She walks to a place,
Knowing it or not. She’s timed,
Knowing it or not.
One used to want to be a doctor then changed to be an engineer then to a flight attendant then to a journalist then to a teacher then to a writer then to be rich then to be happy and peaceful then to be a human being…. Maybe someday she will change, who knows?
Too much love will kill
Who? None. Love will overflow,
Reviving the death.
Finally an agreement was achieved among some friends to start a project to support a few batik makers that we know and to spread knowledge about batik from unique perspectives. There will be video about batik, the batik artisan’s life and thin slices of Javanese wisdom. And so I have to restart the old hobby that has been dormant for how long only heaven knows.
Can’t wait to travel to dear home-base-will-be and produce slides and shows….
Hope it works well.
Friendship nurtures human beings in many ways possible.
What is in the spread?
A bunch of grub and wisdom
Don’t leave any bit.
It is Lebaran today.
I put what I cooked on the table (the only table in the house), took picture of it and sent to those with whom I would love to enjoy it together on Hari Raya: family, close friends and some colleagues. This year, we’re virtually enjoying it through pictures or video calls! What an exciting morning!
Rice cake (ketupat or lontong in Indonesia), sayur labu siam (chayotes in coconut milk), opor ayam (chicken opor, the yellow soup), beef rendang and sambel goreng kentang (potato sambal), kerupuk (crackers), nuts, sweet cookies from Bengawan Solo, and of course fruits! Enjoy!
And what’s under the spread? Table cloth of batik with “nitik” motif.
Nitik is a Yogyakartan-style batik which is traditionally dark colour (sogan in Javanese) with lighter colour background compared to Solo style. Nitik is the shortened structure of “nggawe (making) titik (dots)” that immediately shows the appearance of the motif, thousands of dots forming some geometrical patterns.
Historically this motif has been believed as the simplicity and humbleness of the designers and makers who were ordinary women in the villages which were located outside of city centre (palace). This motif came into palace environment after certain period of time and finally integrated into many designs.
Interestingly nitik is a Javanese word that can also mean niteni or marking based on data or facts. So, simple and humble of human beings character can show something bigger if gathered and analysed carefully. Ah my…. Why should it be that complex? Just enjoy the batik beauty, Beloved.
When moments collide,
Time slows down, space enlarges.
Based on solar calendar, it is my father’s birthday today. Based on lunar calendar it is his death commemoration.
Mathematically the two calculations are crossing, astronomically celestial bodies are in moving in harmony, momentarily it’s just a coincidence. To his family it’s a special moment— celebrating a point when an important human being’s life in the world is started and ended.
God bless you, Bapak. Happy 0th birthday! Are you watching me? Thank you. But no need, just take a rest, I’m safe now. 😘
One awaited day,
A line to end and to start
A cycle. Nom nom nom!
This is the second Ramadhan without going out of this island. It feels serene. It is Lebaran (Ied) tomorrow. Many Muslim feel it is a happy sad time to end Ramadhan knowing that it is when they will celebrate a big day, realising that they might not meet with the next Ramadhan. For most Muslim Ramadhan is one of the most prominent and favorite months of the year with different reasons.
While it is culture that nurtures the vibe of Ramadhan in someone’s life, at the same time it is one’s personal experience that defines how meaningful and beautiful it is in one’s life.
My best Ramadhan was when I was a teenager. Ramadhan meant long holiday, browsing around from one “langgar” (small hut designated to pray together and teach how to read the Quran, usually won’t be used for Friday or ‘Ied prayer like mosques is, I never found extreme teaching in any of langgar I visited by then) to another, from one mosque to another looking for which prayer was the shortest and the most crowded with children to play with after. We would meet new friends, new games and new snacks every Ramadhan!
We also loved gathering food on the day for breakfast time when finally all the food could not be enjoyed. After fasting for 3 consecutive days, you can’t eat more than half of your normal. Your belly shrink! It didn’t stop us from gathering food though. Greedy child!
Clean if not new clothes is a recommended to wear in Ied. The clean and/or new clothes symbolise the self as spiritually newly born and pure gold after being “burnt” in the hottest month of the twelve. I loved it, I loved it, I loved it! I don’t buy clothes in Lebaran anymore, that’s not excited anymore and it has become an impulsive buying.
Ramadhan doesn’t feel that fun and full of adventures anymore to me. Aside from because of living in a place where legal restrictions will make people more citizen rather than human beings, no excitement of celebration involving cheerful crowd except scheduled and arranged by the authority; as an adult mature I “should” put more “less innocent” meaning in order to adjust with what the surroundings expect from me. How time flies but memories stay implanted in one’s remembrance.
