When things seem to be going wrong, it may actually be right on course.

Maintaining that inner calm when everything seems to be going wrong is not just tricky, it’s frustratingly hard! 

Things are harder to deal with when we lack the clarity of understanding.

So sometimes we need a gentle reminder–to help us understand a little better. 

Perhaps it’s time for me to be reminded of some Truths today:

“When things seem to be going wrong, it may actually be right on course.”

Was up super early this morning. Left for work earlier than usual but ended up running into a series of obstacles and setbacks, making me late!

The gate closed instead of letting me through after a touch in at the card fare reader. The queue at the platform was extra long–so long I had to take the next train, there just wasn’t enough room. When we finally got on, further up, the train jammed and stopped moving. Why, why, why?!

Half an hour later, I’ve arrived at my destination–just on time for the free feeder bus! That’s why #1. The bus driver waited and waited till the bus filled up and had just started moving when a lady in red rushed over.

The bus stopped.

She kept looking at the front door. It was closed and stayed closed. The embarrassed smile creeping up her face made obvious the thoughts running across her mind. “Silly me. The bus is not stopping. The door will not open. They’re leaving without me.” Her eyes was so fixated on that closed door in the distance, she didn’t notice the door right at the back that was much closer to her–and wide open! The bus waited till she realized and moved as soon as she hopped on! That’s why #2. For all who had eyes to see, what played out before us was a gentle reminder.

“Sometimes we look so long at the closed door, we don’t see the one that is wide open!”

Soon as I arrived at the office, my boss was just on his way out for breakfast. “Goooood morning!” he opened the glass door, with a dramatic bow and a cheeky smile. “Join us for breakfast?” What seemed like a set back in the beginning turned out to be perfect timing, in the end.

Midway through breakfast, the client called. This morning’s meeting was cancelled. My boss was crestfallen. He’s been eager to get this session over with–other appointments have been pushed aside for this one. Definitely not the way he wanted to start his day. After what happened on the way here, I had Faith this might be making room for something better.

Then just before noon, I received a text. MH was on his way to the office. He’s bringing us mooncake. The next hour during lunch, tales of his backpacking adventure mesmerized the whole office. The best story of all was the ‘mistake’ that was ‘meant to be’ at Cabin 32! We had such a great time catching up with our surprise visitor of the day–thing is, we wouldn’t have seen him or heard his stories if the meeting was on!

A running theme for today it seems. And a smacking good reminder:

“When things seem to be going wrong, it may actually be right on course.”

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

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Loving Yourself Through The “What Ifs”

If you’re stuck wondering “What If?” today, may this post bring you release and help you grow on in Love.

The night Sweetie left us and the following day, the whole time, I kept thinking,

What if I brought him home on Tuesday, would he still be alive today? What if I left him at the petstore, would he still be alive now?  

What if? What if? What if? It never ends.

These thoughts kept coming as surely as the tears have been flowing. But I’ve been through this before and I know doubting myself and allowing it all to spiral into a big self-hate party wouldn’t solve a thing. So in between doing the dishes and cleaning up baby’s tank and apparatus and wiping my tears, the thought that came to my mind is this:

Can you love yourself through the ‘What Ifs’?

How do we do that?

1. By shifting the main focus from the outcome, to the heart.

And these were the questions that were coming to me, during this time:

Q: What was your intention when you brought Sweetie home?
A: To help him get well

Q: Did you love him?
A: Yes I do

Q: How long did you want him to live?
A: …Forever

And then, silence.

The questions and answers reminded me of the most important thing: I wanted the best for him and did my best for him.  In the end, that’s all that matters. If I did something wrong, that wasn’t my intention at all.

And my heart knows it.

2. By actively practising Graciousness and Compassion.

When it comes to making mistakes, Awareness and Accountability is important. But most importantly, see a mistake for what it is–A Mistake.

Learn from it and grow on. 

As my favourite quote by Maya Angelou goes, “I did then what I knew how. When I know better, I do better, that is all.”

I also love what my friend once said to me when I was filled with remorse over a decision I had made: “You were navigating the best way you knew how.” I know it holds truth for us all.

Can we be gracious and show compassion–to ourselves and others–for being human? For feeling fear? For making bad choices because of fear? Can we learn from our mistakes and allow ourselves to grow on? The truth is, we can…

…Because Love is a choice.

3. Loving yourself through the “What Ifs” means learning Self-Love. 

For a start,  think about all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy about yourself–right now. 

Keep your thoughts to the present moment. Not of what you were in the past. Not of your “potential” in the future. But of you, as you’re reading this. Our mind is like a muscle. Over the years, we’ve trained it to be our own best self-critic. So it may come as a surprise to you, that thinking good things about yourself doesn’t come naturally. The hope is in the trying. As you keep training yourself in this area, it gets better and easier.

4. Have FAITH 

Tomorrow is another chance to try again. It’s not the end of the world yet, though it may feel that way. Have Faith that everything happens for a reason. Allow this Gift of Pain to serve a purpose. Learn from it and grow through it.

This post is dedicated to my love at first sight: Sweetie

ps: Sweetie is my first rescue fish. He’s already lost his ability to float or swim by the time I saw him again for the second time on Sunday. (You can read about it here if you missed the previous post: Love… While You Can, When You Can) But I’m not the first person moved to bring home a sick fish to try and nurse him / her back to health. I got to know about ‘goldfish rescues’ in 2010. Knowing how much work and time it consumes, I thought these people were a little bit crazy.

But with Sweetie, I finally understood why they would do this.

LOVE is why…

Love makes it all worth it. Always.

Love,

Mish

****

The Love Culture – A Loving Way Of Being

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Love Is A Gentle Sorrow

Love is a gentle sorrow…

Despite the sadness, there is no crushing guilt.

Despite the longing, there is no condemnation.

Despite the pain, there is no despair.

Despite the grief, there is no need to blame.

In quietness and in solitude, the tears flow, but willingly so, for having experienced the Joy of Love, and of being Loved.

In darkness and in waking, the heart sighs, but gratefully so, for the Gift that was given, and the days shared together.

In gentleness and in love, the spirit mourns, but freely so, for assurance from within, that your beloved in Heaven is free at last, to live a life of true Happiness, as such that can’t be imagined, while here on earth.

And so, looking up, I realised, more than anything else, I am happy thinking of how happy Pebbles must be right now…

…Love is a gentle sorrow.

So I’ve come to learn today.

I guess this song’s been stuck on repeat the past 3 days 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 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

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