To Be Alive Is To Be Broken

“I want to be like you,” she said. I know what it’s like to be like me, so I said, “No.

Be yourself. If you get to know all of me, you might be disappointed.”

The ever so subtle inflection in her eyes, from bright admiration to the darkening clouds of questions and doubt were not lost on me.

But that’s the truth–both my response and her reaction. 🙂

“A third characteristic of the tilted-halo gang is honesty. We must know who we are…

Once we accept the gospel of grace and seek to shed defence mechanisms and subterfuges, honesty becomes both more difficult and more important.

Honesty involves the willingness to face the truth of who we are, regardless of how threatening or unpleasant our perceptions may be.

It means hanging in there with ourselves and with God, learning our mind tricks by experiencing how they defeat us, recognizing our avoidances, acknowledging our lapses, learning completely that we cannot handle it ourselves.

This steady self-confrontation requires strength and courage….

…Many of us do not want the truth about ourselves; we prefer to be reassured of our virtue.

To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in the need of grace.” – Brennan Manning.

Just the other day, a girl said, I’m the one person she looks up to when it comes to confidence. Again, if she got to know all of me, she’ll see how sorely insecure I can be, with the same self-esteem and self-worth issues.

My blogs are positive, because for most of my life, I’ve been so negative. I know what it’s like to live with so much self-negating thoughts. I live and breathe positivity for the very fact that I also live and breathe negativity.

“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious.

I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am and what God’s grace means.” – Brennan Manning.

The same girl who looks up to me for my confidence said, “I always love reading all your quotes and things you post, it always brighten up my day when everything is going bad! And you’re a life saver!”

Who would’ve thought?

That my own darkness could brighten up someone’s day?  That hearts are beating for what makes my heart bleed and ‘die’ and come alive?

This is the beautiful thing about honesty and opening up to share our life’s story. Along the way, you discover that your story is my story and my story is your story. That we’re not alone. And that together…

…we can make His-story (no matter how messed up we can be).

I guess this song’s been ringing in my head the past week for a reason:

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

A Reflection Of Love

‎LOVE is seen in the little things… in how you treat a ‘lesser creature’.

May we look deep within ourselves, see what causes us pain, and determine not to cause the same pain and suffering on other living, sentient beings.

As my dear uncle Roger would say, “Find a new sport”.

You’ll be surprised by how much more joy, deep satisfaction and happiness you’ll gain by saving an animal instead of ending its life prematurely for fun and games.

“Don’t play with food” is not just about table manners.

It’s about respecting the source of life that must be lost, for our own.

My admiration for a man whose heart is so yielded to a loving God, through his deep songs of Love to Him, has found a level ground in reality today–we’re only human and we’re bound to disappoint.

Today, I am allowed to see his human side, his love for hunting and the careless displays of his trophies for the world to see. The blood oozing out from the beautiful creature unto the snow and his happy grin as he clutches the horns of a wide-eyed deer, leaves me puzzled and saddened.

I too, have my own weaknesses and when scrutinised closely, will be a source of disappointment. I’m only human.

But it gives me hope that even in our imperfection, Perfect Love has been demonstrated for us. And everyday, is another chance to be a living reflection of Love, to the world.

Can we begin by loving His creation?

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

TLC ~ Love Of The Day: The Blessings Of ‘Abandonment’ & Unknowing

Think of this as your ‘Soup Of The Day’ special for your Heart, Mind and Spirit:

“The Blessings Of ‘Abandonment’.”

“How can abandonment be a blessing? Has she ever been deserted? Left behind? Left for good? Rejected? Neglected? How can that ever be a blessing?”

There’s a reason why I placed inverted commas to hug a very strong word: ‘Abandonment’. I am not saying abandonment in itself is a blessing.

I was referring more to the feelings of abandonment, when a friend or loved one keeps their distance or when you’re met with only silence.

And I’ll be keeping to this context and focussing on this area in this blog.

ps: I have experienced all of it: Abandonment, being left behind, left for good, rejection and have been neglected too. To what degree and by whom–to each his own. This is not a competition of who suffered the most. Pain is pain. We don’t choose these things when it happens. But we can choose our response and learn to see the sun through the rain.

Now on to my blog for today…

When I was a kid, my mom taught me how to ride a bike. After a while, she had to let go, step away, and allow me to fall. I was bruised from the falling, my knees all scratched up and bleeding. And I was left alone while I was crying from pain and anger.

