Sunday, May 17, 2009

When My Own Words Fail, Music Fills In The Gap.


THIS TOO SHALL PASS
In the middle of the turbulence surrounding you
These trying times that are so hard to endure
In the middle of what seems to be your darkest hour
Hold fast your heart and be assured

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass

The Father knows the tears you cry before they fall
He feels your pain, His heart and yours are one
The Father knows that sorrow's heavy chains are strong
But with His strength, you'll overcome

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass

So set your eyes upon the mountain
And lift your hands up to the sky
And let His arms of love surround you
And take you to the other side

This too shall pass
Like every night that's come before it
He'll never give you more than you can bear
This too shall pass
So in this thought be comforted
It's in His Hands
This too shall pass...

Open Up My Heart: A Prayer...


Alone in a room,
It's just me and You.
I feel so lost, cause I don't know what to do.
Now what if I choose,
The wrong thing to do.
I'm so afraid, afraid of disappointing You.

(Chorus)
So I need to talk to You, and ask You for Your guidance.
Especially today, when my world is so cloudy.
Guide me until I'm sure, I'll open up my heart.

My hopes and dreams,
Are fading fast.
I'm all burned out,
And I don't think my strength is gonna last.
So I'm crying out, crying out to You ooooohhhhh
Lord I know that You're the only one, who is able to pull me through.

Repeat Chorus

Show me how, to do things Your way,
Don't wanna make the same mistakes,
Over and over again.
Your will be done, and I'll be the one.
To make sure that it's carried out and in me I don't want any doubt

That's why I wanna talk to You, yes I do
And ask You for Your guidance.
Especially this day,
When my world seems so cloudy,
Lord guide me until I'm sure
I open up my heart...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The More Loving One: A Tribute to W.H. Auden


I had the pleasure of finally watching "Four Weddings and a Funeral", a movie that I had always wanted to see but never had the opportunity or right timing to catch in on Astro. Finally today, I sat through the film and discovered there was a lesson in it for me. The following scene sparked my interest in the works of W.H. Auden:



The above poem tweaked my curiosity to find more of Auden's work. I found the poem below:

The More Loving One
by W. H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.


______________________________________________

These words resonated within my soul and I was baffled by the mysterious reason for it. Why had his words move me to tears? I've never heard of his name until it was mentioned in that movie. And yet, I feel he spoke words out of my own lonely heart.

Am I at fault for my current circumstances? If I had been more loving, the more loving one; would that have sufficed in making my life better than it is now? Are my expectations of those whom I have invested emotionally been unrealistic? Have my unawareness made me blind to my own personal faults and shortcomings?

If the only solution to my situation and challenges is just by being the more loving one, will things improve? Or is the size of my ego has blinded me to the very object that should be my focus in point?

Maybe I am jaded and just too discouraged. Maybe this poem came to my knowledge a little too late. Do I want to be the more loving one? Yes. But only to those who deserve it. No more wasting time on people who don't appreciate me. No more waiting around for people who keep on taking me for granted. I need to focus on me. Because my children need me. As far as they are concerned, I am the more loving one.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Search of the Pure Love


Mothers Day wasn't much of a celebration for me. Unfortunately, I was down with fever and all I could muster was just enough energy to send a text message to my mom to convey my love for her and my gratitude in having her love in my life.

With a wet towel wrapped around my head to keep my fever down, I chatted with a couple of friends online. Suddenly, as if on cue, the topic of the chat swerved to talking about our emotional needs and the possibilities of having our needs met perfectly. This got me thinking about what had happened over the past few weeks.

In my previous entries, from the time when I first began blogging, I have never mentioned my first love until about 3 entries ago. And due to the big havoc that came as a result of paranoia and ignorance of certain quarters, I had to practically slaughter my 'creative writing' to mere skeletal version of what it was originally. My intention was to pay tribute to first love. Puppy love. I've realized now that puppy is love is not pure love. Pure love can never be found there.

I believe that as human beings, from the moment we were born, we have been in search for that pure love. Presumably, the term Pure Love is defined differently by each individual. However, I truly believe that it boils down to the first love we experienced and received when we first looked into our mothers' eyes and have that knowing feeling everything is going to be okay. We feel accepted and loved unconditionally. We feel cared for and precious. And we have never ceased, from then on, in our search for that very same love in another human other than those we call family. We look for it in choosing our life partners.

Our experience with puppy love is our initial introduction to how it feels like to be loved by someone other than our parents and immediate family members. Some may never get over that experience and fantasize about making something which is temporary in nature into something more permanent. Big mistake! Lessons in life is not meant to be made to be life. Lessons teach us about ourselves and how we can learn from our bad choices and mistakes and turn it into something that will benefit us in our future experience.

