In a way writing is a desperate attempt at organising what cannot be organised – life. But we all valiantly try because what is the alternative.
My cat Bunny has died. She was already dying when our friends, who housesit for us when we travel, called us to say they were bringing her to the vet. We didn’t know she was dying then – and we hoped not – but we cut short our trip anyway and flew home, because the vet said her condition was serious.
Her heart stopped the moment we reached her side. And now her body has been cremated and she’s a jar of small bones that sits on our bookshelf, next to a photo of her.
A couple of days after she died, the sunlight spilling into our balcony created a double rainbow on the floor, and the water splashes from the kids who swam next to our balcony created random patterns that looked A LOT like cat paw prints.
I took that as a sign that Bunny was trying to communicate something to me, which is that she still exists in a form that I might not currently understand, that she’s okay, that we’ll see her again, that we travel together in every lifetime anyway, and that in every dimension and every universe we’re always a team.
I really enjoy hiking now.
I used to be a reluctant hiker because I didn’t know better, but now, I find hiking in the mountains one of the most life-giving things one can do.
If I have the chance I’ll write about one of the many wonderful hikes we did in Europe. Till then, here are some photos…
My current favorite writer is Yevgenia Belorusets, a photographer who publishes daily diary entries from Kyiv. It’s surprising to read in her writing that even during what feels like the end of the world, people still take walks when the weather is good and they still sing and give out flowers and keep their cafe doors open. It seems in a war zone we need coffee and hot bread and flowers and a good song even more than usual. But that’s in Kyiv, where things are not the worst. In other cities and villages in Ukraine, the sky has turned dark. So have the buildings. So have the streets, their pavements smeared with dark dried blood. It’s gonna take a long time before the light comes back.
These days I’ve been trying to change, but I’m also trying to be as gentle about it as possible.
Self-improvement can be insidious and a source of stress, because for many people, self-improvement is actually self-dislike in disguise. If we’re not careful, we can spend years on the self-improvement treadmill trying to reach our goals but feel utterly, utterly empty at the end.
There is simply no imaginary day in the bright future ahead when we’d wake up in the morning transformed, an ideal version of ourselves.
There is only transforming in the here and the now.
Which also means we have to do the work NOW and not tomorrow, but for us to truly transform, we have to do it with an attitude of non-striving, of not wanting to control the outcome exactly.
This is what I mean by trying to change, but also trying to be as gentle about it as possible.
Flying to France and Italy for 1.5 months in a couple of weeks. We are planning to visit Paris, Lyon, Florence, Siracusa and a few places in between. Hopefully there will also be a lot of time for reading and for shooting some new images. I look forward to hunting this guy down in particular:
Reading/studying Jon Kabat-Zinn’s “Full Catastrophe Living” carefully and earnestly and genuinely interested in signing up for a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program just to see how it’s all done.
Till the next update!
is to never see anything as a chore. Even if it’s on your to-do list, even if it’s an errand, try your best to see it through a “this is enjoyable and fun” kind of lens.
Actually, what’s more insidious is how even interesting and fun things can sometimes seem boring or difficult once we put them on our to-do list. We forget that we’re supposed to be having fun. That life CAN be fun.
Let’s intentionally choose to see the fun in life today.
“Energy goes where intention goes. Energy goes where attention goes. Energy goes where your thoughts are going. So where should I spend my attention during the day? What do you want to create? This is the question. What do you want to do with your lifetime? You can either take part in this world by being a creator, by bringing or offering something to the world that people can benefit from, or you can also just live a life purely for consumption. In which part of this system do you see yourself? Only consuming, or also creating?
What is the most precious thing you have in this lifetime? Besides your health, it’s time. When the time’s over, we have no time. This is why time is so precious. Maybe this is the reason why it’s embedded in the universe, that whenever you spend time on something, this universe is going to pay you back for this time that you invested. You spend time with your family, you are creating relationship with your family. You spend a lot of time at your working place, you are creating something in regards to the relationship with your working place or company.
The question is: What do you want? What makes you satisfied, what gives you fulfilment, what makes it easy for you to wake up, to walk through the day? That’s something you decide for yourself. And after you have given a purpose to yourself, then this is where you spend your attention on. Because every type of creation needs time.”
– Shi Heng Yi
Writing or words not backed up by action will end up ringing hollow. Similarly, a person who only talks but does not practise ends up living a hollow existence. There is nothing at the core – no real substance – because the actions don’t match up to the intentions.
So that is the danger of writing – when the words are out of sync from reality.
“Balance – harmony – is when you discover something about yourself that is stable at all times. It is there when you wake up. It is there when you go to bed. It is there if this world has COVID. It is there when this world does not have COVID. If you have money, if you don’t have money. There is something stable about you – something remains the same. That means, it feels like you’re unshakeable. It feels like you found your place. You cannot be disturbed. And I personally think that it’s something really really great, not just to practise it, but also to share these ideas and concepts until they become reality. Harmony is ultimate.”
– Shi Heng Yi