January 31, 2007

Learning to Blog

Just a quick note to bring you up to date about my blog.

I am just getting the hang of blogging and settling in, that is, immersing myself in the blogosphere. I have been editing and tweaking the template, learning about HTML and many related issues around blogging on the Net. I have goofed up, became frustrated many times and lost precious time also, but I hung in there, no complaints.

As far as I see it, it is all part of the(my) learning process.

It has been a steep learning curve for me. I have been watching and learning from the pros who have been doing it longer than I have. Picking up ideas from other fellow bloggers and frankly doing a lot of reading on the Net. Wow, so much info. Talk about info overload.

All in all, I am happy so far with what I have accomplished and I lived to tell the tale.

Finally, if you visit my blog, please feel free to leave a comment.

Have a nice day.

January 29, 2007

Prayer of St Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is discord, harmony;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

January 27, 2007

Chocolate!Need I say more.......

Last night I was looking at a documentary "Chocolate Confidential" on theCBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.). It dealt with the history, politics, business and yes.....the pleasures and benefits of eating chocolate.

The doc touched again upon something I had heard before about the poor wages being paid to children in Africa who were also denied schooling. Of course, my heart went out to them when I had heard the story. I knew that I should reduce my chocolate consumption which I did somewhat since I felt that it was the best thing to do. But then Christmas came and I.....well purchased a bag of chocolates and of course a large bar which had raisins and hazelnuts......heaven. Plus, since I am vegetarian I had to of course read all of the ingredients before making any purchases. Well it didn't take long for me to polish both of them off.

A week or two later I was at the local health food store and I decided to make some changes for the better.....I purchased a bar of fair trade, organic, dark chocolate with orange and spices.....What a mouthful.......The cocoa beans were cultivated using bio diverse farming methods...sounded environmentally friendly. The bar weighed 35 grams, contained about 55% cocoa solids and cost about $1.50 with taxes...I felt good...no, let me rephrase that...I felt really good...I had done a good deed.

I tasted my first piece of fair trade, organic, dark chocolate that had cost me an arm and a leg and what do you know...it was bitter...I was terribly disappointed. I nearly cried since I had paid so much, for yes...35 grams of chocolate, a small bar compared to what I pay for my usual everyday chocolates that usually are laden with a lot of sugar, etc. to mask the bitter taste of chocolate. Well, I decided to remain calm and placed the remainder of my chocolate bar in the fridge while I contemplated what to do.

Days went by and then I had another 2 fegs of my chocolate bar...I was expecting the bitter taste again and I braced myself for it. But you know what.....it was good.....it was really good.....And then last night the doc was on and since it looked interesting I decided to watch it. I remembered that I had the remainder of the bar in my fridge. As I continued watching the doc, the experts reminded me of the numerous compounds in chocolate that were beneficial for our health including heart problems.

Of course, using all my will power, I resisted as long as I could the trek to my fridge.....the question was should I or shouldn't I.....Eventually I could resist no more, I got up and had a couple more fegs.....Great Stuff.....I put the rest of the bar in the fridge, about a half of the chocolate bar.

As I was writing the above, I had no will power left in me.....Yes, I have already devoured the other half of my fair trade, organic, dark chocolate bar with orange and spices that had cost me about a buck and a half Canadian including taxes.....Chocolate was not supposed to be so politically charged and taste so good at the same time.

It is a simple, addictive pleasure that everyone enjoy, especially women. Well, I don't know how long I will survive without any chocolates in the house. But wait, you know what, Valentine's Day is just around the corner.....Hmmmmm.....Got to get me some more chocolate.

January 25, 2007

Alternative Living

So much to say, so little time. Just thought I would post this link for
Alternative Living. It is about changing our lives and stopping the killing. Becoming more compassionate and kind to all sentient beings. It is also about substituting nutritious, life saving food in our diets. It is about changing the way we live in this world seeking healthier alternatives for our planet. Help save the environment, embrace peace and compassion.

Join the vegetarian and vegan elite of the world.

Children of One Faith

“I love you, my brother, whoever you are–whether you worship in your church, kneel in your temple, or pray in your mosque. You and I are all children of one faith, for the divers paths of religion are fingers of the loving hand of one Supreme Being, a hand extended to all, offering completeness of spirit to all, eager to receive all.”

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

This is a lesser-known excerpt from “The Voice of the Master”, written by the well-known Lebanese poet, writer, philosopher and artist Kahlil Gibran. Gibran’s writings, poetry and sayings are exquisite, inspirational, timeless, universal and spiritual by nature, as reflected in the above quotation.

I fell in love with his poetry after coming across and purchasing a copy of “The Prophet”, at the bookstore in my local mall. Gibran wrote “The Prophet”, which has been an international best seller for more than forty years, and which was primarily written for his English readers. This book of poetry became a constant companion for me, during some difficult periods in my life, when I was questioning many things and embarking on my own journey of self-discovery.

It gave me “food for thought” and inspired me to reflect upon many things and to do a lot of soul searching. It also enriched and uplifted my heart, mind and spirit and brought new understanding to my soul. Above all, it introduced me to one of the most gifted, profound and inspired thinker and poet that I have ever read.

I eventually started acquiring some of his books wherever I could find them. My personal collection includes “Thoughts and Meditations”, “The Treasured Writings of Kahlil Gibran” and “Jesus, the Son of Man”, which I had to pre-order at the bookstore, since many of his works are out of circulation.

Kahlil Gibran was born December 6, 1883, into a Maronite Christian family, at Bcherri in the Republic of Lebanon, formerly Syria-Phoenicia. Gibran moved with his mother Kamila, his older half- brother Peter and two sisters Mariana and Sultana, to Boston in the United States, when he was only 12 years old. At the age of 14, he returned to Lebanon for five years, to complete his education. He travelled all over Lebanon, Syria and Palestine with his father during the summer. Eventually, he left for Greece, Italy and Spain and then went to Paris to study art. Gibran returned to Boston two years later. He then lost his mother, brother and sister Sultana, to tuberculosis. Gibran never married and he never had any children. He died on April 10, 1931 at the age of 47.

In this new millennium and century, Gibran’s writings are more relevant amidst our troubled times of war, numerous conflicts and the new era of globalization. His plea to us is that we are all brothers and sisters of one faith, and we should all love one another, no matter which path we choose to walk on, since we all emanate from the same Source. His insights and writings have much to offer us at the individual and at the global level, and also in the philosophical, political, economic and social realms. They also shed light for us, on our lack of understanding and our ignorance of each other.

Samuel P Huntington, a political scientist, has suggested that we are experiencing “a clash of civilizations”. He takes a “we” versus “them” approach with respect to “the West” and “the Arab Muslim world”. Gibran views us as the global family of humankind, challenging us to love and respect each other, regardless of the perceived differences amongst ourselves. There are more similarities that hold the family of humankind together, than differences that separate us from one another.

It is our ignorance, lack of understanding, hate and also fear of the unknown that is the cause of many of the conflicts in the world today. Respect and tolerance for each other, unconditional love for “the other”, love of our neighbours, the exercise of mercy and compassion and our pursuit for truth and justice are some of the things that we can embrace, embody, and also adopt, to ensure that our homes, communities, countries and planet become a better place for us to live.

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