Meaning of coffee

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Saturday morning, and I had some minutes to myself. In I went to the local café for my second shot of caffeine that morning. As usual, the place was packed. All the tables were occupied, with customers queuing to order and more standing around waiting. Some were ‘reading’ their phones, some were people-watching (guess what I was doing J) and some browsing the weekend editions.

When the barista called my name and I was handed my coffee, this is what I saw:

coffee

And something inside me shifted, a sense of resentment and the word ‘no’ popped into my mind.

I then realised what it was about popping into the café to get a takeout coffee meant for me. It was not just about the coffee, or the idea of being part of the in-crowd; nor was it merely a habit.

Buying that coffee in that café was for me, a ritual. Though one that I do not do often, it represented a sense of belonging and connection, space to breathe and chill out, moments to observe the world, to make eye contact with another person, to coo at a baby, to smile at a child asking for a huge brownie, inevitably bumping into others in the tight space, to soak up the sounds, aromas and buzz of the place – being in that café queuing up for a coffee and waiting for it to be served allowed me to live outside my mind for a while.

I know not everyone makes the same meaning when they visit a café. That is okay.

But for me, ‘no’. I will not be taking up the offer of ease, efficiency or time-saving by pre-ordering my coffee. There are moments to take my time, to savor the rhythm of life. I will drop in when I feel like I need a coffee, or the introverted me may just need to be with humanity…

 

coffee-is-one-of-the-special-things-i-have-instead-of-a-social-life-quote~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

Moments of a life lived

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paddington town hall

I went to a place
To learn a craft
To satisfy a curiosity
To test a felt sense
To seek my tribe
I do not know
If these goals I met
But for a brief moment
A belonging
To the words spoken
To a shared love
To the brilliance of light
Cast over the shadows
Present in that room
In these pulsating moments
Is a life lived.

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Real people in blogosphere?!

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This post is about connection and community, the one I have found here on blogosphere. It is a social experiment in hindsight, and these are my observations and purely subjective :-). But before I go there, some qualifications. I did not have any preconception of what or how a friend ought to be. I have no need for a friend to behave in a particular manner. How should friends behave to be classified as friends? Not wasting my time on this never-ending search for answer.  So when I got to blogosphere, I am perhaps a little more open to different conceptions of friends.

However it is, the friends I have in blogosphere are significant; these are the people with whom I share a common interest or two – blogging, books, writing, the search for self and self-expression… I get to see an aspect to them which they choose to share, as I with myself, and that is enough. The self is constructed at the contact point, the boundary of you and I. We are each different, somewhat, depending who we are in contact with at any moment of time. So what is the true self, I am not particularly fussed… so long as the parts we show are genuine parts 😉 Most importantly, these are people who by their very presence are living proof that I am ‘normal’. Okay, I am not that keen on being normal, however the sense of belonging and acceptance is comforting, don’t you think?

The connection I have with friends on blogosphere are measured by the familiarity of what and how we do things. It is also measured by the support – through their words which I value, and their actions.

Creating this blog was purely pragmatic – to get into a habit of writing, to hone my skills – to express myself without the formality of professional or legal or academic writing. I was tired of self-editing in my head and not producing much. Blogging was my solution. I also wanted to write about something that is meaningful to me, hence Meanings and Musings was born. For a short while I had another blog called Rambling On, which was created for me to experiment with different forms of writing, as I didn’t want to ‘taint’ Meanings and Musings. Ha, that was a beginner’s ‘idea’ which was discarded not too long after, along with the Owl profile picture. I must admit, kinda miss that owl :-). Little did I know I would find a community of like-minded people.

So a few lessons I have learned in my short time in blogosphere:

  • There are real genuine people in blogosphere.
  • At the same time, we must hone our lie-detection skills and bullshit radar. Caution is not a bad word.
  • There is always something to learn from somebody, whether they are friends or not; irrespective of whether you agree with their modus operandi or their personality or their views and opinions.
  • Every post is someone’s perspective. There is no universal truth or the correct way. Or is there? 😉
  • Kindness, humility and grace get you a long way in blogosphere (and in life). So does professionalism.
  • It takes all kinds in blogosphere (in everyday living too) – and the old adage of ‘birds of a feather’ has a ring of truth in it .

Though it may take time, explore blogosphere and find your nest, your herd, your crowd, your people… there, is your connection and belonging. And your community with a voice.

