Writing 101: Be Brief

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

Dear Takumi,

I never thought it’s possible you noticed me, the quiet, thin wisp of a girl usually at the edge of the crowd. I’d seen you for months now, and sometimes I think you’re the boy I meet in my dreams. That ray of sunlight that warms me and falls on my hand, but never solid enough to hold.

I’m sorry if I write too much.

I did not expect the pink rose in my mailbox and with the note hoping that I’d get well soon and return to school. And that you would like to meet me. I hadn’t been to school because my family is moving to Tokyo tomorrow morning.

I don’t think we can see each other again, but I hope you will be happy and still be joyful.

Please take care of yourself,

Namiko

Writing 101: Serially Lost

I missed my timing for writing yesterday, thus this is a day late. But nevertheless, having a entire day letting the topic stew in the back of my mind kinda make me clearer about writing what’s close to my heart.

An occurring theme in my life is to learn to lose attachments. In the arena of love. I fell deeply in love twice, both where I felt all I wanted was to give my heart and soul to those persons and wishing desperately that they can return in kind. But only that they could not. Neither did they lead me on, they were kind and patience with me and my misplaced desires and that helped because eventually I could see the bigger lesson I needed to learn… when the flames of desire and attachments burned themselves out; that what I really needed was to love myself. Love myself as deeply as I love them.

And now, I’m starting to feel desire again, and this time round it’s still the same lesson, to love all those dark and unloved bits of myself, bits that I had mentally shut away and somehow partially denied them. Also because I lack the clarity to see my own walls of defences. So the deep lesson is to reclaim and love the dark, secret bits of myself, bits that I need to hide, or make into a better person, etc. Because there was never any need to make a better person, I am here and now and this is the whole of me.

Writing 101: Commit to a Writing Practice

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Unlike the previous two days, this question made me reflect for a good two hours before I could bring myself to write.

Thinking back, I realised I had never worked very hard for anything. I pick up skills relatively fast, be it music, cooking or dancing and I’m usually quite satisfied with the my competency at those levels, good enough not to fail, but generally passable, but not great. So I became abit of a Jane at all trades.

This question had me thought very hard about what I really do work on over the years and it came down to 3 things.

1. Cultivating good food choices.

I was an impulsive eater and had an enormous sweet tooth in my teens. Because of the weight gain, I tried to cut down on meat and eat more vegetables. But nothing much happened, partially because I couldn’t resist food and my body type was heavy to begin with. But over two decades of gradually observing the effects different food had on my moods, mental clarity and physical sense of well being, I gradually leaned towards pescatarian and eventually vegetarian – almost vegan now. And my sweet tooth had diminished very much as I let go of emotional baggages over the last few years. The emotional letting go accelerated when I switched to vegetarianism. It wasn’t a conscious decision to eat or not eat certain foods, but rather being attentive to how my body feels after eating , that lead to a point where I don’t feel like eating meat at all. And recently, I feel that I don’t want to have cheese, it felt like my body – at a deep level, rejecting some cheese I had even though it was a small quantity. The change in my food choices is beneficial. I hardly fall sick. I have sniffles, but I had not fell sick for awhile. I look fairly youngish for my age, and I feel more energetic. My energy levels are fairly constant through the day, even slumps are not as deep and dark as they were before.

2. Mindfulness.

I watched an Eckhart Tolle video on Youtube a few years ago on breathing and it taught me that mediation doesn’t have to be sitting down in lotus position. So I had been practising that ever since, just taking conscious breaths through out the day, whether I’m teaching, having a conversation or just shopping or doing nothing. One conscious breath may not be much but as it became a habit, it became tremendously significant especially in times of stress. During times of difficult communication, or heated moments, taking a moment to breathe consciously changes my mental perspective in those moments and I was able to handle those events much better, conscious responding instead of reactiveness. And during traumatic flashbacks, it was my life saver. I used to be caught up in despair and depression, but now I’m more able to observe them and understanding what mental beliefs I held on to that kept these emotions there. For this, I’m truly grateful.

