Friday, November 28, 2008

Zen Tales - The Golden Goose

In a sunny suburb of Hogtown, there once lived two young geese.
Although since the day they were hatched , Brittany and Jessica were totally different, they grew up as best friends and remained best friends for the rest of their lives.
Brittany was a tomboy, curious and adventurous, always getting in trouble.
Jessica was the quiet type. She loved to play with her dolls more than anything else, but when Brittany called she was always ready to follow.
In school, Brittany was the most popular goose, even though Jessica was as pretty. Jessica always stood behind while Brittany took the center stage.
But Brittany loved Jessica sincerely and fully hearted and they always felt like sisters for each other.
In college Brittany excelled. She was driven to be the best and her parents encouraged and supported her ambitions. Jessica was not interested that much in academic achievements. She preferred to spend her time and energy on more creative ways.
After college, Jessica took a teaching job and pretty soon after that she married her high school sweetheart and moved into a white picket fenced house in the suburb.
Brittany never considered marriage, at least not at that time. She dreamed of a brilliant career and with her parents support she left Hogtown and headed for the big city.
She got an entry level position with a prestigious firm and was ready to climb at the top of the world but the world was not ready for her ascent. She married one of the older executives at the firm but it didn’t work the way she had planed it and it all ended in a messy divorce and her departure from the firm.
She got herself together and started another job at a startup company. She vouched never to get involved with another guy until her career took off.
Meanwhile Jessica had her second, third and forth kid and was busy changing diapers and treating night fevers. After that there was the preschools and the kindergartens and only after all the kids were in school she decided to go back to her teaching career.
Brittany was working very hard too. She pushed herself and pushed herself harder and harder until she was promoted as manager of the egg producing line but after that her career hit a brick wall and no matter how many eggs she was producing she never got another promotion.
Being a career goose was much harder than she had anticipated.
It was by the time Jessica’s kids were ready for college when Brittany had her firs gold egg. It was an instant sensation and it made front page on all newspapers.
Her career took of like a rocket and she started breaking all glass ceilings.
There was a slight problem. The pressure of producing golden egg after golden egg was taking all her time and energy. Now that her career was taking off she had to once again postpone having a family.
Jessica’s kids finished their educations and started their own life and pretty soon Jessica became a grand mother. It was back to changing diapers and treating night fevers.
Meanwhile Brittany reached the peak of her career. After years and years of making golden egg after golden egg she was promoted president of the company.
Although she had some occasionally romantic encounters, she never thought of getting married again. She was too comfortable being alone and marriage couldn’t offer her anything more that she had.
Soon after that her retirement came. It was a big festivity and all the heads of the industry and even some preeminent politicians came to celebrate the occasion.
She was a pioneer and a legend. People did not call her Brittany any longer.
She was simply known as “The Golden Goose”
They all shuck her hand and took pictures. For her achievements she received a golden watch and after that she went home.
Jessica reached her retirement too. It was a smaller festivity but all her friends, children and grand children showed up. They no longer called her Jessica, they all called her simply “Mother Goose”. They all kissed her and took pictures and after that they all went home.
That night Brittany was sitting in her penthouse apartment overlooking the big city and for the first time she felt alone. She wandered what ever happened to her good friend Jessica and on the spur of the moment she decided to go back for a surprise visit.
The next day she packed her things and her golden watch and took the first plain to Hogtown.
It was a joyous moment when they reunited. They hugged and kissed and laughed like two little girls. They went into the hose and spent hours telling stories. At the end Brittany told Jessica about the retirement celebration and pulled her golden watch out of her bag and showed it to Jessica.
- Very shiny. – said Jessica
- Does it say “I love you” when you hold it?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fat Chance! Part II

Coming to America for the first time it is impossible not to be amazed and shocked.
The vastness of the country, the unsurpassed natural beauty the diversity of people, the remarkable economical power and civilization and oh yeah, the way Americans eat are all astonishing.
There is no other country in the world that has a love, hate relationship with food like USA. The world eats to live. The Americans live to eat.
We have taken this simple, every day family event and turn it into a gigantic industry – Like most of everything else in this country.
We have invented the fast food, the drive through dining, the all you can eat buffet and of course dieting. – What else do you expect after all that eating?
Today America is a battle field over who controls your eating habits.
On one side the gigantic, well established food industry, spending millions of dollars on advertising campaigns designed to keep America eating ever larger quantities of food.
On the other hand, the emerging, lean and mean dieting machine, throwing everything they have in the battle against the food industry.
It looks like a classical good versus evil battle, but don’t let the appearances fool you. Although both industries claim to be on your side and looking for your health and well being, health and well being is not what they have in mind. This battle is about the billions of dollars that we spend each ear and who controls that spending. Yes people, this is the sad and ugly truth. They do not care about you, and they do not care about your problems, all they want is your money. The American consumer is caught between the cross fire. Bombarded every day with, TV and radio ads, internet ads, infomercials, billboards, fliers, junk mail and spam. Diet to be skinny! Eat to be healthy! Downsize, super size, we grow every day in size! You are being used and abused every day and before you embark on another new diet, stop and ask yourself this:
Do I want to be the ping pong ball of the food and diet industry for the rest of my life? Do I want them or me to control my eating habits?
It is your choice to have a normal or a dysfunctional relationship with your food and dieting is a highly dysfunctional one.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The thirst for spirituality. Part X

All the cultures and human civilizations have one thing in common.
They all have language, technology, art and spirituality at their core.
While the first two are easily explained as necessities for survival, on the last two I never heard a compelling argument that explains why we need them and created them.
It seems to me that when you have a life as brutal and challenging like the cave men or the Eskimos have, your time and meager resources would be too precious to waste on such frills as jewelry and painting, singing, dancing and story telling.
Why do we need beauty in our life? Why do we need a connection with the spiritual world? Why a boy born in a communist country and raise and educated as an atheist, would search for God to the end of the world?
What is this thirst and hunger we all have?
I spend so many hours contemplating these questions. I search so much to find an answer. All I know is that I need God and I need beauty, just like I need water and food to nourish my body, I need beauty and God to nourish my soul.
It is what defines me as a human being not as a 9 to 5 mechanical device, bills and tax paying machine. I need beauty and I need God. Without them I would wither and die.
And that is all I need to know.