Continuum

001

There are years that ask questions and years that answer. ~ Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Having passed my 55th birthday last month makes me sometimes wonder what’s ahead for me. Frankly I’m not too worried about it as I’m happy with the way life is going so far. There’s a roof over my head, I have clothing, I make a decent living and most importantly I have health. And what about happiness? To quote a cliché, happiness is a state of mind—we decide how much and when we want to be happy. I’ve reached the point where I’m content to take each day as it comes, not glossing over the past or the future. Some days I’m on a high and conversely some days I’m not so…but even then there’s always something to be thankful for every day.

I’m grateful to the people who understand me and my weirdness (I say weirdness as a compliment to myself) I know my likes and dislikes and don’t make any apologies for them. I’m not a people-pleaser and I don’t have any intention to be one, not now, not ever. Instead, I like my own quirkiness (again, a quiet compliment to moi)

Life’s good so far.

Man in Motion

The only thing certain about life is…uncertainty. I don’t believe in fortune telling, horoscopes, palm reading, and all of that stuff. As I type this it’s cloudy outside, rain is falling occasionally, and I’m listening to some soothing David Foster. I have no idea where life is taking me, but this I know—I want to enjoy life…every precious moment of it, because I am life. This physical body will perish one day as it will for all of us, but I believe our spiritual essence will continue forever.

Some doors are opening, some are closing…sometimes a chilly wind blows and tries to make me shiver. All I can do is embrace and accept what’s coming. I need to venture out of my comfort zone, so to speak. I’ve grown so used to the solo life and being alone, but sometimes…well you never know what’s going to happen (and therein lies the beauty). As Rumi mentions, “What you seek is seeking you.” With the love I have in my heart I hope you’re out there, looking for me…as I am looking for you.

Soliloquy

A lot has changed in my life these past two years. For a start I got out of a very unhealthy relationship—it took a lot of guts and courage but I did it. It was initially very very stressful mentally, emotionally, and physically—to the point where I had to take some meds. And don’t forget the pain. That’s something that I wouldn’t want to go through again, ever. Pain however, is inevitable when going through a major crisis such as this. Suffering, as they say, is optional. Nonetheless, I suffered deep inside for a long time. Going through all this pain and suffering has taught me some good lessons though.

For one thing, I reconnected with something I had loved to do in the past—reading. I bought a whole ton of books and became a self-help junkie. I’ve read everyone from Eckhart Tolle to Regina Brett to Rhonda Byrne and many others. Believe me, they have all helped in their own extraordinary ways. I’ve simplified my life and jettisoned the excess baggage of the past. It’s only water under the bridge after all. There’s also no need to ponder about what the future will bring (I believe it will bring good things) because the only time we have is now.

Gratitude has become a way of life for me. Instead of moaning and complaining about what I don’t have I constantly remind myself to be thankful for what I do. Every day when I wake up and go to sleep at night I say a thank you to God and the universe. Try it, it works. Just finding even one thing to be thankful for every day will change the way you see life (and how life sees you!)

I’ve decided to run my own race, to pursue my own dreams…regardless of how others see it. I’m always grateful for the unflinching support I get from my small circle of close friends. As for those people who want to pass judgment about the way I run my life, well it’s really none of their business, is it.

Tempus fugit

The sudden demise of actress Brittany Murphy at the age of 32 makes me sad and sit up at the same time. Heck, my life was just starting at 32. It only goes to show that our time on this planet is extremely limited and transitory—we never know when it will be our turn to go. Lest this post becomes morose, let me detour and say a few things:

