Sky above the reserver. There is plenty of water stored, and the firm ground under feet. What more could we hope for?
Sky above the reserver. There is plenty of water stored, and the firm ground under feet. What more could we hope for?
We knew he’d been living in the front yard for a while.
What we didn’t know was that he was munching on the tomatoes, leaving them on the vine.
Then, he got sloppy.
He left seed drippings around the outside of the pots.
Busted. In broad daylight.
Like most of us who grew up with Alvin and those adorable cartoon chipmunks, I was always delighted to see them. Until now.
He was eating them green. By the time we caught him, 10-12 tomatoes were ruined.
We had just come to terms with the rabbits and squirrels in our yard.
But this one was bold. We caught him mid-meal.
We tried blocking the entrance to his abode. He just dug out another hole.
Maybe we could devise a trap, and relocate him to the woods ?
And then, a simple suggestion.
“Maybe they are just hungry…try feeding them something, like…
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“Can you kill a person and walk away without ever being held accountable?”
My grandfather asked me out of the blue. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and killing was not on my card by any chance – I was somebody who had to be taught it was ok cut cut a piece of paper with the scissors, that it would not have ‘hurt the paper’ if I cut it. I remember my grandmother almost burst with disapproval, however quietly, but only held herself together with the strong faith in her husband and the intension behind his words.
We were sitting over a pot of green tea. Hot water was poured into the pot, and we were waiting for it to steep. “What do you think?” he asked me. And he went on laying the tea cups on the table before us.
I had to think.
If I killed a person: starting right there, it required a great amount of imagination. If I did, the police man would come and catch me. But what if nobody saw it? Is it possible to commit such an act without ever being seen? What about preparation? What would I need to do to hide everything after the act? Could it be possible to do all of those steps without ever being seen? – remember, Japan is a collectivist nation with an extremely high context culture. If you planned something deviant, you would not likely pull it off without somebody sensing the change in your mood, life style and routine, and the mannerism that would have come with it. But all that granted, if you did managed to commit the act, never mind how, you would have to clean up the trace behind the act. One might flee overseas, because I was already aware that Japan was not the only country in the world, but police man would have chased you as long as you left a trace behind. So is it possible to commit a crime without leaving a trace?
“I don’t think you can do that. Somebody would have seen it, and if you killed that person too, it means more people would have seen you commit the second act.” I answered.
My grandmother was now gasping for breath beside me, but she still managed to hold her words in. And my grandfather asked me. “And if nobody saw you doing any of that, who saw it?”
Was that a trick question? I knew the green tea was almost ready to serve.
And I realised that there was one person who would have seen the whole event, even nobody saw me commit a crime. “Me.” I said.
“Well done,” said my grandfather. “Well, that was a lesson,” my grandmother said, who finally regained her breath. And with that, grandfather poured the tea, and we never spoke about that again.
Murder was a large theme, but any crime would be the same in essence. Whatever the decision you make, you will live with it for the rest of your life. I learned something important that day, drinking a cup of green tea with my grandparents. Had he used a petty crime as a subject, would I have understood the lesson as well~ that I would never know. But I am glad that he taught me this lesson early in my life. Life lived hiding away from the world would be too hard for me to bear.
If Donald Trump won the election in 2016, can you say that was a success?
If Hilary Clinton won the election while having FBI on her tail, could you call that a success?
Whatever the reason why a person wants to manifest something and we watch somebody else ‘achieve’ their big dream; be it the first woman to become the US president, the first reality television entertainer to hold the key to the nuclear weapon, or whatever else.
Whether it was the experience which took the person to the position, or if that were the manipulative linguistic skills and the impressive body language; or the certain corrupt system that counted only the convenient number of votes; or the financial strengths that were holding an enforcement agency from stepping in;
If a person became the president of the United States, regardless of their reasons or the methods of getting there, would you consider it a ‘success’?
If your business ‘flourished’ at an expense of another, be it a person or the planet we lived on, is it a success?
If you had a ‘good life’ without much effort while another starved in their struggle for justice, could you call that a privilege?
I know that spirituality and manifestation became mixed up from some time ago. But I want to say that ‘manifestation’ is not a spiritual activity; it is a devils’ act. Because who you truly are cannot be manipulated.
Your ‘path’ is not something you lay before you by a well organised forced labour; but it is what appears under the moon light as you work late, and on the muddy track you trace to deliver a promised load.
One may commit to making something happen, chant the lines form a holy book or your own mantra all you like, gain a clear vision of what you want to achieve until you see it take shape, make reasons for your gain as you may in a desperate effort to justify your doings: be it ‘peace,”prosperity,’ or ‘because I care.’ But your true path does not require a reason. It does not ask for an explanation. It just is. It appears.
Gandhi was a leader in wearing those hand woven cotton. Mandela was already a leader from the time when he was in jail. King Jr. would have spoken of freedom whether he was a pastor or not. Nobody cared about Aung San Suu Kyi’s gender by the time she became a leader. Had he remained a prince, we might not have seen Gautama Buddha and therefore Buddhism. If Jesus decided to value his life over another’s life, he could have sacrificed hundreds of disciples and saved himself but he did not.
