“Poems are made by fools like me, but only GOD can make a tree.” ~~ Joyce Kilmer
“The wound is the place where Light enters you.” ~~ Rumi
Unusual, this week’s photo challenge of The Daily Post ~~
I call this Shamrock my “butterfly” plant, as you can see from its shape, quite unique for me.
From dusk to early morn, its deep purple petals close to sleep away the night, just like how many flowers do. Its tiny lilac flowers make this plant even more special.
Then one afternoon, perhaps due to the close angle shot I took– my Shamrock “butterfly” plant gave me a picture of an unusual form. See it?
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.
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>
I did ALL these on most nights, and more so, on the weekends. Full of excitement, I’d rush home from school each evening, hurriedly finishing some chores, and teacher’s stuff, so I could sit at my desk, relax in front of my laptop to begin playing the much in-demand game at the time: FARMVILLE, by the Zynga Company. The original version, no less.
Each harvest I made, each acquisition and expansion I did, would of course send thrills up and down my spine – as if it were real. You know that feeling? If only my students then knew how their strict teacher who’d make them cry in class would transform into a giddy child with this game. And guess who would share my excitement of farming? Who else, no other than my ever patient and bemused Dad…Hahaha!
At first, he would only indulge me as he listened nonchalantly to my endless tales of feeding my livestock, tilling the soil, planting, watering, fertilizing, then reaping the fruits of my diligent efforts, and of decorating and expanding my beloved farm.
Then as he saw how little by little my farm was growing, and getting more enticing by the day, my Dad also became just as thrilled. As if my farm were real, and my life depended on it.
Yet, Farmville was also a tiring game in the sense that you’d have to be patient in waiting for the new crops, plants and trees to grow, blossom, and bear forth so that you can harvest heaps and heaps of blooms, vegetables, and fruits — for your own use, or for storage, or for sale in your own yard. You’d have to do all the things a real farmer does on his real farm, and more.
With that said, I did come to harvest a lot – a bushel of life’s wisdom. I never realized it at first, but deeper into the game, I thought this might really be the goal of the game. So, here are some nuggets to share.
- Patience. That’s the #1 lesson I learned. You cannot hurry things if you want to achieve your goals well. No shortcuts. You need to be thorough. Otherwise, your crops wilt; your animals die.
- Perseverance. You need to persevere no matter how hard the task is. If you want to reach your goal, don’t quit.
- Focus. When you have a goal to reach, distract yourself not by any challenges you meet. Instead, use them to your advantage, as you keep moving forward to your aim. Also, do not listen to naysayers. Just keep moving on.
- Cooperation. You cannot grow or prosper by your own efforts alone. It is often through joint efforts with others — your family, neighbors, community — that you can achieve your shared vision, shared goals. Harvest is sweet, as you reap the fruits of shared toil.
- Diligence. Water the plants of your dreams with constant work and tireless effort. You cannot succeed in life if you easily give up or fail to do your part. Your dreams will not just fall down from the sky.
- Creativity. Living life is an art, so be creative in your approach in building up your dreams as you make them come true. Strive to be unique. Use your own individuality to express yourself and inspire others to better themselves.
- Helpfulness. You gain more when you help others achieve their goals. Not only will you build good relationships and good vibes, but you can count on others when time comes you need help.
- Time consciousness. Far from just the cliché that the early bird catches the worm, being on time for all your important activities – getting to school or work, seeing a doctor at a first sign of illness, resolving family or money issues, and even throwing garbage out — can save you from troubles.
- Investing wisely. Farmville has shown that without spending more, you cannot grow your farm. So it is in real life, you cannot become rich or wealthy if you do not invest your money wisely. You need to cultivate the mindset of an entrepreneur so you can harvest even in lean times.
So there you are…just some of the choicest harvests from my “farm” @Farmville. I don’t think there’s any other online, social media game that can come quite close to it.
The depths of the human heart always long for silence and solitude. ~~ Felix O. Magallanes
I speak for myself and these words ring true for me. I need to connect with my inner self for my spiritual nourishment. It may be because I’m reflective by nature. My energy easily depletes when I cannot find even a little time for silence. Silence.
Perhaps in the busyness of their lives, they haven’t yet journeyed deep within where they could seek the real meaning of their lives. For it is in the stillness of the human heart that discernment takes places. It is where one can communicate with the Higher Being, or for us Christians, with the Holy Spirit and listen to the voice of God.
In the stillness of the human heart also comes the rumblings of the soul as it takes in all the negativity that whirl around – the world being an imperfect place. And the soul cannot hush itself as long as the cries of the anguished are ignored. For deep within the human heart is the thread that binds each to one another.
To better appreciate this truth, and to encourage us to find a deeper mission in our lives, here is an excerpt from John O’Donohue, whose books, such as “Anam Cara,” “Eternal Echoes,” and “Divine Beauty” are – in the words of one of my nun-friends – consoling and reassuring to read…that calls and awakens all that is noble in the human heart.
