Happy People

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The Past

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Nurture By Nature

Mother Nature Essence

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

If you want the best out of this world,

Then you’ve got to be willing to put the best into this world.

One cannot hope to sow bad seeds and reap good fruits.

Nurture the world around you according to your nature,

And see Mother Nature herself nurture your world in similar fashion.

If you give her lightning she may give you thunder,

But if you give her a little light she just might give you a rainbow.

P.S. Godspeed.

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“As you make your bed, so shall you lie in it.” -Unknown

I confess to all my brothers and sisters that I have done some despicable things for which I must now atone, and so I stand alone in this strange place I call home; my mind isolated from the labyrinth in which I now roam, as I sleep on a thin layer of foam. It is a loud world but I remain quiet. It’s a buffet where everyone is suspect, but I’ll never deviate from my strict diet. Shovel in the dirt, stripped of my shirt, and I no longer have a single reason to flirt.

Day and night I lose sweat and tears as I try and cry to come to terms with my fears, over the slow passing of my years. To think I was only 25! Still, they were forty-five, thirty-five, and five! So now I’m 25 to life, having copped a desperate plea to lesson my strife. God, will you please forgive me even though I’ve never known you? Who knows, maybe what they say about you is true. If so, then tonight at least let me see you; if for no other reason than to see them once more, so I can tell them I’m deeply sorry for all the things I did before. I pray they are at peace in Heaven, while on my end I deservedly rot in prison.

P.S. There are consequences to our every action, whether big or small, whether in this life or the next. Live fully, but live wisely. Godspeed!

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Together On Top

Help Another Up

“Reach out and help another up, it doesn’t have to be lonely at the top.” -kR

We must come to the realization that increasing our chances of becoming or being successful does not in any way, shape, or form reduce another person’s chances of becoming or being successful.

Competition brings out the best in us but competition doesn’t necessarily equate to rivalry and should never ultimately culminate in jealousy.

If it is crowded at the bottom, that is often because the bottom is confined by a few natural but too many man-made boundaries. Just look at the ground around us – it is shaded by encroaching trees, guarded by high walls and barbed wire fences, laden with roads plagued by an abundance of traffic signs; from yield signs to stop signs, from caution signs to pot holes and speed bumps. All of these things serve to contain us, to confine us, to inhibit and to limit us.

But once these shackles are broken, once these boundaries are transcended, once these obstacles are overcome, and as more people evolve, spread their wings and fly, it will become evident to them and to all who witness this phenomenon that there is plenty of room in the sky, and therefore it doesn’t have to be lonely at the top. We will realize that the sky is not the limit after all, as there is no limit once we operate in the threshold of the boundless sky.

There are millions of birds who share a single sky above us, and yet they never complain about it being too crowded. As a matter of fact, they often fly together in harmony. And as a result they do not sit lonely at the top.

So then, why can’t we humans, supposedly more intelligent creatures, all get to the top together? The short answer is, we can! And quite frankly, we should! As far as success goes, there is no more fulfilling feeling than becoming or being more successful because you help others become or be more successful!

So, I hope to see you at the top! But better yet, I want to help you get to the top, just as I would appreciate you helping me get to the top. Gratitude and Godspeed!

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Life’s Four Phases

Life's Phases

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” -Helen Keller

Life has four phases. From age 1 through 20, most people are discovering, observing, forming opinions, stumbling, falling and learning, and hopefully retaining. From age 21 to 45, people implement and live off and improve on experiences gotten during two decades plus and chart a known decidedly solid (or conversely shaky) path, as they build on those foundations for a better quality of life. From age 46 to 65, people live off plans set earlier, the golden years, reinforced, enjoyed, and are satisfied that their legacy will outlive them. From age 66 to 80, the golden years continue to be savored as family branches draw out far out.

