fbq('track', 'Purchase', {value: '0.00', currency:'CAD'});

Inspirational Stories

Creative Solutions

How do you handle tough times in your relationship? Do you come up with creative solutions?

Consider the following story:

Once upon a time a daughter complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed.

Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot, and ground coffee beans in the third pot.

He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing.

After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup. Turning to her he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?”

“Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.

“Look closer,” he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.

“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity– the boiling water.

However, each one reacted differently.

The potato went in strong, hard, and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak.

The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard.

However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which are you,” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean? “

Do you weaken, do you harden or do you maintain your sense of self as you deal with issues? Are you open to finding creative alternatives and changing the situation? Or do you simply get stuck in the struggle? The more we can be like coffee beans, the more likely we are to come up with creative solutions.

Triple Filter Test = Safe Words

Wisdom

I think making use of Socrates Triple Filter Test, could prevent a lot of drama, frustration, hurt feelings and mistrust. Before you share a juicy tidbit, critique your partner or lash out in anger; apply the Triple Filter Test. Too often we open our mouth before we think and then when we stop and think we wish that we could pull back what we said. Somehow, saying “I didn’t mean it” does little to undo the damage done. Most of us have a fairly good filter on what we say when we are in public. However the more comfortable we get with someone, the more we remove our social filter. This may help explain why we often treat those we love worse than we would treat a stranger.

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute”, Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”

“Triple filter?”

“That’s right”, Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and ...”

“All right”, said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?”

“No, on the contrary.”

“So”, Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really.”

“Well”, concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Triple Filter Test:

Is it true?

Is it good?

Is it useful?

I would also like to add, when you are deciding if what you are about to say is true, to stop for a second and remember that just because you think it is true, does not make it true. I have frequently, in my life, jumped to conclusions that I later discovered were far from accurate. The filter is “have you made absolutely sure that [it is] true?”

Using this filter would mean a lot of things would remain unsaid. But considering how hard it is to unsay something, I would suggest that this might be a good thing.

Celebrate Success

Celebrate

Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in my life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in a school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. "Guess what Mom," he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me: "I've been chosen to clap and cheer." Author Unknown

When was the last time you told your partner that they were amazing? When did you last tell them that they said something brilliant? Have you ever been guilty of shrugging off something that they were excited to share with you?

It requires confidence and maturity to truly join with our partner as they celebrate success. When we have learned to love and accept ourselves, we are far less likely to feel threatened by the good fortunes of others. When we learn to clap and cheer for our partner and recognize that their success in no way diminishes us, we finally double our joy. We become the amplifier of their joy, rather than the wet blanket that dampens their moment.

When we let our pride get in the way and rather than celebrate with them, we discount our partner’s success, possibly because we are secretly jealous of their accomplishment, we not only hurt our partner, but we make ourselves smaller as well. Let’s practice catching ourselves and be more willing to take our turn clapping and cheering.

Finding Peace

Peace in our relationships begins with us. We can have peace even in the most trying times. We will fail to find peace when we try to achieve it by arranging people or things outside of ourselves. When we have peace and calm in our hearts, when we are at peace with ourselves then we will have the reserves we need to make peace in our relationships. Peace is an inside job.

There was once a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But, these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But, when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - - in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second one. “because” said the king, “Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in you heart.”

Power of Positive Expectations and Love

Amazing things can happen in your relationship and in your life when you treat others with positive expectations and love. Positive expectations encourage people to live up to their potential. Negative expectations discourage and deflate people. Choose to see the positives in your relationship and in your partner. You can help bring out the best in your partner by focusing on and reinforcing the positive rather than complaining about what you do not like. The following story perfectly illustrates the power of positive expectations and love:

In 1921, Lewis Lawes became the warden at Sing Sing Prison.   No prison was tougher than Sing Sing during that time.   But when Warden Lawes retired some 20 years later, that prison had become a humanitarian institution.   Those who studied the system said credit for the change belonged to Lawes.   But when he was asked about the transformation, here's what he said, "I owe it all to my wonderful wife, Catherine, who is buried outside the prison walls."

Catherine Lawes was a young mother with three small children when her husband became the warden.   Everybody warned her from the beginning that she should never set foot inside the prison walls, but that didn't stop Catherine!   When the first prison basketball game was held, she went... walking into the gym with her three beautiful kids and she sat in the stands with the inmates.

Her attitude was: "My husband and I are going to take care of these men and I believe they will take care of me!   I don't have to worry!"   She insisted on getting acquainted with them and their records.   She discovered one convicted murderer was blind so she paid him a visit.   Holding his hand in hers she said, "Do you read Braille?"

"What's Braille?" he asked.   Then she taught him how to read.   Years later he would weep in love for her.   Later, Catherine found a deaf-mute in prison.   She went to school to learn how to use sign language.   Many said that Catherine Lawes was the body of Jesus that came alive again in Sing Sing from 1921 to 1937.

Then, she was killed in a car accident.   The next morning Lewis Lawes didn't come to work, so the acting warden took his place.   It seemed almost instantly that the prison knew something was wrong.

The following day, her body was resting in a casket in her home, three-quarters of a mile from the prison.   As the acting warden took his early morning walk, he was shocked to see a large crowd of the toughest, hardest-looking criminals gathered like a herd of animals at the main gate.   He came closer and noted tears of grief and sadness.   He knew how much they loved Catherine.   He turned and faced the men, "All right, men you can go.   Just be sure and check in tonight!"   Then he opened the gate and a parade of criminals walked, without a guard, the three-quarters of a mile to stand in line to pay their final respects to Catherine Lawes.

And every one of them checked back in.   Every one! --- Author Unknown

Shake It Off and Step Up

We can learn a valuable lesson from the following parable. The art of looking for the silver lining can help us keep a balanced perspective and avoid the pity parties of life. Gratitude is a powerful life enhancer. When we can be grateful especially for our challenges and trials, we can avoid becoming bitter and resentful. Feeling and expressing gratitude helps us discover creative solutions to our problems and improve our relationships.

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving.

Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back... a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back... HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!

This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself.

No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him... all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT'S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity... THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US! Remember that FORGIVENESS-FAITH-PRAYER-PRAISE and HOPE... all are excellent ways to "SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP" out of the wells in which we find ourselves!

--- Author Unknown

Choose Wisely

Life is all about choices. The state of our relationship is the result of the choices that we have made to this point. If we want to change our relationship we may need to learn to chose more wisely. Consider the following story:

Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, 'Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," Jerry said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life." I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Happiness Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. "The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door," Jerry replied. "Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.

Jerry continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Jerry. "She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Bullets!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'"

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Take a close look at your relationship. If you are not where you want to be right now, ask yourself, How have my choices brought me to this? Decide right now, this minute, to begin making choices that will take you to where you want to be. Decide to be alive in your relationship. Choose to react with love and acceptance. Choose happiness and peace. Choose to be the best you that you can be.

Obstacles or Opportunities

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand - “Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.”

In our relationships, when we take the challenge to face up to and work to remove obstacles that may be preventing closeness and harmony, we may be surprised to find hidden treasures awaiting our persistent and loving efforts. What is required is the humility and willingness to accept responsiblity to do something to improve things as the peasant did. We also need to avoid throwing blame as the wealthy merchants and couriers did. Blaming, although it may feel good momentarily, does nothing to solve problems and heal relationships.