Redeeming my thoughts time (spiritual) effortlessly? Cool!

be wise, redeeming the time

A strange thing has happened in my spirit lately. And I discovered that thoughts waste time.

Whilst I have increased my jogging time and intensity, doubling my records, I have also improved my cooking experiences by stubbornly and fearlessly using those strange pots and stove. Somehow they are working for their boss (me) now and I don’t have to continue fasting or feeding on junks. But a strange thing has happened in my spirit lately. I started vigorously praying in the Spirit. I have not had this intensity in praying in tongue for quite some time and I cannot ignore this new habit building behavior. It has to do with my goal to redeem time.

For example, I have been praying more regularly and last Thursday I was woken up in the small hours and started praying in tongue for no reason. I prayed through the whole day except when the workman came with the intention to install fiber internet in my new place. The installation did not take place and is now postponed to another working day (because another set of workmen did not show up).  

After that day I have been praying in tongue intensely like my spirit knows something that I don’t know. It is like a brand new habit building up itself without my deliberate intention or effort. It is like my early years after first encountering the Holy Spirit. It is like a new encountering all over again! Is this the redeeming that I have prayed for and got answered?

Is this the Renewal? Revival? Regeneration? Refreshing? Cool.

Do I feel any difference?

  1. I write more. Rather productive, like four times my usual ability to concentrate.
  2. I feel strong and refreshed even physically, as evident in my above mentioned jogging records.
  3. I even had a rather long discourse with God one morning when I woke up. I just sat at the edge of the bed and started my monologue. After I finally finished my say, I heard God (not audibly). He talked at length too, answering all my queries and telling me what to do next. In summing up, He said, “Your (I have to leave a blank here because it’s personal) are your platforms. Use them!” Prior to that morning’s discourse, I had been harboring an unhappy thought about the state of impasse I seemed to be in, about a seemingly fail-safe plan that fell through half way. But that morning’s clearance in my spirit removed the huge stone from my heart. And I am back to the right track and resume racing toward my life goal.

When I first moved into this temporary place I had a shock when I turned on the tap to get some water to boil and make coffee. The water is muddy. Either the building water tank or the hidden pipes inside the beautiful brick walls are unclean. My portable Brita water filter alone cannot eradicate the uncleanness. I have to get filtered water from a friend and then re-filter the water with my portable filter. In similar ways there are hidden factors inside/outside somewhere hindering our lives. Time gets wasted. Thoughts can waste time. Watch our thoughts.

Kainotes, Sep 12, 2020

combat aging: actions & challenges

my cooking combat field

“I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now.” (Bob Dylan). As I combat against the chronological clock, I have discovered facts and fictions. Enough of sentiment. Back to the reality of re-setting a purposeful action plan. Goal: Redeeming time. So, what shall I do next? This is the last remaining question today about redeeming time. I start with the “love” of my life–my books.

Yes, I find revelation from the minimalistic collection of books I brought with me when I moved into my present studio in August: non-fiction: two are on running and walking, one each on sports psychology, futuristic physics (Michio Kaku) and Elon Musk. Two fiction books: Orhan Pamuk’s A Strangeness in My Mind, and Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. Two poetry books: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, and a South-East-Asian poet’s collection. Two cook books: Marie Claire Crisp (Australian light, fresh food), and Practical Cooking fish & seafood (UK). Nine Bibles/Bible dictionary/concordance.

So here is an random action list in no particular order of importance or intensity:

  1. Running, walking, jogging routine: daily.
  2. Cooking health food, one main meal a day.
  3. Lots of spiritual food intake.

What can the above rather general list do to achieving my goal of redeeming time? Here is what I have done so far:

  1. Set goal for running and working out for the total fitness and youthfulness goal I need to reach and maintain at my age. Start from the basic realistic minimum and increase the demand as my physical improves. I am of ideal weight and proportion, and quite used to training of the body. My sedentary working life has built up a somewhat noticeable spare flab in the middle against which I now combat. A much tougher work is actually the neck upward.
  2. The cooking part is equally tough. Pots and stuff get burnt. whilst I dread to go into the details, I am not giving up. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. LOL.
  3. The spiritual: This is still my main goal. MY LOVE AND JOY. The race is ongoing. My main issue is distraction. Once I m focused I see breakthrough.

To me, redeeming time means I shall live well and young and fit and meaningfully spiritually and physically all the days of my remaining chronological years. To achieve that, I am now in combat mode. Combat against all obstacles —Here are some of the more prominent ones:

Physical hindrances: Returning from a cold country to a tropical country is no easy adaptation in terms of the first two sets of goals. I used to run/walk at an elevation of 2580m with 48% humidity and it has been very pleasant for me. I can walk for hours without feeling tired. I now have to adapt to run/walk at an elevation of 32m with 86% humidity. “As humidity increases, thermal strain and premature fatigue increase exponentially, and so running at your normal pace will feel very difficult,” Said an expert.

Cooking: This is a major challenge: switching from cooking on gas rings to using electrical appliances like induction hob, instant pot, and toaster oven. The consolation is that I eat everything I cook/salvage from the cooking pots.

Spiritual study: My main hindrance is distraction. I am overcoming the hyperactive mind through deliberate focus and practice of self-control in terms of schedule keeping. Reading, praying, meditating on God’s words, and journaling (including blogging) help me focused.

