Monday, November 26, 2012


My taichi instructor used to tell me during our exercises that if it hurts, than you're not doing it right.

He said, it's not supposed to hurt.

If it hurts, that means you're fighting something.
If it hurts, that means you're fighting the flow, fighting the way your body works.
He said again, I just need to go as far as my body allows. Move as my body allows.

Recently, the words came back to me like a wave. And I don't know if I had drown in realization already, or just, simply, drowning.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Excuses for no excuses

It's been quite some time since the last time I visit my own blog. I guess I'm just not made for commitment in the first place. I can't even commit to my own life (oh yes, bitter mood is on).

No excuses for the commitment, I'm just that lousy. But I think it's also a good thing to settle with just short posts, considering my mind is actually still relentless as ever, and with such minimum release it might lead to mental explosion (is there even such a thing?) like, I guess, the one I'm currently having right now. My tongue is practically a flying dagger ready to tear at anyone insensitive enough to read the sign.

My former boss used to tell me that my subconscious is just too intense, that's why every little thing out of order, even as small as some iseng colleagues shaking my chair playfully while passing next to my desk would shock me to the point where it takes me a few seconds to return to the real world, and that by the time I do, I've completely forgot everything I was doing previously.

I don't think that's the problem now. I think it's just solitude deprived at its worst.

Life happens, life grows, and life doesn't bother to ask whether I'm ready or not. I guess that's what happened.

My workload is getting crazier, the stake is getting higher, it's rainy season the traffic is getting more impossible for everyone to commute in less than 2 hours (unless, of course, they don't commute), longer hours on the street, shorter quality hours at home, brain's getting even wearier.

Again, no excuses. I'm completely aware of that. And I've been trying to accept the fact that this is just the life I have to go through for now, so yeah, personal dreams shoved into the closet for now. And turns out that it doesn't do me good.

I need to stick to short posts if that's all that I can make for now. Because making a decent, thoroughly thought posts takes time and energy, which I'm currently lack of. And not letting is also counterproductive. Add the solitude deprived and here I am now, a collection of all forms of rage, ready to blow up with even the smallest ignition.

I just need to settle with what little I can do right now.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Mind

I planned to work, but then I opened my blogger account. There were also days when I planned to draw or write, but then stuck with the office email and started to develop a document, happily.

Sometimes I don't understand the way my mind works. It seems like it has a life of its own.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Another solitude deprived moment

One of those days when everything is just too much; the works, the people, the emotion, the dreams. I needed to grab a pencil and a paper and find a quiet corner. But I couldn't

I just realized that I can't draw anything or write anything when there's someone around, even if it's my own Mom reading or watching TV on the other room. I found out that I need to be alone when doing these things that I consider as releasing my emotional excess. Alone as in no one around me to realize what I'm doing. This is very important since what I'm doing (when drawing or writing) is basically pouring out my real self on to the paper and it's a very private moment for me that I find it irritating when someone finds out.

It's not that I have that much insecurity, but I just don't like it when people see too much of me.

At the office it's much easier. I could just draw whenever I have spare time, on my desk, not minding people walking back and forth around me. I've been thinking about it and wondering why. I guess perhaps it's because I know no one there really cares what I'm doing. Even if they found me drawing something they probably just think that I'm bored with the work and try to find distraction. 

At home, everything is more personal. And it really frustrates me how I can't do anything when I'm in the just right environment to do it.

These are some of the mandalas  I drew when I'm at the office.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

my emotional excess

Been quite some time since the last time I wrote in this blog.

I've been spending my time more drawing and I don't know why.

I usually wait until the emotional excess becomes unbearable before finally sat myself down in front of the computer and start writing. Simply because there will be nothing else I can do but writing, if I want to keep my sanity intact. This time, however, it doesn't seem to work that way.

All the emotions are welling up, but I just couldn't make my self to form a sentence. It's as if words have failed me, more than ever.

Right now, I'm in the middle of that chaotic emotions, perfectly developed into a quiet dark clouds ready to burst into storms inside me. Some of the emotions I can recognize, some are completely new and strange. And I have a feeling that writing it down would be very scary. I still have to do that sooner or later, but right now I think the wisest thing to do is to grab a pencil and a sheet of paper, and start drawing. Anything but words.

I feel so scared that I just want to hide my head under the pillow and sleep. But I know it will only get worse tomorrow if I don't deal with it. So this blog post is simply to loosen up myself a bit before scratching anything on paper.

