The Fable – Why I do what I do

I want to share a fable I heard today.

A man hired a good worker to build a strong wall at the water front. He wanted to block his older brother from ever crossing the river because he was very angry at his brother. “Do everything you can to build a strong wall,” the little brother said. The worker went to work.

Few days later, the owner was upset to see the result. He came running and yelling angrily at the worker who was finishing up the task. “I told you to build a wall not a bridge. Get rid of this immediately. I’m not paying you a dime for this!” Before anyone can say anything they saw the older brother running towards the middle of the bridge where the two were standing. “Dear younger brother, I wanted to say thank you for building this bridge. I’ve been meaning to apologize for everything that happened but did not know how to cross this river. I’m very sorry for the past. I’m grateful for this bridge.” The younger brother froze feeling perplexed but full of warmth as the older brother gave him a big strong hug. “Our past is just like this water floating behind us,” said the brothers.

“Wait, where are you going?,” asked the little brother when the worker started heading out. “I still have a lot of work for you to do. I’d also like to pay for this work,” said the little brother. The worker smiled and shook his head. “I have to go now,” he said with a wave. “I have more bridges to build.”

This last part makes me smile and reflect. What bridges are you building?

Relationships? Friendships? Cultural differences? Religion? Politics? It can be all of these and many other things. But do build bridges. We need more bridge builders in our society.

That’s the question I’d like us to reflect on. Today.

Copyright © 2015. Monica H. Kang, All Rights Reserved.

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That Jazz night

Its been ages since I walked into a Jazz Bar. It was late in the evening. I was quite sleepy. But the jazz was charming. With the Christmas light shimmering behind me, I got festive pretty quickly. I took out my pen and notebook to do a quick sketch to remember this festive moment. It was a hasty one but also a fun one. The best part was that I did something out of the blue because I wanted to. Its empowering. It doesn’t matter how small it is. I was happy that I could treat myself with such a small act. We should spend more time finding positive ways to treat ourselves. Its healthy for us.

Hope you all had a jolly jolly Christmas and have a wonderful New Year start!

Monica

Christmas Jazz 2014
Christmas Jazz 2014
Christmas Jazz 2014
Christmas Jazz 2014

Copyright © 2014. Monica H. Kang, All Rights Reserved.

There is a wall

There is a wall in front of me. I can’t see it but I can feel it. Whenever I make the wrong turn in this maze, I keep bumping into it. Sometimes it hurts when I make a sharp turn or a jump. It almost feels like the world is telling me that this is not the right path. This is, what I learned later, the “way” that society has built. It’s guaranteed to have worked and people like what they have tested out to be true. (But considering how dark it is in here, I’m not sure how you can verify what is really true or not. You can’t see anything. But that’s a discussion for another day.) It’s comfortable and its well known. And the risk of adventuring out into the unknown against this wall is daunting. What if I fail? What if I get hurt? What if I get lost? What if I’m making a mistake? We know that the wall is the known unknown. And we know that there is a whole level of unknown unknown behind these walls. So why should we take the risk?

This is what our brain cells probably go through when we hesitate whether to do what society tells us to do or what we want to do.

If you happened to be in the category where your want and society’s interest match, you lucked out. But for many others who feel stuck and unhappy need to spend some serious time rethinking and reflecting what happened here. What walls are blocking you from doing what you want to do? How can you get behind the walls? Why do you want to go behind the walls? This is not going to be an easy process but it must not be mistaken as impossible. There can be no impossible mission if good intention and passion is rooted and applied properly. Young entrepreneurs around the world are also proving that age is just a number. Natural disasters, diseases like Ebola, war, and terrorism incidents like 9/11 only reconfirms that life is too short to be wasting our time feeling stuck and unhappy. So reflect and ask yourself what, how and why with clarity.

At the same time, the reality continues to reveal it’s nature that it will not permit all those curious ones to survive this unknown unknown world. Risky as it is, when you do get to step into this adventurous zone it is a wonder. Yet because reality knows that not everyone is fit for it or really interested in it, it makes sure that it fumbles over those who are unprepared. So dreamers, keep dreaming but also be strategic. Be sharp and smart about it. Don’t give up either because of this wall. All walls are not built the same and some walls permit you to enter in and out. Dream big and have a plan. Get your game plan before you play the game.

