30 December 2012

Where hope takes flight


                                         (Art Prize 2012 in Grand Rapids)

29 December 2012

I Heard a Bird Sing


I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

                                                                                        Oliver Herford

28 December 2012

My symphony


«To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common - this is my symphony
                                                                     William Henry Channing

27 December 2012

Music in the heart


"When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart."
           Howard Thurman

25 December 2012

The most magnificent star


«With a small giggle she vanished as quickly as she appeared and left him standing, with a smile on his face. He closed the door behind him, while a stubborn tear rolled down his face. The Christmas spirit is still alive after all, he thought, holding tight, very close to his heart, the most magnificent star he had ever seen.»
                                                                By Raquel R. in Short Story number 3

«I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.» 
                                                                                                    Charles Dickens 


                                                                                           via dailyoftheday

24 December 2012

The simplest things


«As he stood there, immobilized, on the doorway, trying to find the exact words to express his appreciation for this comforting surprise, she stretched her small arms towards him, pulled him closer and kissed his aged face. »

                                                 By Raquel R. in Short Story number 3

 «When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions- give off the greatest glow of happiness.»                                                                               
                                                            Bob Hope                                                                  

23 December 2012

Christmas is sharing


«What he saw outside was a blatant confirmation of what he already knew. Apart from the illuminated streets and the excessive number of bags and wrapped gifts, that each passerby was carrying, no other indicator suggested that it was the time for love, goodwill and generosity. People would pass by each other, wearing the suit of indifference, smiling with their faces, but not with their eyes, for they still revealed the same distrustfulness and selfishness, as any other day. »
                                                By Raquel R. in Short Story number 3

« Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves. »

                                                                                         Eric Sevareid 

                                                via eraumavezumanespera

22 December 2012

Keep Christmas


« It was Christmas Eve and everywhere he looked, he was bombarded with information, commercials, carols, shopping lists, films, appeals, speeches and testimonies that were meticulously designed to impose an hollow and shallow image of what that special date is or should be.»
                                           By Raquel R. in Short Story number 3

“Are you willing to stoop down and consider the needs and desires of little children; to remember the weaknesses and loneliness of people who are growing old; to stop asking how much your friends love you, and to ask yourself if you love them enough; to bear in mind the things that other people have to bear on their hearts; to trim your lamp so that it will give more light and less smoke, and to carry it in front so that your shadow will fall behind you; to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings, with the gate open? Are you willing to do these things for a day? Then you are ready to keep Christmas!” 
                                                                                                 Henry van Dyke

19 December 2012

Short Story number 3


Short Story number 3:  Inspired by the song « O Holy Night» by Markéta Irglová.




