“Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.” – Hafiz

Could it be, Life has SHAKEN you to AWAKEN you? 

Here’s another radical idea: What if that moment your world as you knew it was crumbling down and flipping over, was a divine moment of Grace? 

If this idea isn’t sitting well with you, WAIT, check this out before you go:

“While on an expedition to Antarctica last month, photographer Alex Cornell witnessed a massive iceberg flip, revealing a strangely translucent blue underside that’s completely free of snow and debris. According to Science World, almost 90% of any given iceberg is below the surface, making iceberg flips extremely rare.

Much larger iceberg flips are even capable of causing tsunamis that can overtake nearby ships.” – thisiscolossal.com

flip-1

Stunning Iceberg Flip captured by Alex Cornell: http://www.alexcornell.com/#/antarctica/

 

flip-2

Stunning Iceberg Flip captured by Alex Cornell: http://www.alexcornell.com/#/antarctica/

 

On YouTube, in a video entitled ‘Iceberg flipping over…’ the person who posted it described the phenomenon like this: “… the huge berg lost a part of itself (look at the right side sinking) and then flipped over with a huge roar.

In the process of melting this happens all the time, but it is seldom that it is captured on video WHEN it happens…”

As I read all these and marvelled at these stunning shots, I was graced with a moment of clarity, which led to an inner hush of silence and gratitude…

…For the ‘Divine Meltdown’ that led to the Flipping Over of my world.

It was a scary and painful episode of my life where every false external securities, addictions and attachments I had clung on to and mistaken as my Identity, Worth and Purpose, melted away in a blink of an eye.

It was terrifying while it was happening.

But all along, it was Grace at work, a blessing in disguise. It marked the moment of my Awakening. For that to happen, my old world-view was turned Upside Down, Inside Out.

More than that, it was an answer to my prayer. All year long, no kidding, I’d been praying, “Upgrade me! Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically-TOTALLY!” Of course when I prayed that dangerous prayer, I had no idea I was inviting into my life, an extreme internal makeover.

What I had in mind, and what the DIVINE had in store for me, were worlds apart. I got more than what I could ever ask, hope or imagine for myself.

But again, it was NOT EASY when things went down the way it did. I had not anticipated that a total Upgrade would mean Growth, and lots of Growing Pains. And just like an iceberg in the process of melting, it looked as if I was losing a part of myself and sinking under. When the flipping over happened, I was flipping out, BIG TIME. There was a huge roar of fear. I protested and resisted the massive change that was about to happen.

And no matter what I did, there was no turning back. The flip was still happening, ready or not.

As I went under, I thought I was dying.

As it turns out, it was a rebirth.

ALL that had been hidden from the surface of my consciousness all these years, began to reveal itself, and is still revealing itself. What seemed like a ‘Rude Awakening’ is, and continues to be, a Grace-Filled Awakening.

“Almost 90% of any given iceberg is below the surface, making iceberg flips extremely rare.”

Are 90% of us still below the surface, still not Awakened? Are we choosing comfort, over the pain of growing? Security, over the risk of change? Are we resisting a massive ‘flip over’? And flipping out when it happens?

During a conversation with a friend the other day, he shared that he’ll rather have a smooth, monotonous existence where life may be boring but at least he’d never have to grow. He prefers it to the jarring pain of growth.

I know I can’t live like that. If you’re not growing, you’re ‘dying’. For me, that’s an even greater pain. I hope to keep growing till the day I die. And in this light, for every Flipping Over that has happened, is happening and will continue to happen, I say, bring it on. It’s always scary and painful and frustrating at first. But again and again and again, I am rediscovering that ‘what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.’ — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It takes the flipping over to reveal what’s buried, and hidden within.