Before you know it, you will see that these walls are actually not hard brick walls but new guidance that will help you where you want to go.  Only then do we realize how much will power influences the shaping of these walls.

I decided to leave my wall aside today too.

 

Copyright © 2014. Monica H. Kang, All Rights Reserved.

“The world sends us garbage. We send back music.” #Landfill Harmonic

Any music lovers?

If you are a musician, you know how expensive learning music can be. The cost of instruments, education, and the hours you spend practicing is not cheap. It takes time and patience to be a good musician too. But even if you adore music, if you can’t afford it you’ll probably drop the idea altogether.

That is, unless someone like Favio Chávez thinks outside the box!

If you have seen NPR’s report of the Landfill Harmonic: An Orchestra Built From Trash in 2012 before, this is old news to you. For those who haven’t heard of them before click HERE and check out this video. It’s amazing what they did!

Chávez started the recycling orchestra project at the landfill of Cateura in Paraguay 8 years ago in hope to give youth the opportunity to play music. If the reality was that a “violin is worth more than a house,” he decided to make use of the resources around him: garbage. Today, they have a music school, teachers, and about 200 kids learning music. That’s a great reminder that one hope is all it needed to start such a movement.

What do you think?

– MHK

#Be Inspired

P.S. This is how I found this group! Enjoy!

 

Copyright © 2014. Monica H. Kang, All Rights Reserved.

Topsy Turvy 20s, why we should cherish this

Life in the 20s is learning how to find blissful moments in the most crazy, unpredictable, and awkward topsy turvy world that never seems to end. Optimistic me thinks that the nice thing about this all is that I’ll surely have a lot of “good stories” to tell and reflect when I grow old. Now that! That is quite something to look forward to. So in the meantime, I try to remember and learn as much as I can. What better way can you collect stories than this?

Plus, wouldn’t life be so boring without any ups and downs? I mean.. It’s like having food everyday that taste the same, consumed at the same time, at the same location and not thinking twice. Yes, there is value to that kind of pattern of life, but the 20s is not that time. 20s is the time to explore the world, grow and challenge yourself professionally and personally. And when we try to wiggle our way into this mad society that puts structure and judgments over us even before we open our mouths to speak up, we are bound to have some ‘downs’ as well as ‘ups.’ Still, its thanks to those rainy cold winters that we are able to absolutely fall in love and appreciate those sunny spring and summer days.

So as my topsy turvy 20s continues I try to focus all my energy on my true life time mission – to learn from my past to become a better person, and to collect stories to write good stories. Tomorrow will only get better if we tried to learn from our past.

Now, that messy topsy turvy 20s doesn’t look so bad. Nope, not bad at all.

P.S. Let’s check back in a decade where things are. Cheers.

Copyright © 2014. Monica H. Kang, All Rights Reserved.

Understanding True Happiness

At the end of the day, you should be happy. Make decisions that you know will make you truly happy. Not just temporally but for a very long time; and don’t just satisfy yourself with mediocre happiness but seek out for really exciting happiness. This difference matters. Especially when you accumulate them.

The best secret to being truly happy for a long time is to find the root to your happiness and plant them within you. You can’t change the weather, the traffic, the work nature, and the people around you. But you can change your perspective and respond to them. By letting them be the source of all your happiness you are letting yourself becoming a passive happy person.

But once you learn how to “pump out” unlimited happiness internally, nothing can stop you from being happy and loving your life. Your happiness will be the driver in your life and will influence everything else around you. That’s also good because you’ll probably be so happy that you’ll have enough happiness to share with others. And genuine happiness is the kind of virus that we all would appreciate.

It may take sometime to find your roots and plant them, but this is a worthwhile investment. This is the kind of stuff that we actually need to spend more time and pay attention to instead of just drifting off and living a life that others tell us is right.

Copyright © 2014. Monica H. Kang, All Rights Reserved.