The Rest of your Story
Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that does not make you who you are. It is the rest of your story. Who you choose to be. ~ Kung Fu Panda 2
I got the quote above while watching the dvd of a tubby Panda turned Dragon Warrior and his trusty sidekicks with my 6-year old recently. What can I say except…sometimes, great reminders and lessons come from talking animals?
I don’t think there is anyone here who has never known defeat or personal failures. I don’t think there is anyone here who has remained unscathed by the thoughtless actions of another. I don’t think there is anyone here who has never experienced the delibitating blow of being dealt an unfair hand in life.
Yet, I am reminded that strong men and women are born in such times. Character is built by the choices we make during tests. Tests that we sometimes bring upon ourselves from our own ignorance and folly. Tests which come from a divine source to purify and strengthen us.
Each moment is a choice of how the rest of the day pans out. Many times I come into a conflict within myself when I try to change the things that are out of my control to change. But what is within my power to change is the way I look at life and how I choose to intepret it.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.
Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone.” ~ Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) Holocaust survivor
There are many things I may not understand about life. Yet, I know there are those who have gone through unimaginable sufferings and in their darkest hours, chosen not to buckle under defeat or bitterness. These are the trailblazers who pave the way for us with their strength of spirit, clarity, insight and wisdom into life.
I think of these ordinary people with extraordinary attitudes when I am sometimes assailed by the clouds of darksome despair (and how can I even begin to compare seemingly trying days to those tests these great souls went through!)
And so, it is from them I have learnt the following which have helped sustain me while navigating through this wonderfully intricate, sometimes bumpy journey called life.
Choose to have a good attitude. How I respond tells a whole lot about my own character and the condition of my heart.
Choose to stand up on the inside. Fall seven times, stand up eight. Self-pity can a be a very soothing companion because it strokes us gently, lulling us to believe that we are the poor victims of great injustices, defeated and nothing will ever change.
Choose to start each day, each moment on a fresh slate. Everyone makes mistakes even with the best of intentions. Continuous self-flogging or holding on to unforgiveness keeps us from truly learning the lesson that needs to be learnt. It was a revelation to me that I should not miss out the lesson of the moment which goes beyond hurt and regret. I learnt that I cannot really change the days if I don’t start with the moments.
Choose to be happy. Surround yourself with life-giving words, people, thoughts. For me, I choose to get inspired by heroes of the past and present who in the face of great injustices, physical and material deprivation, outshine the brightest stars.
Choose to let each day be better than its eve. Each morning I wake up, I wake up to the tremendous, often untapped power to choose. Even if it’s already unravelling by the time I have my eyelids open, it’s never too late to get a grip and direct the day to a better path.
Choose to be watchful and be ever vigilant. Of every thought. Every emotion. Every motivation. Sometimes the slew of negative thoughts and emotions may seem so real but in actual fact have nothing to do with the actual reality. They are merely fleeting feelings which do not determine the reality of life. An emotion is only as valid as you put value on it. Be on guard against these impostors.
Choose to examine the heart. When I examine my motivations and deep inner intentions, I get a clearer understanding of why I respond in a certain way. Even when it feels more natural and satisfying to judge another’s heart. I am only responsible for my own thoughts, attitudes and behaviour.
Choose to see the bigger picture. I have found that getting some perspective helps. Because in the bigger scheme of life, that ordeal of catastrophic proportions that has landed on our laps are usually an inconsequential glitch in the light of eternity.
And so, how the rest of your story ends, begins with what you choose right now. May we all choose well.
O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life. O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord. ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
This prayer was written by a great man born in Persia in 1844. His enduring legacy lives on today through years of extreme persecution, imprisonment, exile, betrayal, poverty. Yet he rose to be a champion for mankind, and the rest of his story is one of unequivocal kindness, vision and happiness. This I think is as much a prayer of supplication and surrender to God as much as it is a resolve to shake off all that is troubling within and step out into the light.
I read this (simplified) to my eight year old. We were just talking yesterday about choosing to be happy. This was a great recap. Thanks!
