Saturday, April 11, 2015

Monday, March 31, 2014

New Moon On a Monday

A couple of days ago I was a bundle of nerves. A nervous wreck, to be honest. I had taken ill on Thursday and Friday, during which there were numerous calls and messages from the office following up or demanding something. Being ill (a severe migraine with matching nausea and occasional trips to the bathroom to throw up), I could not muster up the strength nor the sanity to do anything about anything. My resentment towards work aggravated the pain in my head and I sincerely wished I would just fall asleep and never wake up.

By Saturday I was feeling much improved. With the help of Tolle and his reminders to stay in the present I managed to sort through my muddled life and made a clear list of what I needed to do and how. I thought I could work then but I was still too fuzzy in the head.

I worked on Sunday, which was yesterday. Normally I would almost be in a tantrum but I made myself realize that the circumstances were just really bad. I will have to deal with the invasive work on my off days but in the meantime there were tasks that needed completion. Two major things: a project proposal for a project bid, and a presentation to the management committee. Both are due today.

Both are done. With a constant gathering of my attention and focus, using my own breath and physical presence as an anchor to prevent me from flying off to unnecessary worries of the future and lamenting the done-ness of the past, I was able to catch up at least on what needed doing for today. I was able to find a wobbly center of peace and calm that was extremely helpful despite the wobbliness. From that center I was able to move forward with deliberation and also with clarity. I gained access to a pool of thoughts and ideas that I would not have otherwise accessed if I had let myself become too angry or distraught or stressed out.

Here's the good thing. Despite the work squeezed into the weekend, I was still able to spend good quality time with my family, as well as with a friend who is going to fly back today to his home country after being assigned here for five years, and whose return is uncertain.


He gave my sister and me a gift each. A fine-nibbed fountain pen with an ink converter. Something that I have been wanting to buy except that I do not yet have the cash for it. And then suddenly there it was, mine.

I have to go now. It will be a longish day. Also a true test to what I have learned about staying in the present and not being trapped into the babble of a mind stuck in the past or rushing ahead in the future. There is only Now. Now is when I can actually do something. Now I am safe. Now I am fine.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Well, then.

I will admit that at some point I have forgotten about this blog. About blogging at all.

Life was making a lot of twists and turns and my knees and shins are scratched and scraped from all the tumbles and the smacking into walls.

I am far from safe and alright now but I am still alive. The bruises are purple and my spirit is in crutches, hobbling along with a determined face.

People wouldn't guess what a mess I have been the past couple of months. How confused. How afraid. 

Even now no one could guess how much my heart is stained with trickles of small sadnesses and streaks of helplessness.

But I am pulling my shoulders back and sticking out my chin. I will get through this. The same way I got through every horrible phase in my life despite believing that it was the most horrible ever and there was no way I could come out of it sane and alive.

I have a better grasp of things now. My map of my life is not all washed out and the part where the x marks the spot is whole and clean. I know where I need to go. 

Meanwhile there is the day-to-day to survive through. 

So I find myself reading Eckhart Tolle's Practicing The Power Of Now in the hopes of gleaning some clues to keep myself from just...I don't know...running away screaming mad. I need to find my center and hold on to it. Keep myself calm. Find that peace within. It may all sound like cliche but it is the truth. It is the only way I know how to bear through the trials I face now.

It is a most important thing that I have my writing to tether me, to keep me from simply going away. My clumsy writing and my meager art. Shabby but loyal companions. Comfort to a troubled soul. 

My Heart Is Breaking
Ink on Parchment. Drawn with a Brause nib, J. Herbin ink.
Ink on Parchment. Written with a Brause nib, J. Herbin inks.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

This Feels Like Running Fast While Flapping My Arms

...and then fervently hoping that by the time I reach the edge of that cliff I will be flying.

This is building this blog up from nearly scratch. As well as figuring out how to deal with the first trials of 2014. I was okay with my previous blog, but I want to write more and share more and discuss other things that may not necessarily fall under the whole idea of being inspiring. There will still be lots of inspiring posts here, but there will be a few whose inspirational content will be dependent on the perspective of the reader. I also want to pull out a bit from the safety of pretty everyday pictures and do a bit of sharing and exploring of the scenes behind the pretty everyday pictures.

I was okay with my life when the new year swapped places with the old. I was calm and optimistic despite the precarious position I knew I was in. And then about a week ago the precariousness of it started nibbling at my confidence and shaking my faith. Still, I clung to my beliefs, the personal mythology and core of my faith that I am discovering at the same time that I am relying on it to take me through.

Now this is where I am, pushing forward and making the most of the resources available to me.

Every day seems so small and sometimes so slow. That I cannot see the progress I am making. But then I look back and see the pile of days that have passed, and sometimes I am glad that I did not falter in my perseverance, and sometimes I am dismayed that my faith had wavered and I had taken too long being lost. I was lost the past couple of days and today I am picking through the loose ends of where I left off, doing my best to bridge the gap between.

You know what helps? Getting organized. The therapy of list-making. Of compiling what can be translated into words into a tangible bundle of papers that I can revisit and mark my progress on. Every time I get derailed I return to the path armed with lists and reminders. The tiny tasks and the tiny shifts that I accomplish each day will seem not so tiny after all given a week, a month, a year. That is how I get through. That is how I will get through.

