Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Beauty Contest.

There once lived in a beautiful garden the most beautiful butterfly ever seen. There were many other butterflies in the garden but of them all, she by far outshone all the rest.

Such was her beauty that she had won many beauty contests, so many that she began to believe that there was not anywhere a butterfly so beautiful as she. She began to show herself off at every opportunity.

Also in the garden, there lived a beetle that was far from a thing of beauty and he was aware of this. He had heard many people say that he was a very ugly looking bug that he could not deny it was a fact.

Watching the butterfly preen herself and show herself to all who wanted to see only added to the beetles' awareness of his ugliness. The beetle felt so bad that he decided it was time to teach this butterfly a lesson.

The beetle went to the butterfly, and in front of every other animal and insect in the garden told her that she was not at all beautiful. She was, in fact, a very ugly thing to look at. He then went on to tell the butterfly that he was by far the most delightful thing in the garden.

When the butterfly declared that she had won many beauty contests the beetle said that the judges must have been bribed.

The butterfly was furious, and with total disdain told the beetle, "I would beat you any contest you care to enter. I will even let you select the judges."

"Ok said the beetle, so be it. I will see you on Saturday," and off he went in great haste.

That Saturday everyone from the garden gathered for the contest. The butterfly arrived completely confident of victory.  On arrival, she looked and saw the selected judges.

Each and every judge was either a creepy crawly or a smelly cockroach. So there was no surprise when the beetle won the competition.

The butterfly was in tears and feeling very humiliated never feeling like ever again entering any contest. 

Fortunately, the beetle was an understanding animal and apologised to the butterfly for having been so cruel to her. They became great friends and the butterfly learned much about the different bugs and animals in the garden and how they each had a purpose and task to fulfil. That the garden was a thing of great beauty when they all worked together in harmony. When one or another went their own way disunity broke out and the garden never looked its best and the fruit and flowers often failed to blossom. 

Beauty said the beetle lies in the eye of the beholder.  Sometime later the butterfly won another contest. Not a beauty contest but the contest for Humility.

As the New Year approaches we will all be thinking of our incoming year and our aims and desires. If we decide those not on the basis of self alone but keeping in mind the friends and family that surround us and the part they play, the resolutions will be good and with that help, more importantly, they will be achievable.

Have a wonderful end of the year and a very happy incoming New Year.

A Happy New year to all my friends who will help me become a better person aware of my place and the offering I have for others.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

A time of Silence.

Simple Silence.

The master was deeply concerned about four of his students. He wondered if there was any hope at all for them and asked the question of himself if they were good for each other?

They never seemed able to do anything he asked of them without it becoming a problem. Simple tasks, like washing the bowls after meal time resulted in bowls being damaged and other many mishaps occurring.

He had reached the point where he considered asking them to leave the monastery and find something other to do with their lives.

He then thought that he would give them one final opportunity to make amends and show that there was some hope for them.

He brought them into his quiet room and spoke with them telling them of his concerns. He could see that they were upset by what he was saying to them. He thought that this just might be a glimmer of hope.

He told them he was going to allow them to forgo all tasks for the following week, instead, they were to go to the meditation room each day and for the next week, they were to maintain total silence no matter what happened.

One the first day they gathered in the room as requested and they kept their silence. The meditation had started auspiciously, but when night came and the sun began to drop beneath the horizon the oil lamps began to grow dim.

One of the students just could not resist and turned and exclaimed to one of the house cleaners, "Fix those lamps."

The second student turned to face the noise in utter surprise and said to the first one, "We are not supposed to say a word."

From the far end of the room came the words, "You two are stupid, Why on earth did you talk?'

"I am the only one who has not talked." boasted the fourth student.

So ended the first day in utter failure by all four.

There is always some person who acts as though the rules are for everybody else and not for them. Those who read notices asking that certain codes and manners be followed in certain places and areas, but those rules are there for everybody else, not he or his.

Then there are those who think that it is their task in life to keep everybody else on the right tracks even when they themselves are incapable of doing so themselves.