Is relationship part of my redeeming-time goal? Well, I shall leave that to a future blog. (To continue when time comes)

Kainotes, Sep 4, 2020

Confession: TED talk, redeeming time, happiness, purpose

redeeming time (Aquarium Monterey)

Stumbled on TED talk, I (a much older person) sat through it (watching on YouTube) and listened to every word a millennial carefully crafted and spoke. It was well presented and showed good preparation with conviction. But I am not going to write about it this morning. I am writing about redeeming time. Why? Because I saw in the speaker my younger replica. I had tried out my youthful and young adult years pursuing my dream. I sought after an ideal life. I defined it by the potential happiness and human fulfillment I would experience if I had attained it. I thought I had all the means to exchange for human happiness —a good and kind heart, young, fit and healthy, highly educated, multi-cultured, very knowledgeable and intelligent, self-confident, versatile and successful in nearly everything that I work on, interesting and, of course, good-looking. (And big-headed)

I pursued and had intimate relationship with persons whom I thought would give me the happiness I wanted, and fill the void in my heart. I did not find lasting happiness in the first two relationships.

Finally at the onset of the third round I thought I would be happy for at least twenty years and then I would be satisfied and I would not need seek further. I lived with that dream for exactly twenty years and woke up to find myself alone again, in a comfortable, tasteful, but empty house again, talking to things, plants, air and sky, listening to sounds of others, mainly the functioning noises of the house, the environment, and lately, the wind and the rain.

After spending all the years of my younger adult life seeking for meaningful lasting happiness, I am asking several pertinent questions of a young person again. Is happiness beyond my reach, ever? What is the purpose for living, if any? Can time be redeemed? If so, how? If not, what can I do next? There are not many choices in the answers, in the context of the reality of time. So, is it too late to ask the questions? The answer is, it is never too late.

Is happiness beyond my reach, ever? Well, it is essential to re-define happiness in my life dictionary. To me, it is no longer relevant to have the kind of passionate emotion I once thought would bring happiness. What matters now is, have I lived a life that matters? And the answer is tied to the next question.

What is the purpose for living, if any? There is definitely a purpose for living. Each individual intrinsically knows their meaning. It is pre-programmed like a chip planted in each person’s being. In my personal belief, I believe God has implanted a purpose seed in my spirit. So what is my purpose and how come I have not lived it? I can attribute this to failure to listen to my spirit and/or deliberately choosing to interpret life the way I wanted.

Can time be redeemed? If so, how? If not, what can I do next? I have discovered that time cannot be redeemed in the human sense. No matter how careful I have tried to preserve my youthful looks, I still dread that first glance into the mirror every morning. One great teacher teaching “Redeeming Time”, declared whilst speaking to an auditorium of audience in mixed ages, “When I look into the mirror nowadays, I exclaim, no, this is not me, I used to be as good looking as…” All the young persons laughed. And the older ones stayed very still and quiet, reflecting. No, time cannot be redeemed in the human sense. All the past wrong turns, wrong decisions, wrong choices, wrong timings, wrong words spoken, wrong actions…like water that had flowed down the river into the vast ocean of time, cannot be reversed or replaced. No moving water remains the same, ever. That is how time is.

So, what shall I do next? This is the last remaining question today. (to be continued when time comes)

Kainotes, September 1, 2020

“sometimes we just have to dig deeper” (a treasure hunter)

Digging into my treasure chest I found this today. Alas, my perspective remains unchanged though somewhat challenged. The following is an unabridged version. My task at hand is how may I write a sequel? No, I don’t mean a sequel in mere words which is easy and may be churned out like a budget standard B&B. I mean how can the lives of real people be put into a sequel complete with their realities?

Narrow? What narrow?

Crosslife Spaces, business as missionendtimes solutionInnovative Management Strategyman of faith and intellectperspectivephotographypoliticsthoughtstransformed mindtravel  08/03/2016 2 Minutes

Narrow

narrow face
narrow seat
Tuk Tuk
narrow food

“Sometimes all you can do is go on. One foot in front of the other, wherever the narrow path might lead.” I quoted this from somewhere about a spy’s narrow/precarious life. In some parts of the world, the ordinary life is comparatively narrow as a routine: narrow food as depicted by the thin corns (for men and for beasts), narrow transport (coach driven by a motor bike!), narrow space (with driver seat shared with a passenger with driver maneuvering the steering wheel with one hand!))and, sadly, narrow faces of many rural young ones who are generally undernourished and petite in sizes below their age.

Is there a choice? I ask as a mere traveler bystander. Can people choose? What kind of people will be able to breakout from their squalid environment and poverty? I know of many who really believe that education can get them somewhere. The parents sell off all they have and even incur huge debts so that their children can go to private college and university. But employment opportunity in foreign corporations remains limited and often has little choice in terms of salaries and benefits. I know of well-brought up, goal-focused youth who charge ahead bravely, studying two tertiary degrees and doing two jobs at the same time, hoping to get a better future! They are going to be the future for their currently small nations.

Are they narrow? No. They have a hope and a future. they are internally open and broad, even when on an external narrow path.

The food, the means of transport, and the physical stature do not make a man what he is. People read about the possible impact on many aspects of lives on earth due to the geographical polar shift. I personally believe that the internal ideology that shapes and drives a man can do more impact to the world than the external environment. I can see examples of more and more intelligent hard working and positive principled goals driven men who have emerged to shape the future of the globe which has become increasingly border-less. The contrary is also true. Those driven by personal greed and heartlessness do great harm to the world as well. The invisible polar shift.

Narrow? What narrow?