If you're one of the people like me who have too many relentless thoughts in their head, you'd know what I'm talking about. And if you're not, then perhaps you'd be thinking that you're reading a crazy girl's diary, which is actually fine by me. But really, if you are one of those like me, please send me your silent prayer that I'll be just fine.

I really need it.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Big girls don't cry

I wish I can be a little girl today. Running to daddy's arms and cry until my eyes swollen and nobody's going to ask because that's just what little girls do. 

Cry in their daddy's arms.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Is it an excuse?

I remember writing about INFJ last year, having finally realized for the first time what it means.

Life went on and it didn't necessarily get any easier for me as an INFJ. The world don't just agree with you when you said you'd be better left alone. But the knowledge did help me in reassuring myself that the world can talk and say what they like and I can just keep on walking.

Back then, I figured that I had read all the materials available in the internet, and I think what would be enough. I don't want to drown myself too much into the subject for fear that I might be trapped in making it as an excuse for whatever unpleasant things I need to avoid in my life.

With the just right amount of knowledge in the subject, I tried to identify a pattern and make some adjustments, and yes, I'm lucky enough to be in a workplace where that is possible, might not be able to cover everything, but enough to help me survive my weekdays with  little harm.

Time went on and many things happened, including Susan Cain and her TED talk that shed new light on the topic. I read her book Quiet and eagerly sharing the ideas to my friends and colleagues, hoping that they finally understand that there is nothing wrong with people who are quiet, and that it is scientifically proven.

Recently a friend told me that 'introverts' might want to consider a few things that can be done to fight the introversion that seems to be hampering them from moving ahead in the world. That's when I realized that scientific data is not enough to make people understand that introversion is not a defect. To these people, your good intention in sharing information about introversion might be easily seen as making excuses or justification for your defects.

But you know what?

Just like any other things about yourself that you want to change;  you might want to color your hair, or trim your teeth, or shape your eyebrow. You can change some things, and you just have to accept or make peace with some others. Introverts need to adjust to get along with their environment. Just as much as everyone else in the world need to adjust to their surrounding, no matter what their personality are.

Adjustment is one thing that everyone needs to do in order to live in harmony. But when you need to fight it, then it is a defect. How can you fight something that you are born with? Or to be exact, why should you? Why should you fight something just because it makes you different from the majority of the people? 

I decided now that I'm not going to talk about introversion unless someone asks.

Introverts might easily trapped in making their introversion as an excuse. Just as much as extroverts easily accusing them of doing it.

I might be wrong, though.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

the wisdom that we find very difficult to grasp

I finally learned that life is a linear search. You cannot rummaging through different options, trying to determine which ones to take and which ones to skip.
In order to get over them, you have to get through them. In order to get to J you have to get through the A B C and so forth. In order to get to the last chapter you have to read the first ones. 

Oh if you insist, you'll be able to skip the chapters but you will not be able to understand what it's all about actually. 

So what's the point of arriving at the last chapter in short time if you understand nothing? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

things I want to say today (but can't)

Don't talk to me.
Don't text me, or even worse, call me, just to discuss about not-so-urgent work-related matters. 
Just, don't.

I need to be left alone today. 
So much that even a text message felt like a harsh, impolite, interruption to my privacy.

I can only stand a very few people today. And you're not one of them so please.

You have no idea how it feels to be crushed by life like this. You have no idea how I gasp for air, trying hard to breath, despite the broken bones, the broken heart, the broken dreams.

You have no idea and I will not be able to give you the idea so please. 

In fact, world, just leave me alone. Leave me, alone.

Bintaro, 11.26 am, hurt beyond help

Oh the thing we avoid so much

There's a strong, black, bitter, coffee for a lazy brain.
But there's no cure, no help, for a wounded heart. 
Nothing but tears.

The only honest cure, the one that we avoid so much.

Bintaro, 10.13 am, sentimental beyond help

Sunday, April 15, 2012

On the Introverts Ideal

Ten years ago, a friend of mine talked about remote working and I said I didn't buy the idea. Completely unaware that I am an introvert, I was thinking how boring it would be to stay at home and not meeting anyone for the whole week. Back then, I spent most of my time in campus with my close friends, and I thought, I love to be around people. Little did I know that what I needed actually was only to be around a very few people.

After graduated from the college, I joined the communication industry. I spent two years in mass media, and six years ago continued my journey to the PR industry, not knowing what I'd face. It was an industry that is flocked with loud and outgoing people, and as the years went by, the feeling that something was wrong with me slowly building up and formed an idea that maybe I am not normal enough for the work I'm doing.

