Tag Archive | life

In Hopes of the Coming Spring

“Green Sky Ad Infinitum: Winter Spring Summer” by sacadalang 2014

 

♦  Winter can come to us at any time. Even in the midst of summer it could be winter for some of us.

The sky isn’t always blue. It could sometimes be green. And the leaves of spring and summer can appear during winter.

When we look at the sky we see the same sky yet each of us sees a different sky, too.

It’s a matter of perspective. 

“this is our sky, too” by sacadalang 2014

Faith and Rubik’s cube

The Rubik’s cube is fascinating. It reminds me of what life is like. Rubik's cube 1 _green

Life is a series of acts in order to put things into order. Order order order. For me I see life, mine at least, as being put into order at some other parts while [I] am occupied with putting into order some other different part.

I have forgotten about this feature in my life until I recently spent time getting to know a 3 x 3 Rubik’s cube. To my delight I saw that when I try to get a side into a single color the other sides may form distinguishable patterns all by themselves.

Rubik's cube 2 _redThere are those who, like me, do not congregate towards the “very” end of the “orderly” spectrum. I may be called lazy by some, but I know I’m not lazy. It’s just that the way my clock runs isn’t the kind that will stand out in the corporate world. Instead, my clock runs in such a way that I take the time to appreciate patterns that aren’t interesting to others. No, I don’t have the aptitude for the mathematical way of describing patterns, so that’s not what I’m talking about, either. There’s just too much stuff needed to be able to math-talk that I run out of time for them. Nevertheless it would be wonderful if I, too, like the mathematicians am able to cook up a statement describing how the color patterns come up when this and that turning is done on a Rubik’s cube.

Rubik's cube 3 _nearlyThe way I, or you, put our lives into order may be objectionable to others. There are those who express disapproval at the way we do things. It could also be that we try to put our lives into order in such a way that we won’t be at the receiving end of a disapproval. Whichever way it is we do feel the tension between these two ways tugging at us. For me it is couched as “what should I do?”

We all have our own pattern-appreciation-languages ::: musical notes, weaving patterns,  words on a page, lines+shapes+lighting, or sound+movement+lighting, angles+weights, trajectory+speed, food tastes, taxonomy, almost-no-words-but-full-of-thoughts (e.g., the haiku) … et cetera

Rubik's cube 4 _nearlyThere are also those who, like me, aren’t experts at a particular pattern-language but all the same we are uplifted whenever we spot an evidence of one.

If you believe in God then this shouldn’t be a surprise for you. Thousands of years ago humans have already become aware that God causes patterns to form. He puts order out of chaos.

Rubuik's cube 5 _orange

At center stage, my Rubik’s cube on my table where my study things are pushed to the side for the moment.

I am typical of my folks. We get to laugh at almost anything, not the least at our own selves. It helps us cope. It helps us from going down that road which is lethal to those who have “nothing”. I needed to put that within quotes because, one, it is subjective, and two, “nothing” doesn’t seem to exist. That’s what I understood the last time I looked up science. But, I fervently request you, don’t discuss creatio ex nihilo with me yet because I haven’t read up much on that. If you want, in relation to it, you can look at discussions about an ancient Mesopotamian composition that starts with “When on high” … 😀 that’s all I can remember for now 😀

I don’t know which part of the world you live in, but just in case you are also like us who are nakakapit sa patalim (living on the edge of a knife) then let the lesson I discovered from the Rubik’s cube encourage you. Just keep on no matter how hard things are going because somehow there’s a pattern forming at the other side, waiting for its perfect time to come up in your life’s story.

Thank you, Mr. Garfitt.

Jesus came to banish fear.

jesus of wigan  Though I haven’t gone through the entire book yet, the few parts that I have read so far are making good sense to me. For one, I can see that it’s obviously made out of love, that it’s a true labor of love, and it deserves much respect and consideration. Thank you, Francis Garfitt, for writing this fascinating and refreshing book about a living man and a living story that was calcified within just a few pages two thousand years ago.

