Life, parenthood, People, sketchbook, travels

Holiday envy

On holidays, while traveling, as soon as we reach a place where we can sit still for a few minutes I take out my sketchbook and start drawing.

Here we are in Palolem last year. For the last few years every holiday has begun with a drawing of the brown boy feeding Orin.

Soo: Ah-ha! Our holiday will beat everyone else’s holiday! Hahaha!

The brown boy: Ulp. Why?

Soo: Because I’m drawing! Everyone just takes pictures {smug}

The brown boy: Umm. Ok. (So competitive!)

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Life, Reflection, sketchbook

Learning to practise Maitri

As I realised that day, I felt in dire need of growing some kindness. Maybe it was due to the daily bustle of everyday life, or continuously missing the opportunities to practise, my kindness diminished and receded until some strangers’ kindness took me by such surprise!

As always I turned to Pema in my search for growing kind:

She talks about Maitri, the Budhist concept of loving-kindness. It starts with being honest, loving and compassionate towards oneself. It’s unconditional, she says.

Aspire to be happy. Find the tenderness of feeling love, or the vulnerability of feeling lonely inside yourself.

She encourages us to become aware of when we’re closing down and erecting barriers, and to always have a clear aspiration for happiness:

“May I and others enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.”

Maitri essentially starts with locating in yourself an honest feeling of goodwill, and then encouraging it to expand…

The anteater as always, being helpful: “Without someone to irritate you, you’ll never get a chance to practise.”

Anyway…I’m still on that quest. Drawing about being kind doesn’t really make it happen – I have to actually find the opportunities to practise it in my life.

Related: A divine collision (2011) and My year of spirituality (2015)

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Books, sketchbook

Reading Sharp

Last year I read Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion and it was immensely inspiring. The women in the book whose lives and work are chronicled are Dorothy Parker, Rebecca West, Zora Neale Hurston, Hannah Arendt, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, Pauline Kael, Joan Didion, Renata Adler and Janet Malcolm. In fact after this book, I went on to read another book by Janet Malcolm which made me read another book and another, and so on.

Anyway in a nutshell what really inspired me was the incredible resilience all these women had, in the face of terrible partners, abandonment, difficult motherhood, creative and psychological rejection, financial troubles — apart from the usual baggage women subject themselves to — but they still kept at it! Some with a smile and poise, and some with just dogged determination. Great motivation for our ordinary, easy lives.

“I wanted to be cute. That’s the terrible thing. I should have had more sense.”

Dorothy Parker

” The critic shouldn’t need to tear a work apart to demonstrate that he knows how it was put together. The important thing is to convey what is new and beautiful in the work, not how it was made.”

Pauline Kael
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Life, sketchbook

Staying sane

My survival and stress relief strategy has always been through drawing.

Anteater: Just writing the word won’t make them disappear, you know…

When I was younger I usually drew everyday, but since becoming a parent it’s every other day, and always on weekends. Looking back at all my published and unpublished work I always feel grateful for this gift.

“Everyday do something that gives to you.”

Yours truly

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Event, Life, sketchbook

Fifteen years with the brown boy

Today the brown boy and I celebrate fifteen years of being married. I am incredibly proud of this milestone, but the entire credit goes to him – who knew patience could last that long?

He’s put up with my weirdness, taken full responsibility of being the parent to our child

…all for the pleasure being in this blog!

He’s the Bergman to my Ullman,

my sense of home and my ends of days:

This marriage may have been a mistake but I would make it again to live through all these years with this brown boy again.

❤︎❤︎❤︎

APPENDIX

The story of us: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3Paris, not me

And here’s the drawing that I made after our first anniversary: We had sat and watched the waves in Bandstand.

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