Present

Thanks for the present.
Good breathing and walking
Unwrapped everyday—

thank you! it is said not a Christmas gift but there is a “Merry X’mas” on a card; thank you for the gift every year although I am not a Christian 💝😃
i guess the boxes are all empty 😁

Smile

Smile, Beloved, smile.
It’s a luxurious gift
For you and for me.

I was checking my educational docs and was in awe to see my photos in each of different docs. How I am touched by physical transformation and what experiences attached to it, that makes me stay loyal with my own self whatsoever.

Tell yourself that your life is a journey that if you need buddy, you should pick those willing to share wonder. Otherwise, travel alone. 💝

Thank you!

💝

sleepy, angry, yet stop telling me to take a nap! 😂😂😂
classroom, my party time; playground, my party time, my childhood was everyday party! 👯‍♀️
no smile, no mercy 😃
length of hair defines how I treat the world; i love my pretty silly me! 😃

Love & Luck

My love is mostly dumb, stubborn, too thin to see, and makes you hate me.

My luck is often loud, sudden, too huge to miss, and makes me love you.

I’m not a gambler, yet think you’re a dice rolling numbers for a prize.

my love and luck grows for and bows to you

Journey

Journey to the self
Takes a long and winding road,
Worth doing. Half done—

Human beings’ journey to understand one’s self is often unpredictable. I never wanted to visit Mecca and Medina yet because of my devotion to a mother, I agreed to go to ensure that she was safe and healthy. And the result was tremendous evolution of self. 💝

To Ibu: I miss you much today 😘

Alfatihah

Masjid Nabawi (Mosque of Prophet) in Medina — where I started strongly realising that there is a journey —a silent one— that I must commit 💝 someday I’ll be back with a clearer mind and a calmer heart yet the same level of “disobedience” and stubbornness 😁
where I witnessed how a human being’s karma is overtly paid off and showing the quality of a person visiting this place – my mother is a humble, kind and very very generous person and in this place she was greeted by sooo many female pilgrims from other countries, requested to take picture together, given a looooooooooot of food every day, given space once arriving in the mosque (her friends in her group were not that much) – me? oh of course she introduced me as her daughter cum translator and then was included in all her blessings 😝
the only person who could move my heart to finally go – thank you, Ibu; might not be a happy ending for me but was a best start of a journey 💝

where my heart was knocked from inside that the journey is within and silent, a precious gift — the physical is a gift wrap to respect whomever we wish 💝 (Masjidil Haram, Mecca)
a life long pilgrimage of mine 💝 a private, silent, almost secretive so only I and whom I most love know the milestones 💗 others are guessing and interpreting 🙏🏼

Ocean Welcomes

Ocean welcomes all,
River flown and rain fallen.
Friends in a friendship—

A meet up with my first mentor training me in my current profession almost 20 years ago. He and his wife are in Singapore to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and spend this whole day to meet up with me: shopping in Orchard Road Apple Store, browsing around looking for my favourite Japanese restaurant that was found closed down since 2021, having lunch (Indonesian food in Singapore….? Oh my) walking around Orchard Road, taking MRT for fun, enjoying evening coffee in Starbucks Bugis Junction before our farewell.

This wise couple gave me a bunch of advices to be this and to be that…. How lovely this life is to have friends who are willing to share their (personal) experiences for precious lesson learning.

Thank you, Pak Donny and Mbak Maya. See you in Jakarta! 💗🙏🏽

Alfatihah to my dear friends.

three mugs, different content, enjoyed from the same table

Manusia

Manusia mengembarai langit
Manusia menyusuri cakrawala
Tidak untuk menguasainya
Melainkan untuk menguji dirinya
Apakah dia bertahan menjadi manusia,
Tidak untuk hebat kuasa atau perkasa
Melainkan untuk setia sebagai manusia.

(Emha Ainun Nadjib)

Good morning, Surabaya. You did a lot of moulding to this human being. Thank you!!! 💝

thank you 💝 for making me a human being; I won’t give up moulding this self to be loyal to being humane

Mother’s Story

Tragic is comic
After fermentation time.
Dark jokes bring bright joy.

We always remember how our father loved our mother. He liked giving gifts to her and doing household chores like cleaning the floor and doing heavy laundry. Yet he also enjoyed teasing my mother around; his goal was to make her angry just to show that he was good at calming her down. 😂 Yet his strong affection to our mother did one extreme discomfort to her and some of us.

