Two stories came to mind today, both involving rocks and sand, that reminded me of interesting lessons. You may have heard the first, but I’d like to recount it here:
“A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks right to the top, rocks about 2” diameter.
He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. The students laughed
He asked his students again if the jar was full? They agreed that yes, it was. The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.
The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else. The small stuff. If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important.
Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing.
There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.”
Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.”
Another way I thought of looking at this today is to consider the ROCKS as truth principles / the reality of life or laws of the universe whereas the rest is just the appearances of things. If you are familiar with the biblical parable of building a house on the rock vs on the sand, then you probably know the moral of the story is to build your house on a strong foundation so it can withstand storms.
In life, the storms can be external circumstances and building your house on a strong foundation is equivalent to building your life on inspired action and truth principles beyond mere appearances. Making the inspired action or guidance the priority is how to apply the moral of the first story.
Building your house on sand is like building your life based on your own rational understanding, your limited sensory perception and your limited experience. When trouble comes, you are easily shaken, frustrated and confused.
Build on the rocks, my friend, and the sand will follow.
One of the many payoffs music has brought to my life (one of the reason I have a passion for music) is the positive impact it can have on peoples lives.
With that in mind, I’m grateful to share with you the SUCCESS State of Man’s music is achieving:
Question: What do Haley Williams, Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift and John Stringer all have in common?
The Answer: We all have the same vocal coach – Singing Success!
But hopefully, I pay a lot less than they do!
This video of Haley Williams (Paramore) tells you about her experience with the program:
I really like Haley Williams’ voice and if you caught the episode of Sophie’s Lounge on Sophie 103’s website (HERE) featuring State of Man’s live acoustic performance and interview, then you probably heard me doing one of the vocal warm up techniques she uses.
Though the techniques sound funny, they are the same ones not only Haley and I use, but plenty of other artists including Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and Miley Cyrus use them as well. thanks to the critically acclaimed vocal methods found in the Singing Success program by Brett Manning. The program costs $199 and it is well worth it.
I posted a review on the Singing Success program before (here) but wanted to make sure anyone serious about becoming a great singer checks it out. The before and after videos on the site will amaze you, and once you actually use it, you’ll understand exactly why the program is called Singing Success!
Several years ago, my wife and I switched from a ‘typical’ American carnivore’s diet to a Pescetarian (vegetarian + fish/seafood) diet to maximize our health. My initial motivation to switch came from unexplained fatigue after eating certain meals – particularly ones heavy in starch and sugar. After running blood tests, I was relieved to find I didn’t have any blood diseases, diabetes or the like but still wanted to find the cause. Later, I read The Celestine Prophecy and was reminded of the importance of pH balance in the body along with the alkaline and acidic properties of foods. The book explained the importance of eating a 70-80% alkaline diet for optimal health, and after researching the topic a bit further, my wife and I decided to try it for at least 3 weeks. Three weeks turned into years and we’ve been glad we made the change.
In December of 2008, I further modified my diet after researching “Food Combining” based on the suggestion of Rev. Marcia White, a friend and instructor at Hillside International Truth Center. My wife also happened to have a copy of the book The Tao of Health, Sex, & Longevity: A Modern Practical Guide to The Ancient Way, which explains ‘Trophology’, the science of food combining, in great detail. The book is written for a Westerner audience to teach them why and how to apply Eastern ‘Ancient Wisdom’ to their lifestyles to reap the scientifically supported mental and health benefits. In one section, the author explains how pH balance relates to proper food combining:
“The Western scientific equivalent of Yin/Yang balance in food combination is something we all learned in elementary high school chemistry: acid/alkaline balance, or ‘pH’. We all know that if we did add a measure of alkaline to an equal measure of acid, the resulting chemical solution is as neutral as plain water. That’s the principle behind reaching for bicarbonate (a strong alkaline) to relieve ‘acid indigestion’.
It is an established scientific fact in Western medicine that, in order to initiate efficient digestion of any concentrated animal protein, the stomach must secret pepsin. But it is also a well-known fact that pepsin can function only in a highly acidic medium, which must be maintained for several hours for complete digestion of proteins. It is an equally well-established fact of science that when we chew a piece of bread or potato or any other carbohydrate/starch, ptyalin and other alkaline juices are immediately secreted into the food by the saliva in the mouth. When swallowed, the alkalized starches require an alkaline medium in the stomach in order to complete their digestion.
