Are you alright?

This song touched my heart with its simplicity. Sometimes life takes you away from people who were once close to you. You slowly drift apart, drowning in the sea of everyday routine. Every now and then however you ask yourself: “I wonder how he/she is? Is he/she alright? If not, is there anything I can do for her/him?”

Or even worse – you suddenly learn that this person went through a very tough patch in life and you were not there for her/him. You had no chance to help or at least share the pain and now it is too late… You did not know, but that does not make that lump of bitter guilt inside you any smaller.

Even when you are trying to keep in touch with people who were once close to you, it often ends up in a superficial polite conversation about work, family, children, weather and lots of routine trivial things, while the most important questions go unanswered and often unasked. No words can hide the awkwardness and emptiness that speaks…

Are you alright? Do you have someone whom you can tell anything that worries you, anything that comes to your mind? Do you have someone to give you a hug whenever you need one?

From http://www.ultimate-guitar.com

Have a wonderful week and keep smiling 🙂 

THE END

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When holding hands with you…


From http://thequotesgarden.blogspot.co.nz

I promise I will hold your hand,
In good times and in bad.
I’ll hold it very tightly if
You’re ever feeling sad.

I’ll reach out for your manly paw
At times when you’re excited,
And if we part I’ll grab your hand
When we are reunited.

I’ll hold your hand when tears flow
With grief, or joy, or sorrow,
And all the time your hand’s in mine,
I’ll welcome more tomorrows.

I hope there never comes a time,
When you won’t hold my hand,
Whether we’re out shopping
Or making footprints in the sand.

They say home is where the heart is,
And perhaps the saying’s true,
But I also know I’m always home,
When holding hands with you.

By Pooky H

THE END

 

You can START SMALL to make a BIG DIFFERENCE

“Anyone can make a difference, so you don’t have to have it be some huge, global campaign… you can start small, and that’s just as important.”

Blake Mycoskie


Muhammad Yunus
From http://nobelpeaceportraits.com

In 1974, a terrible famine swept through Bangladesh, a nation struggling in the aftermath of a devastating war for independence. Millions of starving people began to migrate from the remote villages of the north to the cities farther south in search of food.

In one such city, Chittagong, lived a thirty-four-year-old economics professor named Muhammad Yunus, who had recently returned from the United States, where he had gone as a Fulbright scholar to obtain his PhD in economics. As Yunus watched the growing influx of starving humanity, he began to feel a huge disconnect between what he was teaching his students at the University of Chittagong and what he was seeing on the streets: the skeletal bodies and vacant eyes of thousands of people literally starving to death. Heartsick and determined to find some way to help, he decided to begin with the poor people in the small neighboring village of Jobra.

ELCA Archives image1974 famine in Bangladesh

As Yunus visited these people, he discovered that most of the “poorest of the poor” were widowed, divorced, or abandoned women who were desperately trying to feed their children. Because they didn’t have money to buy supplies, they were forced to borrow from “traders” and they sell their products back to them for a pittance.

A woman with three children, for example, would borrow 5 taka (about 22 cents) to buy bamboo. After working from morning until night to weave the bamboo into a stool, she was forced to repay her loan by selling the stool to the traders for 5 taka and 50 poysha (about 24 cents). That left her a profit of only 2 cents a day, barely enough to keep her and her children alive.

Bangladesh Famine 1974

Like many others in the villages of Bangladesh, this woman was stuck in a cycle that ensured that she and her children would remain in poverty for generations. As an economist, Yunus realized that the only way she could break out of the cycle would be to somehow get the five taka to buy her bamboo so that she could sell her stools for the full retail price in a free market. But there was no one who would loan her the capital at a reasonable rate.

As he searched throughout the tiny village of Jobra, he found that there was a total of forty-two people – stool makers, mat weavers, rickshaw drivers, and so on – who were all dependent on the traders…. In the end, Yunus loaned those forty-two people the money because no one else would, with the simple instructions to pay it back, without interest, when they could… Thus began a new era in Yunus’s life – and in the lives of the poor of Bangladesh…

grameen-bank-logoFrom http://tipsboss.com

Although Yunus had no intention of going into banking himself, he ended up doing so… He studied how other banks set up their loan operations, and then he set up a bank, the Grameen [“rural” or “village”] Bank, that did the exact opposite. Whereas other banks tried to delay the borrowers’ repayment as long as possible in order to increase the amount of the loan (making it hard for people to pay), Yunus instituted a daily payment program of very small amounts. He set up support groups and established incentives to encourage borrowers to help one another succeed. And at a time when the banks of Bangladesh effectively excluded women from ever being able to secure a loan, he set the goal that half of Grameen Bank borrowers would be women.

