It was Friday evening last week. We were heading to a weekend. I always love weekend. I decided to hang out after office hour. Just a spontaneous decision. I went to the nearest a hang-out place. The building is not modern and really big one but so cozy. It has coffee shops, restaurants, bakery, juice counter, stationary shop and also pharmacy on ground floor and first floor. It has a cinema and a gym on the third floor. It also has an outdoor park with little ponds and a fountain. It is my favorite place for a my short break from office.
It has become a good meeting place for many people especially during lunch time and after office hours. And the good thing is that it is only a walking distance from my office.
I thought I needed a self-reward, I decided to enjoyed my favorite drink at the nearest Starbucks Coffee, alone. I was sitting in one of the corners, in a long wooden table, facing a big glass window in front of me. I can see people were passing by through the window. Trust me, I really enjoyed it.
I realized that it was the everyday scene before the pandemic. I had missed this scene for a long time. There was so much joy inside me. I wishpered to myself ‘The vibe is back’.
This week school started here. The covid cases has been relatively ‘under controll’ here, more and more people have been vaccinated. I myself have got my second jab a few weeks ago. The school started on Monday. So it has been a week. This morning I met some elementary students in their boy scout uniform walking back from school. I saw one little boy which his daddy walking behind him carrying his school backpack. This scene was so nice.
Looking at them walking back from school, I was feeling so happy. They have been waiting for this for more than three semesters or so. I couldn’t hide the excitement inside though I am not a student anymore. I was so sure that those kids were more excited than me. It is said that student life is the best life. I think I agree with whoever said this.
I have left my school days long long time ago. But I couldn’t hide the excitement inside me. I asked one of the boys ‘are you happy going back to school?’ He said that he liked it.
Nature never fails in giving gifts to us, if we may notice. I have a gardenia tree in my little garden. I noticed that it has been giving gorgeous flowers since June this year. I have been enjoying its white color and also the fragrance so much. Look at the beautiful picture below. I shared this picture to some friends and contacts. Along with the picture, I put a caption ‘what do you feel looking at this flower?’. Most of the people expressed their good feelings about it. It validated my thought that everybody loves flowers. A friend used the same word to express with me, ‘so gorgeous!’ We shared thr same feeling.
Only one person said that she didn’t feel anything. My other friend said that everyone relates to flower differently. The feeling might be different from one person to another as well. The seed of the beauty is not in the flower, but in the heart. The flower is just the trigger. The beauty (the feeling) is kept in the heart. Some will get triggered, other may not get triggered.
A friend sent me this picture. A very cute dog. He is Luke. My friend told me that he bought Luke as a gift for his wife at their wedding anniversary. It is their second dog. The first one is Axel. A different type of dog. I met both of them when I visited my friend a few years ago. Luke has become everyone’s favourite dog in the family. Everyone in the family should take the dogs out for a walk everyday. It was the deal they made. I think my friend loves the dogs very very much. Now I understand why people love their pets so much. I didn’t understand when another friend kept mourning for few days or weeks for the loss of her dog. I remembered a colleague had to take a half day leave from office to attend the funeral of her cat. It just didn’t compute in my mind at that time.
I asked my friend if somebody loved Luke and wanted to buy the dog : ‘Would you sell it?’ His answer was interesting. He said : ‘Noone wants to sell his family.’ Luke has become part of the family. I think he and his family have given him so much love and a very good care. I can see from the big smile, a very happy smile.
I never think of having any pet. I don’t think I have enough time and atttention to take care of it. When I was small and living in my parents’house, we had a small dog. I remember I used to play with it after school. And much later when I hmoved to my house, a nephew who lived with me was having a turtle. It was very small. But after a few years it grew so big. We planned to go out of town for one week or so. Not wanting to feel guilty leaving the turtle, I asked my nephew to give it to his friend who was willing to give a good care of it.
Someone used to say this to me. Company colors the soul. You are colored by the company you keep – your spouse, your family members, your friends, your colleagues etc. Those whom you work with or spend time with. You may get colored or you may color them. It depends o how strong your color (influence) in the companionship.
Now look at people around you. What do you talk when you are with them most of the time? There are three things – stuff or event, ideas or other people.
Some people like talking about stuff, a branded bag they just purchased, the latest gadget, the band new car, some are talking about the game they are playing. Average people talk about stuff or event. And some are talking about other people. They are called small people. What other people are doing or not doing, have or not have are completely their own business. These type of people mind other people’s business. This is the type of people you should avoid to be around.
It is said great people talk about ideas. They use their creative mind. Happiness lies in this. Contentment starts here. Not in stuff nor in a game. Happiness created through buying a brand new suff is just temporary. How long do you experience the happiness after you bought your new car?
If you want to become great, surround yourself with people who talk about visions and ideas. Not people. Not stuff nor event. Select the company you want to keep.
Listening is often said to be the missing part of a communication. For many people the ability to listen is not developed as much as the ability to speak. Many listen with the intent to reply not to understand as Steven Covey said. People are more interested to speak than to listen.