Then there are those who take great pleasure in seeing others fall short of expectations and cannot resist showing how much better they are at acheiving, even when they have not.

Of course, there is always the boaster who is good at everything. He blows out his chest and lets the world know how clever he is and in so doing does nothing of value.

The person who without pride or boast or being just one of the sheep is the one who keeps his own counsel and achieves all that is expected and moves on to the next task or stage in the journey called life.

Have a good day and end in the knowledge that you alone know the journey you have made that day. The goals set and arrived at and that feeling of, it has been a good day.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Night or Day?

I had an interesting discussion with a friend the other day. He had read in one of my blogs that I had been out walking and watching the sunrise. He asked me what time it was that I had been out and when I told him it was just after 6am he looked at me aghast. The very thought of being up and about at that time of the day was a complete anathema to him.

I asked him what time he got out of bed and he told me anytime between 9am and 10 am. So I had enjoyed three hours of the day before he had decided to get out of bed. Of course, there was a big difference at the other end of the day. When I asked him what time he went to bed he told me anytime after 10-30pm. I, on the other hand, went to bed between 9pm and 10pm unless there was something special I wanted to watch on television or listen to on the radio. 

This he just could not understand at all. So who was correct and who was wrong? Of course nobody. It is all a matter of preference. 

I can remember when I left school and began working I was meant to start work at 6-30 am. I can recall lying in bed having looked at the time and thinking to myself, "If my mother does not call me soon I am going to be late for my work."  Getting myself out of bed was just not on the agenda. 
There is an interesting little tale about three monsters, Pogo the Ogre, Big Giant and The Horrible One. They had been responsible for nothing in life other than frightening children. Some of their means of doing this had got them into difficulties so they had voluntarily put themselves in the monster prison. Frightening children was no way to make a living they had decided.
Every time they were told that they could leave any time they wished they decided just to stay put because there was nothing else they were any good at. This was all they were good at and now they felt miserable and useless. Where could they go and what could they do?
One day a monster named Nightmare was locked up with them. He was a tiny little monster who devoted his life to giving people sleepless nights. He slept himself most of the day.
When he was awake he was good fun. he had so many tales about how he changed peoples dreams into horrible nightmares. The three loved hearing his stories but did not get the pleasure very often because he spent most of the day sleeping. it seemed that he could sleep through anything it would take an earthquake to wake him.
One day, being bored with their lives the three decided to wake him. They combined cries and yells and eventually Nightmare woke up. They expected him to be angry with them but it turned out to be the opposite. He had never before experienced a sunrise or the start of a beautiful day, he seemed very happy.
"I have always wanted to get up early. That way I would enjoy more of the day." He told them that they should hire themselves out as alarm clocks. Nightmare knew loads of people who were like him, sleepyheads. He assured them these friends would thank them for waking them up.
The three were so happy to hear those words. They could, after all, be of some use in life. It seemed they had more to offer life than being frightening. That very day they left the prison, ready to make they're first of many alarm calls.

Soon they became famous for their reliability. They offered a custom-made service for sleepyheads.

To discover that you can be of use, that nobody has nothing at all to offer, if they only seek and find what it is they are good at and what they can offer can be such a joy.

We all have within us some kind of talent the important thing is to make the effort to discover what your talent is and how you can best put it to use.

Early morning, late at night? 
t is not at all important as long as you have found your niche and where you best fit in. 
Have a glorious day.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

To be able to run the good race and walk the right path.

Coastal Path Dalgety Bay.

On Boxing day I was up very early in time to catch the sunrise in Letham Woods on the coastal path. This was a trip down memory lane. I used to live not far from here and I used to run through those woods often. Here I was now walking, how things change, and not always as expected. 
I thought back to those days of running those muddy tracks and obstacles and wished I was doing it still. But I could remember back to the time when if I ever felt like running I would go and lie down until the feeling wore off. 