Bangladesh Famine 1975

In his book Banker to the Poor, he described a typical Grameen borrower in the early days as she walked from the bank with her loan – typically about $25  in hand:

“All her life she has been told that she is no good, that she brings only misery to her family, and that they cannot afford to pay her dowry. Many times she hears her mother or her father tell her she should have been killed at birth, aborted, or starved. To her family she had been nothing but another mouth to feed, another dowry to pay. But today, for the first time in her life, an institution has trusted her with a great sum of money. She promises that she will never let down the institution or herself. She will struggle to make sure that every penny is paid back.”

Woman
From http://pepbonet.com

Contrary to almost everyone’s expectations, an amazing 98 percent of Grameen Bank borrowers to pay back their loans. (In comparison, the payback rate on a traditional small-business loan is 88 percent.)…

With a growing desire to eliminate poverty on a larger basis, Yunus moved ahead step by step – learning, making mistakes, and adapting to increasing number of people in his vision – people in banking, government, and other related industries. Through Yunus’s leadership, Grameen Bank continued to expand its reach and impact, and to date the organization has made more than $6 billion in loans to more than 8 million borrowers in Bangladesh, 97 percent of whom are women…. In 2006 Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to lift tens of millions of people out of poverty.

From ‘Smart Trust’ by Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link

Poem

From http://emilysquotes.com

Related posts:

THE END

Raising Teen Daughters: Empathy vs Sympathy

From http://www.buzzle.com

Can we ever understand teenage girls if even such experienced psychologist Nigel Latta openly admitted in his Politically Incorrect Guide to Teenagers, that he “didn’t understand the physics of the Girl-niverse”? “If a boy goes off the rail,” continues Latta, “he generally drinks alcohol, takes some drugs, gets into some petty crime and hits a few people. When girls go off the rails, they have a capacity to create degrees of chaos that are hard to believe. When girls go off the rails, the earth shifts on its axis”.

From http://lifetoheryears.com/50rules

So how can fathers help their daughters to go through that complicated stage in life? How can fathers understand their teenage daughters, those beautiful fairy princesses who suddenly turn into demonic uncontrollable monsters?

A few days ago I came across a story that touched my heart: a story of a father, who not only made an effort to understand his teenage daughter, but possibly rescued his troubled daughter from years of despair and near suicide. This story is provided below.


From http://www.ufunk.net

“I know of a couple with three grown children. This is a good family… The father did a good deal of traveling for his work while his daughter and two boys were growing up His relationship with them was sound and safe, but he just wasn’t around very much. Everything was fine until his teenage daughter started having behavioral problems at school and then with the law.

Each time she got in trouble, her anxious, time-conscious father would sit down with her and try to talk through the problem. They would go around on the same issues every time: “I’m too fat, I’m too ugly.” “No, you are not, you’re beautiful to me.” “You have to say that, you’re my dad.” “I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.” “Yes, you would” “Do you think I’d lie to you?” And the discussion would turn to the question of the father’s honesty. Or he would tell her a story from his own youth, like the one about how he grew up with skinny arms and shoulders and everyone made fun of him. “Is that supposed to make me feel better?” she would say.

From http://www.dongallagherllc.com

Things would calm down, he’d leave town, and the cycle would start again. He was on a trip when his wife rang him to say their daughter had disappeared. Frantically, he caught a plane home and the family fretted for days while the search went on. At last she turned up in a runaway shelter in another city, and the parents collected her.

That night he and his wife talked things through. “I do not know what to do about her,” he confessed. His wife replied, “You might try listening to her.” “What do you mean? I listen to her constantly.”

His wife gave him a half smile. “Go and listen to her. Don’t talk. Don’t talk. Just listen.”

mate preferenceFrom http://www.huffingtonpost.com

He sat down with his daughter, who was still silent, and asked her, “Would you like to talk?” She shook her head, but he stayed where he was, silent as well. It was getting dark before she finally spoke. “I just don’t want to live anymore.”

Alarmed, he fought the urge to protest this and said softly, “You don’t want to live anymore.” This was followed by about five minutes of silence – the longest five minutes in his life, he later said.

“I’m just not happy, Dad. I don’t like anything about myself. I want it to be over.”

“You’re not happy at all,” he breathed.

