Patio

In a box

a glass box

is an object

one that you see

flying above us all

and forever

it is free, and wild

with green and blue

passion

it never dies

but it wilts in time

and the sun scorches

hands, no, our eyes

from seeing it,

but it’s always there

whenever we need it

the most.

The Door, I Implore

This hollow door

one

that creaks

and tumbles into richness

of fermented air,

it is living–

The stairs leads me into

its other world

one I pick up and listen

but I am not there

I am somewhere else

looking inward–

The depths of this world knows

time

for all the mechanical foes

drop their jaws

at the sight of my existence–

Mobility, excellence and novelty,

“are they just words?”

we ask, walking

right back up the stairs

to find the old world

new

for it is without murk,

and now, knowledge chases

the refinery of wild

into a brilliant, one accord–

Our bellies are full

conversation now calm

and our minds speak without

fault

for in the trusted question

the gold key, hidden,

swirling

within the apple’s diamond

dancing

against our ceiling’s candle,

the only answer in time

has locked

stored away, behind

the oldest maker’s

vault.

 

 

 

 

Legendary: A Journey of Success

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“Moses” (c. 1515) by Michelangelo, San Pietro in Vincoli Church in Rome. Photograph provided Carlo Raso. Taken November 15, 2015. No copyright restrictions.

I was thinking about this idea of statues and sculptures.  I stumbled across Michelangelo’s sculpture of “Moses” on Flickr. Like Moses, there were so many great figures throughout history. Many of them had statues made after them and books written about them.  These souls left legends behind.  I was thinking about us, with our generation, living in the year 2017.  Do we live legendary lives?  I’m sure it breaks a few of us to know that we may not be known for anything great, let alone the world may not know anything about us.  The Prophet Moses was certainly a memorable figure in history.  Many of us may feel that we can never compare to Moses.  He has accomplished so many great things.  There is no way I can compare.  I live in a different time.  What’s strange to me about all this is that sculptures and statues of famous figures, of notable figures, of heroic figures, even cruel figures, appear to be less of an occurrence.

Then the thought came to me: what makes someone great?  Moses was only known to be great because of his close relationship with God.  If he wasn’t close to God, if he didn’t rescue the Jews from Egypt, then where would he be now?  Would Michelangelo have still made a statue out of him?  It’s because he left a legacy behind. Moses was close to God and he did accomplish so many things.  What was left behind was a statue.  A legend.

I suppose when we were young, many of us were told we could do anything in life.  No matter what you set your mind to, you can achieve great things.  You can be whoever you want to be.  Many people have gone out and proven to us that this can be done.  For the other people, like myself, adulthood tells you that this cannot be accomplished.  Adulthood tells us success is difficult, too difficult to achieve.  Adulthood tells us the pragmatic results: it hasn’t worked out for us before.  Why even bother?  Despite what your experience tells you, we are all capable of succeeding at any moment in life.  If we are truly determined to learn, grow, and persist at what we do, there should be nothing in this life to stop us.

Success also relies on our objectives.  Why do we do the things we do?  Some of the greatest legendary figures in life are those who did good things for other people.  I admit: some statues were built of people who didn’t do good things.  I suppose we can be known for both the good and evil we do in this world.  But, why not choose to be good?  Even if you do not become a legend to the world, you can still become a legend to people around you.  You can still  become a legend to yourself.  Maybe you will not have a statue built after you…  But why let that stop you from succeeding in life?  Don’t let the past or pressure of the future discourage you from creating legendary accomplishments.

Though you may compare your accomplishments to others, I would advise you not to do that.  We are different people.  What we do is subjective to who we are.  Yes, there will always be someone better at something.  No one can be a better version of yourself than yourself.  Our circumstances pave part of our paths for us, whether we like it or not.  We can definitely overcome them.  Though you may not be the best athlete, the best writer, or the best person on the planet, you can be the best of yourself.  You can strive to be legendary and successful.  You can literally shoot for the stars, but remember to be satisfied with who you are and content where you are in life.