Going even further back I can remember playing in those woods with my friends. School holidays and all the time in the world. A jam sandwich and a bottle of water and off for the day until it was time to return home for evening meal. 
When we are young and seemingly invincible, we have our whole lives to live, to explore, to play.
In our carefree state, we connect easily, even if briefly, just to play. We are not at all concerned about, nor do we even care about what lies ahead.
As we begin to mature, we also begin to lose our childlike sense of wonder. One day, out of the blue, an almost nebulous awareness creeps into our imagination. The wonderment of juvenile days become a new type of wonder; one of skepticism and doubt. Innocence has somehow slipped away without notice. 
As you know, life gets messy. We try to sort out our feelings. There are times we feel disconnected. 

We feel just like  OOSOOM (Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind.)
When we begin to discover who we are, an outline begins to emerge, we begin to look to tomorrow and what it might hold for us. Along the way, because we are inexperienced, we pick things such as bad habits, faux pas and misgivings. 
We aren’t wise enough yet to let them go, or to realise what an unnecessary burden we carry around with us. We begin to listen to other peoples opinions of us, and tend to give them more weight than they deserve.

The colour of life slowly erodes into shades of uncertainty. If we are not careful, we trade  our brilliance for jaded judgment, rusty reasoning, and tarnished thinking.
If we are less mindful than we ought to be, nothing fits. 

What used to work, no longer holds true.
But because life is a dynamic puzzle, when we are discouraged, we can pick up the pieces of our lives and still move forward. We can pick up hope and cling to dreams.

One day we discover that which completes us. We discover true love. From that point on, you are inseparably connected.
Things begin to take on a new shape and we find a purpose in our life. Completely surrounding us are the important decisions, which need to each be carefully weighed and given a deliberate measure of consideration. 
The wisest amongst us learn to set down and skillfully replace any bad habits we may have picked up along the way and replace them with good habits. The foolish of us cling to and add to the bad habits.

All going well we see the big picture of our lives and work to bring it to frutition. We begin to see our place in the great design of life. Life can be and often is a puzzle but we all have a part to play and a place in which we can fit. 

Because life is indeed like a puzzle and we all fit in somewhere, it just sometimes takes longer for some than others to figure out where we in fact do fit. 

May today be another day of discovery. There is such a joy in finding that there is yet something else you did not know you could do. 

Run the good race and follow the road that leads to inner peace.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Things are not always how they seem.

Going with the flow.

I ended up talking about my days as a teacher on my Christmas day blog and here I am back with another couple of true stories from those days.

I am sure that at some point in the past I have shared this little tale but I do not think on this blog. I taught in a fairly deprived area on the outskirts of Glasgow. Now that did not mean all the students before me were deprived not by a long way. But there were some who, to say the least, was difficult and challenging. 

Trying to find ways of helping I had planned to take some of these young people out into the country and challenge them on some hill walking. It was the last week of term before the oncoming school summer holidays. Each day I took a group of twenty students and we ventured to climb Scotlands most southern Munroe, a mountain over 3000 feet.

At the start of the walk, we were crossing a field with some cattle. It became obvious that most of the students had never been so up close and personal before. One young man got very animated. "Mr T, did you see that cow?" "What cow was that?" I asked. "That one over there it came right up to me. I was nervous. It did a big jobby right in front of me."

I laughed and said, "Seems the sight of you made it nervous as well." The cow and its business became the talk of the class for the rest of the week.

There were a number of students who made their way to my classroom at the start of the day, and again at the morning and lunchtime breaks. These students found my classroom a place of safety, not managing with playground interaction.

Every morning one of these students would arrive almost as early as me, in fact sometimes before me. 

Every morning while I was getting ready for the day she would put the percolator on and from her bag produce a well-known make of caramel wafer, one of my favourites.

I was aware that she came from a fairly large family and that there was no father on the scene. This being the case I one day took her aside and told her that as much as I enjoyed the treat that she should tell her mother that she should not go to the bother. 

The next morning, there she was with the said treat in her bag. I asked her if she had conveyed my message to her mother. 

She told me that she had. "What did your mother say?" I asked her.

My mother said to tell you, "It is ok she works in the factory where they are made and she sneaks them out in her knickers."

Noy everything in life is as simple and straightforward as it might at first seem. 

Have a wonderful carefree day, and enjoy the treats that might come your way.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Schools and Students.