Profound

A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters 46: how to define love? (Revised August 8, 2020)

Roses are red, my love

Love is still the number one most difficult word to define. Things have not changed much even though seven years had passed since the first draft of this word study. As concluded in October 2017, I would still conclude today that nobody loses out in God’s kind of love. As Jesus has promised, what you have given up for His sake you have not really lost. You actually gain in many folds.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The following was originally posted on 2017/10/28 (revised from a previous posting on 7/22/2013)

The spirit-mind man realizes he does not know many things about love and God. Love ties with pain. Here is a word that God uses to describe Himself. Love. What is love? Let us read about love again.
This is what he attempted in this blog before: (with 2017/10/28 up to date mind man’s deliberations in human terms and thoughts in brackets)

A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters: chapter ten -how to define love? 07/22/2013 (Quoted below in excerpts)
“the most difficult word: love”
Today we read the most difficult word in the whole Bible, ‘Love’. (Most difficult outside the Bible too)

Love: This is not a shallow, superficial common word as the mind man had thought in his reckless days. There is richness, depth, breadth, width, height here. …
If he attempts to define this word with his human mind, emotion and senses, he knows he would be insulting the word.

The only way to give love justice is to define this word in the Spirit (spirit).

The next question is who is qualified (in terms of supreme authority) to define love?

Not this mind man, however spiritual he (thinks he) has turned into. The only thing he can do is to find his definition in the word of God, and let each reader find his own.

__________Here the definition goes:

The plumb-line of love: sacrificial. For example: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God should be receiving man’s sacrifices, but He gave His own Son as a sacrifice! John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. This is how God views love and has demonstrated (unconditional) love to us. God has freely given so we need not try to earn it.
(God’s kind of love warrants one-sided sacrificial giving without the other party favorably responding or wanting to receive your love. A person in love may think he or she can give that kind of love without regret. But believe me, when human love fades, regret becomes a glaring color in your black and white life.)

Here is one verse that has persuaded the mind man (and impacted his personal decision) about love:

“Love does not demand its own way.” This is what the mind man received from the Lord (1 Corinthians 13:5) when he was on the verge of making a real big decision…
What more can he do but to let go? …Indeed, the heart has its reason that reason cannot comprehend. But, God’s way (of love) can convince and convict one’s heart…

Can one become whole again when one chooses to love in God’s way? The answer is definitely ‘yes’! …Abraham…David…Jesus’ giving Himself was the supreme example.

What motivated them? The mind man could not think of better reason than ‘love’. Love of God…O yes, love of your loved ones too!

‘Love’ indeed is the most difficult word in this spiritual dictionary, and it is also the best word anyone can lay hold of.

—-
October 28, 2017 spirit-mind-man’s update: This was written four years and three months ago. The human pain felt then can still be felt though much less in intensity and frequency today. Giving up/letting go is the hardest thing to do for anyone. Yet the supreme power of the supernatural love of God gives all the strength one needs to overcome a feeling called pain which ties closely to love. Does anyone lose out because of the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:5? No. Nobody loses out when God’s love becomes the uttermost plumb line in your life. No loss but gain. I pray all who want to encounter God’s kind of love find the peace and security only His love can give. Love means you do no harm to others or to yourself.  Love others in the way God loves you. This is the best ever commandment to keep. God’s kind of love empowers you to keep His word and stay in His peace.

A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters (1): anger, bravery, consider and excellence (Revised August 8, 2020)

I wrote this first of a series based on notes from study of God’s words on 03/16/2013. I took words from the Bible in the sequence of words starting with A, B, C and so on.

“A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters” background explained (3/17/2013): Why does the spiritual mindman start this new journey to read God’s words? Because he has navigated the uncharted waters previously and known how tough it is to sail without a pilot or a navigation guide. So in this dictionary he records everything he perceives in his spirit to share with his spiritual novice friends and brethren. This is not a conventional Bible words dictionary. It is a compilation of his spiritual notes while reading the Bible.

Here are the Bible verses as his solid foundation and plumb line for his notes and for all readers who have purposed in their hearts (spirit) to read the Bible afresh and be led by the Holy Spirit. (Please read the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 2).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Original posted on 03/16/2013

There is a new dictionary which is not exactly new. It has been hidden to many who do not venture into the spiritual realm. The mindman has discovered this new way of reading words, really important words, the words of God. So he begins his real journey on the rough uncharted waters.

Here are some of the new meanings of words or phrases he has found on the way. Enjoy your own navigation through the spiritual mind journey!

________________________________

Anger: it means murder when you think anger in your mind concerning your fellow Christians. Matthew 5:21-23 (NKJV) Murder Begins in the Heart 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,

Bravery: If you think of men and fear them and do what they like you to do, you are  a coward. Only when you mind the matters of God and do the will of God regardless what men may say or do to you, you are considered brave, Jesus is the best example of bravery. Peter is a typical example of the opposite.

(Matthew 16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:22-24 (in Context)  Matthew 16 (Whole Chapter)  Other Translations )

Consider: means accounting action. Many think this is just a matter of thinking in your mind. But in the new dictionary it means real action. For example, it is same as the word count or account. When you consider something in your mind your account in heaven starts updating with debits and credits being input into it!Romans 6:11 (EXB) | In Context | Whole Chapter11 In the same way, you should ·see [count; consider] yourselves as being dead to ·the power of sin [L sin] and alive ·with [to; with reference to] God ·through [or in; in union with] Christ Jesus.

