I will explain this image in a bit, but I’m going on a circle of thought here.
I probably didn’t have solid expectations or plans this year, but I certainly did not expect this turn out. There are some opportunities in life that I am open to, like continuing my education at the graduate level or traveling, but I haven’t made real plans to make any of that actually happen, and with coronavirus as a huge economic factor this year, those opportunities slowly moved down the priority list for me. I got caught up with job searching, then keeping up with work once I found something to do, then completing the extra coursework I started, and then I guess that seemed like a good time to start another art project. So, that was probably the train of thought which led me to where I am today.
On the other hand, I didn’t know that coronavirus would have the impact around the world that is has made by the end of an entire year. I could have never known or imagined that the virus would put the world in lockdown or take the lives of millions of people worldwide because I have never lived through anything like this. In America, covid was speculated as a conspiracy and it was further politicized by the media as well as the White House (How can anyone ignore how the president continually brushed it off by saying the “China virus” would just “disappear” and “go away” by “April with the heat” and then got covid as a result of ignoring social distancing precautions while rallying for reelection). Regardless of your political stance, that was not responsible leadership or taken very seriously, and this really could have been the time for a leader to unify us and encourage each other to get through this hardship, and it disappoints me that this was used in the advantage to confuse and divide us.
Despite some personal setbacks, I have been fortunate to have my basic needs met and to have a normal suburban life that was not completely turned upside down, and this year has made me really appreciate the big little things in life. In my down time, I have been able to explore art again and to reflect on life to really explore my faith. It also surprised me that I took the leap of faith to come to Christ because I didn’t start the year seeking anything in particular, but that faithful decision changed the outcome of my year and my life. When I think about what’s happening or what’s going to happen, I am no longer overly anxious because I trust in God to lead me and I do not lean on Trump.
The coronavirus is real and it has the potential to cause great harm, so please take care of yourselves and your loved ones. This Christmas Eve, there was a family member who passed away from covid. My thoughts and prayers really do go out to the immediate family, but what can I do from a safe social distance besides contribute to the Gofundme page? Well I also shared the link. Now, I am sharing a thought tangent in this written reflection which I hope is not too far out there. Just to be clear, I don’t always think about death. Like I‘m not hopelessly depressed or think obsessively about dying. Sometimes I wonder, but what comes across my mind is what really happens at that moment because there’s a time for everyone.
One thought that has come to my mind lately is that if I was born into a Buddhist family, am I still bound to a Buddhist fate or am I saved by Christ? Okay, that thought is really far out there, but it’s important to me. In Buddhism, there is an illustration of the circle of life, or the realms of the world, or Samsara. The image shows a circle of the realms that is held by a powerful being, and outside of this circle is an enlightened one. Are you free from this cycle if you are enlightened? I’m not enlightened, but sometimes I really wonder about these things. Like I might not be awoken, but am I aware enough? Because this is not a normal thought. Most Buddhists do not constantly think about enlightenment and are not overly spiritual or religious, but they do respect monks and their ancestors and strive to live good lives in the present moment. Many have probably seen this image at some point, but don’t necessarily navigate life by it because it’s not in the forefront of anyone’s mind when we return to everyday life.
When I change my worldview from east to west, and when I read biblical scripture, there is a grand revelation about Jesus that can help guide Christians with their own questions about life. In the book of Ecclesiastes, the Bible says, “Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself? Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them” (Ecclesiastes 8:16-18). I am not writing about this to try to appear wise or cool, and if anything, I’m actually shy about writing or expressing myself at all. The reason why I included scripture was to guide this thought, not to appear righteous because my understanding is limited and I come to God with my questions about how to navigate life in both worlds.
It’s not just an eastern mindset vs. western, believing in Buddhism vs. Christianity, thinking about living life vs. after life, whether you hold Democratic values vs. Republican, or any other means of social division. Maybe we could all get along or at least be able to cooperate with one another if we think about what really matters in life, or at the end of life, but our problem as people is that we don’t really acknowledge our shared values or goals. We haven’t just socially distanced this year, but we’ve also allowed ourselves to become socially divided. We tend to highlight our differences, but we don’t have to look at things as opposites. Sometimes we lack context or understanding or compassion for each other, and regardless of your political or religious stance, we all exist in the same reality where we go on with our daily lives and some day we will exit. What happens beyond that moment is of faith.