The Door to Healing.

I am not very sure how many if any will read this because most will be very busy with friends and family and in the midst of Christmas festivities. I am also not sure if I will be able to post tomorrow as I am not going to be on my computer.

I thought that it being a time of the year when the last thing we all want is something very serious to go back to the days when I was teaching. Two things that I always fascinating naming about teaching were the notes sent in by parents. Now some of those notes were frequently not the work of the parents but the attempt at a good forgery by the very student handing it to me. Working out which was genuine and which was not always easy. the second thing was the ongoing struggle of filling out home reports on the behaviour and achievements of students over the year. 

The need to be PC and positive in attitude was sometimes very difficult indeed So here for your joy is a sample of some of those read over the years.

"Please excuse Janette, for being absent yesterday. She was bitten on the buttocks and had to go to the dentist."

" Please excuse, Graham, if he is not quite himself today. he ate a lot of jelly and cream at a party last night and was a trifle sick."

"Please excuse, James, as he had diarrhoea in his new sandals."

"I kept Betty at home yesterday as her mother had a baby. it will not happen again."

"Please excuse, Alan, for being absent at present. He has a sore belly as he swallowed a sixpence. I will let you know if there is any change.

And teacher speak for report cards. 

Teacher                                                            Translation.

Willie tries ever so hard.                              Willie is as thick as mince!

Sometimes Willie finds                                Willie is as daft as a brush.
 it hard to concentrate.

Willie is a lively little chap.                         Willie is a right wee toe-rag!

Willie has a strong personality.                 Willie is an awkward little bugger!

Willie is a neat writer.                                  Willie cannae spell to save himself.

Willie is a most responsible boy.               Willie is responsible for most of the disruption
                                                                        in this class!

Willie has a vivid imagination.                 You should hear some of the excuses Willie
                                                                      comes up with!

Willie excels at sport.                                The only thing in Willies heid is football.

Wille is good with his hands.                    Willie cannae stay away from the girls.

Willie is a rather solitary child.                  Willie smells something awful.

To any reading this I hope you have a marvellous Christmas will be back as soon as possible. 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Walking ( The Little Miracle)

Walking is very much an integral part of my life, I do so most days, summer and winter. There is, in my mind no such thing as bad weather, just wearing the wrong clothes for whatever the weather is. 

Somebody asked me, "Do you never get bored doing the same walks? You must know every path and sight." It is possible to walk the same route every day seven in a row and have a different walk every day. A large part of any walk takes place inside the head. It is here that the mind creates the thoughts that inspire the sights we see. 

Being alert to what is around us allows us to see nature in all its glory and splendour. It is a great healing process, a walk at one with the elements. The above painting is a beautiful example. The sun was just rising in the early morning and the mist was slowly lifting but where it touched the plant life it left little sparkles like diamonds. 

I know people who do not find walking a good experience they tell me they have far too much time to fret over the day ahead or worry about yesterday.  Then there are those who say that it is too painful to walk. My sympathy is with this group of people. As one who has pain all day every day in my ankle, I can only say that walking does not make it any worse it, in fact, gives it a healing touch.

I often talk of walking in the Tao. What I mean is walking with an easy thought and pace just going as you can not stretching oneself or trying to be a great athlete. Just go as you can, at a pace you can at a distance you can. There are no medals at stake no winning or losing.

I apologise to those who are finding this doing nothing for you. I have been asked by more than one to try and explain and encourage. I hope for those this gives some help.

This came from one of the little sayings I posted earlier this week. I have given it a little more thought and written the following words.


When you walk do so at a relaxed pace,
this way you will not stumble.
When you sleep or rest, do not fret or worry.
To walk this way or rest, first, you must find patience.
Next, you need not worry about the past.
It has gone and cannot be relived.
Holding on to past you can never let go the old you,
 So you cannot find the new.
Next, forget about the morrow,
To think about the future prolongs the road before you.
It then seems so long and hard.
Much better to be serene
Neither past or future.
Just paying attention to the now.
Each accomplishment becomes an achievement.
This, in turn, will build you up.
Eagerness for completion,
Desires to do more,
All lead to personal interest,
Striving for gain.
This is the road of inconsistency

When you walk or rest  do so  in the Tao

I make no claims of any miracles , but lace on a pair of appropriate footwear and go for it. If you only mange past your neighbours house and back, that is probably further and more than you managed before. What it will do for your wellbing and mind is almost unbelievable. 

