A MEANINGFUL LIFE
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are instantaneous, they cannot be
summoned, but come of themselves, usually at
unlikely moments and to those who least expect them."
~ Katherine Anne Porter ...
March 28, 2005
THIS WEEK'S ISSUE
From the Inside Out...
The Cab Ride
Yes You Can!...
Untangling the Web...
What a Site!
Just for YOU...
Laughing It Off...
Daily Security Alerts
BE the World
You Want to See!
encounters often create magical opportunities for joy, understanding
and personal growth. The key here is to stay open ... for even the
most incredible sunbeam cannot pierce a wall of stone.
~ Chelle ~
From the Inside Out
THE CAB RIDE
Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy's
life, a life for someone who wanted no boss.
I did not realize was that it was also a ministry. Because I drove
the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers
climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about
I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me
laugh and weep. But none touched me more than a woman I picked up
late one August night.
was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet
part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some people
who had been partying, or someone who had just had a fight with
a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for
the industrial part of town. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building
was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.
such circumstances, many drivers just honk once or twice, wait a
minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people
who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless
a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door.
passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to
myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute,"
answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged
across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman
in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a
pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s
movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase.
apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the
furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls,
no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a
cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase
to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm,
and we walked slowly toward the curb.
kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing," I told
her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want
my mother treated." "Oh, you're such a good boy,"
we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Can
you drive through downtown?" "It's not the shortest way,"
I answered quickly. "Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm
in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice." I looked in the rearview
mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family
left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very
quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would
you like me to take?" I asked.
the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the
building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove
through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when
they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture
warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing
as a girl.
she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner
and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the
first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm
tired. Let's go now."
drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building,
like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under
a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled
up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They
must have been expecting her.
opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman
was already seated in a wheelchair.
much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse. "Nothing,"
have to make a living," she answered. "There are other
passengers," I responded.
without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said.
squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind
me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly,
lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.
What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient
to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had
honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don't think
that I have done anything more important in my life.
conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware; beautifully wrapped in
what others may consider a small one.
To Read Many More Heartwarming Stories & Poetry
Yes You Can!
comes a time in every professional's career when it is best to make
a change. Being able to recognize burnout and know when to leave
a company can keep you from finding yourself at a dead end later
in your career. But how do you know when it's time to move on?
following quiz, developed with findings from CareerBuilder.com's
"Life at Work 2004" survey, will help you evaluate
your position and answer this important question: Should I stay
or should I go?
When it comes to your career path, which of the following statements
are most relevant to your situation?
My supervisor and I have talked extensively about where I am going
and what I can achieve, and have developed challenging but attainable
goals to help me get there.
I receive a lot of positive feedback from upper management and have
been told that there are good things in my future, but I'm not sure
how or when I will get there.
I have been in the same position for so long, my business cards
have our company's old logo.
I'm pretty sure I just got demoted last week.
you answered B, C or D, you are not alone. According to CareerBuilder's
survey, of the 35 percent of workers who plan to change jobs this
year, 22 percent are leaving because they are unable to move up
the company ladder.
you have no idea where you are going in your company, talk to
your manager and come up with a plan. If your company will not
help you chart a course, it's time to look elsewhere.
Which statement describes your typical work week?
My company has made cutbacks and I have had to pick up the extra
slack. I now put in the hours of two people.
The hours I work fluctuate depending on how busy the company is.
There are seasons when I put in extra time, but I am compensated
for the extra work with more time off in the slower months.
I consistently put in 40 to 45 hours a week.
What, you mean there are people who work fewer than 60 hours a week?
workers experience burnout at an alarming rate. According to CareerBuilder,
68 percent of workers feel burnout at work, and 45 percent said
their workloads are too heavy.
we all have to pick up some slack and "take one for the team"
from time to time. But if you answered A and there is no end in
sight, talk to your manager to figure out how to give yourself
your answer is D, do yourself and your health a favor and dust
off your resume.
When it comes to personal recognition, which of the following do
you most relate with?
I am so often referred to by my employee number in the office that
I sometimes forget my own name.
I hear from my boss often every time I do something wrong.
I receive a lot of feedback both positive and negative --
from my manager.
The last time I received a raise, I used the extra money to buy
Milli Vanilli concert tickets.
to the survey, 43 percent of workers do not feel appreciated,
and one-fourth of respondents felt that they were just a "number"
within their organization. Recognition is important, and good
companies implement programs to let employees know they are valued.
Is your company doing anything to reward your efforts?
you ever receive bonuses, perks, or positive feedback? If you
answered A, B or D, you need to realize that you deserve recognition
for your successes. Find a company that will value your talents.
Which of the following best describes your relationship with your
I feel that my sole purpose at the company is to make my boss look
We have a solid relationship based on mutual respect and appreciation.
I do a great job...when I do the opposite of what my boss does.
I think I saw my boss once last month, right before the door to
his office was slammed.
relationship with your supervisor plays a big role in your overall
professional happiness and success.
you are working for someone who is always absent, unavailable,
self-absorbed or untrustworthy, it's time to look for a better
supervisor and a better opportunity.
Island of Kauai
almost every aspect of Hawaiian life, there is a legend to explain
the subject, but there is not always an explanation of the legend
itself. So it is with the Legend of Barking Sands (see
"Learn More" above). Sound-producing sand grains constitute
one of nature's most puzzling and least understood physical phenomena.