3. World of Warcraft / Dota

I was a world of warcraft player for 4 years and Dota for 7 years. I love both games tremendously although I had bidded WoW goodbye. Both games taught me teamwork and synchronicity with other people and getting my mind and responses used to adrenaline stressors; as in to be able to respond within that moment instead of over thinking about my response during stress. And oh God, I love the strategy thinking involved in both games where you have to understand your team and opponents’ abilities, weaknesses to even out the odds in combat. Especially the synchronicity involved in a good gank! It takes trust and an intuitive working together, when so little verbal communication is involved. (It goes to show in Dota, exclamation marks say a crazy lot!). I miss the camaraderie in WoW, where you come together with 24 other people who are but little pixels in your screen but somehow through bringing down a boss together, from the things they say online, conveyed a sense of who they are and you realise that you care for them. So that was the habit I unintentionally sustained for a good many years which brought me alot of joy and growth. Am I a game addict? I may be. But for now, I’ll just play and see where it takes me.

Writing 101: A Room with a View

Day 2 of Writing 101. Topic is a room which a view, but I couldn’t summon a room or view in my mind. My ideal fantasy location is always somewhere in nature, preferably near the sea too! Hence the scenerio rather than an actual room. Grammar wise I always have trouble with first person narratives. They are so tricky! The below came out of the 20 minutes free form writing, which seems okay.  And here’s day 2’s challenge. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/writing-101-setting/. If a grammar police ever caught on to me, I’d appreciate all crimes pointed out and trialed.

—–

Bird call, that’s what I hear when I open my eyes. Another one, answering the first. Sunlight shining through the bright green leaves onto my face. Awww, I’d been knocked out for two hours, but it was a pleasant slumber. I could hear the shushing of gently seawaves. It’s probably mid afternoon by now. The morning wind felt so balmy that I slumbered on my tree house.

I looked around for Tommy, but he wasn’t nearby. He will be by the sea, practising his strokes or on his surfboard. A squirrel ran past, chattering as it peeped at me. I climbed down the huge trunk of the oak tree cautiously, mustn’t get a tear on the shirt. Mum would go off her nuts. I walked towards the sea, taking in my thirst and feeling hungry. It was about time for lunch. The backpack where our lunch was kept wasn’t in the treehouse, so Tommy had it with him. Drats, I’m awfully hungry, hope he had saved some for me.

A gust of wind came, sending my hair upwards and everywhere else. The salty tang teased my tongue and its coolness made my nose twitch. A dog barking, my curiousity arose. Where had it came from? There isn’t any canine around here for miles. But it sounds friendly so it’s probably brought here, might be a holiday tourist with a pet. We get a lot of them here, in our sleepy town, which comes to life mostly in summer, when people come to be near the sea for a holiday. Summer is ending though, so whoever he is, is a late arrival.

I love the sea, I can’t imagine myself living anywhere else from it. But it wasn’t enough for Jordan. he needed more. Different people, a different life I guess. I miss him, and I wish he would email me more often.

The sea is foamy and cool. Tommy is there in the distance, I can see the gaudy pink and purple of his surfboard. His princess board he calls it. It’s funny, Tommy loves surfing and all sort of water sports and also really loud colours. I took a quick glance at our house, seeing if I can spot Mum working in the garden or lounging with a book. Nada, she’d be in the kitchen then, cooking up a storm, basically for Tommy, who eats like a cow. I mostly peck at stuff.

Rummaging through the half opened backpack, I found a semi squashed banana and a muffin. It’s a surprise that there were any food inside at all after Tommy had gone through it. But I think he really remembered this time, to keep some aside for me.

—–

Writing 101: Unlock the Mind

I had been getting alot of feedback from friends, random articles and my own subconscious that I gotta start a writing habit. And yea there’s ideas in my head (right i mean that’s generally the reason why people think about writing yea?) but I’m soooo out of touch with writing that the very notion of it terrifies me somehow. I suppose that’s what you call a writer’s block. Heeh.

So very glad to see the writing challenge 101. Just at the right time too, getting off my arse metaphorically and taking a pause from all that gaming and start penning thoughts.  Thanks for having such an great starting topic to the first day. It’s cool. 20 minutes of random thoughts, I think I can do that.

Strangely, I never had trouble writing when I was a kid, or as a teen. It was only when I started working that somehow writing became a functional thing. You write reports, or remarks and that kinda snuff out the magic of writing, the words that should soooo come from the heart and the soul and somehow communicate and touch something invisible but tangible. So over the course of report writings, structural, functional organisation of words, I sorta lost that, writing for myself and for my heart. Today though feels different, like I’m somehow back here again and feeling quite happy to let my fingers loose over the keyboards. (I’m a typing kinda of girl, cos it’s sure as hell neater…I don’t write, I scribble.)

Ah and that was 5 minutes.