I wrote this post in response to an award for which I was nominated by Sue Vincent – the Blogger Recognition award. Thank you! Here is a link to the originator of the award – Eve Estelle.

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I am required to nominate 15 blogs. I am struggling with these as some of you may know, I have been somewhat busy so I’ll *cheat*. These 5 bloggers are inspiring indeed. Check out their blogs!

Greg from Potholes in the Road of Life
Michelle from Chasing Life and Finding Dreams
Josh from My Friday Blog
Melissa, the Aran Artisan
Rowena from Beyond the Flow

– FlorenceT

 

© 2016 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Love is love

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Love is love, don’t you think? Does it matter the occupation, the socio-economic background, the gender, the race, the culture, the nationality, the age, the abilities…

We love because we do, and we are loved just because. Some have a tendency to overthink, to intellectualize what is deeply emotional.  I wrote about labels we in society give to each other which serve to bound and limit our creativity, our self-expression, our sense of self. The risk is we end up allowing these labels to define us by their dominant attributes.

Here’s an interesting and recent TED talk about a heartwarming journey of two women who explored the world seeking hope and belonging.

“And in the end, love is gonna win out!”

– FlorenceT

© 2015 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

 

Running with the wolves #BeWow

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Nature is miraculous. It is wild and ruthless one day, yet calm and peaceful the next. It is highly selective yet sustains itself. It beats a rhythm I often missed, in the bustle of everyday living – a rhythm of an instinctual life.

I once read a book about women running with wolves…and since then, it’s been whispering in my head…there is a call of nature to wildness, its trueness getting louder and louder. And this ancient voice resisted, fought, rebelled against the lures of the world, the impositions of culture and traditions, the seduction of politics and positions, the gratification of secular idols. Until change becomes inevitable as I am compelled to respond to a calling for re-connection to my being, my authentic self, my core self… however you choose to name it.

Are we aware of what we are – spirit beings, uniquely whole and perfect? Do we connect with the essence of what we are?

For me, it is through the contemplation of writing, through the silence and solitude as I listen to the language of my body telling me to retreat, to push through, to slow… and as I sift through the delusions of my mind and the reactivity of my emotions. As I find myself, I find the world.

What do you do to connect with the essence of you? Whatever it may be, go there…often. Until you are.

Go row the boat to safer grounds
But don’t you know we’re stronger now
My heart still beats and my skin still feels
My lungs still breathe, my mind still fears

But we’re running out of time
Oh, the echoes in my mind cry

There’s blood on your lies
The sky’s open wide
There is nowhere for you to hide
The hunter’s moon is shining

[Chorus:]
I’m running with the wolves tonight
I’m running with the wolves
I’m running with the wolves tonight
I’m running with the wolves

Trick or treat, what would it be?
I walk alone, I’m everything
My ears can hear and my mouth can speak
My spirit talks, I know my soul believes

– FlorenceT

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Connect, get intimate.

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1000speak-blankI do not know where to begin this post about connection, the topic for #1000Speak for Compassion this month and #BeWow. Ideas swirling through my mind – words and phrases – so here goes.

I will begin with the essence of connection which we find so appealing, supportive, enriching, rewarding… this ‘thing’ we call intimacy. Without intimacy, any connection is barren, void of the positive meaning we attach to it.

As we become open to another being, another creature, to nature – connection and intimacy happen. To be frank I don’t need the scientific explanation nor an absolute definition to know the power of connection and intimacy. When two minds, two hearts connect, there is beauty.

So what is intimacy? A close, familiar and affectionate personal relationship with another – and it comes in different ways. We have cognitive or intellectual intimacy with another with the sharing of ideas, visions, viewpoints, dreams, hopes. Then there is experiential intimacy such as that between gym buddies, dance partners, fellow bloggers … Emotional intimacy is one where feelings are shared between two or more people, and emotional awareness and support are present. Then we have sexual intimacy which is not just about the act of sex but a sharing of sensuality.  Through one or more of these intimacies we connect to each other.

But which comes first? Do we connect then intimacy grows? Or do we establish certain intimacies such that we connect? Instead of a linear cause-and-effect relationship, the relationship between connection and intimacy is reflexive.

