Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Updates - from surviving to thriving - the Serenity Prayer

This is one of those brief posts where I realise that I've not updated this little space on the Interwebs for a very long time and since I'm now on extended Christmas leave and catching my breath, it's probably the best time for me to do that. 

The period of being at a loose end has come to an end (pun not intended) and it's about time to move on. I did ask me the hard questions and part of them were answered as I would describe more fully, in the second part of this post. I was also helped by a series of particularly enlightening conversations with a partner in the law firm where I work, which has opened my eyes to a new way of doing things and understanding what life is all about. 

Suffice to say, it is only by God's grace that I pulled thru this particularly difficult time, in which He saw fit to give me a nice new Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone via the St Ignatius church Junior Youth Ministry raffle ticket draw. I was reading 'the Hobbit' on a fine Sunday morning when I got the call telling me I won the phone - which I instantly thought was a scam! Haha. Luckily despite the boy selling the raffle tickets calling me 'aunty' (wth!), I bought 2 books and well ... God knew I needed that little pick-me-up, as He always knows.  

It's not a perfect phone, but hey, it's good enough for me. And it has a GPS, which I instantly dubbed Moses (to lead me to the Promised Land). So far Moses has been all right, except for the few times when it's been quite stupid, taking me further into Puchong rather than back to Damansara. Times like these I tell Moses to stuff it and just drive my merry way. 


From surviving to thriving. I did find my answers to the hard questions in the session with Fr Matt Linn SJ end November. I discovered I enjoy making the intangible tangible. To crystallise ideas into words and concepts into narrative. 

That explains why despite the struggles I face, I am still in this profession that I am in. I find that it always begins with an idea or many ideas - what gives me joy is helping clients to clarify, crystallise and formulate their ideas using words and from there, make their ideas happen. The process is sometimes long drawn-out, and often difficult (esp where there is no precedent) but oh my, the beauty of something concluded, completed. And of course, seeking clarity in the morass of documents and papers in a due diligence exercise. It gives me that satisfaction that goes beyond the mere ka-ching of an invoice that has been settled. 

Needless to say, the care of people underscores all I have done before and all I wish to do, in the future. An expression of love, far beyond the bottomline - of which I acknowledge its due importance, that is what I am striving for. 


Forgiveness begins to happen when you realise you can't control people's responses and reactions. You can't force people to be kind or to love, you can only be kind to yourself and to them. One of the other things that has helped immensely thru this time has been the Serenity Prayer, and I reproduce below the original Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Neibuhr:- 

GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the thingsI cannot change, 
Courage to change thethings I can, and thewisdom to know the difference. 
Living one day at a time;Enjoying one moment at a time;Accepting hardship as thepathway to peace. 
Taking, as He did, thissinful world as it is, not as I would have it. 
Trusting that He will makeall things right if Isurrender to His Will; 
That I may be reasonably happyin this life, and supremelyhappy with Him forever inthe next. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Daring to ask the hard questions

I'm at a bit of a loose end. A lot has happened in my life since I last wrote and the fruit of my thoughts are below:- 

*warning: free association writing* 

Do I actually dare to ask myself and to ask God the hard questions? And to listen to what the answers might bring me? To someplace I don't want to go, like St Peter? What if what He demands much more of me than I am willing to give? What if all I've been doing before this is a waste and a colossal mistake?

No wallowing, but the tears at the chapel/prayer room are real ... and with them, the sense of waiting for the clouds to part, and for me to listen more to what and who I am, the courage to pursue what I really believe in and to build on the person I am. Not to keep on apologising to the world for who I am but to embrace, accept and grow the gifts I have been given. 
What am I waiting for?

More than an image,
Bigger than a perception, or steoreotypes, or whatever boxes or lines you want to put around me, 
Greater than what you think I stand for, or who I'm all about...
I am who I am. 

A tremendous struggle it's been. Wombat like I would like to curl up in a corner, but there is a life to keep living. And a self to listen to. And to love. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

The pieces that didn't quite fit

A long time ago, you were fragile, emerging from behind a shy glance,
you came out to meet the world,
which greeted you with nothing more than taunts and jeers,
you had no name, you began to believe you didn't deserve one.
bit by bit, you began to see that so many pieces didn't fit, 
they said so, they think im weird, they think i m a loser 
and you tore them off your being, flung them far, far away,
pretended it was ok
apart from the tears at night,
you thought it was loneliness, 
you always wanted to belong, 
but those were the tears of a betrayed self.

