Trace O’Connor is an amazing sculptor from Greensboro, NC. This steel piece titled Iscariot now sits in a Boston shipyard overlooking the Atlantic.
PEACE OF MAN
Greet each man with words of love
And a dove will be placed
On an olive tree.
Leave a man with feelings
And a dove gets shot
Off the olive tree.
Greet each man with peace.
And leave each man with Love.
Ask yourself —
One more enemy,
Or one more dove?
Always choose love.
It’s time for everybody to
Let’s fill the trees with doves.
Spread the leaves of love.
And never subtract
Another peace of man
From the olive tree.
PEACE OF MAN by Suzy Kassem, Copyright 2009-2010. All rights reserved. Taken from, RISE UP AND SALUTE THE SUN: THE WRITINGS OF SUZY KASSEM
Let’s face it. The close-knit family unit of yesterday is quickly becoming a mirage. Divorce rates are now reaching 90% in countries across the world. Relatives are now more likely to dissolve tight relations over money or property issues. More people are getting married for money and security reasons than for love. It’s enough that friends don’t hold ground like they used to, but the people of today are solely out for themselves — even if it means stepping over their own family and friends.
For all the people I have helped professionally, I’ve never received a thank you or helpful payback for pushing them ahead. For every person I’ve taken out to dinner, loaned my car to, offered a place to stay, or gave money to, I’ve never seen the kindness returned – even though I still call them my friend. Yet, I still keep giving. Not or them, I do it to be the right person…always.
In Egypt, I’ve loaned money out to friends and relatives that I’ve never seen again. They would rather avoid me for life than payback anything. That in itself says a lot about the current state of the world. I’ve seen a man take in an orphan off the streets and provided him with shelter and a job at his company. A couple years later, that orphan robs the register and starts his own company selling the same merchandise — across the street. I’ve seen another man conceive a business project from the ground up and build it successfully from scratch. After it became successful, he took on two partners to expand his empire. A year later, they sided together to devise a scheme to eliminate the originating partner. Where are the people with a conscious, a heart, and a sense of ethics? The worst of humanity has yet to come.
When the shallowness of the streets starts creeping into your family and social circles, instantly a sane person would think about isolating themselves. However, most givers give freely without expecting anything in return. Given. It’s their hearts that give so freely, not their minds. So essentially, givers are the ones that are insane. Takers aren’t the ones losing anything. They live to maximize gain even at the expense of others.
Let me put this in perspective to the takers. Every time you take something from somebody, it is less for them. Meaning, they give up a gift for themselves to help you. All that money somebody put in you, they could have enjoyed on something to make them happy. Yet, instead, they chose to give it to you. Now, there is nothing worse or more insulting to a giving person than to be forced to give something they have already given enough of, or for the taker to say they never got anything. Worse, is when all the giving is ignored, or expected as a chore. Eliminate these people from your life. Their numbers are growing beyond limits. If you eliminate one today, you’ll have room to handle the new one coming tomorrow. I think it’s safe to say that 3 in every 5 is a rat.
Use good judgment when dealing with today’s people. They are plenty of mindless and selfish savages that are prowling on the take. This does not mean STOP GIVING. No, keep giving to those that reflect light back onto you. Be super observant to the smallest actions for they say the most. This is no joke. Opportunists are at an all-time high. Don’t think for a minute that the people closest to you are the safest. In time, you will recognize it’s quite the opposite.
In the past, if someone burnt you twice, you were the idiot if you got burned the third time. Now that times are changing, one bad stroke is enough for a smart man to write another off. DO not allow yourself to make the same mistake TWICE. The game has changed. Be very careful with who you associate with. Your odds of playing it safe are better if you align yourself with others of the same league – not below you or above you. Those beneath you will always crave to climb up to steal your place – or pockets. Those above you may feel threatened by you and will keep kicking you down so their place stays secure. Or, if you have a lot to offer, they will cheat and steal from you — then try to “erase” you. Remember this. I hope this brings some light to your life.
