this is my life right now

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!

Today’s reminder

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

The danger of writing

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


After eight years of doing photography for a living and spending some of that time cynical and almost giving it up, today I found myself filled to the brim with gratitude and, even more importantly, a feeling of interest and curiosity. I still wanna learn things. I still wanna grow. I still am at the edge of becoming the photographer I wanna be. The story is just getting started. I’m excited. And I know how lucky I am to be feeling this way.

more than words

Haven’t written here for awhile because I just went through a season where I didn’t feel like words were necessary. But of course they are, just not all the time.

I’ve been saved by words. I’ve also found words to be entirely useless. It’s a paradox.

Two days ago I came back to words again. I felt a thirst in me to read fiction again. I’m back to reading 1Q84 – started a few years ago and stopped a couple of chapters in. And I’m writing again and blogging for the first time in a month.

Feels good to be back!

The power of cutting off and letting go

Really enjoyed this one!

Some notes from the talk worth sharing:

  • Clean dishes mindfully – ordinarily but mindfully. Try not to see it as something to be quickly finished so we can quickly move on to the “real thing”.
  • Spiritual practice is about releasing and eliminating, not accumulating.
  • The more you crave, the more you lose your freedom.
  • Society doesn’t teach the danger of hooks like wealth, power, desire etc, but instead put them on high ground. Mindfulness helps us to stop and look at what these are doing to us and how’re they’re making us lose our freedom.
  • Look at the things you don’t want to look at. Cultivate a kind of fearlessness in front of suffering and obstacles.
  • Our views about other people become an obstacle to us because we’re not able to let them go.
  • To cut off is to practise recognising things as they are, looking deeply and calmly, and letting go. Do it with a quality of love, a feeling of equanimity.
  • Identity is very interesting – we identify so much with ourselves, that when people say something about us we don’t like, we get hurt.
  • When you’re on the path, everything is fun. Don’t make it too serious.
  • Train yourself to breathe and watch in front of a craving or habit.
  • Be mindful of both the input from the world and our output to the world.
  • The only thing that continues after we die is the energy we give out.
  • Thought is an energy too.
  • If something feels restless inside your body, examine your thoughts.
  • A tree just needs to be a tree. A human can also just be a human. But society always asks more of us.
  • Most important thing to do: Transform ourselves and then gather others, so you can create a positive environment where other people can transform themselves in.
  • Sit with your suffering but also nourish yourself with joy. It’s not all about suffering. Suffering is not enough.
  • Train yourself to reset your habit of looking for big happiness, but simply acknowledge – my eyes are in good conditions, I have the time to wash dishes, to take a walk slowly. Look at the ordinary, simple things that you’d forgotten.
  • “We have a diamond in our pocket but we don’t know it. We think we’re very poor and we’re always running, always in need. But we’re the richest person on earth and we don’t know it.”
  • Nourish yourself with nature, your breath, with stillness, with quiet. This will give you the energy to be with your pain and challenges.
  • Put your heart into the practice.