This morning my older siblings asked mother to re-tell a story that we the younger don’t record well as we were too young to save the moment. While they laughed before she started telling the story, we three waited curiously.

Mother: Once I went with my friend to a beauty parlour. She wanted to have her hair cut.

Younger children: With whom?

Mother: (mentioning a name that we are familiar with)

All children: (commenting about mother’s friend who happened to be a very fashionable woman at that time)

Mother: She said that I should have my hair made curly or at least wavy so I could look different. I said no because I should get permission from your father. But you know her, she was able to convince me to do it.

All children: (laughing and commenting about the lady who spent money like she would die today. Mother said that woman got much money from ex husbands so she deserved to do it.) So, curled or waved?

Mother: Medium curled

Older children: (laughing and commenting how she looked fresh but weird as we had never had anyone with curly hair in the family before)

Mother: When I reached home, your father seeing me with curly hair looked surprised. I thought it would be a terrific moment but then it changed to one terrible day. He was so angry, never before he became that angry.

Older children: Ya, I was shocked. Never saw him like that before—

Mother: I was not shocked with his reaction but the next action of his was a biggest discomfort in my life. He said he wanted to make the hair look better which I thought minor trimming and he took a pair of scissors.

Older children: I didn’t expect that to happen. He cut most of the curly hair and only left the one with very vague curls near the headskin. You were almost bald! (laughing) You became so not you.

Me: (upset) Why did’t you run to hide and protect your hair?

Older children: Hey! Don’t be too serious. He didn’t hurt her.

Me: But he hurt her pride! I won’t let my hair be screwed up by anyone.

Older children: I remember mother sobbed and I screamed to father to stop. He didn’t do it harshly, but I felt worried about her sobbing.

Me: Damn wrong thing! I never knew he would have this in the checklist.

Mother: No worry. He regretted and apologized on the same day. And trust me it was the only one bad thing he did to me. He said he didn’t want me to draw attention of other men.

Older children: Jeeeaaaalousy! We know some other things about his jealousy! You should tell more stories.

Mother: I think it was the best lesson for him about how he should not be too possessive.

All children: Yaaa!!! Agree!

Older children: Do you remember that you turned to be a better fashionista than her. I remember you wore turban and sometimes wigs.

Mother: Yes. And I guess he regretted it even more as I asked for different wigs and turbans until my hair was good enough to show.

What a comedy! Oops! What a tragedy turning to comedy after some time!

Lesson learnt: choose the best expression of love to avoid bad impression, don’t have your hair curled 😁, find a husband who doesn’t hate curly hair 😁, forgive your husband’s wrong expression while educating him, and see a comedy in a tragedy

Be A Dog

Excitement rises.
A dog runs after food bag
Full of dental sticks.

If you don’t feel good, walk a dog and run with it when it runs for food. You’ll feel a real excitement. Trust me.

Wishing to feel good every single second like a happy dog. 😁 Prepare good saving of energy!

😁 Vietnam dog is exactly the same as other dogs: toys, food and other dogs

Tall Tree

There is a tall tree
Greeting the sky with its green,
The earth with its white.

There is only one choice left: grow! What’s grown within affects what’s grown without and the other way around — all in unison. Liking it or not, I grow as the sole way.

when feet are happily walking, eyes are happily observing 🥰

Speed

Deaccelerate,
Accelerate on the road.
Life is not a race.

Fasting is a very familiar way of life to Javanese. Called pasa or poso, fasting in Javanese culture is always related to the effort to self align. Many Javanese like doing fasting with or without meditation (tapa brata or topo broto) depending on their commitment.

While Javanese Muslim do at least one month of fasting per year in Ramadhan, fasting in Javanese culture itself came even much earlier before Islam was introduced. While in Islam fasting is between dawn to dusk and the same restriction is commonly applied to all kinds of fasting, Javanese fasting is more varied both in term of period and restriction.

Fasting helps Javanese slow down the pace in their mind, regulate the speed of their ambitious behaviour upon life goals, train themselves to be patient.

There are several kinds of fasting in Javanese culture that are still practiced by relatively many nowadays.

