Cracked Earth With A Boy

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

  Leafing through the magazines at a clinic’s waiting room, this photo haunted me. Finally, I found it here at the gallery of Allard Prize for International Integrity. The lines on the cracked earth reminded me of drought season in the Philippines when … Continue reading

Transformation of Malcom Muggeridge

Taj Mahal, India

Unknown woman at Taj Mahal, India

Malcom Muggeridge, an agnostic British journalist met and filmed Mother Teresa doing her work catering to the poorest of the poor in India.

He wrote a book “Something Beautiful for God.

“This Home for the Dying is dimly lit by small windows high up in the walls, and Ken was adamant that filming was quite impossible there. We had only one small light with us, and to get the place adequately lighted in the time at our disposal was quite impossible. It was decided that, nonetheless, Ken should have a go, but by way of insurance we took, as well, some film in an outside courtyard where some of the inmates were sitting in the sun. In the processed film, the part taken inside was bathed in a particularly beautiful soft light, whereas the part taken outside was rather dim and confused…Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying is overflowing with love, as one senses immediately on entering it. This love is luminous, like the halos artists have seen and made visible round the heads of the saints. I find it not at all surprising that the luminosity should register on a photographic film ”

Influenced by his experience with Mother Teresa, he received the Catholic faith at the age of 79 together with his wife.

Three – a crowd or company?

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Ideally, it is normal for a couple to have a child as a symbol of their love for each other. Now they become three and complete. Can I apply the same principle with my cats, Maurice and Lucy? They supposedly … Continue reading

The Fisher King

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

A series of photographs taken during my pilgrimage to India in 2014. Our bus was at a standstill during rush hour and I saw this man crossing the road. A barefooted man wearing a sack for clothing. He bent down to … Continue reading

The Untouchables

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

In India, due to its caste system, there is a group of people called the “untouchables”. We are talking millions of them, not just a tiny group. These people received their ‘title’ by default, by birth. They are considered impure. … Continue reading

Leave all your blues in your shoes at the door.

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

In India, we have to leave our footwear before entering a temple. I prefer to keep my beat-up shoes rather than moving it outside for fear of losing them and have to continue the pilgrimage barefooted. I never understand the … Continue reading

Rewarding moments of small creatures

Image

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small

While I was drinking a cup of coffee, a couple of birds were reluctant to go closer to a pool of water because of my presence. I stood still and kept quite in order not to disturb them since I want their company. Slowly they took the courage to dip their feet on the water while peering at me. When they realized that I will remain motionless, they took the plunge.

depth (19)-MOTION

This is my reward, a memory of my stay at Kochi, Kerala, India. In addition, I am learning how to use the power of computer photography. My very first GIF, perseverance has its own rewards.

Teach Us To Sit Still.

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Today is Ash Wednesday and nothing is more fitting than to share with you the poem of T.S. Eliot’s long poem “Ash Wednesday” written in 1927. The last three lines of this stanza struck me personally. Ash Wednesday by T. … Continue reading

The World is a Book, for Amy

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Spectacular sunset unfolds in front of me at the golden beach of Goa, India. It evokes an emotion so deep that I cannot name it in the recesses of my being. I stood fixated by the lighting of the sun … Continue reading

No need to pretend

holy fool

When you are a “holy fool” you’ve stopped trying to look like something more than you really are. That’s when you know, as you eventually have to know, that we are all naked underneath our clothes, and we don’t need to pretend to be better than we are.

I am who I am, who I am, who I am; and that creation, for some unbelievable reason, is who God loves, precisely in its uniqueness.

My true identity and my deepest freedom comes from God’s infinite love for me, not from what people think of me or say about me. Both the people who praise me and those who hate me are usually doing it for the wrong reasons.

Adapted from Franciscan Mysticism (an unpublished talk) Richard Rohr

Gateway to Silence:
I am who I am in the eyes of God, nothing more and nothing less.

The Catch of the Day

It was interesting to see contraptions along the coastline of Kochi. These are called Chinese fishing nets that are permanent fixture that is unique and an unusual way to catch a fish. It’s a great tourist attraction.