Until a year ago, my professional life was basically a psychological torture. I'm working for the best company in the industry, with the best people and having the best professional experience anyone could ever hope for to grow, with all the ups and downs. However, that supposed to be rewarding experience was killing me little by little.

In every occasion, I could feel that I'm different from most of the people around me, and that it somehow keeping me from moving forward faster than needed. People think of me as socially incapable, for I always tried to find reason to not going to office parties (and failed every time). People think of me as professionally incompetent, because I was rather quiet and less argumentative than it might be needed in the work, and I wasn't really successful in multitasking.

I was always the quiet type, especially around those I'm not very close or comfortable with. I prefer to do everything alone, and unconsciously avoiding the crowd whenever I can. I'm not the type who can easily join a table occupied with people during lunch, though I never run away when someone joins me at a table. I dragged myself to every office parties, and feeling totally wasted and exhausted afterward. People start saying things like 'get a life', or 'you need to be more happy, go out and have fun', and other things along that line.

I did managed to juggle between projects and multitasking as how it is expected from everyone in the office. I went to all of the office parties that were held during the years, participated in brainstorming sessions, working in groups in every training sessions, stretching myself to the maximum to keep up with all the chaotic energy around me to make sure I wasn't left behind. I dreaded about it every single time, and contrary to my wish, the more I did it, the more I felt lost.

The years I spent with the best people, was corrupting my self-concept and eating my confidence little by little until it was left to nothing but the idea that I'm not normal.

For so many times I wished I could be as outgoing and boisterous as my other colleagues. They seem to get their way around easily. Even when they make mistake, the effect seemed to be less damaging than when I'm the one who makes it. They can easily laugh it off and moving on, while I know that when I made a mistake, no matter how insignificant it is, it'd kept my mood down for at least three days, wondering why I did what I did.

I'd run out of energy after Monday and Tuesday (which is usually very chaotic), and would have to spend the rest of the weekdays struggling to suppress my craving for solitude. I've been unconsciously having this need to be alone from time to time, and the way people around me reacted to it gives me the signals that it's not a good thing. I blamed my recent break up from traumatic relationship for it. It caused my confidence nosedived to the lowest point, close to zero. I kept telling myself that when I've recovered, I'd change, and I'd be better. Which never happened. I can say that I'm recovered enough from the trauma now, but my craving for solitude remains the same, as well as my level of tolerance to crowd.

People said I was being too sensitive. And I wished I'm not. I wished I could be more thick-skinned and shrug off indifferently what comments people might have about me. I simply wished I wasn't who I was back then.

About two years ago, I came across an article about psychological preferences, and had my first introduction to introversion.

I was finally able to see things differently. I started to search more literature on the subject, and learned that there's completely nothing wrong with me. All those energy drains, those cravings for solitude and silence, it's simply how things work for me, an introvert.

I realized that maybe it's not that I just wasn't made for this kind of work in the first place. Maybe it's about people need to learn to see things differently. I started by accepting the fact that that's how things work for introverts, and that I am actually as normal as other people.

I might not be able to do much about it. If all this time I felt like misunderstood, it might still be the same now. But at least now I know where they came from. The furthest thing I can do is to adjust my work pace, shut my ears and not listening to people's comments about me, and whenever possible, opt to work from home when the headache (that usually comes from an accumulation of solitude deprived that goes on for days) kicking in.

There are times when there's nothing I can do but to keep going in the fast lane without taking a break. But at least I know what I'd face at the end of the week and I wouldn't have to be panic about it. I'd be snappish, I wouldn't be able to stand sometimes my own daughter and would have to ask her to give me some two-three hours alone even though it's weekend, I'd shut myself down and will not answer any text messages (let alone phone calls), and would try my best to keep people from visiting me.

It may sounds weird. But now I'm able to indulge it without feeling guilty because I know the reasons why. I need to do it to keep my sanity intact.

A year ago, I found this blog on introversion, owned by Susan Cain. It's such an enlightenment to me and when I read her book Quiet, it felt like all my questions and insecurities were mirrored, and answered there.

In her book, Cain discusses about the differences of personality between the West and the East. Asian is somehow more introverted and thus having a hard time living among the Westerns. I am an Asian and live in Asia, but my workplace is totally West in style. Hence my struggling all these years.

