There’s no need to go outside.
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
A white flower grows in quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.  – Rumi

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“Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.” – Mary Oliver

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Wednesday Poem: The Dream

The Dream

by DAVID SOLWAY

I dreamed that you had ceased to love me—
not that you had come from other beds
back to mine, or gone from mine to others,
just that something in your heart had stopped.

I willed myself awake to find you still
beside me. It was just a dream, I thought,
yet when I turned to kiss you, in your eyes
I saw that you had ceased to love me.

I willed myself awake a second time
to find myself alone, as I have been
these many months, but did not know if it
was terror or relief I felt, and whether

dreams unfold the past or make the future
plain. I dreamed that you had ceased to love me,
and know when I see nothing in your eyes
I can’t dream myself awake a third time.

 

from https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/1997/12/the-dream/377024/

David Solway’s poems are amazing. You can read some of his work here: https://www.theatlantic.com/feed/author/david-solway/

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Rumi for broken hearts and lost souls

Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi translated by Coleman Barks
Be Melting Snow

Totally conscious, and apropos of nothing, you come to see me.
Is someone here? I ask.
The moon. The full moon is inside your house.
My friends and I go running out into the street.
I’m in here, comes a voice from the house, but we aren’t listening.
We’re looking up at the sky.
My pet nightingale sobs like a drunk in the garden.
Ringdoves scatter with small cries, Where, Where.
It’s midnight. The whole neighborhood is up and out
in the street thinking, The cat burglar has come back.
The actual thief is there too, saying out loud,
Yes, the cat burglar is somewhere in this crowd.
No one pays attention.
Lo, I am with you always means when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There’s no need to go outside.
Be melting snow.
Wash yourself of yourself.
A white flower grows in quietness.
Let your tongue become that flower.

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Monday

I wish I had let myself be happier. – The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.

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I’ve never felt so alone, which by the way, is utterly a false belief. Perhaps that’s what the thought of having an empty nest does to one’s mind.  Lately at times I just can’t get connected to life.  I switch off before life switches me off as if distancing from connection would spare me from heart breaks. Maybe some of you are familiar with this sense of disconnection. Maybe some of you can’t relate to that. I keep thinking about the top five regrets of the dying: one of which is “I wish I had let myself be happier.” It seems like a simple thing to do. Let yourself be happier. Then why haven’t I done that exactly?

Yesterday at the end of 90 minutes yoga by the beautiful poolside, in the middle of the crowd, I wept, not unlike a child who finally found a way home. It was beautiful and terribly pathetic. While I was holding the final pose, with my body aching, my heart tender and open, I saw myself for who I am for once in my life.  I heard voices of rejection, (what I deemed as ) disapprovals, arguments, looks of disappointments, disdain and indifference, and felt all the heart aches, all the heart-melts, all the little and big things I do to gain approval, to gain acceptance, to gain compliments and validations. I saw  the little ugly terrified child-self who kept trying in all the wrong ways, and all the feet that stepped over her back. I saw the angry hateful witch-self who lashes out at people who love her just because she can.

Ever since my yoga-by-the-pool moment, I can sense the filter I put over my own eyes, my tainted perspectives.  For every rejection or refusal of my wishes by strangers or family, one thing is clear.  Everyone is doing his or her best, fighting his or her own demons while striving for own sense of peace and worth.  It is okay if there is no validation of my perspectives or my existence. It’s okay if suddenly I find myself alone and the whole world against me. It’s okay because I have gotten this far in life with love and support of many people.  It was then that I remembered my parent’s love. How pure. How dependable. How un-vanishing. It was then that I realized I did not have to try so fucking hard all the time to be accepted. It is absolutely okay to breathe, to let go, to lose control, to be whoever I am supposed to be, to remember my values, to stand up for my beliefs, to do things that align with my values and not because I feel I need to prove to be adequate.

