Soliloquy – An Anguished Soul Speaks Out

You get stuck. Again. Something makes you stuck.  As ever.

And this perhaps is why you never can get your blog off.  Why you can’t attract as much traffic as you want to. As you need to.

Fear. Yes, fear is what keeps you from writing with your whole heart and soul. From conveying as much as you want to – in the way you want to express yourself.

You’re afraid of giving a piece of your mind about issues that matter today.

COURAGE – this is what you ought to have. Yet…

Now look at this quote — it’s supposed to inspire a trying-hard writer like you. Oops, never be too harsh on yourself. Please.

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.”  — Robert Cormier

 

But it doesn’t really apply to you, right? In the context this post is about?

All you can think of now is how saddening to see how much the world today is ripping itself apart. Hatred. Violence. Injustice. Destruction of the environment. Loss of respect. Enmity between kin.  Apathy towards others. So much division, disunity, disintegration. So much Evil…

Others may tell you – hey,  this has been happening since time immemorial.

Yes. So you push back and ask —  why then has humanity not learned anything at all from the lessons of history? Is humanity that hardened, dense, fragile, weak …or just plain overcome with EGO? Must we just tolerate the negatives within and around us?

You start to feel at times your faith – in God and in humanity —  slipping. Especially when you read the news. The bad news all over. Or reading ugly debates on social media. You try to avoid these as much as you can. Yet you cannot totally do so.

There — you’ve bared your soul. You’ve expressed somehow that pain in your heart.

This one seems to be a perfect guide for you — by Leonard Cohen

“Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.”

And this is your reflection for now. You do NOT have to be as gifted as others nor try to be like them. For as long as you speak out your Truth. That’s your Life Purpose. Just be your Authentic Self.

For from Love and Goodness you have been created. SO it is upon you to answer that call to be the image of the ONE who has created you and the rest of the Universe. That’s being authentic.

Your authentic self is meant to provide light to those you meet on your life’s pathway. But it’s still your Choice.

To let the LIGHT from within you to radiate to others. And give Hope. It is upon you to share that hope. As you journey with others. You encourage others to grow into the best person they can ever be — by being the best you can ever be too because you have that hope in your heart. You choose to be that kind of person.

Yes you feel anguished, helpless, hopeless about the state of affairs in society. You even start to think that animals have become more civilized than humans, transcending their very nature of just living for themselves. You see how different species – enemies by nature -unexpectedly learning to co-exist peacefully and enjoy each other’s presence. You see and hear of stories of loyalty and love pet animals provide their owners.

Yet do not despair. Remember? Despite humanity’s brokenness and because of that very crack in humanity, the LIGHT of the World has come to save, to redeem us all.

It means despite our brokenness as  human being because we are not perfect – just like everyone else — there is that spark of Light within each of us. Within you.

Still in your own capacity, and with God’s grace – you can help bring the Light, and Hope, and Faith to others. It behooves upon you to rise above your own frustration and anger at what is happening in the world to spread even  a ripple of kind thoughts or deeds.

In whatever way you can. Through your writing perhaps. But remember  you can only do this with LOVE in your heart. Spread the message of love, hope, and joy, especially as it is almost the Season of that LOVE that has come to save.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…  — 1 John 4:18

 

9 Nuggets of Wisdom Harvested from Farmville

For some years, I was busy planting crops, fruit trees, vegetables and a rich variety of plants on my moderate-sized farm, which I also surrounded with ornamental plants, shrubs, and trees to make my farm look inviting.

a corner of my farm…
my farm grew in size and changed landscape every so often…
an aerial view of my almost crowded farm…

I also raised farm animals, like hens, cows, pigs, horses, and took care of some domesticated animals like cats.

Through time, I was able to grow my farm, even building structures inside, until it looked more like an estate fit for royalty. <BIG Laugh> Continue reading “9 Nuggets of Wisdom Harvested from Farmville”

Our Garden of Life

Leonard Nimoy tweeted, “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”

Sometimes when I see a beautiful flower in full bloom, I am tempted to pick and put it in a vase to enjoy it. Yet flowers stay longer right where they are until their petals close, wilt and fade. Sometimes in the best of moments, we forget to capture it in a photograph — yet perfect moments we experience are sometimes better left untouched, spared by the camera, and kept private.

