Archive for the ‘ World stuff ’ Category

How Do You View the World?

HEALING IS CONNECTED to living and loving. It’s the experience of wholeness, or holiness. It’s being as one with life and our Creator. Curing, on the other hand, refers to the physical body. Being cured means overcoming a disease and, for the time being, postponing death.

But doctors can’t cure every disease, and ultimately, you can’t avoid death. You can, however, be sure that you don’t miss the chance to live. You can always heal your life, because you’re always capable of loving and living more fully. Sometimes the by-product of healing your life is being cured. A 90-year-old patient we treated was so full of life that she was, in her words, “too busy to die.” The will to live is a powerful force.

Some spiritual traditions view the moment of birth as a passage from a state of wholeness and knowledge to a state of forgetting. In this view of the world, we spend the rest of our lives searching for wholeness and knowledge, wellness and health—the balance and harmony we lost when we were born. If our wholeness is interrupted, then our health suffers, and we need to find a way to restore our sense of meaning. When we move in the direction of that meaning, we’re healing.

This is not a new concept. The Hebrew word shalom is usually translated as “peace,” or “hello” and “good-bye.” But shalom also means “wholeness.” In Hebrew, the question, “How are you doing?” is derived from shalom, so although the speaker may not be aware of it, he or she is actually asking, “How is your wholeness?”

Sometimes healing brings a cure or a full restoration of health, but it’s important to recognize that healing isn’t a single destination point; it’s a path that moves us toward balance. Many people have had afflictions that can’t be cured, but they’re still whole—think, for example, of Helen Keller.

If you want to be on a healing path, you have to be cognizant of your beliefs about yourself and the world. You define what’s stressful and what’s just one of life’s redirections. So if you choose to view your life as a learning process, then you’ll experience the “stressful” events differently. You’ll be able to stop seeing things as either good or bad, and start appreciating them as opportunities to learn to deal with difficulties—maybe you’ll even see them as having potential future benefits.

We know of a 93-year-old blind woman whose husband died. The woman was admitted to an assisted-living facility, and as she was being wheeled in, she said, “Oh, what a beautiful place.” The attendant pointed out that she was blind and asked how she could say that her new home was beautiful.

“I have a choice about how I see the world,” the woman answered, “and I choose to see it as beautiful.”

I often talk about 90-year-olds when I tell stories about people who have found peace. The reason is simple: When you make it to 90, you’ve already lived through all of the things that the rest of us still fear. I’ve often asked my 90-year-old patients to join our support group as therapists, because they can help others survive what they’ve already lived through. When I asked one support group what they feared, a woman in her 90s thought awhile before answering: “Driving on the parkway at night.” When that’s all you fear, you’re ready to be a teacher and help others survive their life-threatening situations.

Of course, not all 90-year-olds are perfect. My mom is in her 90s and still finds time to worry about the things that disturb her peace or threaten people she loves. We’re all human, and we all have some struggles to find peace—even at 90—but in general we get better at it with time.


Bernie Siegel, M.D., is a retired general/pediatric surgeon who is now involved in humanizing medical care and medical education. Among other works, he is the author of Love, Medicine & Miracles; Prescriptions for Living; and Help Me to Heal (with Yosaif August).

Need Work or a New Career?

We know that at times a job search situation brings you nervousness, and yet there is much reason for it to bring you great joy! We accompany you in your quest for true harmony. For that is our job, after all, and we swirl around you in happiness when you mix your happiness in and amongst our own. Let us find peace together in this world, in simple happenings that occur on a daily basis. You are the core of what is essential on this planet, as there is only one being after all. Together we undertake the holy job of creation, and that brings us to our topic at hand.

When you race and rush headlong into any job that seems to suit you, you run immediately into a wall within yourself. For where there is a race, there is also a hard finish. We want what you want for yourself: that is, gentleness and grace with a timelessness that transcends all earthly fears. So settle down within yourself and really hear our words on the deepest level. Let our love resound within you as we surround your energy aura with calming influences that slow the pulse of your body to the level of the sweet whisper of wafting wind.

You are essential to this world. You must hear this message in the very depths of your soul. There is no time to waste in getting started in assuming your rightful role, and yet when you rush headlong into side detours where certain jobs will take you, we wait patiently. Still, we know a greater joy is awaiting you elsewhere within you.

You believe that a well-fitted job for you is hard to find, yet we believe a match for you exists this very minute. There is no delay between assuming God’s plan and the creation of right opportunities for this plan’s fruition. Bow down within yourself and hear His loving voice, which now calls you into the service of His perfect plan. This grace which is inward, marks you as His humble servant, which to all who would hear these words, is a lofty position indeed. For all who would bow to His grace and assume His humble service will find themselves with joy aplenty.