Defile: it means even your thoughts are action words. Mark 7:20-23 (ESV) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Excellence: comes in two forms: 1. the power of God (the Holy Spirit); 2. your spiritual knowledge of God.

  • 2 Corinthians 4:7 Cast Down but Unconquered ]  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
  • Philippians 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

another attempt: the windows are open

from where we stand, on this street, the windows are open

windows are open
blue screen: windows open

windows of opportunity
open daily
to hearts that tally
and not give up

patiently
perseveringly
waiting for the break

dawns always break
at the first ray of light

come alive
a call
so still and quiet
yet you hear it
high and wide

many years ago
he heard
and passed it by

now the call
again so faint yet vivid
come alive
at this first ray of light

the windows are open
from where you stand

where our lives meet: a poetic attempt in blue

there is a quiet space where our lives meet

window of quiet space

where we meet though not often
there is always space

where you rest your soul
and I rest mine
behind a pale blue glaze

quiet
does not mean tired
often it’s a triad
you and me and space

why blue?
you ask

a task?
a mask?

neither
hither and thither
though our souls may flutter
as two young turtledoves
prematurely caught
and set
on each side of an ancient blue vase

posing in a quiet space
one looks in while the other looks out

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a river of parting poems

second page restartSecuring a second page to restart
running this cold steel ruler to mark
a boundary, a demarcation so hard yet tender
in souls that had been torn asunder
cutting heart to heart

If you gaze enough
upward and beyond this gentle
starry night, you will see this river by which every poem must part
glistening as ever
blue as steel

afar and near in perspectives: two pictures

afar lake tahoeafar junction
I chose these two pictures because of the rather interesting perspectives. USA is full of interesting scenes even though I took these pictures at random. The people too. They are apart and dynamic and yet blend into the static presentation as parts of an integral whole. I can imagine individual stories in each small segment and yet I acknowledge that the sum total makes it a unique striking picture! The advantage of bigness of space —— near and afar.

A DICTIONARY FOR NAVIGATORS ON SPIRITUAL ROUGH WATERS 44: the power of Grace

2 Peter 1:2Today we again read the letter G from the Book. GRACE is today’s word. The spirit-mind man used to think of grace as a weak word and avoided it until one day when he was struck (metaphorically) by it and was caught up into a realm he had never encountered before, like being suck up into a whirlwind or like being hit by an invisible lightning rod as he lifted up his hands to worship. It was just an ordinary Sunday morning but his life was never the same after that supernatural invisible encounter in his spirit.

This is what the spirit-mind man discovered about Grace.

A supernatural power that can only come from the Almighty God.
An inexplicable sense of being immensely loved by Him.
An indescribable perception of being in the presence of His absolute goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and loving kindness, resulting in total peace and great joy.
It opens into the spiritual realm (in the Christians’ experience, an intimate relationship with God just as Jesus has taught His believers).
Some of the resultant feelings, perceptions and actual experiences are listed at random below: security, wholeness, acceptance, being valued and esteemed, favored, lifted up, built up, completely broken down and yet being made re-integrated into a whole new being, complete, honestly and transparency, freedom from fear, freedom from condemnation and judgement, clean and pure, released from heavy burden/oppression/obsession, thoughts of hope and optimism, refreshing, energized, renewed, transformed inside out, made over, re-prioritized, re-focused, re-directed, renewed in youth, rest, peace, love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, and many more.
The experience is real. It has lasted decades and is still processing and ongoing.

Grace is a power word. It is authoritative, real and strong. And it transforms an individual human life. Here are some random verses quoted from the Bible to illustrate grace:

John 1:14
[ The Word Becomes Flesh ] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:16
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
John 1:17
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:33
And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
Acts 14:3
Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Acts 20:24
But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Acts 20:32
“So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
2 Timothy 1:9
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
Titus 3:7
that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Hebrews 4:16
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 13:9
Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.
James 4:6
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
1 Peter 1:10
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
2 Peter 1:2
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,
2 John 1:3
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

random thoughts, pictures and colors of friends

Friend is a word we often use to depict any kind of relationship. I decide to use a set of pictures from the coloring book to show what we can make of friendship. We start with plain colorless pages. The relationship adds colors, some messy, some quite beautiful. We can have entirely different tastes like the two houses in a picture or we can have exactly the same appearance and lifestyle like the two adjoining wooden doors. Yet we are still different. You cannot be me and I cannot be you. There is always a boundary between us no matter how buddy we are. We may be close enough to takeover a friend’s role sometimes if needed, like helping one another in crisis. When things resume normal we each return to doing our own stuff, staying at a distance. That is the unspoken realist’s rule of friendship. On the other hand there is a friendship that calls for more, and it borders the common ground of love. That is another story.

his quest for light

Quest for light
quest-for-lightHe is a lover of light and high mountains. He took this photo last winter standing on a mountain. The original scene was breathtaking. It was a sunny day, and the clouds were dispersed. There were distant mountains too. He cannot now remember whether the blue and white patches below the sun were mountains or mere sky. Where he stood and took this picture was the limit of his quest then. Given another chance, perhaps he would go further beyond the blue deep space…

a merry heart’s journey edge

Edge
edge-of-mountain-river2is a comparative advantage. It is also the outside limit of an object, area, or surface; a place or part farthest away from the center of something. I took this photo on a train climbing a mountain. The river looks as if it is at the edge of the track. I probably slanted my mobile phone camera quite steeply or perhaps the climb was rather steep. We went up to 7000 ft and then descended to around 4000 ft to stay in a very scenic town and ski resort. When I first discovered that we were to climb 7000 ft in a train I was a bit concerned. I wondered how it would be like cutting through the mountain with a steep edge on the side of the track. As we settled ourselves in very comfortable coaches and started taking photos we hardly noticed the climb. It was very pleasant and the edge was not noticeable at that time.  Only when I now look at the photos and recall the scenes I marvel at how we can always look at the positive side of things and enjoy lives despite the environment. A merry heart does have its edge over  a miserable heart in challenging circumstances.

