Ladder of choice

You can choose your response to anything that happens and suddenly you have changed your world.  Hopefully from good to better…

…good to better
happy to happier
smiles to beams
riches to richness
handshakes to hugs…

On a visa run to Singapore I decided to take a ferry boat over to the tranquil and pretty island of Pulau Ubin.  I met Kenji, a Japanese man who was travelling with a Chinese man, whose name I didn’t catch.

The Chinese man didn’t speak English but Kenji explained that his friend had come to Singapore to ‘make money’ so that his wife can come over in the future and escape the poverty trap.  Making money consisted of working in a kitchen washing up dishes for 12 hours a day with just one weekend off a month.  However, he chose to view his job as a form of meditation and, in viewing it in that way, the job wasn’t so bad after all.

This story inspired me…. and then I heard the story of Kenji himself.  When he was a three year old child he had walked into a minefield!  Oh my…  The result was that he had two wooden legs.

He had managed to overcome the many challenges that this situation had thrust upon him and was now a successful, Japanese language teacher with a positive outlook and a desire to help others, i.e. by taking the hard working Chinese man on a day trip to Pulau Ubin.

The Taiwanese and Singaporean people on this small island were celebrating a Taoist Festival and there I was, a Londoner on a visa run from Bali, watching the performances unfold while sitting next to Kenji, who was descended from Samurai and the Chinaman who was from the Hung Dynasty.  We made an interesting trio of drinking partners!

They were both inspiring people who had made positive choices about difficult circumstances in their lives and I thank them both for the inspiration to write this poem:

Ladder of Choice

A ladder goes upwards
it can also lead down, but
I choose the higher step

My feelings are happy
they could also be sad, but
I choose to smile

When I can jump into crystal puddles
or wallow in muddy waters
I will choose the rainbows end

If I can see the landscape
or focus on plastic
I choose to see beauty every day

There are chocolates full of delicious calories
here are lettuce leaves so light
I choose to walk there

I could sit in the garden
or I could walk through city streets
I would rather watch nature unfold

The frog’s chorus is loud and clear
it might also keep you awake at night
I will enjoy the free concert every time

The flowers are in bloom
they will end up on the grass
I choose to pick them a’fresh

The curtains are open
they could also be closed
I will let the sunshine in

I could say ‘it never goes stale’
or I could say ‘it always stays fresh’
I prefer the positive option

The Buddha is reclining
the Buddha may be in prayer
can someone please find me a dancing Buddha
if he does not exist
I choose to invent him

These are some of my choices, what are yours?

– here’s wishing that all your good choices turn to better

Oh, and Kenji, had kindly given me a mantra that had helped him enormously: Nam myo ho ren ge kyo.

I find it interesting that generally in the west we don’t pay much conscious attention to the inherent power that can be found within words.  For instance, I doubt if many westerns would consider using mantras.  However, marketing people know that you are not going to sell products unless you focus on promotional words that deliver a ‘feel good factor’, they also recognise the power of a slogan.

Words have a resonance, a vibration.  Positive words vibrate at a higher frequency and stimulate positive feelings and outcomes and, inevitably, the opposite is also true.  So maybe it would be good if a few more people said… Nam myo ho ren ge kyo, Nam myo ho ren ge kyo……..

Leave a comment


  1. Joanne Hill

     /  19/04/2012

    Oh My Julie, I remember the story of the man with the wooden leg!!!! You are gifted and blessed and it shows in every ounce of your being. Miss you and Ubud. Jo xx

  2. Hazel Silvester

     /  19/04/2012

    Ah Julie, is the glass half empty or half full; I choose half full, it feels nicer. From Hazel


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