By Suzy Kassem
Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents. Later on in life, when we are oppressed by sickness and become old, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. Since we are so dependent on the kindness of others at the beginning and end of our lives, how can it be that we would neglect kindness towards others in the middle… when it is our best me time to share it? — Suzy Kassem
“Whenever you should doubt your self-worth, remember the lotus flower. Even though it plunges to life from beneath the mud, it does not allow the dirt that surrounds it to affect its growth or beauty.”
― Suzy Kassem,
LIVE FROM YOUR HEART
A Short Story by Suzy Kassem
Stashed beneath the wooden floorboards of a senior center in New Jersey, lived a huge colony of mice.
For years, the mice have been running up and down the frail walls of the disintegrating building, harvesting food and community while rapidly multiplying and dying like flies. Organized under one household system, they were packed and segmented by family or ailment. Each family was responsible for providing for its own, and a percentage of daily earnings taken from each family was to be contributed to the administrators that oversaw the system.
At 2 years old (15 in human years), Wiz was just a brown mouse who lived a very predictable life. Sometimes when he was out scavenging for food, he thought about leaving his colony and never returning home. He didn’t enjoy living the mundane life and saw the world through kaleidoscope glasses. He could not believe the horrible stories told by the fat mice, the administrators of his mouse system, about the brave mice that did manage to abandon the house. He remembered their words about the humans spitting and stepping on his kind because they detested their freedom. He could not believe that living things could be so cruel to one another. He also couldn’t believe that humans would hate his freedoms when he never viewed himself as being free. His earnings were taken from him and nobody listened to his concerns on finding ways together to better the house system. Nobody cared if Wiz returned home empty-handed from a day of scavenging. Nobody around him thought about anything but finding food, food, and more FOOD. He believed there was so much more outside of shitty limits.
The mice seldom conversed with each other, and crossed paths only while sharing the same bathroom facilities, during fights, or when they entered or exited out of the same hole. Wiz craved a real mental connection to release his yearnings and rages. His heart told him that there were other worlds outside of his current system where he would find more happiness, and that he would stumble upon other minds that would understand him because they thought just like he. His heart went on to tell him that beyond the boundaries of his isolated world were pastures that split seven ways with enough within them to stimulate his curiosity until the day he died.
Yet every night, Wiz would tell his heart that he feared he would not survive outside of the system. He feared he would be killed by the humans or would not have enough food to make it scavenging on his own. With each passing day, his fears multiplied. His mind kept reminding him of the words of the fat mice. His mind was scaring and over-preparing him. The longer he waited to execute his plan to runaway, more fears accumulated in his tiny mind that, in the end, at the mouse age of just 54, he died bitter — and with glasses with broken lenses.
If Wiz had listened to his heart, he would have realized that there were as many beautiful reasons to go explore — as there were fears about leaving. He would have also realized that over time, he had developed more fears about leaving than the number of fears for staying. And most importantly, he would have realized that throughout time, his mind became his enemy, while his heart, which he ignored, always stayed his loyal and true friend.
If he had only listened to his soul’s cravings that were repeatedly echoed through his heart, he would not have suffered 40 years of regret for not pursuing his heart’s wishes. If only he had known that one day of mental bliss weighed more than 40 years of suffering. Wiz would have had fewer regrets had he followed his heart and not his mind.
It is only normal then…that the colors in his kaleidoscope faded away over time…somewhere beneath the wooden floorboards of a senior center in New Jersey.
By Suzy Kassem
As how you lived
Will you cry, smile, laugh, and play —
The same as you did during
Will you still look at the world
Full of wonder, love, curiosity, and excitement?
Or will you be dark, bitter and cold —
Without a single
Do you live your current days —
Or do you share your light
In the company
And service of others —
Like we were
Will you live TODAY-
With the fever to
Quench your thirst for
Will you wait until the very last day —
Wishing you had just
ONE MORE DAY,
You had not spent
THE VERY LAST DAYS by Suzy Kassem, Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
When a man can see horizons in others, but not within himself, he is blind before the horizon.
— Suzy Kassem