they are because they act on some other ideals than the thought of generating money.

I think that’s why the question of the subject of this post is important.

What would you like to do if money were no objective?
- Alan Watts

For those of us working a job that we do not enjoy, it does not mean to rashly quit the job and do whatever we think we like at the moment.

More importantly, the question helps us to push aside the noise in our life (such as money) and to think about what we really want to do in our life. It is not an easy question to answer.

To know our dream. That is a gift.

And only if we identify that, then we can prepare. Then we can prepare and put a plan together in order to achieve it eventually. Before it is too late, before we regret what we had not done at an old age.

And I thank Zen Pencils for so brilliantly penning Alan Watts’ wisdom into the following cartoon.

alanwatts_mone_no_object

Originally posted 2013-06-24 23:26:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Pain – You Don’t Want to Forget

Phew, Bush Junior finally stepped down today. This marks the end of (uh-hmm, I’ll be nice) a not-so-nice period for the U.S., even though I know there are plenty of people who think otherwise, and let us not count those people’s votes from now on… oh wait, I forgot to be nice. Oh well.

Now, Obama has charisma and does seem an intelligent individual. He also carries a lot of positive motivation for the people. However, I still see him as sort of a stock option where you can win a lot but also lose alot because with the current landscape, we simply do not know that whatever he does will, and by how much, improve the situation. We shall see.

This brings me to my topic on pain. Pain. It can be physical, mental, emotional, as abstract as could be. Most of us don’t like pain. But I think it would do us well to always remember the pain we have experienced. I say this because I observe that people are predisposed to forget about pain quickly.

I noticed on the highway that people average 70+ MPH now vs only 60+ MPH couple months ago and that more SUVs and Hummers once again roam the roads. How quickly people have forgotten about the energy crisis. It shows that people only care about the short-term expense of gas vs. understanding that our energy resources are not infinite.

Start naked truth — As of now, most people do not know nor truly care about preserving resources and not be wasteful for both the planet and the generations to come, yet. They may like talking about it. They may like being enthusiasts. But that is that.

On a personal level, I observed my parents’ tendency to seek a lot of space when searching for housing, even though we used to live in some 400 sq ft. apartment back in Hong Kong. Back in the days, we just make do, and honestly, we don’t really NEED all that space.

It is important to remember painful experience because it will guide your action in the future. Pain teaches good lessons. When you learn from painful experience, you will get that much wiser. When you forget about pain, it is much easier for to make mistakes, and to repeat mistakes.

I remember the pain from relocating and starting brand new twice. I know to cherish the people I do get to spend time with while I can, and simultaneously, holding on to people is futile.

I remember the pain when I could not speak English properly and fluently. It helps me to be kind and considerate with strangers.

I remember the pain when I got stuck between a clash of two cultures and generations that almost no one can understand. I know that no one can fully understand each other and that makes it even more important for us to make an effort to empathize, to be compassionate, to be present in the moment.

I remember the pain when a good friend my age passed away suddenly who is a most kind person. It provoked me to pull myself together and figure myself out. From there, I learn to live in the moment.

I remember the pain when I got hit by a car on a bicycle. Life is not to be taken for granted.

I remember the pain from watching my grandpa who became half-paralyzed on the right after a stroke. The most painful part is that he’s a poet and calligrapher who could no longer enjoy those things. We do not have as much time as we think to do what we want. Hence, I do what I can most when I can now.

I remember the pain from breaking up with girlfriends. Sometimes no matter what you do, be it timing, place, or person, it does not turn out alright. It is all the more important that one gives their best, and that in relationship, it will do well for us to help each other grow. Even if broken up, we will have learn and grow because of each other. That will surely allow a smile on the face.

I know the pain from not being understood from some of the closest people in life. I strive not to do the same to the people I most care about. I must listen, without presumptions, without ego.

I remember the pain from not having a stable income, yet having large amount of expenses when I was attending graduate school, and to get by, I would pass up meal on campus until I get home and do whatever else to preserve money. I understand most of what I do and have now are basically luxury which I could do without, and I do my best to manage my money now. It is never too early. It is never too late.

I remember the pain I have caused to others and myself from when I let emotions took over. It does me well to understand myself and be consistently aware of my thoughts and emotions now.

I remember the pain I went through to learn all that I did, though painful yet necessary. It is vital for us to be considerate to not take away others’ opportunities and responsibilities to feel pain, no matter how eager we are to present them with a solution.

Pain also presents itself as disease and illness in terms of our body. We need to take heed when they happen because the body is telling us that we must take care of it. I find it sad that for years people would not do that and rely on medication to cover up pain (remove the symptoms) and think they are “cured”, only to be hit with a much more deadly or incurable condition later. By the time, it’s already late. You wonder why are medical cost is going up like crazy. It is hugely because people do not listen and neglect their body for years and decades, thinking that medication and technology will “fix” them when something happens.

Stark naked truth — As of now, people do not truly care about the health of their body, and for proof, you just need to look around yourself. How many of those people look healthy? And there’s a difference between that and looking pretty.

In the end, let me say that pain does not only teach, it is also a way to connect us all. When we remember our pain, we can also be compassionate.

One thing is for certain. It will do us well to remember pain. As a nation…especially the last eight years’.

Originally posted 2009-01-21 00:28:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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