Journal of the day

A thousand years

Being a vegetarian for many years I have been asked by different people about the reason behind it many many times. My answers have been varied depending on who was asking and the situation. From a serious answer to a not serious one.

Not long ago I was in a tour group with new people for almost 10 days. Very often we sat on same table during our breakfast, lunch or dinner. And we talked. During this eating time ussually someone would ask me what I was eating on this diet. Usually different person because we sat randomly. And I gave a different answer too.

I remembered when someone asked me the same question, I replied “I want to live a thousand years.” It was a apontaneous answer, of course Everybody who was there laughing at me. To become a vegetarian means to take a lot of vegetable and fruits for daily intake. Fruits and vegetables are considered to be healthy food, containing high vibre, fresh, easy to be digested etc etc. If you are healthy then you are more likely having a long life span. Well, that is the simple logic.

Vegetable salad with olive dressing is my favourite menu during this trip.

He then said that if I live that long, I would be lonely because probably all my friends would have died.

But then someone said “Don’t worry, I will travel with you. I will become your travel buddy.”

Have you ever thought of having a long life span? What are you going to do with your life if you are given a long life span? Will you be feeling lonely?

If you have something to contribute to humanity or to people around you, you will experience your life so valuable. Your heart will be full and you won’t feel lonely. To feel lonely is to feel lacking of something in the heart. It is feel a bit empty in your heart. A lonely heart is an empty heart. It is by giving that your heart will become full.

Think of what you can contribute to people around you instead of what you can take from them. Be where you experience yourself having enough for yourself and for giving it to others, not be where you need to take.

Journey

Money Management

For some people discussing about money makes them feel uncomfortable. But these days I think people are more concerned about money management and many start to be open discussing it.

Financial problem may cause other problems in life, like relationship problem and problems in family. All the resources we have should be managed well. Including money.

Almost everyone have money, either from our income or from any family member who support us financially. We have some money to be managed.

Money in, money spent, money saved and invested.

In my opinion money management is very much on how we spend the money. It says ‘use everything you have in a worthwhile way.’ It means don’t spend it unnecessarily. Do not waste it. Be mindful in spending.

The question is then, how to become a mindful spender? What should we do with our money in our day-to-day ? What should we do before spending, when spending and after spending? What inspired actions should we take?

Before spending – make budgets. At least there are 4 categories based on financial purpose. Essential (for living), Optional (for shopping), Leisure (for playing) and for Saving.

We also need to be aware of the daily, weekly, monthly and also yearly expenses when we are budgeting.

When spending – spend according to the budget made. Make a proper record of every spending.

After spending – analyze your spending! Only if you record your spending, you can make an analysis. If you make a proper record, at the end you will know whether you are over budget or under budget. It gives you a good feeling about yourself, because you are being clear with yourself.

Only when it is recorded then an analysis can be made.

Each one of us is playing a role as a finance manager. We are responsible for every single spending we make. We are responsible for each penny we spend.

If you can do it, you will have a sense of being a responsible individual. It gives you sense of trust in yourself.

Reflection

Number doesn’t lie

How much do you really care of your spending? Or how well do you manage your money?

One of the aspects in money management is how to manage your spending. Are you a good spender?

After a meeting with a long time friend who had been so long not seeing each other for the last couple of years, I had a thought to make a proper analysis on my spending. I have recorded almost all my spendings for the last few years. I never thought that I could have become so discipline in keeping this for this long. I made the record manually. Every single receipt of any payment was recorded on a book. I have made a quick analysis on monthly basis. I knew whether the total expense was increasing or not, how much I spent on month-to-month basis. I didn’t make any proper analysis. No wonder that my expense was increasing for the last few months.

I decided to put all the records into a worksheet in my laptop. I am using Microsoft Excel for this. It makes everything so easier. In any data analysis, the more datas and the more detailed and accurate, the better. It will then speak something. It tells you everything accurately and honestly. Number doesn’t lie.

An accurate graph will speak the truth.

It says…

One. My year-to-date expense on Starbucks in 2022 increased more than 300% than it was in 2021.

Two. I have spent on Starbucks almost as much as on gasoline.

Three. A cup of hot chocolate is much more expensive than a litre of gasoline.

With this simple analysis, I know what I need to do or change in my spending. Gasoline is more essential than hot chocolate drink. Moreover the price of gasoline has just increased. I have to become more mindful on spending on what is less essential.

It also tells me the accurate number on groceries, house maintenance, meals, communication, insurance, fashion, leisure etc.

You will become more confident when you have to make any financial decision. You will also become more committed to what you are going to do with your money when you have this data-based analysis with you.

When I shared my charts and tables of this analysis to a colleague who is working in Finance Division, she said that she was amazed that I could make it so consistent. She tried to make same record of her spending, but then she did not like the feeling like being suffocated every time she was going to make one. Then she did not continue doing it. Actually I heard this from some other colleagues too.

