Uplifting Stories


Image by Kalalani


We all receive uplifting stories through the email. Rather than forwarding them to people who may not want to take the time to read them, I will share my favorites here. Most of them have been written anonymously. 

PAST LIVES VALIDATED BY FOX NEWS

Here is an amazing video about an 11-year-old boy's verified memories of his past lives ....  From Fox News: 

http://www.fox8.com/wjw-reincarnation-txt,0,1190900.story   

 

To Musicians and Artists and Teachers

Welcome address to freshman class at Boston Conservatory given by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of music division at Boston Conservatory

"One of my parents' deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn't be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother's remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school-she said, "You're WASTING your SAT scores." On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they LOVED music, they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren't really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the "arts and entertainment" section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it's the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

The first people to understand how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you; the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works.

One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940, sent across Germany in a cattle car and imprisoned in a concentration camp.

He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose. There were three other musicians in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist, and Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire.

Given what we have since learned about life in the concentration camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture-why would anyone bother with music? And yet-from the camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn't just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, "I am alive, and my life has meaning."

On September 12, 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. That morning I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn't this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless. Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost.

And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day.

At least in my neighborhood, we didn't shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn't play cards to pass the time, we didn't watch TV, we didn't shop, we most certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New York, that same day, was singing. People sang. People sang around fire houses, people sang "We Shall Overcome". Lots of people sang America the Beautiful. The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. The US Military secured the airspace, but recovery was led by the arts, and by music in particular, that very night.

From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not part of "arts and entertainment" as the newspaper section would have us believe. It's not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can't with our minds.

Some of you may know Samuel Barber's heartwrenchingly beautiful piece Adagio for Strings. If you don't know it by that name, then some of you may know it as the background music which accompanied the Oliver Stone movie Platoon, a film about the Vietnam War. If you know that piece of music either            way, you know it has the ability to crack your heart open like a walnut; it can make you cry over sadness you didn't know you had. Music can slip beneath our conscious reality to get at what's really going on inside us the way a good therapist does.

I bet that you have never been to a wedding where there was absolutely no music. There might have been only a little music, there might have been some really bad music, but I bet you there was some music. And something very predictable happens at weddings-people get all pent up with all kinds of emotions, and then there's some musical moment where the action of the wedding stops and someone sings or plays the flute or something. And even if the music is lame, even if the quality isn't good, predictably 30 or 40 percent of the people who are going to cry at a wedding cry a couple of moments after the music starts. Why? The Greeks. Music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even when we can't talk about it. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones or Superman or Star Wars with the dialogue but no music?            What is it about the music swelling up at just the right moment in ET so that all the softies in the audience start crying at exactly the same moment? I guarantee you if you showed the movie with the music stripped out, it wouldn't happen that way. The Greeks: Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible internal objects.

I'll give you one more example, the story of the most important concert of my life. I must tell you I have played a little less than a thousand concerts in my            life so far. I have played in places that I thought were important. I like playing in Carnegie Hall; I enjoyed playing in Paris; it made me very happy to please the critics in St. Petersburg. I have played for people I thought were important; music critics of major newspapers, foreign heads of state. The most important concert of my entire life took place in a nursing home in Fargo, ND, about 4 years ago.

I was playing with a very dear friend of mine who is a violinist. We began, as we often do, with Aaron Copland's Sonata, which was written during World War II and dedicated to a young friend of Copland's, a young pilot who was shot down during the war. Now we often talk to our audiences about the pieces we are going to play rather than providing them with written program notes. But in this case, because we began the concert with this piece, we decided to talk about the piece later in the program and to just come out and play the music without explanation.

Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the front of the concert hall began to weep. This man, whom I later met, was clearly a soldier-even in his 70's, it was clear from his buzz-cut hair, square jaw and general demeanor that he had spent a good deal of his life in the military. I thought it a little bit odd that someone would be moved to tears by that particular movement of that particular piece, but it wasn't the first time I've heard crying in a concert and we went on with the concert and finished the piece.

When we came out to play the next piece on the program, we decided to talk about both the first and second pieces, and we described the circumstances in which the Copland was written and mentioned its dedication to a downed pilot. The man in the front of the audience became so disturbed that he had to leave the auditorium. I honestly figured that we would not see him again, but he did come backstage afterwards, tears and all, to explain himself.

What he told us was this: "During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat situation where one of my team's planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out, and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes which had engaged us returned and machine gunned across the parachute chords so as to separate the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the ocean, realizing that he was lost. I have not thought about this for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn't understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was a little more than I could handle. How does the music do that? How did it find those feelings and those memories in me?

