Paths

I have been thinking of life’s progress and especially the evolution of mass media throughout the 80s, 90s, and into the millennium (and beyond). In terms of movies, I realized that there has been many reboots, remakes, and the realization of the visions that was conceptualized in those eras. We are seeing a lot of cartoons from the 80s being made into movies. Some were made possible only because of the availability of current technologies and that in itself proves how ahead of time the ideas were back then. It is very difficult to find a movie that is made out of an original idea at the present time. In other words, we have not progressed much in terms of creativity and originality.

The only reason that I can think of is that we live in a highly digitized world with every information we need at our fingertips – accurate and inaccurate information alike. Our generation do not really THINK anymore.

Because of this convenience of having information at our fingertips, we no longer think about how we should live a unique and different life. There seemed to be a “playbook” for every aspect of life. We can almost raise a kid successfully by just searching for a “remedy” or a “guide” for every challenge expected from a child. We have a template or a mold so to speak.

Situations that we are facing are no longer unique because for every issue we face, there are already 10 or more solutions or workarounds available in this great big thing called the Internet.

Life is a Journey, not a destination ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is so instantaneous that we no longer care about “how well” we get something done but instead, we applaud the “it is already done”. Quality is no longer an emphasis but instead, speed of delivery is what matters and important.

But we really are dynamic beings and we are built for the unknown and for the surprises of life – they make living life interesting and unique.

“Fear Is Always In The Future – Not In Past or Present”

As part of his sermon this past weekend, the priest said something very true – “fear is always in the future”. And how enlightening that is!

We are always making our present decisions based on the failures of our past experiences as well as the fear of the unknown future.

As such, we must have faith that the future will take care of itself and always remember to live in the present moment. We must embrace the many surprises and unknown. Perhaps be a little more spontaneous and be comforted that it is alright to take a little time to first internalize a situation before deciding on the best solution moving forward. We do not need to be instantaneous all the time.

Our capabilities and talents will help us in carving our paths in life together with the people we meet will complement us wherever we fall short. But at the least, we must first live a life that is not defined by a blueprint. There simply is no blueprints or templates when it comes to life. We are here for very unique reasons and no two people are the same.

And perhaps by doing so, I hope that one day, this world will once again be teeming with creativity and visions. We have lost many generations of visionaries and creative minds to industrialization, globalization, and the many “tions” that cripples and suppresses creative thinking.

I am not writing this as a self-help solution for anyone facing problems or issues. No one is in the position of solving someone else’ life problems. I do not have a template for you to live your life. And I sure hope that you live a “google-less” life when and where it matters most – at times when integrity and honesty must win the day. There are innate intuitions and conscience that cannot be taught or found in search engines.

Just as every human have unique fingerprints, so must we leave a special imprint on this earth while we are still alive.

May you be led to the path less traveled and enjoy every mile of it!

Advertisements

Silver Lining

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-21)

How often do we find ourselves saying “everything happens for a reason” and “there is something to learn in this situation”?

Often times, forgiveness seemed to happen when we start looking at situations from different perspectives.

Throughout the past week, I was faced by a few difficult situations and most are totally out of my control. In the end, I found the reasons to be grateful in all these situations.

The first unfortunate event happened to a friend I have known for over 20 years. Out of a sudden, she seemed to have vanished totally from social media and attempts to reach her through the phone were unsuccessful. We drove to her home and found out that she had since changed her phone number and throughout the conversation, we could hear she seemed surprised that we had obtained her new number and sounded very fearful. Apparently her new boyfriend is unhappy with the message exchanges we had in the past. At first, I was offended and thought that was really convenient for him or her to put me in the spot and be blamed for all the insecurities. Her statement was malicious in nature and could plant a seed of distrust between by wife and I.

It then became clear to us that she had found herself a psycho for a boyfriend and we agreed to stay clear of it. Our worst fears was confirmed when we started ticking off more than one of the telling signs from this article we found regarding abusive relationship.

The question my wife and I asked ourselves were “What Can We Do?”.

The problem with such situation is that no one can do anything unless the person involved becomes aware of his or her situation and have the desire to get out of it.

But we did try to analyze why our dear friend has allowed herself to get into such a tight spot and we can truly understand because it is a no-brainer. After going through a divorce and being left with two young children can be an extremely overwhelming and daunting task for any single mother to cope. In those few years, we had seen her changed from a very determined young lady into one who has lost all hope. I am sure that at some point of her life, she has given up.

And in such vulnerable situation, I do not blame her if she have had many self-doubt moments – “beggars can’t be choosers”, “what do I have to bargain?”, “I am not getting any younger”, could be some of the statements that might have went through her mind.

