I suppose before I really make up my mind to wrap this year up, I should conclude that myself have had a very wonderful year witnessing many new comings bringing change and new hope. Coping with it is very challenging but interesting because learning is a never stopping process around change.
I would love to round the year off with one word - "GREAT".
And I surely look forward to entering the new year with faith.
Often in my experience the feeling of fear likes to speak out very loud whenever there is a thought of doing something arises.
When looking straight into this very feeling I realized it is always 2 things that really contribute to its power - (1) our previous bad experience; (2) our pessimistic prediction.
We are well-tamed by thoughts of "believe me, I've been there, it will never work", "are you out of your mind?", "who do you think you are? others would have done it if it's gonna work" etc.
So basically we know "let's do our best within the frame. Don't overboard and don't be stupid trying to be different. Get assimilated and live like everyone else".
I am not pushing for breaking the rules, neither am I motivating doing things disrespecting the universe. What I am saying here is "what is your belief in achieving your target/goal?"
We have our dreams.
Experiences are only meant to remind us "you've tried this way before but unsuccessful. Find out why it did not work and try again until you get it". All we need is to push a bit harder every step of the way, refine our methods and we will definitely reach our dream.
As for fear, that's for coward who thinks he does not deserve winning.
A few years ago, I had the first dream Christmas dinner, at home. We bought those little little lights and decorated our very plain and nothing special dining room into a yellow-lighting-warm-feeling place. Cooked a few dishes (can't remember precisely what we had) and 2 turkey drumsticks. Oh yeh, 2 drumsticks you heard me alright. First, (let me assume you're about to ask me "WHY?") because we have never cooked a whole turkey before; Second, we do not have so many people to bite that big bird ("big bird" always remind me about the big yellow creature in Sesame Street); and Third, IT'S VERY EXPENSIVE!
So we got this marinated turkey drumstick and serve it along with the whole table of other dishes.
Oh ya, that is also the very first time I tasted Guinness Stout, the one people call "black dog" (in Hokkien. Don't ask me why they call it a black dog. I don't know).
Four of us spent a very peaceful and full of cheers dinner. And we have prepared too present to exchange. So how did we get the right present? Easy, we first have draw (like the lucky draw) to see who is our target the present is for, then get the present that we think is most suitable to give. None of us know who got our name, so we were practically waiting for the night before Christmas to find out.
I bought a belt because Joie was looking for one (and of course I just got his name out of the hat); and got a set of bath towel+face towel+hand towel from John (my baby brother). So who was the other one? MOON. A good friend of ours (well back then she wasn't taken and so did my baby brother so we were sort of spending the loving Christmas together). Moon got a chain-neckless, very much the hip-hop style, for John; Joie got a book with the title that resemble Moon's nickname (given by Joie. He call her Fishball-Moon coz she loves fishballs).
Couple of years later, today, we had the Christmas dinner at home, again.
But John and Moon aren't around this time. John is on duty, and he would not be joining us too even he's around. He isn't single anymore.
We ran into Moon when we went for last minute food shopping in the evening. We asked her if she has anything going on for the night and she shook her head. We invited her to come but she rejected us.
So we have a 3 person Christmas dinner this year, with my dad (mom's not feeling very well and was resting in the room) but without beautiful lightings (coz I misplace them) and not so much of laughter because it is always with friends we get to feel the ambient (coz my parents aren't our type of funny).
My dad practically spent all his time eating his own food and blah when someone's at the door wanted to see him.
Anyway, I still enjoyed the dinner because I like the feeling of being hugged by comfort and ease. To me Christmas is a time of the year to get close with our love ones and share the moment counting the blessing and cherish the bond.
Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you have a very wonderful and loving Christmas, wherever you are...
No joke, I believe that everyone is a genius in some way.
When I was younger, I would look up on those who score very beautifully in school. They are always named as "role model" because they always get flying colors. I did work hard to make myself like these people but somehow the circuits in my head just failed me.
So I looked for something else.
I went through the school days, pretty much on, finding "what do I do good?".
I did not do flying colors in exams - TOP STUDENT, GONE (although I like learning new things); I did not do extremely well in sports - ATHLETE, GONE (although I gained my ideal height playing basketball and tanned body with swimming); I did not become the extra popular person in student council or co-curriculum (although I joined the drama club wanted to build charisma but end up diving in my favorite cooling pool) - LEADER, GONE.
Ok, there goes the label "I am ordinary".
So what? (Aww yea, that is typically the no-hope kind of person, or "loser "in short) I did not meet the standard expectation, I admit that. But does that mean I don't deserve my life? Or make me any less important? Or worthless? (you can nod, LIKE I CARE!)