But what about the big things? Do I ever make big leaps, big changes? One thing I realized in the course of the past three years that I have been paddling my way out of the mainstream, is that the big things themselves are made up of the tiny things. Even the most dramatic decisions, when broken down, were led in by a series of small steps that could be traced back over a period of time. It is the decisions we make on each of those tiny things that make the difference. The final step is just the final step.

That is what I am doing now. Fixing the tiny things. Making certain and being true. For in addition to making decisions is making the right decision, the kind that resonates to what is authentic to the self. That bit is the harder part, and why some decisions, even the tiny ones, could take so much time. I could easily decide in favour of what is expected of me, or what society decrees is the right one. Or I could decide in favour of what I know will bring the better boon to the world, even if in the end it is only a single poem that will later on inspire a future leader who will save the world.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Evergeek

Late last year I started on a new notebook and called it Evergeek. It replaced my Evernote and integrated a few other things that were offline but also important in my quest for constant learning.


I was an Evernote fan until the limitations of a free account limited its benefits to me. I was willing to pay for an annual subscription except that I couldn't afford it. So I re-thought my way of gathering and collating the information that interested me and decided on a way of continuing my self-study without having to rely on wi-fi and cloud synchronization. The new way I designed also made me digest the data regularly and not just dump them in indefinite read-later status. This way the information became useful and applicable sooner than it usually would.

Since it involved a lot of handwriting, I was able to learn better from what I read as well as integrated a handwriting practice into the whole exercise. I used dip pens and various coloured inks and I invested in inexpensive good-quality notebooks (Muji instead of Moleskine).

I no longer have the luxury of simply inserting and deleting and revising so I was also obliged to approach my self-study in a more structured manner. Which led me into creating a rough outline of a curriculum which shifts as needed but still maintaining a track to be followed. I also realized the need and value of organizing my resources.

The self-study is a life-long project that I embarked on to satisfy my need for learning. If I had the means I would have liked to go back to school and earn another degree, or even two (most likely something to do with literature, the arts, European history, or Jungian psychology). I would also be attending a lot of special classes on specific subjects, acquiring specific skills and knowledge that some people would probably find whimsical.


The simple reality is that I do not have the means, so I will make do with the resources available to me. And to mark my efforts I am writing it all down like school notebooks, like I used to do when I was a student -- rigorous note-taking and information curation. I have always enjoyed the little fireworks of a-ha moments when something clicks into comprehension and I want to keep on experiencing them.

Gathering Selves

I have a habit of reading through my journals once in a while. I do so to see if I have made progress on things I promised myself, and if there are repeating patterns that I should address, like vicious cycles that trap me into a way of being that prevents me from moving forward.

Here is one that struck me today. It is a journal entry from May 2012.

This is what I want to do: I want to gather my life. I want to be un-scattered. I want to pull my many selves together. I want to create peace and foster collaboration and healthy interaction among every aspect of myself. I want every single day to be filled with creativity and productivity. I want to unite myself. Make myself stronger. I want cohesion. I want harmony. I want integration. I want to be a single solid force fueled by both light and shadow.
Between then and now there has been some progress but it is a slow one. Still, I am much better off now, learned a few new things, killed a few unnecessary worries. There have been a lot of losses too. There is always a price to pay but if what you want is clear and true then you will feel abundance instead of lack.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is There Still Room For Poetry?

I have the drafts for three slim volumes of poetry. Each volume has thirteen poems. The poems were written from 1997 to 2013, selected from hundreds.

I will publish them myself, maybe printing in high quality from my home printer, give away a few copies as gifts to friends who would care, then maybe release the first volume as a digital book. The poems come with illustrations, which were also made by me. Second to writing is my deep fondness for making art. By art I mean a wide definition of individual creative endeavour -- from drawing to painting to collage and even to craft work such as making useful things by hand and making them pretty. For the poems I made watercolour paintings. Thirteen poems, thirteen illustrations. Then each volume has some introductory prose, and then a closing few paragraphs.


This is a practice printing, having downloaded a free app that re-arranges the pages on both sides of the paper so I can print and fold and the pages will be in the correct order. I have yet to figure out how I want to fasten the pages together - I could invest in a powerful stapler or sew the pages by hand.

The poems are love poems, divided in three stages: beginnings, middles, and ends. They are mostly sad, hopeful, and a few are dark. I generally do not follow rhyming or measurements but I like to believe that the poems have their own pace and rhythm.

I started writing poems when I was fourteen but only had the courage to share them to others when I was twenty-seven. Guess who I shared them with? Aside from a few very close friends I actually sent them to the people who inspired them. I did that four times, in the course of four or five years, after which I stopped because the act tended to overwhelm the men and made me into an odd girl with my weird displays of bravado.

Now I am just into publishing them without putting any one of the men who inspired them into an awkward spotlight. But I have to admit I am tempted to place a few cryptic acknowledgements...

I wonder if poems still have a place in today's lifestyle and culture. I sincerely long for the old days when poetry, not pop songs, was the means to declare one's affections or even to hint at such. Handwritten on good paper and sent by post or personal messenger. Imagine being courted with quotes from Pablo Neruda.

Or imagine if people wrote poems instead of making trouble, putting their trouble instead on paper, pouring their jealousies and hurts into words, getting it all out of their system.