Now, there’s this one cat my sister treats almost like a princess, and she rules the house! Kring, as she is fondly called, is an indoor cat. She also knows my favorite hobby of clicking away at them pets. And though she remains aloof to me, she doesn’t hesitate to call my attention when I fail to notice her with my phone camera. I’m just enjoying myself, but hope to really practice the great animal photography tips for beginners.
One tip I’ve learned is to focus on the eyes. These photos may not yet do justice to Kring, but I’ve managed in a way to capture her personality, another tip.
“Of all God’s creatures, there is only one that cannot be made slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.”
― Mark Twain
For some years, I was busy planting crops, fruit trees, vegetables and a rich variety of plants on my moderate-sized farm, which I also surrounded with ornamental plants, shrubs, and trees to make my farm look inviting.
I also raised farm animals, like hens, cows, pigs, horses, and took care of some domesticated animals like cats.
I cannot fully describe my total experience while going through each of the pages of this extraordinary book “The Song of the Bird” by Anthony de Mello. It was an assigned reading by my Spirituality professor in graduate school some years back. And this reflection was a requirement of that course, so here goes.
When I set out to read, I tried to put myself into a proper frame of mind. I created a mood in order to get a feel for what the author says: “the mystical.”
I knew being mystical was more than just feelings. So I seriously followed the third suggestion of how to read the stories – in a prayerful manner.
Most of all, I tried to open my mind, heart and spirit for the grace of wisdom I would hopefully gain.
Story after story, I went and slowly some things would strike me now and then but only superficially, I felt.
Later I discovered I must not predispose myself in a way too expectant nor too presumptuous, for what I found most enlightening were those that I read in a humble way.
Like what most of the stories have to say, we must not be too engrossed with the future. Neither should we be buried in the past because we must live in the present. We must become aware of what the present has for us.
If we do so, sooner or later the beauty of the moment unfolds before us to savor, to experience, to have. Then we cannot just analyze nor rationalize. We just have to let each moment be. And let us be still in the moment. Be in the silence of the present.
Like the fish who keeps looking for the big ocean, I learned I must keep still. I must listen to the silence of myself and to the lessons that were being imparted to me here, little by little.
I should only let my heart be open and let my mind be still. I should stop walking ahead, wandering around because I couldn’t just force wisdom into my heart — just because that was what I intended to find.
I also learned that this is how we usually go through life. We race ahead to the directions or goals we have set for ourselves, as if the future is all there is to life.
What also strikes me about the book is the varied sources of inspiration drawn from different religions. That they all speak of searching for the Truth, of being one with Creation. Most of all, these stories speak of finding God in our everyday lives.
Indeed – we are of different faiths, of different races. But we all have the same stories to share, the same longings for our same God, the same aspirations and ideals. We all can learn from one another.
I was most struck by one story here, “Change the world by changing me.” I believe that this is one powerful prayer that can really ‘move mountains’ — if only we are humble enough to first transform ourselves and ask God to help us.
Because I was definitely changed somehow by most of the stories, I decided to share the book with my youngest son and asked him to write his reflection. May I then take the liberty to share with you what he wrote verbatim:
Reading this book has made me strengthen my faith in God. I am grateful that as I was reading, a lot of questions stirred inside my heart, meaning I am not contented with my spiritual life because being contented means that I already know everything there is to know about God which I think is an impossible feat.
My questions led me to the fact that I was created in His image, a little lower than the heavenly beings which makes me greater than all things here on Earth but that God is infinitely higher so there is a vast difference between us. He knows all the answers to my questions but He may not reveal those to me since He said that there are things that are hidden and are for Him alone. And it is a good thing because His ways and thoughts are not my ways and thoughts. So seeking answers that are not meant for me may be dangerous to do.
And to those questions that are answered, I will keep always in my heart knowing that those will help me experience God better. Also, it will help me lead more souls to Him. I am always looking forward to questions to pop in my mind because each question answered will help me become a more mature Christian.
I intend to read this book again and again, for each time, new insights are revealed.
NOTE: I’m reposting this piece of mine — which I first posted here in 2013 because this book offers timeless gems of wisdom. And it’s a timely read as well. If you can get hold of a copy of this great resource, I invite you to do so. But read each story as mentioned above — in a prayerful manner to get the most of it.
I’ve read somewhere that all of us are teachers in a way. No matter who we are, we find ourselves in a position to teach someone something. Even little children teach others. Whatever they learn, they are eager to share that new learning with others right away.
Teaching must be our natural vocation from God, the greatest Teacher of all. It is by which we help one another grow.
So here are five inspiring quotes about teaching to live by, for us teachers from all walks of life, young and old alike — especially for parents, guardians, and those in the field of education.
