Moon on the Water

A couple of days ago, the family and I went to the local lake, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: I’ve lived next to this lake for years and it is only now that I’m actually here, enjoying it. This lake was only a few minutes away and I never took advantage of that.

And oh, how I did enjoy it. The sun was high in a clear blue sky, and as soon as we found our spot to unpack and settle in, the nieces and I went to the water to enjoy some swimming. The water was a murky green, but we didn’t mind, nor did the number of people who were there swimming around us.

We spent the whole day just enjoying the lake, after swimming, we all ate and the girls flew kites, heh, we even tried to battle them by having them swoop towards each other. And when the night came, we started packing up and as the moon started to rise above the mountains, I saw this:

Moon on the Water

And, it struck me again: This is another experience.

How often have you looked up at the moon, and wondered how those people got those perfect shots? Well, this one is mine, taken from my cell phone, but imprinted on my memories, it was such a beautiful shot, no alterations, no filtering, heh, barely a zoom was needed.

But, this was the first time I’ve seen the moon over any body of water, and so clearly, I must add. I made a promise to myself, this will not be the last time I see the moon in this manner.

There was just something to it. The moon floating there, lighting up the darkness and the water was coming alive, stretching the moon’s reflection through it’s waves. Oh how I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but this is something I’ll look forward to in the future.

This is something, I think everyone should experience in their lives, even if only once.

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The Owl

The sky’s blue becomes deeper and darker, as it’s fiery red horizon fades into darkness, I sit here on a rock and find myself in the company of an unusual creature…

In my three-hour summer college course, during the 15 min break, I’d often go and sit outside, particularly on the large boulders that are strewn on the hillside. No one, save for the occasional random hikers, come here, so I’m alone with a fading sunset and my thoughts.

But lately, I’ve been seeing a silhouette of something bigger than the normal birds and they didn’t like it.

I was in the presence of an owl.

I knew by the general shape it was an owl, it had “horns” and the way it turned it head only confirmed it. But I couldn’t really make out which of two species it really was, but that thought didn’t cross my mind, until much afterwards.

No, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Am I going to die?”

I remember the various myths and stories of what an encounter with an owl means, and the sum of all that really is just plain: Something bad is going to happen. Death, Illness that leads to death, child is about to be abducted into their doom, just pretty much Death.

So, naturally, for a brief moment, I thought my timely death was imminent. But I’ve always associated Owls with wisdom and not doom. Something about their stance, their presence just echos with knowledge, in most cultures/myths that’s knowledge that you’re going to die, but I digress.

I’ve been nothing but fascinated with my new company, despite the angry cries of the local birds that see only his predatory side, I tried to get closer to him, at least enough to get a good look at him. But I liked having him near, it felt interesting, that I was somehow wasn’t emitting an energy of hostile, ignorant human energy, but that my energy was somehow, ever so slightly more tolerable to him, less like a human who’d throw rocks at him, and more like the rocks he rest on, or the trees that he’d perch on from flight.

That thought filled me with content, that I can be more in tuned with nature, to the point of being accepted by the animals that surround me, even the wisest of them. Heh, I don’t know what form of the mythology the owl represented while it was around and then looked at me, but I’m just content in seeing one in person, and in the wild, not in some zoo or preserve.

If one really thinks about it, there are millions of images on the internet, but that’s no where near anything close to the real thing. like the late Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting:

“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that…”

And this was before the internet, now people have become more arrogant about knowing about these things, but in reality, they’ve hardly ever experienced them.

This one case is a small one, sure, but I’ve experienced that owl. I mean, it was right there in that tree and I was right there beneath it and we occupied the same space in the same time and I wasn’t looking at it through a screen nor was his presence there artificially, or with cages, it was there because it chose to be there, and I just happened to be blessed enough to be in the vicinity when it did.

To think, this will probably be the smallest experience I’ll ever remember, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is, and always will be, an experience, and one I will always remember.

 

To Stand

Today as I was waiting for the girls to come out of their school, I started to think of something:

I feel a little differently when I’m standing up straight.

