Poem

To Love a Shadow

one day she ask, how to love
a shadow?
why you ask, I say
but she answer none

so then I offer these words,

don’t love a shadow
but find the light
the only one that could pull the shadow out from his cocoon
the one that dances with him, anytime
under the night canopy

don’t love a shadow
but find its master
the one with a face and eyes

stare into those eyes
shine light on them
find what you’re looking for
and if you find it
then you can love the shadow

why the question, I ask again,

because on some days
shadow is the only one I have, said she

Essay · Opinion

Gembala Beraroma Domba: Sebuah Refleksi Singkat

Kerendahan hati tidak hanya dibutuhkan untuk melayani. Kerendahan hati ternyata juga dibutuhkan saat belajar sesuatu yang baru, saat kemampuan kita untuk mengakui betapa masih banyak yang belum kuketahui dan masih banyak yang perlu dibenahi. Ini terbukti dalam 5 hari terakhir ini.

Sebagai peserta lokakarya mengenai kepemimpinan Paus Fransiskus dalam memimpin Gereja Katolik, pengetahuanku, pemahamanku, kesadaranku, kerendahan hatiku, semuanya ditantang oleh Paus Fransiskus. Kami peserta yang terdiri dari romo, suster, frater, bruder, dan beberapa kaum awam, termasuk saya sendiri, mendengarkan dan meresapi apa yang dimaksud dengan gaya kepemimpinan Paus Fransiskus. Lokakarya diberikan oleh Romo Kris, seorang romo Jesuit, di tempat retret Girisonta, Jawa Tengah (dekat Semarang).

Isi tulisan ini tidak bermaksud untuk menyimpulkan apa yang sudah dipelajari dalam 5 hari terakshir ini, tetapi untuk merefleksikan beberapa bentuk pemikiran dan perasaan yang muncul dalam 5 hari terakhir ini.

Pemikiran awal yang sempat muncul di benakku pada hari pertama adalah sebagai berikut. Paus Fransiskus adalah tokoh yang sangat saya kagumi. Sejak awal, saya sudah sudah memperhatikan sepak terjangnya, dan semakin lama semakin meningkat kekaguman itu. Terus terang saya kagum akan keberaniannya, terutama keberanian untuk menampilkan sesuatu yang baru, untuk membuka jalan, dan tidak takut akan pendapat orang lain–sesuatu yang saya mengalami kesusahan sejak dulu. Beberapa tindakan yang sudah beliau lakukan dan diberitakan di media massa dalam bentuk video ataupun tulisan yang kebetulan saya dapatkan, sudah saya lahap habis semuanya, walaupun semua itu ternyata terbahas ulang lagi di lokakarya ini. Paus Fransiskus bukan hanya tokoh yang saya kagumi, tapi sudah ada sedikit bagian dari diriku yang mengidolasikannya. Saya menyadari pemikiran itu sedikit berbahaya, tapi sebelum mengikuti lokakarya ini, itulah pandangan awalku mengenai beliau. Dengan demikian, salah satu pemikiran yang muncul di benakku di awal lokakarya sebenarnya adalah, bisa dikatakan, suatu bentuk kekawatiran. Kawatir mengenai apa? Kawatir akan mendapatkan pengetahuan mengenai kelemahan-kelemahan dari Paus Fransiskus, pahlawanku, my role model, sehingga akan mengurangi rasa kekaguman saya terhadap beliau. Sebagaimana bentuk kekawatiran-kekawatiran lainnya, kekawatiran yang ini ternyata tidak memiliki landasan yang tepat. Semakin berjalannya lokakarya saya malah makin menyadari betapa manusiawinya beliau, dan itu malah makin menambah rasa hormatku pada beliau.

Akan tetapi, hari ini, di tengah-tengah kelas lokakarya, saya menemukan suatu pemikiran baru. Ternyata, ada suatu bentuk ketakutan lain. Ketakutan mungkin suatu kata yang terlalu kuat. Ini bisa lebih tepat dikatakan kekawatiran juga. Kekawatiran yang baru ini lebih mendalam lagi, tapi baru saya temukan hari ini. Kekawatiran itu tidak lain adalah mengenai diri saya sendiri, bahwa bukan hanya kenyataan mengenai (the truth about) Paus Fransisku yang saya temukan, tapi juga kelemahan, kekurangan, dan kemiskinan saya sendiri.