In the opinion of this “aging me” fasting isn’t only about no eating, no drinking, no sex on the day. It is more about a structured self management: when to push the gas pedal and when to kick the brake. That’s life to me now: how effective the brake is working, not how outstanding the gas pedal is.
Anyway, Lebaran is also when Muslim should turn into butterfly after being a cocoon for one month. If they don’t, they should not look into the mirror. How could you be a cute caterpillar forever?
See how happily and how long a butterfly will live. No doubt that once one lies eggs, the next cycles will repeat soon. I myself am ready to eat big on the Lebaran’s day; a caterpillar mode on. Let’s cook tonight then eat tomorrow!
Under the green leaf,
Crawls then sleeps. Wake up with love.
Fly, Butterfly, fly.
Metamorphosis of egg to caterpillar to cocoon before butterfly is beautiful and relevant with the cycles of human being’s life in all aspect.
How someone finds a potential and amplifies the potential with any resources that one can think of such as schooling, taking courses/training/workshop, reading, listening, watching, contemplating, consultancy…. Oh some others who don’t have clear thinking include their actions of cheating, stealing, breaking the law, stepping the integrity lines, backstabbing, etc.
It is like witnessing the eggs sheltered by some shade of plants and with the weather and pressure, they are pushed to crawl out of the shells. Here it comes one hungry caterpillar, playing happily, eating this, eating that, eating these, eating those, eating everything. This caterpillar can only stop eating when one feels numb and one’s fullness melts away and wraps itself to sleep. The things one consumed liquifies it like ice thawed in a plastic bag.
Sleep soundly, hungry caterpillar and don’t wake up until someday your fluid self come into form, embodied into a totally different creature. The butterfly you are!
There was a time when an employee is so preoccupied with what one is doing, as if one is wrapped in a system that trapped one doing the same thing like no choice is given. One does it everyday until finally not having to think of how to do it already. One might feel the job is ingrained as a thought, a feeling, an intuition, movement, the life itself. Trained skills and talents make an art, the integrity shapes wisdom. A job—when has become a dedication— will not betray a human being.
Hope someday mine becomes one. It is never about how high I climb but about how deep I dive into the commitment of making what I’m doing a wisdom and benefits for those we promise to protect and support.
I think it is ok to be one hungry caterpillar, looking greedy and craving for more knowledge, experiences, adventures. As long as it knows where poison lies, it is safe to chew and swallow anything. No no not anything…. Select wisely, Beloved.
I remember Steve Jobs said “Stay foolish, stay hungry”. That person really knew what he was doing. Many people might have thought negatively about him, laughed at what he was doing, called him crazy, kicked him out for having different ideas, backstabbed him to stop his annoyance. Those people just didn’t know that that guy was a hungry caterpillar processing into a cocoon before butterfly. Amazing human being! God bless time when he was alive and forever.
Hmm…. Perhaps he truthfully made himself hungry by fasting and foolish by learning and unlearning.
God bless you, Steve Jobs and the people around his belief about staying foolish and hungry.
Silent nights have come
To sit still and greet the heart.
Please forgive me, Love.
Ramadhan month is almost over. Many Muslim will spend the last 10 days of Ramadhan in the mosques. They focus on the zikr (remembrance) by enchanting attributes of God and reciting the Quran. They call it i’tikaf— literally meaning staying put or sitting still, commonly understood as retreat in the mosque to worship the God recommended at the last 10 days of Ramadhan. How beautiful those nights are!
How lucky people who have the time to spend with themselves and look in to their own inner journey.
I’m not a devoted one so I don’t do the i’tikaf anymore. For retreat I prefer attending discussion or meditation session or just being alone contemplating or just wandering at the nature.
I feel lucky that this past one year has been a kind of long retreat through the working from home during pandemic. I’ve got sufficient time to do what I missed doing for almost the past 12 years in which back to back trips were a cup of tea, and do it slowly with (sometimes not full) awareness.
Cooking own food, washing own clothes, cleaning the whole house alone, running or walking at the river bank, biking around midnight time, painting, singing out loud at lunch time, writing journals and blog, watering my plants and talking to them, and so on…. All thanks to working from home—
Thanks to Life for all those. Thanks for everything.
At the same time I made a series of mistakes to someone. Some things are misunderstood naturally. It’s gonna be ok. I hope Life forgives me and lets my journey be easier.
This sentence is two lines of a verse written by a Javanese mystical poet Ranggawarsita, which is sung through Kinanthi—a Javanese rhymed-metered composition characteristically bringing in happiness, joy, compassion; giving advice and providing role models.