There is no lack in His room, and all who dine at His table feast forever in His eyes. He who watches over you is in servitude to you, as well. This communing together is the essence of what your job is for: the eternal circling of love giving back and together with each one. Let the love flow through you now, and as it guides you like a silk thread upon the path, your opportunities become enriched with golden grace from others who beckon you to join Him in His humble servitude.

You see yourself with a calling, and you are exactly correct. You are called, indeed! And He who calls you beckons you further with gentle assurances that there is great reason for your gladness. Do not err by seeking for it outwardly; for it is within you even now. Your great job provides in many ways, and His light shines brightly within each one of us who turns to face the light bravely.

Humble servant of God, assume your partnership with those who roam the earth in search of His gentle grace. Your job lies not outwardly, but in assuming the hand of yourself who walks in costume as another brother or sister. For everyone you meet in every way is but a reflection of your own servitude. Serve Him well, and you will see His mask in the mirror within all whom you meet. Hide lowly from His grace, and you will see the face of fear within all others, just as you see it within yourself.

There is nothing to fear. Trust that we lead you to perfect positions that fulfill your heavenly tasks. Let the wrong doors close easily, and do not struggle to force them open.

You are eternally guided—know that with great certainty. For surely He who opens circumstances to you will lead you gently all throughout the way. You can attest to His greatness by holding His hand as He leads you across alleyways where you are blinded to the outcome. He who is wholly worthy of your trust will not betray you now or ever. As you feel your gratitude pulsate beneath your feet, let us assure you that it carries you like wings of Mercury to new vistas.

God will never leave you hungry or let you live with what is scarce. Count your blessings and watch them multiply in every way. Your right job is here for you now, and we will lead you there with your permission. Seek for joy, and we will follow not far behind you, urging you onward along the way. Recall always that you are very loved. The love is your job.


Move in the direction of your desire.

For every pleasing thing, there is an unpleasing counterpart, for within every particle of the Universe is that which is wanted as well as the lack of that which is wanted. When you focus upon an unwanted aspect of something in an effort to push it away from you, instead it only comes closer, because you get what you give your attention to whether it is something that you want or not.

In the midst of what the television weatherman was calling “a serious drought,” our friend Esther walked down one of the paths on their Texas Hill Country property, noticing the dryness of the grass and feeling real concern for the well-being of the beautiful trees and bushes that were all beginning to show signs of stress from the shortage of rain. She noticed that the birdbath was empty even though she had filled it with water just a few hours earlier, and then she thought about the thirsty deer who had probably jumped the fence to drink the small amount of water that it held. And so, as she pondered the direness of the situation, she stopped, looked upward, and—in a very positive voice, with very positive-sounding words—said, “Abraham, I want some rain.”

And we said immediately back to her, “Indeed, from this position of lack, you think you will get rain?”

“What am I doing wrong?” she asked.

And we asked, “Why do you want the rain?”

And Esther answered, “I want it because it refreshes the earth. I want it because it gives all of the creatures in the bushes water so that they have enough to drink. I want it because it makes the grass green, and it feels good upon my skin, and it makes us all feel better.”

And we said, “Now, you are attracting rain.”

Our question “Why do you want the rain?” helped Esther withdraw her attention from the problem and turn her attention toward the solution. When you consider why you want something, your vibration usually shifts or pivots in the direction of your desire. Whenever you consider how it will happen, or when, or who will bring it, your vibration usually then shifts back toward the problem.

You see, in the process of taking her attention from what was wrong—by our asking her why she wanted the rain—she accomplished a pivot. She began thinking not only of what she wanted, but why she wanted it; and in the process, she began to feel better. That afternoon it rained, and that night the local weatherman reported “an unusual isolated thunderstorm in the Hill Country.”

Your thoughts are powerful, and you have much more control over your own experience than most of you realize.

Bangka Building

A LONG time ago when there were no boats yet, a family lived on a coast. One day, the son took a stroll along the shore and failed to return home. His parents searched for him in vain and instead found at the water’s edge a piece of log, which had not been there before.
They knew that this had been their son and they were overwhelmed with grief. The father prayed to God to deliver him from his anguish and turn him into something else. He became the wind. The mother, too, made the same prayer and she became the wave. In this manner, the family was reunited.
This Sama folktale illustrates the group’s deeply held belief in the intimate alliance between the wind and the wave to propel a boat to its destination. They regard the action of the wind and the wave as the parents’ caress on their child so that no harm would befall it, even in the midst of extreme weather.
The depth of their knowledge of the natural relationship between the wind and the wave acting on the environment has made them masters of the sea, both as navigators and shipbuilders. They are also expert divers and are known to swim like fish.


