Sunday, 23 November 2014

Empathy vs Sympathy

Empathy is a choice and it's a vulnerable choice because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something inside me that knows that feeling. 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Spring Cleaning Reflection #1

Phase 1 of spring cleaning - COMPLETED. 

Each time I spring clean, more shelves get emptied out. Makes me wonder again how much of the clutter is actually totally unnecessary. How much things do I really need for my daily living? What will be left after I minus out everything that is a genuine want rather than a pseudo need?

Yet, there are still a lot of unnecessary things stored up until the next time I spring clean those shelves and perhaps, by then, I'll be more ready to part with more stuff. 

For now, the biggest fruit of the past days of labour is my reclaimed table space. Now my head feels uncluttered too. And I can begin to think again and plan stuff. It's interesting how the state of my room reflects the state of my mind. 

As I take a break tomorrow and embark on phase 2 after, it is also a good time as Advent approaches to begin spring cleaning my inner shelves too... those of my life. How much clutter have I accumulated? What are these that have cluttered up my inner self so much so that God is lesser and lesser visible? 

Advent, to me, is a time of preparation - of preparing my heart to receive Jesus anew. It's a time of making way, making space. So that Jesus need not end up in a stable but is able to find a room in my heart for His dwelling. To allow someone to occupy a space in your heart is to acknowledge that he is special, important and loved (to say the least). A very tall order, as insurmountable it feels as when I stared helplessly at the war zone of my room the past few days, not knowing how to pack, what to keep, what to throw, how to reorganise, rearrange, etc... 

Bit by bit, item by item, I had to 
ANALYSE and WEIGH its usefulness (practical) and sentimental value, 
DECIDE to keep or not and where to put it if I'm keeping it, 
ACT according to my decision, 
PRAY for the grace (in this case, the grace of clarity)
PERSEVERE in the tedious process until it is completed,
CELEBRATE (I invited my sister to come see my room) and REST before the next phase of cleaning.

All of which teaches me how to spring clean my life too. To 
SEE what I fill my life with, how I spend my time, what are my priorities, 
ANALYSE and WEIGH which is life giving and which is life draining (honestly),
DECIDE what to keep and what to throw out, what priorities to reorder, what mindsets to readjust, 
ACT according to my decision, 
PRAY for the needed graces,
PERSEVERE with determination until the deliberate action is internalised, 
CELEBRATE and REST before repeating the process again. 

I sure am enjoying my reclaimed space, the renewed cosiness of my room... What a reward... which will be too when I spring clean the shelves of my life. 

Are you spring cleaning too? 

Saturday, 15 November 2014


Am I just a passerby to you?
Are you just passing by my life?

It seems like funeral wakes are usually very emotional experiences. Having gone for 2 today. 

For me, it is more emotional because memories, however few they may be, begin to return to my consciousness. I begin to think back on the past, of times with the deceased. I begin to notice the loss, which also means that I begin to notice the presence of that person now gone. 

Strange isn't it? And today, I asked myself why is it that I only pause to think of people's significance in my life when they are gone, that I only begin to be aware of their presence when the presence is no more. Why not earlier? How different will I be if I had truly lived as the most cliche line goes - as if it was the last. To be with each person as if it was the last time we would get to spend time together. Sounds a little morbid. But... The dislikes I have towards their character traits will no longer be such a huge eye sore anymore if I knew that those moments would be the last. I would treasure a lot more those moments. I would see them in a totally different light. My heart would be disposed very differently. No time for anger or grudges. No time for petty arguments or finger-pointing. There's only time for love.

All too often, we take for granted that the people in our lives will be with us forever. Until reality hits hard. 

Have you experienced a family member having to move to somewhere else permanently? Knowing that the time you have left with this person is running out, what adjustments in your life would you make? For instance, returning home for dinner with her more often, asking her out for a meal and a good chat? 

Let's not wait for someone to move away, to pass away, before we begin to treasure the time we have with them. Let's not wait for absence to teach us to notice their presence. It can take us less than 5 minutes to pause at every mid day or some time everyday to just become aware of the people in our lives, the relationships God strung together... and to give thanks to God for these people, say a short prayer for them and bless them. I am certain that if we live this way, our relationships will transform and blossom. 

Whose presence in your life have you not been aware of for the longest time? 
How is God inviting you to pause and consider what these people truly mean to you?  

Do not just let them pass you by...
See... and look deeper. 
We are deeply connected.