Years pass before you bring the broken pieces
of what remains of yourself,
and lay it before this compassionate presence,
whom you only dimly perceived before.
no more the judge, the policeman, the accountant,
keeping track of wrongdoing and mistake.
now watch, this Father has kept, precious, pure, 
those parts you had cast aside,
where have those jagged edges gone? 
smoothening the cracks and zig zag lines,
in His light, they take on a beauty that He has seen and known,
they remind you that you were loved. you are loved.
and gently, oh so gently, He shows you
where each piece belongs in and of you,
the past, the present, the form of the future.  

the Father never forgot the wholeness of who you were. 

*Written in honour of the feastday of St Ignatius of Loyola - 31 July 2012* 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Updates / That wordless love / Paper v Touchscreen ***

Hello all,
it's been ages since I last updated this little space of mine on the web - a job change is what I'd like to share. 
To be honest, nobody is more surprised than I am that I am still in legal practice. If you have known me for that long and have been following my story, you would know that I never did see myself as particularly lawyerly - not too polished, slick, clever at buttering up or sharply dressed, or cunning. Or brutal, tough and conscience less, as popular view would have you believe it. 
But here I am, in practice again, working at the kind of place I didn't think I would belong in (large firm with a flurry of activity and movement and all sorts of people, from the ultra happening to the quirky to the quiet) and learning as much and as best as I can everyday. 
I do believe that God has a purpose for me to be there and in as much as there are some pretty rough days and weeks, my corpus of experience (and felt knowledge) is increasing and when the time is right, I shall be able to move on to the next stage of my life to assist others in enriching their own knowledge and carve their paths out. 
*trusting Him and knowing when the time is right* 


That wordless love - where only action can bring it into the light. 
you didn't have to, you didn't need to. but you still did.
and after a lifetime of deafness, i think i m finally learning to listen and know that in those things you did and have been doing, you were saying 'I love you' in the best way you could.

Thank you. 


Prayer time had been about using my smartphone - scrolling down the touchscreen to read the day's readings and reciting the prayers off the screen. 
And every now and then using the Pray-As-You-Go podcast, which I would admit has been wonderful and it's so compact, guiding you through 15 minutes (or so) of the day's reading with stirring music as accompaniment and reflective prayer. 
But nothing beats the good old fashioned paper and ink devotional and my 500 grams Bible - as I flip through the pages, I am reminded why we are a sacramental people and that it is in these very tangible and real things that we find closeness and healing and peace. 

I'll probably go on with both, and as the days become busier and rest periods shorter and shorter, I need to remember, the first fruits belong to Him, and to Him be all praise, honour and glory.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Loving and the release of humanity


I've always loved this quote, and lately I've been thinking about it even more deeply. 

A moment of grace came to me recently. Someone whom I loved deeply finally understood - that for all those years when he thought that I could not and did not accept him for his choices and state in life, I had loved and accepted him all along. And it has taken these long long years for him to acknowledge that and to be loved. There was confusion, but never condemnation. How blessed I am that he finally sees and accepts this from me. I am truly thankful. 

You might wonder why this matters so much - after all, he is in a distant land, far away from me. Our circles no longer overlap and we have not seen each other face to face since that day. But it matters because I have discovered, that besides allowing myself to be loved, loving another person released my humanity.There is a part in me that could only be realised in freely giving of myself, knowing that there may never be any answers  or resolution to what I faced. 

An ending happened that day, I thought, but it was really the beginning of a very long journey into knowing what it means to really hold another person in your heart and soul - and accept that although the person cannot love you in the way you thought at first, he or she loves you with all that he or she has. The release of this part of my being has meant setting me free from demands, conditions and preconceived ideas. We are all strengthened by the love we receive from the ones around us, but even more important is the courage to embrace a new way of loving and of being. 

You can't be really all that human if you've never given yourself away. Those moments of crushing vulnerability and the tears I've shed, I think they only make sense now that I see the courage it has unlocked in me to see my Christ and tell Him, yes, I will bear His Christ light to the people around me. Even though it may flicker in me, dimmed at times by my weakness, He is here within me. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Of Ignatiusising and Why I love Ignatian Spirituality so much - part i

picture taken from here

It was a friend from Singapore who remarked that I seem extremely fond of 'Ignatiusising' - which is another way of saying I flood his FB newsfeed with posts on Ignatian spirituality. This got me thinking about just what it is about Ignatian spirituality that I love so much that draws me to it and leaves me wanting more and wanting to share all about it.