I have always gone by the thought that if truth is in God, that if ‘truth’ is an embodiment of God, then there’s no way of disproving Him nor that our insistence on “defending” Him will add to that truthfulness. In pursuing my personal studies on that distant world of two thousand years ago when Jesus of Nazareth shook his world, I would like to listen to this particular voice that projects Jesus’ story’s context through a personal conviction using the platform of the contemporary world. ‘Evangelism’, after all, is not limited to the mainstream’s definition of it, if the reader sees it as that. A storyteller is by all means entitled to any artful way of delivering an old story with full relevance. We, those of us who want to keep on telling a story that has been stamped ‘unchangeable’, may just have to take the courage to step out of the silenced crowd and speak in a way that will make the story enabling again even to those who have been rendered numb by the challenges of everyday survival — the way that Jesus of Nazareth did. That’s love.  Jesus of Wigan

What I especially find refreshing among the narratives is the inclusion of the scientific perspective in order to bring about a multi-perspective handling of whatever scene is featured. In this book science is integrated as a tool for looking at what is. The outcome resonates with the Hebrew worldview where things are dealt with integrally, like for example that a human being is not allocated into body-&-soul parts. So far I can see it doesn’t pretend to know everything yet it’s a humbling book. It will make one look at things differently, make one recall the time when one realized that things are not what they are as seen on the surface. It will encourage you to love. It will confirm your simplest reasons for wishing for happiness.

(Note: Today is May 19, 2016. This was written 2 years ago. I need to update it soon. I just got to find the time. Get the book if you can. Jesus of Wigan by Francis Garfitt. You will like it even if you’re not interested in the religious side of it. ❤

Update: May 20, 2016. I edited the original script and added a few words. Still, that is not the ‘update’ that I meant. It will then look like a review of the book.)

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

🙂

  • 🙂 I have your book today, in paper. I don’t know when I can finish it considering that I’m not supposed to do anything else besides looking for certain things in books for a year at least, but actually I’m now on John’s first baptism. I’m liking John and I can easily connect him with that John in the desert, both with passions of that intensity. But how I wish I knew more of European economy/history so that I could get more laughs out of your quirky statements — I mean, I had my first big laugh at page (though unnumbered) 3 of Introduction and I anticipate that there are lots like it in this your thickish book. Though I think I just go open some more of your book for reasons other than greed for knowledge, otherwise things will just not get right with me. One has to be ready for the things that you say in here 🙂 . What made me confident enough to get a copy was that a few days ago I finally had a gut feeling of what evil is. The subject of evil isn’t an attractive material for me and so I haven’t read up on the academic discussions on it, nor am I interested in the macabre in popular media. But recently, in a flash, I realized that I understood that evil is the attempt to choke/snuff out/strangle life, to negate life. Something happened to me and I felt like I was going to be annihilated, something is trying to deny my essence, and if I let it be I would end up a living dead, a nothing — and so it dawned on me that this, then, is what evil is. I decided to find a way to stay alive despite the presence of this thing that would callously wipe me off from existence if I let it. So I thought that a retelling of Jesus’ story like the way you’re doing is worth looking into, with the horrors of modern metropolitan living, and they shouldn’t disturb me as much anymore due to my newly found knowledge (haha looks like this leads me further into my “knowledge-of-good-and-evil” musings…). I’m wary like this because I’m not familiar with big city living, and the little that I’ve experienced of it I didn’t really like… but I do like the way you explain the will to power … I agree with what you say in there … and I can’t help wanting to catch your words at each right-hand page because they look like they might fall off any time — this was the first big laugh, actually 🙂 THANK YOU for your great effort in this book. May many people come to read it.

     

  • Dear Sacadalang,

    thank you so much for the comment and for buying a copy of my book. I’m glad you are liking John. He is based on a guy that I met whilst doing some voluntary work. He was working as an ‘enlightened witness’ with other ex-prisoners and this idea of a ‘witness of the light’ kept bringing me back to him whenever I tried to visualise John the Baptist. I was genuinely humbled to meet him. I only met him once, but maybe that is how life is.

    I think that your gut feeling of what evil is, is important. George Macdonald wrote of the shadow inside us all in his book Phantastes, a fairy story for adults. In it he wrote that the affirmation of evil is the negation of all else. So take care of yourself, negation is anti-hope, the anti-social anti-value that builds on feelings of isolation, then anger, then destruction… either of self or others. In the same way that the key to madness is personal to each of us, so is the path to oneness. I love your blogs, their enthusiasm and infectious joy. I don’t know all the films and TV shows you mention, but what I enjoy is learning why you enjoy them. So keep it up, we are all part of the pattern.