Life is complicated. Simply because it involves interacting with other people. Therein, lie the elements of uncertainty and risk. Life is a gamble. We won't know the exact consequences of our choices until we've made them. We can speculate. We can try to predict the future. We can even ask trusted friends and confidantes for their opinions and views. But, alas, we have to live our own lives. No one can do it for us. And that means taking risks and gambling with the odds of success or failure in everything we do.


Our hearts know what it needs. We may not know how to articulate it perfectly, but when we see what fits the criteria, our hearts will guide us, drawing us close to those who have the qualities we need in order to fulfill our gaping void within our souls.

Sometimes, we can't help but feel impatient or flustered when things don't work out according to our expectations. We might even feel discouraged and give up our search, quietly trying to shove aside our emotional needs with a silent hope that life will spring us a surprise and we will be fulfilled and live happily ever after.

But, is it realistic to expect someone else to love us the way our mothers do? Is there anyone out there who is capable of giving that kind of love? Are we capable of giving unconditional and pure love? For it ceases to be unconditional when we expect to be loved in return, much in the way we have given it.

I remember the time when my mother's love made me feel precious, appreciated, accepted and valued unconditionally. Regardless of whether I behave well or not, my mother's love never fell short of the first love she gave me the first time I was handed to her in her arms, with my umbilical cord still attached. And although I believed that I have indeed found my soul mate 20 years ago and have been married to him for a good 18 years, why am I still searching for that love in every face that seem familiar to me? Is it not enough? Why is it not enough? What has changed?

I have changed. In the beginning, I was the precious one. And then came my little brother. My first friend. Later, my youngest brother joined our posse. The preciousness became less and less. I began to look outside of my family circle and into my social circle.

That need to feel loved and precious. Is it a bad thing? Is it part of my ego? My pride? Or is it just something that is organic in nature. Just the pure need to feel connected and understood. To feel loved and taken care of. To feel secure.

I noticed the difference in the look in my eyes in two photographs. One when I was less than a year old; and the other as a grown woman. I can see the sense of security in my one year old eyes. Something that is starkly lacking in my grown up eyes. Where did I lose my sense of security? When did I lose it? Is there any way I can retrieve it? Or do I need to search for a new source of loving security that I feel I sorely need now?

Maybe, some might deem me as being ridiculous. Still searching for security and love at an age where I am already a mother of two teenage daughters? What the hell is going on? Mid life crisis or menopausal? But here is where the skeptics have failed to see. I need to find means and ways to fulfill my own emotional needs in order for my daughters to grow up emotionally functional and independent. Am I looking to be an emotionally independent adult? Yes. But life is a lot more wonderful when you can share it with someone who is equally, if not more, emotionally fulfilled and independent as you.

I have come to a conclusion that in my journey called life, there will be times when I feel my needs are fulfilled and I find myself no longer needing to continue searching. But as life goes on and I evolve, my needs go through a form of transformation of sort. New levels of emotional needs will arise and I am not able to disregard or ignore it. And so, my search continues. I don't know where its going to lead me. But I know I can't be in the same place and expect new things to come rolling onto my lap. I have to keep moving on. Evolution is a very holistic experience. Not just an emotional one. In the name of love. In the name of love.

Quotes:

“Love is supreme and unconditional; like is nice but limited.”
- Duke Ellington

“The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.”
- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

"Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle."
- Amy Tan

"If you have love in your life it can make up for a great many things you lack. If you don't have it, no matter what else there is, it's not enough."
- Ann Landers

Poem by Bertrand Russell
Three passions have governed my life:
The longings for love, the search for knowledge,
And unbearable pity for the suffering of [humankind].

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge.
I have wished to understand the hearts of [people].
I have wished to know why the stars shine.

Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer.

This has been my life; I found it worth living.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek: The Confessions of Miss Spock.

A few nights ago, I was invited by a few friends to go watch the Star Trek movie. All the hard core trekkies have been waiting for this movie for the whole of their lives. I submit an evidence to prove this assumption: the fellow trekkie who was seated next to me felt really nervous as the movie began, claiming that his heart was pounding in his ears. All my trekkie friends were nervous because they were afraid of disappointments. Their expectations were..., well... expectedly sky high! I whispered to my trekkie friend, "Leave all expectations outside the door. Watch this movie with an open mind." Poor souls. And then I asked myself this question, "Aren't I excited too? Am I a trekkie as well? Where do I stand in all this huge excitement?" Let me take you back to my earliest memory. My childhood.