My point is: life isn't just about meeting people's standard, nor becoming who/what others wanted to see. I can be nobody, but hey I am still here, doing my best to shine (can't you see that?).
So what have I found in myself? What is my special gift? I am still exploring, actually. But up until today, I found that I am being myself, hardworking-ly learning to become a better person.
I don't want to be a smart person (if only I could), I don't want solely being what others think as "wooh! ahhh! wahh!"
I may not be significant. But if I am able to see my true self and making my best effort to progress bit by bit, that is good enough already. Because at the ending days it is how I can confront myself without feeling ashamed and I know I have never wasted my life.
Each of us is born with a specific genius that was bestowed upon us so we can do out part to make this world a better place. All of us have a role that we are uniquely suited for. Imagine our planet without trees, oceans, or clouds. In this same way, when one of us does not develop our use our special gift, a cosmic void takes place.
This unique talent of ability may be hidden from our own sight like a golden treasure buried under shifting sands. Often we spend so much time dazzled by the talents of others that we can overlook our own gifts. It may even be that our unique ability is something we view negatively. Perhaps we find it difficult concentrating on any one subject for long; meanwhile others are thrilled by our ability to weave various ideas throughout our conversations. Or, we might think of ourselves as frivolous when it is likely our charming approach to life casts a light of inspiration that others cannot help but follow. It is important for all of us to try to find our special gift and discover how we can best express it. Ask others to name what they think is your most overlooked talent or character trait. Their answer may change your life.
Explore these riches that are ours to express, and we may find ourselves helping others discover and develop their own blessings. Acknowledge and appreciate the gifts we see in those around us. Our unique gifts are like golden rays of expression that can encircle the world with light.
So what is My trait then? I don't know. Perhaps you can help me with this?
I can't make people think the way I do. Neither can I make them feel the way I want them to.
Being able to tell precisely what I feel and mean inside helps me to be more convincing. Thus some people say I am able to talk their heart out, about where they find it difficult to put their thoughts into words.
So my capability in expressing feelings sometimes become the way people find certainty.
But is it supposed to be that way? I may be nailing the exact thought but what does that really mean? I am not extra-talented or extra-special than anyone. In fact, I was not quite a good student throughout my study years and my grades were mostly hanging in the air. Most of my relatives see me as a super-duper-ordinary person with no hope in achieving anything great in life, only graduated when I was 26, and with a 3rd grade degree.
Pathetic is it not? Even so, I still believe in one thing: I can be slow, I can be stupid, I can be nothing to everyone, but I have one quality that I am proud of: always seeking. To me, learning has no limit, neither time nor age. What matters is: DO YOU LIKE TO LEARN? DO YOU ENJOY LEARNING? ARE YOU WILLING TO ABSORB LIKE A SPONGE?
Paying attention to the inner self and start seeing the hidden glow, that's what I do. In fact, that is what I practice too when I am with other people. I like to understand how things are made up and how that affect the way we carry ourselves in life. That's why I get to catch how the heart feel when they try to express themselves.
What makes all these? I believe is self certainty. Unlike being proud or arrogant, one who is certain about the self finds it easier to locate own quality, regardless is it bad or good.
No one is perfect in this world so the last thing to do is to become so withdrawn from digging into the heart and soul to look for the true self. Let not the pride holds back the power of humility.
Be certain, because fearful and doubtful thoughts will partner up with reluctance to eat and destroy the real potential.
Boosting confidence could help us react to people more positively. If we can allow ourselves to see that everyone in this world is part of the same energy, meaning that everyone is equal in the eyes of the universe, we might be more able to recognize that while in theory someone else may have power over us, but in reality, we are both one and the same within the realm of the universe. Once we understand that we are valid and essential part of this world, we can develop greater confidence in ourselves.
No one ever has true control over us for we are in charge of our thoughts, emotions and our self-concept. It is easy for many of us to put others on a pedestal and be intimidated either by their station in life of by their talents. If we can see t hat we also give as much to the world and that the power someone has over us us simply based on our mind's reaction to it, we are more able to stand up for ourselves. Knowing that as a human we have unlimited potential.
I suddenly recall this movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. Yep, there is nothing wrong with my spelling. It is not happiness but happyness. A real story based on the life of *Chris Gardner.
The will is strong (guess that's why Will Smith is the best candidate to play the character) and nothing ever came in the way can slow him down to reaching success. What really matter is these series of events are actually the stepping stone to make a potentially-successful-person to realize the self worth before really becoming a star.
