Thursday, July 30, 2009

Go Easy With Yourself

Have you ever felt that you're overwhelmed by things - you wanted to do many things and ended up the day doing nothing? We felt overwhelmed by things and instead of being productive, we lost passion to complete our tons of to-do-lists.

Since last week, I've been trying to go easy with myself. Though I know worry-free life is something too perfect, I try to make life more enjoyable, easier. I bought some DVDs, tried to minimize everyday to-do-lists to become simpler and prioritize only big things. What I get is what I expected. Life is sooo easy. Yes, easy.

And big problems become something to beat rather than to ignore, or to escape from. We become 'on top of', instead of 'overwhelmed by', things.

The first stepping stone to go easy with self is actually mental work. We need to see things as options rather than must-things-to-do. What I mean options is you choose what important things, what you really want to do. You do what you like to do.

Many things can't be that ideal; we do things we like. But many times we need to stretch ourselves a little bit by doing must-things-to-do. And those can be options if we can build them in our mind, accept them and try to justify why we should do so called must-things-to-do. So, most of the things in the world can be something we 'choose to do' rather than a 'have to do'.

Okay - time to say hello to legs now and off to the beach. Maybe I will be too easy with myself and next posting will be delayed a week or so.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Should We Judge as Good or Bad or Just Accept What Is?

Several weeks ago I had chance to meet one of the smartest people in social science, Katherine Wilson - traveler, Salsa teacher and PhD student specialized in genocide. Her blog is awesome. Though she stayed with me only for several days, we talked a lot about politics, religion, life and genocide - the newest and strangest thing I ever heard so far.

Genocide is simply defined as deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. Jews holocaust, Rwanda genocide, Darfur - Sudan tragedy, Yugoslavia ethnic war (Serb and Bosnia) and cultural destruction (Aborigine and Indian ethnic in Australia and USA) are all included in genocide subject.

All of them are darkest moment in our history. If you see holocaust movie - Schindler's List, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - you'll see how terrible human can be. Nazi killed Jews in killing fields with poison gas, burnt people and shot them like killing dogs or any animals' name you never value. And for me, killing people for difference; economically, politically, religion, is the worst thing that ever happened in our history.

The conversation with Kat opened a whole new concept how people, at least for myself, should live in differences. It's like confirmation about what I have been believing about the perfect life should be.

While I believe the physical destruction is the worst, disgusting things human can do; the second worst is unacceptance leading to harassment, of cultural, gender, sexual orientation, and personality differences in our life.

I am grateful my Chinese family was raised in village amongst non-Chinese people - so when they bullied my Chinese face, I understood the way they thought before they said bad words to me.

Our education system sometimes make it worst, taught us not to be open, stuck in theory rather than expanding the way of thinking; in a way that people seeing similarity as bestest thing happens in life rather than wisely accepting difference.

I am grateful to have been moved to Jakarta at 10 years old and being nerd student in school, so I knew how to live, one more time in life, in minority and accepted differences. I am grateful to be in school and university where cultures blend in a perfect way - so I can see the beauty of being different.

So, difference is the destiny of life. We cannot change that. Sad thing is bigots move against world movement.

We all are imperfect in managing difference. Our humanness tends to reject difference because it creates discomfort in us. But that's okay, at least we try. I try to. Some are good stories, some failed to ge good ones.

I believe the best way to handle differences are by seeing things neutral, neither good ones nor bad ones. Good-bad system tends to judge things and categorizes things in group of bad one and good one. And we tend to look down at the bad ones. By seeing things neutral, we accept difference as normal things and handle it as something that improves our system of life. That's the perfect idea of living life in differences, for me.

So, being different isn't necessarily a bad thing ever happened in our life. We're all different in specific way. It IS us who choose our life path. Be proud of it - you have colorful paintings rather than only black & white ones.

The simple yet powerful story about being different is told perfectly in 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas', an award winning movie with Holocaust tragedy as the setting.

There are two boys in that movie; first is son of Nazi commander who didn't really have idea what his father was doing as soldier. What he knew his father is a soldier who surrendered himself to country, which was led by Nazi.

The second boy is the son of Jews, who has been in the killing field waiting to be executed. He's been tortured for years in killing field - everyday he ran to the corner of killing field, which accidentally made him meet the first boy.

They have different perspective about soldier.

For the first boy, who didn't have idea what soldiers' job is - what he knew they surrendered life for holly duty to their country - sees soldiers as one making world the better place to live. In that era, Nazi brainwashed students that their holly war was to erase Jews from civilization. They believed Jews are evil who made world worse.