a beautiful wordless reflection of a long gone memory

Mirror a wordless reflection one morning in winter. Wordless beauty.
wordless-reflectionLooking at this today brings back long gone memory of a time when he first had a glimpse of her in the mirror. She was getting ready to go to work. He watched her at the door. He could only see her back. But then he saw her smiling in the mirrored reflection. She has her way of smiling which captures heart. Many years ago. Sparkling eyes smiling. He never forgets that smile. Wordless and yet beautiful. He cannot forget.

a watery mirrored house of haiku (two versions)

Mirror
mirror watery house unedited
mirror water houseswatery evening
my front yard’s sunset floating
daily abiding
I took this photo on 20151229 again in a hurry one evening in California. The place is a must see site because of its famous reflection of beautiful and colorful houses on water. The panoramic view did not turn out well as I was using an older Samsung then. But the static single shots were good. This one is my favorite. Will I want to live in one of these mirrored watery homes? My answer is, “No, thank you.” I still love my own little park with the trees mirroring my life as they stretch upward towards the blue sky where eagles soar.

a restaurant haiku

framed 3family outing
couples in love just dating
frame framed and framing
One day we went to this place for a brief break. It was a normal day with families and couples around taking their normal meals. I found the framed ceiling structure interesting for no particular reason and took some random photos. I remember we went at night but the photos now seem to show otherwise. Puzzling. Like life.
Frame

Love’s riddle: a haiku

a complicated timecomplex paradox
enigma unsolvable
find the little fox
She is back. He is back. They are not relatives. But the two humans are not together. And yet they love each other.
It is like looking at this photo. You never know whether the photographer is climbing up the mountain or going down the slope. There is no clue. Perhaps you can detect the lonely depression induced by the season from thin trees with bare branches, the snow covered plants shaped like little animals scurrying on the ground, against a grey bland sky and the an overall mood of foreboding of the scene. But you will not know why the photographer went there and took this picture unless you were him. When he took this picture he was actually climbing uphill. It was mid-January.
They did not meet that time. She was too far away and otherwise engaged. He went alone and spent his winter like a lone wolf.
Now they are both back to one place. Same city. Same street. Same house. He is alone. She is alone. He is not married. Neither is she. They love each other. But they are not together. Why are they not together? A complicated riddle.
No clue.

(I decided to post this blog after leaving the unfinished draft for a month or more. The shape of a lone wolf is too striking to be ignored. Other shapes of animals too. I like seeing living things in shapes formed by nature. I also added a little riddle here to ponder upon on sleepless nights.)

framing the cameraman: a haiku

framed cameramanminding our business
looping comes from flying tram
motion froze in frame
I took this shot at a train station. The two “photographers” appeared suddenly while we were waiting for the train to continue to the next stop. While they were setting up their gears on ground I took this photo. I never knew what they were preparing to shoot. But it is a reflection of life. Whilst we are busy making art (or substitute any word you want) we become the art (do likewise) itself.
Frame

am i not rare? a sidewalk flower asks

Rare
rare purpleYes, you are rare. In my eyes. Today, I walk pass this way without expecting to see you. I am just walking and not looking. I am busy because I am going somewhere. This pathway and roadside are just things I happen to walk by from one spot to another spot. My destination is somewhere else. My interest is not here. I am just traveling by. But I see you. You look at me and smile. You reach out your invisible hand and offer a friendly greeting. Here, this neighborhood? Yes, you stand out despite the environment. The background. The class in which you find yourself. You display your purple. We exchange greeting for a while and I halt my steps for you for awhile. When I move on I know I have encountered a unique rarity. A simple greeting one morning between a traveler and a sidewalk on which I have imprinted my steps one morning which will not be repeated again. The next time I visit this place again it will be another time. A moment in time is rare and unique with its own existence.

It takes a very long time to become young.

young“It takes a very long time to become young.” I agree with this wise statement from Pablo Picasso. It sometimes takes a whole life time to become young. As I searched the internet for the word, “YOUTH”, I came across this movie called, Youth (Italian: La giovinezza), a 2015 Italian comedy-drama film written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino. The song called, Simple Song #3, really touched me. I did not cry buckets of tears which perhaps the director did when he finally chose this song among the many the composer David Lang sent him. According to a story he wanted David Lang to send him a song that could make him cry more than just a bit. But I have tears in my heart when I listened to the song.
It is a simple contemporary classic song sung in simple lyrics but beautiful when sung with passion. The song plays an important role as it is both the hero, a retired composer, Fred’s most beloved work and one that transmits a hidden emotional message to his wife. His wife is senile, and living at a care home in Venice. He wrote the song in younger days for her to perform.

It stars Michael Caine (83) and Harvey Keitel(77) as best friends who reflect on their lives while holidaying in the Swiss Alps. “It is a story of the eternal struggle between age and youth, the past and the future, life and death, commitment and betrayal.” The cast also includes Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, and Jane Fonda.