Remember the Greeks: music is the study of invisible relationships between internal objects. This concert in Fargo was the most important work I have ever done. For me to play for this old soldier and help him connect, somehow, with Aaron Copland, and to connect their memories of their lost friends, to help him remember and mourn his friend, this is my work. This is why music matters.

What follows is part of the talk I will give to this year's freshman class when I welcome them a few days from now. The responsibility I will charge your sons and daughters with is this:

"If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you'd take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you're going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.

You're not here to become an entertainer, and you don't have to sell yourself. The truth is you don't have anything to sell; being a musician isn't about dispensing a product, like selling used Chevies. I'm not an entertainer; I'm a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You're here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don't expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that's what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives."

THE SPARROW AT STARBUCKS

      The song that silenced the cappuccino machine.

      by John Thomas Oaks

      It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st
Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November
weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill
of late December and January, but it's enough to send the masses crowding
indoors to vie for available space and warmth.

      For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the
world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play
your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that
night, because our basket was almost overflowing.

      It was a fun, low-pressure gig - I was playing keyboard and singing
backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion
instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the '40s to the '90s with a few
original tunes thrown in. During our emotional rendition of the classic, "If
You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge
chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.

      After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing
along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.

      "No," I replied. "We love it when the audience joins in. Would you
like to sing up front on the next selection?"

      To my delight, she accepted my invitation.

      "You choose," I said. "What are you in the mood to sing?"

      "Well. ... do you know any hymns?"

      Hymns? This woman didn't know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth
on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest
singer a knowing look. "Name one."

      "Oh, I don't know. There are so many good ones. You pick one."

      "Okay," I replied. "How about 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'?"

      My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on
mine again and said, "Yeah. Let's do that one."

      She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her
jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to
sing.

      Why should I be discouraged?
      Why should the shadows come?

      The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling
noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they
were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

      I sing because I'm happy;
      I sing because I'm free.
      For His eye is on the sparrow
      And I know He watches me.

      When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening
roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall.
      Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, "Oh, y'all go back
to your coffee! I didn't come in here to do a concert! I just came in here
to get somethin' to drink, just like you!" But the ovation continued. I
embraced my new friend. "You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was
beautiful!"

      "Well, it's funny that you picked that particular hymn," she said.

      "Why is that?"

      "Well . ..." she hesitated again, "that was my daughter's favorite
song."

      "Really!" I exclaimed.

      "Yes," she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause
had subsided and it was business as usual. "She was 16. She died of a brain
tumor last week."

      I said the first thing that found its way through my stunned silence.

      "Are you going to be okay?"

      She smiled through tear-filled eyes and squeezed my hands. "I'm gonna
be okay. I've just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs, and
everything's gonna be just fine."
      She picked up her bag, gave me her card, and then she was gone.

      Was it just a coincidence that we happened to be singing in that
particular coffee shop on that particular November night? Coincidence that
this wonderful lady just happened to walk into that particular shop?
Coincidence that of all the hymns to choose from, I just happened to pick
the very hymn that was the favorite of her daughter, who had died just the
week before? I refuse to believe it.

      God has been arranging encounters in human history since the beginning
of time, and it's no stretch for me to imagine that he could reach into a
coffee shop in midtown Manhattan and turn an ordinary gig into a revival. It
was a great reminder that if we keep trusting him and singing his songs,
everything's gonna be okay.

 

      The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember...
      Noah was a drunk
      Abraham was too old
      Isaac was a daydreamer
      Jacob was a liar
      Leah was ugly
      Joseph was abused
      Moses had a stuttering problem
      Gideon was afraid
      Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
      Rahab was a prostitute
      Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
      David had an affair and was a murderer
      Elijah was suicidal
      Isaiah preached naked
      Jonah ran from God
      Naomi was a widow
      Job went bankrupt
      John the Baptist ate bugs
      Peter denied Christ
      The Disciples fell asleep while praying
      Martha worried about everything
      The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
      Zaccheus was too small
      Paul was too religious
      Timothy had an ulcer...AND
      Lazarus was dead!
      No more excuses now!!
      God can use you to your full potential.
      Besides you aren't the message, you are just the messenger.

      God bless

 

A Cab Driver's Hospice Story

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.  One night I took a fare at 2:30 am, when I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once.

But, I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.  

So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute", answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.  

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80's stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.  