For the second boy, who has been living like animals for years, what he knew was soldiers are evils who punished with gun for mistake, killed people for nothing and celebrated for the pain Jews felt.

From the insufficient information they both have, they tend to have unoptimal conclusion of one similar thing. It's like describing elephant for deaf and blind man.

You see what I'm saying? Try to look things from opposite point of view and you'll see the beauty of differences. Go easy with differences, and you'll not be tired of living everywhere and for sure it will expand your personal impact.

"Sometimes it's a form of love to talk to somebody that you've nothing in
common with and still be fascinated by their presence." -David Byrne

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Perfect Getaway in Tanjung Lesung

What's on earth makes us keep giving to people or community? I believe it's because abundance feeling that we have. If we have it, then we have something to share to the world. It is a state that you can't keep it inside YOU, but YOU need, if no forced, to give back to universe. It's like filling water into glass and when it's full, there's no choice for water but being in abundance state, throwing out water to everywhere.

And to get abundance feeling, we need to take it from people, things or nature. Stealing it from people or things is temporary, and the happiness transferred is, many times, fake. Taking abundance from newest blackberry or expensive wardrobe may be disappointing. The value of abundance we took may be only the price to get those worldly things. So, it's limited.

But taking it from nature is unlimited. Priceless. You can take as long as you still need love, energy and confidence to do things. Mother earth gives us unconditional love - she doesn't really expect to get love back.

It's been long time not being back on the road, and next weekend I will be stealing abundance from the universe. It's like getting water into glasses of my life, fill it up and throwing ocean of love, confidence and consciousness to the world.

Road is my homey. I'm gettin' excited.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Total Solar Eclipse July 22, 2009

I was 7 years old the first time I witnessed first solar eclipse in my life. Several days after I was in elementary school, I was so afraid to neither having friends nor facing scary teachers in school. Palembang back at 1989. The fear of this phenomena was even bigger than the fear of being in school. I had no idea when one day the sky turned into dark and I was there, running into the class to hide and was afraid bad things happened. Superstition which I had been listening to came to my life.

But then I knew that it was solar eclipse, which is scientifically natural and explainable.

Today, July 22, 2009, total solar eclipse was visible within narrow corridor which began in India and traveled thru Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, southern Japan and Pacific Ocean. Total solar eclipse is one of the most fascinating astronomical phenomena that people from all over the world travel to the corridor to see this once-in-a-century eclipse. The nearest will be seen again in June 13, 2132, as predicted. And what special is the total solar eclipse today is the longest one in 21st century, lasted up to 6 minutes and 39 seconds.

Some awesomeness of total solar eclipse in history here.

Universe is trying to wow us with this phenomena.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

The Art of Waiting and Why It Should Stop Ruining Our Day

Have you ever been in a moment that you have been waiting for someone and he/she didn't come on time, or worse, didn't come at all? You felt upset and immediately it changed your mood the whole day. Or you started judging that the person is really disrespectful - and you started complaining here and there.

It's time to stop complaining if you, by any chance, have to wait for someone. There may be many reasons why they make you wait. The person you are waiting for may be; stuck in unexpected traffic jam, engine failure, or simply because of his bad time management. No matter what the reasons, we can change our attitude from 'we have to wait' to 'we choose to wait'. There are lots of things you can do whilst waiting for. One of the simplest to do is doing nothing.

Yes, just do nothing. I learn from the past that, yes, it is disrespectful if you make someone waiting for you, but it is as disrespectful as blaming that person for being late without any chance for him to explain. Back to reality; there are many possibilities that people come late, and we know that.

And learning from the past, we can choose to make our waiting time much more enjoyable than ever! It's our choice.

Here are some tips I have been doing to make my waiting time enjoyable, or at least, not a disaster for my whole day:

  1. Make yourself busy. We can always do things whilst waiting; writing, following-up some pending items of your job over the phone, arranging schedule, thinking about forward plans. Or maybe you can start talking to strangers to start opening your mind. We don't know that the person may be the savior for the whole future life. If you don't really want to make yourself busy with work, you can do things you like, your hobbies; listening to music, writing, or make yourself busy with your blackberry.

  2. Do nothing. I usually do this thing a lot. Many people don't have chance to do nothing because they 'don't' want to. It IS deliberate action to do nothing. Do nothing is great - we give chance for self, mind and soul to recover. Look at the sky, the people around, and just enjoy the bestest things universe has offered to us. Life is wonderful and just being in the world doing nothing is rare opportunity, particularly if we live in mega-cities.

  3. Breathe. Take a deep breath; you may do this only whilst sleeping. Having so many things to do in the office may make us forget how to really take a deep breath.