Hari ini, saya disadarkan mengenai my own humility, kerendahan hatiku sendiri. Aku diingatkan oleh Tuhan Yang Maha Rahim, melalui Romo Kris sebagai narasumber dan melalui contoh-contoh tindakan dan perkataan Bapak Paus Terkasih bagaimana masih miskinnya saya dalam hal pemahaman diri saya sendiri. Betapa masih miskinnya saya dalam hal kerendahan hati. Betapa masih miskinnya saya dalam hal pendalaman iman dan dalam hal pelayanan. Masih banyak yang bisa saya lakukan. Masih banyak tindakan-tindakan baru yang perlu saya lakukan. Hidupku sendiri masih semrawut dan perlu dibenahi untuk supaya saya bisa melayani orang-orang di sekitarku dengan lebih baik, giat, dan ikhlas, dan menjadi gembala yang mengenali domba-dombanya. Masih banyak yang belum aku lakukan.

Di satu sisi saya juga merasa agak sedikit bingung karena tidak tahu mau memulai dari mana, mau melakukan apa dulu yang pertama. Ada sedikit rasa gelisah juga karena semangat untuk berubah sudah muncul dari dalam diri tapi disertai dengan rasa bingung yang tidak tahu pasti ingin memulai dari mana. Tapi, saya cuma bisa mengingatkan diriku sendiri mengenai suatu pembelajaran dari hari ini. Lokakarya ini belum selesai. Masih ada sekitar 4 hari lagi, sehingga saya juga diingatkan dengan salah satu ajaran Paus Fransiskus, yaitu mempercayai proses, pelan-pelan saja, tidak perlu tergesa-gesa. Tidak ada rumus yang akan menuntun saya dalam melakukan apa yang perlu saya lakukan, tapi saya sebaiknya mengawali di suatu tempat dan berkembang dari situ. Ikuti prosesnya, resapi pengalaman itu. Hal yang penting untuk diingat adalah keluar dari zona nyaman sendiri, berani mengambil risiko dalam bertindak, dan mawas diri. Dalam hal apapun, selalu melakukan semuanya itu dengan kerendahan hati. Tanpa kerendahan hati, kita tidak bisa melayani dengan belas kasih. Itulah ajaran-ajaran yang saya camkan dari pembelajaran selama ini.

“Be a shepherd with the smell of sheep. ~Pope Francis.

Essay · Poem

What is to Forget?

Picture

Image is titled “Remind.her to remember” by sophiaazhou from DeviantArt.com

I responded to a writing prompt. It asked me to write two lists. The first list is about things that I want to forget. The second one is about things that I want to remember. Guess what, the results came back almost the same.

In order to get rid of memories involving people and situations that I want to forget, I would run the risk of deleting the same people and possibly situations that I want to keep in my memory too.

Why are we humans so complicated? We create this complicated wants, needs, hates, dislikes on our own. We continue to push ourselves to get something that we want, to chase something in order to feel happy, belonged, loved, but then let them go once we get tired of them. Therefore, we continuously create a dual-impact in every single person and situation that we come across. We love a person, then we hate that person. We need a person, then we push that person away. We strive to be part of a group, later we quit. We find ourselves in a bad situation, but then we learn from it and become a better person. We let go a person, then we desire that person again. We make a decision to move to another place, then we miss it. And so on. It’s a dance of life that we make into a perfection as we move along in life.

Why does it have to be a double perspective to every single thing that we go through? Why can it be much simpler. I hate complication, but I always find myself getting caught in one. Is there a lesson in all of these messes?


