The Time, The Ship and The Food


…and that was June…

Time does indeed fly, so speedy…

And what was so special about June? Too many things, I must say. Apart from the feeling that time flies, I just realized that so much had happened in a month time, multidimensionally. If I now draw the big picture of June, it looks so long, intense and diverse that I, myself, can’t simply believe that I had done so many things, yet they all together combined feel like going so quickly, without intermission. Whereas, besides the core concerns that I always embrace: work, education, health, spirit, family, and friends [not necessary in that order], I also worked on a lot more other things.

The dimension spans from my educational improvement to as far as “social escapades”. The month started from Suriah KLCC, Kuala Lumpur and ended at the Pacific Place, Jakarta. What a real journey, and indeed life is a journey—like Samsonite says. And in the “Pilgrimage” book of Paulo Coelho that I have been reading, he writes, “ship is safest when it is in port, but that’s not what they are built for.”  Ships are built to sail over oceans through stormy adventurous journeys.

I had to work hard to write paper after paper that was due early of the month, worked out the first weekend to complete all of them after returning from Malaysia. Wrong strategy I may say, but I thought it was a kind of special treatment to myself after passing one-year in my current working position; I don’t want to regret it.  I took some days off of work due to the feeling of being so worn-out from working too hard finalizing those tons of papers. The hard-work was finally paid off, I got 3.75 out of 4.00 for my GPA this semester, not too bad. I will improve next semester, in which I thought I am going to start writing my Masters thesis; and perhaps preparing my Doctoral dissertation proposal—getting so much enthusiastic and sort-of ambitious [things happen for reasons, why all of a sudden I wanted to continue the doctoral program].

At work, I am so glad that I had passed the first year, and trying to survive the second year now. I got an OK assessment, about which I was slightly happy. It’s not a Big Deal. Will try harder to fit myself in the changes and the workload of the coming year despite of the mental and psychological wars that bothered me of this “rose-thorn.” I will be ok and I shall overcome, nothing really matters now after a couple of weeks. It was so hard to bear that I almost quit. I made it in the end! I don’t want to let myself defeated by an irrational fear. I move on… and few last days of the month were mine! Program cancellation [was supposed to be in Bali, but postponed again for the second time], additional projects and parties, they were all so fun! Music and dance.

As for my summer project, the movies went on very well reached the target and not the books; only a few books that I finished reading, a little lower than the targeted readings but I will catch up soon.  I have been listening to as many music as possible to treat beautiful sounds my right brain. And the writing, uhum, guess I still need to push far forward to be more productive. Overall, I am very happy with the turn-out of the first month summer project progress and I will improve. I enjoyed watching “A Single Man,” “Green Zone,” “Book of Eli” and a lot more; and reading “Dream” of Martin Luther King’s memoirs and Paulo Coelho’s Life was such an illuminating time of my life.

Getting into critical thinking was quite a challenge. A form of personal reflection, to evolve self’s school of thoughts for personal growth and development, or else, we will never move beyond what we thought we couldn’t do or succeed—we will forever stay in the box. We may stay in the box for as long as we wish, but remember, once we get the chance to move out, do it and just do it with accurate calculation of courage not naïf acts—misconducts. And don’t forget to always accumulate the lessons, experiences that you have gained while you are in the box and bring them all with you to see the outside world because they will be of your help in time of hardship, again. It’s just a process. It goes on and on for as long as you wish to learn, to open up your heart and mind and the most important thing is how/what you foresee yourself to become in the next years–thence you will build your path to get to it.

I was often engaged in so stimulating, mind-boggling and thought-provoking monologues and dialogues about problems, about life phenomena and social conflicts. It was staggeringly bothering, heart and mind. Things got me thinking so much and too much, until I grow gray hair. But it doesn’t simply stop me, the fact that I have gray hair. I keep thinking and thinking. And this reminds of me a wise word—if it is indeed wise—on my daily desk calendar and a saying said by my [late] mom in my dream several months back, “think, and think, and think ‘till you hurt if you want to succeed.” After all, we literally use only little parts of our brain to function everyday, so maximize the use of it as if you would live forever but don’t forget to balance the use of both right and left brain. Produce creative and critical thinkings but also feed them with beautiful sound of heart-warming music and eye-hypnotizing work of arts such as paintings or wonderful sceneries.

