Then you overcome. Then you begin.

Jennifer Ngan photography

It takes a lot from us, at times, to be the best version of ourselves. Being defined and redefined at any given moment, whether through a tumultuous experience or a eye opening revelation. Living a false sense of self, only to a die a little, promotes a life of faux perfection and non- redemption.

More than ever, i see that we live in a society where (illogical) fear is not only instilled in us since childhood, but is rather a byproduct of our culture that seeps into every aspect of our humanity.

For example, the importance of one thing relative to another. Finding a breakthrough in cancer research vs an angry boss whose jet is needing to be rerouted because of bad weather? In capitalist hierarchy, the ladder is always more important. And we are trained to believe that we must alleviate all roadblocks for said plane because someone has the money to exert their power, yes, even weather. Because capital is everything here, and we are so deeply divided by means over matter.

This isn’t some negative thing. And i swear there is no gloom in recognizing it for what it is. I would just like to see more compassion in people, more love in an otherwise mundane outlay of the modern world, with careless robots operating conveyor belt style in a half-assed attempt to better this world.

I think people like the idea of a united front but to be the one that leads with example is a lot less popular.

In the grand scheme of things, what matters? I mean, the level in which the importance comes from is quite tasteless. In my recent pursuit to find meaning, I’ve learned that when you’re not ready to, you’re all too eager to prove that you are ready to start this path but it is hard to admit to yourself, and even harder to those closest to us, that you are completely and unabashedly unprepared.

Finding that grand escape sounds wonderful. Fueling those thoughts with an open heart and mind is another. And it is often where I question myself in the middle of a gloomy afternoon, wondering if my path is all wrong, that maybe I should be elsewhere, maybe i should not be here. That this isn’t right for me, that perhaps I should leave it or should I just let it be..? Or maybe I am selfish and I don’t see things with enough clarity that I become too fixated on my own journey that I neglect the journeys of those closest to me? That internal battle of leaving it all behind sounds like a welcome reprieve until it doesn’t.

Time – is it really there? In the artificial construct of human mentality, yes. Time is quantifiable. Time has a duration. Time seems to be of a sequential chain in which events take place, measured in a forward-going linear motion.

But when can we take a minute be defeated? To be so vulnerable that our soul bleeds our ego. And to be so gone we finally reacquaint ourselves with clarity and see time as nothing more or less the present?

Because when you are defeated, your heart pounds harder and you are in this uncharted terrain of life that becomes you. Consumes you.

Then you overcome. Then you begin.

I sat still in my own emptiness, letting it wash over so that I, too, can begin again. 

When I was in China, I visited a temple on a rainy day.

I was there to admire the beautiful architecture and the peaceful surroundings in an otherwise too-populated city.

Little did I know, I was observing the daily comings and goings of a regular day, with people making a stop to and from their daily lives to meditate, pray and gather. The monks who lived there worked as any worker would, saying hello to people, fixing the lights, sweeping, cooking. This was their home. I felt oddly out of place, yet strangely okay.

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Writing As a Form of Meditation Through Self Reflection

Sometimes I lose touch with reality from stress. Getting flashbacks from things best stored away. I don't have a "method" to deal with triggers. It just is. I like to say i am above work stress, but I am not. Why does it matter really? It doesn't. In hindsight, some things are out of our control. I just wish my mind and body could agree. But, it is a brand new day... ☀️

There are pens and pencils that litter coffee table. Notepads and sticky notes shoved in every drawer and corner around my desk. Notes on my phone far too plenty, with new things added daily. Phrases i like, buttery rich words, pictures, artwork, lyrical sentences in the abstract nature, verbs, idioms, and sentences in every literary technique. A string of favorite quotes for artistic merit. All of that far too precious to be without.

This mess, if you look hard enough, is evidence of self reflection. It’s all in the trying to fall asleep thing at night, the restlessness, the sometimes-anxiety that comes and goes. The lying awake at night; that turns into midnight stories, short fiction. Creative writings. They are the scattered thoughts and dialogues of someone far too empathetic to let things go. And someone who wants to make sense of it all. Not through logic, no, but through the heart.

Most of my writings is a series of reflections, thoughts and musings. They have all my initials attached in some form or another. Sometimes I write things that resemble the symbol of ugliness but it is a representation of the things I’ve felt, and written in anger or frustration. There are words I’ve written, letters that are laced with scars and heat of the moment observations. The unwavering honesty is what makes the words authentic, true. Though exposed, and the exposure is then what makes a person naked.

In moments like those, it requires strength to emerge from the shadows. Shadows of shame and guilt. To truly recognize those written words, and understand that I am the imperfect person standing, it is recognizing that imperfection is just a side effect of the human condition. In that sense of reflection, it is a humbling realization to acknowledge my flaws before those I want to be the Most Perfect For.

I started journaling since I was in 7th or 8th grade, and continuously kept journals (both paper and online) since. What I realized when I went through more than a decade of old notebooks and writings was that I kept beating myself up for not being good enough, and never being the person that I wanted to be. Maybe it’s the angst of growing up, or it was self reflection.

Sometimes it is a sad thing, the realization. The realization that you are not how you want to see yourself. That you’re better, or your idea of yourself is much better than who you think you actually are. But this is part of the journey and it takes a special lens to see through the distortion. The mess. When there is evidence of reflection, creation, improvement, it is okay to see past it. I learned that writing, in any form, is a form of meditation. It helps with cultivating awareness to your thoughts and actions, seeing things for what they are and being okay with it. Writing it down, structuring those sentences, mapping out the timeline, and simply letting it flow through inertia

And to quote one of my favorites – “Good Luck Exploring the Infinite Abyss”

Goodnight.

Jen Signature

Mind’s Contents vs Consciousness: Meditation and Thoughts

Jennifer Ngan Photography
I tend to be a thinker. Over analytical and often scatterbrained with questions, ideas and sometimes delusions  far-fetched idealism or the opposite of it. This often means i stay up into the wee hours of the night, thinking about things that become a distraction when I should be asleep, deep in slumberville. In the mornings (i actually am a morning AND night person), I tend to wake up fairly early, and go about my day. It’s not always healthy, and I do suffer from self-diagnosed anxiety, which stems from childhood (I guess? Because Carl Jung says so). Which led me to the wildest Friday night ever. Seated (somewhat guided) meditation.

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