Many Javanese understand it in a context of “the evil power will be overpowered by good one”.
Not incorrect. Yet I humbly prefer a different shade of interpretation that is more suitable to my journey: “a dominating forceful masculine energy balanced and dissolved by loving surrendering feminine energy will proportionally develop personal empowerment”.
The interpretation can be a reminder for this careless persona to be centered now and then.
To be centered isn’t always to be seated on victory of getting all what’s wanted, not about proving true-false, not claiming who is in control (direct or indirect), not about whose perception-projection is right.
To be centered is about: knowing that what’s dominating should be dissolved and neutralised, that willingly letting go is equivalent to gracefully taking the blame of making own mistakes, realising that one’s self is dreaming sweet about someone but becoming a nightmare for that someone, about closing one’s own loop where one goes around the bush, getting clarity that all is one-on-one one-to-one one-for-one one-from-one one-at-one one-off-one never about any others.
Passing another field of confusion and guilt is such a gift for this person. No victory is needed, this is not a scored game. Travel lighter, my own Self.
Almost given up:
Milestones to reach the final.
Language of dreams
Japanese is almost as difficult as Arabic but I didn’t find hard time learning Arabic as the brain was much fresher with more time to focus on lessons by then. I almost gave up this Japanese lesson as I felt too slow. Until today mixing up between シ and ツ still happens again and again. Different forms of adjective and noun when tenses change still confuse me. The crazy kanji has also tortured me. Why did I even learn this language? 🤪 Drama! 🥰
But hey! I won’t stop until I can read and compose beautiful poems in Japanese. Too much a dream? Ok, I won’t stop until I can present the company’s Code of Conduct in Japanese! Making more sense! 😁
If the teacher isn’t this good, I might have given up earlier. The Sensei is such an expert of Japanese language and culture that she can make me understand why those Japanese I’ve met have behaved so strangely not as I expected Japanese I thought would be. 😝
Some people are just so “like that” regardless they are Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Singaporean or any other….. Life is so interesting, take it easy!
Urip iku sawang-sinawang is another Javanese wisdom that I’ve learnt. It simply means life is looking at each other, looking at something.
When feeling unfortunate, many will see others as luckier than them. Comparison is an immediate expression to show their frustration. Why are those people getting that but I’m not? Why does life give the blessings to them but not to me? Why are they married but I’m not? Why do they have good jobs but I don’t? Blahblahblah!
Let’s call them “these angry children”. When these angry children happen to consult to Javanese elderly, they will softly say “Ngger, urip kuwi mung sawang-sinawang….”
“Ngger” is equivalent with “My child”.
Many can only see what they are exposed to. Others have better job while these angry children don’t; and that makes these children angrier. They think that having particular jobs will make those people happier.
People are married and being married is considered happier and that makes these angry children sad or even angrier.
People travel to many places and these angry children think they are luckier; and that makes these children envy.
Some colleagues are able to deliver the speech better than these angry children and they think the colleagues perform better; and that makes these angry children feel as worst employees.
Are all those truly as these angry children think? No. Or at least not always. Or let’s say not exactly like what you expect. Or maybe not at all!
They have good jobs but they might have a lot of pressure or feel less appreciated. Whereas having (what you consider) less fortunate jobs is blessings for becoming less risky against integrity issues and less pressure.
They are married and these angry children never know what kind of spouse those people have. These children should be thankful for not being in a marriage this time and see that those married people are struggling financially or romantically or sexually or spiritually or socially or all…. Whereas the unmarried are free to be their own selves and getting more training from Life to be better and readier human beings.
People travel to many different countries while these angry children can only jump out to other districts in their province. These angry children think that makes those people better human beings. Yes, they have more photo albums and memories of what they have seen and more information; but they don’t automatically become wiser than whoever mostly stay home but are able to process the life experiences into true wisdom to address this humble life.
And colleagues speaking more sophisticatedly? Bloody hell! Those who talk talk, but not always walk the talk. What’s more important is how what aren’t even spoken or talked have helped people around them.
So, life is only how we are looking at each other, looking at something. We can look at them and get offended. We can look at them and digest what we see into a wisdom to be better living being without judging ourselves of being bad or unlucky.
That’s a simple Javanese philosophy that might be also taught in other cultures.
Accept who we are and process our own facts to mould the shape of love in us. Others are not always our mirror, they might be magnifying glass.
In fact, all of us deserve to be these angry children while growing to be the wise.
Thanks for the simple chats with some good friends and my own self.