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 remember when I started sharing some thoughts through short journals via WhatsApp to friends and contacts, very soon I started hearing from them a question why I did not start writing a book or creating a blog. This blog was not created at that time. Some said “Someone may copy your idea (story) if you just share it freely.” I thought what I had been writing and sharing to people were more about my personal experience. How could people copy a personal experience? I think it is not possible. In the beginning very often some people asked me if they could share it to their families and contacts or not. And I always said “Sure, you can.” I let them share it in whatever way the wanted to share it. My mission was to share it to as many people as possible. And my mission stays the same until this very day.
I have no worry if someone copies my thoughts. I believe that no one can ever copy an experience. Because an experience is always individual. It is never the same. In this way I free myself from any fear or worry.
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.
I remember when I was on a holiday, I was staying in a Greek-style hostel. It was small but very cozy. The living room was just great, It was an open space and very clean…… and the most important thing was it had no television. I really liked it. The staff was very nice and super friendly.
I found myself sitting on a cushion outdoor, enjoying the blue sky, the air and nature, relaxing and enjoying myself. Well, what is in your mind when you hear the word of holiday? no work, relaxed and having a happy time. Suddenly I realised that I had been doing nothing there except relaxing. I asked myself “Would I spend the whole holiday doing nothing and just relaxing?” I said no. I had to do something. I had to create something, not just passing the time.
I then got an idea to write journals during the rest of my holiday instead of just having a relaxing time. I thought writing journal is entertaining the mind, and also the heart. So it is a way of an internal relaxation as well. Probably we need internal relaxation more than just a relaxation for the body. I would call it as my holiday project. To give me a sense of a project, I put a number, 50 journals!
The next morning I woke up at 3 am and got shower then started writing. Morning time is the best time for writing for me. I switched off my mobile phone and kept the door and the window closed until about 9 am. I heard from my room other guests were talking out there, they might be having their breakfast. When I just switched on my mobile phone, I got a message from the reception. He wondered how I was. He reminded me to have my breakfast. I smiled. He might be thinking of me being unconscious in the room. He is really a kind-hearted person.
In the evening I was sitting on a cushion in front of my room, writing journals. Antonia from Germany who stayed next to my room came from rafting asked me “What are you doing?” then I shared to her how I had the project. She smiled and said “Good luck!”
If I asked myself what lesson I have learned from journaling? Surely I got some benefits from doing this for almost 4 years consistently. It has healed my heart. It makes my mind very light, as it finishes the burden on my head. It frees me from stress. It brings clarity in my intellect. But one biggest lesson is that it teaches me how to be honest with myself. An honest journaling of my feelings and thoughts have become the biggest gift that I can give to myself.
Do you think you need to learn to be honest to yourself? We have learned to please others so much. We might seek approvals from others for what we are doing, what we are wearing,what we are eating, where we are going. We might also seek approval from other people to feel happy. Probably we have done it since childhood. We didn’t know how to create happiness in ourselves without others’ approval.
We might only realise that when we start journaling, we find it is hard to be honest. It is hard to just write your feeling and thoughts honestly. There is still fear of what others going to think about me if they read my journal or they know what was in my mind. Then we do filtering while writing about our feelings because of this fear. i remember when I was in a workshop on journalling, someone shared her experience in this, that she was afraid that her husband might read what she wrote in her journal book.
Do you believe that angel does exist on earth? Some people think that angels have wings. They can fly. Everyone love angels, because angels have very kind hearts. They have benevolent feelings for everyone. Those are some ideas of qualities that people have about angels.
Angels are in fact the qualities of human beings. No human beings will have wings to fly. To fly means to be light, to remain unaffected by the pull of the gravity down below. An angel always nurtures her mind with elevated and powerful awareness. It is called soul consciousness. So the gravity of the awarness of the body doesn’t pull the angel’s mind. It is the qualities of the enlightened souls. You can make effort to enlighten your soul and have those qualities and you become a living angel on earth.
Very recently I joined a retreat for 4 days over the weekend. It was another good escape for me. Why good? It disconnected the soul from the mundane things. In one of the session we were told to discuss on different topic for each group. The topic was on making a preparation when something happens in our life in the future, how you will prepare yourself as individual, groups and community to deal with it. My group was discussing a topic on how to prepare when all the electronic divices are shut down. How to mitigate the risk of the shutting down? What would be the back up plans for this? It might be a new topic for many of us. We might never think if it happens in our life. Can we live without an internet connection? How are we going to handle such situation? If we are making money online, what is going to happen to us, to our business etc etc. It is so scary to think about.
Anything may happen in the future. Nobody can guarantee that everything will be fine all the time. This topic has made me realize one thing that we should not make facilities our support. We should also not make anyone as our support physically, mentally and spiritually. We should be ready with some back up system.