24 April 2017

On kindness


Being kind to family and friends is conventional practice--occasionally an obligation. Will you not agree that the most memorable acts of kindness are those extended by strangers at a time when you needed it the most? Such as simple words of concern like "are you alright, miss?" I therefore challenge us all to do a random act of kindness today. Yes, it's hard and you're probably wishing you never read this post because it's another bullet point on your bottomless to-do list. But it matters. Kindness is like a tiny drop of water that is seemingly negligible but when in multitudes becomes precipitation that erodes drought.

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Within


Today is William Shakespeare's birthday and so I would like to quote Sonnet 29:

"When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings."


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19 April 2017

Forever is composed of nows (E. Dickinson)


I walked via the long route to work after I brought my daughter to school, because the weather was utterly beautiful. I normally get caught up in thoughts en route to wherever and it's refreshing to exert conscious effort in being hyperaware of the surroundings. I deliberately did not put on my headphones and tried to slow down my pace--slow enough to be considered a semi-stroll but not too slow as to be an irksome obstruction to other commuters. The gist: the sky was blue, the grass green, cherry blossoms pink, smiles all around. It was a good, ordinary day. Homeostatic; no extremes--just blissfully mundane. That is worth celebrating.

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16 April 2017

Things fall into place

Today's blog post title was derived from Achinua Achebe's novel "Things Fall Apart," which was among the recommended book titles in one of my English classes in undergrad. I never read the book--in fact, I chose to read "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder. I should probably include Achebe's book in my reading list. I'm still currently treading through Harari's "Sapiens" and I'm going very slowly because there are many items in the book that are a bit too provocative for me--especially the faith department. It's interesting to have a different perspective about social constructs...that things such as religion, the United Nations, or limited liability companies were created by humans to create harmony. Being the wannabe religious person that I am, it's like walking barefoot on very hot coals. When you value something and it's being lambasted, it's almost painful to bear. For instance, if you were a professional Curling player and someone, let's say from Asia, told you that it's not a sport OR it's a silly game you would either right-uppercut (or left) that person's face or express your disdain.

Anyway, on to my main subject...

In spite of the confusions we are exposed to daily, much like disorderly puzzle pieces--there is always a good ending. As each piece is laid purposefully, things become clearer. Yes, I'm sure you will agree that it would have been better if we didn't have to go through complex emotional and logic-bending moments in our lives in order to get to a Eureka conclusion once the puzzle is revealed. But it's always going to be some form of training. Each puzzle, one after the other.

Things fall into place.

A very light example: I went to a bookstore last Tuesday and there were items on clearance splayed on a table at the entrance. I saw a pack of three black notebooks being sold for a third of its original price. The notebooks matched my planner perfectly. I immediately realized that I needed it in my life. I bought the pack with very little guilt, examined a notebook and thought it was perfect. Had I seen it at a different time, I would have paid full price...or maybe I never would have seen it at all.

Everything is about timing. I'm ambivalent towards coincidences with a greater leaning against it at present, because I fervently hope that most of the time things aren't just due to happenstance.



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06 April 2017

Use the force wisely


My father sent this video on our family's WhatsApp thread and I thought that it was worth sharing. Be inspired. Keep moving forward.


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05 April 2017

On motivation


Whilst folding the laundry, I was watching this episode from MarieTV on YouTube: https://youtu.be/TIABCb37LN8 where I took the screenshot above. The video is a reminder that even though there are many things in life that we cannot control, we CAN control how we choose to react to circumstances. Our years of existence is finite and that should motivate us to live worthwhile lives. I can say that I have taken risks--the biggest (jumping off a cliff kind) would be giving up everything for something absolutely uncertain but with a potentially high ROI. I've posted about the "sunk cost fallacy" in the past whereby an uncomfortable shift in perspective can help us re-evaluate whether we are maximizing our potential.  I suppose our varied personalities influence the kind of risk-taking behavior that we manifest--much like financial investments: low risk, medium risk, or high risk. There is no right approach--whichever is closer to our personal utopia.