Can we ever capture enough of the joy or pain, or the happiness or sadness of a moment? Many times, they remain just as beautiful or poignant, or hurtful pressed in the deep recesses of our hearts and minds, much like pressed or dried flowers…

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Image Source
Image Source

This indeed is our garden of life. The journey we take, with all our experiences, good or bad, is the garden plot in which we sow seeds of growth in a variety of ways —

These are the flowers we cultivate as we nurture the garden of our lives into full bloom – developing ourselves, cultivating our potentials until we reach our full flourishing. So as we dig deeper into the soil, the foundation of our spiritual selves, we also weed out what can hinder our personal growth.

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Image Source

Each of our experiences, the people we have and encounter, are unique on their own, and provide for us an enriching life – despite the mud, thorns and prickly bushes —

 

These are mistakes we make, the hurts we cause or are caused by others, the toxic people we sometimes meet — all these provide us invaluable lessons and insights so we become stronger, better persons.

Our failings do not necessarily mar the beauty and dignity of our persons, just as thorns do not mar the beauty of a rose…

And life still remains beautiful!

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Note: I first published this post in 2015, and this is my revised edition (2018): new title, new photos and with minor edits.

3 Life Lessons from Photography

Indeed, “Life is like photography.” As another oft-quoted line goes, “You use /need the negatives to develop.” 

 

This truth struck me while watching the early morning scene outside the window.

 

Truly, there’s beauty in an image or in the scene before you – when there’s a balanced rendering of light and shadow. A captured image or the real scene before you is rendered more beautiful with its shadows – making it more dramatic or captivating.

In life, light and shadow are both essential – light being the good, positive things we experience, and shadow being the bad, negative ones. Without our ups and downs, we cannot truly grow.

It’s during our lowest point do we learn fresh insights, gain more wisdom – all these helping us to get up and move on. To let us rise up from the ashes of our ‘decay’ and fly again like a phoenix.

Our lowest-point experiences: the sad, bitter, painful life situations; the struggles and frustrations – all these make us appreciate our good times, our blessings, our gifts which we often fail to consider when we’re happy or content; when everything’s in our favor.

Our sufferings can motivate us to become better persons. They can also lead us to be more appreciative of ourselves – with all our light and shadows, as well: the good and bad aspects in us, that make up who we are.

My daily practice with my camera — shooting scenes of nature, the urban landscape, people, house pets, and objects – has sharpened my power of observation, letting me notice more keenly even the minutest of details, such as the slant of shadows as sunlight strikes the earth at different hours of the day.

What fascinates me most is the constant change in the way the same scenes before me are being played out second after second, minute by minute, hour after hour, day in day out.

Each passing time brings about change — slight or dramatic — depending on how light and shadow fall on anyone, anything around me. I’ve developed a keener awareness of what’s happening in my immediate environment all because I’ve learned to use my power of observation.

In the process, I’m discovering, learning more new things. Indeed, there’s so much beauty around.

Most clear – all the beauty I see around does not stay that way all the time!

Nothing’s permanent no matter how beautiful it is. So are the negative things in our lives and in ourselves.

Three important lessons we can derive from this:

  • First, we shouldn’t be too attached to anything in life, not even with the people in our lives.

Too much attachment can only cause more pain, more frustration – because it makes us expect or demand more. Just. Let. Be. A much wiser thing to do.

  • Second, we should not despair over the worst in ourselves, for there’s always HOPE for us to become better. And the sad, painful, or bad things that happen? All these, too, shall pass away.

Besides, our negative experiences make us stronger, wiser, more mature. These are opportunities we can use to grow into the finest version of ourselves and learn how to better handle such situations. Each of our life experiences is a time of discovering the truth of ourselves — the good, the bad, the ugly.

  • Finally, discovering our truth, we can choose to highlight the beauty and goodness within us because after all, we are truly beautiful creatures of God, who made us in His likeness and being. Just like how seemingly ugly a landscape is, when light is cast upon it, its beauty shines or it becomes more attractive.

Still, we need to recognize our weak points, so we can overcome these, and let our innate beauty as human persons shine.

Realizing both the good and the bad in us, we see ourselves in a better perspective, in a better light. We grow to understand, accept, and love ourselves more.

And this is how we learn to view, appreciate, and love others as well.