Life is Beautiful

I first heard and understood the word ‘aesthetics‘ when I was an undergraduate. There was one subject called Aesthetics and I remember that I was in my fourth semester when I took a subject for students in sixth semester. It was only the two of us, my friend and I.

We were taught a lot about the history, the philosophical background, from western to eastern perspectives. And I was so amazed how everything is so…’tergantung perspektif’.

And I remember that nearing the end of the semester we had tonwatch the movie, Life is Beautiful. It was about a father, a man, trying to keep his family together and to fulfill what he’s meant to do in this life.

From the class I learned that if we change the way we see things, we can get different impression. I remember I was asked to tell the class about an aesthetical moment I have had in my life. And I told the class about the day when the bus that took 20 other students and I got into an accident and we had to wait for hours on the streets for the replacing bus. We were tired from 3 nights gymboree and starving and cold. But we take the guitar, empty bottles, and we sing a song. We sing along until the sun is up and the bus came. For a split second I remember that I feel like I’m home, I feel happy despite all the bad mood. I told the class that that split second was my aesthetical experience.

The movie life is beautiful reminds me of that event. The upside of life gives me joy and brings happiness. The downside of life helps me grow even taller to be a better person. And when I go back to the upside cycle, I become  more humble and I appreciate all the little things that make life worth living even more.

I guess, the two-up and down-complete each other and without one presence, we can lose the balance.

via Daily Prompt: Aesthetic


An Invitation To Go Home

I remember when I was a kid, on sixth grade if i’m not mistakenly remember, I got a birthday party invitation from a friend. The address was: APT Gandaria. My cousin, he’s about 10 years older, drove me to the party. We were unable to find the location as the phrase APT was such a mystery. After three times got lost into the wrong neighborhood, we finally solved the mystery–APT stands for Apartment. Back then apartments were not as many as today, so we were not aware/familiar with the acronym. That was an invitation that was like a mystery.
After attending more birthday parties during my pubescent age, I learned that there are other kinds of invitation-work interview. My first work interview was in 2009, I was an undergrad, looking for extra money so I applied to a study center on campus to be a secretary. I remember I was nervous, so briefed myself about possible questions and what the best answers were. I was a bit stammered in the beginning but then got my confidence. I ended up working there for two years. That was an invitation that was like a life lesson.
I got so good at working interviews, as time goes by. I’m almost always able to steal the interviewer’s heart and they end up recruting me. But, there were times when I failed as well. And these times were the best lessons:sometimes it’s not because you’re not good, it’s just because you’re not meant to be there. After trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life, I work my way through, and still am. And you know how time flies, right? How you got so deep in your own little circle, building a life you think was righy for you. Until one day, everything you have done to create your own life and happiness just collapsed in front of you. Yep. Just like that.

And here comes a new invitation. A call for going ‘home’. In your exhaustion, your desperation, you need someone there to tell you everything’s going to OK. Someone who hug you, who lifts you up. And when you get older this circle of friends is getting smaller. And your bestest friend is just so far away from you.

I pray. I realize that it’s just not possible for me to handle all things by myself. That it’s just impossible to understand why good, hard working, honest and caring people will still end up falling apart and ‘losing’. I choose to believe that there’s this greater power that control chain of events and all I can do is to just surrender. So I pray. I go back home, collecting the pieces of my broken heart, finding myself, accepting the bitter truth that I just… have to start all over again. It’s not easy. But being grounded, finding the center of your life again is truly a blessing. And it’s just come to my understanding, which is probably hypothetical or even a paradox, that no matter what your problems are, they’re just temporary. They’re just reminders of what other important, more urgent matters you need to do. And then, sooner than you had expected, you’ll get back to normal. Things starting to change and it all comes back to you.

This is an invitation to realize what is truly essential in life.

via Daily Prompt: Invitation

Recovering from Over-thinking

what does it feel like when you’ve always been telling your friends, “hey, stop overthinking or you’ll stressed out,” and it turns out that you are an overthinker?

i was shocked.

seven months ago, my world almost collapsed from its center and I don’t know what to do. first, denial. then, slowly I get to accept the bitter truth.

So, I’m an overthinker. now what?

I was fortunate enough my psychologist, though hundreds miles away from me, she’s been supportive and sent me links and suggestions how to manage my thoughts.

The yoga sessions I have had contributed a lot to help me minimise the crazy thoughts. I somehow gain the availability to be a spectator of my own mind swirling in chaos. I don’t usually able to stay in this state for a long time, but enough to see what it’s like. And it’s… dark. so dark, I can’t even begin to imagine how I’ve lived until now with such darkness inside of me.

During the first weeks, I was busy figuring out how to stop. But then I figured, it’s almost impossible to stop completely, as my brain is wired that way. But I don’t want to give in and justify this negative thoughts controlling my life.

So this is what I learned. Surrender.