No matter what ‘leaders’ were triumphant on their thrones, we’ve always had somebody who were walking a quiet path who showed us the light to wake up to. How, not-so-little-anymore Malala probably did not plan to walk the path she is walking. And while I value Dalai Lama’s words more than any “world leaders’,” yet he is a refugee who could not safely live in his own country.
So what is success? Is it worth as much as we give credit for? Do I want it in my life?
And with that, I think I will place the ‘success’ carefully on the top of the pile I created this afternoon; and I will take this to charity with the rest of the things that would serve better elsewhere.
Dear God. Please, may I always have the courage to remain as a nobody, who does not care for branding. And may I always stand for my value and speak the truth. Thank you.
We use to read stories aloud at school. We would stand up one at a time and read a story to the class; it was one of my favourite things to do.
One day, I was given a story of Utopia. I liked that story, because it had a horse in it. Even better, there was a girl riding the horse.
So, the story started in a small village.
This girl worked for a wealthy man’s manner. And she worked in the stables/ yard and took care of horses. And one day, this horse arrived at the stables. It was a beautiful and prized white horse that everybody envied.
Soon, there was a problem; that nobody seemed to be able to control the horse. It was a nice horse with great talent, but every now and then, it would go out of control and tried to desperately run away from the yard.
The girl was the only one who could handle the situation. She could somehow negotiate, and eventually settle the horse into calmness. So this became her role, to take care of this very special horse.
All went well until come Autumn. The horse went crazy and it decided to jump the fence and run away. This time, the girl did not stop the horse, or tried to slow it down. She wanted to see where the horse would go if she had just let it go. So she stayed on the horse’s back and went along, just as far as the horse wanted to go.
The horse kept running.
The horse was getting tired but it still kept running.
The girl, instead of trying to slow the tired horse, encouraged and helped the horse to keep going.
And the horse kept running.
And then, the girl saw a water fall. It was a great, wide water fall with abundance of water flowing down towards them, and the horse kept running towards the water fall. By then, the girl became almost a part of the horse and did not fear what the horse was going to do.
So the horse jumped into the water through the water fall; and they arrived on a land the girl had never imagined. – so they arrived in the Utopia.
I used to think as a child that the Utopia was the heaven after death. I assumed that they had died for a reason and that they were safely found in heaven. But I now know that they did not die. Utopia is somewhere we can all find, alive, and the girl arrived there on the back of the horse.
And as always, the horse knew the way home.
It was home time at school.
As child, we used to gather local children and walked to primary school in groups in the morning. On the way home, we travelled in smaller groups; basically whomever available to tag together, making sure that no body was left behind. We learned to look out for one another like that from such young age, just as a part of everyday life.
I was about to leave the school building with two other children that afternoon, both boys from the same grade. We got on well and we often walked together and played together.
So we were changing into outside shoes from what we wore inside through the day while at school. We each had a shoe locker, and I bent over to tend to my shoes when….I saw the boys run past behind me fast and one of them swooped my hat away from my head….the beginning of another scramble.
I was never a champion but I could run fast if I was chasing somebody. So off I went, screaming and shouting all I wanted like any other time. But then I had two boys who knew me well running ahead of me and split left and right, and I seriously did not know which one to chase.
Just on the corner of my eyes, I could see somebody come out of the teachers room. Sh#t, I thought. I bet they saw me doing something completely un-ladylike. I turned my head to see who the moving figure was and swallowed.
It was the headmaster.
I straightened my back immediately, but it was too late. I saw the man reach for something with one hand and wave me over with another. I decided it was a smart idea to surrender, so I approached, trying to look as innocent as possible.
The headmaster looked at me. And before I could open my mouth to say anything, he waved me over again to approach closer. The headmaster could not possible hit me, I thought. But will he?
Of course he did not hit me. But he did something that would remain for the rest of my life.
He was on one knee, tying his shoelaces, and from this eye hight looked straight into my eyes. And he said, “You are going to be something quite remarkable. I know it.” I was dumb struck. He was supposed to tell me off. I was sure of it. And before I could open my mouth, or remotely recover from the shock, he told me to go home.
I remember saying “good bye schoolmaster” like a well mannered child. And I walked towards my friends who handed my hat back immediately. They thought I was in trouble too. They thought they behaved like cowards, for not coming after me to receive the punishment together. They asked me. “What did he tell you?”
I looked at my friends and said. “The headmaster told me that I am lucky to have good friends.”
“Is that all?,” my friends asked. I said yes, and we walked home just like any other day.
Many years later.
I went through my life’s ups and downs like everybody else who lived. And I remember. Even though I don’t always refer to the headmaster, I am affirmed that I would get through whatever the difficulties comes along. Because I know that one day, I am going to be something quite remarkable. I just haven’t got there yet.
It reminds me how, such small moment of blessings could change a child’s outlook for the rest of her life. What a blessing it was.
the magic that occurs,
when you give a person,
just enough comfort,
to be themselves.