1. Regular fasting
This fasting is done only from dawn to dusk like the Islamic fasting. This is a common practice, many Javanese parents use this kind of fasting to train their children about how to manage their immediate excessive desires and concentration in under pressure situation. I remember when we were elementary and high schoolers, we were instructed by parents to do fasting on Monday and Thursday during yearly school testing weeks. Yes, I felt more focused on my study as I had to prioritise tasks to save energy. Brilliant!

2. Mutih
Mutih is derived from the word putih (white in Javanese, Indonesian, Malay). During this fasting, a person is restricted to eat other than white rice and fresh water for 24 hours started either at dawn or dusk. Ordinary Javanese can do it for one day, three or seven. Yet more advanced (usually senior) Javanese would extend the period as per commitment.

3. Ngasrep or nganyep
Ngasrep is derived from the word asrep that means cool or cold; while nganyep from the word anyep means tasteless. In this kind of fasting the food and drink should be all cool and tasteless. The person is suggested to eat only boiled vegetable without adding taste (salt, sugar, oil, sauces, etc) and drink fresh water. It is mostly done in three days.

3. Ngrowot
Ngrowot is a word derived from the word krowot that means Javanese common carbo source except rice. The person who does this fasting will only eat carbo non rice like sweet potato, suwek (konjac), gembili, gembolo (English please….), taro, cassava and other tubers.

4. Ngebleng
Ngebleng means staying in; so doing this, a person will do regular fasting but very limited food intake allowed without leaving room or house, not meeting anyone, just doing meditation or doing household chores without distraction from anyone. Someone can do it three and seven days and forty days. Not many are doing this as this is a challenging one: not easy to find a place. This fasting is quite heavy because it does not allow sufficient food intake for a long time.

5. Pati geni (pati: turned off, geni: fire)
It literally means “fire turned off”. This is the highest level of Javanese fasting as the restriction applied really tests the person’s very high commitment: s/he is not allowed to eat, drink, sleep including fall asleep and see any light both artificial and natural. How long? The shortest is 24 hours, maximum unlimited. Note: if s/he sleeps or falls asleep, s/he has to restart the fasting.

There are other kinds of fasting in Javanese culture which were done by very limited people and have been left by many due to the impracticality such as pasa ngidang (from the word kidang or deer) in which a person is only allowed to eat raw foliage like a deer, pasa ngalong (from the word kalong or bat) only eating ripe fruit from the tree, pasa kungkum (bathing up to chin level either in the pool, river or shallow sea) without eating or drinking, etc. There are probably other kinds of fasting as Javanese used to be very creative in “fasting engineering” hahaha….

Javanese believe that with fasting they will connect better to themselves and inevitably with the ultimate power of the universe. They will usually become confident people without showing off. Those fasting committed people —if doing it right and without evil intension— will be a highly spiritual people and voluntarily dedicated to environment and people.

Javanese believe that this type of people bring blessings to the surroundings although blessings are not always tangibly seen. The blessings can be as simple as peaceful daily life with little conflict,

Do we still have many of them? In very silent villages around Java island we might still find a few. They are traditional farmers who feel the need to connect with the ultimate power as only that can help them manage their humble farming that is now severely industrialised and exploited.

Hope we still have them in silence. Amen.

Alfatihah.

“too much” in all kinds: portion, protein, sugar, carb – never mind, it’s good! 🥰 my yesterday’s break fasting

A Path

A path to a place
Is walked through trees and uphills.
A meadow is waiting
Opening another path
To a warm home filled with love.

My friend sent me three photos of our beloved “simbah” (those senior people who are considered wise or those who have grandchildren) – Javanese). Most people call these simbah “batik maker” because they make batik to earn a living. We both call them “batik artist”. More than that through what we’ve seen and heard about them, we’ve considered they are artists of their life. How they embrace their humble life gracefully and consciously has always amazed both of us. They live like calm river flowing to the sea. They don’t struggle against what others think about or do to them. They live as if there is no hindrance and disturbance in life.

When my friend told me some things about those three honourable ladies, I secretly harvested some lessons. It is very critical reminder for me who is still very much attached to a feeling of (accidentally) underestimated and (slightly) humiliated because of one petty case. These three artists of life have silently told me to let go.

What a loud shot in a quiet weekend!

No apology is needed. All is gradually let go through my own wish and willingness. This is my life and I only want to be the artist of my own life. 💝

Thank you, artists of life. You’re blessed. 💝

Salaam.

