Category Archives: Stories

The first time she has seen a 20$ bill

So I take out my pink-white striped wallet and pay for her hot chocolate, my matcha latte with almond milk and two deeelicious macarons, using a 20$ bill, green and friendly as the country it belongs to (god praise Canada).

Here is what she says.

“Can I see it? That’s the first time I see one.”

“You mean, that’s the first time ever you see a 20$ bill?”

“I’ve seen nana using 5$ and 10$ bills before, but never a 20$ one.”

After that we changed the coins her nana gave her and the 5$ she got from her grandpa to her first own 10$ bill! You should have seen that smile…

I recently started volunteering with an organization in Vancouver where we as volunteers – I love how they call it – coach vulnerable kids for the game of life.

Every week, me and her spend some quality time together. We go iceskating, to the aquarium, or like on that day, play a board game or cards in a cozy cafe.

In moments like this, I realize – how much of a difference I can make just by taking out this adorable girl to places she hasn’t been before and showing her the world.

These few hours we spend together might mean a small thing for us in our busy-minded life, but they mean the world to kids like her…

Originally I started volunteering because I was seeking for compensation to my 9-to-5 office job and – of course – giving something back to the society.

Definetly a win-win for both of us, I thought. I love all the activities we get to do together.

But it’s way more than that. I didn’t expect how much I could learn from a 8-year old girl.

Not only that this smarty-pants corrects my english grammar mistakes, she makes me climb on trees, draw pictures of Helen, the dolphin in the aquarium, spend 2 hours watching and feeding fishes and play hide and seek in a fancy shopping mall.

Kids like her teach us what some of us might have forgotten in our fast-paced world – to stop to think, enjoy the moment and smile.

With this being said I just want to remind us all that there are so many opportunities to give something back to our society just by spending some quality time with another person – no matter the age or background.

Let’s not forget about the power of time and attention, we can make a big difference in somebodys life.

And in the end, we realize how much we earn in return.


Fishermen’s wisdom



“Warte, ich muss mich korrigieren” , fuhr der gerade erfolgreich gewesene Fischer fort. “Der Mensch braucht nicht nur viel frische Luft und leckeres Essen, sondern er muss auch jeden Tag mindestens einmal richtig lachen.”

Wie recht der Mann doch hatte, dachte sich der kleine Buddha. Obwohl es so einfach war und so gut tat, wurde viel zu wenig gelacht auf der Welt.

Einer von den anderen Fischern meldete sich nun zu Wort. “Ich denke, um glücklich alt zu werden, muss man in Bewegung bleiben. Mit dem Körper, mit dem Geiste und auch mit dem Herzen. Wie ein Fluss, der nie aufhört zu fließen. Nimm uns als Beispiel. Wir können nicht mehr wie früher den ganzen Tag auf hoher See verbringen. Dazu fehlt uns die Kraft. Unsere Kinder und Enkelkinder kümmern sich um uns, wir müssen also nicht mehr arbeiten.

Aber das heißt nicht, dass wir aufhören wollen, zu fischen. Schließlich haben wir unsere Arbeit über die Jahre lieben gelernt, warum sollten wir sie ganz aufgeben? Also treffen wir uns hier jeden Tag. Durch den täglichen Spaziergang zum Meer halten wir unsere Körper in Bewegung, die Gespräche und die regelmäßige Beschäftigung halten unseren Geist aktiv, und das Zusammensein mit Freunden bewegt unser Herz.”

“Das stimmt”, sagte der Fischer, der direkt neben dem kleinen Buddha stand, “aber es kommt noch etwas hinzu: Das Wichtigste ist, dass du deine Neugierde behälst und nie aufhörst, zu lernen. Denn solange du neugierig bleibst, wirst du auch immer wieder Dinge im Leben entdecken, die dich glücklich machen. Du reist zum Beispiel, und somit erlebst du jeden Tag etwas Neues, jeden Tag lernst du etwas über das Leben. Und auch wir lernen täglich etwas dazu, denn das Meer ist ein Lehrer mit unendlichem Wissen. Wenn du geduldig und aufmerksam bist, dann teilt es seine ganze Weisheit mit dir.”