There are a lot of factors and perspectives and scenarios that I did not include, but I hope that this thought was not too far out there or culturally unaware or insensitive, and I apologize again if I am. I shared this image to help explain what I am trying to understand, but I am by no means trying to change or challenge anyone’s beliefs or worldview. I’m also not sure if my thoughts and prayers mean anything to you, but I hope you will have a better year ahead of you.
I can almost see the light at the end of 2020, so close, but just a day away.
Typically, aren't we judged by our works at the end? Like what did we do with the time we were given? Not just this year, but in life in general. Right now, I'm not sure what I actually did, or did right. Looking back at this year alone, there's certainly a lot that I did. I just can't remember how I got through each day or each week, but there was a lot that happened and I did my best to make every day a good day. I will probably compose a better thought by tomorrow, but for now I just wanted to say hello and share this poem that reflects on my recent art.
All these clouds
Around my head
Reflect the storm
Inside my chest
Sometimes it's clear
Sometimes it pours
Sometimes it shines
But then there's more
Sometimes it's a little
Sometimes it's a lot
Sometimes I remember
Something I forgot
Sometimes it's light
Sometimes it's blue
Sometimes it's dark
When I think of you
Sometimes I drift
Sometimes I sway
Sometimes my thoughts
Take me far away
And wherever I go
Wherever I am led
I feel like I'm on an
Island all by myself
Merry Christmas and happy holidays, everyone. Here's a quick update of the bowls I painted and packed with succulents. I hope you have a wonderful day and find the true meaning of Christmas.
Space and Time are in different dimensions.
Apart, they are limited by the laws of their very own nature. Space perceives himself by the three physical dimensions of length, width, and height--whereas Time perceives herself by the irreversible progression of the past, present, and future. At times, they can have self limiting perceptions of themselves, but when they come together, Time and Space shed a light on one another. They see the best in the other.
It’s the same way as when we beam when we talk to someone special, or when a light shines in the mind when a good idea is created. We lighten up. Space and Time shine a certain light on one another, and we can make new observations of the universe in this light. They are very different from one another, but they compliment each other so perfectly in this way.
Beyond the three physical dimensions, we can also imagine Space as the cosmic body of lights in the sky that also create the universe. On the other hand, beyond our linear understanding of the past, present, and future, we can also imagine Time as being governed by light. The sun exists to govern the day just as the moon coexists to govern the night sky. This universal cycle of Space-Time creates the days, the weeks, the seasons, and years ahead.
Light is what shines on Time and Space. We cannot see without light. We cannot observe Space and Time without some form of light. Without light we are all in darkness. We are all in a cave that is merely a shadow of the reality and not the actual reality itself. Let’s look at the lights in the night sky. The interwoven fabric of Space-Time will warp when the shadows of reality finally pull the curtain aside. The truth is that there is a light that exists. The belief is that perhaps there is more than what there actually is.
Space and Time create the boundaries of reality. They create the world as we know it. They create the universe as we understand it to be. Time and Space share a sense of light with one another to help each of us observe, perceive, and come to understand all that is--sometimes more or less. The speed of light is the same for every observer, no matter how fast that observer is going, but perhaps we aren’t perceiving reality the same way. I don’t know, how do you perceive the universe?
*Time and Space Explained
The grand explanation behind this parable is that I'm sitting here trying to understand the universe through what I thought I knew about Buddhism, what I think I know about Christianity, and what I don't fully understand about reality through time and space alone--so my worldview is a bit strange right now.
Buddhism is based on finding truth or enlightenment, while Christianity is based on our faith in God through Jesus Christ. I have found that Buddhism is limiting in a sense because you live a life trying to understand the universe without the context of God, and while Christianity is based on faith and belief, I have found truth in coming to know God even though it is said that truth cannot be found in mere belief alone. So I thought hard about space and time and my beliefs and I can see God being present because God is light, God is truth, and God is the universe--and people who do not know God use these words to describe all that He is.