The girl began to cry. In fact, she began to sob intensely, trying to talk at the same time, words flowing like a flood. It was as if a dam had burst. She talked into the early morning hours, he said hardly ten words, and the next day things looked hopeful. Where before he was giving her only sympathy, at last he had discovered empathy.

From http://www.gurl.com

This was only the first “psychological airing” of many over the next few hard adolescent years, but the young girl is now a woman, calm and confident in herself and her father’s love for her. That he would seek her out, that he would value the outpourings of her heart instead of imposing his version of reality on her, helped give her a robust foundation for life.

From http://www.sheknows.com

When tensions are high and confidence is low, when the next step doesn’t look clear at all, when a wall has gone up, try an experiment with empathy.

  • Go to the other side and say, “You see things differently. I need to listen to you.”
  • Give full attention. Don’t multitask while you’re listening. Don’t judge, evaluate, analyse, advise, toss in your footnotes, critique, or quarrel.
  • Be quiet. You don’t have to provide an answer, a verdict, a solution, or a “fix”. Free yourself from all that pressure. Just sit back and listen.
  • Speak only to keep the flow going. Say things like “Tell me more,” or “ Go on.”
  • Pay close attention to emotions. Affirm feelings.
  • Remember, you are listening to a story. When you go to a movie, you don’t interrupt and argue with the story and talk back to the screen. You’re involved, your sense of reality is suspended, you’re almost is a trance.
  • Be ready to learn. If you’re open, you’ll gain insights that will lighten up your own mind and complement your own perspective.
  • Show some gratitude. It’s a great compliment to be invited into the mind and heart of another human being…”

From “The 3rd alternative” by Stephen R Covey

Related posts:

THE END

Write to create a better world

“Don’t write to escape your world, instead write to create a better one.”

Cliff Harrison

From http://www.wisewomantradition.com

Some might consider writing and reading a waste of time. Is that really so? Or can we create a better world via reading, writing and blogging?

As Steven Pinker points out in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes, “Reading is a technology for perspective-taking. When someone else’s thoughts are in your head, you are observing the world from that person’s vantage point. Not only are you taking in sights and sounds that you could not experience firsthand, but you have stepped inside that person’s mind and are temporarily sharing his or her attitudes and reactions. As we shall see, “empathy” in the sense of adopting someone’s viewpoint is not the same as “empathy” in the sense of feeling compassion toward the person, but the first can lead to the second by a natural route…

Adopting other people’s vantage points can alter one’s convictions in other ways. Exposure to worlds that can be seen only through the eyes of a foreigner, an explorer, or a historian can turn an unquestioned norm (“That’s the way it’s done”) into an explicit observation (“That’s what our tribe happens to do now”). This self- consciousness is the first step toward asking whether the practice could be done in some other way…”

love-book

From Slush Pile Empathy

By spreading positive ideas via our blogs, we can combat harmful viruses of the mind and develop empathy and compassion. By exchanging our thoughts and experiences, we can learn from each other, identify personal biases, and improve individual and cultural practices.

As Noam Chomsky once said, “”There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: honest search for understanding, education…, action… – and the kind of commitment that will persist despite the temptations of disillusionment, despite many failures and only limited successes, inspired by the hope of a brighter future.”

Let’s use our creativity to make this world a better place for everyone.

THE END

Can you feel another person?


From Jesus was the greatest empath… 

Neuroscientists have discovered specialized cells in the brain, called mirror neurons, that spontaneously create brain-to-brain links between people. This means that our brain waves, chemistry and feelings can literally mirror the brain waves, chemistry and feelings of people who we are communicating with, reading stories about, watching on television, or those who we simply have in our thoughts.

We may think that our feelings and emotions are our exclusive property, that they belong to us and that we alone can feel them. However, emotions can easily pass from person to person, like infectious smiling. The way we feel can affect the way other people are feeling.

Imagen
From http://psicotrans.wordpress.com

Some people are so highly sensitive, that they can start feeling the way other people feel. They can start experiencing other people’s feelings as their own feelings. Much of the time this is done unconsciously. 

People commonly put on a show of expression, hiding their true feelings and emotions. Sometimes, people are struggling to understand their own feelings. Highly sensitive people (or empaths) can sense the truth behind the cover and can help that person to better understand and express him/herself, thus making them feel at ease and not so desperately alone.

Friends ( photo by Squirrrel )

Traits of an empath

Empaths are often poets in motion. They are the born writers, singers, and artists with a high degree of creativity and imagination. They are known for many talents as their interests are varied, broad and continual, loving, loyal and humorous. They often have interests in many cultures and view them with a broad-minded perspective.