But it was in her absence, with no one left to pick me up or to lean on, that I decided to give it my one last try. To my surprise, that ‘bloody afternoon’ I found my balance and finally learnt how to cycle!

I was flying all over the place on my bike and ringing the bell and yelling for mom to witness my moment of triumph when she came rushing back out with the biggest smile, that says, “I knew you could do it!”

Everything is a matter of perspective.

When a friend or a loved one ‘disappears’ from your life, we can view it as a painful rejection or we can accept it and allow it to be a blessing.

Their silence, ‘absence’ and distance may be a hidden, quiet kind of love.

By not allowing themselves the pleasure of being needed, they are giving you space to grow out of your ‘neediness’.

By removing themselves as your ‘prop’, you can learn how to lean on the Strength, Courage and Wisdom, within.

By their fading away into the background, your best, can emerge upfront.

By their ‘disappearing’, we can discover and appreciate HIS-appearing.

OR. It may be pure selfishness on their part.

They might have given up on you. But you don’t have to give up on you.

They might have walked out on you. You don’t have to walk out on you.

Them leaving you on your own can turn out to be a good thing–to make room for a God thing. How you see your life is how you experience it.

“The Blessings Of Unknowing.”

After a meeting, I met up with a friend. Over a cup of coffee and English tea, she shared her fears of not knowing what’s going to happen next.

If we’re really honest with ourselves, I believe at some point or other, we’ve shared the same fear. And for some of us, it is still a daily struggle.

On the way home, I messaged her,

“Yesterday, my ex-colleague said, “Life is very interesting. You never know how it’s going to turn out.”

How we read this cliché but true saying, depends on this: Can we learn to love the Surprise? Can we let God surprise us?

Not knowing what’s happening next can be terrifying.

It can also be a blessing.

We get to unwrap IT day by day, gently, slowly, full of hope and faith in the Giver of the gift, who loves us so much.

This is a process I’m going through now–so glad I’m not alone and that you understand. On train now, nearing home.”

Later, she replied, “Sisters on a journey of unknowing.”

That brought a smile to my face. Yes. We are not alone in this journey.

Together, we’ll make it through.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Dead–Now I’m Alive. Lost–Now Am Found. Blind–When Will I See?

In all the sea of words, in all the swell of pages, in all the hours poured out–this is it.

This is my life’s story in 3’s.

1. Dead–Now I’m Alive.

2. Lost–Now Am Found.

3. Blind–When Will I See?

So my question is, where do I go from here?

After FOUR hundred AND ninety ONE drafts, I

am, once again, wandering… in… darkness.

A paper fell. A hurried scrawl: Ezekiel 34. “Read this,” she had said,

one evening, one December. Had I read it? Can’t remember. Then the

words seemed so familiar. I have been here months ago. But tonight,

it speaks to me, “I myself will search… for my sheep… and look

after them.” I am listening. “I will rescue… from all… the places

they were scattered… on a day… of clouds… and darkness.” 

Thank God.

“I will search… for the lost… and bring… back the strays.” He

responded, to me. “I don’t know how You’ll do it God, but I need

You NOW…”

And there… was… Silence.

I reached out, to the book, that was lying, on the far, end, of my bed, by my journals. For its cover, a ship, can be seen, in isolation, beneath, a brewing, storm. Its clouds, as black, as night. Its seas, as calm, as day.

the

furious

longing

of

God

– brennan manning.

“I’m Brennan. I’m an alcoholic.

How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is the

     story of my life.

But it is not the whole story.

I’m Brennan. I’m a Catholic.

How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is also the

    story of my life.

But it is not the whole story.

I’m Brennan. I was a priest, but am no longer a priest. I was a

      married man but am no longer a married man.

How I got to those places, why I left those places, is the story

    of my life too.

But it is not the whole story.

I’m Brennan. I’m a sinner, saved by grace.

That is the larger and more important story.

Only God, in His fury, knows the whole of it.” – intro, page 17-18

I laughed. My heart wept. The Lord, had answered, a silent plea, my desperate cry. I have struggled and am struggling, to share, my life’s story. But there in, is the whole point, and the whole point, is just this:

I’m a sinner, saved by grace. That is all. Through it all. LOVE is all. 

“The men… and women… who are truly… filled… with light… are those… who… have gazed… deeply… into… the darkness… of… their own… imperfect… existence.” – Brennan Manning

I know now, I must finish, the project We began.