You may be a hidden light from the world.  Don’t worry.  I’m sure the lack of acknowledgement won’t silent for too long.  Someone is bound to congratulate you.  If not, I am terribly sorry.  Because you deserve it.  In the end, is a congratulation what you really want?  Maybe you want something better, something deep and meaningful, maybe something that comes from within: your own sense of satisfaction.  We cannot always earn rewards or expect great outcomes from our work, but we can always fight for a better life.

Every minute, there’s always a chance for us to do good. Every day, we can choose the opportunity to succeed. As long as we are alive, we can impact others and change the world.  First, let us start with ourselves.

 

The Darkest Ocean

I send my rod amidst the darkness

as the Heaven’s gate

opens up

and there upon the boulders

and rocks are more rocks

and clams sliding down my feet–

Bare to my heart and soul

I battle humanity

and the winds send a suffering

in the rarest of forms–

Cold and pouring with ice

soaking shorts and only a shirt

while tiny crabs

and seaweed

melt away–

My rod is steady and silver,

it is pierced into the night sky

and what awaits me

is gold

a glimmer of hope

shining in the brightest of forms–

I will never back down

even with the greatest wave

smashing my tears in the face–

No man or storm may stop me

not even my own thoughts

for as long as I wait

time is coming

the brightest gift

we could ever catch.

Taking Thunder

My mist, my mountain

one that calls me

to reach forth

and take this courage

into the depths of the sky

where the charcoal fist meets us

in the dust of the wind

and there, our minds

are born, again, under

time-lapsing stones

without shadows or sun

we fly into the air-like-seas

within darkness and light,

the unknown sunrise may come.

 

 

From Sympathy to Empathy

If we look to the media, we can make assumptions that the world is all over the place.  There is a lot going on about hate, racism and much discrimination towards people who are different.  I remember when I was younger, these issues were still prevalent, but there seemed to be more tolerance towards people who were different.  Unfortunately, the stereotype and prejudice was about the same.

I thought with my generation, it would be different.  But, it really wasn’t…  In time, I noticed this naive sense of arrogance that comes with our youth; we think we may know ourselves better and do a better job at being better people in the world.  I think we all try to do our own job in trying to stand up for what is right.  That’s quite apparent.  The error, I notice, is not in our ability to stand up.  We do a sufficient job in sharing our views and opinions. That is quite noticeable (no snark intended).

The error is not that we take the initiative to stand up, but in how we stand up.  We try to lead by what we say, rather than by setting an example.  Many times, we do not consider our actions and behaviors, especially when it comes to how we speak and treat others.  Sadly, we sometimes do not consider how we impact or affect others.  We can often neglect their point-of-views and their own stories…  I find this happens as a weakness in our character.  We should not be who the world wants us to be.  We should be who we want to be, a better version of ourselves.

We can even assess this by our emotions towards one another.  Clearly, it seems most people can sympathize with others.  The question is: do we emphasize with others?  Let’s define both terms:

 

Empathy

The dictionary defines empathy as:

Identification with and understanding of another’s situation, feelings, and motives

Wikipedia defines empathy as:

The capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference.

 

Sympathy

The dictionary defines sympathy as:

The feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else’s trouble, grief, misfortune, etc.

Wikipedia defines sympathy as:

The perception, understanding, and reaction to the distress or need of another life form.

 

I believe, in a way, I have failed to be empathetic throughout my life.  I am empathetic, but most of time, I do not feel that way.  You see.  Empathy takes work.  Sympathy is the recognition for the suffering or emotions another person encounters.  Empathy feels what someone else is feeling by placing oneself in another person’s shoes.  We say sorry and feel bad when others come across misfortunes, griefs, sufferings, etc.  As I’ve learned, that’s sympathy.

Empathy is when we actually feel bad. Our feeling for other people’s feelings are to weigh on our hearts.  You can even look to the Bible for references to our need for empathy.  In the Letter to the Galatians, Saint Paul said, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV).  When we bear one another’s burden, when we carry what someone else carries, we should actually feel it.