THE VOICE OF YOUR OWN SOUL
When you take the time to draw on your listening-imagination, you will begin to hear this gentle voice at the heart of your life. It is deeper and surer than all the other voices of disappointment, unease, self-criticism and bleakness. All holiness is about learning to hear the voice of your own soul. It is always there and the more deeply you learn to listen, the greater surprises and discoveries that will unfold. To enter into the gentleness of your own soul changes the tone and quality of your life. Your life is no longer consumed by hunger for the next event, experience or achievement. You learn to come down from the treadmill and walk on the earth. You gain a new respect for yourself and others and you learn to see how wonderfully precious this one life is. You begin to see through the enchanting veils of illusion that you had taken for reality. You no longer squander yourself on things and situations that deplete your essence. You know now that your true source is not outside you. Your soul is your true source and a new energy and passion awakens in you.
Excerpt from BEAUTY
You may want to read and digest more inspiring quotes from John O’Donohue through this link.
I love this in particular: “If you send out goodness from yourself, or if you share that which is happy or good within you, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times. In the kingdom of love there is no competition; there is no possessiveness or control. The more love you give away, the more love you will have.” ― John O’Donohue,
The simple gift of self is the greatest gift of all.
The above quote is from a reflection contained in the book, “Thoughts In Solitude: Capturing the Essence of Being Human” by Felix Berto O. Magallanes, in which the author speaks of sharing oneself to others not just utter words, communicating our very being, and expressing our inner feelings, to share […] as we would to one who is not totally “other,” but is part of oneself.
The most profound example of this giving of self is God’s self-giving – sending His Only Begotten Son to be born in a humble manger to become one of us. And again, as the Son’s total obedience to the Father, Jesus Christ gave up His life on the Cross in atonement for our sins and to redeem humanity.
It’s Advent. So it’s an opportune time to reflect on this wonderful gift of God’s Love, which we Christians are called upon to exemplify in our daily life by sharing our blessings with others, for example.
To help us ponder on the message of God’s self-, sacrificing-love, here are more words of wisdom about the Blessedness of Self-Giving. What I understand as the main point in the author’s reflection is that of humility. The giving of self without the temptation to seek glory, except for the Glory of God. And aside from the perfect example of Christ, the writer also mentions about Paul: With lowliness of mind, with tears, with trials, coveting no man’s silver or gold or apparel, but caring for himself and his companions by daily labour at his trade, he gave himself to teaching publicly and from house to house, going about preaching the kingdom.
I also came upon this insightful article on self-giving love. It invites us to think about these important questions: According to the writer, only each of us can find the answers. Yet, at the same time, the article helps us ponder more deeply:
I’d like to add my own thoughts on self-giving; I also believe – as in the 2nd reflection I mentioned above – that the sincerity of our giving is clothed in humility, without vainglory. This truth struck me one time I was browsing through my social media news feed.
I couldn’t help noticing the postings of friends wherein they shared about the charitable activities they were doing for their respective orgs. There is nothing wrong with that. Their generosity and active participation in community-building are inspiring, encouraging, uplifting.
So just a timely reminder for us — that while we give ourselves in service to others, let Humility live in our hearts – to restrain ourselves from bragging about the good we do for others. There’s a thin dividing line between sharing in order to inspire and sharing in order to seek people’s praises and recognition.
In our self-giving, may God’s praise suffice.
My heart bleeds for all children of violence and injustice
in the world – dying because rulers and ideologues fight
and cling to their dominance —
people are mere pawns in their brutal games of chess
Pity the parents who cannot protect their young
from the ravages of war, famine and tyranny;
from flimsy excuses of leaders to install autocracy
just to hoard the wealth that should belong to all;
from leaders with only disdain and contempt
for their own people
The earth is carpeted
with the blood of innocents;
blackened with soot from burning flames of hatred, greed and power
Has humanity indeed descended to the lowest of pits
to take the place of beasts
who now transcend their nature to become more
noble, loyal and compassionate?
Hear the voice of the just O Lord
their cries are our pleas to you O God of Mercy
when will your Justice ever reign over us?
To separate the sheep from the goats
and spare our beloved lands from becoming a vast wilderness
If this is how the world will go on living its days
I dare pray the Almighty to please stop allowing more infants to be born
O Mighty God, Ruler of All
The fate of the innocents yet to see the light
seems doomed —
to suffer indignity or apathy from the hands of their own
flesh and blood —
or if not, what kind of life would they have in
a world where disparity and cruelty rule
When can those in authority recognize their time on
earth is limited
that they have to face You O Lord in
the Great Day of Reckoning!
The wombs of the earth shake with silent rage from
the depths of hallow graves of innocents
they await Your Great Justice O Lord
When will people’s tears crystallize
into steely resolve to snatch their rights and dignity
from oppressors —
Your Armor send to your dying
children in Allepo, here and elsewhere, we beseech You!
I know I’m smart, but I don’t sound smart when I write. I know I’m intelligent, but I don’t want to sound all-knowing or intellectual. I know I’m fun to be with, but I don’t want to sound like fun.