I didn't mention God in the story, but He has been on my mind lately. I personified Space and Time in this story to try and explore the relationship between them, and reality without a worldview based in religion is plain reality seen for what it actually is. The sun rises and it sets. What a beautiful day it was. Things used to be more simple, but now I'm insane. We all exist in this world but perhaps we perceive reality differently, and I need some more time and space to really think about that.
I hope you are all healthy and well and safe and okay.
At first I was very on edge about Covid and I checked the news every single day. Then I felt like I had enough problems to deal with when my refrigerator broke between March and May, then job hunting or going to work and having to serve the occasional customer who would not wear a mask even if you asked nicely. We've all had to adjust to unforeseen changes, but overall I hope you are okay. If you tuned out for a while, maybe check back in and reflect on where you're at because yesterday was a sad day.
I wanted to share a poem I wrote a while ago on my unpopular instagram account about how I kind of felt about having to stay home and actually check my smart devices more often because I took a good break from social media before this year to focus on work and school but now those are online as well. Right now, I am almost done with my final assignments and I am looking forward to painting, writing, and putting up my Christmas tree very soon. I haven't had a stroke of poetry in a while, but there are a few thoughts on my mind that I would like to compose.
All around the world
Numbers keep rising
People are dying or
Going to bed crying
Trying to survive or
Are barely getting by
People are at home trying
While orders are dividing
Us in quarantiming
To protect our lives by
Staying inside while
Some of us are rioting
To go back outside
And enjoy the sunshine
Instead of going online
And buying media lies
Profiting on my screen time
I see Google ads eyeing me
Trying to watch me see why
It doesn't have to be this way
But this is the way it is and
What can I really do about it
But hope we survive this pandemic
**Poem posted April 24 on Instagram
Time and Space belong together, but they’re just friends.
Space and Time have a very special relationship that is bound by fate, yet star-crossed at a certain point. They exist with each other and for one another, however, they are on separate entire dimensions from one another which makes things extremely complicated.
Space is understood by the three physical dimensions of length, width, and height--but what would be Space without Time? Time was created to hold Space, as Space was designed to be experienced in the fourth dimension of Time that exists outside of any linear axis as Time is nonlinear itself. Time is understood by the irreversible progression of the past, present, and future--but what would Time be without Space?
Space and Time are inextricably tied together. They are woven together like fabric that stretches and folds. When one expands, the other will contract. It’s in their indescribable nature and special relating towards one another. Time needs space, while Space needs time--but sometimes they give each other too much space and too much time to understand what is beyond the horizon of Space-Time itself.
Time is infinite, but one day, she begins to feel her inner clock ticking for the day of eternity is upon her. Even Time herself does not know when that exact moment will be or what it will entail, but she knows that moment is fated to happen. Has Time become a victim of fate, or just a curious observer of her own self? As Time seems to be shortening, Space appears to be expanding the known boundaries of reality.
As Time contracts it is the nature of Space to expand, covering the visible Earth from the non-visible paradox we experience in this four-dimensional reality. From the new perception of Time, she begins to wonder if there is more to this physical world than meets the naked eye. Is there more to Space than emptiness and form? Is there more to Time than perhaps a little more time?
The co-existence of Time and Space creates a multi-dimensional universe that is not entirely known or understood to each other. Our perception of Space is a result of how we look at the physical world with a linear mentality that we experience through Time, but when we stop thinking linearly, we can explore the higher dimensions of reality by trying to understand what is beyond the paradox of Space and Time.
Time is running out and she seeks to understand the truth of the Universe, but all she can seem to see within her limitations is reality itself. There is something strange about the day of eternity upon her that makes her believe that there is more to the truth, however, truth cannot be found in mere belief itself. The truth can only be found in reality. You can search and search for the truth, but all you will ever find is reality--and that is the truth.
*Next time we will explore the relationship of Time and Space through light. Explanation coming soon.
If you already know what your purpose in life is, that’s great.
If you have a purpose to be, a mission to achieve, a reason to get out of bed in the morning—and if that motivation comes from the heart rather than an obligation—then I want to tell you how blessed you are. On the other hand, if you don’t quite know what your purpose is or want to steer yourself towards something you want to be more passionate about, that’s okay too and I would like to nudge you in the right direction to figure that out. I also don’t quite know what my purpose is either, like I haven’t pinpointed it just yet, but I feel like I am finally getting a little warmer and I want to tell you about Ikigai.
