th.ink

‘Do you ever stop thinking?’ I asked Jap Girl & Crazy one day, after a shoot. We were seated in a lovely Japanese restaurant, out little treat after a tiring day.

‘Yeah, all the time,’ Jap Girl replied. ‘Sometimes, I find myself doing it in the middle of a meeting or discussion, and I realize it’s kinda bad because when I start thinking again, I’ve lost my place in whatever has been going on… so I’ve been trying to get disciplined about my habit.’

‘You’re kidding, right?’ I was amazed. ‘How do you not think at all?’

‘It’s easy,’ Crazy said. ‘You just don’t. Your mind is blank. It shuts down, that’s all…’

‘You can’t just stop thinking…’ I shook my head in disbelief. ‘I mean, it’s more a sense of self-awareness, right? Like maybe you aren’t aware that you’re drifting off and thinking about other things like a nice wall, a pretty font, how the lady looks weird…’

‘Well, see… I never thought about that. I just don’t think in those blank spaces.’ Jap Girl looked puzzled. ‘You mean you think all the time? Don’t you ever run out of thoughts? Or get too tired to think anymore?’

‘Well, when I run out of thoughts… I think about why I have no more thoughts. Or that I’m too tired to think, and start to think about why I’m so tired, or how I can be less tired. Or ask myself why I have reached a place where thoughts are no longer pleasant… I have never stopped thinking. They aren’t all serious thoughts!’ I added, seeing their worried faces.

‘They can be random. But I’m aware of what inspired those random ideas…’ I paused. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been in that place where thoughts don’t exist.’

‘I wonder if that’s a good thing or bad…’ Crazy said.

*

If my life was measured by the number of thoughts that cascaded through my mind, I have lived more than 2 months in the past 2 weeks. Staying awake for too many hours left too much time for reflections, assumptions and summaries.

If, however, growth was measured by the number of times my thoughts were corrected, altered and changed (to adapt to a new perception/understanding), then I have sped through a year in 14 days.

And what have I learnt?

  1. Perfection is an illusion, as long as it’s based on man’s performance.
  2. There is always more to meets the eye in any situation. There is always a story behind the actions of every person you meet. And there is always a different way of looking at things.
  3. Value is an intangible quality, too often measured by tangible qualities, which oversimplify its true worth.
  4. Purple cows can only be found in fields where it’s possible to reinvent what people expect.
  5. My position is a role. Not an identity.
  6. Leap, and the net will appear.
  7. Everything. And I mean everything… is temporary. Hold all things with a loose hand.
  8. Real creativity requires significant work.
  9. Love is the ultimate idea generator, the propelling force, the beginning and end of everything.
  10. I need an ‘off’ switch built into my brain.

*

And now, I sleep.

Goodnight world.

*

PS. I don’t think my posts qualify as a post-a-day anymore. More like a post-whenever-possible

under construction

I stood at the edge, precariously balanced between concrete, steel works and wet sands… and took a deep breath. I was filling my lungs with the dreams of many men as my eyes drank in a vision of the future.

I watched the sun set between the metal works and surveyed the expansive mess. It was glorious.

Down four levels deep in the earth, the men were busy digging, piling and tying steel poles together in a cage… did they feel what I felt? I doubted it. I watched them for a while, seeing the years I had spent down in my personal foundation, miserable because I couldn’t grasp what I was building, frustrated because being in the darkness felt like eternity. I smiled to myself as the wind blew the dust into the air.

I was visiting the construction of a new building (mentioned many times in the local news) as I needed to gather information for a report I had to make. I looked at the walls that were finally erected. It’s still far from what it will be and yet, it was brimming with hope.

I saw myself in that building. I saw myself in the mess. I saw myself in the temporary and felt the weight of the permanent future. And then, with a sigh of relief, I walked away knowing that everything, every single darn thing that I had gone through in the past was for a purpose.

I am still under construction. I wonder what the final product will be? And will we, in this lifetime, ever reach that place where we can say, ‘I’m done!’

Will we ever reach that place where we’re no longer a works-in-progress?

*

‘Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?

The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.’

– C.S. Lewis

I got plans.

So does the Dream Maker.

I wonder… how many of them align into the perfect picture?

stripped; what do you see?

It was a slip. But in that briefest of moments, I saw her as she actually was, without the veil of assurance she always wore. Her very words – although punctuated with a well-timed laugh – betrayed her heart. But as quickly as it was revealed, the veil went up again and the person I thought I saw was hidden again.

I looked at her with interest.

It truly doesn’t matter if you have everything going well for you – there’s always something you know you lack, something you battle with in quiet, something that you desire deeply. And I felt compassion.

When are we then made complete? And why this struggle for perfection?

‘Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.’

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It is human nature to desire perfection.

Who hasn’t wanted the perfect body, the perfect family, the perfect relationship, the perfect career, the perfect passion, the perfect life? And yet, if we were truthful, we might all agree that these ideals serve one purpose – to hide the fact that deep inside, we feel like losers.

The thing is, being happy is not about perfection. It’s about stringing together all the odds and ends of our strengths, getting comfortable with our nakedness and being proud of the person that we are – our fallible selves.

I’m not there yet. The stripping is still a daily process, like yanking off a band-aid from old wounds, I face my fears every single day. I have to choose to resist my defensive mechanisms coming into play and instead, stand still.

You see, I want to grow comfortable with my weaknesses.

I want to stand, stripped.

Gloriously imperfect.

Wonderfully made.

Hidden.

In the Dream Maker’s arms.

I choose to see Him, as He hung naked on the cross.

He took the stripping, that I might be clothed in His perfection.