I think the hardest part is to make something into a routine, then into a habit. To start something is easy. To continue doing it is always not easy. It really takes a commitment.

Journey

My first trip

I just arrived from a trip to Turkey with a small group. It was my first oversea trip after 2 years. I joined the group with a friend.

We took a long flight, during night time. What do you do when you are on a long flight?

How do you enjoy a long flight?

My friend took a sleeping pill to help her sleeping during the flight. After settling down in the cabin, she started enjoying movies. I decided not to touch the screen in front of me. So I slept very easily and quickly. A quite good one. Only after enough sleep, I watched one movie. A drama movie. It was about a family, about a young daughter in the family, about how she digested the way the parents and also siblings relate to one another, the relationships, the conflicts and also her self.

When we just landed in Istanbul I asked my friend if she enjoyed the flight or not. She said that she couldn’t sleep, even after taking a sleeping pill. I asked her : “How many movies did you watch on the plane?”
She said : “Three movies”.

No wonder that she could not sleep. The movies are there for an entertainment. It is to entertain the mind. The mind will keep processing what you see on the screen and what you listen through the little earphone. The mind keeps busy. So it doesn’t rest. It doesn’t sleep.

It is in your hand to put the mind awake or asleep. Not in the pill.

Journal of the day

A very heart-warming movie

Do you like watching movies? What movie genre do you like most? Have you gone to cinema recently?

I am not really a big fan of movies. I only watched a movie after a review from friends. If they said it was a good movie then I would consider to watch it. Unless I would not watch it. I am so fortunate that I have friends around me who love watching movies. Any kind of movie, including horror, documentary, detective, comedy and also drama.

Very recently a friend told me a movie she just watched in cinema. It was a drama movie. Drama of a family life. She said it was a good one. Other friends were also telling me the same. So I was so encouraged to watch that movie. I asked her if she would like to watch the same movie with me in the coming weekend. She said that she wanted to watch Minion 2 instead of watching the same movie again. So the deal was made. I would watch the movie and she would watch Minion 2 which was scheduled to be played half an hour earlier that the movie I was going to watch.

The movie was about conflict between a father and his three sons. The father held the belief and the tradition very strongly. He wanted to apply it to his children. He wanted her first son to marry a girl from the same clan only, because he has to carry the family name. He wanted his second son to become a judge, instead of a comedian. A comedian is not considered to be valued more than a judge in the society (in his village). And he expected the youngest son to come back and live with him. All the 3 sons have moved to Java island for their study. It was about father and son relationship that did not work well in the family.

The family was from North Sumatera. A simple family in a village in Samosir island in the middle of Toba lake. A very beautiful island. I have been there 6 years ago. So I could relate a bit, but not to the culture. Anyway it was a happy ending one. The conflict was resolved with the father’s open mind.

A friend said: “It was a very heart warming movie.”

I think I agree with her.

Reflection

Temporary Beauty vs. Permanent Beauty

You might agree with me that cosmetic does an amazing thing, if not called a magic. It can change somebody’s appearance dramatically. Someone may look so beautiful having a make-up. Though someone may look so pretty with a make-up, she doesn’t want to have it for the whole time. When she arrives home or when she is going to bed, she will definitely clean her face from the cosmetic product she has applied on her face. A make-up remover is applied.

A friend asked me to buy a cosmetic product for her. It was a pencil for eyebrow. Dark brown colored. She also mentioned the brand in her message. I read her message very quickly and I replied OK.

I went to the nearest store, not a big store to get the stuff. I was so sure without asking the sales counter, I went to the cosmetic section. I knew what I wanted to buy. I looked at the whole section where different brands of cosmetic products displayed but I couldn’t find the pencil I wanted. Then I told the sales counter about it. She asked me the brand I was looking for. I said with so much confidence: “Vivo.”

She looked a bit confused and said: “There is no such brand for cosmetics. We have Viva, not Vivo.”

I became confused and to make sure I checked what my friend had written to me. It said Viva. Later I remembered that Vivo is a brand for electronic products.

Inner beauty is beauty from the heart.

You might also agree with me that make-up can only give a temporary beauty not a permanent one, an external beauty. While inner beauty is from the heart. You don’t need to apply any make-up to have inner beauty. What you need is a kind, gentle, strong and big heart. You can have it for the whole time. You don’t need any remover for this.

Reflection

Boredom

I like putting ideas in my head in writing. If someone asks me why, my answer would be in the sake of clarity. Yes, when it is put in writing, it becomes clear to me. I like writing everything, an idea or an issue that is occupying my head.

If it is an idea, it allows me to see how much I have understood. If it is an issue or a problem, it allows me to see the root cause of it and what possible solution or probably just a way to deal with it.