Kochin chinese fishing nets

Curiously, my two nephews and their sister wanted to know how it works and paid the fisherman for show and tell.

The net is lowered into the water, left for at least five minutes and raised back up by pulling the ropes. This is the hard part. The kids have to partake on this experience and pulled the ropes. They were so excited that they did catch something: a tiger fish, a wee one that has to go back to the sea to grow sharper fangs.

kochin tiger fish

Did the kids dare to hold the fish? Nope, too scared to be bitten. Such scared cats.

Kochin fish market

Besides just a few steps away, one can find all kinds of fishes and have your pick.

There are contradicting history how the Chinese fishing nets arrived in Kochi, Kerala, India. Some says Chinese explorer introduced it, others by Portuguese that came from Macau. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this is the biggest bait for tourist.

Walking the Royal Steps

Raj Ghat means Royal Steps and is a place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated on 1948.

Gandhi (1)

In New Delhi, we visited Raj Ghat. To reach the memorial site, we walked a long corridor surrounded by beautiful green lawn, well-kept garden and a peaceful place.  The vastness of this place is impressive.

Gandhi (2)

Gandhi’s memorial site is made of black marble slab adorned with orange marigolds. The flowers are changed daily. A perpetual flame burns at one end.  Inscribed on the stone is “He Ram” (Oh God).

It is mandatory that we must remove our shoes before entering the enclosure to keep the area free of dirt from our footwear.

The place was busy with visitors including school children on a field trip paying homage to him.

Gandhi

My life is my message ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The design of  a simple memorial site reflects Gandhi’s modest life. Simplicity at its best.

Veni, Vidi, Vici.

He came, he saw, he conquer is the meaning of Veni, Vidi, Vici. This is the beginning of a love story about Taj Mahal.

Taj Mahal

It started when a prince, son of a Mughal emperor of India, Shah Jahan, the grandson of Akbar the Great went to a bazaar, saw a girl named Mumtaz Mahal and conquered her. It was love at first sight.  She became his third wife and favorite. In return, she gave him fourteen children; however, she died giving birth. In her deathbed, he promised her that he will build the most impressive mausoleum over her grave and will never marry again.

Shah Jahan was heartbroken and devastated. The country was in mourning for two years. Subsequently, he undertook building a monument that took over 22 years, thousands of men and elephants to build this bigger than life structure to fulfill his promise to his beloved.

In every dynasty, there’s always a villain that is the Shah’s third son with Mahal named Aurangzeb.

Taj Red Fort

Aurangzeb killed some of his families, took over the throne and banished his father to a tower in Red Fort at Agra. From the fort, Shah Jahan can only view from the distance where the love of his life lays. He died at the tower in Agra and was buried next to Mumtaz in Taj Mahal.

I can only imagine how hard it was for the Shah to be separated from his beloved.

What I find beautiful about Taj Mahal is the love story between the Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.

Unhappily Married: An Indian Humour

These photos were taken from a shopping bag “Unhappily Married” and should explain the title.

Cows, boat and huge family

Cows, boat and huge family: Only in India!

Black sheep and Kama Sutra

Black sheep and Kama Sūtra

Drinking beer is cheaper than being married

Drinking beer is cheaper than being married

Check out their Facebook, it’s hilarious. Go ahead, it’s pure and clean.

 

Let me get this off my system.

Image

Indian CoffeeLet me get this off my system.

If you are looking for Starbucks in India, good luck! You can only find the coffee shop in the Airport, departure area.

And if you are looking for a freshly brewed coffee, there is no such thing! Everything is instant coffee in India. The famous one is Nescafe or Folgers. Kate Crimmins  are you rolling your eyes yet?

It was a problem, a very big problem for me. But hey, I am a pilgrim, this is not Club Med.

So, what is Indian Coffee? Pretty basic:

  • Instant Coffee – two packets if you want it strong
  • Hot Water – very small amount to dissolve the coffee
  • Warm Milk –lots to combine it with the dissolved coffee
  • Sugar – if you want it sweet.

