On a flight home from Germany a few years ago I watched a documentary about Fred Rodgers and the creation of his show, Mister Rodgers Neighborhood.
They shared a very sentimental symbol he used to incorporate into his television program that has always stuck with me.
Not only did Mr. Rogers keep his weight at 143 pounds throughout his life, but they also explained why the address on his mailbox was 143. I learned it meant:
1- was “I”
4- was “love”
There were other heartfelt details Mr. Rodgers put into his show so I can’t wait to see the movie!
Everyone knows the holidays are coming up so I thought it would be a good idea to do my own “1-4-3” to honor Mr. Rodgers.
Book Review of Manuscript Found in Accra
I recently read a book by Paulo Coelho; the best-selling author of The Alchemist, which has an unusual title called Manuscript Found in Accra.
In 1982 at Christmas, the author met Sir Walter’s son in Wales and he mentioned his father had a copy of this ancient manuscript from Egypt, which intrigued Coelho but it was never mentioned again until on November 30, 2011, he was quite surprised to receive a copy and decided to transcribe it into a book.
The story begins with a wise man name Copt who speaks of loyalty, fear, bravery, solitude, and love, his words reveal the human values that have stood the test of time. More now than ever these words make us known WHO we are, WHAT we fear, and WHAT we hope for the future.
The first chapter describes the cyclical nature of life as the city of Jerusalem prepares for a major battle; I thought about this metaphorically because it is what you and I do every day and how we battle to apply a sense of purpose in our daily lives.
The wise man describes the seasons in the cycle of nature (Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”) by explaining that nature has no such thing as victory or defeat; there is only the moment.
The lesson is that within that cycle there are neither winners and losers; there are only stages that must be gone through.
When our heart understands this, it is free to accept difficult times without being deceived by moments of glory.
Human beings are different because defeat means we have failed at something we really wanted. When we feel defeated of course we are sad, but when the moment passes, we have the chance to discover the hidden strength inside of us that increases our self-respect.
The wise man defined defeat as; “For those who, despite their fears, live life with enthusiasm and faith.
Defeat is for the valiant; they know the honor of losing and the joy of winning.” On the other hand, he writes; “Failure doesn’t allow us to dream, if we expect nothing, we won’t be disappointed, failure has no end it is a lifetime choice. Only the defeated know love.” I am sure all of us have had the feeling that we hope tomorrow will be different, but when it comes, we ask ourselves the paralyzing question: “What if it doesn’t work out?” so we decide to do nothing. If you could do one thing and were told you wouldn’t fail… what would you try?”
In the manuscript, Copt describes being alone and states, “Solitude is the moment when our soul is free to speak to us.”
This is the time we are able to decide what to do with our life because we are able to go farther than we think we can, BUT we let fear stop us. “There is a vast world that lies hidden in your soul, waiting to be discovered.” He also writes that love is not sustainable without solitude; “love needs to rest so it can transform itself through time.” Our demons attempt to take over and whisper that no one cares and we are wasting our time, but when we have the balance of love and solitude, we understand that they can peacefully co-exist.
LIFE AND CHANGE
People who help others are not trying to be useful, but are simply leading a useful life. His advice is to live the life you always wanted to live; avoid criticizing others and concentrate on fulfilling your own dreams. When you give this example to others you are helping improve the world.
Your goal should be: “My life was an interesting one, I didn’t squander my blessing.” He describes joy as; “If you are happy… you are on the right road.” Not comparing our lives to others and trying to do our best each day is simple yet difficult to do sometimes. If you don’t like something change it, I believe that change does carry risks but your dreams can transform into reality when you think about the alternative is just doing the same thing over and over again…. That is what extinguishes the flame of our spirit. Accepting our Divine Plan with humility and courage is scary, it takes intuition and discipline to figure this out but if we stop trying to reflect what comes from the outside and remember the brightest light comes from within our self, we finally define our true self. If we resist the temptation to allow other people to define who we are, then we will gradually be able to let the sun inside our own soul shine forth.
One of my favorite quotes in the book is about love, “Love is an act of faith, not an exchange.” How beautiful is that?
We are not able to understand how someone else feels about us, we are only able to feel the love we have for others. The greatest goal in life is to love, the rest is silent, even though our heart has felt loss and pain to keep this open is the one true choice we all decide on our own. My observation is to stay close to those who allow the light you have to shine forth without restrictions, judgments or rewards, those with eyes WILL see your light and a part of your soul that is visible to the one who sees it.
Love lasts because it changes and not because it stays the same; it will always face challenges yet allows us to be humble when we receive and joyful when we give. A small prayer he writes is, “Help me to awaken the love sleeping inside of me, before I awaken love in the other people, only then will I be able to attract affection, enthusiasm, and respect.”