After 80 especially, these are bonus years and serve as a period to look back and either appreciate, or regret one’s life. This period of reflection and the conclusions drawn therefrom can make a difference on how many bonus years we would or would not have. If we missed the first quarter, the likelihood of making up in the second quarter becomes slim or difficult; not impossible though, but onerous. If we got the first and second quarters right, then we might not retire into frustration, want, dependency, misery, or poverty. The first quarter determines how well the second quarter would turn out to be. It is very important for parents to ensure the first quarter is successful. It is largely parental responsibility. The first, and more importantly, second quarter are therefore very critical in determining the type of legacy we leave for our progeny and for posterity. Once anyone misses any quarter, playing catch up turns to become a near permanent pursuit, draining energy, time, resources, and rarely succeeding. We must guard against this trap, especially if our parents got the first quarter right for us. For societies wherein talent and hard work are not readily recognized and compensated adequately, these equations change dramatically.

The core message here is that most people do not plan to fail, but they just fail to plan. Within the society in which we live, with the ebb and flow of countless and sometimes conflicting forces, albeit having a relatively level playing field, good plans serve as road maps to goal attainment. Procrastinators and analysts often fall prey to the law of diminishing intent and diminishing returns as protracted analysis leads instead to prolonged paralysis and inertia. These pitfalls must be avoided. This state of being is exacerbated for those who are too steeped in uni-linear belief systems, dogmatic practices and closed mindedness, rendering them unwilling to embrace change and seize on new opportunities. This bubble mentality is one of the main causes of failure, or a less-than-satisfactory or successful life. Another term for it is comfort zone. Only brave hearts burst out of their comfort zone, seize opportunities, and act on them. This explains why only a small minority sits atop the pyramid of life with a comfortable lifestyle, while the increasingly larger majority have a life and remain at the crowded wider bottom, the uncomfortable zone, or as it is often misguidedly called, the comfort zone.

P.S. “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else. It is about your outlook towards life. You can either regret or rejoice.” -Anonymous

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About the Author:

Joseph Fomunung is a seasoned entrepreneur and Senior Marketing Director with World Financial Group, Inc. He helps everyday families build a solid financial foundation by educating them on tried and true financial concepts (not taught in schools) that create wealth while protecting their income, effectively ending legacies of poverty, perpetual debt and financial struggle. He lives in Houston, TX with his wife, Theresia, and can be reached at sabumsr@yahoo.com.

Crossroads to My Own Way

My Own Way

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust

When I was almost a man I decided to leave my lowly home in search of something great. I so desperately wanted to find my own way. So I traveled far, down a long and lonely road with only dust and debris for company. My eyes hurt from the heavily dusty atmosphere and my breathing was strained from the impurities in the air. Finally, I came upon a small village where I met a frail, hunchbacked old man sitting on a stool. He asked me where I was going, and judging that he must have been wise I responded that I was looking to find my own way. I asked him if he knew which way I should go. So the old man gave me these directions: He told me that during my travels in search of my own way, as I carried on along this difficult road I would arrive at a crossroads, where the road I was on would intersect with three seemingly identical paths. There, I would have to make an important choice. Three of the four roads would lead me through the valley of the shadow of death, while only one would ultimately lead me to green pastures, the likes of which no man’s eyes had ever seen before. Naturally, I asked the old sage, “How will I know which way to go?” To which he simply replied, “Just take road that leads to where you belong.” And so I went.

And when I arrived at the crossroads, there were the three identical roads before me, each beckoning that I travel along it. I reflected only briefly upon the old man’s words, and decided I’d travel along the road that leads north, as far away from home as I could possibly go. I walked miles and miles through a desolate land that appeared to have recently endured volcanic activity – the earth had been scorched by lava as there were cracks in the ground and fragments of magma all around. It was a tedious walk, to say the least. The heat was almost unbearable, my leg muscles ached, and the skin on my feet practically burned. My perilous journey lasted seven days and seven nights, until I arrived at the crossroads once more. I was sorely disappointed and painfully sore. That obviously wasn’t it! I thought. I decided I would rest a while and resume my journey in the morrow.

