progress is a journey

Observations during my journey of progress:

  • It can take a looooong time to feel like the steps towards progress feels real and actual.
  • Making progress can feel and seem different in each area of focus; saving money vs. facing my fears vs. practicing good habits.
  • Sometimes progress feels like I’m going backwards and unraveling what I’ve already achieved.
  • The journey feels boundless, indefinite and unpredictable.
  • Each step of the journey is not equal nor do they hold the same meaning.
  • I feel better about myself when I’ve seen how far I’ve traveled from where I was before.
  • My journey will not look like anyone else’s, even if it’s the same goal or dream.
  • No one is going to care (or notice or know) more about my progress than me
  • Progress is a long-term (forever) commitment to myself.
  • Sometimes, progress happens and it wasn’t intentional at all.
  • The path to progress doesn’t always look how I thought it would or how I planned it to be.

listen and learn

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” – The Dalai Lama

I used to read quotes a lot in high school and college. The words comforted me because I felt like I could prepare better when certain situations came up. After having had to deal with some said situations (and even ones I never fully realized until later), these words hit harder. They hit deep within me and I have found them to be continuously valuable.

Not only do I feel more understood, but I also feel like there is a path to walk on that doesn’t need to be defined yet. It’s familiar to have a structured path and follow to achieve the feeling of status or fulfillment. However, when it’s a journey that involves navigating through a multitude of emotions, challenges and revelations mostly on your own, quotes or wisdom from others sort of clarifies the perspectives or simplifies it somehow. And leads to finding the strength needed to overcome the challenges.

So, sometimes, I just want to stop talking and start learning; to hear or read the words of others who have probably gone through some variation of what I have.

“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – The Dalai Lama

ready for summer

cherry memories

I miss summer. Every year, it feels shorter and shorter and it kinda takes forever to get to it. I want the hot sun on my arms as I walk in the bright sunshine seeing the clear blue skies above me. The birds flying in a group looking for food and the flowers that bloom so effortlessly. Farmers markets have loads of variety of delicious food to choose from and there’s more ease, it seems, with life in general. Don’t mind me, I’m just daydreaming…

the seen and forgotten

It boggles my mind sometimes how people can play such important roles in my life, but never do I realize it until it occurs to me. Makes sense, too common a sense, actually. As if I’m blinded by their place and of mine in their lives. The intertwining of every single being is like the double helix of the DNA strand. It’s in our blood. It’s in our nature to be together; to cross over to each other’s boundaries just because we can and feel like it.

What happens to the forgotten? The restless souls with nowhere to go? Do they linger in the limbo of present and future or are they ultimately replaying their past every single day?

 

 

sick today

My throat feels a little sore. My chest feels heavy. And I’m taking a sick day. There have been so many days in my life in which I’ve been sick. We all have. It’s sneaky, this cold is. It slips into the night, within my dreams and then I wake with my entire body slumping.

Down.

Heavy.

Even though this isn’t fun, it is still a necessary part of living. We break down to build ourselves up. We get stronger, healthier, wiser and older. Today, I feel horrible. Worse than I have in the past year, but you know, it’s okay.

I am reminded to take better care of me. That I matter, too. That I’m not a superhero despite my decisions to sleep less deeply, drink less water, eat less fruits and take on more than I ever understand or can handle.

And it’s time to rest. Time to drink up nature’s delicious orange juice, absorb every ounce of peace and calm in the patience of the day and let go of worries that can wait. Warm tasty soup is on the menu today.

Ba Bar Congee
Pork Belly Congee at Ba Bar

Wishing I was eating this congee from Ba Bar right now.

my progress as a writer

I’m better at writing now than I ever have, I think. I guess I had to since I just kept doing it, but I know I want to be better than I am now. It’s weird to look back at some of things I’ve written because I just cringe at how and what I wrote. I think often, why did I even care about that? What was the big deal? And other times, when I go way back as a kid, I smile. Even though I must have been a horrible writer then, I think about who I was at that time, and I had no clue at all. No clue about the purpose, structure or life, in general. But it didn’t matter because I decided to write something. Anything. That’s all that mattered to me then.

How do good writers write? I can identify good writing, but creating that myself is challenging. They say reading helps. They say writing with your heart helps. I think they do, but I don’t think masterpieces come from only these things. Until I figure that out, I think I’ll just keep writing. Anything. Just like I did as a kid.

gratitude’s the attitude

I know I’m probably way behind in this game, but one of the things I started doing this year is reflecting daily on the things I’m grateful for and writing it down; aka, a gratitude journal. It literally takes milliseconds to do, but it has helped me massively in just getting in the right attitude for the day.

It doesn’t solve all the problems or issues that come up, but it does force me to be real about life and the bigger picture. There’s always something to be grateful for. At least for me. I can easily appreciate the little things in life—the nice sun shining through my window, watering my flowers and seeing them grow each day, taking a good deep breathe, and cooking a good meal.

Another thing I really value about this reflective exercise is that I can look back on what I’ve been grateful for and they’re different each day. It’s nice to peek into a little bit of my days in the past and know what I positively thought that day.

I hope you’re all well and going for your goals this year. Being more grateful was one of mine, and I hope to continue this all year long.

real talk

With truest intentions, you can meet your goals. With realistic vision and energy, you can reach your potential to achieve those goals. 

It’s a new year. There are so many messages out there telling us where to put our money, when to wake-up, how to act and de-stress. I am grateful for all the resources, but it becomes a lot.

So I pause for a moment.

