Monthly Archives: July 2008

Enabling the childhood dream(s)

[Bahasa Indonesia]
What do you want to be when you grow up? What is it that you have always been passionate about? What do you always dream about becoming? Would it not be great if we can turn that into reality? Personal (childhood) dream is always an exciting discussion topic.

But you know what—to me—would be more exciting than realizing own childhood dream? It is to enable other people’s childhood dream(s).

I don’t know why, but I always get excited about listening to other people’s dream. In fact, listening to other people’s dream gets me more excited than thinking about my own. My mind works extra hours. My head keeps thinking how I can help turn that into reality, whom I should get my friends in touch with, etc, etc.

I am especially itchy to see gifted people—whose gift is so obvious it is almost blinding—yet they still live ‘their ordinary life’. Why oh why?

I believe we all have our own special, unique gift. Each of us is born with a very specific role in life. Part of our task is to find it out (or some say, to remember it). The other part is to live it.

How do you do find and live your special gift, your dream?

The secret to being special—as Master Oogway and Po’s father Mr. Ping would say—is nothing. You just need to believe that you are special.

There is, however, a trick to do this. The trick is: to give it a try.

If we don’t give it a try, how do we know whether it works for us? It is impossible, you say? Well, it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.

The dream tells us something. Live it. Then return the favor.

On writing and being a writer

[Bahasa Indonesia]
I was amazed, puzzled, and somewhat flattered when some friends asked whether I have ever considered writing books.

“Um, no,” was my initial immediate answer. Short though perhaps not that sweet.

Then my second answer came about as I pondered upon the topic a bit longer, “On what?” I had no idea the kind of book I can write that will entice people enough to read through or even buy.

You see, I have never really seen myself as a writer, much less a good writer. I don’t think I have the passion for writing. Not the way some of my friends have. Those people see writing per se as their passion. Writing has been put on the spotlight as the main subject itself. I don’t.

I see writing as a way to express what I think, what I feel. To express my passions, yes, but not as a stand alone passion.

Nevertheless, as a huge fan for ponder, I gave the comment some more pieces of my mind. I consulted another friend about this—a fellow zinister whose blog is one of my favorites. I am sure she too does not think of herself as a writer.

She said, “Why (write a book)? I would prefer your current modes of writing, through blogs and email circulation. They do not cost me a dime. Books, I need to buy.” Good point.

Don’t get me wrong. I have the utmost respect for writers—gifted writers of published and unpublished books. Books have been among my best friends and I would not have them—nor would I have acquired this much insights and knowledge—had it not for their writers.

Last night another friend argued, “Well, with books all your thoughts and ideas will be compiled in much more compact and organized form. Plus they can reach much wider audience.” True, maybe. But what am I writing about? Who am I reaching out to?

During a discussion a couple of weeks ago, a fellow participant asked me why I did not say a word in the last session. I said I had nothing necessary to add. He said, “But you should. I want to learn from you, too.” True as well. Very interesting, in fact. I have never considered my silence as a show of hesitation to share.

Still, for the time being, I will agree with my friend’s suggestion to stick with blogs and email circulation. For now.

[Pic 1 – personal; 2 – Hany’s]

Reading Indonesian books

[Bahasa Indonesia]
I think I have been using too much English lately.

When I write an entry for my blog, I write the English text first. Yes, even for this one. When I make my to-do list, I jot it down in English.

When I speak to some of my Indonesian friends, I speak in English (shame on me, said I still in English.) When I want to buy books, chances are, I buy English books.

So for my upcoming trip, I have decided to bring Indonesian books. Indonesian fictions. It has indeed been a long time. With all due respect. My apology.

“I don’t know”

[Bahasa Indonesia]
Some time ago I wrote an entry about how I do not like saying “I do not know.” I am confident that I am resourceful enough to know just about anything I want.

So even if I do not know the answer or solution at that very moment, I am sure I have a friend (of a friend of a friend) who does. Just give me some time and I will find the solution. A true believer in six degrees of separation.

But the other day, as I was having conversation with a friend, I asked him a question of why and he said he did not know. It was a question about feeling and I asked why he felt that way. He said he did not know, he just did.

I looked at him and said, “Isn’t that the most beautiful answer you can give me?” We both smiled. We both knew it was true.

Sometimes the most important questions in life should have “I don’t know” as their answer. Why do you love a person? I don’t know. I just do. Why do you choose to do this, not that? I don’t know. Because I want to. How come you look so happy? I don’t know. I just feel happy. Here. Inside. Do we really have to know the reason?

Looking back on recent events, I have used that “I don’t know” answer on numerous occasions. I have decided on a lot of things—some are quite crucial—without really logically knowing the reasons. On some, the questions did not even crossed my mind, until somebody else has asked me. Even then, I sticked to my answer of “I don’t know.”

I don’t mind not knowing. Because I know You know. And I trust You.