I quit my job sometimes back and gradually my lost memories came back to me. It had been 2 plus years and part of myself is knitting back? It’s like the lost memories came back as flashbacks and it dawned on me with rude shock and fear, experiences I had growing up.  I had been blocking them out of my mind and consciousness that when I first recall them, I had trouble believing my own sanity. But remembering them was such a relief because I finally understand the what, why and how of my being. I felt reconnected to a deeper part of myself. There’s really not much way to make sense of the traumas I had but I suppose the Zen interpretation is kinder, they were just memories of events that happened. Past. Yet remembering them unmade me, broke my identity into pieces, like the person I thought I was and the story I made of myself, who I was, my life, I could no longer see them the same way. Somehow getting in touch with my traumas made me realised how much of my  behaviour was shaped by them, like a knee jerk reaction. So recalling the traumas in my adulthood unmade me as a person, and having to go through the grieving and crying and wailing and getting tired of them, it became that I gotta learn how to know myself again, like relearn how to be, how to interact with people, letting go and being at ease with new dynamics within myself.

The strange part is I no longer could interact with people as I used to. I could, if I try, but it’s tiring. It’s like having to put a mask back on when you realised what a relief it is to take it off. And how heavy the mask felt.

So I observed new emotions arising in me, guiding me to interact with people without the mask on. It takes awhile to get used to, I’m still getting used to it.

Ho… that’s was actually 9 minutes.

And surprising, I fell in love. Or rather love found me. Oh I dunno, or someone with a key just turned up, out of the blue, unexpectedly. Okay…but I don’t know how to deal with it.

It feels like everything inside myself is being opened. Everything. And I can’t hide, because there’s no where to hide. So I watch my own emotions tumbling and doing cartwheels within me, fear, anxiety, shame, panic, love, desire, happiness and helplessness; because I can’t bring my defences back (too tiring to hold on to them) yet it’s such a relief not to have to hide anymore. And observing my bewildered logical brain, not knowing what to do with all these emotions.

So for now, the only best thing seems to be meditate, meditate and meditate some more. And write inbetween them.

This is the 3rd personal blog I have. Every blog marked a phrase of my life. Flotsams of the first blog are still around on the internet, I would catch a random page here and there when I googled my old handle.  I still have the 2nd blog at Livejournal. But somehow I can’t go back to it anymore, it’s like I have crossed a point and there’s no returning to the state I was back then. Not that I wish to, just that it’s somehow remarkable that my state of being had shifted.

Over the 2 blogs, I realised my writing got better, and my mental thoughts clearer. Before starting a journal, blog, my mental thoughts used to be messier, like scribblings. It showed in my first blog. Trails of thoughts leapfrogged and taking haphazard lives of their own and wandered into the swamps of meaningless endings. Now it’s gets a little better, the thoughts try to come to some sort of logical conclusion as they leave my brain and come to print. Does writing changes how the brain functions? Hmmm it might be so, perhaps that’s why Peter the Czar made all his peasants go to school.

I have a good feeling about the next 30 days.

On winning and losing

I’m not quite sure if it’s in Singapore or generally prevalent in the educational system,  there’s a subcurrent of winner and loser’s mentality, very much prevalent in the educational system. The system rewards academic success. It’s inherent from educators’ attitude, cultural beliefs (you must have a degree PHD ) to make it. Qualifications are very often pegged to how well one can succeed later in life.

Of course this leads to a certain winners’ and losers’ mentality for 2 different groups of people. It’s is possible that winning academically or at things lead to ego attachment to the sense of winning and continually behavioural traits geared towards winning. And losers’ mentality hint at giving up, at not being able to achieve.

These are related to our basic survival instincts where winning suggests potential well being and being in better stead and losing would suggest one’s difficulty in navigating through life and not able to make something of oneself.

But what is this truely about what about this winner’s mentality that make us feel good about ourselves? It’s like winning make use feel ahead of the pack, being in a position above that of the average, wherea losing puts someone in a mental position that is beneath another.

What if all this weren’t true and just a system built around our survival instincts that has yet to catch up with our physical environment?

I believe every person is inherently talented and has an enormous potential waiting to be explored with the right avenue. And everyone’s neither a winner or loser but a piece of gem in this cogwork of human connectedness. However the system we have in place now, doesn’t necessary support everyone’s needs, talents or growth. So what if we relook at everyone as a mine of human potential, latent talent to be unleased and tapped. How would that change our perspective and internal point of view?

How would that change how we see ourselves?