Hundreds of people swarm the busy street resembling trails of ants, moving up and down the geometrically predetermined paths, which lead them in and out the shops. Among that multitude of frenetic and highly efficient beings, he slowly dragged his feet along the pavement and hesitantly slid his frail body through the crowd, in a silent and unfair fight against the stream of rushing people, which formed the ultimate barrier that was keeping him from reaching his final destination. If only he was a bit younger, he would be able to move easily around the obstacles and avoid the bumps and pushes that might be disastrous to his quest, which was getting home, just around the corner of the street.
Slightly out of breath and bearing a sweaty and tired face, he finally opened the door of his refuge and initiated, the always painful task, of climbing the only flight of stairs that would give him access to his sanctuary. His trembling hands plunged into his large pockets, anxiously looking for the keys to his small apartment. Yet, while he was immersed in that apparently simple action, he was not aware that he was being attentively observed by a pair of two curious eyes. When, at last, he found the keys, among an infinity of tokens that he diligently kept in his pockets, like small treasures, his old and hesitant fingers failed him, and the keys fell on the floor. As he was preparing his mind and body for this unexpected effort, a little girl, with curly hair and rosy cheeks, emerged from behind his neighbor’s half-opened door, picked up the keys from the floor, cautiously placing them in his hand again. Taken by surprise, by this sudden appearance and by the kind gesture, his lips paralyzed and he was not capable of muttering any word of gratitude before she quickly disappeared behind the door again.
He entered his apartment, removed his oversized winter coat, sat down on his old armchair and felt the silence taking over his mind and appease his soul. Contrary to his old habits, he did not turn the television on, for this automatic gesture that always kept him away from the claws of loneliness, by providing him with the comfort of an illusory company, was now the reminder of the specificity of that particular day.  It was Christmas Eve and everywhere he looked, he was bombarded with information, commercials, carols, shopping lists, films, appeals, speeches and testimonies that were meticulously designed to impose an hollow and shallow image of what that special date is or should be. Feeling a bit restless, he got up from the armchair and approached the window. What he saw outside was a blatant confirmation of what he already knew. Apart from the illuminated streets and the excessive number of bags and wrapped gifts, that each passerby was carrying, no other indicator suggested that it was the time for love, goodwill and generosity. People would pass by each other, wearing the suit of indifference, smiling with their faces, but not with their eyes, for they still revealed the same distrustfulness and selfishness, as any other day.  
A gentle and soft knock on the door made him turn his eyes away from the window. He cautiously moved towards the door, looked through the peephole and saw nothing.  My old head must be playing tricks on me, he thought.
As he was slowly stepping away from the door, he heard the gentle knock again. He looked one more time through the peephole and saw nothing. Yet, his curiosity was stronger than his sense of preservation, so he cracked open the door to peek out. And there she was again, the little girl with the curly hair and rosy cheeks, standing in front of him and handing him a card. He reached for it, and frowned, while trying to focus his once sharp eyes on the colorful content. After struggling for a few seconds, his old and tired eyes finally allowed him to understand the purpose of that unexpected visit. On that card he distinguished, painted with the brightest colors, the most magnificent star he had ever seen, along with two carefully crafted handwritten words: Merry Christmas.
As he stood there, immobilized, on the doorway, trying to find the exact words to express his appreciation for this comforting surprise, she stretched her small arms towards him, pulled him closer and kissed his aged face.
With a small giggle she vanished as quickly as she appeared and left him standing, with a smile on his face. He closed the door behind him, while a stubborn tear rolled down his face. The Christmas spirit is still alive after all, he thought, holding tight, very close to his heart, the most magnificent star he had ever seen.

                                                                             By Raquel R.


16 December 2012

Embrace Nature


«If one looked at nature», he thought, «with the eyes of the soul, it will give us the answers we need to go on living. Unfortunately, we are all too busy paying attention to insignificant details, to understand that we are all part of a greater whole, and if we choose to embrace that fact, we will be one step closer to find ourselves and fulfill our own destiny.»  
                                            By Raquel R. in Short Story number 2

«I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe. »   
                                                                                       Dalai Lama


14 December 2012

Inner voice


«The hesitant sunbeams stroke his face. The warmth he instantly felt on his body soothed his wounded spirit and lit inside him the spark of hope that he badly needed.» 
                                                               By Raquel R. in Short Story number 2

«Hope is independent of the apparatus of logic.» 
                                                                 Norman Cousins 

                                                    (via thekidshouldseethis)

13 December 2012

Hope vs Optimism


«That thought alone relieved him from the pressure that had been building inside his chest and he recognized that physical reaction, as a sign from the universe showing him, that the path he had chosen was the right one.»
                                          By Raquel R. in Short Story number 2

 « Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.» 
                                                                                         Vaclav Havel

9 December 2012

One day on Earth 12-12-12


                                                            via colossal 

7 December 2012

«We all stand together»


«Life was once again putting him to the test, but like many other men and women out there, he must surrender to the evidences that the burden was too great for him to bear. Maybe it was time that he swallowed his pride, reached for help and learned to trust the ones that care about him. He must not be afraid to unveil his fears and bare his soul before them, for he knows that he was not alone in the coming struggle.»  
                             By Raquel R. in Short Story number 2

«Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.»                              
                                                                                                                             Elie Wiesel



6 December 2012

Search the light


«Silent tears streamed down on his face and pressure built up on his chest like he was about to explode. He took a deep breath and quickly pulled himself together. »
                                                         By Raquel R. in Short Story number 2

«There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. »

                                                                       Leonard Cohen

4 December 2012

Hope vs Fear


«He, that never refused to courageously face the hardships of life, by hiding behind the golden shield of myths, beliefs or superstitions, was now giving in, to this only human need, of holding on to something that would infuse some hope in his tormented soul.»

