Apocalyptic movie or documentary?

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The promise of a movie night, with a simple dinner and a little sugar-filled treat we had bought for later. All seemed in place. She picked an apocalyptic movie – humanity’s only survivors from a climate disaster on a train to nowhere under the control of the greedy in power.

Twenty minutes in and I’d had enough. The portrayal of violent, selfish and evil people causing pain and suffering was too much for me to handle. She said I was ‘soft’. I laughed. “I don’t need to see the horrors humans can inflict on other humans”, I said.

If he had been here, I would have been mocked for the ‘loss’ of movie night. He wasn’t, and there was no loss. We decided to watch David Attenborough’s “Planet Earth”, again.

And what a pleasant gratifying experience that was!  To be reminded that
• our vast world still sustains us, even as we humans continue to test its limits;
• the natural world still holds many mysteries and wonders so let’s be humble;
• we ought not lose sight of or interest in this world we inhabit for it has much to teach us;
• we and the world beyond the boundaries of human-made structures are inter-dependent, and the survival of one is reliant on the other.

Sitting with her on the couch watching this documentary felt right. I had moved away years before from “indulging” in pain and suffering, the overcoming of which is worn as a badge of honour. No. There is more to my life than that. And no, I was not avoiding the reality of life.

I am aware of the trauma that can be life. I have experienced some of that. I am also privileged not to have experienced the worst of it. But as was told to me by a wise woman those years ago, “where you expend your energy, that is what you feed”. The media creation of need to consume the worst of humanity, the normalising of voyeuristic, and perhaps narcissistic, tendency to feed upon the plight of others – not where I intend to be.

As James Redfield said, “[E]nergy flows where attention goes.” And so where I can help, I do. Where I can’t, I choose not to energize.

But I told her none of this, only relaxing into the moment of a Saturday evening at home. We discussed natural history and geography, theory of evolution, the behaviour of the male species in the animal kingdom (humans included)… 🙂 and much more.

I was content that we were not expending our energy on a movie focussed on the darker side of the human condition, which propagated the narrative that fighting is the way to success and freedom, and being physically tough and psychically hard were the only ways to be. She wasn’t, not in that moment, further indoctrinated into the cynicism and distrust that can fuelled our existence.

Granted “Planet Earth” had its gory scenes of predator and prey, life and death. I was fine for her to see the cycle of life, the natural order of things if you like. To appreciate the black, white and grey areas of living. It gave me great comfort that nature knows what to do to survive, so long as we humans do not impose our will on it.

I was not ‘soft’, not in the sense of being weak and scared. I was perhaps just tired of the perpetual narrative of fight, dominance, ‘toughness’, and pessimism on the inevitable plight of the human experience. I have no wish to spend more minutes on negativity and pain. “Be like water” comes to mind. Flow and leave your mark.

Maybe I was over-thinking it, putting words to the experience. The feeling of my body constricting during twenty minutes of the movie, in contrast to the sense of peace and inspiration of the documentary, the choice was clear.

So I am soft, in choosing to be positive, to expend my energy on matters which lift and on creatures of beauty, to contribute to a positive consciousness.

What would you do?

~ FlorenceT

 

© 2017 FlorenceT Copyright reserved. The author asserts her moral and legal rights over this work.

#BeWow Inspirations for a life

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alone_road

Of all the people who have entered my life,
They have been inspirational
They who shall remain nameless;
But you know who you are
You who have stood beside me
And inspired me by the way you live.

You who showed me perseverance in the face of adversities, never losing your humanity.
You who showed me kindness and affection despite accusations of ‘weakness’, never faltering still loving.
You who showed me strength and independence sometimes losing your way, yet kept moving forward.
You with your vivacity and confidence reminded me who I was once.
You with your calm and thoughtfulness granted me an understanding of the other.
You who showed me how to ‘live and let live‘ when I needed it most.
You who showed me a vision of grace and femininity, inviting me to explore my own.
You who showed me true strength and courage despite the ravages of life, always standing tall.
You who showed me one is only ever limited by the failure to imagine.
You who showed me the vagaries of the mind unless we feel, unless we are solitude personified.

I am blessed for your presence in my life’s moments
For the lessons I have learnt
For the inspiration and encouragement I have felt
That I am still learning, feeling
No matter where we journey, together or apart
I thank you.