Fred turns down an invitation by an emissary for Queen Elizabeth II to perform his popular piece “Simple Songs” at her husband Prince Philip’s birthday concert, claiming he is not interested in performing any more – although he still composes pieces in his head when alone. Later when approached again by the emissary, he explains (and heard by his daughter) that he won’t perform “Simple Songs” because the soprano part belongs only to his wife and she can no longer sing.

When I ponder on the subject of “Youth”, I have no words but words already well expressed by others, such as the song and the bit of the story concerning a man and his wife who is no longer singing. I also quote below words expressed by a writer and a poet who mean what youth really means to me in this season of pondering over life and the inevitable aging of youth.

Time in dreams is frozen. You can never get away from where you’ve been.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old

may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young

and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile”
― E.E. Cummings, Complete Poems, 1904-1962

Youth

youth music

a morning’s perspective

morning in FebruaryThis picture was taken two days before I left the country in February this year. It was a cool morning and I walked alone on this familiar road probably one last time for a long time to come. I had stayed for half a year in this neighborhood and it had become my routine to take a morning walk in the cool, fresh air. The photo was taken with a Samsung Galaxy, nothing fancy. Winter was mild and comfortable. I normally do not like heavy clothing unless I travel to the snow countries. I just returned from one before I took this shot. Somehow this ordinary grayish morning with the sun coming out against the silhouette of trees, (as I walked alone on a quiet and still road), gives me a perspective I like best. It is just another easy and breezy morning. People are still sleeping or getting ready to go somewhere. No one seems in a hurry. The noisy and busy world is some distance away. I am traveling home shortly and yet the frantic packing does not deter me from this leisurely unhurried walk. As I meet one or two early birds who are walking solo too, or working in their gardens, we smile briefly and say to each other, “Good morning!” Then each of us carry on walking or doing our morning chores, each to our respective destination. As I write this my heart is filled with thankfulness for another day alive and well in this world.

Good morning to you, my friend, who reads this today! I pray you are well!

Morning

Perhaps this is the most beautiful car I ever photographed

Luxury

luxuaryPerhaps this is the most beautiful car I photographed when visiting the car museum, a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster. Price when new: $10,780. Price today? Your guess.

Luxury can refer to possession of things like this fabulous car. I quote a passage written about the status marker of Gatsby (in the book The Great Gatsby, a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald.)

*”He numbers among his possessions a hydroplane, two cars, two motorboats, a mansion with a pool and its own beach and his ‘toilet set’ made of gold. His clothes are similarly opulent and he has an excessive number of shirts. Furthermore, Gatsby has servants (a chauffeur, a butler, a gardener) and hires people to work for him at his parties.” Even his shirts are luxurious symbols of wealth: Gatsby’s flamboyant attire, perhaps like his mansion, is an advertisement of wealth as part of his claim to be worthy of Daisy. She is very impressed, and cries ‘stormily’ when she is presented with this evidence:‘They’re such beautiful shirts,’ she sobbed, her voice muffled in the thick folds. ‘It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.’ But Daisy chose to remain with Tom (her husband).*

The wealth of Gatsby could not get him what he had craved for many years, Daisy, his dream love. Gatsby achieved his dream of wealth. But he never achieved his dream of love. He died a very disillusioned, sad and lonely man.

Dictionary Definition of ‘luxury’: 1 we’ll live in luxury: opulence, luxuriousness, sumptuousness, grandeur, magnificence, splendor, lavishness, the lap of luxury, a bed of roses, (the land of) milk and honey; informal the life of Riley. 2 indulgence, extravagance, self-indulgence, nonessential, treat, extra, frill.

(*The passage commenting on the book is quoted/excerpted from http://crossref-it.info/textguide/the-great-gatsby/34/2444)

thankful to be alive and well

Morninganother morning in NovemberThis is a photo taken on one November morning when I decided to go for a walk. I arrived in August in this country at a time when things did not look rosy for one of my close ones. After a brave battle of many months on his part and on the part of his very committed children who took turn to care for him, he recovered miraculously! So this morning I walk with thanksgiving and gratitude for the mercy and grace we have enjoyed as a family. It is such a glorious day to be alive and having our loved ones around, knowing that they are well again! What a beautiful morning it is! 

this morning I fly alone: a haiku

Morning
this morning I fly aloneThis dawning alone
flying solo not forlorn
painting world beyond

This picture is unedited. I used a Samsung Galaxy and set the scene at dawn. It came out like a painted picture. The bird at the right corner is a bonus. We never know what we shall get in life until we receive them. There is a gap between getting and receiving. I receive this picture without much effort. I woke up and thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of the scene outside my hotel and WhatsApp to my friend. And here is the picture. (Reduced from the original) A good start for the day!

Narrow? What narrow?

Narrow


“Sometimes all you can do is go on. One foot in front of the other, wherever the narrow path might lead.” I quoted this from somewhere about a spy’s narrow/precarious life. In some parts of the world, the ordinary life is comparatively narrow as a routine: narrow food as depicted by the thin corns (for men and for beasts), narrow transport (coach driven by a motor bike!), narrow space (with driver seat shared with a passenger with driver maneuvering the steering wheel with one hand!))and, sadly, narrow faces of many rural young ones who are generally undernourished and petite in sizes below their age.