I’m a serious person – but I don’t want to sound too staid or flat when I write. I want my articles to be able to speak to you, move you, make you react or comment. You may give me pointers or feedback or anything as long as we can strike up a conversation. To create a ripple among other readers, I hope.
I want my blog to have a far reach – especially among people my age – but anyone is most welcome. I want my blog not only as a repository of my reflective thoughts on life in general. But of opinions on issues that matter around the world today. More so with the kind of world we have today that abounds with hatred, violence, lack of civility, and the like.
But I don’t want to write about anything political or of current events. Maybe just an opinion or two about some issues. Maybe just to influence some thinking and inspire some deep conversation.
I feel shy or embarrassed whenever I tell people I write in my own blog because I feel my writing lacks something. Perhaps what they say as personality or voice. Hence what I’m doing now is an exercise to find my own voice.
I know I write with sense – but I see now it lacks chutzpah. What can I do to add some life to my pieces?
Okay. I’m writing now to you my dear friend. You know me well enough, and one thing I like is I’m able to make you laugh because I’m witty, smart. There – I’ve just found two adjectives I want my blog to sound like: WITTY, SMART (not trying hard nor trite).
I also wish my blog to sound cool, soft and flowing – peaceful and serene. Because a deep part of myself longs for quiet and calm. Like meditative sounds in the background — that’s how I long my blog to sound like.
I came across this quote; somehow it makes sense.
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
Surely most of you have found yourselves at one task, yet your mind was elsewhere. I guess this is a normal part of a busy person’s life. Or of the modern person.
And many of us are not even aware that our thoughts drift, here and there. We seem to be always running after time. Catching our breaths. Cramming so many things within a short span. Mindless doing.
We lack attention. Our focus is elsewhere. We tend to think of what we have to do next.
Such is the illness that plagues our modern times. Our time has become more stressful due to the Noise that comes with our wired space/environment.
Hence, we destroy our bodies. We burden our minds. And we sap our spirit. No wonder why the world seems to experience these health conditions more and more: depression, anxiety, cancer, and other diseases.
We often forget: the best way to heal ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, is in our Being at the moment. In being present in the Here-and Now. In being mindful of our task at hand. Enjoying our life at the moment. Leaving past aches behind. Not worrying about tomorrow.
We are given ONE LIFE to live. We have only this moment — Now. Life becomes more Meaningful; Fruitful; Enriching — if we try to live in the moment. Not rushing headlong into the far unknown, nor being stuck or fixated on the past. (Of course, this does not mean not cherishing good memories and forgetting life’s invaluable lessons gained).
A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people?
Thus goes a writing prompt on Word Press’ The Daily Post sometime ago…and as I ponder, I find not one right number of people to include in a meaningful conversation. It depends perhaps on the purpose or setting.
For instance, in social gatherings in the family, or in school, or at work, the more, the merrier seems to be a good dictum to follow. But then one should not expect a meaningful exchange of ideas, thoughts or feelings…it’s just an avenue to keep up with each other, or feel/pretend like one belongs, not as an intruder or outcast. Sometimes big social events have this intimidating effect on me.
Mostly in this setting, it’s more fun to observe where the ball is rolling. Listen carefully and one isn’t sure if she can get the flow..each seems to be waiting to throw their own ball in this verbal ping-pong interaction that often results in a cacophony of voices that falter to meaningless ‘Ohs’, ‘ahs’ ‘uhmmmms I see’…Anyone can just drift in or out…And no one seems to mind. Have you ever experienced something like this. Did it also make you feel awkward?
A lively group discussion can be had though when there’s a meeting of the minds – no matter what the topic or where the discussion takes place — at home over dinner, in the classroom, in the gym, on the street corner — you can sense people in the group are having a great time debating, arguing, or simply exchanging views, because each one listens and responds accordingly, and each has learned something. That’s the biggest take away.
Hence, I’d say it’s not really how many people that matters to make a conversation good or meaningful. For as long as each participant gets into the flow, each voice speaks up, each gives a listening ear, making everyone feel good about themselves and the interactive moment, then it’s good, for it brings out the best in each in the group.
Sometimes, the Muses come visiting at unexpected moments, just like in the early hours this morning. Thus this reflection-poem of mine came to be.
Waking up at dawn
I see darkness around
Only flickering lights
Beaming from buildings afar
Cast a shimmering glow
to everything below
For a second I wonder –
Who’d need the stars?
Nothing ever though
the Wondrous shine from
Those heavenly bodies…
in that hour,
Blackness covers the sky.
Sleep still tugging at me
I recline on the seat
By the window
and turn my gaze
at the sleeping city
beneath my feet…
Everything is still
Save for the rumblings
in my mind
which I quell
by my Prayers
Gazing by the window
Could there be any other soul
Brooding as I do
Over the vast view
of our side of the metropolis…
Or perhaps someone
from his own window
Watching the world outside?