I have a colleague who joined the company about one and a half year ago. She turns out to be an introvert too, and is having a hard time keeping up with the chaos around her while keeping her sanity intact at the same time. I'm glad that she found out about her introversion before too long, so hopefully she doesn't have to deal with all the questions about self concept and question her social capability and later on, professional competencies.

I really wish the same thing for other introverts out there. Learn to know yourself, and accept it when you finally do. Being quiet doesn't make you less intellect, it doesn't make you less competent in your field, it doesn't make you less significant to the world, and it shouldn't be an obstacle for you to achieve what you want. The key is to know yourself and accept it. You'll find your place. It might not be the highest tower or the most glamorous building in the world, but it's where you fit in, and I think, being an introvert, you should know better what it means to be where you belong.

I don't want to use my introversion as an excuse. This is the industry that we have chosen to be in, and we have to face the consequences. I wouldn't complain when I become dead-tired and drained out at every weekend, craving my healthy dose of solitude like an addict or a sociopath. But I also beg to differ when there's people who look down on quiet individuals, making one-sided judgment that quiet is a sign of incapability and incompetence.

It's simply a matter of understanding the fact that there are people who are different from the majority. Not anyone of us is made for everything. Every one must be made for something, and not everything.

Here's a quotable quote from Quiet:

So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don't let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don't force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single tasking to multitasking, stick to your gun. Being relatively unmoved by rewards give you incalculable power to go your own way. It's up to you to use that independence to good effect.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

conversation #5: people are migraine inducer

*walked into a town hall meeting*
*picked a table at the corner of the room*

A: *tweet* "Such a migraine inducer situation"
K: *re-tweet*  "Such a migraine inducer situation"

conversation #4: please kindly read "Quiet"

Email from the boss: 
"Dear K, there's going to be a conference on bla bla subject, and they need someone from your level to go there as an observer. I supposed you'd be interested to go? I think it would be useful for you to attend and meet the people there".

*completely not thrilled with the idea of meeting a lot of people thus obviously very hesitant to go, wishing she could reply the email like this*
"Dear Boss, please kindly read Quiet by Susan Cain".

How to omit the crossing wires from the sky?

I've been wondering about it for quite some time.

I'd really like to know whether there's a fair way to erase the crossing wires in the photographs that you've taken because I think it's not a question of editing. It's a question of honesty. 

I could apply filters to create ambiance, using vignette or tilt shift to direct focus, or adjust the saturation to make it looks better than the reality. But I'm not so sure about erasing something that is actually there.

I want to take picture of the sky that is beautiful. I want it to remind me that one day, there's a day when the sky is so beautiful that you wish it stays like there forever. A reminiscence of what was there. And thus would be unfair to erase the wires, because they were also there, part of the beautiful sky that I saw. The sky is beautiful, but there are the wires there and they've been there for a long time, long before I came and sit at my front yard looking at the sky and taking pictures.

I could erase them easily with simple app. But wouldn't that be an act of dishonesty?

I'd capture the beautiful sight forever, but I lied about the wires that were there. I lied about the flaw in the beauty. 

Will it be fair?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

conversation #3 - dino and normal people

A: I wonder why people love to do things together. Having lunch together. Going to see a movie together. Watching a show together. I'd prefer to go alone. I don't really like being in herd, you know. Makes me feel like dinosaur.
D: You know, when people talking about herd, they usually refer to sheep. Not dino.
A: Dinos live in herd.
D: I know. But most people don't talk about Dino in their casual conversation.
A: Oh, okay...


D: Why are we talking about animals now?
A: I don't know. Maybe, because we're animals too?
D: Yeah. Humans are animals too.
A: So it's just like gossiping, you know. Talking about the species next door.
D: You're right. Just like gossiping.

the world spins madly on

Change is inevitable.
Resistance is futile. 
The sky is falling. 
And the world spins madly on.

Dreams are leaking into reality.
Synchronicity is everywhere, so strong that it's scary.
And the world spins madly on.

All six lessons in one week.
Too much to bear it's suffocating.
Yet the world spins madly on.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

in the face of death

Dearest world, 

Don't ask me how I came up with all these questions. They're just there, in my head, suddenly, as I was bumping in my chair on the rusty bus on my way to the office one morning.

Have I dream enough?
One of my colleagues is leaving the job for a scholarship abroad, in the major that she loves. Another colleague is leaving for another job that servers her higher purpose in life, that is teaching and social works. My other colleague, having recently found out that she's an introvert, realized that she needs to find another job if she wants to stay healthy.