    It took me 7 years to write the book, and I always felt that if it touched one person then that was worth it, that whatever I was doing meant something more than just another writer with another book. Sometimes I felt like giving it up as a bad job, and even now I’m not happy with it, I can see the flaws, particularly in grammar. So thank you once again for taking the time to read it.

    kind regards

    Fran

     

  • Dear Fran,
    thank you for replying, for the reply, for Phantastes, for John, and for the encouragement — yep, I have a good idea now about the self-destruction and the wanting-to-quit parts, thanks to my experiences — ach, the grammar, well, grammar does not rule so to say … all I know is that I’m reading a genuine specimen of contemporary British English and for me that’s good enough 🙂
    -wishing-you-a-nice-week-
    ang sacada lang

     

    ❤ ——————- ❤

    ( 4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy with a difference 8 Aug 2013  /  By Viv M)
    I found this book shocking at times and unlike any other “religious” book I’ve ever read. It is an imaginative modern interpretation of the gospel story. I enjoyed the references to Wigan, and there is plenty of humour. It’s a retelling of history with complex twists.
    ❤ ——————- ❤
    4.0 out of 5 stars Are you on the path? 4 Aug 2013  /  By Mark S If you are trying to find a path to faith this book will help. The authors take on the New Testament and the disciples of Jesus provide some great reflective moments for the reader, which disciple are you? The author’s link to modern day diseases, such as the craving for power and certainty, provide an interesting view of the New Testament story and highlight how shallow our modern day lives have become. Our constant desire for instant gratification and oneupmanship are clearly exposed in this insightful work.

    A great read and it really challenged my thoughts. This book has really helped me to think more clearly about what Jesus was really trying to achieve. I don’t agree with all of the authors views but the thought provoking nature helped me to further understand the Bible itself. Well done a great first book.

     

 

find your rhythm

 

resume your dance

Isadora Duncan was a famous American dancer.    please click on to enlarge. thank you.

wake up.

resume your dance.

let every cell in your body remember their rhythm.

find your feet, grapple,

find your ground, dig,

touch the earth, reach out, strain yourself,

come back to your voice.

you are beloved.

wake up

This excerpt is part of Estes’ discussion, in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves, using the tale of The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen, that one of the girl who froze while trying to sell matches on the street but instead lit them one after the other in attempts to keep warm/safe/comfortable.

captured from Women Who Run With the Wolves page, slightly edited

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Women-Who-Run-With-the-Wolves-by-Clarissa-Pinkola-Estes/180239888679436

find your laughter

(edited April 5, 2014)

!good morning

🙂

…for a long time, some time ago, I didn’t know that I was sick until I realized that I had lost my laughter…

 wwrwtw _black  If you have not come across the author/psychiatrist/storyteller [Dr.] Clarissa Pinkola Estes, or anyone like her, or just anyone that even a tiny bit slightly resembles what her book, Women Who Run With The Wolves, brings to the noosphere, then let me introduce her name to you with a quote from that book, on laughter (to enlarge images, please click on them)

🙂

.

… this is where the quote may be found on the net:

on laughter _ wwrwtw _estes

 

… laughter is essential … if you don’t have it yet, your particular kind of laughter, the one that connects you to your beating heart, the one right there, at the core of you, or, if you’ve lost it, then may you gather your strength in order to find it … !and this goes for everyone, of course! … the book is for everyone, so the author emphasizes, despite its title 😉

ciao for now

chic and pretty ... beauty defined

chic and pretty … beauty defined

origin page:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Women-Who-Run-With-the-Wolves-by-Clarissa-Pinkola-Estes/180239888679436

time to escape

to take off

just go, now.

cut off the strands of gravity from beneath you.

.

?????????your only choice is to levitate, and just drift,

simply drift, be carried away.

.blown away

do not resist.

.

time must cease to hover over your sky,

someone's artbe free from it.

.

.

.

.bluish & pinkishbe part of the electromagnetic realm,

.

golden movementembrace fluid boundaries.

.

just  shift,   shift,    shift.

.