Picture

Image is titled “Remember Me Too” by laughsofgreed from DeviantArt.com

 

(a poem)

what does it mean to forget?
for a person who has seen the secret beauties of this world,
who knows how a rainbow frames the sky with its colors,
or that trees would wear their best autumn dress and
dancing until no more leaves are left on their naked limbs,
or when the sky sprinkles its first snow
coloring the ground in shiny white,
oh and what about the magnificent sunset,
the view that we tirelessly waited
day after day,
how can a person forget all of those?

when we no longer have what we used to have
shall we forget them then?
when we no longer want what we used to chase
shall we forget them too?
is it the same as letting go?
and will it always involve a goodbye?
how painful it must be then to let go
the more your heart insists to toss ’em,
the more it aches and
the more your mind frantically grabs to hold on,
it haunts you even in your waking dreams
like a nightmare, but a never ending one


but do you ever wonder why it’s so
damn hard to forget?

have you ever laughed so hard
that you happily wipe tears from your eyes?
have you ever excitedly anticipating something so delightful that you want to shout your joy to the world?
do you remember those…
…moments?
see, before there was pain, joy was there
before there was yearning, excitement was there
before there was loathing, love was there
hurt and happiness,
they come from one root

what then?
what should a person do?
begging the heart to stop?
force hope out of the head?
it is hope’s fault, you convince yourself
just make it die please, you whimper in your sleep
you’re so desperate for anything
any prescription that can
stop what you no longer want–
stop what was once desired
and would die for

my dear, you’re asking wrong questions,
you can’t stop the wheel that is already
in motion since the day you took your first breath,
you can’t throw what is already a part of you,
you can’t cut a thread
that is binding you to the memory,
have you ever wondered
perhaps
you are not supposed to forget?
you’re not allowed to pick what to forget
because that is the universe’s job,
not yours

your task is,
to learn to accept, that
to forget means to continue to remember,
and to deny it means to live in pain,
the past is a gift, a blessing,
so remember them,
accept them,
breathe,
live,
love!

Essay

Thoughts on Vulnerability

I want to share and discuss a video that has inspired me. I saw this video a few months ago and this video blew me away. I found through TED on facebook and I knew back then that I have to share this video on this blog. Her message about vulnerability is excellent. Some messages that we hear hit a target within us because it’s something that we need to hear. So let’s hear it.

You can also click on TED website here,

The website has a transcript if anyone is having a hard time listening to her.

“Why do we struggle so much with vulnerability?”Yes, why do we? I do too, though things that make me vulnerable may be different from those of other people. As Brene Brown said it, “Vulnerability is the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness…”  With that sentence, she can actually create the second, third and fourth video of this topic, which she did later on. There is a video on the topic of shame that is also just as interesting as this one.

She threw in so many terminologies in the video, so many concepts that it was confusing at first. Confusing but makes sense to me. When I first watched this video several months ago, I understood right away what it was about, but it needs time I guess for the whole concept to sink in.

If I may try to sum up the video based on my understanding, here it is. It was interesting to me that she started earlier in the video to mention worthiness. Based on my understanding, what Brown means by worthiness are worthy of two things, belonging and love. People who feel that they belong to something, whether it is to family or a group of people through work or organization, and people who are capable to love are people that basically think that they are worth those two things: to belong and be loved. If people feel that they are not worth those two things, then a struggle is likely to happen within them. They may struggle to make connection with other people, and they may have a problem being authentic, being vulnerable. Because to be able to connect with other people, to love, to be loved back, and to belong, one has to be courageous enough to feel vulnerable.

And here is my own thought about the whole thing. Let’s start at worthiness because I think worthiness is the key. To me worthiness to love and belong should be everyone’s right to have. It’s human rights, it’s part of being human. Those two needs, to love (and vice versa to be loved) and to belong are crucial for every human being to survive. But not everyone receives those two things. Those who do not receive them may have a hard time with worthiness. Why? Let’s just say for example when a child feels that she is worth the love of her parents and therefore feels that she belongs to her parents, she may then develop a thought that she deserves to be loved by her parents. When the child thinks she deserves it, she can technically ask for it, demand it, want it and be given it. Worthy, deserves, they do connect. But how can she learn to ask, demand, want if she was never given or shown it before? Worthiness to love and belong therefore, is a privilege. It is not something that everyone has access to.