  4. Gratitude. Being grateful for everything in life is a like a magic; it creates abundance to our life. If we are grateful for great family, children, food, career we have, which are big things, then why should we be ungrateful with being alone waiting for someone, which is small thing? We fill life up with happiness in big things, then small things should not ruin our happiness.

  5. Set expectation. We can always set our expectation low, as low we can go. Say, 15 minutes waiting is worth the benefit we may get later. It's our choice. Having problem as perfectionist and you cannot let things off-track? You may want to start letting go things, which is fulfilling. Universe is perfect, human is not. So why we should be tired and being perfectionist if we know there will always be perfection above everything and our humanness? So, expect worst things happen. And accept them.

  6. Think from both side. You may want to try thinking from opposite side; the people you are waiting for may be having problem. Accident, engine failure, unexpected traffic jam. You know the best personality of person you're waiting for, if it's a lie or not.

  7. Monk lifestyle: waiting is giving. I really admire how monks live life; when waiting is unproductive, annoying thing for people, they treat it as GIVING. We give chances, freedom and choices for that person.

Peace of mind, to or not to be happy, is our choice. Waiting is just like other productive activities. And doing nothing is really something.

Waiting for my time to do nothing, in place like this. :)

Picture from Faisal Reza, photographer and traveling buddy. Thanks for the enlightment, buddy!

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What's your biggest joy today?

If you do want to get daily provoking question everyday, you may want to follow gratitudeQOD from your twitter. I usually spend a minute to answer the question; some are really hard to answer, because I don't really expect to get strange yet eye-opening question. 'What are you surrendering to?' for example.

The easiest question should be 'what is your biggest joy?'. We all know what makes us happy, rite? If you don't, you may want to live in solitude like a monk for awhile to really think about it. :) Joy sometimes comes from a very simple thing, even if it's only about taking a nap while you're on the road. It IS a joy.

Or making a fool of yourself in front of camera.... :)

Or giggling on your bed at midnight, looking at your old portrait. You looked too cool to stay quiet on your bed :)

Of if it’s as simple as your geeky-bike world, just as my friend’s world, Brad Osgood.

I want to list several things in life as my biggest joy.

1. Great family! Do you know that my family is unique and love here may not be the same like what common families have? We don't communicate intensely and don't really show love openly, but from years of living we know that we are inseparable and have ultimate definition of love. It IS love indeed.

2. Great friends! It's great to have lovely lovely friends there when I really need them, who don't judge me. They are awesomeness for my life.

3. Once I was in spiritual freedom. Back to high school, I was ever in a state of completely surrendering self to ultimate power in the universe. Beautifully abundant. Joy flew. Claps, dance and music altogether creating spiritual perfection. Hands to heaven. Superpower imposing soul thru synchronization of spiritual setting. Neither superstition nor fake feeling it was.

4. Three times fell to the river and still alive! If no one helped and saw little boy falling onto Musi river, I would have died now. Not to mention Tarutung-Sibolga accident which made my car was about to fall into valley. There must be reasons to live longer. Live high.

5. Lived in Sumatra. Living there has opened my eyes in seeing road as second home, strangers as mover than shaker. It changed how I see life. I once didn't really want to live there, I know I was wrong.

6. Being open minded and flexible. Living in bigotry isn't ideal in my eyes. Fundamentalist. Homophobic. We live in difference and why should we build border for difference. Living in Mandela's way is perfect.

7. Freedom. If I love something, I treat it like a narcotic. Tried it once. I forgot. Tried it twice. It started bothering me. And I ended up trying it many times. Not only in the context of habits but also things. Now I tried to be detached from things. TV. Blackberry if I want to. My schedule, sometimes free them up is fulfilling! And as expected, I get my solitude life (which is sometimes cool for me, and monks are the coolest creature in the world) and freedom I expect.

Mentioning 7 biggest joys is enough to end up my day with good sleep. And I should change the question to 'what are my biggest joys today?'

What's your biggest joy today?

In joy as always.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Message from the United Nations Secretary General on First Mandela Day

In celebrating first Mandela Day, UN Secretary General make statement about Mandela passion and how it has changed the world as better place to live.

Happy 91st birthday Nelson Mandela and happy Mandela Day!

"Nelson Mandela is a living embodiment of the highest values of the United Nations. His commitment to a democratic, multi-racial South Africa; his steadfast pursuit of justice; his willingness to reconcile with those who persecuted him most – these are just some of the hallmarks of a remarkable man. To this day, he works tirelessly for peace and human dignity throughout the world. His engagement in the fight against AIDS broke new ground against stigma. He is an exemplary global citizen."