Ikigai is a Japanese approach to understanding your purpose in life by visually mapping out who you are and your reasons for being. Maybe you already know what your purpose is, or perhaps you didn’t quite know what it was until you saw it visually mapped out like this. Ikigai is designed as a venn quadrigram (or if that’s not a real word, then it’s a venn diagram but with four circles) that brings together what you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for, and connecting those pieces of yourself to what the world really needs. You might already know what you love and what you’re good at, but I would like to encourage you to think about how to use your gifts for the world and to connect that to your new purpose in life.
As these four circles overlap, we also see new areas that combine these different pieces of ourselves to discover new ideas that we might not have seen like this before. When we cross what we love with what we’re good at, we can affirm or discover our passions in life. When we cross what we’re good at to what we can be paid for, we find possible new professions if we’re not already doing what we need to be doing. When we cross what we can be paid for with what the world needs, we explore possible vocations or callings we might have. Finally, when we cross what the world needs back to what we love, we will discover a new mission for our reason of being.
This is the intelligent design of Ikigai—all of this passion and knowledge and beauty already exists within you—but maybe you didn’t see it like this before and when you explore your Ikigai you will discover something new about yourself every single time. So grab your journal and something to write with and please give this a try. If you are circularly challenged and it’s actually a little difficult to draw those circles, that’s okay. Dedicate four pages to this exercise and draw a line in half on each page, making eight spaces in total that you can fill with bullet points and ideas.
In the first space, explore what you love. Have a brainblast on this one and list them all out. This can range from what you like to what your reasons to live are. (Example: breakfast, my dog, sunrise/sunset, the beach, coffee, etc etc). There’s so much to love in life and admire and be inspired by. What are yours?
In the second, explore your passions. What do you enjoy doing and what do you feel strongly about? (Example: art, dance, film, music, environment, social justice, surfing, or whatever passions you may have). Many of us have several passions or art forms or athletic hobbies or calls for activism. Where do you want to put your time and energy towards?
In the third, explore what you’re good at. Sometimes I also have a hard time thinking that I’m actually good at things, but please think about it. What are your gifts and talents? These can be anything from hidden abilities to big small achievements. (Example: making the best of things, creative problem solving, making coffee). You’re probably a very bright and talented person, even if you didn’t see yourself that way before.
In the fourth, explore your profession or a possible profession if you aren’t quite there yet. A profession is an occupation or field that would require some knowledge or experience on your behalf. What field do you want to work in or learn more about professionally? (Example: fine art, filmmaking, engineering, sustainability, technology, writing). Your answer may or may not be what you’re already doing, but it would help you to be honest with yourself.
In the fifth space, explore what you’re actually paid for. What’s your day job again? It’s okay if you’re still on your way to accomplishing your goals, but think about what job skills you’ve developed even if it’s not what you had in mind. (Example: from being a waitress I developed excellent communication, customer service, and problem solving abilities). What skills do you have that you can be paid for?
In the sixth, explore your vocation or a particular calling you might have. Maybe it’s learning a new skill, or taking a new class, or starting a passion project. What do you want to do that would require a little more learning or practice? (Example: blogging, karate, learning piano, starting a business, things like that).
In the seventh, explore what the world needs from your unique understanding and perspective. Some people might think that our world needs more love or environmental and social justice, and those are all good points. What do you feel the world needs right now? There’s a lot that we can do together.
By now, you have probably poured your heart and mind onto your pages. How do you feel about your Ikigai? In the last space, please take all of this beautiful information and try your best to create a mission for yourself. Now knowing all of this about yourself, a mission is a statement of purpose that will direct you to do what you want to do and what you are about to do. This is the piece that changes every single time I map out my Ikigai. There are so many ways you can direct your flow of thought to compose your mission statement, but do your best to bring yourself together to put yourself out there again.
I hope that this exercise may have helped you discover your purpose or helped you find new reasons to be inspired through your Ikigai. I want to remind you that you are so unique and our world needs you to be the very best version of yourself who is passionate and motivated and so very capable of accomplishing good things.