People get lost, and go astray in life, no direction, aimless and have no purposes. They simply follow routines and do what exactly life tells them to; it feels so hollow to my observation and feelings. I understand that every morning people wake up and walk different path everyday but don’t you feel that every day is like any other day? I will figure this out in July; I will make my days full of purposes and meanings and that I have objectives in my life…

The Ship

Here, I would want to highlight the analogy of the ship as I teased out in the previous monologue. Ship is not a ship until it sails the seas through the storms and the sun and under the stars in the sky…

My body is my ship and my mind is the captain of the ship. We navigate the direction where to sail and where to harbor the ship, but certainly with our decision, our ship can always be in port al the time. Literally, it means that it is us who determines the direction of our life: where we are heading, what we are doing and what we are going to become. It’s like the ritual of pilgrimage. The procession heads somewhere, and during the walk the pilgrims do what are required to qualify the process and what they are going to become once they complete the entire journey.

It is like us. What we want to become determines the hardship and the ease of the journey; the higher and the more complicated we want to become, the harder and less easy the path we are going through will become. However, it is surely safest to stay where we are now—in the port. And this is what most people have chosen. But once I remember a religious teaching that says, the Creator created the earth so wide and huge for humankind to travel and discover what is kept underneath it—so it is our destiny to walk the path as adventurer, about which most people have long ignored. There are treasure and magnificent beauty of earthly paradise that are given for us to explore and yet to safeguard.

Obviously to be an adventurer doesn’t sound easy at all. An adventurer goes through so many obstacles and challenges along the way but it’s how they are fed to be wiser and more knowledgeable and to bear the capability of telling and passing on their stories to other people and the stories live on over generations. This way, the adventurer—also as a story teller—will always be well remembered by the society. An adventurer is like a messenger, carrying messages from one place to society in another place, but sometimes an adventurer have something that is kept only for him, and it is not to be shared with others until the right time tells him to.

On the other side, when a person decides to stay in port, he will forever stay there. It is less risky and less challenging but that’s not why we were born on earth for. Everyone, of course, has their own destiny and they make decision for themselves, but when they decide to stay in port and not to travel, they stop themselves from growing and they don’t feed their mind and brain anything but with stagnancy—nothing but a hopeless life. At this very moment, we at least understand the two options: push the envelope or buy the farm, it’s our choice. We all deserve a better life; we all deserve to see the world one in a lifetime. Our world is as wide as we understand it and how far we want to travel.

Of course the body—your ship—is yours and you can do anything to your ship but always remember that you are the captain and try to be the best leader for your ship because you navigate the direction it sails. When the ship sinks it’s your fault and you need to learn from it and when it harbors to your desired destination, it is indeed your success and you will have to maintain it.

The ship is your vehicle in life, so take good care of it, be good and gentle to it. You have to feed it good foods and drinks because they will make your ship a good house for your mind, heart and soul. What you eat is what you are, it is the reflection of your state of mind, the transformation of your school of thoughts and more importantly, they feed your ship to stay alive and strong. Your ship is a kind of gift from your parents, but again, remember: you are the captain. So you decide what to do with it. You have to give everything you’ve got for it to give the ship your soul and your life—to give particular characters that differ your ship from others’ and this is quite important.

Most of the time you have to balance what is contained in your ship but only a few time that you don’t need to. You can always feed your ship good things and fine foods but not necessarily to balance it by feeding your ship with thing that are not good. Here, your true self is so much challenged—and it’s your call; it’s you who decide: you want to excel as extraordinary or you want to remain as mediocre.

The Food

Reading “The Pilgrimage” and listening to “The Song for Mama” (playing in my iPod touch on shuffle mode) at the same time while conversing with myself through the inner thoughts got me thinking greatly about us feeding ourselves. What and how we feed ourselves reflects us.

In Coelho’s book, “The Pilgrimage” it’s mentioned about eros, philos and agape, which reminded me of long lost word of agape—the love that consumes—that was often heard to my ears few years back and now I has returned. In “The song for Mama” one lyric line says “loving you is like food to my soul…” But here I am not going to talk about the three forms of love. Instead the emphasis is on the food that is fed by us, by the people around us to the complex system of ourselves—the ship.

Let me break down the category of food that will be highlighted in this writing. First is the real food for our stomach. Second is the food for our heart and soul, not limited to our spirit. And third is the food for our brain and mind. They are of different kinds of food, obviously.

