The book title was intriguing enough for me to pick it up. After reading it, I realize that the items mentioned are related to 3 stories, of how to be happy by simply changing the mind.
Many times, I was easily upset by what occurs in the financial markets. A big red day, meaning that stocks had fallen substantially, will badly affect my mood for the entire day, or even a whole weekend if the fall happens on a Friday. I might sulk, cancel social events or worse, take out my frustrations on my loved ones.
In hindsight, it was so silly for me to be affected by stocks. It took me a long while before I could be more detached. I am better now, maybe because I am older and wiser, or perhaps because I am not so invested in the markets now. Regardless, I am still trying to learn to control my mind better, so that I can be happier.
Title: the NAPKIN the MELON & the MONKEY. Author: Barbara Burke. Published: 2010, USA.
the NAPKIN story
Pg 33: Isabel flattened out the napkin with her hand. She drew 2 circles side by side with a space in between them.
“Imagine that the circle on the left represented my busy mind. The circle on the right was me,” Isabel explained….”You thought that by bumping the circle on the right against the circle on the left – the flood of thoughts – you could stop them. But when you tried, you found that your thoughts were beyond your control.”
“…you regain your power by stopping for just a moment in the space in the middle – in that quiet place – to observe what is going on.”
Pg 39: …learning to unplug gave me the ability to go to that place in my mind where I feel peaceful and calm. She said that once I figured out how to simply observe my thoughts and not get caught up in them, I would start to see the events in my life differently. Gaining that inner power would enable me to calmly consider what is and then decide what to do.
Pg 44: ….SODA stands for Stop, Observe, Decide, and Act.
the MELON story
Pg 88: The story went like this: Once upon a time there was a farmer who was known for miles around for raising the largest and sweetest watermelons. One year, his garden was blessed with abundant rainfall and plenty of sunshine. As his melons grew larger and larger – the biggest ever – he heard disturbing noises coming from his melon patch. The melons were fighting.
The farmer dropped his hoe and hurried to the patch. “What is the trouble? ” he exclaimed. A riot ensued. All the watermelons were yelling, screaming and blaming each other.
He looked over his melon patch with new eyes. He could see the problem. Ideal growing conditions had produced melons of unusually large size. The result? The melons were so huge they were bumping up against each other.
The farmer wondered, What can I do? How can I restore peace to my melon patch? He thought and thought until he came upon a solution.
After several attempts to quiet the melons so that he could speak, they finally stopped screaming. He had their full attention.
“Oh my beautiful melons, I am so sorry for your troubles. But I am afraid I am not the one to settle your argument.” This time, the outcry was even louder.
“But I know something you can do to end your conflict. I guarantee that if each of you followed my instructions, you will live in harmony forever.”
With that the melons became very quiet. They were ready to hear what they could do to end their sufferings.
“I will like you to feel what you have at the top of your body,” he instructed. The melons did as the farmer asked and looked at him, expecting something more than the obvious. Of course there was a vine sticking out on top.
“Now my dear melons, I will like you to follow the vine to the end.” The melons obeyed and traced the vine, past the many leaves. “Keep going,”the farmer encouraged. “Keep going until you find the end of your vine.”
All of a sudden there was dead silence. A soft collective sign rose from the patch. The melons had discovered that they were all one plant.
From that day forward, the melons lived in peace and harmony. They grew to record size and won many awards at the country fair. Everyone agreed that the farmer’s melons were the biggest and the sweetest.
& the MONKEY story
Pg 123: Trapping and selling wild monkeys was a lucrative business in Mexico at one time. Poachers would capture them by placing containers in the forest with a piece of sweet coconut meat. The container had a hole barely large enough for the monkey to put its hand in and grip the coconut. But if the monkey tried to withdraw its hand, it found that as long as it kept a grip on the food it was trapped. If it let go of what it wanted, it was free.
….the more obsessed I am about the situation, the more trapped I feel. I keep telling myself that life will be better once I get that new job. But deep down I know that my life won’t be significantly better. It will just be different. I am creating my own mental anguish by worrying so much about the end result. I am trying to control things that are way beyond my control.
….do the best you can and after that, let it go.
Oliva’s List of “aha! s”
Pg 129: I will always have problems. It is not about me. Problems can be gifts in disguise. Just sit there, do nothing. There is no such thing as a difficult situation. When all else fails, have a SODA.
Withholding judgement allows me to observe what is. The nicer I am to myself, the nicer I am to others. A simple apology works wonder. The less I talk, the more I learn. People harmonize when they are tuned to the same frequency.
Spreading my wings is the only way to fly. Give a little. Get a lot. Remember, we all share the same vine. United we stand, divided we fall. Our stories connect us with each other. Success comes from bringing out the best in others. Winners don’t just point out problems, they fix them.
It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s what you do with what happens that counts. Real freedom comes from letting go of the outcome. Generous hearts make a difference.
A good reminder to me that financial wealth is only one small piece of the puzzle. I should not be so obsessed about it and lose the big picture.
I will end this post with a favorite quote I shared a lot with my friends: “Change your perspective, and change your life”.