So life places a lot of hurdles. Is it trying to make us fall; or rather telling us to always keep our head above the level and look ahead, so that we are always prepared to jump higher and farther?
When we touch the ground, is it DEFEATED or PICK YOURSELF UP that really become the only thinking?
I found this: Infuse life with a sense of purpose which in turn would help to feel the things we are doing contribute to the world in some positive way. Assess which of the activities we are engaged in are actually things that add to value to our life and those of the people around us. Try to take a few minutes to reflect on how the things we do make us feel. We may notice, for example that even though we feel animated by some of your activities, they might not make us feel completely fulfilled. Contemplating this and perhaps even changing what we do could bring an added sense of worth to the way we spend your time.
Becoming aware of what we do with our time allows us to use it much more wisely. Sometimes it might seem like being busy is the best way to feel connected with the world, and because of this we might fill up our days with random activities that ultimately do not have much meaning for us. When we are more conscious of our pursuits, though, we begin to realize that it is much more important to do a few things conscientiously than many things haphazardly. Engaging in things that give our life meaning will truly energize and excite us.
Meet Chris Gardner...
(ahh... notice that? he has watch on both wrists! What does that mean to you?)
I do not know since when and from where I learn about believing in the unexpected potential. It is like deep down inside there is a flame burning and giving me the heat that every time I have challenges and obstacles standing before me it will start making me feeling all heated up and ready to become fearless.
It is much more like a self-ignite mechanism that trigger by itself whenever I am faced by blockage and I will do all I can just to push that wall down. Slowly did I realize: whether to push that wall down or walk around it is a matter of choice. In tasks, I always take the pushing; while in people, I've learned to take the latter path.
But deep down inside I believe in CONQUER.
It is either one way or the other to do it but most importantly: I've made it through and got rid of it successfully by never stop trying until I am over and beyond that problem.
Everything that comes in our face is meant only for one thing: to make us better.
This question popped into my mind and I took a deep thought about it. And then I start to wonder: What's easy anyway?
Every time we do something that we have never done before, we struggle. It is pretty natural because we still have not master it. With every effort we put in, we will see how we have grown with that dedication we hold strongly towards things.
We tend to prefer the kind of lifestyle whereby easy work but with great return. However, the truth is: if that's something practical, try picturing the mankind in Wall-E.
Is it difficult? IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE, SO TRY HARDER!
Me and my aunt was having this conversation in the car the other day. She was more like talking to herself but somehow she decided to make this thought available to me.
"What is it that we are here for? MONEY, everyone is working badly to make a life."
I replied, "Well not quite, I think. Money is meant to make a living, but it does not make life".
We yearn for money because we need to satisfy our living, which is piled up mostly with things we want than we need.
"EASY LIFE" perhaps is the term we commonly use these days.
While there are still many poor people having bad times putting food on the table; the rich are heart aching on their shrunk wealth over the lost on investment (which means they are still having huge amount of money) and the middle class people chased by the killing credits (by overspending the future money).
What is it that people here for? PAYING.
So if we make this an equation, saying: Living = Money Life = Paying Money thus Living Life = Money Paying Money
Guess my aunt is right about the definition of LIFE.
But, I'd say that it is not applicable to the total definition of LIFE because it is only "the life that most people want to live / choose to live".
So, if we want/choose a life built with satisfaction through tangible achievements, we ought to make it clear to our mind because it is after all OUR CHOICE.
I am feeling helpless because I wished I could show support in terms of making a significant contribution of effort in work and things. But I am still asked to stay back in giving strength and providing mind challenging thoughts and spirit awakening call only instead.
The exact opposite situation, on the other hand, whereby the determination and dedication to "get up and make things happen" is happening at the other side to transform a rather soft and tender person to become aggressive in all pursuit.
What I do best is no longer a tough thing to do, so what I need to learn is to move into things that I could not master to enrich myself.
Getting out from what-know-well and venture into new learning is not easy. Especially the earlier part. The idea of abandoning all the common knowledge & skills and start making attempts to do things that does not really promote comfortable feelings is difficult. But looking at the benefits and results to become a better person, all the hard work and challenges worth the work. After all, life itself contains a huge amount of content of things to learn, and this process of ongoing learning has no limitation of whatsoever. For as long as you are keen to learn, you are always being welcomed by more new things.
Balancing the clear thoughts with compassion is even more demanding. But for sake of better future, I am moving forward with no hesitance and no regret.
All it takes is just determination, commitment, dedication and persistence.
