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Monday, Jan 04, 2010 This week’s Food for Thought – January 4, 2010


Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason.

Charles Plumb, a US Naval Academy graduate, was a jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy lands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb. “I packed your parachute,” the man replied.

Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: A white hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said good morning, how are you or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot, and he was just a sailor.”

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?”

Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory – he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. His experience reminds us all to prepare ourselves to weather whatever storms lie ahead. As you go through this week, this month, this year… recognize people who pack your parachute! —Anonymous

TIP OF THE WEEK: TO THE FLOOR   Chances are, when you think of sitting, you think of chairs and sofas (and maybe even the toilet seat) before you think of the floor.  But, though this seems only natural to modern-day Westerners, who’s to say this is the natural order of things?  After all, humans were sitting long before La-Z-Boys and desk chairs were invented.  As it turns out, spending more time on the floor in your daily life can have some real benefits.  People living in floor cultures have more supple joints and stronger backs, not to mention far better posture.  Try spending some time today on the floor—squatting, kneeling, or just sitting.  It might seem uncomfortable and awkward at first, but if you spend a little time doing this each day (try a little reading or office work on the floor), you’ll find your joints begin to loosen, squatting will become more comfortable, and you’ll see your yoga practice improve.  Maybe some day you’ll ditch the desk and chair altogether! —Yoga Journal,  January 2010

“Do small things with big love.” —Mother Teresa