Other Stories

I'm Not a Carer

The elderly Jewish taxi driver is seeing a therapist to help ease the pressure of looking after his ill wife. His story unfolds and he talks about his alcoholic mother and how he needed to protect his younger brother from her rages. When he got married he and his wife had a severely disabled child who he has looked after. Now his wife has Alzheimer’s.
The therapist says, “When you think about it you’ve been a carer all you life”. The taxi driver replies “Carer is a modern word, what I’ve been is a son, a brother, a father and a husband”.
I find this a very moving statement, it expresses a dignity and set of values that in our “blame and claim” society we might be in danger of losing. Some pain can be eased, some has to be born as best we can.

Blog Other

What kind of goals are achievable?

We all have different goals that we want to achieve in our lives. And yet sometimes we find that months or even years go by and we seem to have made little progress on actually achieving them. What kinds of goals are actually achievable?

Other Stories

The Blue Butterfly

A wise, old man lives in a village. One day 2 boys catch butterfly and go to his home. He sees them coming and welcomes them but they rebuff him saying they just want an answer to the question is the butterfly held in their hands alive or dead. Old man thinks about it for a long time
Finally he says. The answer is in your hands.

Other Stories

The Japanese Soldier

The Japanese Soldier
During World War II, at the height of Japanese expansion in the Pacific, there were Japanese garrisons on literally thousands of tiny islands scattered across an enormous expanse of ocean. When the tide of battle turned, many of these were overrun and defeated, but some were entirely missed. On other islands, small groups of soldiers or isolated survivors hid in caves in inaccessible areas. A few years later, the war was over. But since these survivors didn’t know this, they continued to struggle, maintaining, their rusting weapons and tattered uniforms as best they could, totally isolated, yearning to be reunited with their command.
In the years immediately following the war, many of these soldiers were discovered when they shot at fishermen or tourist boats, or were found by natives. As the years passed, these discoveries became less frequent. The last one was some thirty years after the war had ended.
Consider the position of such a soldier. His government had called him, trained him, and sent him off to a jungle island to defend and protect his people against great external threat. As a loyal and obedient citizen, he had survived many privations and battles through the years of war. When the ebb and flow of battle passed him by, he was left alone or with a few other survivors. During all those years, he had carried on the battle in the best way he could, surviving against incredible odds. Despite the heat, the insects, and the jungle rains, he carried on, still loyal to the instructions given to him by his government so long ago.
How should such a soldier be treated when he is found? It would be easy to laugh at him, and call him stupid for continuing to fight a war that has been over for 30 years.
Instead, whenever one of these soldiers was located, the first contact was always made very carefully. Someone who had been a high-ranking Japanese officer during the war would take his old uniform and samurai sword out of the closet, and take an old military boat to the area where the lost soldier had been sighted. The officer would walk through the jungle, calling out for the soldier until he was found. When they met, the officer would thank the soldier, with tears in his eyes, for his loyalty and courage in continuing to defend his country for so many years. Then he would ask him about his experiences, and welcome him back. Only after some time would the soldier gently be told that the war was over, and that his country was at peace again, so he would not have to fight any more. When he reached home he would be given a hero’s welcome, with parades and medals, and crowds thanking him and celebrating his arduous struggle and his return and reunion with his people.

Other Stories

Life Is Like a Cup of Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.
Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.
Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.
Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.
Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
–author unknown

Other Stories

Going into Orbit

Quite a number of years ago I received a telephone call from L.A. A young man who told me, “I’m working on a ship as a seaman and I’m awfully afraid I’m going to go into orbit.”
I told him I thought it would be inadvisable to continue working on board that ship. So he got a job working in a mine. And he found that even if he were a mile deep into the earth he was still obsessed with the fear of going into orbit.
And he came to Phoenix to see me. I don’t know how he got my name or why he chose me, but I do know he saw a NUMBER of psychiatrists and they all wanted to give him shock therapy—electroshock therapy—because of his delusion that he was going to go into orbit.
Now I didn’t think he should get shock therapy. I had him get a job in a warehouse. And he was afraid he was going into orbit. And that delusion was so persistent that he couldn’t count as far as ten without having to stop and reassure himself that he was not YET in orbit. He was entitled to perspire because of the heat but not perspire THAT much! But he was dreading so much going into orbit.
I tried to distract his mind by asking him to count his steps as he walked along the street and to memorize the street names. But that, “I’m going to go into orbit, I’m going to go into orbit”, obsessed him . . . interfered with him. He couldn’t get very much sleep because he was afraid he was going to go into orbit. And fjnally I realized I couldn’t do anything for him except settle down with him and EXPLAIN to him, “Now apparently it is your destiny to go into orbit. Now the astronauts go into orbit, and there is always an end to the orbit . . . they come back to earth again. And as long as you are going to go into orbit why not get it OVER with?”
So I had him take salt pills and a canteen of water and I had him walk about fourteen hours a day along the tops of MOUNTAINS around here, and he had to come in at 10:30 at night to report that he had not yet gone into orbit. But he slept well, as you would walking around on mountain tops with a canteen of water and walking for about fourteen hours a day. And finally he began to get just a little bit dubious about going into orbit.
Then his sister came to me asking if he could go to California where she lived. She said her husband had a job but that he would not or could not fix up things around the house. And she had a picket fence that needed some painting, a gate that needed to be repaired, some shelves to be built, and so I told the young man he could go to California because he would be in sight of mountains and he could take his canteen with him and his salt pills, and if he got a sudden feeling that he was destined to go into orbit he could get up on top of a mountain so he could go easily into orbit.
Now a few months later he came back and said, “That was a delusional psychotic idea” and he didn’t know what had made him so crazy and he felt that I had saved him from hospitalization at the State hospital.

Other Stories

The Cheque

The business executive was deep in debt and could see no way out, creditors were closing in on him. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy. Suddenly an old man appeared before him. “I can see that something is troubling you,” he said. After listening to the executive’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.” He asked the man his name and wrote out a check. He pushed it into his hand, and said, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.” Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.
The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world! “I can erase my money worries in an instant!” he thought. But instead, he decided to put the uncashed check in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business.
With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again. Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed check. At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man. “I’m so glad I caught him!” she cried. “I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he’s John D. Rockefeller.” And she led the old man away by the arm.
The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he’d been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him. Suddenly, he realized that it wasn’t the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after.