It’s not easy. And nobody likes painful experiences. But we can all give an empowering meaning to whatever we experience in life and be so much better off for it. Perhaps today is another opportunity to relook into a painful / challenging moment in your life, and be reminded of this truth:

“Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.” — Hafiz

 

****

“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

“How being heartbroken was the best thing to ever happen to me,” – Emma Gibbs, TEDX

Blessings in disguise: Each of our story is different, and yet, it’s quite the same. One example is Emma’s story. Sharing it here on TheLoveCulture, to inspire faith, hope, love and strength for the journey forward… 

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

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

TLC ~ Love Of The Day: I Hope You Love Surprises!

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

“I Hope You Love Surprises!” 

The doorbell rings. I didn’t bother answering it. I’m too busy reading and reflecting and commenting on blogs.

So my help opened the door for the mysterious visitor and my bro put on a shirt and went downstairs to check out who it was.

I heard a hullo and some laughs and up comes this hippie lookin’ kid with hair longer than mine, and a paperbag.

“I hope you love surprises!” he says.

And pulls out a journal covered in hearts and candies and a little booklet that says ‘A little bit of GOD in every day’.

“It’s a little late, but this is for your birthday and also Christmas.”

Then he goes off to give gifts to my sis while my bro fiddles around with his gift–an electronic guitar tuner.

Who knew I’d still be getting a birthday gift and Christmas pressie from 2011 on a New Year! 🙂 I didn’t. And I’m loving the surprise. It totally fits in with my only motto for this year: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED. 

I believe it will be a year of Surprises and I will learn to love the Surprise, however and whatever way it appears–good or ‘bad’. I’m giving up my need for control over my future and needing all the answers for my life, right here, right now. I’m going to let go and let God surprise me. So far, He’s doing a good job through my bro’s friend Rufus–and it’s only day 2!

As I’m sharing this moment with you, my bro is taking a break from marking his student’s papers and strumming the guitar with his friend, filling the apartment with live music, on a beautiful sunny afternoon. 🙂

Who / What’s ringing your bell & dropping in unexpected today? Do you see it as an unwelcome intrusion into your personal time & space?

Can you open your heart and mind to receive The Gifts that it can bring?

A blessing is often in disguise. I hope you love surprises.

And then, whenever you can, BE the Surprise. 🙂

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

1 Year Anniversary To The Death Of “Me”

AK’s “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” is on repeat.

I haven’t been listening to it for some time now. But its haunting melody was singing in my head in the first few minutes running up to midnight:

The 1 Year Anniversary To The Death Of “Me”.

Last year this date, at exactly 3am, 3 hours before boarding the flight to Chiang Mai, I found out it’s the end of the road for the both of us (ex-bf & I). It doesn’t matter now, how I found out about it or why it happened. It has served its purpose. And I’ve gained by learning an invaluable lesson.

That time of bitter pain? Turned out to be the sweetest gift.

A gift of Growth, Courage, Wisdom, Healing, Forgiveness, Faith and LOVE.

I didn’t realise this immediately of course. On the first page of my book (this may change), I was free falling to the death of “me” as I knew it…

“The window and the view beyond was my chance to disappear, into clouds and nothingness. Surely anything was better than this crushing weight of despair. My mind is spinning in a hurricane of questions howling for answers, but there was none to be found.

I am strapped in, 15,000 feet up in the air, flying further and further away from life as I knew it, to who knows what?

Everything was a blur now, including that cab ride from the airport to the monastery. 

My first time in Chiang Mai, but I was only aware of one thing—a monster of a pain that had me wondering how am I still alive? 

When mom announced we’ve arrived—true to my morbid state of mind—I looked up and saw a funeral parlour.”

It was my first time to a Silent Retreat and my first time meeting the Spiritual Directors, Rinda and Simon. After settling in and a brief getting to know you session, Rinda took us through the scriptures, to explore the importance of finding our True Identity and our motives for being there.

During this time, my attention was drifting in and out.

The pain, like a thousand jagged knives, was cutting me up.

So my eyes ran further than the scripture she had pointed out, to John 12: 23-25. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But it if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

My heart, skipped, a beat.