– Aus dem Buch Der kleine Buddha


Let me tell you a story…

-I can’t – I told him – I can’t!
– Are you sure? – he asked me
– Yes, I would like nothing more than to be able to sit down face-to-face and tell her how I feel. But I know I can’t.

The Fat Man sat himself down like a buddha in one of the horrible blue armchairs in his office. He smiled, he looked me in the eyes and, lowering his voice as he did every time he wanted to be listened to attentively,
he said:

– Let me tell you a story…

And without waiting for my approval, he began.

The Story of the Chained Elephant


When I was a small boy, I loved going to the circus. Animal acts were my favorite. I was quite impressed by the elephant, who is — as I found out later — the favorite animal of all children. The elephant’s part of the show was a display of his huge weight, his immense size and power… Then, as the show was approaching its end, slightly before the elephant had to return to his tent, he was standing tied to a tiny wooden stake driven partially into the ground. A chain was wrapped around his feet.

The size of the stake was very small, and the part of it that was driven into the ground was even smaller. The chain that was wrapped around the legs of the elephant was quite large, but it seemed quite obvious, even to my childish mind, that an animal whose power was so large, so immense that it could rip trees off the ground and hurl them to others, was more than enough to let the elephant just rise and walk away.

That was the mystery of the elephant.

What sort of immense force could keep the elephant tied to that tiny stake?

Why didn’t he rise and walk away?

When I was five or six years old, I put great trust in the wisdom of the elder people. So I asked my teacher, my father, and my uncle about the mystery of the elephant. I don’t remember anymore who gave me the particular answer, but one of the replies was that the elephant doesn’t run away because he is “tame”.

Then I asked the obvious question: “If he’s tame, why do they have to chain him?” I don’t think I ever got a satisfactory answer to this question.

As time went by, I forgot all about the mystery of the huge elephant and the tiny stake. The mystery would only resurface when I was at the company of others who had wondered about the same thing.

Then, a few years ago, I discovered that someone knew why the elephant doesn’t run away.

The elephant doesn’t run away because they have been tying him to a similar stake ever since he was very very small too.

I closed my eyes, and I tried to imagine the small, newborn elephant,chained to the ground. The small elephant would push, pull and struggle with all his strength, trying to free himself, but he would fail. Despite all his efforts, he would fail again and again, because that stake and chain was too big for his strength.

The elephant would sleep exhausted from all his efforts to free himself, and would wake up the next day. All his struggles would fail the next day too, and a third day, and a fourth, and many tiresome, exhausting days after those. Then one day would come — a horrible day for the history of our elephant — a day that he would just give up, and accept his fate, deciding that he was too weak to escape, that his strength was not enough and would never be enough.

The huge and immensely powerful elephant that we see in the circus does not run away because the poor animal believes that he cannot do that.

The memory of the lack of strength he felt a little after his birth is now deeply engraved to his very soul and spirit.

The worst of it all is that he has never tried to free himself since.

He never ever tried to test his powers again.

We are all a little bit like the circus elephant: we move through the world attached to hundreds of stakes that wrest from us our freedoms.

We live thinking we can’t do many things simply because once, a long time ago, when we were small, we tried to do something and couldn’t.

We do the same thing to ourselves that the elephant did, we etch into our minds this message: “I can’t – I can’t and I will never can.”

Jorge paused for a long time. Then he came closer, he sat down on the floor in front of me and continued:

– That’s what is happening to you Damian. You go on living conditioned by the memory of a Damian, who no longer exists, who couldn’t do it.

Your only way of knowing if you can do it is to try again, putting your whole heart into it… Your whole heart!

-From the book Let me tell you a story, Jorge Bucay

Every now and then, it’s good to question whether the chains holding you back still exist. No one, not even yourself, should be allowed to set borders or limits for you.

Elefant Wildnis