Today has been extremely difficult for me, even after waking up with this thought. I faced a difficult challenge today.  And I reacted instead of responding. I threw away all the life lessons I had gained because I was afraid of not being worthy. But I am home now. I am safe with people who would not hurt me (not intentionally anyway). After all, all love has the potential of inflicting pain. I know I did not handle this day in the manner of a stoic but I am breathing now.  Tomorrow when I rise up, I am sure I will mess up again, but hopefully I would do so with a little more bravery, more kindness, more awareness, and with more determination to be happier, and be more okay with life.

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Tuesday Mood: Don’t Wanna Cry

Something fun today. My daughter and her dance team Eclipse (kpop dance group)  recently released their latest cover video seen here. I am so proud of their creativity and perseverance to always outdo themselves.  Also, dancing on the beach, how cool is that, eh?

 

 

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Perspectives

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I’ve been thinking a lot about perspectives lately maybe because my son has just graduated from High School and would soon be leaving home. With this leaving, for the first time in the last twenty years, I would be completely without a dependent child living at home. I would have to wake up, not to tread over to a room to make sure my child get up in time for school, or in the evening, not to holler that dinner is in fact ready but to quietly sit down and eat my own meal.

It used to be that there were two children at home, and then one left, and now the other is about to leave. It used to be that I would either go up the stairs, stand in between two bedrooms and say, “Time to eat” to get my teenagers to leave their rooms. It used to be that I could look up in the rearview mirror and steal glances at two faces I cherish more than anything else in the world. It used to be that my backseat was occupied by two crying toddlers/infants, then noisy singers and hummers, then sullen teenagers or young adults laughing (or staring with annoyance) at their mother’s foolish attempts to engage with them.

There are a lot of “It used to be” in my vocabulary these days.  You can’t avoid this sentimentality if you are a parent, no matter how much you force yourself to look forward to the road instead of glancing back. The future is scary. The future is exciting. The future is kind of lonely, and loads of anxiety producing. Of course, the future now also gives room for my own activities such as yoga at 6 pm, or poetry workshop that goes until 9:30 pm without worrying about hurrying home.

The other day I was thinking about how much sitting around I do in the car, having to commute one hour each way to work. Since I’ve been working for 20 plus years, that is a lot of moments lost in the car. Just when I started to feel sorry for myself, I remember the wonderful High School both my son and daughter have gone to, where something like 26% of the graduating class (The Class of 2017) scored higher than 30 in ACT, and 13 Commended Students and 12 Finalists qualified for the National Merit Scholarship Program. My son being one of the finalists. This is the school where teachers care about the students, and an emphasis is placed on academics as well as athletics.  Oh yes, the best thing is that this school that has given great educational foundations for both of my kids is a public school.  This is the school my kids could go to because we live here in this town.

So, then, my twenty plus years of lost moments in the car with NPR (in my earlier commuting days) and podcasts such as Tim Ferriss Show, The Good Life Project, and Tara Brach these days are not really lost moments, are they? I have raised two great kids who are empathetic, intelligent and open-minded, (who can hum to the tune of “All Things Considered” at the age of four from over exposure to NPR)  and who at the moment are pursuing higher education: my daughter is currently finishing up her second year in Stanford University, and my son is heading to The Ohio State University in the fall. Besides, have I not learned so much from listening to the mentioned sources? How else could I have known about morning rituals, meditations, radical acceptance, stoicism, refugee crisis, immigrants striving for survival and what a good life means to me?

Considering all of that, what am I lamenting about? What am I really tensing against? The future is unknown, as it always is. Hindsight is so clear as it always has been. I have always placed an importance on education and character while raising my kids. Now, here I am, about to let both of them go out on their own. Already my daughter has been on her own for two years, making decisions, good or bad; and striving and trying to establish her own identity. I rarely hear from her during the school year, which I used to take personally as if I had failed as a mother to connect to a child. Recently, I have been looking at her independence, and her desire to be fiercely free of intrusion from parents, as proof that she is an adult now. She will be okay without me. Isn’t that what all parents want? That their child could stand on their own to brave the world. Imagine having a kid who constantly texts the parents for validation, assurance and approval. Then, I’ll have something to worry about.