It’s natural for people to slouch, but when you stand up straight, the world seems a lot differently. But you can’t just stretch out your neck, no, there’s a proper way to stand up.

Chin up, Chest forward, Back straight, Arms to the side, Stomach sucked in, Shoulders back, Head forward.

And you must hold this position as you walk, swing your arms like you mean it, not have them flying in random directions, but to move with a purpose. To be a walking statue of resolve, making your presence known to all who look upon you. It’s quite encouraging, if I do say so myself.

It some how helps the flow of one’s energy to reach a point where there’s nothing but smooth canals to reach every point of your body, nothing restricting your internal potential, you would feel like you can withstand the forces of nature itself, simply by standing up right.

Quite honestly, I’ve no explanation for it, I just know that standing up right has always made me feel stronger, taller, tougher, like I’ve obtained the ability to change the world.

I remember when I used to work at the Library, my habits of stand up erect came from 4 years of JROTC, as well as from being a Dragon Ball Z fan, and I’d usually get commented on “moving like a soldier”, “walking like I’m on a mission”, or even “You’re weirding me out, by standing like that.”

But it’s just addicting, feeling empowered due to slight muscle adjustments, I can’t shake it. I don’t really want to, I want to move with a purpose, how else am I supposed to move? Why should I not feel better? Stronger? Tougher? Like I can– should take on the world?

Charlie Brown

To Give Thanks

Day 30: Jot down a list of all the things you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as “Family, Job, Home…” or as detailed as “The bacon I had for breakfast, the weather being warm today, the chance to sleep in this weekend…” When we aren’t feeling chipper, thinking about what we’re thankful for can help get us in the right mindset. No matter how down and out you may be, there is always something to be thankful for.

What I’m grateful for… Alright then!

Family, Faith, Home, Friends, Mistakes, Nerdfitness.com, ArtofManliness.com, Finding Balance, Chocolate, Hope, Music, Wisdom, Science, Nerdy things, Nubuo Uematsu, WordPress.com, Fire, Sentimentalism, Philosophy, Energy, Training, Laughter, Adaptability, Unexpected moments, Food, Life, Self-Improvement, Video Games, Anime, Time spent with friends and family, Christmas, The Wind, The Rain, my Culture, Opportunity, Time, Human Anatomy, TV, Movies, Inspiration, Sib-Ring, Courage, Human Nature, Mother Nature, Medicine, Determination, Kindness, Balance, Art, Prayer, Light, Warmth, Helping others, Guidance, Redemption, Meeting New People, Pets, the Sun, the Moon, The Stars, Travelling, Introspection

Hmm… I think that’s about it, although I’m certain that I’ll be thinking of new things to add to this list, heh, even as I’m writing this piece down, more things come to mind. Oh and of course, I’m grateful for this 31-day Journal Challenge

Switch On the 25th Day

Day 25: There comes a time in every man’s life where he just feels…meh. He’s not happy about things, but he’s not depressed either. In fact, it’s probably a place where many men spend most of their lives. Take a look at the 5 switches of manliness — the things that ignite passion within us to live fully. Which of these is missing from your life? It’s not likely that all five are fully present, so take some time to jot down ideas on how you can better integrate these switches into your life so that you can have the motivation to seize each day as it comes.

It took me about 2 hours, but I’ve read through the entire series in one sitting. and here’s what I’ve got for my own life:

