Tag Archives: Writing

Tenderness

It was not the dazzling show of virtuosity, or the lightning-speed passages which captivated my physically tired self on a Friday evening.

It was the second movement of Mendelssohn’s First Piano Concerto which had me feeling most moved, most emotionally engaged, and most present.

It was when I heard and saw the notes from the piano emerge – featherlight tones, their sound ringing out to reach the deepest recesses of the concert hall. They carried with them emotion, multitudes of subtlety within their frequencies. And I felt my inner world move with them, sighing with them, feeling more anchored with them than with the booming bass and dazzling melodies of the opening movement.

And I found myself thinking about how rare it has become for our world to appreciate and embrace such tenderness. Which is probably why we need music (and art) like that to remind us. To remind us of the beauty and necessity of tenderness.

What can we do to cherish more of such tenderness?

What can we do so that being soft-spoken and non-assertive are not seen as negative, weak traits, but part of a larger, beautiful and accepted self?

Perhaps, as with most changes we want to see, it’d have to begin with ourselves.

 

Lessons From July: A Good Struggle

2 days late, but I was writing in my journal on the 1st of August and came up with a few things that July has taught me, and thought this main one to be blog-worthy.

The lesson on The Struggle and The Emerging… and the Going Back Again.

Yes, struggles like these are probably never going to completely go away. We find periods in our lives where we seem to be sinking into them uncontrollably, and by some stroke of luck and seeming effort, emerge from them thinking ourselves to be stronger than before, only to be immersed in the struggle again, once something else happens.

I’m referring to the struggle with self-doubt, of course.

And if there’s one thing July taught me, it’s that this struggle is truly necessary for reflection and growth. In fact, I should be worried if I don’t feel any struggle and am completely comfortable. Because it’d mean that I’m not pushing myself, that I’m not being stretched, that I’m not growing. In work or in my personal development.

The fact that I see my struggles as negative when they occur does not mean that they truly are. Just like we hate the bitter medication we have to take when prescribed, but when we’re well we look back and see how we couldn’t have gotten better without enduring and going through the medication process. Something like that.

The going through of the struggle also showed me how much I want to continue to do what I do, IN SPITE of the difficulties. It did not trigger in me feelings or thoughts of wanting to quit, or give up, or just let things be. It triggered in me the persistence to think of new ideas, to infuse new life into my approaches and interventions, and to put in more efforts to make the necessary connections and to develop the confidence I need to speak about what I do. The struggle did all that. And I am thankful.

I’m sure the next wave of self-doubt will come soon enough – there seems to be no lack of that in our world. Let’s hope that I’ll remember this lesson, on the value of a good struggle.

 

Wallflower

Having been in this new job environment for a little more than half a year, I realise that being a wallflower does have its perks.

Sure, I miss the joy of having close friendships at work, the kind I used to enjoy in the earlier years of working and in teaching. But ever since the job switch, I’ve also realised the joys and conveniences of being a wallflower – the lack of social obligations, the freedom to come and go pretty much however and whenever I choose. The joys of more quiet time, more efficiency with less chit chat. It also makes me feel more “anonymous”, even though I know I’m not. We still talk, we still collaborate, we still rant when we need to and I still have people I trust enough to go to with my work-related problems. We just stop there, that’s all. And at the end of the day I find it easier to “go home” – both physically and emotionally. Which think is important for my well-being.

Maybe there are people out there who need to have close friends where they work to feel that they belong, or to feel part of a community, in order to enjoy their job. I think I’ve learnt that I don’t necessarily need that, and it’d do me good to not feel the pressure to live up to that norm.

All’s good with this wallflower:)

The Questions of Our Lives

Why, and how?
Again and again, the questions we ask.
It’s so easy to give in
to the weight of our “problems”
To think that we are the only ones
who have pain and suffering.
Maybe it’s just easier
to focus on the narrowness of one’s world
than to dwell on the galaxy of questions and seeming unfairness
the inexplicable suffering and unequal lots in lives everywhere.
It’s easier to think of what is in front of us
than to look at the too-big picture
So big we can’t even see the ends.
Life goes on with questions,
and perhaps their unanswerable ness somehow makes the journey
Bearable.
For if all our questions were one day answered,
what else would we live for?

How Have You Been?

Every once in a while, perhaps over a meetup or in the middle of a social situation, a well-meaning friend / person would ask: “So how have you been?!”

And there are times when I’m tempted to answer:
“Oh you know, the same. Fluctuating between the usual states of self-doubt and the possibility of self-actualization, sometimes swinging between them several times within a day. And then of course I try to find authenticity amidst every experience and situation, which again is easier said than done. And my thoughts, while seemingly rooted in the mundane, also frequently go back to what it means to be human, what defines our existence, among other threads of philosophy and spirituality. Emotionally, I tend to question the basis of my every-changing emotions, and trying to observe the mind in the mind has been an ongoing project for some time now. That’s… basically how I’ve been. How about you?”

Maybe sometimes replying “I’m fine”, or “good” … Could be more than just adhering to social norms or obligations.

Maybe it’s a cover up for the inexplicable and inevitable complexity that is us.

To Know What We Want

On a Friday evening, I met up with an ex-colleague. And we talked about the usual things. And among the things we spoke about, I realised one thing.

Knowing what you want to do with your life is a great privilege.

It’s so easy to assume that everyone knows what they’d want to do with their life. Who wouldn’t know what they want?

But the truth is that it’s much easier to know what we want at the material level than at a deeper level. It’s easier to decide what kind of movies we want to watch, which brands of clothing and bags we like, than to know what moves you, motivates you, and inspires you. And to have the circumstances to realise our aspirations are even more rare.

So today, I am thankful for the simple fact that I know what I want to do with my life (for now), and that I am equipped to live closely aligned enough to those aspirations.

Perfection will never be permanent, and maybe all we will ever have are glimpses of it. But knowing where we are in proximity makes all the difference.