From http://danspapers.com

Empaths are often very affectionate in personality and expression, great listeners and counselors (and not just in the professional area). They will find themselves helping others and often putting their own needs aside to do so.

From http://nspt4kids.com

Empaths are most often passionate towards nature and respect its bountiful beauty. One will often find empaths enjoying the outdoors, beaches, walking, etc. Empaths may find themselves continually drawn to nature as a form of ‘release’ from other people’s feelings. It is the opportune place to recapture their senses and gain a sense of peace in the hectic lives they may live.

From http://www.thegorgeousdaily.com

Empaths are often quiet and can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes.

Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs or get overwhelmed and confused with everything they feel. To make empaths feel better, try helping them to restore their inner balance, re-connect with their own feelings and respect their own needs.

From http://psychcentral.com

In general an empath is non-violent, non-aggressive and leans more towards being the peacemaker. Any area filled with disharmony creates an uncomfortable feeling in an empath. If they find themselves in the middle of a confrontation, they will endeavor to settle the situation as quickly as possible, if not avoid it all together. If any harsh words are expressed in defending themselves, they will likely resent their lack of self-control, and have a preference to peacefully resolve the problem quickly.


From http://mass.pakgalaxy.com

Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where a problem is, so too is the answer. They often will search until they find one – if only for their own peace of mind.

 From https://letmereach.com

Can you feel another person?
Or do you know someone who can feel you?

 Resources: 

THE END

The Power of Touch

From http://shareinspirequotes.tumblr.com

In recent years, a wave of studies has documented some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. This research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health.

The benefits of touch start from the moment we’re born. A review of research, conducted by Tiffany Field, a leader in the field of touch, found that preterm newborns who received just three 15-minute sessions of touch therapy each day for 5-10 days gained 47 percent more weight than premature infants who’d received standard medical treatment.

From http://www.lookymommy.com

As Kelly Bartlett points out, being regularly physically affectionate with kids of all ages helps maintain the emotional connection they share with their parents. When that bond remains strong, challenging behavioral situations decrease and discipline becomes less intense overall.

From http://www.everydayfamily.com

Games involving person-to-person contact (e.g. horsey rides, piggy back rides, wrestling, tag etc.)  promote the release of positive brain chemicals and bring families closer together in a fun, physical way.

How To Advise A Couple Starting A FamilyFrom http://www.investopedia.com

As children grow and become more independent and social, opportunities for cuddling naturally diminish, and it becomes important for parents to take extra effort to find ways to physically connect with them. Reading to a child or even watching a movie on the couch is a wonderful way to get close, as it invites leaning into, lying on, snuggling, touching, and arm-wrapping.

From http://hopesays.wordpress.com

And educators, take note: A study by French psychologist Nicolas Gueguen has found that when teachers pat students in a friendly way, those students are three times as likely to speak up in class.


From http://seattletimes.com

Touch is very important for adults too. According to scientists, touch reduces both physiological and perceived stress; touch causes one’s stress hormones, such as cortisol, to decrease while causing other hormones, like oxytocin, to increase which promote social bonding and wellness.

Happy friends
From http://www.oprah.com

According to Dacher Keltner, touch is our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion. In fact, in his research he has found that people can not only identify love, gratitude, and compassion from touches but can differentiate between those kinds of touch, something people haven’t done as well in studies of facial and vocal communication.


From http://www.artofmanliness.com

Interestingly enough, two gender differences have been identified in Dacher Keltner’s research:

  • when a woman tried to communicate anger to a man via touch, he got zero right—he had no idea what she was doing!
  • when a man tried to communicate compassion to a woman via touch, she didn’t know what was going on!

 The Gender Dictionary helps resolve arguments and relationship problems caused by gender communication differences.
From http://genderdictionary.drkarengaillewis.com/

It might seem surprising, but touch may mean more to men than they let on: A 2011 study by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction polled more than 1,000 men and their female partners in five countries about the power of touch and found that for men between the ages of 40 and 70, regular cuddling was more important than sex. The more men hugged and kissed, the happier they considered their relationships.


From http://sarahjwatsonmassagetherapy.tumblr.com/

There are times—during intense grief or fear, but also in ecstatic moments of joy or love—when only the language of touch can fully express what we feel. This video is an invitation for people to relearn the power of touch. There’s much to be gained from embracing our tactile sense—in particular, more positive interactions and a deeper sense of connection with others.

Did you touch someone today?

😉

THE END