Reporting live from Vietnam, a country that has re-opened last week, I can say that things on the surface have got back to near "normal".
The street is as crowded as before. Traffic jam is also back. People are on the street drinking beers again. (Gathering will always be the quintessential human experiences!) Overall, there is an sentiment of hurrying to "recover lost time" and regrowing the economy.
I'm very glad to be able to go to the park, dance with people again and get a nice massage!
Yet I'm also feeling a little bit anti-climatic and disappointed myself. I did expect some radical changes to happen to people's mindset including myself. Nothing much seems to have. Given that most other places in the world are still under lockdown, I wonder what has been truly awakened during this quarantine that will never be the same? We may think that we have fundamentally changed in this crisis, but given what I am experiencing now as the country re-opened itself, I'm inclined to say that "No, we haven't changed much."
I might be totally wrong, and I'm curious how this will play out.
Sharing is sprouting.
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"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." - G. K. Chesterton
At first, at least. A good reminder, especially myself to write this newsletter. Oftentimes I am stuck in writing not knowing what to write about. Then all kinds of inner Saboteurs come up, from "I'm not good enough" or "nah, this is not as important" (my personal pet peeve). It is a lot easier to set the right expectation upfront.
"For the person who is a master of pleasure, everything in life is a ritual." - Alan Watts from his latest posthumous book Just So.
This time of staying at home made me realize how important it is to be intentional about each activity, because they all happen within such a small space. Otherwise, the collapsing of physical contexts make it very difficult to cleanly transition. For example, moving from bedroom to living room to do a different type of work has to be marked by a little dance, or getting a cup of water.
I've been lighting up candles and incense at night to write. I know, it sounds so silly, but it helps so much to intentionally taking the time to transition in and out of our life like that.
For the geek, this Ribbonfarm essay by Sarah Perry, What is Ritual, is extremely thought provoking.
"Faith, in its broadest sense, is about far more than belief in the existence of God or the disregard of scientific evidence. Faith is the willingness to give ourselves over, at times, to things we do not fully understand. Faith is the belief in things larger than ourselves. Faith is the ability to honor stillness at some moments and at others to ride the passion and exuberance that is the artistic impulse, the flight of the imagination, the full engagement with this strange and shimmering world." - Alan Lightman in the Accidental Universe.
Good reminder from the renowned MIT physicist. There are a lot of things we don't understand - parenting, love, what is happening in the world, even oneself.
• Rule of 3 in conversation. To get to the real reason, ask a person to go deeper than what they just said. Then again, and once more. The third time’s answer is close to the truth.
• Don’t be the best. Be the only.
"Everyone is shy. Other people are waiting for you to introduce yourself to them, they are waiting for you to send them an email, they are waiting for you to ask them on a date. Go ahead" → I am really learning this!
Mirrors: an 8 minutes full of insight from the late Angeles Arrien on how to deal with people who make us feel strongly (good or bad) and what they have to teach us about ourselves
Minute 18:40 changed my life and might change yours too (hint: it's about when we meet someone that we are very attracted to!)
Someone shared with me this little poem recently, and I found it to be a beautiful reminder to the nature of how beauty and love can continue to shine even brighter at this time. This is for all of us who are, in our own small ways, still lighting the way for love.
LIGHT THE WAY FOR LOVE by Susan Frybort
(from Open Passages: Doors and Windows to the Soul)
They say beauty comes from
a spirit that has weathered many hardships in life
and somehow continues with resilience.
Grace can be found in a soul who ages softly,
even amid the tempest.
I think the loveliest by far is the one whose gentle heart bears
a hundred scars from caring, yet still finds a way to pick up the lamp, one more time,
to light the way for love.
I had a beautiful birthday celebration, so thank to all of you who has sent wishes and be present to my unfolding journey! Here is a short reflection note I wrote on FB about what I've learned thus far. I hope it can spark some reflection for you too.
What is a subtle change you are noticing in your life that has begun to take its root?
I'd be happy to hear your answer.