Mbah Suhir, 93 years old 💝 matur sembah nuwun
Mbah Erah, 87 years old 💝 matur sembah nuwun
Mbah Isah, 82 years old 💝 matur sembah nuwun

The Space

She be, Beloved,
The space not the furniture,
Lets all come and go.

If only maturity could be implanted like nose or breast or whatever, I would still choose to get mature naturally through ageing and weakening although it takes almost half of century of struggling and pain to find only its gate. Damn late!

One maturity breakthrough of my life was when realising I should be more a “space human being” (my teacher calls it “room human being”) rather than a “furniture human being”.

Salaam….

a hey from the space to bodies floating in it 😘

Come True

Come true, Beloved,
Wishes colouring this life,
Bringing love and joy—

My mini daruma dolls package arrived from Japan. Now it is time to make wishes and draw the left eye.

May all beings be happy!

arriving from trip then checking the mail box at the basement this afternoon and found these package among all letters and magazines! 🥰
each colour has meaning! quickly copied them! (ignore the ugly handwriting 😁) now let’s make wishes and paint their left eye 🧿 then let them take a rest in the box to open and be drawn right eye when the wishes come true 😎

Friendship

Friendship, Beloved,
The sun rising so early,
Pushing stars away—

(Very early) morning conversation that left me sleepy but so energized after talking with someone whose genuineness could kept me listening to whatever this person said— My day is always good especially when started with a cheap talk with my best friends. Today is going to be super good one!

BF: Still writing?

Me: Everyday

BF: Poems and ranting?

Me: Ya, you don’t read mine?

BF: Not these two weeks. Busy! You still talk to yourself in your writing?

Me: Ya

BF: You think people like it?

Me: No

BF: Why do you do it then?

Me: I do what I love doing.

BF: Even if no one cares?

Me: Even if no one cares.

BF: Are you happy?

Me: Not always

BF: Are you happy writing?

Me: Mostly

BF: What happens when you are not happy writing?

Me: I have so much in head but I don’t want to make it so obvious or it is so hard to make it concise.

breakfast please…. 💝

BF: Do you know that people reading your cheap writings might think you are madly in love?

Me: I don’t care. But yes I’m madly in love.

BF: With whom?

Me: With many different things.

BF: Name some.

Me: Oh my…. Are you interrogating me?

BF: 😂😂😂 Yaaa! You didn’t know?

Me: I just realised it.

BF: That’s how you don’t care about what people are doing to you? Don’t be silly. Put some suspicion and negative thinking to some people, even to someone that you love.

Me: I will.

BF: You’re 50 several years to come and still have mental of a £€$@$£€L!

Me: What?!

BF: Do you know who is among your friends genuine or not?

Me: Yes.

BF: But you look like not knowing.

Me: Because I don’t care. It’s my business to make sure I’m me but I can’t ask others to do the same thing to me the way I do to them.

BF: What about me?

Me: You are genuine especially when you have problem.

BF: You mean?!

Me: Yes, only I can listen to you for 5 hours non stop ranting about your problems! The same problems unsolved for years! That’s how genuine we are with each other.

BF: &$@!?890:;((@:!!!!

God bless all my best friends. See you all soon! 💕

Leaving The Thrones


I dive
Every night
To where you are
And see no one
As
You are diving
To where I’ve left my throne.

When I’m back,
You’re back
To where you”ve left yours.

If we know the hours of each others’ departures,
We’ll meet at the crossroads
Where what’s left behind
Is forgiven, not forgotten

Tonight.

daruma tea canister where I wrote my wish to happen, leaving an unnecessarily thrones behind; ego is the strongest block, leave it!

Gifts to You

These gifts, Beloved,
Peace and love hummed to loved ones
Living here and there

One of the Javanese and Islamic teachings that I will never leave for the rest of my life is sending gift of prayer containing peace and love to my loved ones wherever they are, whether they are physically wandering on earth or spiritually gathering around life.