I came across this thought some time ago: If BOSS already know what's lying ahead of us, knowing that things will not work out because of the reason ahead, why'd she wants us to go through the things and end up not reaching the goal?
Well, obviously the universe heard me.
I received this article few days ago (reading taken from Daily OM).
Fully Committed to Now Why We Are Not Shown the Big Picture
Sometimes, we may find ourselves wishing we knew what our lives are going to look like or what gifts and challenges are going to be presented to us in the coming months or years. We may want to know if the relationship we're in now will go the distance or if our goals will be realized.
Perhaps we feel like we need help making a decision and we want to know which choice will work out best. We may consult psychics, tarot cards, our dreams, and many other sources in the hopes of finding out what the future holds. Usually, at most, we may catch glimpses. And even though we think we would like to know the whole story in all its details, the truth is that we would probably be overwhelmed and exhausted if we knew everything that is going to happen to us.
Just think of your life as you've lived it up to this point. If you are like most of us, you have probably done more and faced more than you could have ever imagined. If someone had told you as a child of all the jobs and relationships you would experience, along with each one's inherent ups and downs, you would have become overwhelmed. With your head full of information about the future, you would have had a very hard time experiencing your life in the present moment, which is where everything actually happens.
In many ways, not knowing what the future has in store brings out in us the qualities we need to grow. For example, it would have been difficult to commit yourself to certain people or projects if you knew they wouldn't ultimately work out. Yet, it was through your commitment to see them through that you experienced the lessons you needed to grow. Looking back on your life, you would likely be hard pressed to say that anything in your past should not have happened. In fact, your most challenging experiences with their inevitable lessons may have ultimately brought you the greatest rewards. Not knowing the future keeps us just where we need to be fully committed and in the present moment.
Went to bed quite late last night, so the early morning photo shooting session went down the drain because he couldn't have the heart to wake me up after seeing me in such a sleepy look. But my sleep was not long enough, at least not as long as he expect me to have because I got a sms from a friend asking if I would like to have breakfast together.
I looked at my watch, great, I practically have extra 30min in bed only.
It was great to have someone asking for breakfast, especially it's a Sunday morning. So I replied the sms and got up.
Got home about an hour later and it is too late to go back to bed because I have a full tummy and the sun is kinda friendly enough to keep people very warm. Read the newspaper for a while and realized "wow, time flies. It's lunch!"
I wasn't feeling hungry but he is, and so does John who just woke up.
We've decided to go across the bridge to have yam rice and since John has to catch the flight only in the evening so we thought of spending some time having fun visiting the new shopping mall.
Spent about 2 hours there and we moved on to another mall.
By 5.30pm, I already like a dead fish. Whoa, how can some people just shop and shop and shop none stop? I was totally like pass out as soon as I sit in the car because the tiredness and headache were driving me nuts.
Sent Shirmein home in order for her to catch family dinner and we went on to have curry fish head before sending John to airport.
Quite a fulfilling day, isn't it? Ya, with the whole journey wrapped up with John's long waiting just to develop a photo from his phone which he gives up finally because apparently the flight back is more important than waiting for the shopkeeper to reboot the machine!
Whew................. 9 plus, and I am going to sleep already! Good night everyone.
Ever heard of this blog-reading-level test? Well I was reading one my friends blog and he mentioned about the thing.
Since some friends told me that my blog's always filled with deep thinking thingy and always find it a little difficult to understand what I am trying to say (I still think it's because of my language instead of the content being deep. My friends are just too kind to hurt my feelings), so I check my level.
Here goes, the result. It proves that I am not deep and, yes my friends are kind enough.
And then I tried using my Chinese blog to check, guess what I get.
Whoa, really different wor!
(p/s: sorry, no advertising, I take off the link of that site)
Last weekend was a great one because my best friend since college time came to spend it with me. After so many years we've left the college we are still in endless topics to talk and joke. We kinda know what each other will say and definitely have no problem laughing all the way through. And Joie always repeating, "no wonder you both are best buddies".
Too bad her trip did not start well. She told me she had diarrhea in the morning (and she really could not hold that "door" tight enough to wait till she reach home. Ahh, yes, something just happened as what you thought), mistaken 2.30pm as 1.30pm, rushed to the bus station and the bus to LCCT was delayed, reached the airport but the flight was delayed too.
I waited to have dinner and end up having supper with her.
She was like "don't make me start again" when we were talking about the whole journey.
Of course I burst into laugh.
Basically we were like Siamese Twins for the 2 days, except I let her sleep alone in my bed and I take my brother's (and he has to go somewhere else). She said she snore, and she did on the second night.
