CHOICE Jerry is the manager of a restaurant in America. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would always reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" Many of the waiters at his restaurant quit their jobs when he changed jobs; they would follow 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 always 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! No one can be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?" Jerry replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, I have two choices today. I can choose to be in a good mood or I can choose to be in a bad mood. I always 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 always 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 always choose the positive side of life." "But it's not always 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. It's your choice how you live your life." Several years later, I heard that Jerry accidentally did something you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business: he left the back door of his restaurant open one morning and was robbed by three armed men. 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 quickly and rushed to the hospital. 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. Want to 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, after they shot me, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or choose to die. I chose to live." "Weren't you scared?" 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 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. Please 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 everyday you have the choice to either enjoy your life or to hate it. The only thing that is truly yours - that no one can control or take from you - is your attitude, so if you can take care of that, everything else in life becomes much easier. MORE PRECIOUS THAN A GEM "A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. "I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone." A MIRACLE OF $1.10 (claimed to be a true story) Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn't have the money for the doctor bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now." Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it! "And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question. "Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy a miracle." "I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist. "His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?" "We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little. "Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs." The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does you brother need?" "I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money." "How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago. "One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to. "Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents - the exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need." That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specialising in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. "That surgery," her Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?" Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost... one dollar and eleven cents ...... plus the faith of a little child. A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law...... INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE ( from e-mail chain?) 1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk. 2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson. 3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions. 4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. 5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly. 6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship. 7. When you realise you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. 8. Spend some time alone every day. 9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values. 10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. 11. Live a good, honourable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time. 12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life. 13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past. 14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality. 15. Be gentle with the earth. 16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before. 17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. 18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it. 19. Approach love and compassion with reckless abandon. SMILE ! She smiled at a sorrowful stranger. The smile seemed to make him feel better. He remembered past kindnesses of a friend And wrote him a thank you letter. The friend was so pleased with the thank you That he left a large tip after lunch. The waitress, surprised by the size of the tip, Bet the whole thing on a hunch. The next day she picked up her winnings, And gave part to a man on the street. The man on the street was grateful; For two days he'd had nothing to eat. After he finished his dinner, He left for his small dingy room. He didn't know at that moment that he might be facing his doom. On the way he picked up a shivering puppy. And took him home to get warm. The puppy was very grateful To be in out of the storm. That night the house caught on fire. The puppy barked the alarm. He barked till he woke the whole household And saved everybody from harm. One of the boys that he rescued Grew up to be President. All this because of a simple smile That hadn't cost a cent. THE THIEF 'The 12th century master Geshe Ben was renowned for his goodness and integrity. Once, while begging for alms, a family of devout Buddhists invited him to their home to be fed. He was so hungry that he found it difficult to wait while his hosts were elsewhere preparing the meal. To his complete shock he found himself stealing food from a jar when no-one was looking. Geshe Ben suddenly burst into loud cries of "Thief! Thief! I've caught you red-handed." His hosts rushed into the room to find him berating himself and threatening his hand with being cut off it ever behaved like that again.' Tibetan teaching story STILSON'S LEAP (from a book of which the title I lost) On a grey day in late November 1941, a squadron of Spitfires was flying back towards Britain across the English Channel. The sky was low, with few breaks in the clouds. They had just broken up a formation of enemy bombers and, while most pilots were now low on fuel, all would make it back safely to the base if luck held. Then flames leaped out from beneath the cowling of the commanding officer's plane, and thick, black smoke spewed from his exhausts. The whirling propeller slowed, then froze, and his aircraft, trailing smoke, began hurtling down towards the sea. The cockpit canopy slid back, and the commanding officer tumbled out. His parachute opened. The others watched him drift down through the wind and silence towards the ocean, which splashed and foamed below. Dropping lower, they saw him hit the sea, then, supported by his life- vest, rise up and swim away from the entangling parachute lines. He waved them off, but awkwardly, as if he were injured. Despite his signal, they circled over him until their fuel was dangerously low. They would wait for his life raft to bob up to the surface before they left him. But the raft never surfaced. A shard of metal had torn it, perhaps - or a bullet had pierced it, or the flames had destroyed it. No matter. Without a life raft he could never survive in those cold waters. The other pilots radioed his position over and over, though several were flying with almost dry tanks. The new acting squadron leader knew there was nothing more they could do. It was his job to bring the squadron home. Cursing the foul luck that had caught them so close to home, he gave the order for them to continue back to their base. But a man named Stilson, ignoring all orders to leave, and refusing to acknowledge any radio contact, only gained altitude while still circling over their downed commander. At three thousand feet, Stilson's canopy slid back, the graceful green-and-brown fighter arched over, and Stilson tumbled from the warmth and safety of the cramped little cockpit, falling free. His parachute blossomed above him, as he floated down towards the foaming sea. The sun broke through the clouds, and a mile away his empty plane ploughed into the waves, kicking up a long plume of rainbow spray, and, settling in the water, sank from sight. The other pilots saw Stilson float down, strike the choppy, glinting surface of the Channel, sink, then come frothing up into the sunlight. They saw him cut loose from the shroud lines and kick free of the sinking chute. They saw his inflated raft pop up to the surface, saw him pull himself in and paddle over to where the commander was still struggling feebly in the bitterly cold water. They saw him haul the officer into the tiny raft with him. On their next pass - their last - the others saw both men bobbing in the life raft together. Next, the clouds closed in, obscuring all. The others all made it back safely - just barely. They filled out their reports and waited. No word came. In the morning the sky was peaceful and clear, and they flew over a bright, blue, calm, sparkling sea. But no trace of either man was ever found. MAKING A DIFFERENCE A friend was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along, he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer, he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things out into the ocean. As my friend approached even closer, he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach, and, one at a time, he was throwing them back into the water. My friend was puzzled. He approached the man and said. "Good evening, friend. I was wondering what you are doing." "I'm throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it's low tide right now and all of these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don't throw them back into the sea, they'll die up here from lack of oxygen." "I understand," my friend replied, "but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach. You can't possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many. And don't you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can't you see that you can't possibly make a difference?" The local native smiled, bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied, "Made a difference to that one!" GRASPING Coming across a monk praying while circumambulating a holy building, Geshe Tenpa said, "How pleasant to walk around sacred places, but you know, it's far better to practice the wonderful Dharma." The monk took his words to heart and began earnestly studying the scriptures. One day Geshe Tenpa came across him and commented, "How commendable it is to study the scriptures, but you know, it is far better to practice the wonderful Dharma." The monk took his words to heart and took up intensive meditation. One day Geshe Tenpa came across him and said, "How blissful to be lost in one-pointed meditation, but you know, it's far better to practice the wonderful Dharma." The monk was completely confounded. In desperation he begged, "Master, teach me what to do." Geshe Tenpa smiled and replied, "Just stop grasping at things."