  1. The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is to love and be loved in return. How true this is. If you love someone (whether they know it or not, hopefully they do) then tell them this instant. Don’t wait for a second longer—you might not get the chance. Saying I love you from the heart is like saying thank you or please. Your special someone won’t get sick of it. And neither will you.
  2. If you want to do something (legal of course), then either do it now or plan for it. Me? I’m planning for a trip to a land far, far away…and because I’m not wallowing in cash, there are thousands of obstacles ahead of me. Nevertheless, I’m not giving up—someday my journey will begin and when it does, I’ll look back and say that it was all worthwhile.
  3. Life throws up some treacherous curveballs. Uh huh, some of them look like humongous icebergs to me. What are the icebergs in your life? A debilitating disease, unemployment, a divorce, etc. These things happen—it’s just how we take stock of them when they come our way or cross our paths. I know I’m fighting a huge one now, and it’s bound to get worse before it gets better. Still, I remember a good friend telling me this—“Better to have a painful end to a problem than a pain without end.”
  4. Money is hard to earn, but so very easy to spend. Perhaps people who are well-off hardly take note of or appreciate this fact. It’s just that sometimes, we need to treat ourselves. Not a wild shopping spree, mind you—a very calculated one, at least for me. Take my Dell laptop for instance. I’ve always been telling myself over the past years that having one was a luxury (albeit a very nice one) but a short while ago I decided to just go for it (after reading some reviews and research on the Internet) And guess what? I don’t feel guilty, in fact I feel good. We need treats every now and then.
  5. Love unselfishly, and learn to forgive and forget. Here’s another one of my favorite sayings for 2009—“If you harbor bitterness and resentment, happiness will dock elsewhere.” Wake up each day with a grateful heart and end each day likewise. It’s simple to say “Thank you, God” and mean it. No need for elaborate prayers as far as our heavenly Father is concerned. Spread kindness and happiness around, and don’t expect it to come back to you right away. Because somehow or other, it will eventually find its way back to you.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers. God bless you all.

It’s an ill wind that blows…

I recently went to the blog of one of my close friends, and to put it mildly, I was appalled to read that she was just having a lunch consisting of baked beans from a can, and two crackers. Reason being that she has a ton of bills to pay (don’t we all) and sadly food had to be placed way down on her list.

Then I look at my own situation here and I can’t help but feel something gnawing in my heart. I’m not rich, but my kitchen and fridge is stocked up with food, and the food caterer comes six days a week, bringing dinner to me. I have coffee, milk, rice, noodles, cookies, etc etc. It saddens me to know that my friend doesn’t even have all this stuff that most of us take for granted. Yes, I’m the one who buys it, but still I am thankful that I can afford this, even with the humongous bills that I have to settle every month, without fail. I just wish that I could just send her some provisions over the Internet!

It saddens me, but life can sometimes seem so unfair. I don’t envy people who are rich, but there’s only so much I can take when I see these people with their expensive cars, luxury penthouse suites, eating expensive dinners at hotels, etc. And here I am, trying to make every dollar and cent count, yet there are people who are in more dire straits than I can ever imagine.

So again, I have always resolved to be thankful to God for what I have—knowing that He will provide for me, in his own time and judgment. Meantime, even if I can’t contribute in cash, there are other ways I can enrich the lives of people I care about—a kind word, a smile, a listening ear, doing something without expecting anything in return, the list is endless. And hopefully providence will smile on me and grant what I really require in due course.

And my dear friend—I am praying for you, always.

The seeds of Truth and Honesty

My good friend Kelly sent this email to me and it was truly a thought-provoking story. So much so that I felt compelled to share it in a blog post. I hope you enjoy reading it.

A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.” The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today—a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by—still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil—he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful—in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!” All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!” When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed. Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.

“How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead—it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
* If you plant faith in GOD, you will reap a harvest

So be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

“Whatever you give to Life, Life gives back to you.”

   

It was the best of times…

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

 

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
English novelist (1812 – 1870)

The above quotation by Dickens came into my mind on the eve of my 48th birthday. My life has had some high points and some low ones. At the moment it’s more of the latter. The world (and mine) appears to have dark clouds hanging almost everywhere. Buyouts and hurricanes in the U.S., tainted milk products in China, bombings in Pakistan, the list goes on and on. And what do we have here in Malaysia? Rising fuel costs, soaring inflation, bickering politicians, etc. Dickens was describing the French Revolution with his quote above, but I think it’s almost eerie that he could be describing our century too.

I feel so discouraged when I see other people spending like there’s no tomorrow, and here I am, trying to save every nickel and dime. Anyway, I have to keep my chin up, and not let depression take over. Try to improve my blog and website, play some piano, go for morning walks…while waiting for the swimming pool to be ready. Trying to view my glass as half-full.

Behind every cloud there’s a silver lining…I’ll just have to hang in there.