That’s the beautiful thing about compassion when it comes to our character and growth.  Compassion sends us beyond the point of sympathy into the levels of empathy for others.  We don’t only recognize the sufferings of others, we actually feel what they are suffering: we identify with them.  When Lazarus died, Jesus Christ didn’t show just the necessary condolences, but instead, “Jesus Wept” (John 11:35 NKJV).  He lost Lazarus and identified with those who lost Lazarus.  It seems interesting to me that since the Son of God could, and knew he would, bring Lazarus back from dead, that he still wept.  Jesus showed true compassion.  His action in weeping was real empathy.

I’m not saying we all need to cry for another.  Though, at times, when others suffer, we should weep with one another.  We should, at least, show compassion and try to empathize with others.  I know that for men, empathy can be a difficult feeling to show.  At least for me, empathy is a difficult emotion to evoke.  Over time, empathy has become a difficult emotion for me to access right away.  Part of that is due to my personality: I am first inclined to think than to feel.  That’s just part of my nature.  Empathy is still there, especially when I need it to be there.  When bad things happen to people, I don’t just feel bad, but feel what other people must be feeling.  It’s something I definitely need to work on.  I hope we all consider working on developing and accessing empathetic emotions.

In order to become more aware of our empathetic emotions, we may need to allow our hearts to use our imagination; we need to place our minds in the perspectives of other people.  Part of the problem is we have lost our ability to love another.

Here’s an observation: only a certain amount of people use the internet, or even social media.  As we have seen, people with the most radical beliefs and opinions share their views on media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, etc.  Keeping in mind this is a small portion of society, there appears to be a lack of empathy and kindness towards one another.  As we have all learned, the internet can be a mean place, where the darkest emotions of people are expressed behind a computer screen.  The internet is not the only place.  I see this in physical interactions, where there also seems to be a lack of empathy for one another; sometimes, there is even a lack of sympathy for one another.  Next time you’re in public, take notice of the way others treat others (most of all, how we treat others).

It’s because of silly things like political views, strong opinions, or cultural differences, we make each other out to be enemies.  Even Jesus said, “love your enemies” and “do good to those who hate you” (Matthew 5:44 NKJV). We should not respond by neglecting, disliking, or hating one another.  Instead, we should love one another.  We should do good things to other people and for other people.  In our behavior and actions, we need to be present with others by empathizing and showing compassion.  Sometimes, empathizing requires is to use our imagination, in order to feel what another person must be feeling from their perspective.  I believe Jesus has done that with all of us, that He has felt what we felt, because He love us and has shown compassion towards us.

At the root of all this is our character, our heart: we need to sincerely love one another.  Our hearts need to be filled with the love of God.  I know that it can be very difficult to be patient with rude or unkind people who have either been hateful or unloving towards you, but remember that we may have even been like them at one point in life. Keeping that in mind will allow us to persevere with mercy and patient. Regardless of how other people view us or treat us, someone needs to love first. So, why not start with ourselves? Someone needs to cross that boundary line in order to love one another.

Don’t give up on loving.  Eventually, love will defeat all racism, prejudices, etc.  Love will eliminate all the foolish opinions or petty differences we have.  Love will destroy hate, because love is exactly the feeling God has for every single human on this planet.  Even though we may be emotionally disconnected or just caught up in our own lives, this does not mean that we can simply ignore the greatness and mysterious power of love.  Love fulfills our life as humans and without love we are truly nothing.  The Bible once stated, “Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).  In this respect, love is more than just a possibility of mankind, but an absolute necessity to life.

Love will transcend our absent feelings, beyond sympathy, to the compassionate feelings of empathy for one another.  By identifying with one another, empathy will allow us to feel for others so that can truly comfort others and possibly help one another.  Empathy can motivate us to do good things and make this world a better place to live, at least while we are still here.  In this way, love can change the world.  God has shown us the way of love, because He has first loved us.  He will never stop loving us, because absolutely nothing in this world or the life to come can separate us from the love of God.

 

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

— Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

Waves

That blue pond

Really blue in its deepness

covered by a white sheet

and I am transparent above it

colliding the atmosphere

and spotting the grey lights

as they unravel confusion

in the black sky,

the gold sand crumbles

and falls by the hand

and by the time I am there

I never leave.