And then I think, “The focus and energy comes from me.” Regardless of my image: the degrees I have, the salary I’ve earned and the places I’ve lived, there needs to be a force that meets all of them to their potential. That’s me. Not anyone else because it’s my life. Two people can grow up with exact circumstances but can still face different challenges and needs.

I would love to achieve all the amazing things that’s ever been achieved, but it’s just not realistic and do I really want to put in all the work to get there?

And it’s not really the goal at all. It starts with the individual. What do I actually want to do? What can I realistically achieve? What are my intentions in achieving these goals? I can’t travel through time. No matter how much I want to, even if it’s my goal, I’ll never be Marty McFly from Back to the Future. But I can do so many other cool things (maybe not as cool as time travel, but you get the point) that I am capable of achieving. What am I willing to commit to it: time, money, convenience? It’s all up to me and my situation. All the incoming messages about how to live a perfect life can be great inspiration, but they are also just messages.

The work begins with me first.

Every week is a new week. I can do this. You can do this.

Just not the same way.

The focus and power is in you, not the goals themselves.  

as a kid, I thought that…

  • the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus were real
  • collecting marbles and stickers were fun
  • olives and mushrooms were gross
  • every person I met were good people
  • flying on an airplane was super scary
  • time went by so slowly
  • a baby chicken could hatch from any egg from the refrigerator
  • I was invincible and could never get hurt

I’m curious about other people’s answers. How would you finish this sentence?

As a kid, I thought that…

so warm

I see you and I think about how it used to be. Laughter shadows late after midnight and days become possible, lovable distractions. The songs we played were nostalgic even before we started the night. It began and then each moment after were followed by our eyes of Polaroid captures. There is no photo album to return to. Seeing our history through the kaleidoscope; our past looks at each other, the silly gazes and inside jokes make me overly emotional. Like the way punk, alternative’s lovingly unloving songs want me to feel. Bittersweet nostalgia. We turned over a new page. Invested our time in other practical ways. Combined our efforts for adulthood and ventured into a reality we can’t ignore like paying bills and looking presentable. But when I see movies and hear songs, I remember these days. It brings me so much warmth knowing that as long as I’m here, they are, too.

happy new year

Happy new year all!

It’s been a bit quiet here for me on the blogging world. I wanted to drop in today to welcome the new year. Hello 2020! You’re here! I’ve had a productive and nice break so far.

Cooking’s been steady still. I’m super excited to try the first recipe challenge for 2020. I’ve gathered a few recipes for the next coming months for some dishes/desserts/apps I’m interested in trying out. For this break so far, I think I perfected this mac and cheese recipe I’ve been using (okay, maybe not perfected, but really close) to my liking! I definitely want to try different cheeses.

Mac and Cheese
Mild Cheddar Cheese and Macaroni

I also made a turkey version of a Shepard’s pie. (Sorry for not taking a photo of the actual piece! I think I was too preoccupied with eating it haha)

Sherpards Pie
Frozen veggies, Ground Turkey, Mashed Idaho Potatoes, Homemade Gravy.

I’ve made a similar dish a few years ago, but it was just with baby ramekins. This time, it was with the grand 9×13 and it came out wonderfully! The process is the same, I guess, but it definitely tasted better this time.

My family and I really enjoyed these hearty meals. Oh and I also made a quick tofu stir-fry. It was super yummy.  It’s sincerely eye-opening to realize how small, tiny actions in timing make a huge difference for dishes to taste super good or just meh.

Tofu Stir Fry
Fried Firm Tofu. Green Onions. Yellow Onions. Soy Sauce and other seasonings.

I am excited for this new year. I welcome it with a grateful heart and an open mind in hopes to have more meaningful, happy moments to add to my life. May we all move forward in good health, happiness, love and prosperity. And it all begins with us.

train stories and thoughts

I caught the last moments of the sunset on a train tonight. The fading orange line below the dark night seemed like it disappeared in seconds. The tops of buildings were given their halos for the day. And then it was goodbye.

The man with the green hoodie leaned on the side of the doors. Eyes closed. Resting between one busy destination to the next. I saw him look out the window, but only for a second. He looked at it for necessity. What time is it? Where am I? And as quickly as he learned these things, he closed his eyes again. Waiting for the next stop.

I thought he’d admire the sunset like I was. Maybe I’d catch a solid moment of reflection that didn’t belong to me.

There are thousands of thoughts going through our minds in this quiet train. It’s loud. They’re converging and diverging against the walls of this tiny, packed train within this small window that we are together.

So tiny that I’ll probably never see some of these people ever again in my life. How amazing is that? And yet it isn’t because this happens all the time. Just like a sunset at the end of the day or a man sleeping on his commute. Until it is, in fact, a goodbye.

compromise means promise

I toss and turn,
One side to the other.
Loyalty to neither
I lay on my back
Against the wall
Without knowing
The way, the choice.

Being standstill,
Stagnates and stales.
Muscles atrophy,
Brain cells dwindle
Creativity becomes bare.
Until I join the two sides;
As teammates, not enemies.

Compromise means promise. It means hope. It means there is some kind of agreement in some shape or form. We don’t need to become one another to reach our ultimate shared goals: happiness, freedom, love and security. But we do need to meet in the middle. We need to come to terms with what we do agree with and what we can compromise from each side in order to reach said goals. There is no need for hate. There is no need for violence or anger.

We need to be honest. And we need to be vulnerable. We need to communicate in a realistic way in order to get through the heavy layer of superficiality, pride, and pettiness in order to get to the core issues. The issues that need addressing.

It will take time. It will take a lot of trust. But the truest of all the statements is that we need to want to first.