At dawn, I decided that this time I would travel along the road that leads east. And once more I walked a lonely road overrun with thick desert sand. This walk was even more tedious than the first, as my sandals sank with each step. What was worse, along this road there was a fog so profound that I could almost feel it on my skin. I lost track of the transition from day to night as the mist created by this fog was omnipresent throughout. Finally, when the fog cleared I found myself arriving at a familiar place. The crossroads again!? I was exhausted and frustrated beyond description! What if the old man had lied to me? I couldn’t bear the thought! I felt like giving it all up, disregarding the remaining road and returning home; but I reconsidered, reassuring myself that at least I was now practically there. Besides, I knew that having come this far I had no choice but to travel down the last road. Surely, this is it! If the previous three roads hadn’t been the valleys of the shadow of death, then I didn’t ever want to know what was. And so for a few more nights I would rest. Soon I shall finally find my own way.

On the morning of the third day I was on my way once more, this time traveling down the road that leads west. I trekked for miles uncounted, along an apparently endless road glazed with menacing ice. It was an insanely cold walk, and as I walked my teeth echoed the sound of their own clattering from my incessant shivering. To make matters worse, my vision was impaired by the snowstorm that almost made a diabolical snowman out of me. Finally, after incredible odds I crawled through the snow and emerged at an opening. I was elated until I recognized where I was. I couldn’t believe my eyes – I was back at the crossroads once more! This time I was infuriated! I had had enough! “Good God!” I exclaimed as I fell onto my knees and began weeping and sobbing uncontrollably, planting the palms of my hands so firmly into the ground that I practically branded my prints upon it.

Then came a sudden pat on my shoulder. “Is there a problem young man?” It was the hunchbacked old man from the village! “You! You tricked me!” I shouted as I slapped his hand away from me. “Come now son, do not be so hasty.” He gathered himself and began walking slowly toward the area in the middle of the crossroads where the four roads merged. Looking back at me he spoke in the calmest voice, “I am now standing at the epicenter of these four roads you’ve traveled over the days past. Now I want you to tell me, which of these roads is your own way?” I looked up at him bewildered. Some nerve! “None, you old fool! None of them turned out to be my way!” I couldn’t believe he would dare ask me such a thing at that point. “Evidently,” he retorted, clearly unfazed by my evident scorn. “Now go back the way you came,” he said, pointing to the road that leads south, the road that had first led me from my village past the village where I had found him, and finally to the now infamous crossroads. “It’ll all make sense once you return home.” He then proceeded to walk toward the same road I had traveled when I had first arrived at the crossroads, the road that leads north.

“No don’t!” I immediately got up, running toward the old man in protest. “That is not a road you want to travel! None of these are! These are dangerous roads! And they all lead to the same God forsaken place, right back here!” I must warn him! I was still angry at him of course but even I couldn’t let a fairly helpless old man travel down such a perilous road. “Do you have a death wish old man? There’s no way you’ll survive!” I can’t believe this guy! “Relax my boy, I’ll be fine.” He responded with a tone of confidence, pausing at the entrance of the road he seemed determined to embark upon. He looked back at me through barely open eyes. “You just concern yourself with getting back home.” He smiled. “Besides, it’s getting late, so you really should be on your way now.” With that he kept on walking, ever so slowly but assuredly, until he was out of sight, swallowed by the dreadful road I had first traveled. Knowing where that road led I decided the right thing to do was wait. Seven days and seven nights passed and the old man still had not returned. He’s old, so naturally it’d take him longer! And so I waited until seven more days and seven more nights had passed. Still he had not returned to the crossroads. Poor old fool. At least I tried warning him.

On the morning of the eighth day I packed up my belongings, placed them in my lone sac, and began my homeward journey. As I traveled back along the road I had first traveled, the same road that led back to my village, I noticed something peculiar – the skies were wonderfully blue and amazingly sunny. That’s odd. I wondered what had become of all the dust and debris that had decorated this road throughout my original walk, when I’d first set out in search of my own way. How very strange! I was beyond confused. Arriving at my village once more I couldn’t believe my eyes – my village wasn’t there anymore! In its place lay the most beautiful garden I had ever laid eyes upon, like something out of a famous, masterful painting! The grass was of the freshest and finest green. There were countless palm trees, coconut trees, and other impressive trees with the greenest leaves, which bore healthy, rich fruit the likes of which I couldn’t name as I was certain I had never seen them before! There were colorful flowers that seemed to glow and dance in the radiant sunlight, and streams of clear, glistening water that sparkled in the golden glory of the sun above. I also noticed several animals, of all shapes, sizes, and classification. These animals were both domestic and wild and yet all of them appeared to be the former. I even noticed some children were petting lions, tigers, and bears, and these otherwise savage beasts all appeared as purring kittens, all too pleased with the affection they were enjoying. Many small children were playing in the water, while some were running around the shores of the streams chasing each other down. Some of the older children were climbing the magnificent trees and dropping some of the high hanging fruit to the women below. For their part, most of the adults lay on the grass, talking to each other, taking in their beautiful surroundings as they watched the children. Everyone looked so serene and happy! It was a marvelous sight indeed, unrecognizable to any who had ever lived in or around my old village!