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inspiration and the human condition


Whatever emotional state we are in, searching for things that complement that state is an instinctual behavior. We search and listen to songs that further uplift us (if we are happy) or exacerbate our sadness.  Picture that scene on Bridget Jones's Diary where Bridget was lip syncing to Celine Dion's All by Myself or that Jesus Christ Superstar song that goes "look at all my trials and tribulations, sinking in a gentle pool of wine, don't disturb me now I can see the answers till this evening is this morning, life is fine..." Others express their reality through some form of art.  Whereas physical exertion is the usual culprit of exhaustion, an overworked amygdala (seat of emotions in the brain) may also result to fatigue. Wouldn't it be nice to be Spock for a day--absolute logic.  

I once posted about coping mechanisms including eating Nutella-dipped rippled potato chips...however, I find inspirational words  (a la Pinterest) to be the most effective. I read this specific passage from escrivaworks: "After losing those human consolations you have been left with a feeling of loneliness, as if you were suspended by a mere thread over the black emptiness of the abyss. And your cries, your shouts for help seem to be heard by nobody. You really deserve to be forlorn. Be humble, don't seek yourself don't seek consolation. Love the Cross -- to bear it is little -- and our Lord will hear your prayer. And calm will be restored to your senses. And your wounded heart will heal. And you will have peace."

So let's all watch "I'm walking on sunshine" and be happy. :)

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03 April 2017

To boldly go...in moderation

  Source

No human being is resistant to feelings of anger.  Even Jesus was infuriated when merchants filled a synagogue and made it look like a market rather than a place of worship.  This is a challenging Lenten season for me--so much to repent for internally, particularly the pride department.  It is natural for anyone immersed in both a domestic and career milieu to impose (on oneself) the duty to contribute and fulfill obligations related to building a secure home life especially when it also involves rearing children. It is also equally commonplace for unexpected obstacles to arise as ball and chain impediments that serve as wake up calls that we are disturbing the empiricist-idealist balance within us. On top of that is our human nature of using others as the scapegoats of our anger, when in fact we are angry with ourselves.

I have been having brief conversations with family about life. We are at different levels on the wheel of fate but my youngest sister and I are in the same vicinity. My father told my sister that the first thing that she needs to do is to forgive herself. I should do the same. My husband assured me that we are still alright--that I shouldn't burden myself with the feeling that all the unplanned predicaments that make our logistical situation less than ideal is my fault.  I once posted that we are all (to some degree) self-centered. We feel that provocations ranging from pinpricks to full-blown life changing challenges are deliberate when the truth is, everyone else is thinking about themselves. Thinking that everyone else is out to get them. We wallow in our own anxieties and play the blame game roll call that ends with ourselves.

Moral lesson: forgiveness--towards others, but more importantly, ourselves.

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30 March 2017

Have patience and endure

Van Gogh's The Shepherdess

There are days when a poet speaks for you...like Maya Angelou:

"Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise.
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise.
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise.
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise.
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise."

I should probably eat rice. A lot of it right now.

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27 March 2017

internal discourse & decision-making


Today, I have arrived at the conclusion that it is possible to attain fulfillment inside one's mind.  In spite of the obligations that existing social constructs have laid out, the decision to exist freely inside your head serves as a liberating avenue towards true happiness. It would be nearly futile to depend on others in achieving a sense of self-worth. I know, you're probably silently berating me right now by thinking, "no man is an island..." or "man is a social animal..." Well, I am becoming exhausted with checking all the requirements and still not getting quite there--wherever that is where you get a stamp of approval, no not really approval, I don't care about that anymore...maybe a stamp of "that's enough." I agree with Whitney Houston when she sang, "...if I fail, if I succeed, at least I lived as I believe (well, this one is subject to debate on my part)...no matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity...learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all." It doesn't have to be completely selfish--you can live a reality that is centered on duty and doing things for others, but inside your mind--you are free to think of whatever will make you happy. Choose to be happy.

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