I am not surprised that this guy became her “last hope” and she made the decision to give up the past totally just so that she could make the future with him work. Even if it means that he can be abusive and violent towards her – these can be taken as how much she meant to him and to justify his “possessive/aggressive” behavior.

It is easier said than done but if I could give a piece of advice to any single person out there thinking that their biological clock is ticking and desperately looking for a mate, it will be “DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS, THE BEST IS YET TO COME”.

The second situation that I have witnessed happened this morning in church. A group of children had raised some funds to help a fellow classmate’s struggling mother. She had lost her husband in an accident when the child was still a baby. The priest came to know about her situation when he helped present some gift vouchers on the children’s behalf.

In both situations, they got me thinking about how fortunate and blessed I am. How often I have taken so many things for granted and fret over the most trivial of things. I thought to myself that there is a reason why I am made aware of such situations and there is a silver lining in all of them.

There is something for me to learn here and that is GRATEFULNESS.

And through these lessons, I learned not to just take difficult situations at face value and I ought to be quick to forgive not only others but also myself for passing judgements and jumping to conclusions a little too quickly.

I thank God today for all the blessings and graces He has and continues to bestow upon me and my beautiful family.

And God bless you too!

Staying Married In A Secular World Part II: The End Game

My wife and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary last week. Nothing to shout about because it is not a silver or golden jubilee but nonetheless, we are still working on it – our marriage.

In the fast paced world we live in today, we often ask ourselves “what is the end game”? For a sustainable business, the end game would be to have referable customers to give good testimonials about our services to new prospects in hopes that they will end up being our customers.

What about marriage?

There are two possible “end game” to a marriage and they are:

a. Divorce

b. Until Death Do Us Part

For this post, I would like to write about one of the clear indications that a marriage is heading towards divorce even before it begins.

When we attended the marriage preparation course, the initial question the presenting couple asked us was whether we have signed any prenuptial agreement and if we did, they would not allow us to continue attending the course.

But of course we were young and so in love that we did not even understand what a prenuptial agreement was and let alone signed one. In hindsight, I am glad that was the case.

TRUST

I have come to understand that a prenuptial agreement is a contract with the “end game” in mind. There really is no point in getting married when either one of the two people agree to having a prenuptial agreement. This is a clear indication of one’s non-committal behavior towards the union. There is enough distrust in the relationship to afford an “what if” situation. Perhaps it is a lack of faith but whatever the reason, I am opined that it is best not to get married to a spouse who demands or even considers a prenuptial agreement.

A marriage is the commitment of two people who have made and will always make a conscious decision to love each other every single day of their lives until death to them part.

In marriage, we give ourselves fully to our spouse – a 100%. But a prenuptial agreement is 2% less. There really should not be Plan B or C in a marriage. We stick to our vows no matter what happens.

As we celebrated our 11th year together as husband and wife, I was reminded of that one question that helped me make the decision that she is the one.

“Can I TRUST her with my life?”

And like our wedding vows, the answer is YES!

If you are considering marriage at the moment, I hope your end game is Till Death Do Us Part. I wish you all the blessings and graces for an everlasting marriage!

You can read Part I by clicking here.

Quietly Growing

I’ve had these cactus pads for more than a year now and in fact, most from the initial plant has rotten away before I decided to salvage what seemed to be healthy. In some cultures, it is a taboo to keep cactus plants in living spaces because of their sharp thorns or spines that are believed to cause more “harm” than good. After replanting them in a bigger pot, I also re-positioned them to where they will be able to get more sunlight.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.” ~ Matthew 11:28

“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.” ~ Matthew 13:8

The gospel reading last week talked about getting a good rest and this week the gospel seemed to be about growth.

I cannot help but to relate the readings to the situation I had with these cactus pads. Not only have I not planted them on good and suitable soil, they have been deprived of the nourishment they needed to thrive.

Just like how newborns need their sleep as part of growth, adults too need to rest so that our bodies will be able to rejuvenate and “repair” what is damaged. Spiritually speaking, we need to be still and in the quietness, reflect to find the inspiration we need to grow as a person.

I chance upon an article on my favorite self-help blog Pick The Brain and through it, found a TED talk by Susan Cain about The Power Of Introverts.

It is interesting how all the experiences in the past two weeks coupled with the discoveries of the article and video seemed to be intertwined and run in parallel.

We are so distracted in this instant gratified world that we have often forgotten to pause and invest some quiet time for growth.