Well, the first thing that drew me in was the fact that God is to be found in everything, even and especially my emotions and imagination. And besides that, even more significantly, in the parts my life and self that I consider messed up and broken, and that I'm ashamed of. I think there is something very reassuring about knowing that God is there, amidst the crevices and cracks and that He is waiting for me.

More so that nothing in me, or in my life has been a waste, even the most humiliating and painful occurrences, the type that I m still coming to terms with and understanding - are not a waste, as God is there too. Accepting my past has helped me accept my self too, and with it, the knowledge that together with my Creator, the present and future are still open to change and growth.

As I journeyed on, in my practice of the Examen (i try to do it at least once a day, at night before I sleep), I discovered the joy of imaginative contemplation prayer. And There has been No Looking Back hence :)

to be continued ...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Unconditional love?

i think i'm in love ... again.
and you'd think that after all this while you'd learned your lessons,
a broken heart, shattered expectations,
promises left unkept.
no but really, this time i think it's different.
how is that so?
you know that old saying, If you love someone, set them free and if they come back to you, then you'll know it was meant to be.
and ...
it's just another way of expressing unconditional love.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lenten Reflection - part i

i was not weeping at the cross,
unlike the Mother of our Lord and
the women of Jerusalem.
They believed in Someone,
believed that Something would come to pass.
And i, pushing past the people,
grabbed the body, slippery in blood
and spittle from the scornful
unbelievers gathered round,
gnarled with a thousand whip lashes,
grabbed it,
"Where were You, God,
Where were You when it mattered most?"
and ended with a cry
primitive, primeval, an ache beyond words,
so did the Christ cry out with me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Client - Enemy or Best Friend?

(pix credits here)

Recalling the words of my earliest boss,
"the client is your worst enemy" he would warn me, emphasising enemy. Then he would illustrate with examples of the client turning on us, backstabbing, complaining, even suing us for things going wrong later on.
At some level, I did understand that clients could be capable of making our lives as lawyers pretty darn miserable, not to mention, be the source of all kinds of danger, from petty complaints to negligence lawsuits.

On the other hand, can one regard this fee paying client as one's best friend? That wouldn't be correct either, since professionalism carries with it, as I have learned the hard way, a certain distance and also, well, from a more practical point of view, clients are more often than not nasty rather than nice, demanding rather than understanding. Not exactly the best place to breed anything more than courtesy

For me, it is hard to reconcile the concept of the client being one's worst enemy with his being the person paying the (legal) fees and doing one's best for this enemy. To begin with this starting block would create unnecessary stress and worry. There is a middle ground between enemy and best friend which I am finding day by day. I found instead that one regards clients as people to whom a duty is owed and whose expectations need to be managed (i.e. reality checks need to be given where necessary, the last I know, I didn't have a magic wand ready to grant all the heart's desires). That detachment is part of making better judgment calls and I dare say, an improved level of service.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Accepting the Unacceptable

I can't believe it's been six (6) years already, and I thought the void you left behind was already filled up.
No, I got betrayed and let down - and as I sit here, remembering alternating moments between the times spent together and that one singular moment of heartbreaking honesty (and you were honourable enough to tell me the truth, and because of that, you didn't lose my respect, no not my affection either although we both know something has changed forever)
Haven't seen you since, first - we weren't ready, next it became lots of excuses and third, it became being into our own busy lives.
We're still friends, I'd like to think. And no matter what or where you go, always a special place in my prayers for you, whatever you've told me and your doubts.

Thinking of someone else too. Why does it always come down to this? The good and happy times fade into this ache and dull emptiness. And for once in a way, so bitter that I find it hard to smile.

Betrayed. Disappointed. Alone. And I wonder what this all means. Forgiveness takes a long time, a very very long time, and talking about reconciliation, if there is no real change of heart or thinking or approach, why even bother?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chasing after Bubbles

She's chasing after bubbles,
floating by so prettily, lighter than the air,
shimmery transparent orbs
a million blended shades of purple pink and blue on the edges,
She's going to catch those bubbles and
keep them safe and round in her chubby palms.

But the closer she gets, the sooner it pops,
one by one by one,
it's a little upsetting, but she'll keep on trying,
jogs a bit and then giggles a lot
and the sun winks down at her,
bouncing off a tiny bubble that first
escaped her view,
she winks back and reaches out
and sees it disappear.

*pic credits here*