Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Road Not Taken

Letter to self :

So the road diverges, and without a clear signboard, you’re confused and conflicted. Torn between two wants, stuck between a hard place and a burning desire. Right now you’re wondering about the things you should have done, must do, have to do, are expected to do. So many lists, so many things, so many expectations.

Somewhere out there, there are these people who need you. The thing is, you know this, even acknowledge their need for the many yous, but you don't yet acknowledge how much you need them. They may have little, but so much to give. They may not have learnt a lot, but you have a world to learn from them.

You’ve allowed yourself to sink into that dangerous abyss full of cushy indifference, easy excuses and recycled thoughts. You’ve allowed yourself to forget how alive you felt every time you pushed yourself past that barrier of Feeling Uncomfortable.

You ask everyone for the answer, but how is someone else going to tell you how your heart beats a little faster at that memory. How can anyone tell you the melody of your song, unlock the secrets of your dreams. Why are you looking outside for answers that only lie within. Deep down, there is this voice willing for you to listen. Listen, just listen. Then take the road less traveled by. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Storms make trees take deeper roots

Don't think I don't see what you're doing. You think it's self-preservation, but really darling, all that sitting around in broken glass spells nothing but self destruction. What you're doing, is wallowing. 

You may think that you've gone through tough times, learnt a lot from it, but your experiences are not unique. What you need to do is unlearn everything you thought you knew. You'll never learn from a cluttered mind, the same way you'll never learn from a cluttered whiteboard. Clear out everything and start on a blank slate. 

Right now you think it's impossible to trust again. Those trust issues you had, this person was the magnifying glass that made it all seem worse. Never let this be an excuse for you not to let others in. There is a difference between being naive and being distrustful. One keeps your eyes and heart open, the other, keeps the door shut. Keep looking, one day you'll find that kindred spirit. You'll recognize this person from the same curious wide-eyed wonder you'll both have. 

You may think you don't know your talents, your passions. But there was once when a light ignited this ethereal burning desire in you. Find that spark again. And when you do, hold on to it, and share it ! Share it to ignite someone else's fire, share it to share your message of finding hope again. 

Always remember that when life pushes you into a corner, there is something within you that has the capability to push back. And push back harder ! Do it. Because the people who love you unconditionally deserve better. Because you, deserve better. 

Inner Voice 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Even when it hurts

This walk You’ve destined for me,
May not be the easiest of things
But I’ve learnt not to always ask for the easy ones
Because true sweetness can only be savoured if bitterness is first cringed at

Thank You,
For the days when I feel alone,
Because that is how I’m reminded
Of the beauty of never being lonely 
When You choose to reside in my heart

Thank You,
For the pain and heartaches
Because only then do I get the salve of your compassion
When Your touch heals me where it hurts

Thank You
For the tricky slopes of life
The high cliffs and low valleys
Because only then do I get to experience
how awesome it is to have You fight my battles

Thank You
For loss no matter how insufferable at the moment
Because only then am I reminded
That eternity is not what my mortal mind conceives
But eternity,
Is the everlasting fabric of Your perfect design.
The grace of which You wish to clothe me in,
And the emblem of which I am to carry.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

An exercise in gratitude

I’d like to challenge you to walk through this exercise with me. Now close your eyes and take a deep breath, and remember this version of you.

If you’re like most of us, the moment you wake up in the morning,  you’ll be headed for the shower. Or at least the nearest basin to brush your teeth. Now revel in that refreshing burst of clean water. 780 million people have no access to clean water. In fact, 3.4 million people die each year from water related diseases1. Think you’ve got it bad ? Think again.

Now that you’ve showered, follow me into the kitchen, where the smells of breakfast waft in the air. Perhaps you like to start your mornings with a strong cup of coffee, or perhaps breakfast is the most important meal of the day for you and you relish the sight of pancakes and bacon drenched in syrup. Approximately 870 million people go hungry every day. Hunger, is the number one health risk in the world2. Think you’ve got it bad ? Think again.

Alright sleepy head, rubbed the sleep off your eyes yet? Hop in the car and let’s head on to school / work. Are you dreading and whining about the long day ahead ?  61 million primary school children were not enrolled in school, almost half of this are not expected to ever get enrolled. 53% of the world’s school dropouts are girls, 2/3 of whom are illiterate3. Think you’ve got it bad ? Think again.

