Devout

I had a chance to talk to a deeply religious friend facing a health crisis. She recounted her trials and I was surprised when she mentioned how she questioned why she was having these trials. It surprised me that she is like the majority of religious people I know who waver in their faith when fced with trials.

I am not religious but I do believe in a god. I never questioned why my life turns out the way it does. Not when my father was suddenly taken away from this world without any warning. Not when my mother passed away after a difficult 6months after diagnosis of an illness. It is the will of god.

I too suffer on occasions but it does not overwhelm because the most time that i dwell on the imagined injustice is overnight. By the next day i am over the shock or worry of the initial discovery/incident. By accepting what has happened it is easier to move forward to better times.

When my own time comes, i have prepared myself for so long that if given a chance to die after an illness i will prepare everyone for my departure. I will not question why it happens. I will not dwell on my suffering. I will just let go and enjoy my last days. If i am fortunate to have time to prepare.

Catholic, protestant, buddhist – they are all the same. The people i know, when faced with a crisis – they asked if they had done something bad to deserve the misfortune they are facing.

And i had to tell my friend not to think that way. Because if that were the case, how does one explain babies and children dying from painful illnesses? How does one explain philippine politicians?

Three is a Crowd

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When my bonsais were babies, I tried grouping some by 3s. See how it would grow. Well now they have grown and it is getting crowded. The plants are less healthy than the twos or the singles. And the roots are not expanding as fast as the doubles or the singles. So today I took out one to give the remaining two room to grow. Now I know, three in a pot is a bad idea.

Much like life, unless the third is the offspring, three in a setting is difficult to maintain. Growth in each one is cramped and potential is limited. 

 

 

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Double is good, the art of intermingling gives it deeper and more interesting shapes

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single is also good. The roots are freer to grow.

The Other World

I was talking to an acquaintance during a lull in the local festivities and for some reason it veered towards religion. Like where I go to church and why don’t I go to the church … the likes.

Acquaintance was telling the story of how several years back she was searching for peace in her life but now she is settled with Christianity. She puts the spirit world in a bad light, how being open to them opens you up also to evil.

I have always been a believer of the other world; of spirits and the enchanted world. O’s third eye is open and he is sensitive to the spirit world. I try to be but I seem to be too rational to feel them. I consider them friendlies and do not fear them. When weird things happen, talking to them seems to help and ease the unexplained stuffs.

Acquaintance has now closed her third eye and extols the virtue of having a narrow mind in terms of religious belief. It is less prone to temptation and the focus strengthens her beliefs.

It is a different view and I respect her views. It made me realize that mine is not the only view and being open is not necessarily good for other people. Some people prefer to be on the straight and narrow. Some people want the comforts of the familiar. Some people do not want to explore.

I do not believe in any religion but I do believe that we are one. One with each other and one with the world. A kind of new age mumbo-jumbo. *smile* Maybe it is mumbo jumbo but it is real for me.

To be one with everyone, I have to listen and accept. I will not change her to my way of thinking. I will not convince her as I hope she won’t convince me to attend church services.

It was an interesting night.

Anti-social

Lately I haven’t been keen on meeting some people. I don’t mind meeting people related to our business or people related to the NGO I am connected with. It is mostly with high school friends and some college friends. Although to be fair, I thoroughly enjoyed myself when Pink suggested we meet with some dorm friends. It’s just that the idea of reconnecting with friends never occurred to me.

The other night I had time free so decided to join a gathering of high school friends. It was ok. Although when they planned our christmas reunion, I hemmed and hawed. I didn’t actually commit to attending but they presumed I did. I didn’t correct them. For now, I really have no intention of going to that reunion. But who knows what will happen on the day itself.

I realised that aside from my dorm friends, I really don’t enjoy socialising with “friends”. I realised that it is more interesting interacting with acquaintances or strangers.

Mad was right when she said that I am not open. It is difficult for me to open up and have a deep friendship with anyone. Only O has probably stayed long enough to have allowed me to thaw and share my deepest thoughts. And yet even with him, sometimes I hesitate to go all the way because he might misunderstand.

Probably the only reason I have stayed on very good terms with the barkada is because we rarely see each other. Even with me and Pink in the same city, we rarely hang out although we do have occasional chikka moments.

So maybe I am anti-social. Maybe it is more pronounced now because at my age, I am no longer as concerned about what other people think.

Silly Stuff

Probably because I aim to be a logical rational person with a streak of the practical, I have a soft spot for silliness.

Silly stuffs lower down my defenses. And when my defenses are lowered, I become the opposite of what I am.

My head will say thankfully those times are rare but my subconscious seeks the silliness once in a while. 

Like now, I do miss the silly times of the past. I wonder when the next episode will pop up?

Silence

I was invited to a quasi government meeting. A sort of advisory council. 

While not much happened during the meeting, mostly talk that went nowhere, I was happy to attend. It showed me a different format of a meeting. Not the usual that I attended. It was a different interaction; much what you would get if there was no clear direction or position on what the council was about. Words were thrown about. Just words that sounded nice but seemed to have no teeth.

