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Words of Encouragement


Welcome to Healing Waters' page for personal encouragement and motivation.  Healing Waters is a flower essence store that carries brands from all over the world. Flower essences are dilute herbal tinctures for mental and emotional well-being. In this light, we have constructed this page of motivational pieces as further help and for entertainment. From time to time, the content will change to reflect new items that we feel are worthy of thought and attention.  If you have a story, poem, or experience that helped you in time of need and think someone else might benefit from it, please send it to us for review and consideration. 

The Starfish Rescuers

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

This story has appeared all over the web in various forms, usually with no credit given to Mr. Eiseley. Loren Eiseley was a anthropologist who wrote extensively. He was the 'wise man' in the story, and he was walking along a beach after a storm and encountered the fellow throwing the starfish back.  Sometimes it is a little girl throwing the starfish into the ocean, sometimes a young man, once even an elderly Indian. In any form it is a beautiful story and one that makes you think.

From Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo), on the influence of a teacher

[This is a portion of his keynote address at Essex High School for the Vermont-NEA Convention, 2000.  The full address can be read at here.]

When I was fifteen years old, I lost my mother. I was devastated. In months I went from a happy teen to a morose pessimist. My grades dropped off the cliff. From a very fine and interested student I fell to a “C” average and was just hanging on. I had an advisor, an English teacher, Gertrude Farley. Miss Farley observed my decline, she knew the tragedy I had suffered. She began working on me with the tenaciousness of a terrier. Miss Farley would not let go; she was not going to lose me. She didn’t. Thanks to Gertrude Farley, sent to me from heaven, I came out of my tailspin. Anything I have accomplished in my lifetime I owe to Gertrude Farley.

A teacher affects eternity. Gertrude Farley never knew where her influence stopped.

Each and every one of you has that enormous power at your fingertips. It is for you to remember that power that you hold every morning passing through the portals of your school. It is our job, the rest of us in this state and in this nation, to see that you are able to use that power, that you shall be able to affect eternity. Go forth and teach ye all children.

How Charitable Are You?

Generosity is rooted in character—not bank accounts—and is limited only by our perspective.  Writer James Agee illustrates this well in Let Use Now Praise Famous Men, in which he recounts one of his experiences during the Great Depression.

Agee found an impoverished elderly woman in the hollows of Appalachia. She was living in a tiny shack with dirt floors, no heat, and no plumbing. Agee asked the woman, "What would you do if someone came along and gave you some money to help you out?"

The old lady rocked in her chair and shook her head.   "I guess I'd give it to the poor."

When You Meet An Angel
Written by Eric Lane Barnes for his 1995 musical "Fairy Tales"

Removed at the request of Mr. Barnes.

Come From the Heart
Written by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh 
Performed by Kathy Mattea on "Willow in the Wind" 

When I was a young girl, my daddy told me 
A lesson he learned, it was a long time ago 
If you want to have someone to hold onto 
You're gonna have to learn to let go 
You got to sing like you don't need the money 
Love like you'll never get hurt 
You got to dance like nobody's watchin' 
It's gotta come from the heart if you want it to work 

Now here is the one thing I keep forgettin' 
When everything is falling apart 
In life as in love you know I need to remember 
There's such a thing as trying too hard 

You got to sing like you don't need the money 
Love like you'll never get hurt 
You got to dance, dance, dance like nobody's watchin' 
It's gotta come from the heart if you want it to work 
You got to sing sometimes like you don't need the money 
Love sometimes like you'll never get hurt 
You got to dance, dance, dance like nobody's watchin' 
It's gotta come from the heart if you want it to work 

Fable of the Water Bearer
(author unknown) 

A native water bearer had two large gourd pots.  They hung from opposite ends of a pole which he carried across his shoulders.  One of the gourd pots had a crack in it.  While the other gourd pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the chief's home, the cracked gourd pot arrived only half full.  This went on daily for two years, with the bearer delivering only one and a half gourd pots full of water to his chief's home. 

Of course, the perfect gourd pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for the end for which it had been made.  But the poor cracked gourd pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been constructed to do. 

 After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer.  What are you ashamed of?" 

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your chief's home.  Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the gourd pot said. 

The water bearer felt sorry for the cracked gourd pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the chief's home, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." 

 Indeed, as they went up the hill, the cracked gourd pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.  But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the gourd pot apologized to the bearer for its failure. 

 The bearer said to the gourd pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other gourd pot's side?  That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. 

 "I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you watered them.  For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my chief's table.  Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house." 

Each of us has our own unique flaws.  We're all cracked gourd pots.  But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws so that in his great economy, nothing goes to waste.  Don't be afraid of your flaws.  Acknowledge them, and you too can be the cause of beauty.  Know that in our apparent weaknesses we find our strength. 

Begin It
 W.H. Murray 
 The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Ed. note:  This is the quote that made Healing Waters a reality!  I believed, and it was so.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. 

Autobiography in Five Short Paragraphs
—by Portia Nelson 
(Stories for the Heart, 1996, ed. Alice Gray) 

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the 
sidewalk.I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless.  It isn't my 
fault.  It takes forever to find a way out. 

