Monday, October 17, 2011

Good vs. Evil: A Challenge of Self-Exploration; Book Review of “The Devil and Miss Prym”

The act of doing something ‘good’ can be defined as something virtuous, kind, sincere, courageous, quality, nice, or beneficial. This can be agreed upon by our collective society, as well as Webster’s dictionary. Why do people do good deeds? Is it simply out of the sheer goodness of their hearts? Is it because society tells us to ‘do the right thing’? Or, do people do good things to avoid being labeled as the disrespected alternative: bad. Paulo Coelho, author of the international best seller “The Alchemist” searches deep within the human soul to define ‘goodness’ down to its bare root.

In “The Devil and Miss Prym”, Coelho introduces a shady character (“The Stranger”) who enters into a small town to stir up trouble. The character, haunted by the terrible grief of his past, losing his family to the hands of terrorists, is determined to see if there truly is ever such a thing as pure goodness, or do people simply perform good deeds to avoid the evil that resides within every human soul. Old Berta, a widow who passes her days watching the small village, stays quiet and removed from the town. She has the ability to see ghosts, which is why many people accuse her of being a witch. As Old Berta is gazing over the village one day, she sees a man approaching the town. This man, The Stranger, is not travelling alone. Unbeknownst to him, he has another thing accompanying him that only Old Berta can see: the devil.

As the readers journey through the book, they also meet Miss Prym, a young woman who is bored with the little village, and has been looking for her ticket out of there! The Stranger shows Miss Prym 11 gold bars, and tells her that they will be given to the village if they kill someone. Conflicted with this situation, Miss Prym eventually tells the village people about the gold bars. In fear of being killed themselves, the village people come to a mutual agreement that Old Berta will be the one to be killed, since she is already old and widowed, and not much use to the village anymore. As the people gather around a sedated Old Berta to shoot her, Miss Prym steps in and decides that there is no justified reason for killing her, and that all humans have a choice and set of control over all their own actions. The Stranger has been shown that there may still be goodness in the world after all.

This book is a wonderful wake-up call for anyone in need of more self-exploration. Why do we do the things we do? Are we happy with who we are and the decisions we make on a daily basis? Where do we see ourselves headed over the next few years with the decisions we continue to make in the present? For every action someone makes, there is a consequence (which could be good or bad). One way to gain intrapersonal skills is to examine the mind and heart. Does one think one thing and then do another? If so, the body is out of tune, and there should be something done to bring the mind and spirit back to its homeostasis. Without this inner balance, there is conflict, turmoil, guilt, confusion, sadness, anger, mistakes made, and consequences to be paid. I encourage you to read this book if you find yourself at a difficult point in your life. The key to happiness is having balance and a healthy control over your decisions and emotions. I challenge you to strip down the definitions of good and evil. Then ask yourself why you think, so, say, and feel the things you do. If you do not have the answer, begin to seek. This will bring great peace and harmony into your life and may also help you to understand others as well! After all, if we do not understand ourselves and one another, then who will?

Good luck on your personal journey!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Self-Image: A Battle You Can Overcome

I'm currently taking a class in Psychology and we are doing a report on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. I figured this would be a perfect topic to discuss here in the blog because so many people, both males and females, struggle with self-image issues every year. To some, the challenges of perfecting the "ideal body image" is so tense that it costs some people their lives. I found a perfect example on YouTube from the Dove commercial (many of you probably remember this commercial) to show people, especially the young adolescents, why reading Cosmopolitan should not tell you what you are supposed to look like. Those women are so done-up and digitally enhanced that the outcome is almost alien to what the person actually looks like in real-life. Take a look at this Dove commercial, and then tell yourself that you are beautiful, you are REAL, and you are YOU, which noone else in the world can be. That is something beautiful.

Below is the website to view the Dove commercial.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Live Life with No Regrets

Are you living your life with no regrets? Enjoying every moment and valuing each day as a blessing? With the 9-11 anniversary less than a month ago, and hearing sad stories of death, loss, struggle, illness, I have been thinking about choosing life with no regrets.

We don't know what tomorrow will bring. There are no guarantees. Live each day as if it were your last. Do the things you want to do. Say the things you need to say. Spend time with those you love. Set goals and accomplish them. Don't wait for tomorrow - live today with no regrets!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Take Control of Your Time!

Do you ever find yourself asking, “If I had two more hours today, I could finish everything I wanted to get done!”? After working, school, chores, sporting/club events, etc, the clock says “bedtime” and those extra activities you wanted to get to today will just have to be pushed back (again) to tomorrow…hopefully tomorrow. There is never enough time in the day! I have a brilliant quote that I want you to let soak into your head: “you always have time for what you make time for”. There is a reason you are so busy that you do not have a free moment; that reason is simply you! Whatever you are engaged in currently, did you choose to do that? In America, we have the freedom to choose whatever we want to do! We can choose if we want to become an executive and push 60-hour weeks, or we can choose a career path with minimal demands. We can choose to take more classes and stay up all night studying, or we can choose to skip happy hour and replace it with an earlier study time. Marriage and children are also a choice, and you should love them all for what they are worth to your life, even if things may get a little chaotic in the house from time to time. American is so very lucky to be able to participate in these freedoms. I encourage you to seriously take note of the power you can hold over ‘time’. Let me reiterate my earlier quote and emphasize the fact that you can personally control your time.

Now that you understand this concept (and you are leaping up and down with joy that you just took back your life), how can we get to where we want to be? Here are a few options:

· Create a reasonable list of things that you want to accomplish on that particular day, and then review your schedule to see when you can designate time in your day to actually do those tasks. This works especially for visual learners, because they can clearly see when they will have time on their daily calendar to complete all the things on the to-do list.

· Cut out an activity/job/etc. that you do not need to do and replace that time you had with something valuable, such as spending time relaxing with your spouse and/or children, or working on fixing that darn sink that has needed repair!

· Wake up a half hour earlier than you normally would, and use that time to do whatever you wish to get accomplished (i.e. jogging, reading, watching TV, catching up on some laundry, etc).

· Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. While this may not necessarily help you to take control of your time, a healthy diet can help you to feel at your best and thus enjoy what you are doing with your time!

· Find an accountability buddy. No matter what you wish to have more time to do, there is more-than-likely someone else out there who wants to do that too, or who may be intrigued by your idea. Having a friend to complete your activity with will push you harder to make time to do that activity and you will know that you have someone else who is counting on you to do that activity with them! This will give you more of an incentive to follow-through.

· If after reading all of these suggestions and you are still thinking that you still have just too many commitments to attend to, see if you can ask a friend or family member to help you with one of your activities. This could be something as simple as asking a relative to pick up the children from school, which could give you those extra minutes to go on a jog, clean the house, mow the lawn, or go to the grocery store. Also, if you can afford it, check into hiring a professional!

If you implement these suggestions into your daily lifestyle, you will see changes, and you will be a much happier and relaxed being. Just remember, you always have time for what you make time for!