35 today and counting all my blessings! Thankful for friends, family and fried chicken. And thank you earth. Thank you sky. Thank you clouds. Thank you Jesus, Buddha and Guanyinma. Thank you universe. For all of this brilliant life to live. It’s so so so wonderful to be alive!

For my birthday, I have also started my first ever fundraising campaign for Charity Water! We take clean water for granted, but many people around the world don’t have this basic need covered. Without clean water sources, people are prevented from living a healthy, full, dignified life.

The beautiful thing about Charity Water is that 100% of the money we donate is used to build clean water projects. After they are built, Charity Water will send us photos and GPS coordinates and update us on the positive effects our donations have made to the specific community we helped.

The link to donate is here. I ambitiously set USD$1,000 as my goal. But come to think about it, it’s not ambitious at all. Let’s give the gift of clean water to people who need it. Let’s go!!! And thank you so much for your kindness in supporting the campaign in advance.

PS: We have already raised $688 so far!

ten recent thoughts

  1. Be less preoccupied with figuring out what REALLY matters and spend more time just doing whatever it is you like.
  2. It’s entirely okay to make your art in private.
  3. Reminder: The current moment is an intensely interesting place to be.
  4. To reduce conflict in our lives, we need to fully accept the truth that other people are not meant to think the same way as we do, since we all have fundamentally different thinking systems, informed by our past experiences, upbringing, education, the things we read, etc.
  5. Soul > technique.
  6. Money-making is not and doesn’t have to be evil.
  7. We don’t need more well-written essays in the world. But we do need more blog posts, more journal entries, more people sharing about what’s going on in their lives, what’s making them happy or sad…
  8. Action precedes inspiration / motivation.
  9. Try doing something while genuinely NOT caring about the outcome. Can you do it?
  10. To be contented is to realise that you already have everything you need to be happy, and everything else is just a bonus.

do not stand at my grave and weep

Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye:

“Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there. I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.”

The substance of things

All my life I have had the habit of liking the idea of things and not the thing itself. Only in recent years am I learning to like something for the thing itself. That means, instead of liking the idea of swimming or the idea of learning French, I am actually swimming and learning French.

It’s nice being in the thick of the action, getting lost and stuck in the substance of things. And what’s nice too, in a perverse way, is all of that other stuff – the challenging, boring, difficult bits, the bits that make you wanna pull your hair out.

Because learning French at the age of 34 is pull-your-hair-out hard. It’s really tempting to give it up and go back to liking the idea of learning French and not learning French. But the whole thing is also strangely fun. And I swear it’s the difficult and boring and challenging bits that make it fun.

That’s life for you. I could never understand it. But I’m always excited to be on the ride.

March to your own beat

The more we read, the easier it is for us to write or think things we think are original but that are actually derived from other people’s heads.

My dad builds houses for a living and I used to show him beautiful examples from interior design and architecture magazines, houses designed by award-winning architects, etc, and he’d say, “I don’t look at other people’s stuff”.

I used to think he was so stuck up and proud. But now I’m beginning to see the wisdom in his way of thinking.