By her side was a small nylon suitcase The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.  

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.  

"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.  

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.  

She kept thanking me for my kindness. "It's nothing", I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated".  
"Oh, you're such a good boy", she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"  

"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.  

"Oh, I don't mind," she said "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice".  

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long." I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.  

"What route would you like me to take?" I asked.  

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.  

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.  

Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.  

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I' m tired. Let's go now".  

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.  

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.  

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.  

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," I said

"You have to make a living," she answered. "There are other passengers," I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.  

"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.  
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  

What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.  
We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.  

PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT 'YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, ~BUT~ THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL.  

LIVE SIMPLY,
LOVE GENEROUSLY,
CARE DEEPLY,
SPEAK KINDLY,
LEAVE THE REST TO GOD

 

Story or Truth?

The following scene took place on a BA flight between Johannesburg and London. This is a true story.

A White woman, about 50 years old, was seated next to a Black man. Obviously disturbed by this, she called the air Hostess.

“Madam, what is the matter,” the Hostess asked.

“You obviously do not see it then?” she responded.
“You placed me next to a Black man.
I do not agree to sit next to someone from such a repugnant group.
Give me an alternative seat.”

“Be calm please, ” the Hostess replied.
“Almost all the places on this flight are taken.
I will go to see if another seat is available.”

The Hostess went away and then came back a few minutes later.

“Madam, just as I thought, there are no other available seats in the Economy class.
I spoke to the Captain and he informed me that there is also no seats in the Business class. All the same, we still have one seat in the First class.”
Before the woman could say anything, the Hostess continued:
“It is not usual for our company to permit someone from the Economy class to sit in the First class. However, given the circumstances, the Captain feels that it would be scandalous to make someone sit next to someone so disgusting.”

She turned to the Black guy, and said,
”Therefore, Sir, if you would like to, please collect your hand luggage, a seat awaits you in First class.”
At that moment, the other passengers who were shocked by what they had just witnessed stood up and applauded.

(from http://cederling.multiply.com/journal?&page_start=20)

 

 

A Spiritual Conspiracy

I just received this via email. It feels like Truth to me.

On the surface of the world right now there is
war and violence and things seem dark.
But calmly and quietly, at the same time,
something else is happening underground.
An inner revolution is taking place
and certain individuals are being called to a higher light.

It is a silent revolution.
From the inside out.
From the ground up.
This is a Global operation.
A Spiritual Conspiracy.

There are sleeper cells in every nation on the planet.
You won't see us on the T.V.
You won't read about us in the newspaper
You won't hear about us on the radio
We don't seek any glory
We don't wear any uniform
We come in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles
Most of us work anonymously
We are quietly working behind the scenes
in every country and culture of the world
Cities big and small, mountains and valleys,
in farms and villages, tribes and remote islands
You could pass by one of us on the street and not eve n notice
We go undercover
We remain behind the scenes.
It is of no concern to us
who takes the final credit
But simply that the work gets done.

Occasionally we spot each other in the street
We give a quiet nod and continue on our way
During the day many of us pretend we have normal jobs
But behind the false storefront at night
is where the real work takes a place
Some call us the Conscious Army
We are slowly creating a new world
with the power of our minds and hearts
We follow, with passion and joy

Our orders come from the Central Spiritual Intelligence
We are dropping soft, secret love bombs when no one is looking
Poems ~ Hugs ~ Music ~ Photography ~ Movies ~ Kind words ~
Smiles ~ Meditation and prayer ~ Dance ~ Social activism ~ Websites
Blogs ~ Random acts of kindness...
We each express ourselves in our own unique ways
with our own unique gifts and talents.

"Be the change you want to see in the world"
That is the motto that fills our hearts.
We know it is the only way real transformation takes place
We know that quietly and humbly we have the
power of all the oceans combined.

Our work is slow and meticulous
Like the formation of mountains
It is not even visible at first glance
And yet with it entire tectonic plates
shall be moved in the centuries to come
Love is the new religion of the 21st century.
You don't have to be a highly educated person
Or have any exceptional knowledge to understand it
It comes from the intelligence of the heart
Embedded in the timeless evolutionary pulse of all human beings

Be the change you want to see in the world.
Nobody else can do it for you.
We are now recruiting.
Perhaps you will join us Or already have.
All are welcome
The door is open.

~ author unknown

Comment from Joy: According to my own vision, the worlds will separate in 12/21/12, and those who live from their hearts will find themselves in a separate world. That will be the only dividing line. I look forward to that time.

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