Is there a choice? I ask as a mere traveler bystander. Can people choose? What kind of people will be able to breakout from their squalid environment and poverty? I know of many who really believe that education can get them somewhere. The parents sell off all they have and even incur huge debts so that their children can go to private college and university. But employment opportunity in foreign corporations remains limited and often has little choice in terms of salaries and benefits. I know of well-brought up, goal-focused youth who charge ahead bravely, studying two tertiary degrees and doing two jobs at the same time, hoping to get a better future! They are going to be the future for their currently small nations.

Are they narrow? No. They have a hope and a future. they are internally open and broad, even when on an external narrow path.

The food, the means of transport, and the physical stature do not make a man what he is. People read about the possible impact on many aspects of lives on earth due to the geographical polar shift. I personally believe that the internal ideology that shapes and drives a man can do more impact to the world than the external environment. I can see examples of more and more intelligent hard working and positive principled goals driven men who have emerged to shape the future of the globe which has become increasingly border-less. The contrary is also true. Those driven by personal greed and heartlessness do great harm to the world as well. The invisible polar shift.

Narrow? What narrow?

Profound

Narrow is not an issue here

Narrow

Often we do not see the narrowness in which we confine ourselves. Building design is one example. today I put up two photos of buildings from two parts of the world sharing a similar theme. The architects probably considered the cost of space in the cities. Strange to say they both look quite beautiful despite the “narrowness” to a person who is used to open space. I actually like the style these two presented when taking the pictures. Looking at them now I discover I can accept them from a distance. Of course I run back to my own private open space as soon as I can. When searching through my stock of photographs I discover that I have at least a hundred times more open spaces than buildings! It just shows. Photographs are like portraits of the photographers. We bare our souls when we take a print of others. A rather frightening thought!

perhaps you like this mountain

Cherry On Top
2007 Fuji Mt n cloudIt was a day before Christmas eve nine years ago. A time to celebrate the peace and goodwill promised to mankind. There were a bus load of us. You were sitting next to me. The ride was comfortable and the weather was fine. Indeed a mild winter. The guide told us to expect a sumptuous dinner of the best sushi ever served. He also took order of those who wanted a taste of the Hokkaido . King crab or Tarabagani, and Kobe veal. Bath in hot spring. Arrayed in the local cultural costumes for dinner. We truly enjoyed the experience in a different culture. I remember we told the host we would visit them again. But we never went back together. I never went back.

I remember you said you liked their mountain.

This is another view of the famous mountain. I hope you like it.

this is a letter I will not send.

Cherry On Top
2007 Fuji Mt n treeYou know this is a letter I will not send. It is an ordinary letter about how things are with me. The summer is ending and the last blooms outside my window have just withered. Soon it will be autumn and winter again. Today I looked into a drawer which I have not opened for a long time, perhaps years, and found this photo hidden in a memory card. Remember that morning in December 2007 we traveled? You suddenly wanted me to stop the coach. I asked the driver to stop. We got down and took this photo and others. I never sent this card to the studio for prints. Somehow I put it in the drawer locked together with many other precious and happy memories. Digital camera was popular then and I was using a Nikon Coolpix 7900 with 7.1 megapixels. The photos came out well for that journey. I found many portraits of you too. Long hair blowing in the gentle breeze of winter. Radiant smiles. I can even smell the fresh, cold and crisp mountain air when looking at the photos. Pity we didn’t go to any winter sports destination after all. The best photos are those of mountains like this one. I am not sending this because you have taken your own photos too. Perhaps after all these years you would not want me to send you the photos in this long forgotten memory card. Yesterday someone came back from the faraway land and told me that you have not changed much. But you no longer keep long hair. The mountains, they said, are still beautiful.

“Long Letter” (keeping a promise)

Cherry On Top
Mount FujiLooking at old photos I found this one by chance stored in a Nikon digital memory card. The photo was taken in 2007 December. As you would have recognized it is Mount Fuji in the morning. It was a clear morning and we had some good pictures on that day together. Traveling with someone who matters to me is always a cherry-on-top kind of experience. I just read a poem titled “Long letter”. It is about two persons corresponding with handwritten letters. It is obvious that the two have known each other for a long time and they show their valuing the friendship by writing regular long letters to each other. Even when the letters are about ordinary small matters they take the bother to write down in careful longhand with ink and share with each other the whole summer. It is like they want the other party to actually see their daily lives: the wooden table for writing, the sunshine crashing into the room, the dazzling summer blooms at the window, mysterious fireflies at otherwise pitch dark night, the faraway stars and milky way… They know the contents even before opening the letters and read. They know all the unspoken words. I remember I too wrote a letter a day one whole summer. The poet likens it to keeping a promise.

Cityexit sighs: a haiku (and a prose)