Dear Monika! It is thrilling and at once humbling to know that this post was read to a child! We too have been having the same conversations with my own 6 year old about the power of choice. While we acknowledge that it’s perfectly alright to feel sad sometimes, we also want to cultivate in his young life the habit of choosing happiness as a state of mind. I look forward to more updates from your bewitching life! Say hi to the crew for me! Many hugs, Sharon
Wonderful words of wisdom!
Moi Maarit! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and that it spoke to you in some way. Thank you for joining me on this journey of learning and understanding more of this wonderful life that we’ve been given the opportunity to live! Do keep in touch and I love your artworks. Take care and happy weekend! Sharon
Hello Maarit, so happy to meet you here! Very happy that you have connected with Sharon and following her beautiful blog – a place that feels like a fountain of blessings and very inspiring for that!
Thank you for such an inspiring post to start my day. Every item on your checklist is valuable to me.
I’m glad to hear that the little checklist was of help. It somehow keeps me more aware of myself throughout the day. Thank you so much for reading and for your very kind feedback. I wish you happiness in all you do today! Many hugs, Sharon
What a perfect list of things to remember in life! And I love the smiling buddha. 🙂
Hello there my little Moomin fan! Thank you for dropping by and finding this post useful in some measure to you. The smiling buddha was taken at the Khoo Clan House in Penang, Malaysia. Btw, I forgot to mention to you, if you’re planning to eat your way throughout the world, please don’t forget to stop by Penang – food capital of the world! 😀 Sunshine and love from the Land of Moomins. Sharon
Once again Sharon your words ring of such truth and wisdom. I am back to reading at least one of my Inspirational/Self-Help books a week of which I have a bookcase full but I had sadly fallen behind on my ‘positive’ reading. Your post has reiterated to me the need to be a happy, positive person. Thank you 🙂
My dear Eleenie! Oh hugs for your warm encouragement. The power to choose happiness and a good attitude is one of life’s greatest lessons to me. I am daily trying to practise this great truth. Isn’t it a good thing that we never stop learning and discovering ways of living better, thinking better and most of all making this world better? All my love to you! Sharon
Great post! ….:)
Thank you so much for coming by this way! Have a really great weekend and looking to more of your lovely photography! Hugs, Sharon
You are so very welcome! I am so glad you are enjoying my Photo’s….Hugs back to you,Joanne:)
What a beautiful post. – – Kung Fu Panda? LOL! – I once heard a wonderful quote ” Seeing isn’t believing. Believing is seeing,” in a Santa Claus movie with Tim Allen. (I was watching with my inner child.) Yes, sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected places. – Thank you for sharing. 🙂
My dear Dani! LOL indeed!! 😀 Thank you so much for this really sweet and kind message. I am so glad to be connected to you because anyone who is blessed with grandchildren and a thriving inner child is someone I’d really like to get to know so much more! Hugs to you! Sharon
Very inspiring. I will have to share this post with my kids too.
Thank you so much for taking time to read this and for your kind encouragement. Let me know what your kids have to say about this!! 😀 I am blessed to know a mother like you. Warm greetings to the kiddos and have a great weekend! Hugs, Sharon
My older daughter (10) loved the meanings. As for the younger one (who’s 5)…I realized she was too young. I will be printing your list and putting it in my “scrapbook”. I hope that’s okay.
Oh, I’m so pleased to know that these tools for living are passed on to our children who are actually so receptive to these immortal truths. And please do use this list in anyway you deem useful. Many hugs your way, Sharon
Thanks for a great post. Life is a series of choices, and we must choose to keep that in mind.
It is indeed a great truth and a deep responsibility of one’s exercise of free will. Thank you so much for reading and for your valuable feedback as always. Sharon
It’s so easy to lose hope and faith and forget to choose mindfulness and presence. Thanks for a good post.
I think that’s the key that we have at our disposal at all times, to not forget we have a choice and to draw from that place of stillness and presence which is within us always. Thank you Brenda for reading and glad you liked it! Sharon
Thank you for the beautiful comment and great post!