Oh, some make it frothy to give it an espresso look. There’s hardly any coffee in this cup but bubbles.

I was kicking myself to get a “caffeine kick” to it. There’s hardly any caffeine in an instant coffee. Drinking two or three cups of this first thing in the morning is my form of “flagellation” for seventeen days to wake me up. I survived.

The minute we arrived in Canada, we stopped over at my sister’s place and I asked for a real good brewed coffee, mug size.

Aaahhhh…. good to the last drop followed by a refill.

I am so glad to be home.

Melting Pot

Quote

There is no escaping the traffic. One has to learn to be an aggressive and defensive driver. It seems to be the louder and longer you blow your horn, drivers will allow you to  converge.

Traffic in New  Delhi, India

Traffic in New Delhi, India

As I look out from the comfort of the bus, I asked Padre what is this area? “Is this the flea market.” The short response was that this is the slum area.

Slum area in New Delhi, India

Slum area in New Delhi, India

On the other side of the coin, this is what most people prefer to see, an illusion of history past. This area did not bring any emotional sensation from me in comparison to the traffic and the slum area.

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal, India

At the end of the day, our group, all 20 of us from Canada, Philippines and Austria gather for a meal to give thanks to India for opening their doors and converge with them.

Meal time prepared at a Catholic diocese

Meal time prepared at a Catholic diocese

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Converge.”

Strong Self-Determination.

image

“It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone.  It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong.   And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him.  … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person.  I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love.  The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness.   I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.”   ―     Coco Chanel

I’ve watched the life story of CoCo Chanel and I find her story remarkable. She swam against the current  of adversity in a man’s world. When you have a chance, I highly recommend the film.

Thank you, Deo for  the quote. Visit Deo’s site for more.

via Favorite Quotes on Strong Self-Determination..

Thirst For Krishna

Thirst for Krishna, to see Him, to hear Him, to listen to His Flute, for installing Him in the heart and mind, Sai Babaand for grasping His reality through the intellect – this thirst is most conducive to peace and joy.

Devotion to Krishna is the chain by which the monkey mind can be fastened and subdued. The word Krish means to attract. 

Lord Krishna attracts your mind towards Him and turns them away from sensory desires that torment you. He satisfies the deepest thirst of all beings, for peace, joy and wisdom. Hence thirst for Krishna is a sign of health in the spiritual field. Repetition of the name Krishna is useless, unless the contemplation of the Glory of Krishna starts purifying your character.

The Grace of the Lord is very powerful and is endowed on the deserving alone. Hence begin today to sublimate your character saturated with piety and devotion. Then you will secure the Grace of the Lord.

– Sathya Sai Baba Speaks

On This Day, Dalai Lama’s Birthday, he turns 78.

Lhamo Thondup was born on July 6, 1935 in Taktser, China, northeast of Tibet, to a peasant family. 
The true value of existence is revealed through compassion

The true value of existence is revealed through compassion

At the age of 2, he was identified as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. Young Lhamo was renamed Tenzin Gyatso and proclaimed the 14th Dalai Lama.  Tibetans believe him to be the reincarnation of his predecessors. 
Dalai Lamas are believed to be the reincarnation of Avalokitesvara, an important Buddhist deity and the personification of compassion. Dalai Lamas are also enlightened beings who have postponed their own afterlife and chosen to take rebirth to benefit humanity. “Dalai” means “ocean” in Mongolian (the name “Gyatso” comes from the Tibetan word for ocean). “Lama” is the equivalent of the Sanskrit word “guru,” or spiritual teacher. Put together, the title of Dalai Lama is literally “Ocean Teacher,” meaning a “teacher spiritually as deep as the ocean.” 
Ask the Dalai Lama who is he is.  His simple answer is I am just an ordinary monk.  
On a personal note, I did have a chance to be in his presence with Desmond Tutu.  Together they were full of wisdom and both promote world peace.
 Related articles

Let It Be

When I find myself in times of trouble

when my heart is  broken

in my hour of darkness

when the night is cloudy

Mother Mary comes to me

Speaking words of wisdom

Let It Be…

Mary and Jesus Indian style

A mosaic of Mary and Jesus
by Indian artist Balan is in the Matridham Ashram in Varanasi, India. 
Image by: Paul Jeffrey  Source: Women’s Division
 
 
 

 

Stations of Life ~ As I See It

Viewer discretion is advised.  Graphic Contents.

