Inspiring Stories of Overcoming Adversity, More
Welcome to Inspirations! Global Community For All sends out this e-zine filled with short, inspiring stories of love, healing, and empowerment once every three months. We share these wonderfully inspiring stories on overcoming adversity and more to encourage and inspire each other to be the best we can be each day of our lives. If you want to receive issues of Inspirations as they are published, click here. Thanks for joining us, and may these words inspire us to deepen our commitment to love, heal, and empower; to open to divine guidance; and to choose what’s best.
The four inspiring stories for this issue are:
Arabella's Life Intentions – Arabella Droullard
Arabella's Life Intentions — Arabella Droullard
I intend to live each day fully and authentically, to be present with
I remind myself that the greatest gift I can give is to fully see
It is my goal to honor the beauty in all manifestations of the divine,
My own journey is my own responsibility, and I intend to walk that
Overcoming Adversity: Find What You Love — Steve Jobs
Below are excerpts from the Commencement address at Stanford University by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005. See link above for full speech.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.
The first story is about connecting the dots. I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates. ... My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life ... and here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great.
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts.
My second story is about love and loss. I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? ...
I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.
My third story is about death. When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning. It clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die.
I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. When they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now. This was the closest I've been to facing death. Having lived through it, I can now [talk about it] with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept.
Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Microcredit Pioneers Win Nobel Peace Prize—USA Today/AP
Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their pioneering use of tiny, seemingly insignificant loans — microcredit — to lift millions out of poverty. Through Yunus's efforts and those of the bank he founded, poor people around the world, especially women, have been able to buy cows, a few chickens or the cellphone they desperately needed to get ahead.
The 65-year-old economist said he would use part of his share of the $1.4 million award money to create a company to make low-cost, high-nutrition food for the poor. The rest would go toward setting up an eye hospital for the poor in Bangladesh, he said.
"Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty," the Nobel Committee said in its citation. "Microcredit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights."
Grameen Bank was the first lender to hand out microcredit, giving very small loans to poor Bangladeshis who did not qualify for loans from conventional banks. No collateral is needed and repayment is based on an honor system. Anyone can qualify for a loan — the average is about $200 — but recipients are put in groups of five. Once two members of the group have borrowed money, the other three must wait for the funds to be repaid before they get a loan. Grameen, which means rural in the Bengali language, says the method encourages social responsibility. The results are hard to argue with — the bank says it has a 99% repayment rate.
Since Yunus gave out his first loans in 1974, microcredit schemes have spread throughout the developing world and are now considered a key to alleviating poverty and spurring development.
Yunus told The Associated Press in a 2004 interview that his "eureka moment" came while chatting to a shy woman weaving bamboo stools with calloused fingers. Sufia Begum was a 21-year-old villager and a mother of three when the economics professor met her in 1974 and asked her how much she earned. She replied that she borrowed about five taka (nine cents) from a middleman for the bamboo for each stool. All but two cents of that went back to the lender. "I thought to myself, my God, for five takas she has become a slave," Yunus said in the interview. "I couldn't understand how she could be so poor when she was making such beautiful things," he said.
The following day, he and his students did a survey in the woman's village, Jobra, and discovered that 43 of the villagers owed a total of 856 taka (about $27). "I couldn't take it anymore. I put the $27 out there and told them they could liberate themselves," he said, and pay him back whenever they could. The idea was to buy their own materials and cut out the middleman. They all paid him back, day by day, over a year, and his spur-of-the-moment generosity grew into a full-fledged business concept that came to fruition with the founding of Grameen Bank in 1983.
In the years since, the bank says it has lent $5.72 billion to more than 6 million Bangladeshis. Worldwide, microcredit financing is estimated to have helped some 17 million people. "Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development," the Nobel citation said. Today, the bank claims to have 6.6 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women, and provides services in more than 70,000 villages in Bangladesh. Its model of micro-financing has inspired similar efforts around the world.
HeartMath: A Change of Heart Changes Everything – Jurriaan Kamp
A California institute demonstrates how people can actually make their heart beat in a healthier way. Through its research, the Institute of HeartMath proves that health starts with love, and that love can reduce stress. It is a method that is used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide and more than 100 organizations—from global corporations to hospitals to government agencies and schools. This simple method is changing the world.
Since 1991, the Institute of HeartMath has generated a large body of convincing scientific evidence that it is indeed possible to create love. HeartMath’s research shows that emotions work much faster, and are more powerful, than thoughts. And that ... the heart is much more important than the brain to overall health and well-being. Its dominance inside the body is now clearly demonstrated. Thinking clearly with your brain is useful. But feeling positively from your heart provides an amazing boost to health and creativity.