In need of Love, in awe of You,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Like the sun, sky and clouds, Love has always been there for you–though you have it not in your hands.

**This is a REPOST of my blog on 26th December.**

I just got back from a two week Silent Retreat in Chiang Mai, Thailand–the land of the Flying Lanterns.

It has been an epic Spiritual Journey through the inner labyrinth of my being, with many twists and turns that led to the centre of my soul.

I faced my Fear of Fears and the two monsters from the land of Me-Me-Me and Perfectionism. Instead of running away, this time, I said hello and embraced them openly. I saw the sadness and emptiness in their eyes.

All they wanted was Love. All they needed to know, is that despite how unlovable they seem to appear to be, at all times, they are Loved.

All along, the lonely Me-Me-Me “monster” belonged in the land of We.

All along, the Perfectionism “monster” just needed a pair of new eyes, made in love and of love, to see I’m Perfect in the word Imperfect.

And so, I learnt and am learning still, to tame my inner fiery dragon by befriending the beast within. To kiss my inner frog and not to be afraid of my own shadows. All along, we are a bit of darkness, a bit of light.

‎~

On the last day of the Silent Retreat, after breakfast, on the way to the laundry to collect my clothes, I stopped at every path where the sun shone, to catch the sunlight. Off the path, I spotted a burst of sun rays gleaming through the trees of the labyrinth. It was a detour, but I headed straight in its direction, breathing in the sun and exhaling to see my breath, like a puff of smoke, evaporating in the chilly cool morning air.

Like a child, I went about catching sunlight with my hair, my skin, my eyes.

Then, all of a sudden, this Question came to me like a poem: Can you catch the sunlight? Can you slice a sky? Can you bottle up a cloud?

It is there, for you, though you have it not in your hands.

So why must you hold Love in your hands to believe you have Love? 

This stopped me right in my tracks. I was aware I was being gifted with another Lesson, in Love. And as I pondered it, a smile broke across my face. My Teacher was still with me, loving me with another gift of Truth.

To drive home the lesson, after collecting my pile of clothes, halfway back to my room and stopping to admire the Donggol Bird up on the tree with Jacqui, with the clean clothes still piled all over my left arm…

…I looked down at both my hands and saw that I wasn’t holding my pouch with the alarm clock! I forgot to bring a watch to the retreat. So I borrowed an alarm clock from someone and placed it in the pouch, that was loaned to us by the spirituality centre. I cannot afford to lose them both! Plus, I needed the clock to keep time so I won’t be late for our gatherings!

So I half-ran back to the laundry room to look for it, but it wasn’t there. Raced to the dining hall’s table where I had breakfast, but it wasn’t there. Desperate, I even went looking in the rubbish bin–but it wasn’t there!

My heart sank.

On the way back to my room, it occurred to me that I might have slung it on my left wrist. I looked beneath the piles and piles of clothes, sure enough, my pouch was right there! Hah! Lesson: What I thought was lost, what I went searching for, was always there with me–all along.

If, like me, you’ve been searching high and low for a Love that was lost and came back empty, perhaps it’s time to reconsider that maybe what you thought was lost, is still with you. That what want, is already yours.

We feel the need to hold, touch, and see Love in our hands to believe it’s real, as evidence that we’re loved. Could we begin to See through the Eyes of Faith that at all times, we are Loved?

Love comes in many ways and forms, and it begins by recognising first and foremost that Love is you, is yours, is within–and is with you.

Like the sun, sky and clouds–Love has always been there for you.

The process of waiting for the one, for two to become one, begins with enjoying your relationship with the One. It is how you can feel truly embraced within, with Love, even in moments of silence and solitude.

Much Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Another Day Of Loving

“Love has no desire but to fulfill itself. To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.” – Kahlil Gibran

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovers!

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

A Meditation On Love

“You’re my meditation, and my consolation, and I love You dearly…” these words in the song caught my eyes, as we lingered on, not wanting to leave or move or go anywhere.

The honesty of the moment was so precious. Our hearts were laid bare before Him, humbled by His Love, His Life and His Truth that was infilling the deepest and darkest cavities of our soul, with the Light of His Presence on Sunday.

This Monday morning, I’m grateful I was led to go back to Genesis 24, to the love story of Isaac and Rebekah. It begins with a big “What if” question (verse 5) and it calls for a Journey of Faith and Uncertainty.

BUT.

Every moment had been a stepping stone, leading to the epic conclusion that–like the song–begins with a Meditation and ends with a Consolation.