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are endless.
– Mother Teresa
A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron.
– Horace Mann
They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.
Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.
Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner; put yourself in his place so that you may understand… what he learns and the way he understands it.
– Soren Kierkegaard
I used to worry about my son’s penchant for changing careers even before making it to his 5th year at the job.
This tendency goes against the traditional linear path to a career growth and success.
Traditional way of career success
Back then, one had to build loyalty to a company and/or industry, to gain credibility and expertise. Aside from acquiring experience, skills, and knowledge in one job, one hoped to establish stability and security of tenure by staying long years in the same organization in hope of a promotion to a higher level, or be rewarded for one’s loyalty.
But this is today’s reality. It’s a growing trend to shift careers at the beginning of one’s work life or midway, especially among the young.
Now, I see the value. My son’s career transitions – from the academe to the corporate world, and from one corporate line of work to another – has brought him to higher management level with bigger responsibilities, in different fields. It has brought him nearer his career goals and to different places, too (overseas). Something he wouldn’t have attained yet, had he stayed in his first job ever.
Benefits of multiple career/job shifts
Nowadays, career/job progress comes from different directions. As this articlesays: “…with an ever-changing job market, technologies and opportunities emerging daily […] today’s career paths are not ladders, but more like jungle gyms.”
I myself have experienced such career shifts — from corporate jobs to teaching after a long break, then writing. At present, I’m even learning a more specialized kind of writing necessary nowadays in the digital workplace – copy writing (for content marketing).
But I tell you this. Changing careers benefits you in many ways, both in your work and personal life. You accumulate different skill sets, get to experience different work cultures, and meet all sorts of people. All these enrich your life, promote your personal and professional growth. And not the least, it widens your horizon of opportunities.
You’ll never know where life can take you. So in this post, I share six tips on how to get ready for a career or job move anytime.
This article offer some ways to make your career transition(s) a breeze.
I highlight two of them. Let’s take a look:
According to the article, you should “Decide if you need a career change. You may just need to find a new job, not an easy task, but certainly simpler than an entire career makeover.”
So while you’re still at your job, whether you’re enjoying it or not, learn as much as you can. The skills you learn will put you in good stead wherever your next move takes you.
I remember in my earliest job where my main function was personnel recruitment, I’d ask our telephone operator to teach me how to operate our switchboard and handle calls. During my coffee break or lunch time, I’d offer to relieve her because it was so much fun for me. I never expected on my next job, relieving the telephone operator was part of my duties.
Assess yourself is another tip from the article. “If you decide a career change is in order you will need to evaluate your values, skills, personality and interests using self-assessment tools, often called career tests.”
In my case –my transition — from personnel work to language teaching to content writing on the web — was not part of any strategic plans for the future, but a convenient option. But there also seemed to be a tying up of my values, skills, personality and interests which helped me segue into each of these fields.
And I add my own tips based from my personal experience.
Work on your hobbies and interests. Find time to indulge in them no matter how busy you are in your job. Hone your innate talents and find the relevant skills to develop so you can be good at whatever you enjoy doing. The more you learn and practice, the more you become an expert.
For example, while still teaching, I started a blog for my students (this one, initially meant for their use). I didn’t know anything at all about WordPress, much less about blogging. But I enjoyed learning everything I could about it.
Now, 5 years hence, I’ve become more confident with my blogging skills both for my pleasure and for my work as content writer. Yet, I still continue to improve my skills day by day by diligent learning through reading up and attending online courses.
As soon as you learn something new, apply that knowledge. Don’t worry about making mistakes. You learn by doing.
I’d always been fond of taking photos — long before the advent of smartphones and digital photography. So I’d be using my old trusted film camera, then my digicam. But I never thought about any techniques. Just point and shoot. Enough.
Then with a smartphone, I discovered the joy and beauty in taking good shots and developing my photography skills. Although I’m far from being an expert, at the very least, my photo shots today show signs of better technique and style.
Discover new interests. They can help you advance in your present job or career, or lead you to a new field. Or even help you transition from being employed to having your own business.
While in her job at the bank, my sister started networking with associates and learning about marketing. Now she is her own person running her own food franchise.
Think of your goals, as the same article above says. Set up new ones if you haven’t yet. Do this with each transition you make. What are you trying to achieve by your move?
Don’t make a move for the sake of doing so, otherwise you may find yourself adrift like a lost boat.
In short, move with a purpose and a clear sense of direction. It may not take you yet where you want to be. But it will surely help you make the most of what you can do and reach your goals one step at a time.
There are different routes to the same destination. Stay focused and determined. – Janice Harris