The real food that we consume everyday for the sake to survive from hunger also says something much about us. What we eat is what and how we are. If you eat unhealthy meals it will make you sick easily. If you monitor and manage your eating habit, you could most probably be a healthy person. Eating disorder will of course define yourself. Don’t eat too much food or else you will gain a lot of weight and everyone will start calling you ‘hey fatso.’ Unfortunately, what physically people see is reflected in their personal subjective judgment about a person. And believe me or not, it really matters for some professions, say model and Japanese Sumo athletes—though I heard that they maintain vegetarian dietary consumption, how could they be so large. That’s what I witnessed when the first time I watched Sumo tournament in Tokyo last year, they really are huge people.

On the other hand, when you eat very little food, you might be labeled skinny or even anorexic. It’s nightmare when people start labeling us just because of our physical appearance, such as big belly, big butts, and a lot more awkward names that we could never even think of they existed. Not only food builds your physical look, but it also determines the immune system of your body, what kind of diseases and sickness you might get. Heart failure, kidney problems, diabetes, stomachache, diarrhea are some illnesses to mention that are caused by the food we eat. So, not only does food make your physical outlook but food also plays a significant role for your immune and body system.

Next on, the food for your heart, soul and spirit. It’s the trickiest part. Since the heart, soul and spirit are the easiest elements in ourselves to flip around all the time—the most sensitive to changes. In a fraction of second they feel so good, and another fraction they get so moody and bad. To my personal perspective, they have something to do with feelings and emotions: good feeling, through the manifestation of love and bad feeling, through the manifestation of hatred. It’s really multidimensional impact and cause. We can control it, as part of the ship, but likely, they slip out of our hands and just go mad out of control—like the ghost ship.

Loving can keep them positive, in all different ways. On the other side, hating will keep them negative. These feelings are the food to our heart, soul and spirit. If you feed them with good and positive feelings—food—they will grow as good heart. This will impact your central control, definitely. I mean, when you are happy and positive, you will do take care of yourself good. But if things are different you will abandon yourself and you don’t feed it with sufficient food and you won’t nurture your good being.

The last one, food for your brain and mind. As a true believer of mind evolution, I always hunger for thought stimulating events, conversation and monologues—mostly with myself anywhere anytime possible. I am easily triggered with small things in life and they got me thinking a lot. To me, small stuff in our daily life matter. Because from there you can nourish your thoughts, you can come up with great ideas and you can have monologues with yourself—which I have every day, I talk to myself about things. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that I worry about so many things, no, not at all. I talk to myself to train my mind to be critical and it has to become a second opinion within the process of self-judgment or decision-making. With you being rational, it helps you much safeguard yourself in times of difficulty or crisis.

Seeing a lot of saddening and happy moments in life should get you thinking and transforming the phenomena into positive mind-developing conversation and/or monologues. So that you understand how some people live in hardship and the rest live in a glamour lifestyle. We are not a hero, but we are all leader, at least for ourselves; and as leaders, we all have privilege to decide what we can do to better life and to change the world towards positive condition. And of course we can’t do that in a matter of minutes, but it all starts from here, now. I’ve seen people who slept on the ground under the sky with the cold cold night weather that sting your bonedeep. But I’ve also seen people who slept in a ‘starry’ hotel that cost them hundreds and even thousands of dollar per night on a very comfortable bed and thick soft blanket to cover them from the cold of the aircon that they can adjust. Like day and night, and like birth and death. All the (un)fortunate events I see in daily life get me thinking so deeply and I believe it will evolve my mind and one day I will come up with good ideas and positive attitude. So, no matter how bad or good ‘the food’ that we feed to our mind, it has to stay positive (or neutral) to filter, to chew and digest and turn them into something valuable.

It’s said that women tend to be more emotional and men are more logical; which is the comparison between the max-use of heart and logic (mind). I, myself, always see the importance of the two: feeding good food both to our heart and mind; how to balance the capacity of both is very important. A good person can count on his heart and at the same time considering what his logic says. This time, to balance the three food channels is not easy, but we can make big efforts to make it work. The three channels influence each other in a food cycle. Again, the food that we consume is very important to our well-being. It determines who we really are and ‘it makes you’ in a very unusual way. So, it is crucial to be responsible for yourself and managing what you are eating for your stomach, heart and mind.

taken and edited from mohammadreiza.com dated July, 2010

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