Upon seeing me many of the villagers ran up to me chanting, “At last, at last, he has found his own way! At last, at last, he has made his way home!” They were all smiling at me. I couldn’t help but smile back despite not quite understanding their meaning. I had left the village in the middle of the night, having told no one where I was going or why. How in God’s name did they know about my quest? I dropped my worn sac, which a couple of little boys immediately picked up, all too eager to carry it for me. I was then escorted to a most magnificent mansion beyond the streams. I couldn’t possibly comprehend by what magic all of this had sprung up where my lowly village once existed. Then came a greater shock than the one that had overcome me earlier when I had first beheld this would-be Garden of Eden. Lo and behold I saw him once more. It was the same old man who had directed me along my perilous and futile journey to find my own way.

“How in God’s name did you make it here? How did you even make it out alive!?” To say I was amazed would be an understatement. He smiled from ear to ear. “I simply took the path that led north.” I was stunned. “But what of the scorched earth, the magma, the unbearable heat?!” I asked, very curious to know how a fragile old man like him had managed such an improbable feat. Not only had he survived the journey, he’d made it to my village, if one could still call this place my village, and he’d made it here before me! “I’m afraid I don’t know what you are talking about young man.” He gave me that self-assured smile once more. “You see, when I traveled along the road that leads north, farthest away from your village, I encountered nothing but sunshine and blue skies through and through, until that road led me here, where I belong.” That makes no goddamned sense! I had journeyed down that exact same road, and it had only led me back to the crossroads! As if reading my mind the old sage said, “Son, when you asked me to help you find your way I pointed you to a crossroads. I told you that upon arriving there you would have to make a choice between the four distinct paths that would greet you. I advised you to choose the path that leads to where you belong.” I was listening intently along with the rest of the villagers, who by this time had gathered around the golden throne upon which he was sitting. He continued, “You traveled down three roads, first the road that leads north, then the road that leads east, and then the road that leads west. Along each of these roads you faced the harshest of conditions as it appeared all the elements were against you and Mother Nature had abandoned you. Time and again each journey led you back to one place – the crossroads.” He paused a moment, looking at me intently now. “Why do you think that is young man?” I thought and thought and thought and couldn’t figure it out. “Honestly, I have no idea. It’s all a mystery to me. So please I beg you, tell me why!”

The old man looked around at the other villagers and then back at me. “Listen carefully, everyone. It is true that in life there are many paths. But just because many roads exist does not mean we are meant to travel along each road. Two people may travel along the exact same road and yet experience two completely different journeys.” He then got up from his throne and to my utmost surprise began walking upright, boldly and majestically toward me. Standing now in front of me, a full head taller than me, he placed his right hand on my shoulder. “Son, when you traveled back along the road that leads south, what did you experience along that journey?” He paused, obviously waiting for my response. “Sunshine and blue skies, sir.” Again he smiled.
“And where did that road lead you?”
“It led me here, to where my village once stood!”
“Well look around you, are these not the green pastures I told you about, the same green pastures I said one of the roads – the road that leads to where you belong – would bring you to?” He pointed to the lush green grass all around me. “You see, it is not until you decided to travel along the road that leads you to where you belong that the conditions of your journey became favorable. It’s funny isn’t it? All you had to do when you arrived at the crossroads was turn around and return home.” He shook his head at me and continued, “For you see, sometimes the way for you can be found exactly in the place from which you wish to escape.”