Here I am, totally ready to die and be gone, and He is telling me, it’s the time for God to be glorified and that my moment of crashing and ‘dying’ is necessary for my future growth. I felt like He was talking right to me!

“Death” had to happen. The “old me” wasn’t serving me anymore. It’s time for my first-class UPGRADE. And that involves a lot of GROWING UP and Growing Pains. So the “new me”–which is the real me–can come Alive.

As I marvelled at this insight, Rinda concluded the session with, “Our stories will never be our own stories, it interweaves with others.

Our weakness will be somebody’s strength, our pain someone’s healing. Be reformed inside, then you can transform others!”

‎‎~

I just thought of sharing my heart out with you today, because it’s nice to know you’re never alone–whatever it may be, you are going through.

I shall leave you with 3 Love notes:

Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Power is made Perfect In Weakness.”

And a sweet message from Mom, to me (and now to you): “Let go, sweetheart. For until you do, the good will always be the enemy of the best. Unless you release the ‘good’, the best cannot come.

Let your hands be open towards Him…

…and let Him place His gift into those open hands.”

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

Why A Hold Up Can Be Good For You

It’s been a loonnng day. 3 something in the morning to be exact. A little while ago, I had spent some time with 2 Samuel 22 and the same verse had caught my eye, “O Lord, You are my Light! You make my darkness bright.” I knew I wanted to share it on facebook, so I did, and by the time I crawled back into bed, I was ready to sleep!

*Lights off!*

My head hits the pillow and it was the sweetest feeling in the world. But just before I could drift off into blissdom and beyond, in comes a bee!

A manic, buzzing bee! Right next to my pillow! URGH. Why does it always happen on nights when I’m the most tired and badly in need of sleep!

So I got up, pulled open the curtain and pushed open the window, hoping the bee would find its way out. Then I waited, and waited and waited.

But the bee just kept banging away at the wall. Even when I used my hand phone’s light to guide it out the window, it just kept flying up and down!

So all I could do was wait…

…and look out the window.

That’s when the most beautiful sight greeted my eyes!  A rich dark blanket of diamond dusts… stars… a whole constellation of it. 🙂

I didn’t even have to strain my eyes. The stars were so clear tonight…

…And they were taking turns winking at me, one by one! 🙂

As I crept closer to the window, I could hear the sound of crickets and feel the cool night breeze, caressing my face. All my feelings of irritation melted away to peace, contentment… and sweet pleasure.

What a LOVELY way to end the night and go to sleep, thanks to the bee!

By the way, the bee disappeared after I was done enjoying the view! It never flew out the window, I would’ve heard it if it did. Isn’t that just amazing? 

~

Today, could it be your HOLD-UP is an opportunity for you to LOOK-UP?

Could the “delay” you’re experiencing really be a surprising “delight”?

Open your eyes.

Sometimes, all it takes is a shift in perspective to see Light in a frustrating situation, and make your darkness bright. At all times, God, is holding us in the palm of His hands. If we learn to see through His eyes of Love, we can have Faith that even a hold-up, is allowed for a bee-autiful purpose!

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

Seeing Through The Eyes Of Faith, Hope & Love

Deep in our heart of hearts, there’s a secret wish, a dream and a desire that’s been buried away because ‘experience’ has taught us not to hope.

Maybe for you it’s the mail that never arrived, the phone that never rang, the job that never came, the raise that never materialized, the guy / girl that never responded, the auditions that never worked out, or the business that never took off.

Over time, it’s so easy to slide into a faithless, hopeless and loveless state of being–harassed by fear, anger, worries and disappointments,

IF

You continued to look at these outcomes as a “glass half empty”.

‎~

What if, your ‘failures’,  ‘obstacles’, ‘rejections’ and ‘set-backs’ were only what it is, because of the way you had chosen to look at it?

This morning, my prayer was that I would continue to See through the Eyes of Faith, Hope and Love.  And during morning devotion, I found myself in 2 Chronicles. The commentaries on chapter 28:22 says,

“Difficulties and struggles can devastate people or they can stimulate growth and maturity.