  • Switch #1: Physically – This switch is pretty present in my life, I’m running and I regularly exercise with BW exercising and just recently have decided to go to a gym with Greggy. I’d like to take up a Martial art, or learn Parkour, but I need to meet some requirements first. So this Switch is definitely “ON”.
  • Switch #2: Challenge – This Switch is definitely in the “OFF” position. It’s also the reason for the my stagnation, I don’t have much to challenge me. Mentally, I have no classes, no textbook to try to learn, nothing really academically there to pressure me. Spiritually, I pray every night, and I’m starting to read the Bible, I really need to volunteer again, and I’ve no money to donate to church. Physically, all I have is exercising regularly, but I don’t have something to exercise towards. No Tough Mudder or anything that will test myself physically. Socially/Emotionally, I’m really lacking here, I’ve got plenty of friends that I haven’t spoken to, in a long time. I’ve always had some problem talking to strangers, especially beautiful girls, and ultimately, I say “should” a lot more than necessary. So this is evidence all pointing towards this Switch in the “OFF” position.
  • Switch #3: Legacy – For this Switch, I don’t have any children to sire, but I do have a “blog/journal” that will last longer than I will, but that’s about it, I don’t have any people to mentor, no Bible study group, and no business to start of on my own. So this blog/journal is pretty much the only thing I’ve actually “created” to pass down to the ages. Switch is “OFF”.
  • Switch #4: Provide – This is all about planning ahead. And I used to have a plan, but it fell through and I’ve never had a new one since. There are a lot of triggers on this one, that requires me to sit down and think about it. So I’m definitely going to be trying to find ways to get this one fulfilled. Switch in the “OFF” position.
  • Switch #5: Nature – Heh, ironically enough, this Switch is “ON”. My morning view is a beautiful landscape that’s full of mountains, right outside my front door is a rocky hill that I can hike up at any time, and it seems like all around me, there’s some form of nature that does more than make this Switch in the “ON” position.

So that’s it. Three of the five Switches are OFF, these are the three aspects of my life that need to be activated in order to help me feel more like a man, and not so stuck. I’m going to have to come back to this post and review it later on, so that I can fix these Switches.

“It’s not too late” said the Rose

It’s funny, despite my fascination with Fire, and my male stereotypical love for destruction of things, I really like gardening.

Today, I spontaneously did some gardening, pulling out weeds mostly, but I liked how I was finger-deep in soil, wrapping my hands around weeds and pulling them out without breaking the roots, and then moving on to the next one.

My actual garden looks pretty horrible, due to various reasons that drain my energy enough to brush off gardening on my list of chores. Yet, despite the lack of good keeping on my part, when I was gardening, it felt as if nothing changed, nothing has changed since I last tended to these plants, obviously the plants have aged, and withered a bit, so there’s nothing but stems, but the energy in these plants seemed… dormant. Within a few days of watering, a very beautiful and large yellow rose bloomed, and now there’s more coming. I thought it was fast, to go from nothing but stems to a full blooming Rose.

So as I spend some time this morning pulling out weeds, I was thinking about the plants themselves, I’m a firm believer in the concept that Trees and plants, spend all of their energy in prayer to God and that’s is their only purpose, to grow in both Life and in Faith constantly reaching for the Heaven, which explains why we often associate plants like flowers and roses to Christ. But it’s metaphorical to reflect upon in comparison to one’s life, a plant doesn’t question Heaven why it’s leaves turn red, brown, and orange, it merely lets go of the parts of the tree that it once held on to, for it was time. It braves the winds of the Fall and the cold of Winter, and yet it remains standing, knowing that at its roots, it is stronger than the seasons, stronger than the changes, stronger despite the sacrifices.

And it’s reward? Spring time. When the snow melts and the clouds part and the sun rises high in the sky bring life, the trees reveal the results of their bravery: leaves, strong bark, a solid body, and it still reaches for the sky, for Heaven, for God, not to say, “Why?” but to say, “Thank you.”

And I believe this is true for all plant-life, so when I was gardening, I was thinking to myself that I was, in some small part, helping these plants get closer to the God that loves them so.

So if this is true for plants, what does that mean for me? What does the Tree tell us? Or what words are spoken with the voice of the Vine? When we smell the Rose, what is its reply?

Hope.

All plants tell us that we must keep going, despite our losses and sacrifices, we must press on. There will always be cold, harsh winters,  changes that seem to come out of nowhere, just when everything was nice and peaceful, change always comes right around the corner and sometimes it takes something with it, but none of it can stop you from reaching. Weathering every storm without breaking from who you are is how you can truly bloom in this life, even if no one cared for a very long time, it is never too late to start over and try again, there will always be roots to grow from, and with enough care and effort, you’ll blossom all the more beautifully.