.

shuffle the touchdowns, do not touch ground.

it   is  the   moment   to   fly.

taking off now.

April 1, 2014

Unexpectedly Meeting Kiyoha & Seiji, in Sakuran

Updated April 3, 2014 🙂 All these captures from the film enlarge when clicked on ❤

PART ONE.

 0.  Seiji & Kiyoha happiness  Sakuran (2006) is the most riotously color-full film I have ever seen. The kaleidoscopic backdrops are enough for me to like this movie. Its soundtracks are as engaging (Ringo Shiina’s album Heisei Fuuzoku = Japanese Manners). Most of them sound celebratory, some are as defiant as courageous splashes of adolescent rebelliousness, and at the correct times so mournful that they transport me back to reality all the way to the tears.

1.  Kiyoha-Higurashi & her sisters entertain a guestIt is based on a manga, one which I have not read and so I have no points of reference other than the little that I know of Japan like its woodwork, clothing, paper walls, woodblock prints, communal bath, ground drenched by rain-pour, a field of cherry trees in bloom, a stiff sense of honor and shame. It was a very enlightening tour into a past life yet also instructive of norms that prevail. Sakuran will not pale against any comics-rendition of the life of an independent-willed girl sold and reared in a pleasure district of feudal Japan, in a courtesan house.

2.  Kiyoha & an admirer _infatuation & camaraderieThis is not a film for those who see all women entertainers, past and present, who dress up and perform roles like that of the geishas of today as nothing but just dispensable prostitutes. If it is approached with this mindset then the film will be reduced into just another commercial project, having profit as the worshiped purpose. The foundational but covered-up elements of soul-captivity and abandonment of alternative life choices will get trampled under the power of the intent to titillate. The heroine in this film represents those who constantly rage against their caged fate — it is her refusal to be dampened that always gets her in trouble with the others and it is around this characteristic of hers that the story revolves.

6.  Seiji is behind Kiyoha _parade of Higurashi the Oiran

The Oiran Parade, which is still done until today.

For a fact, there are distinctions between Japanese women entertainers of the past and geishas of today, and other classifications I am not familiar with. This can most likely be easily surfed in the net (see the added note * below). There are those that were termed as courtesans, which connote sexual involvement, whereas geishas are professional entertainers, very expensive, very strictly trained in the well-defined structure of the traditional Japanese arts. Entertainers such as the geisha are living icons of entrenched Japanese ideals, expressions of a unique worldview set in studied harmony. They are breathing windows into a world where many would like to be but couldn’t. They are 3-D picture frames, animated paintings, enfleshed music. Though this film may not lead us down into the depths of a courtesan’s introspections it does form a bridge with which we are allowed to see a glimpse of the richness of souls inhabiting a so-called “floating world”. 5.  Sakuran_2007 _a little bragging does not hurt(added 1March14:  There’s the film Yoshiwara Enjo, which is also called Tokyo Bordello, set in the 20th century that treats issues related to the floating world with more depth than Sakuran does. There’s also a legend going by the term Oiran Abyss or Oiran Edge that tells of several courtesans’ tragic fate, but I still haven’t looked this up.)

If there is one fault in the film it is that the main character has too pretty a face, a potential distraction from the seriousness of the running themes. But when seen against the fact that this is a real-life rendering of a manga heroine, Kiyoha, then the choice is perfect. Anna Tsuchiya does give Kiyoha a distinctive persona, one that is a bit different from the rest. Moreover, she does not hesitate to move the appropriate facial muscles, and admirably too, to generate the range of emotions felt by either Kiyoha the tigress, or Kiyoha the kitten and several more.7 .  Seiji & Kiyoha mourn a friend

In this film is where I first saw Masanobu Ando, as Seiji, who is among my favorite heroes. Seiji is not a man of expressive passions. His role is that of a dedicated and upright businessman and overseer of the establishment. He has to have eyes at the back of his head for Kiyoha though, because he has learned early on that she is not the meek conformist. Nevertheless Kiyoha has a higher regard for him than for the house’s owners, who in turn trust him in his ability to peacefully handle her. Kiyoha’s personal little girl apprentice addresses him in honorifics, as Seiji-dono (whereas its equivalent would be Seiji-sama nowadays).