With that realization, it makes a person’s whole sense of worthiness very vulnerable then. It’s as if we depend on other people’s love, acceptance, connection, in order to feel we are worthy. It’s like a circle. One’s worthiness in return impacts other people’s worthiness, and so on. This is probably why as human beings, we are never free from this concept of vulnerability. There are and will be issues, situations, people that make us vulnerable. And what makes us vulnerable now may not be the same that make us vulnerable in the future or in the past. We go through changes in life, we meet new people, we perhaps encounter illness or accident that can make us vulnerable. Our vulnerability is never separated however, from other people. It has a social aspect.

It an addition to social aspect, vulnerability seems to me has an aspect of episode or process, which means that it has a beginning, a middle and an ending. I don’t think we should be feeling vulnerable about the same thing all through our live. We can choose to get out of it, but it doesn’t mean that we will never encounter vulnerability again in the future. How long will we feel vulnerable or how sooner we come out of that feeling vulnerable depends on how much support we receive from other people in the form of — and here is where we come back to the beginning of the circle — love and belonging, the two aspects of worthiness that Brown said in the beginning.

My goodness, I love this topic of vulnerability, but it is complex. What I discuss above is only a smidgen of many more aspects of vulnerability. It is indeed a complex one. I realize now after writing this essay that when we encounter a vulnerable moment, whether it is because we come into a situation, meeting new people, experiencing a changing in our needs and priorities, it is perhaps a blessing. It is an opportunity for a change, for something bigger and better, as long as we can win the fight against shame and fear. After all, Brown also said the following about vulnerability, “…that it [vulnerability] is also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love.”

Essay

Meaningful Conversation

What is one thing that inspires me? A meaningful conversation. This can be a deep level of conversation with a person I trust, baring up each other soul, thoughts, fears, weaknesses, supporting each other, comforting. It can also be a meaningful conversation between two people who barely knew each other but want to connect. I’ve had that experience quite recently actually, not face to face, but through chatting. Can a meaningful conversation even be done through chatting? Well, yes and no. I thought at some point the conversation was meaningful, but nothing beats a face to face conversation I think. Chatting has some downsides. What I would love to see is the facial expression of the person I am talking to when having a conversation. As a matter of fact, I believe facial expression is the key to having a meaningful conversation. Being denied facial expressions is like eating a plain ice cream without a topping, fried rice without any meat or vegetables, or bread without a filling inside or even butter.

So why does a meaningful conversation an inspiration for me? If I look back to all of meaningful conversations I’ve had with my friends (and therapist), they all have one thing in common. I learned something new in those conversations. Always! Never failed. Whether it was to learn another side of me that I didn’t realize before, or learn a new way of looking at life, but rest assure I always gained something powerful out of the interaction. Quite frequently too it wasn’t about learning something new, but realizing a flaw in me that I surprisingly already knew beforehand — just did not have the courage to acknowledge, nonetheless accept it. How did I come to the conclusion that I already knew it beforehand? Because it tasted familiar. Something that I have done before. A mistake that kept repeating itself.

Will all of these inspire me to change eventually? I can’t give an exact yes answer right away. This realization of a flaw or a mistake within us has a name in psychology — it’s called insight. An insight is a powerful realization; at times it marks the rolling of wheel that will hopefully bring change. The rolling of the wheel may not happen suddenly and right away too. But it IS a start, unless the person has a very strong mechanism to reject the insight. My hope is that even when change comes in a delayed mode, but with more and more meaningful conversations with the right person(s), change for the better will eventually happen. Let’s keep hoping for it. At least I sure do.

And as for chatting as a tool for meaningful conversation? While I believe it is not the most effective form of conversation, but with the far distance in between two people that are hunger for connection, it may as well be the easiest choice for the time being. The power of human-direct conversation and connection, more specifically face to face, still cannot be replaced by technology.

 

Originally published in January 2016 in my other blog.