In gratitude,
– FlorenceT

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

Ride the waves

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“I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime

I am prompted to write about ‘How do you keep positive’ by Ronovan for #BeWow.

Ideally, we prepare ourselves for the times when a positive attitude is required, when we need to look on the bright side of life. So what do we do? We practice self-care which comes in various forms – meditation is one that comes to mind for me, exercise for some serotonin, get some oxytocin happening (I meant hugs!), reframe our views etc.

Most of us have developed coping mechanisms too, some healthy some not so in the form of dependencies, obsessive behaviours etc.  Please don’t misunderstand – while coping mechanisms may include addictive behaviours, not all addictive behaviours are coping mechanisms. We learn skills, we fill our tool box with tools for those so-called ‘bad’ times. We toughen up or become resigned to our situation, we become cautious and vigilant or intently reckless, we withdraw from or reach out for human connection… well, we know what ours are 🙂

It is not naivete that informs me. Of course it is fantastic to have an arsenal of coping mechanisms, healthy ones which can provide relief in the process of ‘pain and suffering’. However, there is at some point, an acknowledgement, is there not that life can’t just be all rosy… can it?

In our expectation that life ought to be almost always positive and our resistance to prospective negative situations, we can instead be ruled by them. By focusing on the ‘bad stuff’ or their likely arrival, we have taken our eyes off the ‘good times’, the positive things we encounter each day in order to look out for the negative things. Inevitably, we are then still responding or reacting to a negative stimuli.

As with the crest and trough of the waves, life moves on…

We want to ride the waves on the high and the low, and stay afloat. Struggling against the movement of the waves and resisting will only tire us out.  So first we have to accept the waves…of its nature to rise and fall. Acceptance of the rolling waves allows us to enjoy the lull of its rhythm, we allow ourselves to be carried by it…to another place on its journey, all we need to do is stay afloat through the many coping and self-care mechanisms.

So first and foremost, ride the waves! 

I have no idea how I ended up with this given Ronovan’s prompt, guess this is a consequence of going with it :-)!

– FlorenceT

P.S. The above quote is an extract from the lyrics for ‘Rose Garden’, a song made popular by Lynn Anderson in 1971, and yes, I have used it a little out of context. 🙂

The image is ‘Boiler Bay Wave Rolling’ by Mike Dawson.

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

Love, the uniting force.

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What unites humanity?  I can’t escape the word ‘Love’.  Much as my social mind says, ‘that is so cliche’, the word keeps tapping on me, gently but persistently.  So I listened and here I am.

I have written about love, and I know there is much more to it.  What unites humanity is beyond romantic love, what unites humanity is Universal Love. Esoteric, perhaps. But this is a test of my understanding of Love, to see if I can explain it simply.  As Albert Einstein said, ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’.

Universal Love exists without the ego, yours and mine.  Universal denotes an attention away from our narrow world to the world outside of our lives, of our experiences, of our way of being. And this Love we speak of, comes from a place where the egoic ‘I’ does not exist. This Love is encompassing, it radiates from a place of purity, selflessness and non-attachment.

I guess the intellectual mind can turn this into a discourse, a philosophical discussion that is endless. Science will study and test never really reaching an indisputable result.   But you know deep within you this Love I am speaking of. This is the Love we yearn, the Love some of us have glimpsed in our lives.  The Love that does not judge, the Love that has no boundary, blind to colour, race or creed.

I am not sure if I have explained it.  Perhaps understanding Universal Love with the mind is never really the test.  Love is after all a feeling, one in which we emote with different characteristics.  Love is also something we express through our word and deed, without expectation of returns, rewards, praises, approvals; regardless of the subject or object of the Love or dare I say, there is no specific subject or object. There is only being in that state of Love.

The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it’s in the being.        
Ram Dass

Have I set the bar too high? Have I state my ‘case’ too strong? How do we even approach this state of being Love personified?

I have no answer except this: if you are mindful and still, you will know Universal Love is. Calm and peace settle over you, an immovable equanimity. Loving Awareness and Loving Kindness would be a great start.

And for those of us who needs a little prompt, consider these:

  1. If the feeling is more for your ‘wellbeing’ then it is more likely to not be the Love;
  2. If the feeling is preconditioned on something else or someone else then it is more likely to not be the Love;
  3. If the feeling is limited or restricted to certain things or criteria then it is more likely to not be the Love.