"What lessons he has taught us! How inspiring he has been, across the world, across the generations! Millions of people are better off thanks to his contributions; many have been moved to pursue lives of service in his image; many, facing tribulations of their own, have found both solace and fortitude in his example. Above all, he has shown the difference one person can make in the face of injustice, conflict, poverty and disease."

"Nelson Mandela has made a lasting imprint on our lives. That is why I am so pleased to join people throughout the world in wishing him a happy 91st birthday. May we all continue to benefit from his wisdom, his good works and good humour for many years to come."

United Nations Secretary - General Ban Ki-moon

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About life - Is it like taking guesses when the only answer is yes?

Okay, that's maybe too rhetorical - life isn't that easy. It isn't really like answering yes for thousand times for any question we got. Sometimes we don't really have the answer now. And many times, it's a big no no.

But hard thing shouldn't make us stop dreaming and more importantly, to decide action we want to do. Being in neutral state may not be the answer for our 'live life to the fullest' questions. We end up with doing nothing.

It's about taking risk. We really wanted to buy things I need or do our plans, but the fear of second terrorist attack were still disturbing our mind. Jakarta was sooo quiet today.

Rather than just staying at home, we may need to do what we want, "just do it", whilst keeping our awareness of danger. We want to breath life, overcoming fear which is many times, fake.

So today I decided not to use my 'BACKSPACE', but just do it and press 'ENTER'. I know that this morning I have been using 'SPACE' many times, delaying decision I should have taken since early in the morning.

And oh yeah, my friends, it's simply about going to shopping mall by overcoming fear of terrorist attack. Fear existed, just like other Jakartan felt today. And sometimes it's simply about pressing 'ENTER' and move forward. We should not let terrorist win.

Better say sorry than doing nothing.

Should you want to join Indonesia Stands United in "We Are Not Afraid" campaign thru your twitter, you just need 1 click to add Indonesia flag to you Twitter avatar. Click here.

And click here in my twitter for following more abundance.

Pressing enter for next vacation,

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

67 Minutes of Living Gratitude – Mandela Day

If you wake up tomorrow morning having chance to transform the world, what would you do? It sounds corny being asked everyday knowing the fact that most of people, including me; still think that we can’t really change the world. We are neither president nor religious leader with many followers.

Indeed simple act we do everyday can really transform the world, at least starting from YOU and places YOU live now. Smile for people in your office. Simple thanks to YOUR mother for the breakfast she prepared. Special delivery service from Pizza guy knocking at YOUR apartment door. Or, living attitude of gratitude to change the people YOU meet everyday. Simple act to change the world simply starts from YOU and it’s contagious. It’s to make the world better place to live.

Tomorrow morning Nelson Mandela will celebrate his 91st anniversary. In honor of his life and legacy, we will celebrate the first Mandela Day in July 18, 2009. Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each person has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an imprint. Nelson Mandela himself has spent 67 years in making the world a better place to live. To participate, you can give your 67 minutes a day for simple thing that can change the world. Smile for 67 minutes a day. Live in gratitude for 67 minutes a day. Or just as simple as reading newspaper for 67 minutes to the elderly, said Derek, a boy from USA. For more information, click here.

Start from very simple thing you can do everyday. And make your imprint now. Easy, you just need to register and you can start making your imprint.

This is mine!

And if you’re quite internet savvy, you can spread the news thru facebook, twitter, youtube or flickr. Everything you may think will help to spread the news. Please help to make the world better place to live. You can click the icon at the bottom and put it in your facebook or twitter.

What would you do to change the world, buddy?

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Some Pictures from Jakarta Bomb

What's my biggest joy today? That though some of friends were injured during the blast in JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton this morning, they are all safe now...! P&G office, Menara Rajawali, is next to those two hotels and some of colleagues were in the office when bombs were exploded, including my ex-girlfriend. A friend of mine was working out at the third floor of JW Marriott when the bomb was blasted at the first floor. So he fell to the floor because of the strong impact. And a friend of mine was having breakfast meeting this morning in restaurant of Ritz Carlton hotel, so she was injured a bit.

But I'm grateful that everybody is safe now!

I didn't come back to my apartment today, which is in Mega Kuningan area - 10 minutes from explosion location - obviously the road is blocked so I won't be able to come in anyway - so I just come back to see my parents here in Depok. I may need to spend long weekend just in solitude. And it's just great to be in solitude, I may need to think about further plan and my writing project.

I hope that these below things won't happen anymore.

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