What it does for the sanity of the writer I cannot describe.

I hope you have a marvellous day and that during it nature brushes your shoulder with its gentle touch. 

Saturday, 23 December 2017

The Cost of a Beer.

Spare a thought for poor ole Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair.

To go with the flow.

I am sure that I am not alone in thinking that the cost of everything is going up. Nothing ever seems to get the slightest bit cheaper. I was talking to a friend who was telling me that although she puts in the same online order to the store for home delivery the one thing that does not remain the same is the cost.

But it is not always the way of things. I wonder how many people remember what we called a penny dainty. What this was was a very large toffee sweet that kept your jaws busy for ages as you chewed and chewed for ages often have sore jaws in the process.

Then there was the threepenny toffee bar with the highland cow wrapping paper. Eight portions of toffee on one bar. With care, it could keep you chewing all morning. A delight. 

Then slowly but surely the bars got smaller and the dainty shrunk. The price stayed the same and the little changes were almost imperceptible. But smaller they got until the prices started to go up and the size remained the same. 

The chocolate wheel biscuit that we were told were wagon wheels. They went the same way. They are still called the same but if I could I would put wheelbarrow wheel on the label. The three bite biscuit that became the two bite and then the one bite, but the price stayed the same.

A well-known figure in the modern age a Mr O'Leary of a well-known air company arrived at a hotel in Manchester. having got himself settled in his room decided to go to the bar to savour his favourite tipple, a pint of Guinness.

The barman poured the pint and said, "That will be one pound sir." Mr O'Leary had a look of surprise on his face, "That is very cheap," as he handed over his money. 

" We do our very best to stay ahead of the competition," said the barman, "and it is free pints every Wednesday from 6pm until 8pm. We serve the cheapest beer in the United Kingdom."

"That is amazing and remarkable value," says Michael.

"I see you do not have a glass, so you will probably need one of ours. That will be £3 please."

O'Leary scowled but paid up. he lifted his pint and headed towards a seat. "Ah you want to sit down?" said the barman. "That will be an extra £2. You could have pre-booked the seat, and it would only have cost you £1. I think you might be too big for that seat sir, can I ask you to sit in this frame please."

Michael tries to squeeze in but the frame is too small so he complains, "Nobody would fit in he complains not into that little frame." "I'm afraid if you cannot fit you will have to pay £4 for your seat sir."

O'Leary getting angry swore under his breath but paid up. "And since that seat was not pre-booked sir that will be a further £3," said the barman.

O'Leary was so angry he slammed his pint on the bar and yelled, "This is ridiculous, I want to speak to the manager." " I see you want to use the bar," says the barman that will be £2, please." O'Leary's face was red with rage. "Do you know who I am?"

"Of course I do Mr O'Leary."

"I have had enough! What sort of hotel is this? I come in for a quiet drink and you treat me like this. I insist on speaking to the manager."

"here is his email address, or if you wish you can contact him between 9.00am and 9.01 am every morning, Monday to Tuesday at this free phone number. Calls are free until they are answered then there is a talking charge of only £1 per second or part thereof."

"I will never use this bar again."

"OK sir, but do remember, we are the only hotel in the United Kingdom selling pints for £1. Have a good weekend!"

The world is full of offers and deals and cut-price bargains. Sadly they are seldom if ever what they seem to be.

Now Love and Friendship, when offered, is often not all it seems to be either. When it is genuine and given with an honest heart it is all it says and a great deal more. 

I give you my friendship and I give you my hand, It is not at all expensive I give you it for free. I do not even ask you to return it.

Have a marvellous day. 



Friday, 22 December 2017

Solstice and Arthur.

