Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Forgot How to Be Compassionate

Almost everyday now, I wake up with a good intention in my heart. I want to be compassionate to other people and beings through my actions and the words I say or write. Oh, and I want to start meditating. Regularly.

As always, it is always easier said than done. I have not started the meditation even for a single minute. I aim for 10 minutes per day, at least. And on being a compassionate person, well, I thought I was trying hard enough, but now I know that trying and actually doing it are two completely different things.

I thought I was being compassionate with the way I approach all sorts of situations and people. I thought I was being the "good guy" by thinking that I am being compassionate. Alas I was only being vain and conceited, thinking I was better than everyone else. Well, I am not. Now I know that I was actually at the bottom rank.

Again, it took me something awful if not hurtful to figure this out. I really am a slow learner. Through an experience I just had today, I realized that I need to be in a true compassionate state to actually be compassionate. Thus words are kinder, acts are nicer and forgiveness is always given.

Most of all, being compassionate is about realizing that everybody has their own burden, knowing where they came from and approaching them as I want to be approached. And to realize that, I need to be present, not taking account of previous episodes, because really, what happens now matter the most.

Compassion comes from love and love is kind.

I hope the universe conspire. Amen.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter and Whatnot

It's winter here and it's been pretty cold the last few days, around 30 something Fahrenheit. That's already single digit degree Celcius. I'm just thankful that there is no snow in this part of the country.

I don't feel as cold now as when I first arrived here a year ago. I guess I have somewhat adapted, though will never be in love with winter. Nevertheless, it is a good time to take pictures. Everything is either gloomy and white or dry and falling from the trees. So I took some pictures using my old iphone and jazz them up a bit using instagram. Do you use instagram? It's absolutely fun!

Here are a few pics that I took when I walked the dogs this morning. Enjoy and do try instagram!

Have a great January everyone! I hope winter is treating you nicely wherever you are.



Monday, January 10, 2011

I Want to Be a Writer

I've been making writing the way to make money for the last 5 years. I did magazines, websites, even company profiles. But to say that I'm an accomplished writer or just a writer for that matter is far from the real truth. At least for me.

I write things that people want to read. That is what I write for all of those publications. Only few that I'm genuinely proud of and most of them are my early work for the first magazine I've ever worked for.  The rest, well, I wrote them with both my hands and mind, but not passion. I'm thankful that I can make a living out of writing, eventhough I'm not writing the things I really want to write.

For years and years I have been writing poetry and short stories. Both I am really passionate about, but never shared with the world. I do not have the courage and self esteem to do so. Or maybe I just don't want to get rejected. They are good enough for me, but I do not know if they are good enough for other people (besides my mom).

A few days ago I signed myself up for an opportunity to get published in a compilation book of short stories. I need to write 2-3 stories and send them to the publication company. They then will decide if I am good enough to be in that book. The deadline is March 1st, 2011. I am sick to my stomach every time I think about this. It's the kind of pressure I've never encountered before. This will be the first real moment for me to get accepted or rejected.

I have started working on the first story. It is still really premature to see where the story is going, because, as always, I don't really have a plot. I am used to letting my hands and heart do the writing.

Please pray for me. Thank you.



Friday, January 7, 2011

The Awful Truth

Maybe it's the jet lag, maybe it's just me, but the thoughts rambling in my head tonight are countless and crazy. I can't sleep and lying in the dark in complete silence just make things that much worse in my head.  So I signed in to twitter and found a retweeted tweet consisting of a blog post. A very interesting blog post.

This is the link: On Living Child-free in Indonesia

I need to thank @riniunyil for retweeting the link.

One of the things I love so much from living here in the USA is the fact that people mind their own business. The only personal question I get from Americans is always about my age. And they always ask it more in a fascinated kind of way, not at all prying. Well because I'm that petite and they always see me first as a minor. It's an Asian thing, I guess.

The post from Sparkling Rain titled "On Living Child Free in Indonesia" is about how most Indonesians are extremely nosy. Especially when it comes to really personal matters, such as marriage and children. The post is a must-read. So please, click the link.

Husband and I just celebrated our first anniversary last December. When we went home to Indonesia people were asking the same questions about when will we have children or why don't we have one or when will we join the group of young parents and their cute babies. Well, actually most of the questions were referred to me, almost always by touching my belly. "Udah isi belum?" asked them in Indonesian. Basically asking if there's anything in my stomach. I'd answered them lightly, saying that I had fried rice, satay and other foods there. They'd laugh, but instantly looked concern. Some even encouraged me to keep trying and not give up. Little that they knew, we were not even trying, let alone giving up.

Do not get me wrong, I am not against people who immediately have children once they are married. Or that I hate babies and kids. It is just that I do not feel like having them now. It is crazy how often I end up thinking about this when I am not even trying to.