I know. it may sound like I’m giving in, right? But actually, surrender in this context is first and foremost, accept that I have an issue. I have a problem, I have this huge flaw I have never known in my life before. And then, as I said earlier, it’s so hard to completely stop, so I identify what mood, what events, what situations that may trigger my overthinking. Once I managed that, I know how to handle and react or even prevent that from happening. One of the causes is uncomfortable feeling especially when things don’t go as planned. I usually, almost instantly, fall into the trap of thinking, “why fate does not favor me? why am I the one to sacrifice things? why should I be feeling disappointed all the time?” and the thoughts go on and on and on… endless, harmful. So when that situation occur, I try to surrender. not to the negative thoughts, but to the flow and the following chain of events. I’m letting the universe work, rather than controlling the universe. What will be, will be. And I keep telling myself, it’s not my fault, it’s not because I was unfortunate, it’s not the determination that I won’t be able to get the opportunities, it doesn’t mean I’m a loser. It’s just not meant to be at that time, for that occasion.

Once I cut the chain of reactions of the negative thoughts, and this is also combined by awareness breathing, I start to feel okay. Everything’s fine, it’s not the end of the world. And then I start to smile. Smile is good. Smile is healthy. Happy thoughts slowly pops in my head. and then I laugh and just like that, I don’t overthink.

I still need a lot of practise, but this proves that it’s possible. I can control this.

After a while I realise that the complexity of how my mind works can be beneficial as well. I like plans, this helps me to organize all my ideas and thoughts and I am able to have a bit of control over the consequences. And this mind of mine works amazingly when it comes to detail. So this is another homework for me: channeling thoughts into positive ideas, positive work, and creating creative ideas from this complex web.

Be happy.




Weekend Highlights: Education and Terror

There are two major things happened in my life this week. The first, is that I’m taking an online course on Caring for Vulnerable Children that was held by futurelearn. This is my first time ever to try distant learning like this and I am so excited, as I have great concern for children, especially street children. This course by far has helped me to understand about risk and vulnerability, and how to manage them. I also have new acquaintances from around the world, who share great insights for me in this field.

However, there was a great incident occurred in my beloved country. A terrorist attack in Jakarta on last Thursday. It was the first major attack since 2009. You probably have watched it on the news or read it on the newspaper. Despite the fact that Indonesian people were not ‘terrorized’ by the incident, and the hashtag KamiTidakTakut (means we are not afraid) are trending in social media, I am scared. I was hundreds of kilometers away from Jakarta but I am scared. Not the kind of paranoia scared, but afraid that this might turn into even something bigger.

I do hope that my fellow citizens keep their courage to fight against terrorism, and ALSO be SMART in dealing with this kind of situation. Although we are not afraid but there are people who are currently dealing with the trauma from the incident. Although we claim to have won the battle, but they also have won by having at least 7 people killed and a dozen injured. I hope my fellow citizens would remain vigilant yet calm, have more empathy for the victims and not just creating funny meme to mock the terrorists.

For a couple of days I mourn for the victims. For my country. And then today, I continue my lesson in gardening. As I planted the seed this afternoon, deep in my heart I wish that it was the seed of peace and love. And that it will grow big and deep in human hearts; the root so big and strong, it’ll spread everywhere and build a firm yet gentle foundation inside the human soul.

This week I was torn apart. Literally. Both happy and sad. I tried to find a silver lining in all these incidents. I tried– and I am– grateful that my mom, who was just 300 meters away from the site is safe, and my sister-in-law who works just across the incident site, is safe. Another silver lining is that, as I learned from the course, vulnerable people especially youth are more exposed to risk. And the extremists might be recruiting these vulnerable people who are susceptible to violence, radical materials, etc. This somehow encourage me to learn and even more committed to work around vulnerable children, to minimize any possibilities that they might turn into offenders-of any kind.

My friend said that there is no such thing as coincidences. So I surrender into the greater will. I cannot control the future, but I can control the present.

In this present time, I want to create and spread positive vibes as many as possible. Starting from learning new things and then pass the knowledge to other people, paying forward all the kindness and blessings I received. The song Imagine by John Lennon constantly plays over and over in my head as I am writing this. It’s not just an imagination that we can all live in peace together. I can contribute in creating peace start from myself.

We all can.


First, let’s learn organic farming!

One of my commitments this year is to learn something new, and I did!

First time learning to urban farming!I am still excited because yesterday I learned new thing: how to do urban farming. I went there with a friend and we have a mission to develop the unemployed and homeless people we try to look after in our organization. And my friend has had the dream to build a small garden/urban farm around the organization land. This is to help the people itself to be independent and at least would be able to produce their own food, rather than spending their money to buy them. Whereas for me, I always like to see something green, always see my daddy work in our small garden nurturing the plants. So I guess I’m kinda of like him. I am always fond of nature and other living things surrounding us that also contribute to the balance in our ecosystem. It is important to always maintain the balance in its centre position.   

I always heard that gardening is therapeutic, and I guess I’m beginning to understand why. All this time I thought it’s because of the joy of seeing green things. It’s refreshing. But I guess it’s about honoring the balance, honoring other living things no matter how small or how little it is. When we first set up the  soil and then watering and made a fermentation to make the soil fertile, I somewhat felt like restoring the balance, to me personally and to nature. 