7.  Sakuran_2007  the Yoshiwara main street at dawn

Unlit Yoshiwara main street at dawn. This aquarium, in the foreground, is hoisted on top of the entrance gate.

For the fans of Oguri Shun, I assure you that you’ll see his face here within a span of 10 seconds only, but it’s a face that will surprise and delight you. He made the most of the 10 seconds to make a very unforgettable appearance.

Kiyoha’s last glimpse of her hometown was with the cherry blossoms, sakura, lining the road as a madam hurries her to her new house. She enters the gates of the red district at night, when all the lanterns along the main street are lit and she, the little girl, is just as appreciative of the sights as she was with the sakura. But not for long she gets fed up with the all-women company within the enclosure and she develops the perpetual urge to run away, which she does attempt sometimes. Women can be bitches to girls who have complexes — usually girls, or any human, will not run away from where there is warmth. Plus, she misses the sakura. Seiji, who was already a young adult by then, catches up with her at a little shrine in the district during one of these flight urges. 8 .  Higurashi & her samurai suitor In this shrine stands a forlorn cherry tree that has never bloomed even once. He placates her and promises to take her out of the enclosure once this tree shows a flower. In fact, no sakura has ever bloomed within this entire pleasure district.

Kiyoha grows up retaining her independent spirit. She scratches and growls whenever she is wronged. She does not guard her speech or her actions as rigidly as the other girls do. She has become a streamlined rebel, conforming yet apart. Then her heart gets broken by a puppy of a man. Seiji supports her as she adds more rigidity to her back. She goes on with living, generously giving affection to whomever she likes — to little trainee entertainers, to elderly or penniless clients — she does not discriminate, and being nasty to those who violate the common codes of courtesy.

9.  Seiji confers with his benefactorsShe gets pregnant by an anonymous father, then loses the baby. Seiji nurses her like a mother throughout her pain, staying up beside her bed. As she mourns for her baby Seiji’s surrender to their separate fates is palpable. Seiji was born of a “whore”, of an unknown father, and his conversation with her was analogous to a declaration of a non-obsessive love. When she woke up in the middle of the night, still physically weak, she covers the now sleeping Seiji with her blanket and then goes out to seek peace at the shrine. There only the bright moon could see and hear her, in her midnight blue kimono with a print like that of distant galaxies. Seiji tracks her down.  He feels her pain and he stays put like the nearby cherry tree as he catches her sobbed surrender to a loss so great she felt like her breath was being drawn from out of her. Seiji comforts her like a father or a brother or a sister would.

10 .  Seiji is mother father brother sister to KiyohaThey have a strong but well-guarded bond. Kiyoha is the head courtesan, Higurashi the Oiran, the main reason why their business flourishes. Seiji is the house’s chosen heir and is soon to be married to the owners’ niece. In his heart he would rather have Kiyoha, but, shikataganai, he cannot. It cannot be helped. Convention, duty, and gratitude to the couple who reared him and supported his mother prevent this. A samurai falls in love with Higurashi, puts a forest of blooming cherry trees all over the district, formally and publicly announces his intention to marry her, being rich enough to give the house the amount to offset their loss of her to him. But in her heart she’d rather have Seiji. Similarly, shikataganai, it cannot be helped. She is but a bought woman bound to the rules of the house, and a powerful samurai must not be embarrassed.

10. Seiji & Kiyoha farewellKiyoha and Seiji, on the last of the evenings she’ll be at the house, speak their goodbyes and well wishes to each other by subdued glances and short words. No drama. No fanfare. No lingering exchanges. Their faces, softly lit in this late night, spoke loudly enough in the stillness and in the helplessness of it all.

The following morning while the fog has not yet lifted Kiyoha arrives almost breathless at the little shrine. Her face lifts a smile. There Seiji stands, staring up at the tree. A desperate storm is raging in their separate lives but they greet each other as if each day in the world will always turn out bathed in golden sunrise. Then surprise. A gift.

11. Seiji & Kiyoha last hopeDomo arigato gozaimashita, Sakuran. An adolescent who is attentive of life will easily understand the plot. But most likely it will take one who has truly lived and loved to sense the delicate layers of this fairytale-like story. A non-Japanese will, of course, perceive many of the themes differently, like possibly being confused that the oiran (an artist as well as a courtesan) is more highly regarded than the geisha (strictly an artist only)*.