Hope will always continue to grow, so long as you keep reaching with all your heart, through the good times and the bad, with the gains and the sacrifices, with the roots and the leaves.

Hope is the flower that blooms in our souls when we’re faced with the bleak. It is the unmitigated sign that we’ve endured and have not withered. People can always smell the fragrance of a flower, and like a flower, people can sense the hope that lies within one’s heart, hope that encourages them to be who they are, fight their fight, and strive to achieve their goals. It’s intoxicating to those who have sensed it, they, themselves, feel something stirring within them, inspiring them to one end or another, simply because they’ve ‘smelt’ this ‘flower’ that’s near them, the fragrance of Hope fills their senses and they are moved by it, as if smelling the perfume of a tulip.

Maybe, that’s why I like gardening so much, because it lets me interact with God’s examples of what it means to be Faithful, to have Hope in my heart and to show me how to brave storms like they do, all the while, still reaching towards Heaven.

Remembering the Crow

There was a day, when I was in the middle of college, I was 19, didn’t have my license or car, so there was a small walk I had to take from my house down the road to the Bus stop.

So I was coming home one day, and I was overcame with a feeling to run, for exercise. so I had my bag-sling/satchel and then, I started running, the road between bus stop and home wasn’t far, so I was planning on running all the way. Simple enough.

When I started, I heard a crow beginning to caw, being in California, this was common, so I paid it no mind, although, I didn’t see one, so that thought remained for a brief moment.

Running still, about the first third of the way, the cawing stops.

Halfway there, I got the sensation to keep running… to not stop, but to keep running… it was a strange sensation, one that I’ve not experienced before, so naturally I kept running.

Then I heard the crow caw again, but it’s not from a rooftop across the street, it’s not flying off high above me in the sky… it is right behind me!

I’m still running, and I somehow know that this Crow is right behind me, what he’s doing I have no idea, but it’s right about head-level, then I feel it: the crow’s feet, lunging at the back of my head. In a brief moment, I can feel the upper claws grazing the hairs in the back of my head, it was almost as if, it wasn’t a crow’s feet, but a clawed hand trying to grab me when I was running! The moment was brief, only a fraction of a second, the sensation of claws be they, crows or otherwise, just barely scraping the back of my head was certainly real, without a doubt.

After that, I was still running, if not faster, and I finally reached the street I needed to cross in order to come home, I turned back and there was nothing in the sky, not even the other common birds, the power cables and rooftops were empty.

To this day, I’ve often thought whether or not what I felt was real, or a figment of my imagination or perhaps a metaphor of some aspect of my life, how close evil is truly behind me, or maybe, it could just be that the Crow thought I was a giant bug and it tried to eat me, Ha ha ha.

Still, me being the kind of person that I am, I’m more inclined to think towards the former, that somehow, manifested in my life, was a sign or symbol, of something, often times the Crow/Raven was depicted as the bearer of bad news, the bringer of misfortune, and the like, but I remember the rest of the day being fine.

Perhaps, this is not meant as an external sign, but an internal one. If I slow down in my path to life, or if I look back and lose my way, I’ll be taken by the demons whose hands lie just inches away from grabbing me. I ran because it came naturally to me, so if I stuck to what is good for my life, and what is natural, although pushing me to my limits, I’ll be ahead of that which can drag me to Hell, and finally reach the end of my road, Home.  With this, I realize that my road is much longer than just down the street, and my Home is far greater than where I am now, but that also means that the Crow that tried to grab me is now truly a demon just waiting for me to slow down and throw me into a state of mind that will drive me away from moving towards Home. My path, although long and obviously more complicated than a straight line, isn’t completely shrouded in darkness and despair, it’s merely at the end, for I know what is right and what is wrong, the whole point is to stay on the path, and watch out for the crows.