When I go out to meet the light, the shadow of my body follows me, but the shadow of my spirit precedes me and leads the way to an unknown place
- Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Days go by

4 days to go until I leave for New Zealand. My parents are supposed to be here now to spend a bit of time with me before I go but my father hurt his back and so my parents remain in Shenzhen, China. My mother's warning that my father's health would suffer if he didn't cut back on work and get more rest has come true.

I haven't packed yet, there isn't much to put together but I've compiled a list of things. Tomorrow I shall pack. I will not bring everything this trip, I will move my possessions only once I have secured the right job in NZ. The plan is to get to Sydney on April 1st, spend one night there then fly straight to Queenstown, New Zealand the next morning. I will bring one large rolling duffel, one 80L backpack and a carry on duffel. I will meet Mervin there and we shall stay with our mutual friend J. She is eagerly awaiting us.

I've been saying goodbye to my friends here and there doesn't seem to be enough time to bid everyone a proper farewell. I do not have as heavy a heart as I did when I left California. Perhaps because I know that I am never far from Malaysia.

Pappa Rich

Today a funny conversation occurred at my favorite cafe - "Pappa Rich". This place serves a variety of local type noodles, but I am hooked on the various servings of toast and their organic soy milk is the creamiest and tastiest in town. I also enjoy the steamed bread with kaya

In Malaysia there are many foreign workers who perform menial labor. It seems the best foreign workers for waiting on tables come from Myanmar. They are polite, smile a lot, take pride in their job and they work hard. However there is the language barrier issue, those that speak limited english tend to be difficult to understand. This morning I wanted peanut butter toast with some organic soy milk and a middle aged woman from Myanmar stood by to take my order as I looked over the indexed pictures in the menu. The conversation went:

Me: "I'd like the peanut toast and..."
Lady: "Penis"

I pause... and wonder if my fly is open.

Me: "I'd like the peanut toast" (this time I point to the picture in the menu).
Lady: "R-10. Penis!"

By now I gather that she is saying peanut toast but it sounds exactly like... well....

My friend who was away from the table returns to put in her order. I can't help it, I point to the menu and say out loud "Do you want penis?" Her mouth gapes and she exclaims, "what did you say??". I glance at the lady with the notepad and she doesn't even twitch an eyelid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A gift that touches

Yesterday I was moved quite a bit by a friend of mine named S. I believe that the very best friends are the ones that by an action of theirs can punch through the walls of your limiting self-beliefs and self-worth. The impact can leave your mind reeling for a few seconds and in that moment you feel vulnerable. This moment has the emotional impact of a tsunami because it surmounts the walls we've erected around our hearts and in doing so it dislodges some of the negative impressions of oneself, basically it carries out some of the trash we've accumulated about who we think we are.

My friends are chosen carefully because I do enough harm to myself with my mind's harsh judgements and unrealistic demands of myself, I've piled enough trash within my walls on my own. And yes there are people out there with more 'junk in their trunk' who are eager albeit unwittingly to heap some of it your way. So I am critical about who I spend time with. There have been people in my life that I've judged wrongly, I've thought they were out to bring me down and I've taken things personally to the detriment of the relationship. It is a consequence of my own self-importance that discolors and clouds my judgements. It seems the nearest emotion to latch onto tends to be resentment, particularly the more we've vested with someone. I am tired of my mind being wrong about the people I am close to, I want to see more clearly.

Yesterday's incident showed me that there is far more beauty in us than my eyes tend to see, there is far more that wants to cross the space between each other, nay even hungers to bond... yet I stand afar at arm's length because it is safer to care less. This is one of the reasons I strive to be more fearless.

This is the book that she made:

And in it are recollections of the times I've spent with her, little incidences that I can barely recall myself. Yet they've made an impression on her.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sweet Time

As the constraint of time tightens the experience of each moment becomes sweeter. This I have noticed with each transition in my life, when the moment of departure nears the current moment is savored more. Then with every listening there is more hearing, with looking there is more seeing, with every touching there is more feeling...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A good laugh, thank you J

Yesterday my friend J cracked me up in a major way. The day before we had watched a video clip on Youtube that perpetuates the stereotype about female drivers - (FemaleDriverCompilation). It was quite hilarious and the music was rather cute.

So yesterday morning as I was riding in her car and she was attempting to park the car, I sang the tune again to annoy her. She scoffed at it and dismissed it, undaunted I suggested she reprogram her parking indicator to use the tune instead. Or perhaps have a loudspeaker on the outside of the car to play the tune like an ice cream truck, and then it would switch to an air raid siren when she shifted to reverse. Well... we were both having a good jest with it, at her expense no doubt but it wasn't all unfounded because a few months back after we had watched "Quantum of Solace" the new Bond movie rife with fantastic car chase sequences she had pulled out of the parking and promptly mauled the side of her car on the pillar as she pulled out. When that happened I commented, "I was expecting a Bond maneuver but I got Mr.Bean instead."

And then there was the incident a few weeks back posted in my Blog where we had been rear ended rather severely but that was not her fault. Nevertheless, I can only wonder at the sort of close relationship she has with her car repair shop. And I kid you not, the last time she retrieved her car from there (to repair a smashed window from a snatch theft), the repairman sent her a text message ending with the sentence "Bye, miss you...".