It was then that I had my eureka moment: All my life all I had ever wanted was to leave my lowly village, as I felt that I was destined for something greater. If only I was elsewhere, anywhere but here. I often thought. I had even convinced myself that I belonged somewhere other than home, that perhaps I had been born in the wrong place. There was no way this small, insignificant village in a remote part of the world could make me great. And I wanted so desperately to become great! I believed that the only way for me to become great was to journey to a great place! So I decided to leave, to journey to the end of the earth if I must, in order to find my own way! But never had I considered that it was before me all along, that it had always been around me, and within me. Never once had I imagined that I could make my own home, my lowly village, a great place, and that by so doing I could become great; right here, in the place of my birth, the place where I belonged.

Humbled, I turned to the old man and said simply and sincerely, “Thank you!” He smiled once more and began to walk away from us.
“Wait, where are you going? Won’t you stay and feast with us?”
“I’m sorry young man, but having finally found your own way I must leave you for some time so that you might grow. But fear not, I’ll be watching you from a distance.” This old man was the embodiment of mystery. “But good sir, I thought you said you’d traveled the road that leads to where you belong. Doesn’t that mean you belong right here with us?” He halted momentarily. Without turning around he replied, “It is true that I do belong here, but the whole truth is that I also belong everywhere. That is why I can travel anywhere and take any road, and still end up where I belong.” He began walking again, along the road that leads away from the green pastures that had become my new village. “But wait!” I stopped him once more. “Could you at least tell me your name!? The old man turned around, repeating that self-assured smile. “I am.” He began walking away again. What in God’s name? This guy is too much! “Now wait a minute, I don’t understand! You are what now!?” I really wanted to know. “How will I know what to say about you, what shall we tell others when they ask about the strange old man who helped me find my own way?”

This time he kept walking until he had arrived at the edge of the road, the point that marked the unofficial exit from our former village. There, he paused a moment before facing us again. “You shall simply tell them that I am the great I am. I am the one and only. I am the alpha and omega. I am the way, the truth, and the life.” This he spoke in a roaring, thunderous voice, that did not match his appearance one bit. It was as if the clouds were echoing his every word. For the last time I would see that uncanny smile. With that, he turned around and continued walking until he had become but a silhouette on the horizon, and then a mist, a cloud, a single ray of sunlight, and finally nothing but thin air.

All the while all the villagers, myself included, stared in unprecedented awe, fear, and wonder.

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Millennial Flaws


“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are a generation disillusioned by the illusion of real vs fake, of need vs want, of passion vs purpose, of confidence vs arrogance. Not every critique stems from a hater, and not everyone who is unlike you and those you esteem to be “real” is invariably “not real” as a result, and therefore “fake”.

Ours is a society where we are at once obsessed with appearing to hold authentic identities and yet we are impeccable connoisseurs of trendy conformity. We all have big dreams but mostly remain in a perpetual dream state, with our biggest accomplishment being having said big dream. We are all politically aware but are mostly part-time activists, and special occasion civil rights advocates. We are all self-conscious and yet are mostly God-unconscious. We all want significant others even while we have nothing significant to offer. We all want true love even as we willingly lay in bed with lies. We all seek Mr./Miss Right even as we frequent all the wrong places. We are willing to grow our natural hair but keep our artificial hearts. We insist that we forget the past and yet we are adept at repeating our past.

We say things like, “no new friends” and yet we want new gifts. We have so many “friends” and yet we are mostly lonely, we have so many “followers” and still we mostly walk alone, and so many people “like” us and yet we mostly acknowledge our “haters”. We are “linked in” but disconnected, instantly gratified and yet never satisfied.

Collectively, we are a living oxymoron, the walking dead, aimlessly navigating the paradox that is our time, depending on unreliable global positioning systems to help us find ourselves.”

P.S. Everyday I pray for my generation, that we may find ourselves and restore class and nobility among our ranks. We’ve advanced in information and technology and yet regressed in wisdom and intelligence. The exceptions have become the rule and the rule the exceptions. By God, may some of us spark the much needed change we millennials desperately need today! Godspeed.

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Know Better

Know Better