The Sama of Sibutu island are noted for making kumpit, the large commercial boats that ply the Zamboanga-Tawi-Tawi-Sabah route. The kumpit also carry products, such as mangoes, copra, logs and wood to Visayan destinations, mainly Bacolod and Iloilo. This commercial boat evolved in the 1920s from the earlier traditional commercial boat, garay, which had two sails.
The earliest kumpit were fitted with sails but motors began to be installed by the 1950s as the boats became longer and wider. They now measure anywhere from 50- to 80-feet long and take about a year to construct, with a master builder (nakora tukang) and at least two assistants (sakay) working full time.

Hull-first construction

The construction follows the same hull-first tradition that has been recorded in the history of Philippine shipbuilding, a practice found in Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.
This traditional technique has been retained by the Sama of Tawi-Tawi and the Ivatans of Batanes, the two geopolitical ends of the islands, aided no doubt by their distance from the colonial centers.
A hull-first construction is unique since the planks (timbaw) are fastened from the keel and the boat is then built without the ribs (giak) to hold them together. When the boat is about 10 to 12 planks high, the ribs will then be placed. This is akin to putting in the frame after the boards are in place.
The rib frame, therefore, is not necessary to shape the hull or even to keep the planks in place but the ribs serve to reinforce the hull. Each rib is likewise distinct since it is taken from a tree that is naturally curved. Thus, the rib running from one side of the hull to the other is made from a single piece of curved wood.
For larger boats, extensions are added upward but the ribs that form the base are always made from single pieces. In the traditional boat, as the planks are carved, small protrusions are shaped at regular distances and holes are bored through sideways.
These served as the base from where the ribs would be tied to the hull with cord. In the kumpit, the ribs are held in place by iron nails driven in from outside the hull. Over this rib frame is placed a keelson (kayo panjang) as well as planks for transverse strengthening (gipit giak) in the bigger boats like the kumpit.

Series of dowels

Constructing the boat without the frame means that the planks are strongly joined together. The planks are joined by a series of dowels called mandaitan. These are traditionally made of wood, but the commercial construction now makes use of iron pins.
Fastening the plank is a laborious process that takes about two hours from measuring, cutting, boring the holes for the dowels and fitting the top to the bottom plank. Each plank is fastened with at least 18 dowels.
The bangkong, a heavy mallet made of hardwood, is used to hammer in the plank. It weighs around 10 kilos. Fitting and fastening three rows of planks fill a day’s work.
This is where the skill of the tukang (carpenter) comes in. It is he who determines the flare and curve of the hull depending on the required length of the boat. It is the tukang who shaves off the sides of the keel in order to determine the width by which the hull will open.
There are no tools for measuring lengths and angles. He determines it from experience. The planks that will then be fastened are straight, but each tier will have to curve and open up until the hull reaches its widest point, and then the hull is shaped upward until its desired height. In the traditional manner, each plank is carved and twisted according to its place in the hull, a long and slow process that took as much as a week for each plank.
In the kumpit, boards are made to curve with the use of large wooden clamps (sipit), tightened by triangular pieces of wood. Caulking is done by another group contracted for this particular task.
A cord called jambo karot is chiseled into the seams to close up the gaps, then sealed with gargar, commercially produced sealant that substitutes for the natural resin traditionally used for boats. The cord is placed twice while caulking is done three times to ensure that it is watertight. As the ship enters the water, the resin expands and the ship is secure.

Less prone to keeling

The hull construction of the boat makes the ship more balanced and less prone to keeling. The Sama always regards the boat as balanced. For example, the planks are called timbaw when these are not yet fastened on the boat. Once they have been put in place they were called pasangan, which always refers to a pair.
The first set of pasangan that is joined to the keel is called pangapit, followed by the karua, then katallo, until the tenth tier, kasuppo after which the frame will be fixed. These terms all refer to a pair of planks. It would be inconceivable to construct a boat on one side first and then proceed with the other. The innate balance would be lost.