In the end one of its general messages could be that it takes a tremendous amount of courage to get hold of a happiness that is outside the bounds of convention. And faith, too. As Kiyoha’s first lover told her before he died, “There can’t be a cherry tree that doesn’t flower.” However, there are different sorts of conventions to be basing happiness on. Seiji’s & Kiyoha’s family in the house think they have chosen the foolish way but for me, one from the audience, I concur with them. Seiji has forever been witnessing Kiyoha raging against the world that is full of suffering, as she herself described it in one of their dialogues.

“World” meaning where she finds herself now and from which there seems to be no escape. Seiji & Kiyoha are like these two fishes trapped in a small worldSeiji, too, may have silently raged against the way his entire life has been, and will henceforth be, tied to the house where his mother once worked. They are like the two goldfishes living in just a few handfuls of water. Happily for them they dared that there is life outside the gilded cage (though none for the poor fishes outside the bowl). Sometimes, too, happiness is just a matter of timing, or that only those who look out for it will catch it as it passes by.

*added 1March14:   Thanks to the page http://www.kawaiistudyjapan.com/?p=197  I now know that sakuran means confusion. Indeed, almost each frame is a riot to the eyes. It’s right on the film’s theme: Kiyoha’s life is surrounded by a confusion of flamboyance and artifices; she herself constantly fights to stave off confusion in her thoughts and feelings; there’s an aquarium stuck on top of the Yoshiwara’s gate defying/mocking the fishes’ inability to be suspended in air, although its primary message would have to be “captivity”.

PART TWO.  …half of the story retold in pictures…

1.  Kiyoha leaves home

Kiyoha leaves home.

2.  Kiyoha enters the gate of Yoshiwara

It was night time and there was a feast when she first entered the Yoshiwara gate.

3  a.  Kiyoha, fascinated at first sight of Yoshiwara at night

The sight was fascinating to her.

3 a.  Kiyoha attempts to run away

She keeps attempting to run away.

3 b.  Seiji catches up with her, at the Inari Shrine, still inside the red district

Seiji catches up with her at the Inari Shrine.

3a.  Seiji tells Kiyoha to stop trying to run away

He tells her to stop trying to run away.

3b.  Seiji shows Kiyoha the cherry tree and says he'll take her out of Yoshiwara once it flowers.

He shows her the cherry tree, and says he’ll take her out of the Yoshiwara once it blooms.

3 c.  Kiyoha is punished for attempting to run away

She is punished for her misbehavior.

4.  Kiyoha is betrayed by Soujiro

Kiyoha is betrayed by her lover, Soujiro.

5.  Kiyoha is punished for misbehaving

She is punished for her misbehavior.

6.  Seiji knows Kiyoha's going out to look for Soujiro

Seiji asks her if she’s ready to face anything as she stealthily goes out to search for Soujiro.

7.  Seiji tells her not to waste her tears on Soujiro

Seiji tells her not to waste her tears on Soujiro.

8.  Seiji rushes

Seiji rushes in at the commotion.

9.  Seiji holds back Kiyoha

He holds Kiyoha back.

10.  Seiji drags Kiyoha away from the fight

He drags her away from the fight.

11.  Seiji says... Cry and you lose.

He tells her three things… Cry and you lose.

12.  Love and you lose.

… Love and you lose.

13.  Win and you lose.

… Win and you lose.

14.  Oiran Parade of Higurashi from Tamagikuya, Yoshiwara _Sakuran 2006

Kiyoha succumbs and becomes the Tamagikuya Oiran, Higurashi. This is her parade.

15.  Seiji is always behind Kiyoha

It is Seiji who is behind her…

16.  Kiyoha surrenders and becomes Higurashi Oiran

The Oiran, the highest ranking courtesan of the floating world, is a highly regarded person.

17.  Seiji & Kiyoha, performing their roles bravely

Higurashi and Seiji, at the center of the frame, dutifully perform their roles in life.

18.  goldfish hoisted atop Yoshiwara's gate

Night view of the goldfish atop Yoshiwara’s gate.