Look Upa lamp post sign

Sad sky with glum sign
many pauses many sighs
heart forlorn desires
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~”Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” He never wants to be a hero even though he recalls this famous first line from a text book of his childhood. This is a duplicate of an English town in the middle of the States. It is strange that a quaint little town brings back such a lot of memories of his very young days in England, or to be precise, London. He has often dreamed of that city after leaving her. He did not have a choice then. There was no provision for him to stay on after he returned from Paris to encounter a brief but very cold winter in London. He always remembers that winter morning. His boss called him in and announced the good news, “Here, have a cup of tea, one sugar? a spot of milk?” The boss was exceptionally civil that fateful morning. He had a spotless glass window room which signified his status. The single tree outside his window was bare and its friendly branches were leaning over and gently tapping the glass pane. “I must say that I am envious of you, going to such exotic and interesting places. But of course I have been to many in my own days…” So he was selected to go to his first posting overseas in a nation beyond many seas and oceans with limitless opportunities for a young executive. What better choice did he have staying in London? None. He stepped into the street as the boss decided to let him off for the rest of the day to sort out his thoughts and perhaps other matters. He was scheduled to travel a week later. He decided to pick just one priority, and took a metro to Charing Cross, the Foyles Bookstore. He collected all the Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome and Collections of Giles’s cartoons. Then he left and had a cup of coffee next to the bookstore. That was his personal Brexit. Did he ever return? Yes, several times. But London was a foreign country by then. His childhood friend left and chose to live in a tropical city with her husband. They left for health reason. Will he return again? Perhaps, when days are brighter after the real Brexit. Is there any other city he wants to go back to? Yes, perhaps Paris. Not now though. He has just returned from San Francisco. Not going back for a long time. Is there no city he can go? Not Shanghai either.  Not the big ones. Sad, but true. To be accurate, it had been: Lonexit, Paexit, SAexit, Shanexit…and to sum it all, Cityexit. 

word dictionary:
forlorn adjective
1 he sounded forlorn: unhappy, sad, miserable, sorrowful, dejected, despondent, disconsolate, wretched, abject, down, downcast, dispirited, downhearted, crestfallen, depressed, melancholy, gloomy, glum, mournful, despairing, doleful, woebegone; informal blue, down in/at the mouth, down in the dumps; rare lachrymose. ANTONYMS happy.
2 a forlorn garden: desolate, deserted, abandoned, forsaken, forgotten, neglected. ANTONYMS cared for.
3 a forlorn attempt: hopeless, vain, with no chance of success; useless, futile, pointless, purposeless, unavailing, nugatory; archaic bootless. ANTONYMS hopeful, sure-fire.

it has to be love: a Haiku (and a Prose)

has to be lovegood explanation
none better than love-passion
seldom with ration
“It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?” “What lasts? Is there anything you’ve made in your life that will still be here 150 years from now? What does not last, if they are not retold, are the stories.” How true these words from a recent reading are. He ponders. When he thinks of all the events that happened before in his young life and hers he knows there is no explanation except love. Love binds their two hearts and spurs them to do things beyond their wildest dream. The union of their hearts and minds crystallizes into something dazzling and brilliant. If he is not telling their stories now whatever that they have together accomplished for which they have given so much of their lives would not last after they are gone. He wants to leave a legacy to his loved one. A legacy of their story.

Love and pain: a haiku (with prose)

white snow n black rock
Concealed and revealed
interspersed with love and pain
compelling unveiled
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He decides to dedicate today to the subject of LOVE. On waking this morning he observes that the snow has melted and revealed dark foreboding jagged black rock, like he is suddenly going through a lesson on the description of rocks, including their color and surface shape, plus characteristics such as size, shape, and arrangement of the grains or crystals in each rock. The partially melted snow has cleansed the rocks. It is as if a giant painter has walked through this patch of the mountain and used his gigantic brush and drawn a pattern for the snow to turn into liquid and flow away so that the rock may appear and assume its place in time. He think of his own life that it too has been drawn and brushed and patterned by an invisible hand from birth to this dawn of the melting snow. He wonders what each rock had been before it becomes a rock. He wonders why he had not found a love patch in his own heart until he was twenty and met her, a young smart mature precocious girl of ten. He thinks of the eight years they have had mostly on an intellectual and spiritual connection and comradeship, relying mostly on technology to link up. She lives with her very exclusive folks and travels extensively for her study of draught and underground water. He lives with the convention, also traveling extensively round the globe to all premium conventions held and hosted by the Midas hotel chain. His friends deride him, “What kind of love is that? Love in the virtual world?” He has taken her advice and started to study building. The two of them are going to take care of two major concerns of the world’s poorest and most disaster-hit people groups: water and shelter. His boss taunts him by singing the Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha with daily rendition in full*. Is he taunted? No. Remember? He is a star gazer. He sees and focuses on one star and he is going after it, and he knows it is not unreachable. The name is called LOVE.

~~~~~~~~~~
*Lyrics
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Love’s equilibrium: a haiku (and a prose)

Oppositessnow river
Tranquility snow
come rest upon my heart now
gentle tender flow
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything is something it isn’t. He read this somewhere. People feared the unknown and worried about uncertainty of changes. A wall might not be a wall. A door might not open at all. Yet he knew in chemistry there is a state in which a process and its reverse are occurring at equal rates so that no overall change is taking place, for example, ice is in equilibrium with water. The boss worried that he had gone over his senses when he decided to quit his successful career and go after an illusive dream. “You only see the tip of the iceberg. You never know what lurks beneath the enchanted emerald ocean. Use your superb grey matter, young master, weigh the pros and cons.” The boss warned (possibly quoting from some oriental movie scripts which became his latest craze). He looked at the snow on this mountain and indeed he could not summarily conclude what really lied underneath the white cloth. Should he step on it? There should be a scientific way to gauge the reality of things hidden or supposedly revealed. On the other hand how can one judge love by scientific way? How would the trees know that the snow was coming and would cover the empty ground? But the trees continued to stand their boundary position when the snow came in the night. When the dawn arrived the mountain was demarcated by two colors: white and black, a beautiful natural equilibrium. No, he would not worry about the unknown. He knew her worth. She knew his too. Their love was in a state in which opposing forces or influences were balanced. (to be continued)