Is this a positive post for BeWow? You be the judge.

Know that this Love exists, and everyone of us has the capacity to be it. Oh, did I not say? Universal Love is positive energy, and we are bathed in it every moment of every day.  Beloved, you are Love.

Being love is a supreme creative act.  Ram Dass

Namaste!

– FlorenceT

 

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

Positivity is change

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If we are 100% certain everything will remain as is then there is no need for positivity, or negativity for the matter.  If ‘things’ are great now, then it’s fait accompli.  The same for the so-called ‘bad stuff’.  Realistically, there are few things that are truly ‘bad stuff’, rather perspectives.

Experience is not what happens to you – it’s how you interpret what happens to you.   Aldous Huxley

Life is dynamic, like the ebb and flow of the moontide, our life smiles at us and it grimaces too.  Life changes. Not just the so-called ‘life-changing’ events but rather, the miniscule changes in our lived moments that in most times we missed until their cumulative effects are finally felt. Such as a simple putting off writing for one day which, as the days go, becomes a habit.  Then the psychological barrier of ‘it’s a habit so it must be difficult to break’.  It is not, just begin a new habit with one day

So it is that we employ tools to deal with change – through thoughts, words and deeds.  We think positive thoughts to lift us, to propel us forth; we re-frame the stories we tell, we encourage; we reward ourselves with a good book, a walk… to improve our sense of wellbeing.

By the way, we cannot manage change. Change is not an object we can manipulate or mould. Even as we grasp hold of what change is, it has changed once again. What we can is choose how we are in the face of change.  And then perhaps we can influence the change in the next moment by having been aware of how we are in the previous moment…

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.     Anna Freud

Ultimately it is how we respond to change. Your and my responses to change differ, and they differ for the many situations we find ourselves.  Our responses today will also be different from our responses tomorrow for a similar, not the same, situation.  The statistical or scientific illusion of ‘all else being equal’ … well, things are never equal.  We can only measure what we know and can measure. There is a mystery to everything else… how exciting!  But I digress.

Music is the space between the notes.  Claude Debussy

So reflect upon and explore our responses to change:

  1. Do you recognize change as it happens? Are you aware of the ripples in your life? Our body knows, at least it can provide some signals.  Is it the tingling down your spine, the shortness of breath, the tensing of your shoulders, the denial in your mind, the grin on your face, the sigh of relief, the involuntary exclaim… What helps you identify change?
  2. How do you react and why?  Is your initial reaction one of drama, quiet confidence, excitement, dread or …? Is it because we are feeling threatened that we say those hurtful things? Is it because we are happy within ourselves that we can give so freely?  Is it because we are reminded of our past that we re-act intensely to the situation? Is it because we have always had ‘good luck’ that we leap into this?
  3. What choices do you make in response to change? I use the word ‘response’ as opposed to ‘react’ because for me, response comes from awareness. After the initial feeling of doom (a reaction!) and being aware of your ingrained habit of maintaining the status quo, do you follow through with negativity or do you choose to be open to the possibilities?

Away she hurried, not beautiful, not supremely brilliant, but filled with something that took the place of both qualities — something best described as a profound vivacity, a continual and sincere response to all that she encountered in her path through life.   EM Forster

Namaste!
– FlorenceT

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

18 Quotes to Inspire Writers, Bloggers–Everyone.

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As I said, I’m a sucker for a good quote…and there are many here!

ronovanwrites

The guy that came up with the Positivity campaign has a problem as he sits here and begins typing. He needs to think of something to write about. Part of the beginning an article with an idea yet to be developed is 18-quotespressure to write an article that is specifically about a certain topic. I gave ideas for others involved to do if they wanted help thinking of something. I am contrary to myself at times. I wanted to do an article instead. I think I like to hear myself type. Now, here I am—writer’s blocked.

As I typed those last two words, the idea came to me. There is something that gets in the way of all of us at times. It keeps us from being positive as often as we could. Did you see the words be positive all of the time in that last sentence?

I may…

View original post 574 more words

Angels in your life

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I often wonder how I got here… an island girl from South-East Asia.  And I don’t always see what has brought me here.  And I commonly forget to count my blessings, to appreciate the gifts and grace that were my companions through it all.