My dear one! I’m so happy you came by this way and left me this wonderful note! I think of you often and I wish you abundant goodness and blessings always. So many hugs to you!! Sharon
Sharon this post is lovely. And very welcomed on a hectic, beautiful day here in Virginia. 😉
Dear Diane, always so good to hear from you and thank you for bringing me such kind encouragement from your beautiful Virginia! Thinking of you with much fondness, Sharon
Great advice Sharon. A negative mindset can easily become habitual.
My dear Paul, thank you so much. I must be the first to admit that what I have learnt, I have learnt from those great souls who have walked the path of detachment, strength and wisdom. You are so correct with your observation about a negative mindset. Isn’t it so often that what stands in our way of experiencing the fullness of each moment is our mental habits that we need to unlearn or replace? Thank you for your blog which contains so many deep insights. Sharon
Wonderful post…I have often felt a bit self-conscious of the wonderful childhood and loving support system that I have been blessed with. I have had my “ups” and “downs” but I hear others talk about horrible experiences and memories and wonder if I have been luckier OR that I have never held on to the saddest and most unpleasant experiences and chose to embrace my blessings? When I am among complainers, I really have little to say. 🙂
Dear Susan! What a blessing it is to start off life on such a good note! Perhaps those who complain have probably never known any other other way to deal with what’s bothering them. And their complaints probably reinforce the very things they want to be rid off from their lives. I think life keeps blessing you with good things because you let go of all the unpleasant experiences and choose to celebrate instead the great things in life. Hugs, Sharon
I love that you are wise enough to learn from all! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.
If there is one thing in life I am sure of it is that there is so much I know nothing about and that I can learn from anyone if I truly open my heart and pay close attention. Thank you for reading this and so many hugs to you! Sharon
Really nice post! I think I’d be happy if I could see that smiling Budha every morning! 🙂
Hello Subhan! So great to have you come by this way and read this post! Thank you so much and yes, that smiling Buddha does inspire great happiness doesn’t it! The photo is taken from my birthplace in Penang, Malaysia. Have a great day! Sharon
Oh, it’s in Penang? I shall go there one day. In which Temple is it?
This was taken at the Khoo Kongsi (a famous Chinese clan house) in Penang. Let me know if you need some tips of places to see and especially to eat 😀 Happy travels. Sharon
Sure! 🙂 Thanks for that. You’ll be the first to know among my friends in the blogosphere when I visit Malaysia.. 🙂
I agree – “Each moment is a choice of how the rest of the day pans out.” You’ve given a very helpful mental checklist! Thanks for your positive, encouraging post.
Dear Mark, I’m glad you found this post useful. That means a lot to me. Thank you for your very kind encouragement. Sharon
Excellent tips… Happiness is a choice. 🙂
Dear Elizabeth! Thank you. Your collection of quotes and topics are a wealth of inspiration and knowledge to me and so many. Many hugs and I wish you a happy and meaningful day! Sharon
Excellent post! I love that every day we have the opportunity to choose again and again to be a positive force for good.
Hi Genie! If there is anyone I know who chooses again and again each day to be a positive force for good in her life, it surely is you! Thank you for being such an inspiration! Many hugs from sunny and bright Finland, Sharon
I just came back to reread your post. I’m going to have to print it out so I remember the checklist.
Very wise words Sharon, you’re dead right – we all make our own choices and should avoid hiding behind the past.
Dear Finn, thank you so much for your kind comment. It is always so good to know that the lessons we learn in life resonate with another. Have a great day! It’s +20 here today and bright and sunny! Sharon
Thank you Shaz, I love the prayer. I loved the whole post! Absolutely beautiful! I learn new things everyday. YOU are an inspiration. Big hugs. Renee 🙂
My dearest Renee, that is one of my favourite prayers. It means so very much to me that you liked it too. Oh, that’s what Iove about you, a heart and mind so open to learning. That’s what I want to cultivate in my life – to be a lifelong student. You bless me so much. Hugs! Shaz
Thank you so much Shaz. Oh I truly believe to always remain open minded. I love to learn and yes I do learn news things all the time. I like that, “Lifelong Student”. Hugs. 🙂 Renee
The gift of your words, is like sweet water needed to satisfy the thirst of one trapped on a desert alone…it lifts, it comforts and it brings life to the one who tastes of its flavor…wonderful post!