Exactly what governs this sounding mechanism is still an open
question. Research has been hindered both by the rarity of the
event and the difficulty in reproducing the sounds in a laboratory
environment. Barking Sands Beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai
is known for these unusual sand grains composed of materials that,
when rubbed together, vibrate and create a bark-like noise. The
beach is part of Polihale State Park located on the extreme northwest
side of Kauai an area known as the Mana Plain where
the beginning cliffs of the Na Pali can be seen. This wild and
remote 17-mile long beach is one of the most beautiful stretches
of white sand in the world and a wonderful place to experience
nature. Though extremely secluded, there are showers, picnic tables
WHAT A SITE!
"Spring Writing Contest"
your amazing power of creativity, choose from one of the two
photos and write a short story 400 to 1000 words. Be
wildly inventive; create characters, a plot line. Who are these
people, what is this location? The stories will be judged on
originality and good story telling. Grand Prize:
Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own.
Learn more at:
Up Your Mouse"
Adjusting the speed of your mouse pointer and buttons can help
liven up your mouse. Open Mouse in the Control Panel
(click Start, Control Panel, Printers and Other Hardware,
and then Mouse) Under Buttons, you can adjust
the double-click speed to your preference. Just slide the Speed
setting left or right to adjust. (NOTE: If you use an optical
mouse with Windows XP, your interface and options may vary.
You may need to search around for this feature). On the Pointer
Options tab, under Motion, drag the slider make the
mouse faster or slower. While you're in Mouse Properties,
look around at the other cool stuff that might be available
to personalize your mousing experience.
WHEN VISITING A WEBSITE
Just for YOU
Tibetan Photo Project offers the first collection of photos
taken by Tibetans living in exile, images of the Dalai Lama,
informational texts and rare 1932 pictures of Tibet. The perspective
provided from the modern history of Tibet and China reveals
a great deal about the nature of China's future leadership.
The lessons have become even more relevant with the rise to
power by Hu Jintao, China's former hard-line secretary to
Laughing It Off
VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT
dark night outside a small town in Minnesota, a fire started inside
the local chemical plant and in a blink it exploded into massive
flames. The alarm went out to all the fire departments from miles
the volunteer fire fighters appeared on the scene, the chemical
company president rushed to the fire chief and said, "All
of our secret formulas are in the vault in the center of the plant.
They must be saved. I will give $50,000 to the fire department
that brings them out intact."
the roaring flames held the firefighters off. Soon more fire departments
had to be called in as the situation became desperate. As the
firemen arrived, the president shouted out that the offer was
now $100,000 to the fire department who could bring out the company's
the distance, a lone siren was heard as another fire truck came
into sight. It was the nearby Norwegian rural township volunteer
Fire Company composed mainly of Norwegians over the age of 65.
everyone's amazement, the little run-down fire engine, operated
by these Norwegians, passed all the newer sleek engines parked
outside the plant.....and drove straight into the middle of the
inferno. Outside the other firemen watched as the Norwegian old
timers jumped off and began to fight the fire with a performance
and effort never seen before. Within a short time, the Norske
old timers had extinguished the fire and saved the secret formulas.
grateful chemical company president joyfully announced that for
such a superhuman feat he was upping the reward to $200,000, and
walked over to personally thank each of the brave, though elderly,
Norske fire fighters.
local TV news reporters rushed in after capturing the event on
film asking, "What are you going to do with all that money?"
said Ole Larsen, the 70-year-old fire chief, "da furst thing
ve do is fix da brakes on dat crazy truck!"
by Jane at www.The-Cats-Meow.com
DAILY SECURITY ALERTS
Joyful Lifestyles: Weekly Insights
GETTING SMARTER WITH MUSIC
music makes you smarter, and exercise helps brain function,
can exercising to music really boost brainpower? As recently
reported by Reuters News, American researchers say it can.
who listened to Vivaldi's
"Four Seasons" while working out
on a treadmill did much better on a test of verbal ability than
when they exercised without music, a team at Ohio State University
found. "Evidence suggests that exercise improves the cognitive
performance of people with coronary artery disease," said
psychologist Charles Emery, who led the study.
listening to music is thought to enhance brainpower. We wanted
to put the two results together," Emery added. Writing
in the latest issue of the journal Heart & Lung,
Emery and colleagues said they studied 33 men and women taking
part in a cardiac rehabilitation program after having bypass
surgery, angioplasty or other procedures to treat clogged arteries.
volunteers said they felt better emotionally and mentally after
working out with or without the music. But their improvement
on the verbal fluency test doubled after listening to music
on the treadmills.
seems to cause positive changes in the nervous system, and these
changes may have a direct effect on cognitive ability,"
Emery said. "Listening
to music may influence cognitive function through different
pathways in the brain. The combination of music and exercise
may stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to
organize cognitive output."
said he now wanted to test people using music of their own choice.
"We used 'The Four Seasons' because of its moderate
tempo and positive effects on medical patients in previous research.
But given the range of music preferences among patients, it's
especially important to evaluate the influence of other types
of music on cognitive outcomes."
Thompson ('Shay'), Editor
"The intent of Inspiration Line is to
show What Is Possible by choosing new perspectives,
we can change ourselves from the inside out to improve our relationships,
our community and our planet."
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