I believe that my passing-away ancestors are living in different levels of consciousness (call it hell, heaven or somewhere in between up to your liking) and they are watching their offsprings without being able to directly communicating with us. They deserve my gift as they have been my line to get the chance to be here now. They deserve peace and love as they have done the best they could to draw a meaningful family tree. Yes, some might have made silly mistakes but hey that’s what Buddhism calls “karma”. Yes, some might have caused shameful stains on the family picture but hey that’s what Islam calls “alam syahadah”. Whoever and whatever they were, all of my ancestors deserve good wishes sung to them.

I also wish peace and love to those I love still breathing the air. Wishing all of them health and happiness. 💝

We Javanese Muslim will send gift by reciting some Javanese prayer closed with Alfatihah, a short chapter in the Quran containing peace, love, praise, forgiving, protection and guidance. A basket of beautiful wishes—

How light this heart is to be sure that all whom I love are well.

Alfatihah to all whom I love. You’re loved. You’re blessed. Don’t shop too much. 😁

Happy weekend!

born as part of a nation doesn’t make someone higher or lower – being born a Javanese, Aborigine, African, Arab, Chinese, English, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Sundanese, Vietnamese or whatever is a gifted tool to contribute the best quality of culture in sustaining and respecting humanity – respect yourself, respect other human beings 💕
if not respected (by you), your origin will be a boomerang (spun around hitting you) – be grateful for being born as you are, never wasted, fully loved, surrounded by beloved only if you accept who you are 💕

What Are You

Behind what’s seen,
What are you, Beloved?

Root of a tree
Who grows in in the dark,
Breathes with the creepy crawly,
Sleeps in none of seasons.
Silently grateful for
What’s not understood.

Cartilage of a human body
Who is not hard enough to be bone,
Not soft enough to be muscle,
Comfortably sits in between,
Catches messages delivered
By whisper, breeze and wind.

Jasmine sambac of the garden
Who is humbly tiny, clustering;
Blooms the whole year,
Leaves much fragrance to the day,
Deep meaning to celebration
Before she dries brown.

Helium of the sun
Light, low, odourless, tasteless, insipid—
It’s peaceful to be low profile,
It’s more joyful and freer,
It’s easier to be me,
Closer to Gaia.

Yet no secret bandit among
The rascals in the block!

What?!

What what?!
Don’t ask. I can be anything
But
You.

Rainy weekend is good especially when just have to shortly reply “Ok!” to a message saying “Heavy rain. Impossible to bike. Rain check ya.”

💝

🥰 can watch this forever! lovable rascals!

Idyll

Idyll, Beloved,
Found in rural area;
Hidden heritage—

Saw a package in front of my door today. It had been there for several days as instructed to the courier while I was away for a biz trip. Three pieces of jarik batik (long fabric with traditional batik patterns) from Yogyakarta were delivered safe and sound.

Idyllic gift for myself for the hard work in the past one year. Thank you, dear self! 💕

💕 thank you
this handmade batik was crafted by Mbah Suhir, a 93 year old batik maker – truntum background with sido asih (combination of 2 classic patterns) – I’m blessed!

Truntum (depiction of thousands of jasmine flowers) symbolises life under divine guidance and peaceful life fragrant like jasmine. Sido asih symbolises living in love and compassion.

210*120 cm – shorter jarik is for male as he won’t put any pleats when wearing it
the one-sided black “sido asih” handmade by another senior batik maker (still trying to find her name) – I’ll keep this beauty with love 🥰
250*105 cm, classic batik – longer jarik is for female as she will make some pleats at one end of the cloth to beautify the lower apparel

While sido asih pattern bears common symbols everywhere in Java island, the color and the strokes show its place of origin. Black and thin lining is originated from Solo, white and bold lining is originated from Yogyakarta.

“nitik cakar ayam” two-sided classic batik handmade by Ibu Suminah (80 years old batik maker) 🥰

Nitik (literally means making dots/points) is an original batik pattern in Bantul district, Yogyakarta. Nitik “cakar ayam” (literally means chicken claw) symbolises someone who is good at providing good life for his/her family (hard working, prosper and wise).

Two-sided batik is such a luxury to have in modern day. It doesn’t always show the price; but it is more about the maker has to block both sides of the fabric and it doubles the time of craftsmanship. Most batik is one-sided nowadays.

Can’t wait to directly thank the batik makers for their love to Javanese culture.

Matur sembah nuwun, Mbah. Mugi penjenengan dipunbarokahi dyaning Gusti Allah Kang Maha Agung. 🙏🏼💕

Alfatihah