Dear Wendell, you surely have a poet’s soul. Thank you for this most beautiful feedback. I feel very touched that this post has blessed you. I am learning to choose wisely each day, more than that I am learning to remind myself that I have a free will at any given moment to decide if I allow my lower self to take over or to strengthen my true self in every thought and situation. Thank you again for coming by and leaving inspiration behind. Sharon
You say the things I WANT to say and how!!! I am lucky to have met you, Sharon! I will keep rereading this post on my Eeyore days, when the sun is not shining on me.
Yes, this is as much a reminder to myself on Eeyore days too! It means so much to have someone else understand some of the deepest things from my heart. I think of you often and wish you strength and wisdom (don’t we need loads of that being mommies!!?) 😀 Till the next post! Sharon
Lovely post, thank you. I too will share this with my children. Sometimes it is so much easier to wallow in self-pity, to feel oneself a victim. Your post is inspiring, uplifting and full of gentle truth.
It is always such a great feeling to know that we are not alone in this journey and what matters to us matters to someone else too. Thank you so much. I know you will share with your children enduring truths to help them be beautifully resilient yet tender on the inside. Sharon
Dear Sharon, how wonderful that we seem to catch the same lines of inspiration! I posted ‘beating the fortune teller’ with the story of Victor Franckl just about the same time as you pressed this one! And when I read the title of your article – ‘the rest of your story’ – it took me a few moments of confusion to realise that you were not talking to me! Truly very happy that we met and also to know that there is a source divine over you! The prayer is beautiful also! Brotherly love.
Hello Frederic, how very wonderful indeed! If I remember correctly, you wrote a post earlier about character which got me staring in amazement because I had just posted the exact same quote on my FB and had been mulling deeply on this subject – only to see it appear in writing in your post! 😀 It is so good indeed to have met you. Thank you for bringing out what is important in such a beautiful and subtle way which always leave a lasting impression on me. Sharon
Pingback: Beating the fortune teller | Self Awareness for Change
I love this post… all your posts! You are such a wise bright shining light in the world. I am delighted that I am lucky enough to be following your wisdom. And that you make the time to add likes to my new little blog, it brings tears to my eyes. I cannot thank you enough Sharon. You brighten my life! Love, Gina
My dearest Gina, I am immensely touched by your kindness. I am so very thankful that some of my life’s lessons oftentimes learnt through the school of hard knocks resonate with you. If there is one thing I am sure of it is that there is so much I know nothing about. Perhaps that is a good place to start 😀 You have an incredible blog and you are a born writer! Warm hugs new friend! Sharon
First, thank you for visiting my blog. I’m always incredibly inspired when I discover the words of someone who is moving in the direction of appreciation and conscious choice. I have bookmarked your blog and hope to return often so that I can continue to become acquainted with you, and learn from how you are translating what you discover into how you are living your life. The choices we make can change our direction.
I had to smile at the words of wisdom from a King Fu Panda, but the longer I live (at 53), the more I realize that words of wisdom can fall from the lips of the most unlikely of sources. I struggle against a natural resistance to any words that are directly attributable to any religious reference, so I am constantly having to re-open my closed mind and pray that the words that I need to hear will be able to penetrate my own poorly-employed filter. Even though I recognize that my childhood circumstances helped build that wall of disbelief, it is only if I am willing to open myself to all truth that I can hope to find peace.
Yes, it’s about choices.
As you said yourself, may we all choose well.