So all of this writing and thinking is the roundabout way to assure myself that everything will be as everything should be. Good, bad, pretty or ugly, that is what present moment brings, and this reality is nothing new. Whatever this brief span of life brings, this is what I live in, like it or not. I don’t need to make it anything else. I don’t need to stand from the outside and look in. I don’t need to be anxious about. I am already in. So be in this wholeheartedly.  That’s the new perspective.  Here’s what I have found to be working for me these last few weeks: take a walk outside (2-3 miles each day, or aim for over 4 miles on a good day), take in the view of the trees and each blade of grass, each petal of yellow wild flowers, each inhalation of the scent of nature. Look at the green on the side of the road, the turtle crossing the road, the “Share the road” sign which I love because I think about all the things we are sharing on this road: the dogs barking from the windows of the passing cars, the joggers whose sweat pour from their foreheads, the older couples walking hand in hand, the hummingbird fluttering about, the kids on their scooters  rolling downhill effortlessly. And after all of that, even if I try not to, I can’t help but feel my mind shift from worries to celebration.

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Try saying Yes.

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Try saying yes to things even if they are hard, especially if they tear you like you’re a piece of  paper, hurt you so much that your vision blurs. Try saying yes to a difficult day when doors are being slammed in your face and no amount of combination keys will crack open a way. Try saying yes to the pain in your ankles when you walk and run; it’s a sign that you’ve been trying to go somewhere.

Try saying yes to the block-jammed traffic, where cars stalled, tempers flooded the roads, everyone out to get everyone else, and you curse at a stranger because it’s easier to “Fuck you” than to solve your real problems elsewhere.

Try saying yes to your fear of missing out, your fear of not being enough, your fear of your old friend Insecurity, for they too want a hug, a place to be held, where they are not judged, but accepted tenderly.

Try saying yes to a lot of things that never make you happy although at a glance they seem like the answers you’ve always sought. Trying saying yes because you’ve tried a thousand No’s, and No’s never lead you anywhere. Try saying yes when you are alone and you think this loneliness will become you. Try saying yes when you are happy, for the wrong reasons or you think they are the wrong reasons.

Try saying yes to all the No! people have shoved in your face, stuck on your back, slapped on your cheeks. When they do it again, you say, Yes, Yes, Yes. Failure is an option to learn something new. Try it. Try saying a lot of yes, because you want to and not because you ought to or you need to.

Try saying yes to a day that never rises to expectation, but does not fall flat either. It’s just a day, like any old day, where you wake up breathing and go to bed breathing. This world, this reality, this truth, they are your Yes.

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I took a walk

 

 

FullSizeRender (1) I I took a walk this evening trying to pay attention to each blade of grass, each scent of the roadside flower, each pollen tickling inside my nostril, each breath labored with each uphill track, each stride, each breeze cooling my face and neck, each heat rising up within my body, each nod I gave to the other walkers, each half smile I awkwardly manage as they passed by, each memory of “Oh, this is where my son/daughter ran/fell/biked/laughed/talked/sulked/cried”, each notation of “Oh, this tree/shrub is this tall now”, and each muttering of “this is now, this is now, this is now”. I took a walk in the neighborhood seeing old things as new and new things as old friends: the new pond, the old vine wrapping around the trees, the humming bird hovering above the yellow wild flowers, the little dogs, the big dogs, leashed and unleashed. This is now, this is now, this is now. I am alone save for the shades of the past and the rustling of what to come. This is what empty nest is. This is what half life span is. This is what a person who has lost so many of her moments to fearing. This is what life is about. It is full to the brim with what has been and what to be.

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Friday Quote

I don’t have to believe my thoughts. – Tara Brach

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