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the 
sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it.  I fall in.  I can't 
believe I'm in the same place, but it isn't my fault. 
It still takes a long time to get out. 

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the 
sidewalk. I see it is there.  I still fall in.  It's a 
habit.  My eyes are open. I know where I am. 
It is my fault.  I get out immediately. 

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the 
sidewalk. I walk around it. 

I walk down a different street. 

What Have You Learned?
Author Unknown 

I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them. 

I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don't care back. 

I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it. 

I've learned that it's not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts. 

I've learned that you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you'd better know something. 

I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do. 

I've learned that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life. 

I've learned that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be. 

I've learned that you can keep going long after you can't. 

I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel. 

I've learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you. 

I've learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place. 

I've learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. 

I've learned that money is a lousy way of keeping score. 

I've learned that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time. 

I've learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up. 

I've learned that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel. 

I've learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love. 

I've learned that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have. 

I've learned that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated. 

I've learned that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it. 

I've learned that your family won't always be there for you. It may seem funny how people you aren't related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren't always biological. 

I've learned that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that. 

I've learned that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you are to learn to forgive yourself. 

I've learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief. 

I've learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become. 

I've learned that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do. 

I've learned that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change. 

I've learned that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever. 

I've learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different. 

I've learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process. 

I've learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you. 

I've learned that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help. 

I've learned that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being. 

I've learned that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon. 

I've learned that it's hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people's feelings and standing up for what you believe. 

Has Your Hut Burned?

A lone shipwreck survivor on an uninhabited island managed to build a rude hut in which he placed all that he had  saved from the sinking ship. He prayed to God for deliverance, and anxiously scanned the horizon each day to hail any passing ship. One day he was horrified to find his hut in flames. All that he had was gone. To the man’s limited vision, it was the worst that could happen and he cursed God. Yet the very next day a ship arrived. "We saw your smoke signal," the captain said. 

Do It Anyway

People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.  Love them anyway. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway. The biggest person with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest person with the smallest mind. Think big anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People really need help but may attack if you help them. Help people anyway. Give the world the best you have and you might get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you've got anyway. 

from Victoria Farrington

I teach university undergraduates, and they have been having a very hard time accepting and understanding and knowing what to do with themselves after the recent series of tragedies. Inspired by an e-mail message I can no longer find and so can't attribute, this is what I have been telling them all day and repeating to myself:

Very few of us can directly help in this tragedy, but we can all care and we can adjust our own behavior to reflect what we want the world to see of America. All of us are proud of New Yorkers, of their bravery, their generosity, their kindness, their strength. We are proud of firemen and vets and dog handlers and doctors and cab drivers and people who managed to
prove humanity wins out over the callousness and the brutality of the attacks that have occurred. But most of us feel helpless and silly and unimportant. This is another way to think of our roles.

We have just become aware of a huge number of people who have died. In honor of them, out of respect for them, please take a moment each day for as many days as you can to appreciate the gift of life you now hold. Know that it is a gift and that thousands of people didn't know they would die on Sept. 11. Make a plan for the future. Do something you might put off. Enjoy the sunshine. Put aside petty complaints. Let yourself cry that you are here and safe and not frightened or injured, and that you are deeply eternallly glad to be alive. Take a deep breath and say, for all those who cannot, that you are glad to be here and whole.

Out of respect for the many people who are grieving, who have lost loved ones or who still don't know what became of those they loved, take a moment to let someone you love know that you love them. Remember that life is a gift, is unpredictable and complicated and for the strangest of reasons we often bite back and don't say what is most heartfelt. Those who have lost family and
friends can never say to them what they wanted to. Don't, for sillier reasons, become someone who cannot tell another how much they matter.

Out of respect and in honor of those who were decent and kind and generous, even when a building was burning around them and they were still able to be orderly and polite in the stairwells, treat strangers with etiquette and generosity. If panicked and injured people were able to act as a group, to down a plane in Pennsylvania and to proceed out of the World Trade Center together, then surely those of us distant from these tragedies can allow someone to
merge in our lane on the freeway, can be kind in line at the supermarket, can allow
that there is a "we" more significant right now than the difference between you and me.

Out of respect for the rescue workers who are exhausted, demoralized or who have died in the the attempt to save strangers, please offer your help to those you don't know whenever you see a need. It may be someone whose term paper blows away, who has a flat tire, who is confused or ran out of gas, who cannot lift something heavy, who needs a third hand. It doesn't have to be
"important." It just has to be your ability to reach out to someone you don't know.

We would all like to belong to a United States that is brave, honorable, caring of its citizens, connected to the world, aware of the value of life. A country is only the sum of its individuals. Live these values in your own life and you will be what you want your country to be. You will be honoring the dead and injured, the brave and those pressed to act. We are all in a lesser sense
victims and survivors, heroes and helpers. Live with the consciousness of that on a daily basis and perhaps the changes we are talking about are not all for the worst.

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