Then came the next question: Have my life been useful enough?
They said a life worth living is the one that gives benefit to other people. Then I wonder, does quantity  matter in this case?
Because I am very sure that up until today, my existence in this world benefits only a very limited number of people, even further down to not more than my mother and my daughter. 
Does it make my existence in this world less useful then?

And the next question: as I was standing at the platform this morning waiting for the train, feeling the morning wind breezing, softly blowing my long tunic and trousers, all black, nothing fancy or fashionable in any way: Do I have what it takes to charm?
Do I need it?
What does it take to charm people actually? And why?

Once I got to the office, I immediately share this pointless reverie to a very dear friend, who then replied by relating to her recent dream about how she met her own death. She said, you know dear, none of those questions you've just asked, none of them matter in the face of death.

And that was the truest truth, bold enough to answer all my questions. 

I'm not against asking questions, indulging the noisy whys and hows moving back and forth in your head, especially those of you with that relentless mind constantly throwing thoughts of the most random topics in the unlikeliest times.

Don't shut them down (because you won't be able to do that anyway). But keep in mind, that there are times when you have to learn to accept things for what they are, because some of them do not really matter in the end.

[article link] Writing as Catharsis

Dearest world, 

I'm currently in my relentless mind-mode on and as usual, cannot do much about it; I can't write, draw, or even talk much. My mind was so full and noisy and as the days go by, the tension built up, and it gets even more difficult for me to channel everything. Just like a bottle too full of liquid and a too small neck. To release even a single bit of what's inside will involve a lot of tension, and painful. The only thing I could do is to wait until my mind cannot take it any longer and deciding to burst by itself. Still painful, but perhaps less, maybe because I'm doing it automatically, my body decide to do that as part of a survival mechanism, to keep my sanity intact. 

Anyway, I found this nice piece about writing as catharsis

Here's a worth quoting phrase from one of the books discussed in the piece  (Story, written by Robert McKee):

“To ask this is to ask why we like to tell and hear stories at all. Perhaps, we need to be cleansed of the aimless chaos of our lives. The characters and actions of real life are raw, in unorganized state; Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman) wrote, ‘The very impulse to write springs from an inner chaos crying for order, for meaning…’'

It helps explaining what I've been feeling all the time about writing. And it helped me write something today, even if it only this one blog post.

Hope you find it useful :)

Sunday late afternoon, 2.26 pm

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Kind of Happiness

A friend once said to me that I'm not actually bitter, but I have this tendency to stick around bitter things, dwelling on the darker side of emotion.

Well, for a moment then I considered the possibility of what my friend said. 

I'm the kind of person who enjoy my quiet time alone reading book (with an emphasize at the 'alone' part). While working at the office I use a headphone all the time to block the sound of other people and basically everything around me, unless those that I want to hear. I love rainy days. I even go as far as believing that I have this emotional attachment to rainy days. When other people turn to gloomy mood under cloudy sky, I'd quietly smile, feeling completely content and at peace.  I spend my two hours of commuting back home everyday listening to Jia Peng Fang or Yiruma. 

I sometimes listen to upbeat and happy songs, but it's always those slow beat and rather melancholy tunes that is able to make me smile and sigh with contentment at the end of the day. And most important is, I'm completely happy with those melancholy moments.

So what is it with me? Am I not being truly happy?

I've asked myself this question anyway, and honestly, I've even drafted a list in my head, consisted of things to do to get closer to bright lights and cheerful things.

But once again Susan Cain's post comforts me.

In her blog posts What Kind of Happy Are You?  Susan Cain talked about the happiness of melancholy. It's the kind of happiness you find in things that are not supposed to make you feeling joyful, like the sight and sound of rain, cloudy sky, pentatonic notes, minor key, or melancholic songs.

I didn't even know it exists before. To some people it might be difficult to comprehend, as none of those things I mentioned before normally trigger the happy feeling. But I can absolutely relate to what Cain said. If I'm not being happy all this time, why do I smile every time I get off the bus after the two hours commuting, injected through and through with the melancholy tunes of Yiruma or the piercing sound of erhu in Jia Peng Fang's music? How would I feel the unmistakable comfort silently wrap around me at the first drop of rain, if I'm not being happy?  I wouldn't be able to smile, standing under the umbrella in the pouring rain if I'm not happy. But how is that?

