My friend has moved to Dubai since last few years for a family reason. We didn’t communicate much since then. Yesterday out of the blue we chatted. She told me how she has been going through the lockdown in her place. Then we chatted about many things. Random topics.
Suddenly I said to her: ”Hey, I remembered something. You were my debate partner.” When we lived in the same city, we went to the same meditation class. And in the class many times both of us involved in a debate on any particular topic. I remember that I always expressed my thoughts in a very strong way. This made her listen to me, though not necessarily agreed with me. But she had become a nice partner. Each one of us understood that we wanted to seek a better understanding on particular point we were debating, not to put any of us down. No. It was in fact a sweet debate.
Our memory flew back to our days when we did rediculous things together, like spending hours at Starbucks reading our favorite book and discussing it. I realize that it is very nice to have someone you may call a friend who has the same interest with you. You can talk or debate or have fun together. I miss that moments.
Everyone wants to become creative. To become creative means to keep creating an idea and executing the idea. To be creative you need to have an open mind, a mind that is open to new ideas. Not a closed mind. An open mind is more accepting. An open mind finishes worries and fears inside. It is liberating. It is courageous. Life keeps changing and you need to cope with the change, unless you will be left behind. Life keeps moving, you need to move with it. Life keeps flowing, you need to go with its flow. Life is never static. You need the power to adapt yourself for this. This is a power that you need to develop from within.
How do you make yourself stay open-minded and creative? I think you need to make friend with the younger generations. Talk to them more. Listen to them more. They are very creative. They will bring newness into your creative process inside your head. Many are fast learners, especially in digital technology. You need to be humble in front of them. Learn from them. Keep this spirit of a learner inside you, this spirit will keep seeking and creating new things.
I have a very good friend who is an expert in computer, she is in fact a web designer. This weekend I have an online workshop. I have to prepare a presentation for this workshop. I realize that I am not very good at digital stuff, like downloading video, converting the file and sharing it on a presentation. I knew whom to ask. So I begged her time for a meet up. She is a really kind-hearted person. She taught me everything I needed to know from her. She is not only very good at computer but she is also very good at teaching. Very patient.
Million thanks, Michelle!
How long have you been staying at home? Some might have been staying for two months and some even for three months now. The questions of what, why and how have become less. The worries and fear have become less. I think most of us have become adjusted to the situation. This coronavirus is not in our control. And ultimately we have to accept what we can not control. We have accepted the situation and started focusing more on what we can do.
Some bloggers shared how they spent their days in their quarantine. They shared their tips in quarantine. It was really good. I enjoyed reading it. I reflected on myself and started counting blessings I have been receiving. Here is the list of my blessings behind this pandemic.
1. Less spending and save more money
Basically only for groceries. Veggie and fruits. My credit card bill was the least for the last ten years. So it was good that I save money.
2. Start cooking for my meal
I only eat what I cook. I don’t trust any food from outside. I eat more veggie and fruits. I think I become healthier.
3. Weight Loss
It was really surprising that I lost 10 kgs in only two months. It never happened before. Losing weight has become a never ending struggle for me.
4. Develop cooking skill
I started experimenting on making vegan cakes. And I have become very good at cooking vegan carrot cake and vegan nuts cake. I shared it to friends and colleagues, and they are happy.
5. Learn hosting a webinar
I never thought that workshop through webinar would be effective. I found out that it worked.
6. Serve more people
I have conducted off-line workshops before the pandemic. Many people could not join due to different reasons. When the workshop is online, it becomes more flexible for everyone. Those who are living far away can even make it.
7. Develop my presentation skill
I am pushed to become more creative in making presentation and preparing the topic for webinar.
8. More blessings
If you are doing good to people, helping them, you will definitely receive blessings from their hearts in the form of good feelings. You are happy by helping others.
What about you? How do you enjoy your quarantine? What blessings do you receive?
When someone asks me how to keep writing or how to keep being inspired to write, what I can suggest is to write what she or he observes. To observe means to see. Use your eyes and your heart to see what is happening around you. Each and every moment in your life is interesting if you don’t miss it and you give time to reflect for yourself. It is always interesting to write it down. It always gives you a lesson to learn, if you are ready and open enough to learn. Lesson from life doesn’t have its own timing like in a school. It may come any time. So be always ready for what life is going to teach you through your observation. You are the student and life is your teacher.
This is what I observed last week when I was on a train. It was 8 hours trip. I was sitting in the aisle. An Indian family blocked the 3 double-seats, two in front of me and one on my left. They were going on a family trip. They were with three boys. The 3 boys were very special to me. The youngest one was only 3 years old, very sweet with his curly long hair, looked more like a girl. They looked more alike with the mom than the dad. All of them had smiling happy faces, especially the mother. I noticed that they looked very happy during the 8 hours trip. They enjoyed the trip. Unlike any other children who ussually become cranky for some times and start teasing one another. They looked very happy and very peaceful. “This is a happy family” I said in my heart. I enjoyed seeing them, especially the kids.
Finally I said to the mother “Your boys are very special. They look so happy.” She said: “Because they love train” Hearing this from the mother, the second boy said : “I love boat too.” This made me smile.
When someone asked me how to start writing, I said : “Just write what you see, what you hear and what you feel.” You don’t need to be very creative to start writing. And you don’t need to have a talent to do it either. You only need an intention. Because writing is a skill, so everyone can develop this skill through practice. Just like speaking. Each one of us learned to speak when we were very small and we can speak now, we can express our thought and feeling through speaking. In the same way, writing is also a skill, it is also expressing thoughts and feelings. Everybody can express one’s thought and one’s feeling through writing.