Long time ago a friend asked me if I have written a topic on boredom. I think she was feeling bored at that time. Another time she said to me that she was feeling overwhelmed. I then tried to recall if I had written one. I didn’t remember. I think I never write about this topic. It doesn’t mean that I never feel bored. Sometimes I also feel it, but it never becomes an issue that I have to really pay attention and seek a remedy.

I like to put myself as a learner. I see life around me and also nature as an opportunity to learn something. There is always something new that I can explore. The world around us is like a very big school and all of us are students. There is always enthusiasm in being a student. You will always find it as a life long learning process.

The exam would not be fixed in timing. The question would be different for each one. We can not copy it from other students. The good thing in this process is that we are still allowed to fail. We are given a chance to learn again.

How do you deal with boredom?

Reflection

The 3 steps to experience love

If relationship with others can not give me love that is permanent then I need to work on the other sources of love, having relationship with God and with the self.

To have a relationship with God, firstly we need to know and secondly we need to believe in Him.

Everyone of us might know God. At least religion has taught us this. We could understand God quite quickly. It doesn’t take time. Perhaps we also believe in Him. It is also very easy.

But that is not enough. To know and to believe is not enough. It doesn’t guarantee you to experience a relationship with Him. It doesn’t guarantee you to experience love from Him. The process of knowing and believing takes place in our head. It is very often so theoritical. God as a concept. While to experience love is practical. The feeling is real. God is not a concept. He is a Spiritual Being like us.

So the third step is to experience Him in a relationship. This step probably takes a long time. It requires so much patience.

How to really have this feeling of love? Put what you have understood about Him into your practical life, on your day-to-day basis. Keep experimenting on this. Only through an experiment by experiment you can really experience God’s love. Challenge yourself by asking provocative questions on what you have understood about God, what you have believed in Him. Reflect those questions again and again.

Once you taste His love, it is fulfilling your heart’s desire for love. There is no better love than this love.

When you taste this true love, your search for temporary love from human being will end. You won’t depend on anyone for givibg you love. When you are in relationship with anyone, you are not seeking love but giving love.

Journal of the day

Be ever ready

When I was giving an idea to a friend of having a hiking, she started browsing the place on instagram. It looked so cool on the instagram. As everyone might agree with me that everything put on instagram is suppossed to be instagramable enough. Only then it will attrack viewers.

My friend was  very excited, having her impression and also imagination of what she saw on instagram. She wanted to find the spot where the picture was taken. She actually didnt tell me about it until we finished our hike.

I was not fully recovered from covid-19 at that time. My body was not fully ready for a hike actually. I brought with me a trekking stick and I found it so useful. I walked slowly. I asked her to walk ahead of me and leave me as I needed to stop several times for a little bit of rest and also to enjoy the scenery and the morning breeze. She went ahead. She wanted to find the spot.

Take a pause, breath and enjoy…..

I didn’t reach the end of the trek. She made it but she couldn’t find the spot where the picture was taken. She just missed it. At the end of the trek, she said there was a restaurant. She told someone at the restaurant that she didn’t see the spot she was looking for showing the picture on instagra. It might have changed a bit, probably the grass or the trees had grown up taller or just trimmed or cut down. So she didn’t notice.

I think she was too focused on the goal and didn’t make herself ready for the outcome. Similarly in life we have to be ever ready for the outcome life may bring to us and not to be so attached to our goal. Take time to pause, breath and enjoy……

Journal of the day

How creative are you?


Do you consider yourself as a creative person? To be creative person means to become one who creates artwork. To be honest I am not. I am aware I am not good at creating any artwork. I think I don’t  have that talent. I can spend hours putting my thoughts in writing, but it is not an artwork. It is not a poem nor an essay. It is just a journal. There is no beauty in it, probably a clarity.

I have a friend who is very talented in drawing. Her drawing is just amazing. It looks like a 3D object. It looks so real. Below is one of her drawings.

Another friend is very good at patchwork. She made dolls, pillows, masks, cloth bags etc. She is just amazing at it. Another friend is very passionate in making cookies and cakes. Another friend is very good at playing classical piano. She even teaches piano to kids. I have tried all of that but none was good. I think I don’t have the talent.

I remember we were preparing a public program and a friend who was very good at decoration she was making flowers arrangement. I always enjoy flowers. I thought I wanted to help her. I had no sense at all in this. I helped cutting the stems for her. I didn’t dare to put them into the vase. I just gave her an assistance.

A few weeks ago we were having a long holiday. I thought I would learn something during the holiday. I just chose to learn flower arrangement. Below is my first flower arrangement after knowing the technique of clustering and layering the flowers. It doesn’t look so bad. At least now I know a bit of how to arrange flowers in a vase.