Why do we not listen actively? We listen only to the words that are being said. We don’t learn to listen behind the words that are being said. In Chinese language to listen is written in 3 symbols – ear, eye and heart. If any Chinese speaking reader here, please correct me if I am wrong. An active listening uses ear, eyes and also heart. An active listening is giving an undivided attention to the person who is speaking. You are completely present, physically and also mentally. Only then you can listen to the message that is not being said, what is behind the words.
In a survey words contribute 7%, intonation 38% and body language 55%. More messages are not expressed through words, or they can not be expressed through words. Words are not enough to express the feelings. Feeling can be so deep, while words are limited.
One needs to use the eyes to obseve the body language of the speaker, and the heart to catch the feeling. Ears are not enough. Many use the ears more than the heart and eyes. They are more ready to listen to the words which contributes only 7% to listening. This is why misunderstanding or miscommunication often happen.
To listen through your heart you need silence. It is the mind that needs to be silent, then the heart will follow. Many find it very difficult to make their minds silent. It takes time to practise. The minds have been constantly so busy. Start listening to your own mind, know exactly what you are thinking, just observe what is happening inside your head. be a detached observer, not a judgemental observer. You will notice the mind starts becoming silent. And when your mind is silent, calm and peaceful. Your heart opens for others. You are ready to listen.
One of the skills or competencies that is needed in the work place or in a relationship is communication skill. Many people think communication skill is the ability to speak. In fact communication skill requires two abilities, speaking and also listening. That is why many have learned how to speak well. They attend speaking courses. But I never heard any listening courses. There are many talk shows but no listen shows. Many create podcasts or YouTube channels for them to communicate through speaking. Surely they need someone to listen and watch.
The ability to listen is often the missing one in communication. How often misunderstanding takes place due to this? This misunderstanding is due to lack of the ability to listen. The message is not properly understood. Communication is always in two ways. If someone is speaking and there is no one around, then no one is listening. It is not called a communication. No message reaches anyone (the listener).
Interestingly we have two ears, two eyes and one mouth. We should listen twice as much as we speak. Let’s start listening. I believe that all those good speakers were once good listeners. All good communicators were once good listeners.
This pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our life. If you are working in an office, you might notice some changes made to adapt to the situation. Everbody has adopted a new norm.
In my office, we are not allowed to have our breakfast or lunch in the pantry. This is to practice a physical distancing. The pantry is designed like a cafe, so we used to enjoy being there. It had become a place for socializing among colleagues. Some also enjoyed having a meeting there, more casual. We also have to bring our own utensils. Some colleagues start bringing their lunch boxes from home. It is considered to be safer than having it from the nearest restaurant or food court nowadays. And I also noticed some consider having lunch in their cars. is a choice while the pantry is closed.
In fact I have been doing both since long before the pandemic – bring my lunch and have it in my car. The reason is that I am a vegetarian, it is not easy to find vegetarian menu from the nearest food court. Secondly I don’t like carrying my lunch box up while carrying a shoulder bag and my laptop. It is more simple to leave my much box in the car and have it there at lunch time.
The other thing that has changed in my office is the after office activity. We used to practice playing table tennis after office hour. We used to enjoy it so much. We have an inspiration room and in one end of the room, we have our table tennis. We also had league for this as well. It was really fun. It was so good for releasing stress. And it has been closed since the pandemic began. We miss this a lot.
I just finished reading a post by a blogger. He wrote his air trip recently. It was his first air trip during the pandemic, after literally one year. He wrote in his post that he made 75 flights in 90 days only before the pandemic. Reading his post, it reminded me of my last air trip. It was in December 2019. I never thought that it would have been this long not to make any trip. A friend who regularly had a vacation at least twice a year also said to me that she has not made any traveling.
What do you miss with a flight? and what do you do when you miss flying? Usually I love every part of a traveling, especially of my vacation. From making a list of what I need to bring for the traveling, packing stuff, heading to the airport, waiting for the boarding, the flight, reaching the destination till making my way back home. I enjoyed each and every part of it. I remember something ridiculous I made on my way back home after a year end trip. I just didn’t want to finish the joy of that trip too soon, that I decided to sit in a coffee shop at the airport from 10 am till 4 pm.
So I miss everything of a traveling. Another ridiculous thing I made when I missed traveling was having apple juice. I ussually put it in a fridge before I enjoy drinking it. I never bought packed apple juice before, I always prefer having fresh juice than having this packed juice. Why did I do this? This was the drink I usually had when I was on a flight.
The flight attendant said ‘We have apple juice, orange juice and guava juice. What do you want to have, madam?’ And I always said ‘Apple juice, please.’
What can you expect from a small heart? If your heart is small, you can not expect an abundant love. Your heart is where you can generate true love abundantly. Love that flows from the inside out. It is said if you want love, give it. Love is to be shared not to be taken. Energy attracts energy. So love attracts love. But when your heart is small, it can only love conditionally. You put conditions in giving your love to others. ‘I love you, if you also love me.’ ‘I love you, if you do what I say.’ ‘I love you this much, and you should also love me back this much.’ It becomes like a business deal. It is definitely not a true love. A true love never expects anything in return. You just give it (the energy).
A conditional love is like a tap. You can turn it on and also turn it off. ‘I can love you, but I also can stop loving you.’
Make you heart so big that you can generate so much love. A big heart filled with love is a contented heart, a happy heart. Your heart is not needy for love.