Your Face is the Mirror of Your Mind

bodiam-castle-944093_640In a kingdom far away and long ago, there ruled a very cruel king. His people feared and hated him. His brutality made him ugly. He was always yelling and cursing and punishing people. Scowls of hatred and anger lined his face.

One day he was looking out from his castle as a young maiden walked by on her way to market. She was radiantly beautiful, smiling and singing a happy song. He fell madly in love with her. Every morning he stood by the window waiting for her to pass. The king decided he could not live without this girl, that he must have her for his wife. He was not a stupid man; he knew he was ugly and reviled by his people. So he called his magician, the best in the land, and told him, “Make me a handsome man, so the beautiful maiden will love and marry me.”

The magician returned to the king a week later. “I have made you a mask of wax,” he explained. “It will mold to your face and give you the appearance of a happy, smiling, kind man.”

“That’s wonderful!” cried the king.

face-658678_640“Ah, but this wax is very fragile” warned the magician. “So as not to appear as a mask, you must hold your face in its form or it will crack and fall off.”

“How can I do that?” asked the king.

“By thinking only kind and loving, happy thoughts,” the magician told him.

The king wasn’t sure he could do that, but was willing to try. So, he closed his eyes and the magician applied the mask. The king was so delighted with his new appearance that he ran into the street the next morning, got down on his knees when the maiden approached and asked for her hand in marriage. Since she lived outside the city she did not know what the king looked like or what a vile reputation he had. She fell in love with his warm smile and kind face and said yes.

The kinheart-598048_640g and the maiden were married and lived happily for several years. Whenever he was on the verge of getting angry and felt a frown forming on his face, he thought of his beautiful, sweet bride and was immediately filled with love. The only thing that marred their relationship was that he knew he was deceiving her. He thought he would rather lose her than have her go on loving him under false pretenses. So, he called the magician and ordered him to remove the mask. That night, he entered their bedchamber and stood before his wife.

“My dearest,” he said, “I can deceive you no longer. I stand before you as I really am.”

“Oh, my love,” she cried with delight. “What kind of game is this?”

fairy-tales-877250_640“It is no game,” he protested. “I am showing you my true face.”

“Ah,” she laughed. “You are posing a riddle for me, are you not?”

“No, my love. This is my real face. Can’t you see the difference?”

She studied him carefully. “Oh, yes,” she agreed at last. “Now I see it. For some reason, your face is even more handsome and radiant than it was this morning.”

Of course, you can guess what happened. The magician had never applied a mask. When the king closed his eyes, the magician used his fingers to mold the king’s face into a smiling, kind countenance and told him the thoughts he needed to hold in order to maintain that expression. Later, when the magician supposedly removed the mask, the king’s face retained the same beautiful expression he had developed from thinking only good and loving thoughts. He was showing his beloved his true face – one that had been perfected by perfect thinking.

His face bespoke his soul. Voltaire

Excerpt from: MAKE THE BEST OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

From Slavery to Beauty and Art

The coastal area of South Carolina was once covered with plantations. Big Gone with the Wind mansions stood in the midst of thousands of acres of cotton or rice fields. The white folk, the animals, the crops were all tended by slaves imported from Africa.oak-alley-plantation-441828_640 In 1930 Archer Huntington and his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington purchased four of these adjoining plantations in Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina. The 9,100 acres stretched from the Atlantic Ocean on the east to the Waccamaw River on the west.

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The Planter

Part of the land is now Huntington State Park. But across the road is Brookgreen Gardens, originally Brookgreen Plantation. It was once owned by Joshua John Ward, known as “the king of the rice planters.” With over 1,000 slaves, Ward was the largest slaveholder in America. Planters, as plantation owners were known, were among the wealthiest people in America.

The Huntingtons turned Brookgreen into a wildlife P1130103preserve and garden sculpture park. Originally developed to showcase Mrs. Huntington’s sculptures, it grew to include the works of many American sculptors. Now when you walk through Brookgreen Gardens, you are surrounded by flowers, cypress and live oak trees, ponds, fountains and almost 1,500
pieces of figurative sculpture. It is the worP1130033ld’s largest collection of figurative sculpture by American artists in an outdoor setting. Where once there was hard labor, inhumanity, and heartbreak, now there is beauty and art, peace, serenity.

No one can truly know what it was like to be a plantation slave. So I do not mean to diminish the intensity of the word when I say that we are all, in our own ways, slaves.

WHAT ARE YOU SLAVE TO?

What holds the reins of your freedom in its hands?

Do you own your home, your car, your things or do they own you?

Are you the master of your body or is it your master, controlling what you eat, drink, smoke, how you look and how you feel?

Does money dictate your decisions?

How much does the media influence your thinking, your lifestyle and goals?

Are you slave to your addictions? Your fears? Your family? Your work?

Are you powerless against your reactions? Your childhood programming?

No one is entirely free. To live peacefully in society, there are things we have to do, laws we have to obey, obligations we have to fulfill. The question is how do we do them? Do we feel forced, controlled, angry? Or do we approach life, each day, each person with an open mind? An open heart? Do we do things with resentment, complaining or with a joyful heart? Yes, we have to pay taxes but are we grateful that we make enough money to be in a tax bracket? Yes, we have to make dinner or do the laundry or mow the lawn, but are we thankful that we have food to cook, clothes to clean and a lawn to mow?

Do you hate your job, your car, your house, your body, your family? Everything in the universe is alive, absorbs your energy and reflects it back to you. Find just one thing in your job, your car, your house, your body to love. Dwell on it. Praise it. Flood it with gratitude and your whole world will change magically before your eyes.

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For me, the lesson of Brookgreen Gardens was that things can change dramatically. Places can change. People can change. The mind is like the soil of the earth. In it we can plant a beautiful garden that gives rise daily to beautiful thoughts and feelings. Our lives can be works of art. Or we can build fortresses of anger and hatred and resentment. And then we are trapped within it, owned and controlled by what we made.

In our lives, we are both master and slave.  How does your garden grow?

Why Stress Is So Dangerous & How to Conquer It

 Stress is a killer. It contributes to strokes, heart attacks, cancer, and accidents. Workplace stress has been called the health epidemic of the 21st century. It costs businesses hundreds of billions of dollars a year. People who are pessimistic, inflexible and see themselves as victims are more vulnerable to stress.  

What exactly is stress? It is a physical, mental and emotional response to danger, threats, and demands. 
Continue reading Why Stress Is So Dangerous & How to Conquer It