It took a bit of an effort to be silent. It is not so difficult for me now. Unlike in my youth where I sometimes could not control my emotions and would also join in the cacophony of voices. 

I kept silent because number 1, I was not yet a member and I didn’t really know what the council was about. Number 2, I didn’t know the people involved. Number 3, I saw that it was pointless to share my ideas and thoughts. I spouted safe ideas being careful not to antagonise or belittle anybody. Who am I after all?

I have realised that it is more difficult to be silent when you know the real score but by revealing it you risk embarrassing some people. 

I am silent now on Facebook. Sometimes I press like, sometimes I share ballet photos but I no longer update my status. Some people in my friends list have polarising views about our new president. Best to be silent on social media and just share my opinions during actual private conversations. I find that sharing opinions during a party or an actual conversation is less antagonistic than sharing on Facebook. Maybe because most people forget the minutiae of the conversation after the fact while you have your status update up for all to read and reread hours, days, months even years from now.

Whatever, I find prudence in being silent. And I will keep it that way for now. I do not like conflicts. 

No Tree

We have no christmas tree this year. For the first time in my life, I will be welcoming christmas without a tree. I do have a nativity scene, a christmas wreath and little santas all over our living and dining room.

Last year none of my boys helped in putting up and decorating the tree. Nobody seemed to be excited over the gifts under the tree. So, this year I decided it would be a good way to follow my life philosophy of living simply “omnia mea mecum porto”. Maybe start a new tradition of not following tradition.

My boys will be home in a few days and our family together for the holidays is more than enough to celebrate christmas. There will be less gifts this year, instead there will be a vacation to Taiwan. Bonding with the family.

I like this. I got me more free time for the stuff that I feel are more important.

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I’m Out

Lately I have feelings of sadness. Not personal. But a general feeling of being down.

A while back O and I were trailing a military truck ferrying young baby-faced soldiers in full battle gear with their M16s by their side. We were in a small town outside of the city, a town near the mountains where some communists/bandits still operated. I felt sad. I wanted to wave at them and give them a thumbs up. But I hesitated and the opportunity was lost.

I was sad that part of their lives now would mean going without proper rest and food for days. That danger of losing limbs or worse, their lives was very much real. Sad for their general future.

And then I got home to the internet with several of my “contacts” posting very politicised views. Sad that my country is divided.

And then I read about America and the liberals’ protests. And that deepened my sadness. The world is disturbed. And I feel the pain.

I deactivated my main Facebook account. I just wanted to step off this world.

It is difficult to have empathy. Too much feelings swirling around disturbs me.

Everpresent Death

Whenever I travel by plane or go on a motorcycle ride, I always think if this might be my last day. I imagine a crash. I imagine hitting a car head on if on a motorcycle. I wonder if death will be instantaneous. I wonder how I will die.

I do not fear death. But I do feel sad for my youngest son if I should pass away suddenly. He has just started his teen-age years. The older two will be better equipped to handle such an event. To the best that I can, I have arranged my documents and I have written down a list of secret places and passwords.

I am always thankful if a trip passes uneventfully. I thank god, sometimes I thank the fates that I have survived another week, another month, another year. The rare times I pray, I only pray to give me one more year with my family. Just until they are somewhat ready for my passing.

I don’t think it’s morbid. I talk to the boys about what would happen if I should die. They know I want to be cremated. They know I don’t particularly care what kind of service to have during my wake and my inurnment. After all I don’t believe in heaven so it shouldn’t matter what kind of religious service they hold. They also know I don’t want white flowers. Pink, orange, peach, lavender – I want those. And if they must because society might not look at them kindly, then they can wear white but only for the duration of the wake. But I would rather they don’t.

Again a paradox, the constant thought of dying makes me appreciate life more. Life should be lived without regrets. I have found the middle ground to materialism and detachment. I am satisfied at how my life has been lived. Sometimes there is a wish for more but it is precisely that tension that keeps life interesting.

And life has been interesting. I have no complaints.

 

 

Realising a Paradox

I finally realised how to apply paradoxes in my life.

To appear graceful and light, you need to apply strength. To want something in life you must learn to let go.

Finally in my middle ages I discover that appearing fragile and graceful in dance needs all the tension I can muster in my arms. Control is the key to being light. It is counterintuitive but I only fully embraced this technique in dance after much thought. And I realised that many satisfying things that have happened in my life have come about because of counterintuitive moves.

I finally found my partner in life after giving up finding and letting things be.

Our best strategy so far in business is doing the opposite to what common finance ideas dictate.

My childhood dream of being president of a particular company was achieved after I decided it was not that important.

In all these events, I have simply realised that I should not rely too much on what can be seen, on what is perceived, on what is acceptable. I find that life is all the richer by doing the opposite and letting go. Only once in a while. I still need to conform to some dictates of society because I still enjoy the benefits that conforming sometimes bring.