Presenting to you little Miss Spock! Yup! That was what I was dubbed by my dad and everyone else around me. Hey! I had no say in being blessed with Vulcan ears, ok? Yeah.. yeah... Laugh all you want. But contrary to what others would expect me to react, I actually felt special. I could relate to that man in the Star Trek series on TV called Mr. Spock.

Back in those days, there were only two TV channels. TV1 and TV2. All the programs were still in black and white. Among the few foreign series that were aired back then were Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Andy WIliams Show and, of course, Star Trek. Sometimes, I'd ponder for a while and arch my right eyebrow (the way Mr. Spock would do) and wonder if my dad was really my father. Hmm... But alas, as I grew up and got to know my older relatives, I realized that I had inherited the Vulcan ears from my maternal great grandfathers. Lucky for my mom, it skipped a generation. But neither of my girls got the Vulcan ears. Bummer! I really wanted them to be little Vulcans, too.

Anyway, going back to my Star Trek movie treat, I must admit that it felt.... it felt.... familiar! Yes! Just like going home to your parents' house and finding things that would conjure up memories of childhood happiness. The bliss of naivety and innocence. Although I can't really consider myself a hard core trekkie like my movie pals that night, because I don't have that much knowledge and understanding of the whole Star Trek world as all trekkies do, I found myself being reminded of things that I used to know and had taken for granted. However, having myself surrounded by trekkies that night, I was never short of explanations for all the other queries I had. I also couldn't help comparing the original Spock with the new one.

The highlight of that movie, for me, personally, is seeing Leonard Nimoy as Ambassador Spock. The image of the aged Spock brought tears to my eyes. Its like seeing a very familiar and much loved relative who has aged after not seeing them for so long. And as the movie neared its end, I couldn't help but feel a tremendous wave of sadness... that maybe this movie will be the last time Leonard Nimoy will play the role as Spock.

I fought my tears as I heard Leonard Nimoy's voice, narrating the famous opening lines at the end of the movie:
"Space: The final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise
Its 5 year mission
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before".


Hmmm... One teeny weeny self-observation. I believe I am just like Spock. Half Vulcan, half human.

A private message to daddy Spock: I love you. You will always be with me... and thank God for my Vulcan ears.

"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
- Spock in 'Amok Time'

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Light Bulb Moment.


Someone's status update on Facebook gave me a light bulb moment. This is the quote that was cited,

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~ Dr. Seuss

The string of comments that came as a response to that quote was nothing less than astounding!
"How did u know I needed to hear this today?"
"just discussed this issue with my Chairman, he said you must say what you feel..."
"U r not alone. I feel the same too! N yes ppl do get upset n feel offended.... U know what, now I know n realise the meaning of true friendship. Thanks for sharing. I love it!"

The above made me realize that I am not the only one with this issue today! Is it a universal problem? Well, it may not be right up there with global warming, but an issue is still an issue. Isn't it...?

Dr. Seuss also said, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” And to think that I almost allowed someone to dictate who I am and what I say. I take full accountability for that. But I refuse to apologize for sharing things about my life and experiences. Yes, in my journey through life, I come across and interact with people. Yes, people. With names and faces. If they were significant at the moment that I am writing, I will mention name. What is wrong with that?

It has come to my understanding that some people made a big deal out of it just because their names were mentioned and their photos were posted here. Again, Dr. Seuss's quote applies. Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

Here's my light bulb moment: You don't matter to me anymore. No more tears because my intentions were misconstrued. As Dr. Seuss said, “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

So, goodbye to You. You are my past. You were never a part of my present. Now, I can embrace my current and my future.

To Blog Or Not To Blog: That Is The Question.

Definition of a Blog: a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies.

FOREWORD BY GEORGE SAND

"Yes, my dear kind doctor, writing a journal implies that one has ceased to think of the future and has decided to live wholly in the present. It is an announcement to fate that you expect nothing more. It is an assertion that you take each day as it comes and make no connection between today and other days. Writing a journal means that facing your ocean you are afraid to swim across it, so you attempt to drink it drop by drop. It means that you count the last leaves of a tree whose trunk has lost its sap.

When you are in the mood to write a journal the passions have cooled, or else they have so far frozen that they may be examined as safely as ice-bound mountains are explored in the season when no avalanches fall. No one should allow himself to solidify to this extent unless he is in a state of such upheaval that all the fires of his being are in danger of eruption. Then indeed it may be necessary to harden the outer crust in order to check the explosion and save the inner flame from becoming extinct."