Do you hear the bell ? It’s lunchtime ! Let’s gather some mates and perhaps check out that new restaurant downtown. You pick up a heavy menu and glance through a long list of food choices. You know that people die from hunger, sure you read about it every time. Remember too that food wastage is  a huge contributor. 30% – 50%  of food produced or 1.2 to 2 billion tonnes of food gets binned around the world4. Thinking of leaving your plate half-eaten? Think again.

Man, that sure was a long day wasn’t it ? Finally, after battling crazy rush hour traffic, you open the doors to your home and dinner is already on the table. Some days, if not most days, you’ll probably spend dinner bickering with your siblings, or giving your spouse the cold shoulder.  40 million children are abused each year.  Child rape occurs every two minutes (to put it bluntly, in the time it took you to get to this paragraph, a child has been raped)5.  A worrying 10 – 69% of women are abused by an intimate partner, with more than 1.5 million people losing their lives to violence every year.6 Think you’ve got it bad ? Think again. 

Now it’s time for bed, and we’ve walked through the end of the exercise. Hang on, before you head off to chasing dreams, remember that version of you in the beginning ? I hope that by the time you get to this sentence, you’ve thought again and again and realized how privilege doesn’t lie in luxury, but in recognizing the little things that make up the big picture.  There are an endless list of things we want, desire and crave for. Unfortunately, that makes it so easy for us to ignore the endless list of things we have that millions in the world need, require and die for. Think. Again.

If your thoughts need further provoking :  

1. Water crisis 2. Hunger crisis 3. Education facts 4. Global food waste report 5. Child abuse facts 6. Violence analysis 

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Clothes She Wore

Another day, another costume. The plethora of masks mocks, and the fashionable Opinion of Others costumes lined up goadingly. “Enough is enough” she mutters.

“You’re not gonna pull this off. They’ll talk “ says the snide reflection in the mirror.

With that, and a rebellious jerk, she rips off the hazy veil of self-esteem. Through her fingertips, fragile lace and tulle crumbles, scattering the floor with fragments of esteem built on the foundation of The Others. She rubs off the stain of shocking red on her lips, the false bravado and pretend worldliness. They have to see. They’ll learn to accept this face, the one with the eyes too trusting, the slight overbite in the awkward smile and the stubborn tilt of determination. She grins, and in the freedom of a fresh faced child, a faint dimple winks back.

She gently peels off the fussy collared top, along with it’s choking rules. Gone are the harsh layer upon layers of self-expectation, replaced instead with the positive pearls of wisdom.

She unhooks the heavy belt of Second Thoughts, and replaces it with a slim silver one. Hope.  The heavy, frumpy wool pants of responsibility is replaced with a flowery skirt of youthful expectation. Unlike its predecessor, this one lifts in a perfect circle when she twirls. It is not constricting, it is whole.

Ready at last to head out, the Heels of Society and the Boots of Thoughts skip her attention. Instead she reaches out for the Soles of Adventure. Sturdy comfortable shoes made to walk through life’s slippery slopes, sealed with the glue of confidence and the seams of self-assurance.

Ah yes, it’s going to be a good day ! 

Monday, June 03, 2013


I once met a person named Round. Round started talking at a really young age. And thus a future was declared. “Scientist ! Nobel Laureate ! President ! “ , big dreams drawn for a tiny babe whose first words happened to be longer than the typical monosyllabic garble. 

Growing up in a culture where imagination has limits, and dreams are reined in by reason, Round slowly unlearnt instinct. In the balance of life, duty outweighed passion, and burdened by the weight of expectations, Round met accomplishment after accomplishment, only to feel lighter with each one.  Springs bloomed, and autumn leaves fell, and Round sank deeper into the cushions of complacency.

Until one burning summer, when Life bumped headfirst into Round, tackling him to the ground without so much as a “Hidey Ho! “ for greeting. And the precarious balance Round was so used to got thrown out of sync. For the first time in years, Round lost the handlebars of Plan Bs and the safety nets that came with “Walking the Safe Line”. His instincts no longer what they were, he rummaged for the Beginner’s Manual to Life and realized too late that it started with the line  “Rule#1 - Never trade your curves for rigid corners.”

Most of our lives are marked with attempts to fit in, not realizing that sometimes we’re forcing square pegs into round holes. The thing is, when you look back at the road traveled in life, the events that stand out are not the ones in which you fit in seamlessly, they were the ones when you stuck out like a sore thumb. The times when you were brave enough to leave your passions vulnerable. The times when you were courageous enough to be afraid in a lonely walk, than be comfortable in a mundane march of many. The truth is, we are organic. We are flexible, we expand, we absorb, we change. The truth is, we are all round.