You know, I had my life all figured out by the time I was 7. Now at the age of 41, I realised I probably know nothing very much after all. I too have to constantly re-open my closed mind and learn to see and hear with new ears and not what has been conditioned within me to intepret life with old references, judgements and filters. But isn’t that called independent investigation of the truth, and that seems like a great place to start!
Thank you so much for making your way here and writing so honestly! It is so refreshing to meet you and I look forward to getting to know you too. I have enjoyed visiting yours and have come away filled with one amazing piece of info. It makes me feel quite special and knowing 😀
Have a great day and to more wonderful discoveries in the most unexpected places! Sharon
I really like this post. Thanks for sharing this true story.
Hi Todd! Thank you so much for your time! I appreciate that you came over to read this. Your photography inspires me. Sharon
This is a beautiful post, and I agree with what you say, and love the quotes. Choice, it seems to me, is the most noble attribute of man, and it offers us the power to change the world we live in. Thanks.
My dear Shimon, I am so grateful for your valuable feedback and for taking your time in reading this post. It continues to stir me that we all have within us the seed of change – change we want to see in ourselves and change we want to bring to the world. I am so glad to be connected to you and I am honoured to be able to read your ideas, worldview, values in life and see the world you live in through your lens. Have a wonderful day! Sharon
Hey Sharon!:) I too believe that we need to let go of unwanted emotions and thoughts, they just create clatter, stress and fog our vision.If we have to think, why not positive?If we have to feel, why not good?
If our aims in life are clear, and worthy, we will achieve them and it doesn’t matter what the rest of the story will be!There is always pain on the paths of those men, who never give up!But pain doesn’t matter nor does it alter the results…..In the end it’s not the pain,only euphoria of achievement!
I again absolutely ADORE the photo of the beautiful flower!
Love and hugs dear PURE one!【ツ】【ツ】【ツ】
My dear one, I always look forward to your comments because they are always filled with so much punch and passion, so much truth and wisdom! I love that line “If we have to think, why not positive? If we have to feel, why not good?” I shall have to quote that on my FB and attribute it to you!
It’s true that the rest of the story will take care of itself if we take care of the moment by moment in doing good and worthy acts befitting our high station as a noble being. Thank you for your encouragement.
So much hugs and love to you wherever you are (you are my most mysterious one – no name and no address!!!) 😀 Say hi to the kiddos for me. Sharon
My dearest Shaz,
Every word of your extraordinary sermon was a gentle, but unyielding summons to me to bring my thoughts, words, and actions back into alignment with divine light. I bless you and your beautiful family a thousand times!! We usually cannot know the ripples of change that our words generate, but rest assured, yours today have the momentum and force needed to redirect one of God’s children back onto the Path.
With love and infinite gratitude,
My dearest Angela, aren’t we all God-sent into each others’ lives to bring happiness, joy and blessings upon blessings! You do that for me each time you write, each time you reach out and affirm what I do. Thank you so much dear friend. This post was as much a call to my ownself and I am just sincerely thankful if it called out to you too in whatever small ways. Always, Shaz
I’m printing this beautiful post out so that I can read it and re-read it and share with the family. Thank you.
My dear Part-time Islander! I am so honoured to know that somewhere out there this little note is being treasured in some way. Thank you so much for this great honour. Sharon
Thank you for this wonderful post with its great reminders for me. My choices make a huge difference in my life. And I am blessed to have many opportunities for choice.
My dear one, I think of you often – most of all about your attitude to life and learning. I really mean this when I say that you have impacted and humbled me more than you know. Thank you for reading my thoughts and lessons learnt often from the school of hard knocks but increasingly with much joy I open my eyes to want to learn and change. A friend in discovery, Sharon
Thank you for sharing your wisdom and reflections. I’ve had moments of inspiration that come from movies or sayings from my almost 3 year old son. Spending time with our children certainly nourishes our lives. Blessings to you, Erin, Bella Bleue
Dear Erin, thank you so much for coming by this way and leaving me this wonderful note. I love what you are doing sending out such great messages of hope and authenticity in living. Indeed being a mother has opened up a whole new world of learning that I have never known before! What a blessing! I wish you days of quiet joy and peace and lots of happy cuddles and giggles with you baby! Hugs, Sharon
Hi Sharon.. thank you once again… I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love your thoughts and words… and they arrive always at the right time!
thanks for sharing them with the world!!