You do not need to worry when you express your thought and feeling. Remember that you are writing for yourself. You are not writing for someone else to read. Liberate yourself from any worry or fear of being commented by anyone, being judged by anyone. In fact no one can criticize what you express, because your thoughts and feelings are always personal and nothing is wrong. To write them down is to be honest to the self. When you are honest to yourself, you will feel very comfortable with yourself. Start writing and start expressing what is inside you.
The mind keeps thinking all the time. It never stops. When you express it in writing, the mind slows down its speed. It becomes much lighter, not heavy.
I shared with a friend on how I am so passionate on journaling. It has become my hobby for the last four years. I am writing on my 21st notebooks now. I notice that I become very particular in the notebooks and pens I am using for my writing hobby. I said to him that I spent more than USD 300 for the notebooks and pens. I am only using one brand and one particular design only for the notebooks. And the design has been discontinued. I do not like the new design. Knowing this, I hunted to several different bookstores in one day, hoping that they still had the stock of the old design. I got about 25 notebooks. I thought it would be enough for my journaling hobby for another 5 years or so.
Spending USD 300 only for notebooks and pen! My friend said that how much I paid for the stuff is the value of my happiness. ”For five years of happiness, you pay only USD 300. It is very cheap!” he said. I never thought of doing this calculation. There are so many people out there who buy their happiness with much higher price. Some might buy a brand new car, a new camera, a new smart watch or a fancy trip. All the marketing people say that you need to buy all of those stuff, because they will make you happy. Really?
He said to me “I think you don’t need a fancy trip to be happy.” In fact, I was smiling in my heart hearing this from him.
What can you see in this picture?
Someone said : “I can see a little yellow plant in a glass filled with water.” Others said : ”a hope”, “growth”, “life“ etc. It is interesting. Each one has different answer. All of the answers are right. It depends on from which point they are speaking. If we see the picture with our physical eyes, we can see a little yellow plant but if we are using the eye behind those physical eyes we might see the beauty of it, something different, something more subtle. The beauty is always hidden behind the facades. It needs the ability to capture what is hidden. It is the inner eye that can capture the beauty. Some call this inner eye as awareness, consciousness, heart, the eye of wisdom, the soul or the spirit. In fact it refers to one and same thing.
The key to happiness in life is the ability to see the beauty in small things around you using this inner eye, not the physical eyes. The physical eye only captures the gross things, but the inner eye can capture the subtle things. Beauty is experienced by the heart. Not many big things happen in life. We might not experience big success so much in our life, but there are so many little things happening in each day. Start seeing the beauty or success in small things around you, do not wait till something big to happen to be happy. Open your inner eye and fill your heart with this.
Someone asked me to moderate a panel discussion last year. I don’t remember the topic of the discussion specifically anymore. I think it was about having self respect and maintaining humility at the same time. There would be two speakers. I prepared a list of questions the night before for the discussion.
In the next morning I thought I would like to talk to each speaker and share the list of the questions. The first speaker said : ”You can ask me anything.” She didn’t want to see the list. I thought it was good for me, so I could ask any question. Then I talked to the second speaker. He wanted to read the list. He went through the questions one by one and he asked me to take out one question from the list. It was a very personal question. I asked them to share their personal stories on maintaining their humility while dealing with difficult people. Whether they succeeded or not, it wouldn’t matter. I realized that not everyone found it easy and comfortable to share an honest story about themselves.
We always could learn from other’s story. I believe that we can learn more from someone’s experience than just from information. Infomation is a theory and experience is a practice. Because experience is coming from the heart so it will inspire people more. Sharing an experience is always much better than sharing an information. It is a heart-to-heart sharing.
I know many people are really coffee lovers. I should say some of them are experts at coffee. I also remember one of my colleague is really addicted to coffee so he always has a cup of coffee to start the day. It becomes his moodbooster for the day. I don’t drink coffee much, only occasionally and it would be a decaf one.
Very recently I met someone who never drinks coffee nor tea in her life. Not even once! She said that when she was small, her parents used to say that coffee and tea were not for children and when she grew up she chose not even to have a try. She gave me a very interesting reason and I really like it. She said that she decided not to have a try because she didn’t want to develop it as a habit. She doesn’t want to create a mental attachment to a particular drink or food. For this, I would agree. When something has become a habit, it is not easy to break it. The mind is craving.
If you have the habit of having a particular drink, definitely you put your heart into it because you enjoy it. You invest your heart in it. And what happens if for some reasons you don’t have one or you can’t have one? My colleague once said to me that he would get a headache without having a cup of coffee in the morning. When we were on a trip together, I saw him restless. He couldn’t concentrate.
One morning I had a conversation with a friend. I happenedly met him on my way to the dining hall for my breakfast and he just finished his breakfast. I realized that I was so late.
Frank : Tini, what are you doing?
Me : Do you really want to know (the answer)?
Frank : Well, I am asking you for the sake of politeness
Me : I am making friend with squirrels
Frank : What? (He might not hear my answer quite clearly)
Me : I am making friend with squirrels and birds. (I tried to make it more clearly for him) Do you make friend with them too?
Frank : No! I don’t make friend with animals. (He showed disagreement on his face)
It was very clear that we were challenging to each other. Being unfriendly to each other. I thought we did it on purpose just to create an argument to challenge each other. When I shared to someone who was a real dog lover that Frank didn’t like animals, she immediately showed disagreement on her face. Very quickly I clarified “Well, we know Frank. In fact he has a very kind and gentle heart.”
When I met Frank the next morning he asked me if I saw David or not for the squirells. I showed him the video and I could see a very big smile on his face.
Sorry for not being able to upload the video here, but trust me it was really cute to capture the squirrel very closely.