Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama

Caring patiently
“How’s your life in Italy?”, my grandfather asks me while I am helping him trim and clean the roots of his bonsai plants. Looking at his bonsai collections, one can sense the rhythm and blend of time, care, slow but sure growth and beauty and it’s not surprising to feel its power to evoke from us rare depths of thoughts.

My grandfather confirmed that bonsai is a well known catalyst for spiritual and philosophical musings. I’m not surprised, knowing my grandfather’s wisdom.

“You were here September of last year and It’s only May and you’re back again…how are you Ross?” His mild voice gives me self-assurance and confidently, he passes me a new bonsai plant, “look at it carefully and trim around as you want it.”

I accept the plant without answering his question. There is a peaceful silence between us as we proceed on trimming, bending and wiring its branches to give it a new shape.

Deep inside me, I know he understand my stillness. He respects my time like the way he patiently waited for these bonsai plants to slowly develop its roots, its branches, its shape.

Hours passed by and the cathartic effect of the plants finally released my stress and worries.
“Lolo (grandfather in English), it’s hard living alone in Italy. I haven’t seen a single Filipino from where I live…” My words kept on flowing ushering melancholic truth about my job, my co workers, the Italian culture, the distance from familiar faces…

He listens attentively. Silence again. The air becomes crisp. I can feel the wind whirling around me with the damp air splashing my face. I survey the horizon of dancing clouds and distant mountains searching for an answer if I should go back to Italy.

Suddenly, I hear him gently say: “Here, please take this box, I’ve prepared it for your homecoming. Inside, you will find essential things  necessary  to survive a new day, wherever you are.”

I opened the box, and found these things with a message around it. I discovered my priorities as well. Thank you grandpa!

Pick up the good quality

TOOTHPICK

… to remind you to pick the good qualities in everyone, including yourself.

                                                         (Matthew 7:1)

Be flexible

RUBBER BAND

to remind you to be flexible. Things may not always go the way you want, but they can be worked out.                                            (Romans 8:28)

For Healing

BAND-AID

to remind you to heal hurt feelings, whether yours or someone else’s.

                                                                            (Colossians 3:12-14)

Forgiveness 

ERASER

to remind you everyone makes mistakes. That’s okay, we learn by our errors.

                                                                                      (Genesis 50:15-21)

Give attention

CANDY KISS

to remind you everyone needs a hug or a compliment everyday.  (1 John 4:7)

Commitment

BUBBLE GUM

  to remind you to stick with it and  you can accomplish anything. (Philippians 4:13)

List of blessing 

PENCIL

 … to remind you to list your blessings every day.(Ephesians 1:3)

Your worth

MINT

to remind you that you are worth a mint to your family. (John 3:16-17)

Time to relax                    

TEA BAG                                 

to remind you to take time to relax daily and go over that list of God’s blessings.

 (  1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Yes, Dalai Lama is right ” love and compassion are necessities to survive and my grandfather understood it…his bonsai collection is a dazzling  art to behold!

SURVIVAL QUOTES

But the human body has an enormous capacity for adjusting to trying circumstances. I have found that one can bear the unbearable if one can keep one’s spirits strong even when one’s body is being tested. Strong convictions are the secret of surviving deprivation; your spirit can be full even when your stomach is empty.” – Nelson Mandela

If a thing is old, it is a sign that it was fit to live. Old families, old customs, old styles survive because they are fit to survive. The guarantee of continuity is quality. Submerge the good in a flood of the new, and good will come back to join the good which the new brings with it. Old-fashioned hospitality, old-fashioned politeness, old-fashioned honor in business had qualities of survival. These will come back.” – Eddie Rickenbacker

Deeds survive the doers.” – Horace Mann

Surviving a downturn is a bit like going over Niagara Falls in a barrel: when you hit bottom, you’re either dead or happily bobbing in calmer waters.” – Ted Pile

Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” Bruce Lee

Do not despair of life. Think of the fox, prowling in a winter night to satisfy his hunger. His race survives; I do not believe any of them ever committed suicide.” – Henry David Thoreau

The rhythm of life is intricate but orderly, tenacious but fragile. To keep that in mind is to build the key to survival.” – Shirley Hufstedler

Hunger, love, pain, fear are some of those inner forces which rule the individual’s instinct for self preservation.” –Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Even memory is not necessary for love.
There is a land of the living and a land
of the dead and the bridge is love,
the only survival, the only meaning.” –Thornton Wilder

In a world where change is inevitable and continuous, the need to achieve that change without violence is essential for survival.” –Andrew Young

So you think that money is the root of all evil? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil? . . . Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor. . . . Or did you say it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil? To love a thing is to know and love it’s nature. To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men.” – Ayn Rand

I believe that for permanent survival, man must balance science with other qualities of life, qualities of body and spirit as well as those of mind – qualities he cannot develop when he lets mechanics and luxury insulate him too greatly from the earth to which he was born.” – Charles Lindbergh

You work the first eight hours of each day for survival. Anything after that is an investment.” – Thomas Watson

A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That’s control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That’s abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions.” – Carlos Castaneda

Don’t be fooled by me. Don’t be fooled by the face I wear. For I wear a thousand masks, masks that I am afraid to take off and none of them are me. Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me, but don’t be fooled. For God’s sake don’t be fooled. I give the impression that I am secure, that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without, that confidence is my name and coolness my game; that the waters are calm and I am in command, and that I need no one.

But don’t believe me, please. My surface may seem smooth, but my surface is my mask, ever-varying and ever-concealing ‘Neath this lies no complacence. Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, and aloneness. But I hide this.

I don’t want anybody to know. I panic at the thought of my weakness and fear of being exposed. That is why I frantically create a mask to hide behind; a nonchalant, sophisticated facade, to help me pretend, to shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation. My only salvation. And I know it. That is, if it is followed by acceptance, if it is followed by love. It is the only thing that will assure me of what I can’t assure myself, that I am worth something.

But, I don’t tell you this. I don’t dare. I am afraid to. I am afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance and love. I am afraid you will think less of me, that you will laugh at me, and that you will see this and reject me. So I play my game, my desperate game, with a facade of assurance without, and a trembling child within.

And so begins the parade of masks, and my life becomes a front. I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk. I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, of what is crying within me; So when I am going through my routine do not be fooled by what I am saying.

Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying. What I would like to be able to say, what for survival I need to say, but I can’t say. I dislike hiding, Honestly! I dislike the superficial game I am playing, the phony game. I would really like to be genuine and spontaneous, and me, but you have got to help me. You have got to hold out your hand, even when that is the last thing I seem to want. Only you can wipe away from my eyes that blank stare of breathing death. Only you can call me into aliveness.

Each time you try to understand and because you really care, my heart begins to grow wings, very small wings, very feeble wings, but wings. With your sensitivity and sympathy, and your power of understanding, you can breathe life into me. I want you to know that. I want you to know how important you are to me, how you can be the creator of the person that is me if you choose to. Please choose to.

You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble, you alone can remove my mask. You alone can release me from my shadow world of panic and uncertainty; From my lonely person. Do not pass me by. Please . . . do not pass me by. It will not be easy for you; a long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls. The nearer you approach me, the blinder I strike back. I fight against the very thing I cry out for.

But I am told that love is stronger than walls, and in this lies my hope. Please try to beat down those walls with firm hands, but with gentle hands for a child is very sensitive. Who am I, you may wonder? I am someone you know very well.

For I am every man you meet and I am every woman you meet.” – Charles C. Finn

Beyond a critical point within a finite space, freedom diminishes as numbers increase. . . . The human question is not how many can possibly survive within the system, but what kind of existence is possible for those who do survive.” – Frank Herbert

Was not Jesus an extremist for love – “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice – “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” Was not Paul an extremist for the gospel of Jesus Christ – “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist – “Here I stand; I can do none other so help me God.” Was not John Bunyan an extremist – “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” Was not Abraham Lincoln an extremist – “This nation cannot survive half slave and half free.”

Was not Thomas Jefferson an extremist – “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” So the question is not whether we will be extremist but what kind of extremist will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or will we be extremists for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice – or will we be extremists for the cause of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary’s hill, three men were crucified. We must not forget that all three were crucified for the same crime -the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thusly fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment.” – Martin Luther King Jr

Even memory is not necesary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” – Thorton Wilder

If we survive danger it steels our courage more than anything else.- Reinhold Neibuhr

The one thing you can do is to do nothing. Wait . . . You will find that you survive humiliation and that’s an experience of incalculable value.” – T.S. Eliot

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art . . . It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” – Jack Lewis

Loving behavior contributes to the group at the expense of the individual. Competition contributes to the survival of the individual at the expense of the group. In the garden of life, some people are more like flowers, and other people are more like weeds.” – Marilyn Vos savant

Change is difficult but often essential to survival.” – Les Brown

We can’t begin to understand what God has planned for us, But we face each day with a smile, and in his name we trust For in this vast world . . . is Love If only we could see the dove It seems sometimes he doesn’t care When things get rough and hard to bear But with our Faith we can survive Because in our hearts HE is Alive!!” – Ben Knight

As I have discovered by examining my past, I started out as a child. Coincidentally, so did my brother. My mother did not put all her eggs in one basket, so to speak: she gave me a younger brother named Russell, who taught me what was meant by “survival of the fittest.” – Bill Cosby

Our life is always deeper than we know, is always more divine than it seems, and hence we are able to survive degradations and despairs which otherwise must engulf us.” –William James

The truth that survives is simply the lie that is pleasantest to believe.”- H.L.Mencken

The sum of the whole matter is this – our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed  SPIRITUALLY.” – Woodraw Wilson

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