I hope you will have a good week learning something new and worthwhile in your journey towards growth.

Friend

Here I am trying to recall and recollect what has taken place the entire past week. Nothing inspiring worth sharing because I am still coping with losing two people due to relocation. I still hope that one of them would resume his presence online as soon as he is settled at the new base.

Whatever it is, we are often lonely in different ways.

Last weekend, there was a huge Pride Parade at downtown Toronto and the topic of LGBTQ+ became a discussion (once again). One of the many things that is very difficult to define with precise certainty.

I think like most things in life, people in general are seeking acceptance and a sense of belonging. We are trying to fill the void in certain aspects of our lives.

Most of all, we are seeking for companionship and love.

We want to be heard, affirmed of our self-worth, and be valued by someone else.

We are now living a highly pressurized and challenging world where people are easily provoked. The more connected we are through the internet, the more disconnected we are in the real world. It is now quite difficult for us to hold a lengthy conversation because it has been reduced to “what’s in it for me?”, “what do you have that I need?”, or “how can you be of benefit to me?”. We seemed to have grown into this “selling oneself” culture whereby we are either selling a product, a service, or even prostituting ourselves just to get by in life.

In the end, we yearn for what is left of our dignity and self-worth. We become jaded as to what are our talents, values, morality, principles, ethics, and purposes.

If only we can all love a little more by being compassionate to one another. By understanding the fact that each one of us is seeking our spot in this huge planet – to be counted and valued. To also understand that often times, the level of wisdom and intellect of a person can be confined by the circumstances that are totally out of their control. We must love enough to know that for each person to come to his or her own, he or she needs time, the right opportunities, and guidance.

Therefore, if you come across a person not up to your standards or expectations, perhaps it is your opportunity to learn new ways of leadership and be the change he or she needs so desperately to turn life around.

As we begin a new day, let’s ask ourselves – Have you found LOVE today?

Visionaries

If you have lived through the 80s and 90s, I am quite sure you will agree with me that it was an era filled with visionaries. From music to cartoon series, their creators were the epitomes of creativity. The only problem they had was the lack of technological tools to bring their creation to a higher level. But that did not deter them from using all the resources available to materialize their ideas and visions.

Michael Jackson was definitely a visionary that has set a very high standard in the music industry. The people behind the Generation 1 Transformers (1984) animated series are definitely a group of visionaries as well.

Today, I somehow see a trend that we no longer able to create new things like how it was back in the 80s and 90s. We are remaking many of these amazing creations of the past by merely innovating them using the technological capabilities available today. I guess we don’t need to if we are still able to make good profit out of the old ideas – a “quick fix” at best.

Isn’t that all of us in this world currently filled with instant gratifications?

Today, we even have a label and term given to short attention span – ADHD. I kind of wonder if such an illness is a sickness of the modern world – one that is cultivated through time and have infused or ingrained into our genetic makeup.

If we apply instant gratification onto life, we really should have been dead the moment we are born. That may sound a little morbid but don’t it make sense if you think about it. We are always talking about “the end game”. The end to life is really death, no? If we want the end results so badly all the time, death is the answer.

This culture of death is doing humanity no good. It kills creativity because it gives us no time to be still and creative. It leaves us no room for retreat and reflect let alone rest and relax.

All our time are spent manufacturing the generic and conform to the norm.

What vision is there in uniformity when creativity means creating something out of nothing?

Split Second

I usually spend my idle time thinking about life. The trip this week has given me a few opportunities to reflect on life and my outlook of it. There are times when I felt that I have taken a lot of things for granted and have been ungrateful of the blessings in my life.

And as I reflected further and drilled down into the miniscule aspects of life, I realized that how great of a change just one second in time can bring to our lives.

In other words, in a split second, many things can happen be it good or bad. In a split of a second, I’ll probably be born into a life without choices – freedom of religion being one. In a split of a second, I might be in a plane crash or an accident. In a split of a second, I may die in my sleep.

As such, the first order of things for me whenever I visit a foreign land is to always be still in the presence of God and to give Him thanks for another day of life.
This is not a show of my holiness or the lack of. Infact, I am far from a holy person by any standard. Afterall, I am just a human with imperfections. It is just me believing that in all things uncontrollable, there is a God.

We tend to overthink and overanalyze things. We want to get an explaination and justification for everything in our lives. What we cannot see or touch is usually doubtful.

As we wind down for the weekend and on my flight back home, one statement came on strongly and I think it is worth sharing. I hope it puts into perspective why some of us believe in the divine.

“If we can explain for certain the randomness of death then, we can clearly define the existence of God.”