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.”

Impulsive

For some reasons, the topic of fluidity and spontaneity has been on my mind this entire week. It also brought to mind a disappointing moment in my life many years ago.

It is only human nature to remember hurtful moments the most and one particular incident when I was a young lad stuck until today. Someone once labelled me as “impulsive” and denied me the opportunity to progress further in an organization I was a part of in high school. He explained that it was an undesirable trait.

Fast forward almost 20 years later, I realized that being impulsive is not a flaw but like any other trait, it can be advantageous. I realized that many of us are procrastinators always looking out for opportunities to delay certain tasks or working towards our goals.

Being impulsive is good when one have the “do it now” attitude. Of course there are times when I looked back and regret some of the impulsive moments but otherwise, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when things turn out well.

Thus far, being impulsive has allowed me to try many things and to react faster during crucial moments especially in situations when decision making is needed in a short time frame.

I like to think that being impulsive afford me the label of being the “crazy ones” just like the quote (below) used by the late Steve Jobs in one of the campaigns. To be able to try new things without the worry of failures (we worry about that later).

Being a “crazy one”, I often look back in life and can proudly say, “I’ve been there and done that. No regrets!”

Containers

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine shared an article about how to win at living life. I can only summarize it as “keep going and keep growing”. I can totally relate the article to something that I had read many years ago in one of the many “self help” books during my days of self discovery. 

In that particular book, it was written along the lines that one is built to retain what he or she deserves. In other words, at any one point of our lives, like a container of different sizes, we are able to retain certain amount of riches and fortunes.

The book further gave a few examples of millionaires that bounced back after a bout of bankruptcy to be where they were before or better.

Like what the article suggests, when we grow as a person, our pot of wealth grows in parallel. No matter what happens to us, we will be able to get back to the spot we “belong” unless we shrink ourselves or unable to retain our strength to endure through the temporary hardship.

There were a few instances in my observation of the corporate world that I became very frustrated at how imbalance the hierarchy is. For example, there were times when I thought that some people in higher positions do not deserve being where they are because of all the “not walking the talks”. I do not know about you but I get really frustrated when the talkers are earning much more and having better lives than the hard workers. Being that idealistic person that I am, I feel that it is very unfair for those with valuable skills to be placed under the purview and at the mercy of those without substance. Often times, their talents go to waste under the incompetent and aimless so called “managers” (not leaders).

So, the question really is, how can the hard workers grow to eventually take over as good leaders at the top of the “food chain”?

It is probably time to be still and listen to the desires of my heart. The noises and distractions seemed to cloud my vision once again. I cannot be floating aimlessly without a direction in this river of life. Sometimes, we see with our eyes, reason with our minds but forget to listen to our hearts.

Have a good weekend…

Focus

One of the topics of photography is composition. Like an artwork, composition is how you tell a story with your photo. In other words, what is the focal point, leading character or object that you would like your audience to pay attention to.

I for one can never understand all the technicalities of photography and that is the reason why digital photography has since saved me a lot of money. I just click away because I do not have to worry about developing the photos just to look at the results like back in the old film days.

I have taken a lot of photos for the past 10 years. Most of them are cluttered and at first glance, no one will know what I am actually trying to focus on. Have you ever wondered how life could be if you can turn off the colors to things that are unimportant to you?

I asked myself that question today and here might be some examples of what my eyes and mind will see if I can choose what I would like to focus visually.

The Lifesaving Canoe. One that helps you stay afloat.
One that is good for your soul.
The Symbol of Love.
For the air we need to live and the inspiration that lifts up our spirit.
Life among the concrete.
Keeping afloat in the rat race.
Color -the beauty we often miss and take for granted.
It is hard saying goodbye to the last leaf.
Gives life amidst the dead.
Keeping food dry when it rains.
Storing the food that sustains us.
Food for the hungry.
Providing you with the air that keeps you alive.

Editing these photos in such a way helped me put into perspective what I emphasize and focus in life. There is a common theme in all of them and that is looking at what is life bearing and sustaining.

Isn’t that what we are all looking for? Not only to survive but to thrive.

May all that you do gives life and grow…

Darkness

It is the 4th week of Lent and the gospel reading today is about Jesus restoring sight of a blind man. The sermon reflects on this miracle in terms of spiritual darkness rather than a physical one. The blindness causes darkness to those inflicted.

As a summary, darkness is not caused by our past sins but instead, holds a meaning for the future. In other words, we do not look to our past in order to seek the reason for our current predicament. The current predicament holds the reason that makes us stronger in facing the future.

I was a little distracted at mass today and the only image that came to mind was an image of Padre Pio. I have no idea why but looking at the beautiful stained glass in the church inspired me to design a stained glass of my favorite saint.

Perhaps it is a sign that I should seek the intercession of this great saint to heal and deliver me from any form of spiritual blindness that I might be facing.

After a couple of hours, here’s the result of my digital artwork:

Unconditional

Another mundane weekend or so I thought.

There has been a time when I was so fired up in love with my religion that I was almost a fanatic. The logic can sometimes be incomprehensible to anyone except for myself. It was to a point of what the new generation would label me as OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

Through the years, writing has been my way of escape and expression. Like a journal, it can be somewhat therapeutic. I wanted to write all about it. I wanted to write about it but not in the way of “hallelujah” or “praise the Lord” in every sentence. I want to write about it the human way. How do I live in reflective of the Gospel – no holds barred. I want to tell it as it is. The joys, and the struggles in all the reflections.

It must have been all the past experiences combined that I sometimes walk around being too conscious of my every move. I try to swiftly get myself settled down at a particular pew in church every weekend and it was no exception yesterday. There seemed to be a mold to conform to.

Mid way mass, I remembered someone once telling me that the evil one have no place in a holy place such as the church. But yet, a statement came to mind.

“I must either be an ungrateful b*stard or God’s love is conditional”

This is in reference to all the obligations required for one to be considered a practicing faithful.

I am not sure if it is me or some of you out there may also experience the same feeling. This guilt of skipping a week in attending church. Is it because all the blessings and graces God have so generously bestowed upon us that we feel obligated to at least be in His presence on a weekly basis?

Perhaps it is the church’s “modus operandi” to keep everyone locked in? It treats you so well that you have no other choice but to “return the favor”?

Is this the case?

I was pondering this fact and then, the Gospel seemed to answer my inner thoughts.

The Samaritan woman at the well…

The priest pointed out that Jesus was not judgmental in his approach with the Samaritan woman. Though Jews and Samaritans have a long standing hatred, Jesus offered the woman “living water”. He did not care if she was a sinner (in human standard), a divorcee, a lesbian, a murderer, or anything of that sort. Jesus engaged and interacted with her anyway. Jesus loved her anyway.

The priest then continued pointing out that we are like the Samaritan woman, coming to church with our “buckets”. He hoped that we do not leave the church with an empty bucket but a bucket that fulfills our search. Perhaps peace, acceptance, love, hope, or whatever that we are seeking. The question to ask was, “What is in your bucket when you leave this place today?”

My concern earlier vanished. It does not matter the obligations. It does not matter how others perceive me.

All that matters is if I am recharged spiritually to endure the week ahead.

Did I fill my bucket up with manna that will last?

It then became a case of I am not there because I need to return a favor, but instead I am in need of a recharge. To be still and allow myself an hour in God’s presence just so that I can walk away with a bucket filled with the goodness that I seek.

I wish the same for you my friend. May your bucket be filled with “living water”…