I’ll be back this weekend with new material to learn, and I am so eager to learn more! 

My commitments in 2016

In relation to my previous Post here is a list of my commitments for this year:

1. Produce writing minimum 10 per month

2. Produce two short stories in a year

3. Exercise regularly at least 3 times per week throughout the year.

4. Get a bicycle.

5. Master swimming techniques

6. Take a class on something new

7. Be happy. Spread more positive vibes 

What’s yours? Share in the comment 😊

When We Are Tied To Commitments

Commitment binds us. It is unavoidable. Just name it, relationships, debts, work, study, even your passion demands your commitment and thus bind you to it.
While some of us may see commitment burdening, some of us see it as a learning process to grow. You may have different feelings about it, as well.

My first encounter with commitment was when I was very little. My parents taught me that if I want something, I have to work my way to get it. I have to set out some plans, be committed and focus. As an adult now I have extra commitments. To pay the bills, to excel in my job, to be a good wife and partner, and what-not.

And it’s not a joke when my parents said that I have to work my way to get what I want. From saving money even though that would mean I won’t have lunch to work double job here and there to save enough so I could live the next day. I felt I was under a lot of pressure and I had to crawl my way up through college and finally establish myself as professional translator&interpreter. It was one of the hardest times in my life.

So yeah, commitment sounds sucks. Why should we bind ourselves to the never ending consequences? We should be free, live happy, right? We should be able to enjoy what we earned and let’s not care about the people surrounding us. Let’s not buy our parents something nice, or give some clothes for the poor, or provide some of our time to serve others in need. I work hard, I did my part, so should everybody else. We all should do whatever we want. Right?

Wrong. Continue reading “When We Are Tied To Commitments”

What difference does it make?

December. It’s the most wonderful time of the year because I’m going to celebrate Christmas. My husband does not celebrate Christmas.
When I married him, I thought it’s going to be easy as we went through 8 Christmases together but not really celebrating it ‘together’-if you know what I’m saying. Apparently it’s a little difficult than I imagined.
I’m the only one in the house who is so excited to build up Christmas tree, buy new Christmas lights, thinking about cooking something special, choosing when to go to the Mass, etc. I have to admit that I’m a bit lonely.

Then I started thinking if I had married a Catholic guy. I would be able to share this joy with him. Went out to buy new big Christmas tree or made one from reusable items, went to church together, cooked a special dinner with Christmas spirit. Or not.

You see, my parents are Catholic. But I have never seen them happily greeted the festive month. You know what I’ve seen mostly? Fights. Yep. They’d argue, they’d fight, they’d yell at each other, my mom would then leave the house, or we’d all be so tense at the mall because…we just do. It sounds ‘festive’ alright, but in the other way around. It still happens every year, up till last year. I’m honestly a little traumatic when talking about Christmas, but deep down I’m always excited and wishing I could have my own kind of Christmas.

Okay, so hubby may not fully understand why I’m having butterfly in my stomach and so eager to build a Christmas tree. And he won’t be there sitting next to me at the church singing Silent Night together. But, does that mean he can’t be joyful and happy for me?
I asked him a couple of days ago, “Do you find any problems about religion since we’re married?” he said, “nope.”

So, what difference does it make? I realize that all I need is someone who can respect and support me and my needs. He may not be next to my seat at the church and he may not understand the happiness that Christ the Savior has born, but he’s definitely supportive and respectful; moreover, he’s willing to help me build my own Christmas tree. No fights. No arguments. No neck-hard-tense situation.

I was reminded, it is the essence that’s important. This year is the first time ever that I would celebrate Christmas only with my husband. And we’re going to rock this Christmas with laughter and joy despite our different faith.


Hopes and Fears

Looking forward I often wonder

What have I done to achieve my goal

Backwards only fill me with fear

March on is what I need to appeal

Life is not to be wasted on

Regret remorse contrition

This life should be lived in

Rejoice triumph celebration

Hopes and fears make us sane

Balance challenge, love pain

Through the worst and best

To keep on fighting is behest

A Reflection On Life

One of my favorite writers, James Altucher wrote ‘How To Get Off The Floor When All Seems Hopeless’. You can read it here.

I think we all had that experience when we don’t know what to do or even where to seek advice. Hopeless. Powerless.

James’ writing is to help his readers dealing with that situation. One thing that I highlighted from his writing is this: “..the best way to help others is to first be kind with yourself.”

Kind. Kindness.

I was very good at listening to complaints, giving advice, and assist friends who went through difficult times. It felt good that they are counting on me. It made me feel needed. Somehow I also felt I was liberated from my own burden.

I didn’t realize then how much I needed help before the night my father tried to hit me again. It happened last year, when I was super busy with my wedding preparation.

The one thing I learned from that experience is, that it is always easier said than done.

Continue reading “A Reflection On Life”