People would ask why don't I want children immediately. In my heart, only in my heart, I would question them back, "Why would I want a child immediately?"

To tell you the truth, I do not have a "civilized" answer to that question. Answering them would make me feel and sound even more terrible, because it is not that I don't feel financially ready, or that I see this world as too messed up and not suitable for a child, or that I would make a terrible parent (even if there is a fat chance that I would probably be one). I just am not ready for a kid and I do not believe that the child would be ready for me as its parent.

Looking at friends and their little kids only make me even more terrified. I am not ready for my life, my every day, hour and minute to be shared with another soul. See, I told you my honest answer would make me feel and sound even more terrible. That kid, that soul still floating in a better place right now does not want me as its mother. At least not right now.

The worst part is that I feel guilty saying that I do not want a child right now. Is it that awful? Is it that awful to not feel ready to have children as soon as I got married? Is it that bad to not want to join the pack of young proud parents and their cute babies? I am not being sarcastic, I really want to know; am I that awful and why should I feel that way?

The only two things that make me feel better are the fact that my husband is on the same page on this matter and that my mother, my wonderful kind-hearted mother is OK with me not giving her a grandchild as soon as possible. But still, deep inside I feel a sense of guilt. I feel guilty for being so selfish. The question is, who am I being selfish to? Isn't this my life, my body, my future?

I do believe that kids bring happiness. The kind that I might not experience right now. But I will take my chances and stick to the decision of not having kids right now. The sense of guilt will linger, I know, but I guess I just have to live with that.

And though I will live with the guilt, I am not willing to live with other people's nosiness. I have to agree with Sparkling Rain. She said, "Somehow though, I still hope that one day we will respect each other’s space and banish private questions from everyday conversations." Believe me, showing that you care and being nosy are two different things. And you know that.



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's Good to Live in America, Isn't It?

I'm back in Houston.

I'm not ecstatic to be back. Let's get that out in the open. When I arrived 2 days ago winter greeted us. The sky was grey, everything looked gloomy and mellow. Almost the total opposite of what I had been having in Indonesia.

Most of the people I met back home asked me the same question: "It's good to live in America, isn't it?" It sounded almost rhetorical to me, because I know in their mind the answer is "yes". My answer was, I felt, did not matter.

Do not get me wrong, living here is a blessing. Not because it's America, but mostly because it's an independent life. The kind of life that I would imagine hard to find if  I stay in Indonesia. And to add to that, it's a life surrounded by mostly orderliness. So yes, I love living with rules and norms. Rules and norms that are actually obeyed by the majority. I love Indonesia, but let's face it, it's chaotic there. I blame not only the government, but the people also for always trying to find the easiest way out. Money has become so important, even to those who scream against capitalism.

I don't actually know why people who have never been to America assume living here is great. There is really nothing lavish about life here, except of course if what you mean by "life in America" is "life in Hollywood". We are most definitely on two different pages then. It's not a lavish life, but it is absolutely comfortable. It is comfortable to not sit in excruciating traffic every single day and it is comfortable to get almost always good service. It is quick and easy to get things done here. Time is appreciated as something important and expensive. Of course, I am comparing these living situations with what I had in Indonesia. It's just too easy to compare it that way.

So, so far I love orderliness and comfort. Who doesn't? But those two reasons didn't make me automatically answered "yes" to the "It's good to live in America, isn't it?" question. For me, living in Indonesia was also good, despite the fact that the country has one of the worst governments ever. It's good to be surrounded with friends and family. I'm a family person, so yes, it's hard to be separated from them. It's good to have colors and sounds and smells! Indonesia is so vibrant with colors, loud and rich with smells. I sometimes feel lonely here just because I can hear no other sound but my own, the dogs and the television. And Indonesia is a country that will surprise you. It's the people, the nature, the food, the sounds, the sights that differentiate that country from all the rest. Not necessarily in the best of ways, but believe me, they will surprise you.

Anyway, I actually ended up saying "yes" to the "It's good to live in America, isn't it?" question. Because I would be lying and ungrateful to answer differently, but still, my heart was left in Indonesia. Maybe broken in pieces, because of all the disappointments, but time and time again the heart is healed because it automatically does that whenever the sight, sound and smell of Indonesia are involved.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, life is almost always good when you find the things that make it good. Happiness comes when you let it comes. At least that's what I feel. So here's to life, wherever you are living. Chin up, darling. Life waits for no one.



Saturday, January 1, 2011

Au Revoir!

Dedicated to the people and places that made my trip back home wonderful. You know who you are.

There Are Places I Remember
-The Beatles-

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I remember I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I'll love you more

In my life I'll love you more

See you soon, loved ones! I'll miss each and every one of you. Stay safe. May the greater power be upon you always.