I am an introvert – self-labelling I know though it makes for easier expression. I enjoy the company of others only sometimes, and only in short bursts of time. I have a small group of close friends, and I am grateful for their presence in my life. But since I began my blogging journey, I realise it is the physical presence of others that drains my energy. The need to front up at social events tends to be put in the ‘too hard’ basket.

Connecting online is different. I seem ‘chatty’ online, so I’m told. The ‘why’ makes for great reflection though I won’t go there here. Suffice to say, I have connected with people in blogosphere, people who in their own ways touch me by their presence, their being, what they say, how they are etc. These connections are no less valid in my book, than hanging out with girlfriends. Different, but no less valued.

Intimacy and connection are deliberate and conscious processes. We must be willing to explore, to be interested in another’s life, to be present. Most importantly, we must be real. And we have to give it time to develop. Hold this new interaction/relationship lightly, watch it and see where it will grow. No preconceived-notions of how, what and why. And no attachment to the outcome because not every interaction becomes positive connection.

So how do we do this ‘thing’ named connection?

Be sociable. Be open. By the way, this does not mean, be naive and gullible. It does however mean you do not approach every person you meet as a threat. Keep your head, open your heart.

Maintain your values. People with whom you connect will be those who share a certain ‘thing’ with you, this ‘thing’ which calls to you are usually underpinned by your values. Be yourself. Be honest.

Whether we connect through body, mind, heart or spirit, the intimacies another shares become a part of us just as ours become a part of his/hers. So be gentle, be kind. Be respectful.

I have people (what a lucky person I am!) with whom I am intimately connected. I have learnt not to expect them to meet me on every level – body, mind, heart and spirit. Few can meet this ‘brief’, I believe. By the way, I am happy to be proven wrong – how amazing would such connection be :-).

However and whatever our connections are with our world, they are important to our human-ness and necessary to our well-being. Which of us would refuse a genuine connection?

webI wish you bountiful connections and intimacies.

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

The Anthem…of a land

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Ronovan’s guest post here last week referred to anthem writers, which made me think of the song ‘Anthem’ from the musical ‘Chess’. Indulge me here – the video of the song is at the end of this post, as sung by Anthony Warlow, whom I absolutely adore.  His voice is amazing. And moving along…

‘Chess’ is a story of the Cold War portrayed through the long-standing U.S.-Soviet chess rivalry involving a politically-driven, chess tournament between two men – an American grandmaster and a Soviet grandmaster – as they compete for a woman who manages one and falls in love with the other.

The lyrics to ‘Anthem’:

No man, no madness
Though their sad power may prevail
Can possess, conquer, my country’s heart
They rise to fail
She is eternal
Long before nations’ lines were drawn
When no flags flew, when no armies stood
My land was born

And you ask me why I love her

Through wars, death and despair
She is the constant, we who don’t care
And you wonder will I leave her
I cross over borders but I’m still there now

How can I leave her?

Where would I start?
Let man’s petty nations tear themselves apart
My land’s only borders lie around my heart

 

So what has changed?

This song was written to symbolize the Cold War between nations, and representing the love of one man for his homeland that is beyond the borders drawn by nations.  This love is definitely not about sovereignty.

It is loving the land upon which one is born and bred. The connection and belonging to the land – the land which through warring nations is devastated – that inspire.

Art imitating life, I wonder what songs, what musical will be written about this age in which we live?  Sometimes I despair over the politics of man, and I fear for the tyranny of power and the seduction of fame.

As John Lennon said, “imagine there’s no countries” (or nations)… then to what ideals do we cleave?

We abuse landAs an aside:-

The music to ‘Chess’ was written by the 2 male members of Abba, and lyricist Tim Rice (long time collaborator to Andrew Lloyd Webber).  It premiered in West End, London in 1984.

It was for this musical that songs such as ‘One Night in Bangkok’, ‘I Know Him So Well’, ‘Heaven Help My Heart’, ‘You and I’ and of course, ‘Anthem’ were created.  I have always found this musical intriguing, entertaining and musically enchanting. It helps that the female love interest is named ‘Florence’. 🙂

Anyway, have you seen ‘Chess’? Do you like it?

– FlorenceT

 

© 2015 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

The Owl is no more…

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Yes, I’ve been ‘outed’.  To be honest, Ronovan had my ‘permission’ to do so… nothing sinister there.  Don’t know what I mean?  Go to RonovanWrites’ article.