For King Ahaz, deep trials led to spiritual collapse. This need not be so in our lives.

When facing problems or tragedy, we must remember that rough times give us a chance to grow.

When you are facing trials, don’t turn away from God, turn to him.”

And then the commentaries for chapter 32:7-8 says, “Hezekiah could see with “eyes of faith”. The numbers of opponents meant nothing to him… He knew Victory was not by might or strength but by His Spirit.

Wow.

How timely is this? Right after my prayer to See Through the Eyes of Faith, Hope and Love, I land in a heap of passages and verses that shows me real life case studies of people who are on the same page with me!

AMAZING. 🙂

So what does it mean to See Through the Eyes of Faith, Hope and Love?

…It means fixing your gaze UPwards, when you hit rock bottom.

…It means looking at your ‘disappointments’ as His appointment.

…It means seeing closed doors as a blessing in disguise–it’s been sealed because you’re meant to move on to something greater, bigger and BETTER. Have Faith and Trust that God, the Author and Finisher of the best story for your life, is in control and that He is allowing this to guide you to greener pastures–Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking!

…It means when everything appears to be a lost cause, you see a glimmer of Hope because you trust that something so good can come out of this.

…It means knowing that Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. So you keep looking for ways to guard your heart and your dreams, trusting and hoping and holding on until the Dream of dreams God has planned for you–they’re always More than what we could ever ask or hope or imagine–becomes a living reality for you.

Are you ready to give yourself a change in perspective? Try it today. 🙂

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 Blessing in Disguise is The Best Surprise

I’ve often prayed for better communication with my brother. And I’ve always imagined that the day my prayer is answered is the day when we’re magically on good terms with each other, all sugar and smiles.

That day never happened.

Instead, I woke up with“Disk Boot Failure, Insert System Disk And Press Enter” flashing on my computer screen. I was devastated with a capital D!

I get stressed up just trying to muster the courage to ask him for help. He doesn’t make it an automatic privilege just because I’m his sister.

I tried praying over my computer (yea you can stop laughing now can’t you tell a girls desperate?:/). I tried trouble-shooting. NOTHING worked.

Left with no choice, I prayed for favour and sent my brother a S.O.S SMS.

Unexpectedly, he promptly replied and offered to have a look at it when he got back from work. Surprisingly, he checked it out the moment he could and got it working again—on the same day! Instead of grunts and silence, he even explained what happened–all in very, pleasant, vibes!

WOW.

ALL of that is, unfortunately, not the norm for my brother and I. Then the light bulb went off within. The PC had to break down! It gave me and my brother the perfect opportunity to practice better communication skills! 😉

I’ve got so many stories just like this one.

I’ve prayed for the strength to forgive someone that’s increasingly hard to love–then a person gets sent in my path to remind me of me and how much effort it took, in the past, to love me too. Self-realization–seeing the plank in one’s eye instead of focusing on the speck in others–always brings you and I back to a place of humility, accountability and LOVE.

And when I prayed for Wisdom and Strength, I should’ve known that there’s a reason why the people I admire are wise beyond their years or stronger than your average girl. Just like what Kahlil Gibran says,

“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”

They’ve been through a lot to be what they are today and it’s often not a pretty story in the beginning. Life happens. But in the end, they live and they learn, growing stronger and wiser… or that’s what I learned. 😉

~

A blessing in disguise is the best surprise…

…but it takes a shift in perspective to see it, to learn from it to be blessed.

It means being grateful for Opportunities and Teachers and Lessons as they come, as they are—without blaming God and judging others.

It takes a growth in Faith—that this is allowed for a reason. A measure of Hope—that it will get better and that something good will come out of it.

And LOVE. Lots and lots of Love.

“I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind. I should not be ungrateful to these teachers.” – Kahlil Gibran

Love & Strength,

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