Tao 2

I had a good friend whom I met at a stage in his life where he was on the road back up from being in the very depths. He will not object to me telling you his name It was Arthur. His story was one That had a strong message for anybody who had fallen into hard times. For Arthur, it was alcohol that had led him to a very sorry state of being from which he, fortunately, managed to turn back from.

He told me of the time he came to his senses. He had been on a bender of a drinking spree that had ended up with him seeking solace in a hostel for homeless. Yes, it had got that bad. He dared not go home to his wife and family, not in the mess he was.

To cut a long story to its main point. He woke up lying on a dirty mattress in a large room with a great many others all smelling terrible and all either unconscious or looking for the first drink of the day.

As he looked down at himself he noticed he had wet his trousers during the night in such a state that he was he had been unaware of this until then. 

Speaking to nobody, in particular, he said,"Oh my I surely cannot get any further down than this," The voice of the man who had spent the night next to him said, "Just another six feet my friend, just another six feet."

THose words were the turning point for Arthur. Over the next five years, he and I working together managed to assist and rescue a number of people who had got caught up in various addictions. I remember him fondly and how he came to put his life together again. His daughter spoke to me just a few days ago, she spoke well of him and the lessons he taught her. 

yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It is often a bitterly cold time with strong west winds causing untold damage. Winter is responsible for many deaths of all kinds, from cold to tragic accidents. 

But solstice is the lowest turn of the wheel. Things cannot go forever downward. There are limits to everything even cold and darkness, wind rain and tragedy.

They call the this the solstice, the first day of winter. Actually, it is the beginning of winter's death. From this day onward, we can look forward to warming and brightening days

No matter how bad things may seem there is always the possibility of a turning around, a new beginning. Solstice reminds us of this as does Arthur.

We need not make the journey alone not far from us wherever we are there is an Arthur waiting with an outstretched hand of friendship.

If anybody is feeling low, not looking forward to this time of the year. Remember the message of the solstice. "This too shall end my friend."

May you feel the hand of friendship with you today.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Little Gifts.

The Tao.

So many advertisements about how to put love into Christmas and all the things that have to be there for it to be right. The Argos one is a prime example. It goes on and on about putting love back into it all. How do you do that? You buy a play station or some pearls a sure sign of there being love. 

I remember that I too attached love to little tokens of the love but I did so by making up a few Christmas Boxes bits and pieces I bought from the store and some of the produce from my garden. I never bothered with the Christmas paper or little ribbons just made sure that what I put in the box would be useful, especially if you had fallen on hard times. In packing, I tried to include some love.

I then went out very late at night or in the early hours and left them on the doorsteps I had decided could find a box like this a little lift. 

A Box at the Door.

It was cold and snowing as he arrived home,
All the same another day.
 When the doorstep he approached a box there lay.
No name upon it no invoice to be seen
No sign of sender what could it mean
Full of good things to the brim
This could never be for him.
Then he thought of something he had not before.
Maybe Christmas does not come from a store.
Maybe somebody thought he needed this more.
A tear from his eye did run.
His heart began to swell
As he started to think who might need such a help as well.
So this is what they mean when they say,
Give love and joy to others this Christmas Day.

As you know I have a great love of cooking. yesterday as I made the evening meal, Chines Chow Mein, I was thinking as I stirred hard the ingredients over a very high burner, what would I stir in to bring a little love and cheer to others. of course my mind being as it is I could not let it go so here you are. 

A recipe for Christmas Joy.

½ Cup of Hugs
4 tsp. Kisses
4 Cups Love.
½ Cup of Peace
I cup of Christmas Cheer
3tbls Christmas Spirits
2 Cups Goodwill
1 Sprig of Mistletoe
I medium Bag of Christmas Snowflakes

Mix the hugs, smiles and love until consistent. Blend in Christmas cheer, peace and goodwill. Use the mixture to fill a warm heart, where it can be stored for a lifetime. (it never goes bad!)

Serve as desired under a mistletoe, sprinkle liberally with special Christmas snowflakes. It is especially good when accompanied by Christmas singing and family get-togethers.

Serve to one and all. 

Have a marvellous Day.