I grew up in a culture that avoids confrontation. And it frustrated me that people chose to be nice and just bottled up their frustrations. They ended up either getting sick or they set off their steam somewhere else. I happened to be in this café, Free the Robot, with my daughter, and I thought it’s time to free our voice to be heard, truly heard. Hence, this poem was written at the cafe in the midst of their very loud music being played in that space.
Many times we were got caught up with wanting something and yet at the same time struggled to give up another. Too often, we lamented about how things were not what we wanted them to be. For example, children graduated overseas and decided to stay and work over there; spouses working overseas and only return home once a month; someone we love is a foreigner and if we chose to stay in the relationship, it may mean we need to uproot ourselves; and so on. This poem was written to remind us that we don’t have to subscribe to something that does not bring us joy. However, to attain happiness, we will have to search within ourselves as to how much do we want to be happy and go for it.
When someone asked us a question, most of us would be compelled to give an answer. And if we didn’t have an answer, it seemed unacceptable to ourselves and others. However, not all questions would have an answer, at least, we could not claim that we had answers to everything. Even the brightest, smartest person would sometimes find themselves without an answer to the most common question, like, Where’s my keys, wallet, mobile phone, etc?
There were many times we accept the status quo of our daily lives and didn't make any attempt to challenge it. For example, we must not argue with elders, serve others before self, it’s important to follow tradition, women in a marriage is termed as wife and men as husband, it is the duty of the women in the family to take care of parents and children, it is the duty of the men to provide financial stability for the family, etc. There is no right or wrong to these concepts. My question is, do we really understand these concepts passed down for generations or just follow, just because?
Many of us claimed that we have no choice but to do what we have to do to preserve peace, to maintain a family, to keep a job we don’t really enjoy, to attend an event we dread or have a grand wedding banquet because our parents required us to do, etc. By doing all those, we subscribed to a victim mode. And we might end up with huge emotional, mental and financial debt. However, when we understand that it’s a conscious choice that we make, for now, because of something in the future that we want to attain. We will be fully aware of the consequences to the choices that we make and hold ourselves accountable, instead of staying in the victim mode.
This was written as a collection of life’s purpose of twelve purpose questers in Loranger, Louisiana, USA in Dec 2018. The three-day Purpose Quest Retreat, led by Ms Janet Goldblatt of Nowhere Group Ltd, and Ms Maryanne Mooney of The Worthy Leader Consulting, guided twelve of us, me included, in the woods and conference hall of Solomon Episcopal Conference Center working on identifying our life’s purpose through various exercises mostly channeled as connecting with our souls. What developed was wisdom, deep bonding, support and grounding of our identified purpose. And being moved by the group’s amazing support for each other, I wrote this on the plane flying out of Louisiana.
The pull of being active in social media can be rife for some, while others totally shun from it. The need to be active in social media could stem from being heard and the need to stand out and be connected to a greater audience. However, the question that needs to be answered for some of us who are constantly on social media is, what is the core message that we are trying to convey to the public? Our values or our menu? Or something more? Something that will stir a conversation to what truly matters to us.
Very often we were told that to be bold, we may sometimes have to be nasty, straight-forward or bulldoze our way to be taken seriously. I beg to differ. Hence, I wrote this poem. Let’s explore ways to be bold without being nasty.
Most of us have this common fear of facing conflicts. We would rather sweep it aside, thinking that preserving the peace is more important than talking about what was creating the tension in our relationships. However, these unresolved conflicts would one day blow out of proportions caused by the tiniest trigger. And since we are uncertain when the plug will be pulled from our lives, we can either choose to have superficial relationships that avoid resolving conflicts at all costs, or have authentic conversations that could potentially strengthen the relationships to greater heights, or realised that we do not need to further invest our energies on relationships that could not withstand confrontations.
Most of us choose which side of us to present to different people: our parents, co-workers, partners, children, friends, clients and others. Hence, different people would only know us as a combination of certain personalities, much like the popular cubic toy we were playing not too long ago. While there are many combinations of us that showed up to different people, at the core of it, we are still the same person. We are just different on various occasions and to various people whom we feel safe to be ourselves in a certain way.