Lent commemorates the passion and death of Jesus Christ.  In a Catholic world, meditating the Way of the Cross, the last moments on the life of Jesus Christ, is part of the tradition.  The Way of the Cross has fourteen stations.  The Passion, Mel Gibson’s movie made millions of dollars.  It’s very graphic.
Catholic means universal. One doesn’t have to be a Catholic to understand these Stations of the Cross.   These stations include all religions and belief system on Earth.  How would you as a person or organization or leader build a better world, a caring place, and a safe environment. 
In a more global view, the fourteen stations could be depicted as follows: 

The First Station: Jesus Is Condemned To Death
Kevin CarterChild&Vulture

   The Second Station:  Jesus Carries His Cross
~ Homelessness 

2.  Jesus carries His cross (2)

 The Third Station:  Jesus Falls the First Time
~ The Fall of Saigon

3.  Jesus falls the first time

  The Fourth Station:  Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother
~ World Press

Samuel Aranda’s award-winning photograph of a Yemeni mother cradling her injured son

 The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross
~ Doctors Without Boarders

5.  Simon helps Jesus carry His  cross

  The Sixth Station:  Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
~ Haiti Earthquake Response

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

 The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls A Second Time
~ World Trade Centre 9/11

7.  Jesus falls a second time

 The Eighth Station: Jesus Speaks to the Holy Women
~ Desmond Tutu

8.  Jesus speaks to the holy women

 The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time
~ Global Warming

9.  Jesus falls the third time

 The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
~ Israel Occupation

10.   Jesus is stripped of His garments

  The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
~ Child prostitution

11. Jesus in nailed to the cross

  The Twelfth Station:  Jesus Dies on the Cross
~ Abortion

12.  Jesus dies on the cross

  The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross
~ Japan earthquake

13.  Jesus taken down from the cross

  The Fourteenth Station:  Jesus is Laid in the Sepulcher
~ Lest We Forget 

14.  Jesus Is Laid in the Sepulcher
 
The world is in your hands, the future depends on you.  The choice is yours. 
Kýrie, eléison
 
Related article:

1984 – What do you see?

“You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.”

 Hotmail In Box:  No new mail.  I might as well read all the letters then.

Vanakkham – Greetings to you.  Mentally, I am in good health and my well-being is calm.  I like praying and I dislike quarrelling.  I receive so many suggestions and ideas about to live like a guide to others and how can I live without giving any difficulties to other and how can I be of help.  I shared everything to my friends.

With God’s grace and your love I am living peacefully.  I will remember you in my daily prayers.  Since I can’t write this letter, our field worker has written this letter for me.

Yours lovingly, signed with a thumb print

These are bits and pieces of the letters I received from PMB1245 Child ID.  My foster child’s name is Kulandai Samy.  He is much too old for a foster child, older than me.  He is blind.  And I am speaking on behalf of Samy.

I’ve never read a single word of fear from a blind person.  He cannot describe what’s in the room for that matter.  Samy, has given me so much joy since 2009.  Twice a year, I received a letter and annually a Christmas card enclosed a photo of him.  He does look so peaceful. 

I received a call from the agency that Samy died of a heart attack last week, beginning of January 2013.  Now, he is forever peaceful, united with God. 

Kulandai Samy, where ever you are, I thank you for coming into my life.  I’ll be seeing you in the next life.

*One Minute Meditation*
Our minds are like crows. They pick up everything that glitters, no
matter how uncomfortable our nests get with all that metal in them.
–Thomas Merton
 
Related post from WordPress:
Fear of the unknown: by seeker
A question for me; Was he afraid?  story by tkmorin
What you don’t know: by shadoza
The Only thing to fear: by jodahfirst
The voices in my bathroom were real, Oh God: by allthosesmallthings