Love is an act of faith in another person, not an act of surrender. Do not seek to be loved at any price, because Love has no price. Love helps us be humble when we receive and joyful when we give to others. Help us to awaken the love sleeping within us before we awaken love in other people, only then will we be able to attract affection enthusiasm and respect.
Love is the awareness of death and the ability to learn and grow by understanding that time, limits and possibilities are finite. An important concept to keep in mind is that our love doesn’t need to be understood, it only needs to be shown. Your greatest gift is to make your own decisions.
There is nothing wrong with anxiety, it is part of the human condition to want to receive the thing we have been waiting for as quickly as possible, or to drive away whatever is causing us fear.
Anxiety is part of love and not be blamed because of that. Anxiety was born in the very same moment as mankind, and since we will never be able to master it, we will have to live with it—just as we have learned to live with storms.
Trying to speed up time or drive anxiety away only makes us more anxious.
When anxiety weaves a veil through which only, we can see at this point, it becomes our worst enemy: obsession.
He writes, “Your fate now belongs to me. I will make you look for things that don’t exist. Your joy in living also belongs to me, your heart will know no peace because I will drive out enthusiasm and take its place.” Although anxiety is part of life, never let it control you, if it gets to close, say: “I’m not worried about tomorrow, because God is there already waiting for me.” Being too cautious destroys the soul and the heart, living is an act of courage, and an act of courage is always an act of love. “The greatest wisdom of life is to realize that we can be masters of the things that try to enslave us.”
Heading off into the future always takes courage, none of us like uncertainty so are we brave enough to open the door to the sanctuary that leads to our own unique soul?
Do you have the courage to accept yourself as you are: a person who walks and feels and talks like everyone else, but who, despite his faults, is also brave?
We were born alone, and we will die alone, so we must accept and express our act of faith in other people. Seek people who believe in what they are doing and who they are, we all need a community to survive. Avoid the ones that are only by your side in moments of sadness, stay close to those who are by your side in happy times, because they don’t harbor jealousy or envy in their hearts, only joy to see you happy!
Avoid those who believe they are stronger than you because they are actually concealing their own fragility.
Stay close to those who are not afraid to be vulnerable, because they have the confidence in themselves and know that, at some point in our lives, we all stumble, they don’t interpret this as a sign of weakness, but of humanity. Stay close to those who are interested in opening only one important door: the door to your heart! They will never invade your soul without your consent or shoot a deadly arrow through the open door. Our friendships with others only exist to love other people. Stay close to those who allow the light of Love to shine forth without restrictions, judgments, or rewards, without letting it be blocked by the fear of being understood.
Get up every morning and prepare to let your light shine…those with eyes will see your light and be enchanted by it.
Loyalty has its roots in respect, and respect is the fruit of Love.
Love drives out the demons of the imagination—which distrust everything and everyone—instead, it returns purity to our gaze.
The author writes about how people look for the weakness in others in order to defend or attack, but the true hero is the person who has managed to build loyalty around them because they understand its meaning and can see it. It is a choice only strong spirits have the courage to make and ask themselves “Is it worth filling my heart with hatred and dragging it around with me?”
Loyalty will never tolerate betrayal, but will always be generous with mistakes. It will withstand the test of time and conflicts. We will face many adversaries in our lives, but the most difficult to defeat will be the ones we fear. Sometimes the enemy is not the person standing before you, sword in hand. It is the person standing next to you with a dagger concealed behind their back. The world does not divide into enemies and friends, but into the weak and the strong. The strong are generous in victory and the weak gang up on the losers, unaware that defeat is only a transitory thing. Would you like to take the role of the victim? If you say yes, you will NEVER be free of that choice for the rest of your life, and you will be easy prey whenever you are faced with a decision that demands courage. If the answer is no, stand your ground. Better to rebel while your wounds are easily treated—even if it takes time and patience.
Remember your enemies are not the adversaries who were put there to test your courage. They are the cowards who were put there to test your weakness. Live a life with the purest intentions that speak from your heart, then scatter your seed wherever you go, because we can never know which seeds will grow and flourish and enlighten the next generation!
I learned so many things reading this book but wanted to leave you with my “1” “4” “3”, which hopefully be something easy to remember when we need help:
ONE: Never miss that ONE opportunity to show your love, especially those close to you, because we are always at our most cautious with them for fear of being hurt.
THREE important things: 1. Wait patiently for the right moment to act. 2. Don’t let the next opportunity slip by you. 3. Take pride in your life journey.
Our soul has FOUR virtues: LOVE, DEATH, POWER, and TIME….
- “Did I give enough love?”
- “Am I aware of my blessings?”
- “Am I making my own decisions?”
- “Am I using my time the way I want to?”
Remember we are ALL each other’s neighbors!
In closing, I want to thank all of you for being you! I appreciate you all and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.
Maria Bucci, M.Ed LPC DWC-F. Daring Way Facilitator by Dr. Brené Brown
Leave a Reply