 

On Loving Rightly

Alexandria  & Roy

Alexandria & Roy

Kiyoha-Higurashi & Seiji _looking at the moonKiyoha-Higurashi & Seiji

The prerequisite to love rightly does not lie in the rational plane.

 

The right way to love is not bound by any set of guidelines there is. It can never be fully described by rhetoric. It does not depend on emotions. It cannot be defined by sociology. Religion or theology are not adequate tools for categorizing it. Love is a living phenomenon, and therefore it is always in motion, dynamic, many-faceted, and more than the sum of any of its parts that will ever be identified. It is a creative phenomenon just as it is being continually created. It is a ‘being’ that cannot become better or worse than what it already is.

 

‘Love’ as a concept is perceived and communicated differently depending on the context — cultures, worldviews, influences — yet it is also something that can cut across these barriers. Those who know what love is are also the ones who are able to give and receive it even without being aware that it has already been done. It may not even be something emotional, hence dramatic. Loving and receiving love is more natural than breathing. Like the wind’s movement that cannot be defined it is there all the same, and is very real.

Many thanks to The Fall, Chuno, Crime Squad, and Sakuran for the shots.

On My Stupidity. And A Miracle Gift On St. Nicholas’ Day

flurries1What does one do when one suddenly discovers that one’s Residence Permit expires on the Saturday that is only two days away? One panics. One calls oneself stupid. One smirks at one’s utter stupidity.

Thursday evening I looked at my electronic Residence Permit card and the 7.12.2013 deadline hit me like a thunderclap, in my skull. On Fridays the City Hall is open for only four hours in the morning. If a miracle doesn’t manifest within that time frame then I’d find myself an illegal alien by Sunday. Horrors.

St_NicholasI spent the late night and the early morning preparing, and producing a passport photograph using a camera that I had to hold at an arm’s length. I needed to be at the City Hall, waiting in line and nothing else, by the time it opens at 8 a.m. My quest for survival intensified my focus for the essentials. Proofs for continuous enrollment. Proof of financial support. Insurance papers. What else? Seminar attendance certificates, just in case. Check the weather forecast. What to wear? — double of everything because it’s the start of the chilly days, and snow is expected. Best to have a good breakfast to compensate for lack of sleep. And a maximum dose of vitamin supplements.

flurriesAfter 1 hour of sleep I got up and semi-fried two free-roaming-chicken’s eggs and heated the left-over rice and fish. I was so happy for the left-overs. I had the breakfast of breakfasts, this without coffee, while listening to favorite songs. On the bus ride I had the happy view of the waking day and the throng of youngsters heading for school. All that while, I was miserably hoping for a miracle.

The City Hall employee who attended me didn’t give a hint of an opinion of the stupidity that I have assigned to myself. He asked, “Did you fill up a Request for Renewal Form?” I said, “No.” He asked again, “Why?” I answered straight away, “Because I saw the deadline only yesterday.” We didn’t discuss anymore the Reminder Letter that got lost on its way to me, sent by the City Hall two months ago. santa claus chocolateHe was simply relieved that I had all the required papers with me and we could proceed with the process. As I was answering his pages and pages of questionnaires the sky suddenly sent down thick the first flurries of the season. My tiny burst of exclamation at the magical sight brought a smile and a lift of eyebrows from him. The impersonal atmosphere became warm. Ah. Thank you, Lord, for miracles.

Germany, Switzerland and Austria are celebrating St. Nicholas’ Feast today. It is prominently indicated on the calendars. Ah, thank you, Lord, for the miracle that it is a ‘working-day’ holiday. A City Hall employee with a basket was going around handing out to each of his delighted colleagues what looked to me a 15-cm tall Santa Claus chocolate. Ah, thank you, Lord, for gift-giving. What a happy day.

snowAll went well. I warmly thanked Mr. W. for helping me. He wished me a nice weekend. I was out of the building, after just 45 minutes, with a paper Temporary Residence Permit pending the processing of the electronic one. As I was panicking the night before I read on the net that I was supposed to process for the renewal as early as two months before the deadline.

LORD, thank you for the several-hours’ miracle. I will always rejoice for your miracles, but please help me to not shamelessly keep asking for them, and more importantly to be not as stupid as this in the future. Amen.

Thank you many times to the owners of the photos 🙂