In verse 63, “He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. Rebekah also looked up and saw Isaac…

How often have we felt like Isaac, out in the field, all alone? Loneliness—if we can embrace this time of longing for a belonging, as a thing of beauty—can turn out to be a gift of love. Isaac used his alone time to meditate.

As he looked up—perhaps to God, with a heart filled with unanswered questions yet again—he saw camels approaching. When you see The Promise approaching, do you see Camels or do you see a Person?

Rebekah saw Isaac.

As their eyes met from afar, so perfectly timed, I can imagine it was almost sunset and the skies were ablaze in hues of purple and amber. The hopeless romantic in me is smiling from this picture in my mind–how scweeeeet! 

When she saw Isaac, Rebekah did a very important thing. She got down from her camel. We must get off our high horses–our high points of pride–and come to a place of humility, before attaining The Promise.

She did not assume who Isaac was. She asked, “Who is that man in the field coming to meet us?” When we meet someone who catches our eye, let us ask the Lord, “Who is that man / woman coming out to meet me?”

We can also learn from Isaac, who did not remain seated on the field, meditating if this is what he thinks it is! He went out there to meet them.

When the servant answered, “He is my master,” Rebekah took her veil and covered herself. It is a bridal custom, to remain ‘hidden’, until the marriage. By her actions, she showed that she was ready. Her heart was set to be the bride, so she presented herself like one, as a precious gem, hidden away for whom her heart treasures–for her future groom.

And like Isaac, as we walk in faith towards our promise, God has a Beautiful Surprise for us–far more than we can hope or imagine.

In verse 67, “Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.” What is our intention when we ‘bring home’ our ‘Isaac’ or ‘Rebekah’? Isaac honoured his parents and Rebekah, and for him, marriage (Commitment) came first, before ‘he loved her’ (Feelings)—which is the way it should be for us.

And in the end, He was comforted from his time of loss… by LOVE.

Tomorrow, it’s Valentine’s Day.

Today, my sis held up a giant heart shape cookie the size of a pizza for us to see on skype, repeating what the boy had said, “This is the best I can do.” The sweetie had given my sis and her friend, a cookie each, after hearing her echo aloud the sentiments of many young hearts, dreading the approaching date of February 14, “Valentine’s day is so sad!”

“People are scared to be alone,” Viv said last Thursday, as we compared notes on our observation of people’s fearful reaction to Valentine’s Day.

One striking statement someone had made on Facebook was a caption above her picture, “Who is alone this Valentine’s Day?” while another had already declared she’ll be ‘dating God’ on February the 14th. I smile at my young friends. I remember all too clearly, how it was like, to feel this way.

Valentine’s Day is a day where I used to attach my sense of self-worth to roses and chocolates and dinners and presents. These ‘things’ used to matter a lot to me—I had mistakenly thought that it showed my worth.

Our worth cannot be measured by things. We are more than our gifts, talents, abilities, promises and potential. “The measure of a man is the measure of his heart, and the measure of his heart, is the measure of his Love” – Misty Edwards. Be rooted in His Love beyond measure.

Let us see beyond the Gifts—the approaching camels and what it can offer—to see the Giver. Let us know the Person behind the Promise.

“Who is that man…?” Rebecca asked. Isaac, when he finally saw past the camels to the one walking beside it, probably wondered the same about the unmistakable curves of a feminine silhouette, her eyes locked in his.

It is a beautiful moment in time that came together, after a long journey that has tested their faith, hope and love. Most importantly, in verse 63, it says, he looked up. In verse 64, we read that, Rebekah also looked up.

Both of them had their gaze firmly fixed on God, who fulfils His promises.

Looking in the Right Direction, they saw themselves in each other’s eyes.

No matter what journey you’re on, keep looking Up in Faith to God.

He can answer, before you’ve even finished praying in your heart (read Gen 24:45). Better still, ask “not my will, but Yours be done”. What He has in mind for you, is more than you could ever ask for. Allow Him to be your Meditation and your Consolation—for He loves you dearly.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovers!

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Give & Take + Eyes Wide Open + Risking The Unknown + Living The Question = BEAUTIFUL SURPRISE.

On Thursday, I wanted to watch a movie. VIV my cousin, thinks there’s nothing good on. I don’t know what’s on! GIVE & TAKE. We go check it out anyway.