My dear Carolina, thank you that my thoughts and words find a place with you. I feel most honoured and cherished to know that my dear friend. Much love always, Sharon
This is so inspiring. You have done a beautiful job stating the basic truths of life and the human condition–well done! These are worth repeating, and re-reading, and remembering.
(I don’t know why I didn’t receive this, even though I’m following you–I’ll have to look in to that…)
Hello Robin Jean and my partner in nightly lurkings 😀 Thank you so much for coming alongside and sharing in my journey of learning. I appreciate that so much. Many hugs and hope you did well last night! Sharon
Ah, Sharon, I feel like I have an “accountablity partner” now! I did better last night (11:00–only because I was on the phone until 10:40 p.m. with my internet provider–such problems! Then again, if my service *had* been working, I would probably have stayed up till 11:30 again! 😉 ) Thanks for asking. Hope it’s a lovely spring day in your part of the world.
So much wisdom in this post; thank you very much. And, isn’t it humorous and surprising where enlightenment sometimes dwells, i.e. from a Panda turned Dragon Warrior. I’m finding that my grandchildren have so much to teach me.
Dear Earth Champions, I’m beginning to see that the biggest lessons sometimes reside in the smallest vessels. How much we can learn from the pure in heart indeed. Thank you for reading and coming by. Please keep in touch. Sharon
Happy to discover your blog 🙂
Thank you Pavlos for visiting! I look forward to reading more of your posts! Have a great day. Sharon
Thank you for this amazing post.How true that we cannot undo what is done but we can choose the right ending…..I loved what you wrote about ordinary people with extraordinary attitudes! 🙂
It is good to be reminded every now and then that life is so short and so precious and so wonderful. This made my day today…thanks a lot.
Here’s my personal little story of tempering with Law of Attraction: http://nyparrot.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/hello-world-2/
This is off-topic but I wanted to share something that I found funny. Even though I know your name is Sharon I kept thinking of you as Alice. It finally occurred to me that there is an Alice Springs in Australia–at least I think there is–and for some crazy reason I connect the “Spring” in Springtime in the name of your blog with the Alice in Alice Springs. My mind sure works in mysterious ways!
Russ, you won’t believe it but today a blogger from Australia wrote to me “Dear Alice,,,” !!!!! 😀 Now I understand how he must have somehow made that connection just like you!! So great to hear from you again! Alice 🙂
I love this post and the positivity within. We can all choose and this really encourages us to choose well. I love the checklist too.
As a Humanist, I have total belief in the human and the good that s/he is capable of and this post of yours reinforces that possibility.
Thank you so much for this and for visiting my blog so frequently. Every like and comment is much appreciated 🙂
very inspiring. you know when someone is writing from the heart, coz it reaches you right there. thanks.
This is really lovely. I feel that painful situations really bring out who we are; we find unity in pain, and we discover the horrible things we are capable of, the things we tried to hide from ourselves.
I woke up feeling a bit flat this morning and in need of a bit of inspiration and I thought, “Where can I go?” and I thought of “A Leaf in Springtime”. Yours is such a gentle place to be, and I do feel better now having re-read this lovely piece. You are right, we have the choice to write our own story day by day, and make it the best that it can be.
Oh Corinne, that warms my heart to know that you thought of me this morning! I am glad that this piece inspired you. I too find that gentle spirit of wisdom in your place. I shall be over very soon. I noticed you had put up a new post. Thinking of you in your sunny conservatory overlooking the sea. May you be filled with new insights for another new day. Hugs! Sharon
Thanks Sharon. It’s rainy and bleak here this morning but I am in my conservatory though I can’t see the sea, it has merged with the sky. But, nevertheless, how lucky I am to be sitting here looking at it. feeling better already.