_______________________________________________________

"Telling the truth when we feel vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do. We might fear rejection, abandonment, disapproval, disappointment, rage, hurt, or just the raw exposure that's an unavoidable part of the process. Yet almost every time we're willing to tell a hard truth, we grow and deepen in presence, no matter the response. The energy that we previously locked up to maintain a false front is now freed to uplift and enliven us."

- From How Now: 100 Ways to Celebrate the Present Moment, by Raphael Cushnir.

"We judge others by their behavior. We judge ourselves by our intentions".

- Ian Percy



"If you desire to live such that your religion is safe and your portion is full and your honor is sound, guard your tongue and never mention another's faults remembering that you yourself have faults and others have tongues. Watch your eye. Should it ever reveal to you the faults of others, say to it, "Oh my eye, other people have eyes too."

- Final page of Purification of the Heart.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Eternally Transient.



Azuar was right when she commented that my last blog entry is the most cheerful one after a long time. Her comment lead my train of thoughts to somewhere new... Something I had never realized before.

I've always said that emotion is an unstable variable to rely on in making life changing decisions. I always advice my clients never to make any decisions when you are either too happy or too upset. Its true... feelings of joy or sorrow are as transient as the weather and the movement of the sea... Up and down. High and low.

However, if that is so, then how come we are capable of feeling love for someone for so long? After many years had passed since the piercing of cupid's arrow, our heart still stop at the very mention of their name, still bleed with sorrow at the very thought of not having seen them for so long. How come that love is capable of prevailing? How can it endure the test of time? How can something so immature be so durable and lasting? Is it really a love that exist in our hearts? Or does it really only dwell in our heads? Or is it our soul? Or maybe because its equivalent of a story that begins with "Once upon a time..."

First love. Its like looking up at the sun. The warmth and glow is brilliant and overwhelming. But its just not meant to be owned and taken home. Hopefully in time, it will be forgotten.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Debut Return After 20 years at Alexis Bistro

Let's see.... How shall I begin this entry? How did this all start? Well, it began on 24th April when I was told that my old friend Zailan Razak, was gonna be playing piano for Denise Minifield at Alexis Ampang, alongside John Sani and Lewis Pragasam. My soul sister Azuar, a fellow jazz buff, coaxed me to go for a night's outing. After all, its been a long while since the days of All That Jazz back in late '80s.

It was a fun night, meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Seeing Zailan perform again was an added bonus for I have not seen him in action for the longest time. I befriended a Cuban guitarist named Marco and also the adorable Denise Minifield. She's like a dynamite on stage!! That woman can really mesmerize the audience to do almost anything she bids them to do. Such an enchanting lady!!

Me with Denise and my manager Nur-Ruhizan

Marco, Nur, Azuar and me.

Me with my brother Zailan Razak and the beauties...

Someone had told Denise that once upon a time I was a singer too. And she didn't waste much time after that to cajole me up on stage to join her singing a few songs. I was pleasantly surprised at the audience's reception of the sight of me, all clad in black abayyah and hijab, bopping around and singing Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" like there was no tomorrow! After the performance over for the night, a few of the patrons complimented on my singing and asked if I was gonna be at Alexis on the following week. I was speechless! Marco opened the door for me by inviting me back there to join Steve Thornton & Friends who were gonna be performing the week after!

On the night of my gig with Steve Thornton & Friends, the place was jam packed with friends and fans, all there to support and cheer me on. My adopted brothers with their spouses, my clients, family members were all there, channeling positive energies and confidence in my abilities and experience.

Over all, the gig was a success. In fact, Steve asked me to come sing again on the following night (it was a 2 night stint for them) and that delighted me to bits. I really enjoyed myself and would like to believe that I managed to entertain the audience well enough that they just asked for more.... Well, they were a very polite and civilized crowd...

I know one thing for sure: Although the two nights stint turned out to be tiring for aging old me, I realized how much joy singing brings to my soul. I'm really grateful that night was a debut of my come back to the entertainment world. But I am also truly sincere when I say that I hope that won't be the last of it. May Allah hear my fervent prayers in my heart and grant me this happiness... So that I may survive day to day until the time comes for me to say good-bye.



I'd like to thank Marco Antonio, Steve Thornton, Norman Rahman, Farid Ali (who replaced Marco on the second night) and last but not least, Rachel Guerzo on piano, for all the love, support and quiet understanding they've given me. But most of all, I'd like to thank them for the opportunity to sing my blues away and feed my soul with joy. Thank you to all those who gave their loving support for me just by being there. God bless you all....