Anyone should be able to figure out what therefore happens when you ingest protein and starch together. Acid and alkaline juices are secreted and simultaneously in response to the incoming protein and starch, promptly neutralizing one another and leaving a weak, watery solution in the stomach that digests neither protein nor starch properly. Instead, the proteins putrefy and the starches ferment owing to the constant presence of bacteria in the digestive tract.”
The book goes on to identify purification and fermentation as the “primary causes of all sorts of digestive distress” and all sorts of “so-called allergies.” Though I can’t say whether the claims in the book are all true, I can say that following it’s recommended All-Organic, minimum 50% raw foods (vegetables and fruits), “food combining”diet for the last 3 months has brought about a significant difference in my body and comfort levels. I’ve lost most my body fat (a nice side effect), and instead of fatigue, my energy levels after eating are consistently high. I also maintain a very healthy appetite and I eat a sufficient meal about every 2-4 hrs.
On the occasions I go against the food combing recommendations (e.g. eating concentrated protein and starch together via a tuna fish sandwich), I feel the all-too familiar stomach discomfort I was so desensitized to for most of my life.
Needless to say, I’ve made food combining a conistant practice in my life and I will continue to search for ways to maximize my health. Combined with excercise, meditation and other practices, I would recommend food combining as a possible solution for anyone seeking to improve thier quality of life.
The Sacred Yes: Letters From The Infinite
I finished reading Spiritual Liberation: Fulfilling Your Soul’s Potential by Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith and it was such an enjoyable read that I still use the powerful affirmations and embodiments presented. Now, I’m back to reading a book I actually started before Dr. Beckwith’s which also happens to be written by someone he mentors. The book is called The Sacred Yes: Letters From The Infinite by Rev. Deborah L. Johnson.
The Sacred Yes is a fascinating read and offers insightful perspective on God/Source from various angles. Its somewhat similar to Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch in that the author explains the content was “channeled.” For this, I refer to a great phrase my uncle once told me – TRUTH IS WHERE YOU FIND IT – and I’ve found plenty of it in this book thus far.
I’m currently on the 11th chapter, entitled DIVINE FLOW, and I think you’ll appreciate this analogy on giving:
“In addition to making a seperation between the giver and the recipient, there is also a tendency in your Westernixed cultures to make a seperatin between the acts of givin and receiving. This is a false disctinction. This is a pradigm that is of no use or value in the spiritual realm. It is a fallacious conceptualization that only continues to perpetuate the paradigm of duality. Ther is otherness reeking in this. Why do I say so adamantly that this is fallacious?
Perhaps the best example would be that of breathing. Within the process of breathing there is what you refer to as inhaling and there is what you refer to as exhaling. However, you are not breathing unless you are doing both. It would never occur to you to try to make such a distinction between exhaling and inhaling when speaking of breathing such that you would claim to be doing one without the other. There is totality here. There is a wholeness here. There is an integration here. You are not breathing unless both are happening alternately and interchangeably. So it is with what you refer to as giving. In fact, it is even more so. In the act of breathing you can mark the point in time when you are either inhaling or exhaling, even though they occur very closely together. However, in what is referred to as giving, the so-called giving and receiving are simultaneous. They aren’t even separate. It is all one.”
Feel free to share your thoughts on this book if you’re reading it or have read it in the past.
Adele at 51st Grammys - www.upi.com
Before the 51st Annual Grammy Awards ceremony this year, I’d never heard of the 20 year old, British (now two time Grammy winner) artist Adele. Naturally, I’m curious as to how many of you knew of her before the Grammys and how you found out about her. Did you find out about her on radio in your city? Did you find out about her from a friend?
I’m curious about this primarily because TODAY, I finally listened to her music and was moved to tears. I am AMAZED that I’m just now HEARING this!
OK… for those that have not heard her, please don’t let my reaction cause you to over expect. As we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in this case, in the ear! With so much talent and soul coming from a British female artist, and the fact the she won best new artist of the year, I couldn’t help but think of Amy Winehouse and hope Adele’s personal life goes much smoother.
Check out Adele’s video for “Make You Feel My Love” ( also known as “To Make You Feel My Love“, written by Bob Dylan, appearing on his album Time Out of Mind) and let me know what you think. Her voice was so striking to me in this song that I had to listen three times to finally focus on the lyrics: