Archive | May 2013

A Mid-lifer’s Reflection in the Middle East

life is a journey

Life is a journey, as they say.  It can either be a great adventure or a sorry mishap.  There is no way of finding out if the road up ahead is a long and winding trail or if it ends up on a cliff.  I just back up and go find the detour sign so I can continue with my road trip no matter what.

It’s the same as aging.   Every year that is added to my age marks as a milestone in my journey through life.  It can be a high-five or a thumbs down. It can be a party or a bleh moment.  Either  it’s about  winning or losing.  But still life goes on.


So, as I travel down the road, I meet different people along the way. I love them. I hate them.  I trust them. I argue with them.  Each meeting has a purpose. Perhaps, the reason is to show how to love and care, or help me get through life with ease. And that’s fine.  But what if they exist to give me challenges – or better yet, to teach me a lesson or two?   Ah, this one is a big discomfort .  But as the book Follow Your Heart says, ” The universe has no favorites .”   So, whatever that is, I still have to walk through life without a scratch and hopefully alive.

True, challenges and trials like, maybe – what the great gurus say – are just lessons in disguise.   It can be so scary and daunting at first glance, but when I come to think of it, I realized that problems are not really thrown my way just to make my life difficult. Problems are there because I need to find out the reasons why things happen and try my best to make a sense out of it.

These everyday experiences also apply to all the people in our lives – parents, children, spouses, friends, girlfriends, acquaintances,  relatives and colleagues at work.  In one way or another, differences spice up our lives.  Well, let’s face it – we all have different backgrounds, hobbies, likes, ideas, cultures and norms.   So, misunderstandings and disagreements are inevitable. In fact, they are as natural as breathing and sweating. That’s what being social  is all about. It’s either I fit or not.  Or, I can go for the high road which is to simply adapt and make a compromise.

In retrospect, reasons for my behavior can be anything – the desert heat ,  food allergies, migraine, too much work, sleepless nights, jerks in the workplace, family issues , time zone blues, mercury retrograde , insecurity, foul mood, someone’s pushing my buttons or miscommunication.   Maybe I just need to vent and you happen to be nearby. Or maybe out of boredom I want to do it for a change and it seems like a good idea.

It can also be because I am still hanging on to the nasty parts of my past . Or maybe,  I  have a gift for blurting out zingers.   And so like all human beings , I rant, get mad , scream , cry and lose my wits too.  At times, I don’t have any idea that my words hurt somebody . When it comes to other people’s behavior, maybe they are trying to do their best too.

But one thing I have learned a great deal about growing older is that I can accept other people’s  criticisms with an open mind and open heart. Because they have a better view of me and the situation which – whether I admit it or not – sometimes is being blinded by pride and cynicism.

Other people can see something that I do not see because in the heat of the moment I am irrational and incoherent.  I become defensive because there is a part within me that I need to fight for.  There is a part that bleeds to the core. It feels like being blown to smithereens.  And the sad part of it is, when people never hear your side of the story – and they don’t even bother to find out. So, whatever reasons they have , I respect that.   But blaming other people or midlife crisis is not a mature way of dealing with life. I really need to OWN it.

Whenever I fall flat on my face and hit rock bottom, sometimes, the only option is to go away from it all. Either leave a relationship, friends, job , house, parents or even a country. It doesn’t really mean giving up on something good, losing hope nor surrendering my ideals. It is not even a good way to escape reality. Oftentimes, one simply disappears because it is the right thing to do. By taking a few steps back , I can take a deep breath, analyze the situation and view life objectively.  And once the decision is made, it is for the good of all.

Detachment gives me the needed time to think, regroup and weigh my options. Through the guidance of the Higher Being,  I can see the light and find the answers. Because I can’t think right if my mind is in absolute chaos.  One can only find peace in silence, meditation and prayer.

What do I do when I really get lonely or scared?  I shout. I sing. I run. I meditate. I clean the house. I watch comedy movies. I write on my journal. I pray. I sleep a lot. I do a heart-pouring sobs  and do it for a day or so, then I get over with it. I believe resistance to the feelings is unhealthy to the mind and the spirit.   I just have  to go with the ebb and flow of everything. Let nature takes its course. Because I simply can’t  force things to happen my way.

Then the big  ” aha moment, ” comes and I tell myself, ” okay now, stop the drama and all these self-righteousness mantras and just get back on track.” I think of an imaginary big circle around me that serves as a force field and protects me from being hurt emotionally . It quiets down the shitstorms in my mind.

As we grow older, if we focus on our strengths instead of our weaknesses, our mind-set will see the brighter side of things instead.  Age is not about the number of years I live, but how well I can face austerity with greater wisdom and strength.  I realized that , midlife should not be about a period of stress, fear and anxiety, as people commonly think.  But, instead a moment of self acceptance and letting go of things that I cannot change. It is a period of learning from the mistakes of my youth, so  I can bring and share this knowledge to my daughters and future grandkids, and to equip myself  better  for the second half of my lifetime .


It doesn’t really matter if the people in my life is right or wrong, or if it’s their fault or mine. I would rather be happy than right. Middle age makes me look at life with a different perspective and understanding. This is my way of reaching out to all the people I have caused pain and in the same way, I am releasing the anger and hurt feeling which holds me down. I choose forgiveness. I choose happiness. Period.

Being a fortyish woman , I know I am still a work in progress but I want to rise above it all. This time, things are handled better and I hope, wiser. I don’t want to let my age define me as a person like a curse or something. I am embracing each year that is being added to my life because I am leading not the path of perfection but for greater knowledge and wisdom that every failure or mistake  will simply bring out the best in me.


LOTR: Rediscovering The Lost Art of Poetry, Hail To Sir Tolkien!


 (photo credit:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

                                                                         – The Song Of Aragorn, The Lord Of The Rings

I am a great fan of the epic masterpiece Lord of the Rings and I recently enjoyed the prequel movie, ” The Hobbit ” . The box office hit movies by the director Peter Jackson were based on the novels of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien better known as J.R.R. Tolkien. According to Tolkien’s biography, his novels were the realization of his own fantasy world and mostly based on the British folklore and mythology. The movie trilogy was the amazing result – created through the combined magic of visual technique, epic music, digital art , wizardry, literature , history and poetry.

I can consider Tolkien a genius for creating the Elf alphabet by using the Tengwar script for his fictional universe of Ea.  But I am not writing about the famous Elvish language. This article is about my recent fascination with Tolkien’s movies which paved the way again for writing poems.  He was also known both for being a classical poet and a prolific writer.

 Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

                                    – Excerpt, One Ring

Poetry, according to Wikipedia (from the Greek word  ” poiesis ” ) which means ” to make or to create ” is a form of literary art . It is a kind of language which uses rhythm and aesthetic to create an idea with meaningful expression and evoke an emotional response.

In the old days , poetry was the most respected form of literary genre. I, too,  was charmed by seductive lure of the written prose and narratives.  It has even become an addiction because, I can’t help buying more, when I already have a bookshelf filled with many partially unread books.  Well, read or unread, still , I consider them as my treasures.

From Wilderland to Western shore,
from northern waste to southern hill,
through dragon-lair and hidden door
and darkling woods he walked at will.

With Dwarf and Hobbit, Elves and Men,
with mortal and immortal folk,
with bird on bough and beast in den,
in their own secret tongues he spoke.

                                                – Excerpt, Frodo’s Laments for Gandalf

Undeniably, something magical happens when one is able to relate to the stories when reading books. It feels like I am Jasmine of Aladdin who was being transported on a magic carpet ride to a far , far away land in 3D, or like Dorothy who was swept out of Kansas by a twister to the Land of the Oz. It is both magical and enchanting.

Those kind of experiences you get out of book reading feel so great – but my recent fascination for the LOTR has opened the door once again to the wonderful world of poetry. I have been writing poems in high school but books have ruled my life ever since.

Poetry reading or writing for me is like saying a little prayer – a kind of meditation that brings peacefulness and silence to the core of one’s soul.  It is a great therapy for releasing tension and healing heartaches. The rhythmmical and beautiful composition stirs all kinds of wonderful emotions and memories for the reader. It is like a journey to the past and an adventure to the future but only with a blink of an eye.

 For still there are so many things that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring there is a different green.
I sit beside the fire and think of people long ago,
and people who will see a world that I shall never know.
But all the while I sit and think of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet and voices at the door.”

                                                                                                          – Excerpt, I Sit And Think

With my recently published poems like the ” Springtime in Middle-Earth” , ” Through the Rain” , ” Purple Tree and Poetry” ,”Random Acts of Happiness” and “I Am A Restless Soul” , I am glad to find my muse again in creating poems.

I love the work of Maya Angelou’s ” Still, I Rise” about racism and inequality. Also, Shel Silverstein’s , ” Hug O’ War ” about hugging and  having fun and ” The Perfect High ” which is about a junkie’s adventure and knowing the wisdom behind it. They are only two of the great literary geniuses of this generation and my own favorites by far.

Of course, we can’t just forget the works of other great classical poets like Keats, Plath , Wordsworth and Frost. This blog serves as my ode to the masters since last April we also celebrated the National Poetry Month. Their contributions to the literary world were both unparalled and timeless. And for as long as there are many other aspiring poets like me who will write poems, the art is never ever lost.

 Though here at journey’s end I lie
In darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.|

                                                      – Excerpt, Journey’s End