Yes, I can pat myself on the back, and congratulate myself for my courage, my strength, my tenacity, my fine instincts, my foresight, my intelligent sensible mind, etc. but I’d like to believe I have angels in my life.

Let me clarify what I mean by ‘angels’.

My felt-sense of angel is this: it is unconditional acceptance, unwavering attention, attending beauty, a space in which I can fly and know I will land within its safe reach.  It is safety, comfort and love!

I have many angels throughout my life, one of which is books, the other music.  They have been my refuge, they have been that place which I seek my solace.  They have lifted me, enlightened me, given me great joy!

There have been people who, in their own ways and sometimes unbeknown to even them (and I at the time), supported me, compelled me to realize who I truly am.

What or who are your angels?  Where do you go, my lovely, when you need comfort and love?

So here I share a piece of music that has touched me in many ways, its meaning changing at times.

 

 

May you find comfort in the arms of your angel!

– FlorenceT

 

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

You may choose to #BeWow

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I had wondered if I could write a post remotely close to being positive today. Oh and why a positive post?  Well, because that’s part of the #BeWow blogshare over at RonovanWrites.  I ‘signed up’ last week because it is such a great way to share some positive energy and love.

But today has been an odd day – I had to attend a medical check, there was a bit of work to do which I only ended up finishing after dinner due to incessant interruptions, and I got nothing else done.

So positivity, huh? Not really.

Then this came to me, the ‘mantra’ which I had paid little attention to in recent times.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.  Viktor Frankl

Boy, did I choose my response! It was a whinge, a gripe and a general discontent… for failure to complete as much work as I had planned?!

We can choose a different responseWe are never bound by our choices. We can always make another one; and our future need not be determined by a singular decision.

Choosing positivity

So at the close of today, I am choosing different – to see the day for what it was:

  • I went for a medical check, and fortunately it was merely a routine check.  In fact what happened during the medical test was rather funny…in the re-telling :-).
  • I had a bit of work to do.  I did the best I could.  They are not urgent much as I’d like them done. So they will be there tomorrow for my further attention.
  • I was interrupted constantly.  So what, and thank goodness! I got to spend time with family, to interact with them on this festive season (today is the 14th day of the first month of the Chinese Lunar year – so it has been buzzy in my home :-))  Hey, I even got to spend a little time with my beloved.
  • Working after dinner was not ideal, but idealism is just that.  It was what it was.  Just going with the flow…
  • I got nothing else done.. which is not quite true. I had enough done with work, and more… about family, my pleasures in reading and writing.

But the day is nearly over, what good will these do for me? 

Well, HERE is the interesting thing – in reflecting and telling a different story, we are recreating that story, choosing to be positive. Try it, it feels different! When tomorrow comes, we will have a different memory of what is. We will move towards a future that is different.

So the next time we choose a less than contented outlook, consider this:

  1. Am I judging myself by the plans and expectations I alone had placed upon me? Or the expectations others have placed on me? Will I let this happen?
  2. What would you have missed if your day had been otherwise? If not today, then when?
  3. What choices will I make today about the way I perceive my day?
  4. Will I be kind to myself? And to others around me?

So my reality is I have had a day that I needed to have – the universe has provided and I see that now – some beautiful distractions and generally relaxing day after a busy one the day prior.

It is as it should be.

Namaste!

– FlorenceT

 

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

A bit of (dark) positivity…?

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A positive post as part of #BeWOW @RonovanWrites love the idea, what inspiration!

When I heard this song, I thought, hey why not?!  So here’s a fun tune to share… and a message as well.

 

 

A bit of the lyrics, specifically the Chorus:

My problem, I never was a model,
I never was a scholar,
But you were always popular,
You were singing all the songs I don’t know
Now you’re in the front row
‘Cause my song is popular

Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That’s all you ever need to know

So catch up ’cause you got an awful long way to go

 

Oookay, there is a bit of edge to the song, a bit of ‘dark’ but that’s what I like … letting our shadow side out to play – quite harmless enjoying the song, fantasying about sweet revenge (watch the video if you have not) or just …

Then when the song is done, I go back to being the nice person that I am 😛

Enjoy, people!

– FlorenceT

 

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