We nearly went for ‘man on the ledge’ but EYES WIDE OPEN, she saw the poster behind the ticket master at the counter, “What’s that? It won many awards…”

He had no clue. So we debated if we should watch a movie we’ve not heard of. RISKING THE UNKNOWN. “Let’s have a moving day,” she said, and so we bought the tickets to WAR HORSE.

Compared to the poster for ‘man on the ledge’ where a man is seen sitting on the edge of a building about to jump off, the poster for War Horse promises to be something more… touching. 🙂

We were the first in–no one else was in the cinema. Still curious what this movie was all about, VIV was about to log online on her BB to check out the reviews or synopsis. “Maybe it’s better we don’t know,” I said and she kept her phone away. LIVING THE QUESTION.

As it turns out, in that 2 hours 10-20 minutes, we laughed, we cried, we loved and felt everything the master story teller Steven Spielberg conveyed so beautifully.

It’s the kind of movie I want to watch with my children and grandchildren and great great grandchildren someday (if I do live that long!).

Moral of the story is: What makes an unexpectedly good day? Give & Take + Eyes Wide Open + Risking The Unknown + Living The Question = BEAUTIFUL SURPRISE. ♥

It’s not always like this, but it’s always worth finding out. 😉

Could you allow yourself to ‘check it out’ even when you think there’s nothing good about ‘it’? What are you seeing around you or not seeing? Open your eyes (something I need to do more). Are you willing to take risks and go for the unknown that promises nothing but uncertainty?

Why not live the questions in your life–instead of reading someone’s ‘synopsis’ for your life in the form of astrology /horoscope / predictions? Their ‘reviews’ are seen through their own tainted lenses–it is not the full picture. Why limit God? Why not let Him surprise you? 😉

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

PATIENCE–A Lesson In Waiting, by The Ant In The Toiletbowl & Sue Monk Kidd

I just rescued an ant from the toiletbowl (cos I was about to use it! :p ) but I didn’t have the patience to wait for it to climb on to the tissue paper–so I grabbed it and placed it on the floor.

It lay motionless.

I nudged it with my nail and blew on it, and saw it move. But it was clearly injured from the strong grip of my finger earlier… :/

So as soon as I could, I brought it out to the warmth of the sun and tried to introduce it to the petals of a purple flower. It moved its antennas about and went round and round the tissue paper but refused to budge.

Again, I had not learnt my lesson from the toiletbowl. I thought I’d help the ant move along faster by placing him among friends, on the earth of another flower pot. I watched as another ant climbed on to the tissue that was now in its path and made contact with the ant I had placed there.

Instantly, the injured ant withdrew in fright  to a higher ground on the folds of the tissue, but the new ant tracked it down quickly and lifted it up! I kept watching and saw that its new ‘friends’ were actually bigger in size, though they looked the same from afar. As the ant I had rescued continued waving its legs about, its ‘rescuer’ carted it off–out of sight!

I felt disturbed. If only I had more patience, I wouldn’t have injured the ant. If I left the ant alone, it could’ve recovered on its own. Is it going to be okay? There are two possibilities (that I can think of)…

That the ant had been brought to an ant doctor, if there is such a thing. Or that the ant has been brought to a place where it will be buried alive, along with other ‘harmful things’ the ant colony deemed dangerous. :/

Whichever the outcome, the point is that, again and again, the virtue of ‘waiting’ has been brought to my attention and I really need to ‘LISTEN’.

Just yesterday, I had given my cousin a call to let her know I had already arrived where we were meant to meet up. “Arrrgh! I just woke up!” she replied and told me to wait an hour or so. “What am I going to do now?” I had reacted, very annoyed at her and the thought of having to wait.

Then I had remembered that I had wanted to visit a book store across the road. I wasn’t looking for any books in particular but my unplanned detour had led me to finding a gem of a book by an author, Sue Monk Kidd, whose name I recognised. She’s highly recommended by my Spiritual Directors. When I picked her book up, I laughed to myself.

The title of the book is called“When The Heart Waits”. And the first page of Chapter 1 quotes Rainer Maria Rilke, “Patience is everything.”

Just beautiful. And a timely reminder, that came to me as a result of waiting! I wonder what other precious moments like these will turn up when I’m ‘forced’ to wait the next time–I shall wait and see. 🙂

What have you been waiting for? Has there been a delay? Could it be a blessing in disguise? Have you–like myself–been a little impatient and tried to force it along faster? Impatience causes things to die before its time. Choose to wait it out and allow your dreams to take flight…

…just wait and see.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture