It has been a long time since the last time I was in charge of cooking dinner for a group of friends (six).
Some planning was needed, but everything went alright, and we enjoyed a great time together.
Visiting friends, just in time to contemplate the flourishing Magnolia.
Flowers and friends causing warm happy feelings. Yet, they will be gone in a few days—that's the fleeting nature of life.
Treasure those moments in your heart-mind, recall them to keep you warm during the Winters ahead.
Concurrently, due to life's serendipity, Maria Popova writes a beautiful piece about Magnolias.
The morning will be spent doing house chores and washing my car (if it stops raining).
Then, late lunch-early dinner with some friends visiting from Mexico; this weekend on a friend's place, next weekend in mine.
We all have experienced those enlightening moments with profound and long-lasting implications.
What trigger such events is, most of the time, a mystery that remains unsolved forever. But, there is definitely a before and after.
There are three identifiable categories for these inflection points: quitting (e.g. smoking), starting (e.g. writing) or both (e.g. quitting your job to become an entrepreneur).
Past that point, we enter a parallel universe where there is no way back, only a path forward. You have decided to pursue something, and now you have to pay the price.
And if what you decided to pursue is mastery, the price will be very high. You must practice, consistently, for the rest of your life.
But there is always a first step on that journey. Many years later, you look back at day one with a smile, and keep moving forward.
My father shared some (photos of) family photos today.
I have mixed feelings about it.
These pics capture extended family gatherings, meaning, many people. I remember being there as a child. It was end of 90's, beginning of 00's.
Some family members on those pictures are gone.
I feel sad for the people, and for the days, that will never come back.
I woke up 30 minutes before the alarm clock went off, but got up an hour after.
There is a mirror in my bedroom. It is one of those vertical mirrors used to check how you look, from top to bottom.
I wonder what constitutes the feeling of home. Is it the physical space, the people inhabiting such space, or my own state of mind?
Maybe it is all the above.
A cosy place feels homey, but, is that enough?
People come and go.
Perhaps a peaceful mind feels at home under any circumstance, no matter how challenging it might be.
Concentration makes life better.
If you walk, eat, sleep, ride your bicycle—whatever—in absolute concentration, your experience will be more colourful, more intense.
Conversely, if you go about life distracted, or let yourself be perturbed for long, life gets significantly worse.
Distractions might be a matter of life and death. Seriously, if you are distracted while driving, that might be incredibly dangerous.
That I learnt today.
At first, you don't know how to move. Be still for a moment and listen carefully.
If you experience fear, embrace it. Feel how your body is getting cold, the chilling sensation going up through your spine.
You are completely alone in the darkest night.
You might find dragons and demons in here, don't run away. Keep your thoughts pure and bright, and they will be gone soon.
Confidence builds up as you keep moving, it slowly grows from within. Be grounded. Move slowly but confidently, one step at the time. Your erratic movements become more graceful over time.
Doubts may be strong at first. Make a pause and remain still for a moment. Be kind to yourself, never let your heart sink.
If you have to walk back your steps a few times, worry do not. Those are not failures, it is part of the learning process.
Adjust your course if need be. Follow your guts to decide whether to turn left or right. When you fall down, get up, dust the dirt off your shoulders and keep going.
You are alone in here, but don't be afraid. Only those who are brave enough to walk in the dark are able to see the light.