                                                         By Raquel R. in Short Story number 2

«There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope. »
                                                                                              Baruch Spinoza


2 December 2012

Endure


 «He moved his eyes away from the window glass and focused his attention on the empty street below. The desolated street mirrored the state of his own live.»
                                                       By Raquel R. in Short Story number 2

«There is a saying in Tibetan, “Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.” No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.»
                                                                                             Dalai Lama XIV    
                                                                         

30 November 2012

Trust your instinct, trust life


«Through twists and turns each drop found its way. Sometimes these watery paths ended up connected, but other times, the paths diverted, following different directions. But one thing was sure. Each raindrop fulfilled the same destination, which, was converging together, to be part of greater whole. “It’s funny how nature replicates life. “, he thought.»

                                                   By Raquel R. in Short Story number 2


« Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained, hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired. »
                                                                                                     Erik H. Erikson


                                                               via thekidshouldseethis

28 November 2012

Short Story number 2


Short Story number 2:  Inspired by the song «Song of good hope» by Glen Hansard from the solo album Rhythm and Repose.


The rain was falling heavily and strong gusts of wind murmured loudly on the roof. As he stared at the window he could clearly see the falling raindrops sliding down the window glass. He moved closer and positioned his head closer to the glass. He was able to see that each drop followed its own erratic path through the watery maze. Through twists and turns each drop found its way. Sometimes these watery paths ended up connected, but other times, the paths diverted, following different directions. But one thing was sure. Each raindrop fulfilled the same destination, which, was converging together, to be part of greater whole. «It’s funny how nature replicates life. », he thought.
          He moved his eyes away from the window glass and focused his attention on the empty street below. The desolated street mirrored the state of his own live. He felt like he was now standing in a desert crossroad with no signs to point him the right direction. He, that never refused to courageously face the hardships of life, by hiding behind the golden shield of myths, beliefs or superstitions, was now giving in, to this only human need, of holding on to something that would infuse some hope in his tormented soul. Silent tears streamed down on his face and pressure built up on his chest like he was about to explode. He took a deep breath and quickly pulled himself together. After all, he was always perceived as a pillar of strength to those around him and the fear of letting them down, by showing them his fragility, tore him apart.
          A solitary car passing by on the empty street captured his attention and dragged him back to the present moment. Life was once again putting him to the test, but like many other men and women out there, he must surrender to the evidences that the burden was too great for him to bear. Maybe it was time that he swallowed his pride, reached for help and learned to trust the ones that care about him. He must not be afraid to unveil his fears and bare his soul before them, for he knows that he was not alone in the coming struggle. That thought alone relieved him from the pressure that had been building inside his chest and he recognized that physical reaction, as a sign from the universe showing him, that the path he had chosen was the right one.
            Before he left the room, he looked through the window, one more time, and realized that the rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to shine again. The hesitant sunbeams stroke his face. The warmth he instantly felt on his body soothed his wounded spirit and lit inside him the spark of hope that he badly needed. «If one looked at nature», he thought, « with the eyes of the soul, it will give us the answers we need to go on living. Unfortunately, we are all too busy paying attention to insignificant details, to understand that we are all part of a greater whole, and if we choose to embrace that fact, we will be one step closer to find ourselves and fulfill our own destiny. »
                                                                                                                                                      by Raquel R.


26 November 2012

A film - The Visitor

                                        Details: 2008, USA, Cert 15, 106 mins, Dir: Thomas McCarthy

24 November 2012

What makes you come alive?


«Only then, would we be able to take steps towards ourselves, look deep into our souls to find out what we really are and what we really want. That is where life begins.»

                                  
                                              By Raquel R. in Short Story number 1

«Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.»    
                                            Harold Whitman

                           From David Hedges Britain's Longest-serving Blacksmith on Vimeo via thekidshouldseethis.com

22 November 2012

The need to change


«In all those hopeless faces he recognized himself. And he questioned, what made those people, including himself, wander lost in the crowd, following the herd, without asking where the path is leading, and mostly, why are they walking it. »

                                               By Raquel R. in Short Story number 1

« Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.» 
                                                                                      Leo Tolstoy

20 November 2012

What is your passion?


«Maybe it was time that he summoned again the old spark, which stubbornly, time and time again, ignited in his eyes, and this time let the voice speak loudly from his heart.»
                                                                   By Raquel R. in Short Story number 1

«There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.»
                                                                                          Nelson Mandela 


                                                                                via thekidshouldseethis.com

19 November 2012

Listen to your heart


«Through the course of his life, he always followed the road map with accurate precision, but once in a while, a spark lightened up in his eyes and ignited, at the back of his mind, this blunt and piercing voice that seemed to tell him that life had got to be more than he was raised to believe.»
                                               By Raquel R. in Short Story Number 1

 «Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths.»