Ms. Cain's words sums up everything perfectly. 

"But the very communion of this act is happy-making – if you define happiness broadly enough"

After reading Susan Cain I realized that I'm not crazy, or bitter, or suicidal, in any way. I'm just completely contented with my own kind of happiness :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

truth is...

The truth is, I love you.
You know I do.
I know you know I do.
You just choose not to see it. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Sky

Sky never fails me.
That I know for sure now.

In tough times when I think that the whole world is crumbling down and all I can do is watch and weep, the sight of the sky never fails me.

There's always something graceful about the sky. 


The way the clouds spread in the open sky from one end to another with striking grace. 

As if it's telling you that you are blessed to be able to witness such beauty around you, and that you are loved, and protected.

And with such grace and greatness, how can you doubt it?

When I feel bored or too stressed out at the office, I'd just take a short break at the cafe or simply sitting next to a nearest window, watching the afternoon sky that, luckily, most of the time is filled with burst of clouds (in rainy season, the sight is even better. I can see the gloomy yellowish grey sky from behind droplets on the window).

Sometimes I wish if I could just spend the whole day sitting next to my window, staring at the sky.

There will be days when I got out of the office feeling dreadful, and I know, all I need to do to make the two hours commuting trip bearable is to look at the sky.

To get amazed by its vastness, to greet the clouds and their beautiful colors in late afternoon.

I'd soon realize that there really isn't much to complain about, because the universe is beautiful and kind, and its grace soothes any wounded soul.

*All pictures were taken and edited using my android mobile phone

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Reading Journal

So, aside from writing my relentless mind out here, I also share about books.

You can visit my other blog rakbukucoklat, basically a journal about the books that I have read, or about reading itself.

My latest entry was about Julia Cameron's Sound of Paper and Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase.

I really wish I can be committed and consistently writing at least one review per week (not that I'd be able to finish reading one book per week, but I have read so many books and only managed to make no more than five reviews _ I know, such an achievement).

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

on the success of small things

I was sitting on a commuter bus stuck in a traffic jam right in front of office buildings and malls when my eyes caught a sight of a woman walking alone on the pavement. There's actually nothing special about her. She's just one of the busy people in the crowd leaving the office building, heading to somewhere on that late afternoon. She wore a black, long, jacket with belt on the waist, a black trousers and a black stiletto shoes, and carried a black leather suitcase. Well maybe that's one thing that I found rather unusual. Her appearance was rather different than the usual pretty career woman with colorful dress and matching bags or shoes. She looked very professional and smart. And at that late cloudy afternoon in Jakarta, she walked alone out of the office building, carrying her leather suitcase, walking to the electronic store nearby. Probably she went there to buy a modem, or a memory stick, or an external hard disk. Or perhaps she just went there to buy a cup of coffee from the coffee shop at the ground floor of the store.

I'd never know because by the time she entered the building my bus has turned to another direction.

But I kept thinking about her. She reminds me of a picture of a sucessful career woman my parents used to have years ago. Smart dressed and powerful, enjoying her time alone at her early thirties, going to the bookstore or a cafe, spending her money the way she likes and  going home at whatever hours she felt comfortable after roaming around the luxurious malls.

To be honest, the enjoying her time alone part probably belong to my imagination, not my parents.

But that was also pretty much the way I had pictured success when I was a kid.

Now after reminiscing the past days I realized that it never crossed my mind that there were other people out there, working as journalists, photographers, dancers, painters, florists, owner of a small bookshops, owner of a small coffee shops, owner of a small music school, people devoted their lives for less tangible things. I am very sure I have came across those people during my adolescence years, but somehow, it never occurred to me that these people work. And succeeded. It seems I had never gave them a thought, and nor did my parents. Or most parents, I suppose.

Recently, I had a conversation with a few colleagues and it got me thinking how success has always been associated with being in a high position in a big corporation. While admiring some people who actually have reached that high position at a very young age, I can't help but wonder what is wrong with living a simple, modest life?

If I have the opportunity, I'd choose to work in a small book shop, in a place that's far from the crowd and noise of the city chaos.

I think this is where the saying 'money is the means not the goals' comes in.

I'd still be needing a constant flow of money to be able to enjoy my quiet life as after my work in the small book shop. But that would be the furthest role money has in my life: a facilitator for me to be able to enjoy life the way I want. The way I want to enjoy life might be different from other people, and it is a very subjective measurement. And this, I think, is where the saying 'money is never enough to satisfy you' comes in. No matter how much money you have, it won't be enough, not if you keep wanting more and more. It's a matter of knowing your limit, and a willingness to live life in its essence.

