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  • Feel free to browse around... 'FAMILY' Category

    Had we not loved ourselves at all, we could never have been obliged to love anything. So that self-love is the basis of all love. – Thomas Traherne (1636-1674), British clergyman, poet, mystic. Fourth Century, no. 55, Centuries (written c. 1672, publ. 1908)

    “I wasn’t loved as a child and my family doesn’t understand me” exclaims Teresa, the passenger sitting next to me on my flight to Italy last Saturday. I looked at her eyes and I saw an angry glare. I looked at my heart and I saw that point in my life when I said: “henceforth, I will love myself!”

    We should stop blaming our childhood for our misery and stop looking for someone to blame for our feelings of insecurity or unhappiness.

    A perfect family doesn’t exist, same thing for any kind of relationships. So what can we do? If you can’t fix it, stop trying. You do not have the magic powder or elixir that will make everyone happy. No one does. Accept them as they are.

    But, how can you accept them if you do not know how to accept who you are?

    Try a long, hard stare in the bathroom mirror. Do you love what you see in the mirror? Does it show up in how you care for yourself and go about enjoying the gift of life and all the opportunities for Love it has to offer in your daily happening?

    Come on, take that mirror and make a heart to heart talk with yourself.

    I did that…from that day on, it was self love that has saved me from depression. It was self love that has finally pushed me to seek and stay in a healthy relationship. It was self love that stopped me from spiraling down a well which depth was unknown. It was self love that had picked me up from the ground that I thought I would never stand on again. It was self love that made me discover the immense love of God for me.

    I am truly thankful that at a time when in spite of genuinely believing that I had lost everything, I was still able to produce within myself, a tiny dose of feeling people disdainfully address as self love, because it was this feeling that made me who I am today.

    Love or narcissism?

    If still, the mirror doesn’t work for you, try this magical mantra that you can repeat to yourself at all family/relationships dysfunctions. Memorize it and keep it close at heart: “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.”

    I just received an email from Teresa, thanking me for this mantra…and has decided to make an appointment with herself!

    Self-love quotes to follow…

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    Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power. – Covey Stephan

    “What a toxic week! Unexpected things keep on filing up and my time is not enough …” says an infuriated friend. “Can we meet at Stressa ?”

    Off I went to Stressa, a 15 minute drive from where I live. It’s my favorite hiding place from the chaotic lifestyle in Milan where I work.

    isolabella1.jpg

    While waiting for my friend, I decided to walk around the lake shore of Lago Maggiore mulling over the subject: are 24 hours not enough? are there too many things in life that are impossible to bear?

    Suddenly, I saw a woman carrying a big empty jar. Eureka! That’s it! How could I’ve forgotten it? A tiny film in my mind begins emerging from the dark corners of my memory bringing me back to my adolescent years.

    I see my grandfather holding a big empty glass jar instructing me and my cousins to gather some pebbles and big stones; sands and to bring glasses of “buko” (Pilipino for young coconut) juice,  agreeing to meet him by the shore afterwards.

    We all like our grandfather. He is funny, has lots of stories to tell and behind the many creases on his face lie a thousand wisdom.

    Playfully gigling around our “lolo” (Pilipino for grandfather), we lay down the stuffs he asked us to bring. He starts filling up his jar with big stones and he then asks us if the jar is full. “YES!” we agree laughingly!

    Then he asks my cousin to pour the pebbles from his sack into the jar. Shaking the jar lightly, the pebbles roll in between the spaces of the big stones. “Puno na ba itong garapon?” (is the jar full?) he asks us again. “Opo!” (polite term for YES) .

    He nudges my other cousin to pour the sand into the jar and voila and it fills up every spaces. Same question, same answer.

    Without any sign of approval, he pours inside the jar two glasses of coconut juice and in effect, filling everything there is. Looking at our eyes and trusting our worldly minds, he serenely speaks:

    “I want you to remember that this jar is  similar to your life.

    The big stones are the important things; the pebbles are your secondary choices; the sand is everything else: the minor ones.

    If you put the sand into the jar first there is NO room for the pebbles or the big stones. It holds true for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the minor things, you will never have room for the important ones.

    Try to select carefully which are critical to your happiness: close family relationships, health and well-being, meaningful work, long term friendships, supportive community, creative pursuits, travel and adventure, financial freedom, spiritual life, etc

    Take care of the big stones first – the things that really matter. Focus on your top five priorities and every 6 months, evaluate how much attention are you giving them.

    List your priorities. The rest is just sand.

    Don’t let anything come between you and what truly matters most to you!

    Raising up my hand I ask: what about the coconut juice? Smiling he says: “No matter how full your life may be, there’s always room for a  glass filled of coco juice with a friend.”

    Here comes my friend now, a cup of cappucino will perk us up like my grandfather’s “buko” juice story.

     My life and its contents

    NEXT:  Priorities Quotes

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