You cannot imagine how far I have traveled to come to this stage of not knowing. To know that I do not know and do not mind about it. In fact, I embrace it. Why? I don’t know.

Choices in life

[Bahasa Indonesia]
A friend seems to have “Life is about choices” as her favorite quote recently. This has got me thinking. Is life really about choices? Do we really choose?

There are people who go by thinking that they are stuck with what they have now. That they have no other choices. Mostly perhaps because of economic reason, but more because people are not used to thinking there are other possibilities in life. That they can achieve a lot more if they only try, if they only believe.

Then there are people who start to think that life is about choices. We have so many options in life. We have the power to choose. I wonder whether the fact that we need to time to think to choose is because we do not know ourselves.

If you know you prefer tea to coffee, if you like strawberry ice cream and not chocolate, you don’t even think about coffee or chocolate ice cream. Even if the coffee or chocolate is there, you do not see that as options, because it is not you. You will easily say “tea” and “strawberry” without thinking twice.

Moreover, who are we to say that we can control our life. A friend once said “control is an illusion.” We think we have control but the next minute everything can fall apart without us being able to do anything about it. It sounds rather arrogant to think that we are the ones who are controlling our life, we are the ones who make all the choices.

Then there are people who just do. They just walk the path of life. They do not choose because they know the path has been set especially for them to walk on. They have belief. They make the most of what is in front of them, what has been served to them, because they know it is from ‘Him’ especially for them.

Next, there are people who just be. People who do not do just for the sake of doing what is in front of them, but because it comes somewhere from within. Because it is what they are. They consult their heart, not their mind.

Ultimately, there will come a time when what we ‘want’ is exactly the same as what He wants. We do not even talk about “being” because the only being is Him and nothing else. He is us but we are not really Him.

I am sure there are other explanations. But I shall stop here and end my note with what my friend wrote in her email. She said, “When you connect with your heart and act out of it, everything you do is true. Neither right or wrong. It just is. Your mind does not get in the middle. You just do it.

She continued, “When you work with yourself (insight), everything else outside gets in place. The heart plays such an important role, it becomes the bridge between your thoughts and actions and love needs an open heart to give and receive. The more open your heart is the more you can give and receive. ¨Him¨ is love.”

I am blessed. I know I am. Thank you.


[Bahasa Indonesia]
As I was reading my earlier post just now–where I referred to a particular meeting with a certain friend as a gift, it dawned to me. The statement is not entirely correct and is actually rather ignorant. I should have said “any meeting with any friend is a gift.”

In fact, any friend is a gift, period. And I am blessed with so many of them in this life. I just wish I do not disappoint them (or You) too much. I just hope that I can return their (or Your) favor somehow.

PS: Thank you (and You) for pointing that out to me last night.

Tree and humility

[Bahasa Indonesia]
Humility–a word that seldom exists in my dictionary, unfortunately. Working and living in this competitive modern fast world, pride or even arrogance seems to have taken me thus far in life. Modesty and humility have very little space.

Yet, humility seems to be my lesson of the month.

Four times, at least, the word humility has been hammered to my head. Two of them use tree as metaphor.

A story from Pak Merta Ade, Bali Usada. A king and his large entourage were walking around a garden. He saw this handsome tree, larger stronger than the others, bearing more fruits and leaves. He picked a couple of fruits and moved on. The entourage started to picked fruits from the same tree. When there were no more fruits, people started to picked the leaves, then the branches. The tree was left with very little.

The king has finished his round and saw what happened to the tree. He thought, “The grander you are (than others), the more spotlight will be on you, the more people would tend to (ab)use you. Better to be more modest and similar with others.”

A beloved friend told me her conversation with another friend. The other friend pointed to a particular tree, skinny, few leaves etc. Yet, it is nurturing its surrounding, the best that it can, the way it should be. “That little tree that nobody notices,” he said, “Be that tree. Be that tree.” (I love this story).


That beloved friend herself. She is like a walking encyclopedia, especially on spirituality. But when you pass her on the street, you would not even lay an eye on her. She is so .. ordinary. She is being that tree. I have been trying to meet up with her but our schedule never meets. So when several days ago I met her, I told her it is like a gift from Him to me. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to meet her again.

From a weekend Beshara session. The whole session was about humility. Humility as a prerequisite to move on to another stage in life.

The text reads “Humility is in its broadest terms poverty of spirit; not poverty by lack, but by esteem of individuality; it is the acceptance of one’s limitations; in other words a realistic estimation of one’s self without aggrandizement of one’s egocentrically fabricated self-illusions.

In short, it is an honest appraisal of one’s being, which is tantamount to knowing oneself closely. Though in this close scrutiny of oneself is involved the fullest development of one’s possibilities in potential, which will eventually bring one to one’s fullest perfection, there is nevertheless a hideous and frightening list of one’s defects and shortcomings.”

Four repetitions over a single lesson in one month. Either it is very important or I am that arrogant. Or both.