Again, this is me. Other people might think that it's important to have many other things they don't have yet right now and really, I don't want to judge. Some people do need the things they want to have, some others simply just want to have the things for the sake of having it. I'm learning to be very careful now not to confuse the two.

But I just think it's important to revisit the picture of success that we have.

Some people are made for big things, destined to walk around the earth with sophisticated dress and glossy shoes entering a high rise building, meeting important people, dealing with big scenarios of the nation. I admire them. All the efforts they made to be where they are now, all the time they spent working hard to achieve the sophisticated life that they want. They deserve it and I believe they have a significant contribution to this world.

But there are also some people that are made for smaller things, or rather, less glossy things. These people might not in a high position, might not be a part of a big corporation or organization. They don't have glossy shoes and leather bag. They don't work in a high rise building working on big scenarios involving big money for the nation or a corporation owns the nation or probably even owns half of the world. Or they probably working on a big scenario for the nation but instead of glossy shoes and leather bag, they probably carry a backpack, roaming around the remote islands in this country, wearing casual outfit and rubber sandal. Or they might not be involved at all in a big scenario of the nation. They probably live their life from day to day taking care of flowers, or making beautiful hand crafts to be sold, or teaching little kids singing at local schools, and going to the traditional market every late afternoon to buy food and vegetables and cook for their families. Probably smaller things, but just as significant as the big things.

They are the hands behind the colors you see at the florist or someone else's garden. They are the hands behind the laughter of the children studying on a rundown building of local schools. They are the hands behind the full stomach and burps you might hear on the family dining room. They are the hands behind the small beauties in the world. Small, but not less significant.

I just think, that these people, also need to be recognized of creating a meaningful life, despite what the society defines about success.

They might have the capability to rise above others and speed their way to the highest position in an important company or organization, but they choose the smaller role in life because that's what they want, because there's where their heart lies. There are nothing wasted about them. They are people devoting their life for their passion, for the good of others, far away from the spotlight but working as hard as those who are under it. I think they need to be recognized for their courage to live their truth no matter how unimpressive those things are.

Absolutely nothing wasted about them.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

the restlessness of things

The restlessness of not writing.
The restlessness of having too much in your head, but you're not writing.
The restlessness of the stubbornness of sticking with the idea that you can live and breath well and not writing.

I know that that's what happens when I worry too much of what people might think about my writing. Or rather, what I myself might think about my writing. That's what happens when I rely too much on the perfect inspiration to come to me. 

After tossing and turning with the restlessness for about a week, I came to realize that the only thing I can do to get rid of all doubts and uncertainties is by walking through them. There's no point wondering on ways to get around them. Doubts and uncertainties, dearest Self, is as certain as everything else in this universe. The sun rises and sets, the earth spins, the clouds come and go. Uncertainties stay around.

I finally learned, through the painful mental struggle of insisting on not writing, that things will only come to perfection when they are made and created. 

There is no perfect timing, or perfect surrounding, or perfect situation, or perfect mood, or perfect ideas, to turn something into a perfect piece of art. 

There is no perfectly shaped ideas to be written. It will only become perfect if you dig it, mold it, write it and toss it and write it and toss it over and over again. 

There is no perfect mood for the day. It will only become perfect if you decide to seize the day, pull yourself together, blow the dark clouds away to oblivion, breath after breath, until the sky becomes clear. That's when you finally have the perfect day.

There is no perfectly developed skill for a job. It will only become perfect after you take the bumpy ride with all the ups and downs, the happiness and the humiliations, the tears and the laughter of victory. That's when you finally have perfect skill.

I've learned, that things become perfect through hardships and endurance. That the only way to get there (wherever you want it to be) is to take the first step, to take the plunge and falling freely, to walk further until there's no turning back. To think of what you're going to miss at this moment if you don't take the first step, instead of wondering what the future might hold or not, if you don't take the first step.

We just need to keep going. Keep going until that's the only option we have. 

South Jakarta, 1.11pm
I should read Julia's Cameron The Sound of Paper once again. I need to keep on going.

The kind of empath

So it is.

Friday, January 20, 2012

happiness is a choice?

It's funny how there are things that you've heard so many times and you thought you know what it means, but the fact is that you never really absorb what it means until it happens to you.