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Six months ago when I began blogging, I was adamant that in blogosphere, only my words need matter.  I am still of that mind insofar as my writing is concerned, if I cannot communicate through my words then nothing else really matter…here anyway.

Yet the very definition of ‘blogosphere’ suggests the existence within blogs of a connected community or a collection of connected communities. This I have found to be true, as I venture into the realms of writers, publishers and agents; musicians, philosophers, Christian ministry etc. And over the short time, I find myself in a community of people, mostly beautiful, supportive and genuine.

So it is time that I ‘reclaim’ who I am… to emerge from the image of this creature:

Query Owlto:

FlorenceTWow, good to be human again 🙂 !

To be frank, I miss the anonymity and mystery of the Owl, and its symbolism.  In some cultures, the owl is the seer of souls and being a nocturnal creature, symbolic of dreams and shadowsIn Scottish-Gaelic tradition, the owl is often associated with the Crone aspect of the Goddess.  Well, the Chinese couldn’t make up their minds whether to fear the owl – a harbinger of death – or to elevate it to the role of protector, and symbolic of secrets, wisdom and intelligence.  I lean towards the latter.  Now do you wonder why I chose the Owl?

Certainly it now feels like I am owning my blog…at last.  I post here my thoughts on ‘the meaning of life’ from a somewhat post-modern existential stance, interested in the power of narrative and language in shaping lives, and spirituality.

For the sake of frank disclosure, I also post in Rambling On, in a less ‘serious’ manner, to have a bit of fun and play. I first created Rambling On for the purpose of Blogging University and to get into a habit of writing.  It is my place of so-called ‘nik-naks’.  Add to this, I recently joined a team of creatives on LitWorldInterviews, probably writing in a way that I know or do best :-).

I write a lot in my professions (yep, plural), and so these are the spaces I explore writing.  And I am loving it!  Can’t you tell?  So much so I allow myself to be outed :-).

I wonder what the future holds… And the Owl is still here…

– FlorenceT

 

© 2014 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

Soul connection, really?

soul connection
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soul connection

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”   Brene Brown, “The Gift of Imperfections”

 

I know I am not alone in this.

All of us have an inherent longing for connection and belonging – to be part of something more, something greater perhaps. Even the recluse needs the connection with her environment to sustain her.

Thus what we say or do, it is for this deep, and often unconscious and unacknowledged, desire for soulful connection and belonging.

For me, it is not singularly targeted. There are times when my longing for nature and solitude is irrepressible that I take myself for long walks in the bush, to listen to the wind through the trees, to just look up and appreciate the immense sky, to be at peace. There are times when my need for intellectual stimulation and exchange of ideas connects me within blogosphere, the collegiate environment and the legal fraternity. Then there are exquisite times for the communion of spirits, of souls, of hearts… and I am privileged to have access to these too.

Where does your soul connection and belonging lay? Where do you go?

Soul connection and belonging is a necessary part of our being. In fact, it is the essence of soul. When soulful connection is absent, we feel lost – anxiety, worry, self-doubt, sadness, hopelessness, dependency, obsession are some ‘conditions’ that can manifest, and we struggle with whether we are “good enough” – good enough to connect or belong to a group or relationship.

So we attempt to regain this connection and sense of belonging, consciously or otherwise, because the soul requires it.

Reflect on what you have done, especially the significant moments in your life. Has it been to impress? To gain acceptance or approval? To avoid being the odd one out? To seek a friend or companion? To not offend? And for what gain? Has it not for some part, if not wholly, to connect and to belong?

And some of us have taken to forging this desire for connection in the extremes – taking risks that endanger or harm. While others have put on strong armour for this pursuit – on one hand wishing for soul connection and on the other hand, already expecting disappointment and perhaps hurt.

So, what are you willing to do for that supposed sense of connection and belonging? Will it indeed bring you soul connection? Or merely an illusion of it?

The test is not whether the ‘how’ is pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad. We can’t ‘do’ soul connection and belonging. Soul connection and belonging happen when the conditions are ripe. We just have to let it be and, most significantly, embrace positive expressions of our desire for this connection and belonging – to be open to possibilities, to be kind, to be generous, to respect, to care, to love. These positive expressions reverberate and its energy rejuvenates. In this space, soul ‘work’ happens – true soul connection and belonging.

Namaste.

 Wishing you soul connection,
– FlorenceT

 

© 2014 Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.