She left on the 3rd day, having another god d*mn delay taking that red "everyone can fly" plane. And she said "that's it, no more flight with this stupid company".
Quite a while ago, I went to visit reverend and one thing that he mentioned that day actually trigger a very careful and thorough thought of mine.
"Photography isn't a good thing to do".
I did not say anything.
I listened all the way and went home to digest this statement he said.
After months, I saw this posting that Jenn made. It's about the conversation between her and reverend.
She asked, "how does one reads as well as letting go at the same time?"
He laughed and replied, "A good mind is a mind that works like a sieve, it is able to retain the things it needed and sieve away the ones it does not need. More importantly, a good mind - is one that is able to remember what it wants to remember and forget what it wants to forget. A photographic memory is not exactly that good to have as many old people suffer at their ending days because of their 'good' memory."
So I make the attempt to link the two plots together, trying a different understanding about the saying of "photography is not a good thing to do".
And then I think I know why reverend defined photography in such a way.
Often our head is filled with memories, just like the snapshots we take with camera. And then over and over they come out to play with our emotions either via some reminding incidents or recalls through looking the pictures.
It is true that the triggered emotions kill. Because whether smiling with tears or having grudge toward pains, we are still overwhelmed by emotions, which generates the feeling of not letting go and eventually end up in suffering.
However, I would quote reverend's word "sieve" in my opinion on valuating photography. We must not let the mind to allow photographic memory to dwell on the pains; rather to take the pictures as medium to tell the truth about life so that the emotions and feelings can flow through the veins without holding back.
Photography does not have to be solely on capturing people, it does not have to be the hook for memory to cling on nor the anchor that sinks all the feelings right to the bottom of our heart. It could be used as a very effective way in the Buddhism path - seeking the truth of life. It is very much like the "detachment" that reverend once told me - we would be able to see more when we are able to see not from our own point of view.
And I realize that both me and reverend are actually looking and defining PHOTOGRAPHY from different angle! He is emphasizing on the impact of photograph on people (suffering) while I am putting photography as way of explaining life so we can learn to detach.
Suddenly I wonder: what would happen if these two thoughts were put together?
It's a great lesson that I've learned from reverend's talk.
Amitabha, sadhu sadhu sadhu!
caption: taken during the Buddhism Charity Dinner (what do you see in this photo?)
We often take in too much for both the physical body and also the brain, and forgot to pass the excessive out. So, we tend to end up bloating most of the time because it is so difficult for the body and mind to digest so much with that very limited little room.
And then, diseases come to attack, penetrating the unprepared busy body and soul.
Isn't it true that all illnesses are what we asked for?
We shall, however, practice what Venerable JiXing said, "a good mind is a mind that works like a sieve, it is able to retain the things it needed and sieve away the ones it does not need.
More importantly, a good mind - is one that is able to remember what it wants to remember and forget what it wants to forget."
Sparing the room isn't wasting life. We can't get hold of anything when we are full.
I was flipping among the channels on Astro the other day, and I came across this movie called "Whisper" (ok, not that sanitary pad's brand). It's almost come to the end of the movie already but somehow the scene just caught my attention.
The lines go like this: Roxanne: what are you? David: I'm angel. ==== David: I'm just getting started here. Poor Roxanne, she thought I was an angel. You can't kill an angel. Max: a demon, maybe. David: Ah, but a demon is but an angel who fell. Like you are gonna fall, Max. Don't look so sad, killer. You're on the winning team now. No commandments. No guilt. I was sent for those that are desperate...I come to them when they are weak. When their lives are hopeless. When those they love reject them. I come to them, whisper in their ear, and I can be very convincing. Max: Why, David? Why all this? David: Casting for souls, Max. That's what I do. Max: And me? What do I do? David: You're as weak as the rest of them. So, be a good boy and put the gun to your head. Do it or hear my voice every moment of your life. It was a good game, Max.
What's the difference between angel and demon? Likewise, what's the difference between good and evil; or winner and loser? What determines the answer?
The light cannot exist without the company of shadow and darkness will be broken by a shed of light. Similarly, isn't it so that falling and rising are connected?
But I guess we get to choose the side we want.
Although we can't stop ourselves from falling sometimes (so that we get to rise up again), but don't dwell with darkness or stay in the shadow for long. It drowns, and sinking just isn't the answer. Why not? Because the negative has no life. Instead, it takes away the reason of living.
Believe me, I've seen that and I'm glad I pulled it through before it sucked me in.
Cast the light and let it be the guidance, not the shadow.