Well, the icing on the cake was the moment that she had dropped me off yesterday after our meal and during the ride I had played that tune about a half dozen times. I was walking away from the car when I heard a crunch, I turned in time to see the car's rear wheel drop back off the foot high curb as J was taking the corner to exit. Evidently, she had taken the turn too tightly. I burst out laughing as she paused to give a mortified look from the car then a big embarrassed laugh before driving off. I promptly dialed her cellphone and she picked up in mid-laugther saying "Dont you dare!!", but I was already singing the tune again into the phone with tears wetting my cheeks....

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Cubic Centimeter of Chance

Not long ago I added a list to my Blog outlining the titles of the books that I am currently reading (or have recently read).  A week ago I added a book to this list called The Craft of the Warrior written by Robert Spencer, this work is a synthesis of several respected authors* on the subject of growing one's awareness to unlock the hidden areas of our potential and the accompanying life of true freedom; this approach to life is collectively known as warriorship.  I am delighted to discover that the book aligns strongly with the teachings on Toltec wisdom.  

The most referenced author is Carlos Castaneda who wrote The Teachings of Don Juan, and other subsequent publications, that describe his mystical learnings from his apprenticeship with a Yaqui Indian sorcerer named Don Juan Matus.  A quote is borrowed from this book at the point where Spencer elucidates in his writing on the subject of living strategically.  He says that a warrior is relentless in her path but not fixed on it.  She remains open to what is known by Don Juan Matus as a 'cubic centimeter of chance'.  According to Don Juan:

"All of us, whether or not we are warriors, have a cubic centimeter of chance that pops out in front of our eyes from time to time.  The difference between an average man and a warrior is that the warrior is aware of this, and one of his tasks is to be alert, deliberately waiting, so that when his cubic centimeter of chance pops out he has the necessary speed, the prowess to pick it up..... A warrior..... is always alert and tight and has the spring, the gumption to grab it"

I read this and immediately thought of my fortuitous encounter with Mervin a while back.  We met for lunch on the day that unbeknownst to me was the final day for the discounted airfare to Australia and New Zealand.  The very next day the airfare jumped a considerable amount and any later I would have perhaps signed an extension on my contract with the current employer hindering any pursuit of New Zealand at this time.  

In further retrospect the cubic centimeter of chance also resembles the nature of my departure from California.  At that time, when a certain news of an impending layoff opened my mind to the possibility of leaving, I detected how events and circumstances factilitating my withdrawal had gathered within a small time frame of opportunity to be seized without delay or face penalties.  As such, I made the choice to seize the cubic centimeter of chance even though I had escaped the layoff.   Logic dictated that I should have stayed until I was laidoff in a later round of corporate downsizing so that I could then reap a severance package but I believe there are times when we are called to trust in the illogical and act as master of our own destiny.  Such is living life creatively instead of as a victim of circumstance.  I gained more personal power from acting in the manner of faith.      

* Dan millman - The Way of the Peaceful Warrior

   G.I Gurdjieff - The Fourth Way

   Chogyam Trungpa - Shambhala - The Sacred Path of the Warrior

   The Foundation for Inner Peace - A Course in Miracles 

Friday, March 6, 2009

MidValley where I am now

I've just bought a new camera in preparation for my upcoming journey to New Zealand.  This is the view from my window this evening as seen through its lens.  

It's really quite the contrast to my impression of NZ.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Practicing Abundance at the intermediate level now

Once you start putting something into practice that rubs against a fear based belief (doing a not-doing), life brings more opportunities to stretch yourself even further and thus till the soil of the garden within ourselves.  

K had promptly repaid me for the money I had lent her.  A few days later I called her to see how her plans to leave for Australia were coming along.  She was in a bad state, she couldn't afford a plane ticket now and she'd been looking for work locally here in Malaysia but she was having trouble with her former employer tainting her referral.  What happened was when her employer provided apartment was broken into some months back, some items belonging to the company were stolen and now the company has billed her for it.  She is unable to pay it back and it's hurting her ability to land another job.  Hearing her I was filled with compassion and I knew that this was another opportunity crafted for me to be fearless and charitable even though I was tight with money because I was cutting my source of income, leaving my job for the unknown in the 'deep south'.  So I asked her to meet with me for a coffee and we chatted.

Over coffee she lamented the misery of her life citing every bit of misfortune that had befallen her from the day she had been born.  K at 23 years old is a cancer survivor, doctors had given up on her and she had gone through many painful surgical procedures involving her bone marrow a few years back.  I've heard her story before and it has inspired me, I knew she was a fighter but looking at her now it was the opposite impression.  "You know what's really sad about all this K?  It's not everything that's happened to you because that's over and done with.  What's sad is this fabulous, amazing, talented, intelligent pretty girl has fallen on her face and she's not picking herself up and is wallowing instead in self-pity like as though she's some sort of handicap."

I pulled out the money that she had repaid me.  "I am giving you this money because I think you are *-ing awesome.  So take this money and the next time you think the universe has you singled out for a rough ride think again.  I am just a messenger telling you that you are loved by this universe."  "