Briefly re-experiencing a cherished memory creates synchronization in your heart rhythm in mere seconds. This increases the release of healthy, energizing hormones, while at the same time decreasing levels of damaging stress hormones, at the same time your immune system is strengthened, blood pressure decreases … and health and focus increase. Using a simple prescription that consists of a number of exercises that anyone can do anywhere in a few minutes ... HeartMath is successfully battling the greatest threat to health, happiness and peace in this world: stress.
Managers are sent to stress seminars. Yoga lessons are offered at company headquarters. But these measures aren’t very effective as long as stress continues to permeate the corporate culture. A successful anti-stress strategy provides results precisely at the moment the stress is experienced. This is what HeartMath does, which is why its client list now includes such leading companies as Hewlett Packard, Shell, Unilever, Cisco Systems, and Boeing.
While HeartMath’s techniques emphasize the importance of emotional self-management, HeartMath is no new age phenomenon. It is a research institute that in the space of nearly 15 years has published a large body of scientific research in established and respected publications such as the Harvard Business Review and the American Journal of Cardiology.
HeartMath programs utilize an innovative biofeedback system ... whereby your finger or ear is hooked up to a sensor that shows the heart’s activity on a computer screen. The feedback is not a precondition for the result of the HeartMath exercises, but seeing your heart rhythms live on a computer screen makes it easier to convince critics of the favourable effect of positive feelings.
To measure the heart’s reaction to particular events, HeartMath uses a relatively new concept—one that is currently a hot item in mainstream medicine—as an indicator of a healthily functioning body: heart rate variability (HRV). Research conducted 10 years ago ... showed that the heart has its own neural network–in essence, a little brain. It has now been demonstrated that the heart sends signals to the brain and the hormonal system via nerves which carry the heart rhythm patterns. It doesn’t matter so much how many times a heart beats per minute; it’s the rhythm of the heartbeat that counts.
Feelings of compassion, love, care and appreciation produce a smoothly rolling—HeartMath calls it “coherent”—heart rhythm, while feelings of anger, frustration, fear and danger emit a jagged and capricious—”incoherent”—image. But this is more than a statistical difference. HeartMath’s research shows that a different heart rhythm leads to other chemical and electrical–even neurological--reactions in the body.
Simply put: when people experience love, they not only feel happy and joyful, but they also produce, for example, more DHEA, the hormone that prevents aging, and gives us feelings of youthful vitality. By contrast, a “loving body” absorbs less cholesterol, thereby preventing arteries from clogging. In addition, blood pressure stabilizes. Positive feelings—like love—generate health. HeartMath’s slogan—a change of heart changes everything—pretty much sums it up.
But how do you “change your heart?” According to HeartMath research, it is much simpler than it looks. “If you consciously shift your attention to a positive emotion ... or if you allow your thoughts to return to the feeling of a cherished memory, your heart rhythm changes immediately.” This phenomenon continues to astonish the some 25,000 people who attend HeartMath courses each year. Initially, HeartMath utilized expensive medical equipment to measure and display the heart rhythm. But since 2000 HeartMath has offered a “do-it-yourself” equivalent: the Freeze-Framer, an award-winning computer program with an innovative sensor that anyone can install in their computer at home or at work.
The research is convincing. A group of managers from Motorola attended a HeartMath workshop and were tested six months later on the results of their daily exercises. One-quarter of the managers had high blood pressure at the start of the project. After six months, they all had normal blood pressure levels. In another study with Hewlett-Packard managers, the average blood pressure fell from 138/86 to 128/80.
The exercises also work for people with chronic diseases. For example, diabetes patients who performed a total of one hour of HeartMath exercises every week for six months scored significantly better on a number of health aspects crucial to them. Another HeartMath study indicates that the savings on health care costs and absenteeism can run up to $ 700 U.S. (540 euros) per employee a year. The fact the exercises are so easy may well be the most promising aspect of the HeartMath system. You can learn the techniques in five minutes and get positive results if you do them a few times a day for 30 seconds.
But there’s more: studies show that the electromagnetic field of the heart ... can be measured from between two and three metres from the body. HeartMath has discovered that if someone has a coherent heart rhythm, it has a demonstrably positive effect on other people in close proximity to him or her. Just think about how you feel in the presence of someone who is appreciative or caring, compared to being close to someone angry or frustrated. If your own heart rhythm is coherent, there is a greater chance that your environment will also behave coherently. Changing the world starts with you.
A lot of people feel powerless. Climate change. Poverty. War. Terrorism. There are so many things we could fear in the world. So where do you start as an individual, when the size of the problems seem so daunting? It is important to know that you can have a demonstrably positive effect on the world. We can change the world, starting with ourselves.
Note: To visit the website of HeartMath, see http://www.heartmath.org
All the darkness of the world cannot put out the light of a single candle.