                                                                                       Henry Miller

18 November 2012

The key to change our lives


«Like this colossal phenomenon of nature, life holds within an inherent duplicity. One side is luminous and visible; the other side is obscure and hidden. He was only experiencing the visible part of it, the one that laid above sea level. However, the biggest part of it, the most mysterious and the richest one, laid below the surface, far from the human sight, only reachable by ones imagination or will of power.»

                                                   By Raquel R. in Short Story number 1 



                                                                                   

16 November 2012

«Impossible is nothing»


«Those seeds of hope, which should be nurtured and cherished, were left to die because he lacked the strength to fight against the current of thoughts, opinions and catastrophic predictions that were meant to keep him on the route outlined for his life.»     
                                                    By Raquel R. in Short Story number 1
 

                           

15 November 2012

Lose Yourself


« In order to find happiness one must be willing to abandon the easiest and safest path and be ready to take the plunge into the unknown.»
                                               by Raquel R. in Short Story number 1

«Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.» 
                                                                                                Henry Miller


14 November 2012

To live vs To exist


«He saw many discouraged people, unable or unwilling to let go the ever turning wheel of their life, executing meaningless efforts and mechanical gestures, striving to fulfill their imposed mission.» 

                                               by Raquel R. in Short Story number 1
 

«To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.» 
                                                                                               Oscar wilde

13 November 2012

Short Story number 1


Short Story number 1: Inspired by the song «Star, Star» by The Frames.





He was an average man with an average life. He was brought up in an average family with average dreams. Every since he was a child, he was told how is life should be, what steps he should take and what paths he should follow. His mother and father would have all the answers regarding his future, materialized in the form of rigid guide lines, which had to be strictly followed. These were like a road map, with intricate route lines, but with no secondary roads, in which, one could get lost to most likely find unsuspicious surprises.
Through the course of his life, he always followed the road map with accurate precision, but once in a while, a spark lightened up in his eyes and ignited, at the back of his mind, this blunt and piercing voice that seemed to tell him that life had got to be more than he was raised to believe. On those occasions, a certain restlessness and uneasiness assaulted his heart. These were the times when the path chosen for him and the course of his life was questioned. But every time his doubts and fears were shared with his family, whatever seeds that were just about to germinate, were annihilated without mercy. Those seeds of hope, which should be nurtured and cherished, were left to die because he lacked the strength to fight against the current of thoughts, opinions and catastrophic predictions that were meant to keep him on the route outlined for his life.  
 Nonetheless, as he got older, those seeds of hope became more and more recurrent, and that fact made him question things and analyze the reality that surrounded him.
 He saw many discouraged people, unable or unwilling to let go the ever turning wheel of their life, executing meaningless efforts and mechanical gestures, striving to fulfill their imposed mission. In all those hopeless faces he recognized himself. And he questioned, what made those people, including himself, wander lost in the crowd, following the herd, without asking where the path is leading, and mostly, why are they walking it.  
He realized that the inner mechanisms of the mind and life itself shared a similar pattern. Like our minds, life also has underlying mysteries waiting to be unveiled. This clear assumption immediately impelled him to think about the classic image of an iceberg. Like this colossal phenomenon of nature, life holds within an inherent duplicity. One side is luminous and visible; the other side is obscure and hidden. He was only experiencing the visible part of it, the one that laid above sea level. However, the biggest part of it, the most mysterious and the richest one, laid below the surface, far from the human sight, only reachable by ones imagination or will of power.
 Maybe it was time that he summoned again the old spark, which stubbornly, time and time again, ignited in his eyes, and this time let the voice speak loudly from his heart. He now knows that these are signs from the universe, messages from the gods conspiring in favor of those who dared to listen to the big plan, which, is often beyond the obvious, beneath the surface.  
 In order to find happiness one must be willing to abandon the easiest and safest path and be ready to take the plunge into the unknown. Only then, would we be able to take steps towards ourselves, look deep into our souls to find out what we really are and what we really want. That is where life begins.
                                                                                                       by Raquel R.

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