Boat of prayer

The Sama continue to have rituals in laying the keel of the plank-built boat, as this is the foundation of the entire vessel.
A tukang always consults a secret notebook called saat or putikaan for all important activities, such as laying the keel or the foundation of a house, time of travel and launching a boat.
The 19th century Filipinologist Ferdinand Blumentritt believed that the putikaan, where the divisions of the day were represented by animals drawn in a circular chart, was a remnant of Hindu influence in the Philippines before the advent of either Islam or Christianity.
Carrying the keel and fixing it on a site is a communal activity participated in by other boat builders, as with the final launching of the boat on the sea. Prayers accompany the laying of the keel to ask for the boat’s good fortune.
There are prayers for the prow and the stern. During construction, the tukang likewise recites a prayer as he fastens a new plank, calling upon the name of God the merciful. There is a prayer for each stage of the construction and each part of the boat so that the entire ship is built on prayer.
Despite the creeping changes in the process of boat building, what remains constant is the construction of the hull before the frame and the use of the pátok, an adze with a detachable blade.
The pátok is used to cut, plane, chisel and perform numerous tasks because the angle of the blade can be adjusted. As a Sama boy grows up, he begins to learn to use the pátok and assist in boat building.

No blueprint

A medium-sized bangka (boat) called temper can be made by a young man. To make a kumpit, he will assist in the construction of at least three ships before he can be a tukang himself. The knowledge is often passed on to family members learning on the job, as there are no blueprints or written guides. As a boat builder remarked, “The plan is in my head.”
Likewise, there is no contract when a boat is ordered. The tukang simply asks for the boat size desired by the owner, the supply of planks and other materials, and a down payment. His word is his honor and the boat will be completed as agreed upon.
After a day’s work, he leaves his tools in the boat and nothing will be lost. A tukang does not borrow materials intended for another boat but instead stops construction if his supplier has difficulty in bringing in the required planks. His stature as a boat builder is transferred to his role in the community, where he is also regarded as a leader in civil and religious affairs.
The 1970s saw the peak of the boat-building industry in Sibutu, when as many as 70 boats were being constructed simultaneously. They made not only commercial boats but also yachts and private ships. However, fiberglass boats have arrived.
The sourcing of materials has also become more difficult as trees in Tawi-Tawi can no longer supply the needs of the industry. Logs are being brought in from Sabah without the necessary permits.
The boat-building tradition of the Filipinos, retained by the Sama, is facing a rough sea of change ahead. The master builders need assistance to adapt to new technologies and to transfer their skills. They need further support so they can finally record their indigenous knowledge of boat building and navigation. After all, they possess a precious national inheritance.

Why too much hurry hurts.

Destination Addiction makes people feel as though they should always be further ahead of where they are now. They constantly fear they are not progressing fast enough with their lives. They believe they are “running behind” with their careers, their commutes, and their schedules. They are always chasing the next goal, by the next birthday, by the next whatever. They are hypercritical and are forever “should-ing” on themselves—“I should be further in my career by now,” “I should have gotten married by now,” or “I should have achieved more by now.”
Destination Addiction causes us to be permanently impatient with ourselves. The schedule we set for ourselves is so demanding that we end up driving ourselves harder and faster. We refuse to forgive ourselves if we cannot keep up. Our diaries are so full we will not give ourselves ten minutes in the day. “In your patience possess ye your souls,” reads the Gospel of Luke (21:19). But we are too impatient for success, so we promise to catch up with ourselves somewhere up ahead. We press on, and we lose touch with ourselves. We keep going, and we leave ourselves behind.
We have no time for ourselves, and we are permanently impatient with everyone else. We are a society of fast impressions. If a relationship does not develop fast enough, we drop it. If a person cannot speak in sound bites, we “tune out.” If people do not get to the point quickly, we make their point for them. If a relationship hits trouble, it is difficult to trust it has any further value. We are uncomfortable with pauses in conversations. We often interrupt conversations to get to the end faster. We need to move on.
We are permanently impatient because we are addicted to the pursuit of progress. What is progress? According to Destination Addiction, to progress is to move along a timeline from “here” to “there” as quickly as possible. But to what end? Impatience impedes real progress if the focus is only on getting to the future faster. Real progress is a real-time goal that is about the here and now—living well today, being more present, caretaking this moment, and enjoying the time of your life.
Real progress is not living life faster; it is about living life better. We are often impatient because we do not know the value of patience. In fact, we may be afraid of patience, for we fear that patience means deferment, forfeit, or loss. Sometimes, however, patience is opportunity. Patience helps us to be more receptive and more deeply engaged and to find the treasure at the spot on the map marked “here.” Patience keeps us in the moment longer, and we are thereby better able to welcome grace and good fortune on our journey.