The most recent one happened to me was about how happiness is a choice. Happiness is your choice. You choose whether you're going to be happy, or miserable, regardless the circumstances. I've heard about it so many times. And though it never really clear to me why and how, I've accepted it as the truth. I don't know how it would felt but I've accepted it as the way things should work.

And I have to say that I'm thankful to be able to actually experience the feeling. 

I've been under the weather for about a week, having bad cough and fever that goes up and down. Yesterday it got really bad; my body was felt like a shipwreck, my head was spinning, the cough was getting worse and it caused me headache. All I wanted to do was sleep on my bed. At home. But there I was at the office, facing the computer screen, doing my works. I wore a thick jacket with a hood, and carried a tumbler containing hot tea everywhere I go. Every now and then I put my head on my desk and closed my eyes, not really sleeping, just trying to ease myself.

What surprised me was that despite everything, I was feeling happy. I found myself dancing on my seat while typing words and numbers into the screen. I looked at the sky outside and it was black, a sign that heavy rain would come down. And if you know the traffic in Jakarta, you'd know that that shouldn't be a good sign. But I was feeling okay. I danced with the body that felt like a shipwreck, I sang with a cracked voice, with a prospect of having to spend no less than 2.5 hours in the road just to get home. 

That's when it hit me, that this is probably what it means when they said that happiness is a choice. 

I could choose to be unhappy that day. I had all the reasons I need to be unhappy for the rest of the day. I don't think I'd consciously made a decision to be happy but perhaps somehow I did. Because I couldn't see anything wrong with the day and I couldn't think of any other reasons why I shouldn't be happy. 

It's a choice you could choose. It's what you choose to feel, regardless the circumstances.

Being a person who carries clouds above her head, I'm sure that choosing to be happy is not an easy thing to do. It requires skill, and skill requires practice. But at least I now know what it really means, and I think that should be a good start :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

I need to

I'm tired of being sick. 
I'm tired of fighting and struggling so hard to stand firm and tell everyone that I'm ok.
And I'm tired of explaining why. 

I just need to lay down and close my eyes, forget the world outside and sleep. 

I need to be lost.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

on broken heart

In the process of growing up and growing old, I learned one important lesson that I'd never thought I'd overlooked.

The lesson I learned, is that it is very important to keep the heart in one piece.

Because it requires a rather complicated process to put everything back together once the heart breaks into pieces. Whereas it needs nothing more than a glue to put the pieces of torn or broken things back together, that’s not the case with the heart.

In putting back the pieces of broken heart, one has to undergone a complicated procedure, which involves a thorough examination of one’s deepest part of the heart and one’s reflection in the mirror. That, is never an easy task since it requires honesty and a strong willpower to stand whatever one finds there, at the heart, and in the mirror. Small steps are to be made following the examination, and they are completely depends on the cases one has. One should not copy the steps others made in putting back the broken pieces of the heart, because it’s a different heart. Forcing similar treatment to two different hearts may lead to a failure and sabotage the whole recovery process. In worst cases, it breaks the heart even more. Thus it is very important, on top of everything, before developing any recovery plans, to appreciate and accept the heart one has, the way it is. Flaws are to be acknowledged only and not to be judged. Judgment and logic are to be used at minimum, since the two tend to have nonconstructive effect on the heart, especially during recovery process. Only by accepting the uniqueness of one’s heart can one understand the way to mend it.

As for the timeline, it is better not to set any. Unmet deadlines will cause another potential wound at the heart, which is highly unwanted because the newly recovered heart have not gain its full strength yet and is rather fragile. Thus, avoid deadline. Let the heart decide. One should be able to tell whether the heart is fully recovered or not, from the way it beats in certain occasions or on meeting certain people. This is a knowledge which only the owner of the heart has access to. Thus, it is also important to keep other people’s advice at minimum. It’s a work one has to do alone, or rather, with one’s own heart alone, without external influence. External influence is also to be kept at the minimum in order to maintain a healthy sense of self confidence and a healthy dose of trust needed by the heart, which can only be given by the owner itself.

Now, I think I should end my musing on the importance of keeping a heart in one piece, and leave the conclusion to you. Is it really that important to keep the hear in one piece? Or is it really that difficult to mend a broken heart? Or should we all just plaster our heart, lock the doors and throw away the key and seal all the windows?

It would be greatly appreciated if you could share any conclusions you have made, since I haven’t been able to make any. Oh I've tried. Really. But none of them seems to make sense, I wonder why.