Solitude

Gulangyu, Xiamen

Voices everywhere,

And cars, buses, trains and planes —

Far from them — silence!

——–

In this busy and noisy world, may you find time and a place for solitude. 🙏🏽

T.

LAPC: Countryside

There is something about the countryside that is so relaxing. Though it doesn’t give me the same sense of serenity I get from sitting on a quiet beach, being in the countryside still feels like taking a break from the busy-ness of life.

The picture above is of a rice farm in Northern Mindanao, Philippines. I was on my way to the airport when I saw this farm. The sky was so blue with some white clouds, and the hills in the distance so green — I just thought it was so beautiful. I asked the driver to stop the car, and I got out and saw this farmer. I asked him if I could take a picture of him, and he said it was OK.

Then I got back in the car, and went to the airport and back to my busy life. But this picture always gives me that feeling of wanting even a quick break from life and its worries.

I had the same feeling visiting my cousin’s uncle’s farm in Alberta, Canada. After a 12-hour flight and then wandering around Vancouver, it was relaxing to not see people and rest the eyes and the soul by just watching green grass, blue sky, white clouds and farm animals!

Hope you have a relaxing week!

T. 💕

Lens-artists photo challenge: countryside

Netflix’s “After Life” and the Cycle of Depression and Self-Absorption

Alona Beach, Panglao, Bohol, Philippines

I am glad that I was told about “After Life” as I positively enjoyed every single episode. My friend and I agreed in our thinking that it’s not black comedy. Yes, it addresses the subject of death and suicide and Alzheimer’s but it does so with delicacy and compassion and with an adequate amount of humor that only heightens the pain of reality. I prefer to categorize it as dramedy.

(If you haven’t watched it, then you may not want to continue reading.)

Though he’s not my favorite character, I admire Tony’s brother-in-law for his quiet strength. Frail-looking and too kind for most people, he is able to live his life with all the problems without complaining to or bothering others about it. He represents the many mature people who selflessly help others without being asked in return how they, themselves, are faring in this life.

And then there’s depressed, self-absorbed Tony. Though we can understand and even empathize with him in his pain over losing his wife and best friend, and we admire his devotion to his late wife, we may also want to shake him into waking up to reality which is that he actually has a good life — much better than most people, and the only reason he is depressed is he is focusing on what he lost, not what he still has which is so much more than what majority of humanity have.

I understand that we all experience grief when we lose someone we love, but we are not supposed to be entombed in that grief among the living. Unless one has damage in the brain, I believe we are all capable of recovering from this emotional pain, suffering, or depression.

(I love how the scenes are shot mostly in the day time or in well-lit rooms. It reinforces the overall optimism that this show presents.)

Tony has people around him who truly care about him. Even the new employee, Sandy, likes him instantly and asks him to be happy. His brother-in-law tolerates him, forgives him for his nastiness, and helps him in every way he can even though he has his own problems.

Tony has a job which may not be the best, but he likes his co-workers who are all good people.

The old widow he meets at the cemetery has more wisdom than the therapist he pays to help him. And he did not have to pay her for getting him out of his self-absorption.

What truly saved Tony in the end is his desire for the pain to stop. Julian was right in saying that Tony had not given up on life yet. Tony just needed to find the right way to get the pain to stop, and thankfully he had the patience and the right people around him to help him. Personally, I think it is most important that one believes and knows that the pain will eventually come to an end. That cliche, “Time heals all wounds,” has always been true.

When you stop focusing all your energy on your pain, and see how others are hurting worse than you are, and if you knowingly try to open your eyes to others’ needs and make an effort to make somebody happy, you’ll be surprised at how, little by little, the pain will subside. And in its place will be peace, and probably even joy that somehow in your own little way, you have made this world a better place by simply being you.

Look around you.

May you find joy in life. 🙏🏽💕

T.

Daily Prompt: Popular 


I think most of us, in our childhood, have dreamed of becoming popular. We wanted to be liked, to have the most number of friends, but as we grow older, most of us realize, we do not need that many people in our lives. We just need our real friends, and they are usually fewer than what we originally thought.

These days people, young and old alike, gauge their popularity by the number of “likes,” “comments,” or “shares” they get for their post in whatever social media platform they are using. I was genuinely perplexed one time when a student asked another student in my class, “How would you feel if you find out your best friend ‘liked’ the post of one of your friends, but didn’t ‘like’ yours?” I really didn’t think it should matter. But then again I’m “old.”

If you’re popular, you will never have peace. People will always want to get your attention or get something from you. (I heard about Ed Sheeran refusing to use a celllphone, so he can get away from people who are always asking something from him.)

If you’re popular, you’re an easy target for criticism from people who do not like your popularity. And there are always that kind of people. And if you’re the type who value popularity, most likely you wouldn’t like criticism.

The desire for popularity, like any other form of desire, causes suffering. If you want to be popular, better be ready to suffer.
Daily Prompt: Popular

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient 

Jimei Bridge, Xiamen


This photo was taken last month as our plane was landing at Gaoqi Airport, Xiamen. 

For the  last two years, I’ve been flying home every month, which means at least four flights a month. So I feel something like a transient in the two cities I call home. They are both home, yet when I am in either place, it seems I’m only there as a guest. 

I am hopeful that this year, I will cease feeling like a transient and have more stability in my life. I hope my whole family can be together in one safe place. 🙏🏻
T. 💕

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient