Monday, December 23, 2013

What If This Whole Life Is Just A School?

I am always interested in education, and very unlikely, lately I am fascinated by curriculums. A talk by Sir Ken Robinson in 2009 pretty much opened my mind about individualized curriculum and how creativity should be treated at the same importance as literacy. Another talk that gave me shivers was Marianne Williamson's, in which she talks about "life curriculum".

Instead of thinking about life as crazy old lady who likes to see us suffer, wouldn't it be great to see it as a lifelong school?

To see life as a school is to believe that everything happens for us to learn something, and as Marianne Williamson says, "Everybody has their own highly individualized curriculum, designed exclusively just for us." why not think of it this way?

In life school, Some will have different lessons, and maybe same material in different timings. Somebody might have to learn about patience at the age of 5, waiting for her brother to give her a toy, and somebody else might have to learn at 32, trying to be pregnant but haven't been granted one for years. Somebody might have to learn about perseverance for 15 years of hardwork, while somebody else should learn how to maintain 15 years of marriage.

In lifeschool, we are taught different things in various ways. And as all the classes we are familiar with, there will be tests. Problems. These problems might be solved differently, one might require more time than the other, one might have to work in groups, one might only able to do it alone.

At one specific moment, two friends might go through very different kind of problem. One might think it is unfair, but with highly individualized curriculum, there must be something that someone urgently needs to learn about for that particular moment. Maybe one is 'on holiday' while the other is 'in exam'. Some might face big problems in order to get bonus grades. In life, people go through problems like abuse, addiction, or great loss. But have you ever met those people who went through such things, learned the hard way, became enormously inspiring, and affected more people than they have ever imagined?

So maybe, just maybe, when problems show up, instead of asking, "What have I done to deserve this?" which will usually lead to self-hatred or anger toward life (and the Source of Life), why not asking, "What should I learn from this by the end of this?"

I know, that sounds extremely optimist and really hard to deal with when we are actually in the middle of bitter experiences. I, of all people, am one of those people who cry for days for little problems and used to be so negative toward life that I even saw all good moments as a bridge to another suffering.
But I asked myself, why not try to think of life this way? If we believe that life is much bigger than us and it wants nothing but to teach us something, don't you think we will be able to walk through life with lighter steps?

Good teachers would be happy when the students get good grades, not because the exam is easy, but because the students earn the grades. Why not think that life cannot hardly wait to give you good grades, but it is waiting for us to earn it? It is joyful when we keep showing up and try, it is joyful when we attend class consciously, aware of the information and the process we are going through.

So...don't be a dropout at this lifeschool. Maybe we need holidays. Maybe sometimes we skip classes. But persevere, and believe that in graduation day, we should show up excitedly, knowing the teachers will line up to congratulate us for being a great student.    Sir Ken Robinson; Do schools kill creativity?     Marianne Williamson on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday

Facebook Is NOT Your Best Friend

How many friends do you have on Facebook?
I have 1,151.

Do you know how many stable relationships people can have, according to Dunbar's Number?

Do you know how many people who knows everything about me?

I used to be a Facebook-status-whore;
I put everything of me on Facebook; my problems, my happiness, my sadness, my depressions, my struggle with depression, my mood-swing, my broken heart.

Somehow I did not learn from my high school experience when I shared my deepest secret with some people who turn out to think that I was seeking for attention and hated me for it (and by the way, I then asked for their forgiveness for being so annoying).

Years gone by after that particular moment and still I put myself out there on Facebook, giving myself on a plate to be judged and seen through by everybody (1,151 people, that is), just because I want to be completely honest in life, because I want to scream without any sound, never knowing that the scream created huge wave-effect, coming back to me and gladly drowning me in the deep sea of terror and unworthiness.

I found people talk about it, not in an empathic ways. Once again some says I was seeking for attention, and the only attention I was getting is pity, which might be the least thing I need when I am in the middle of a huge self-esteem and self-worth problem.

But then I found myself what they call best friends.
In different levels and moments of my life, they keep showing up, they know the bad and the ugly, they see me in tantrums and breakdowns, and still they stand up for me against others. They didn't post any comment on my status, but texted me instead to offer their ears for my story, offer their energy, time, and space to help me get through it, though sometimes the only thing they can do is just to listen. But most of the times, it is enough.

They are the people with whom I share my life with and take it as an honour.

There will never be 1,151 people in your life who would actually do that.

You might be loved for your work, for your vision, for your words, for your thoughts, and you might impress thousands or millions. But the most sacred place in your heart should not contain all of them.

Share your story only to people who earn the right to hear your story. --Brene Brown

It doesn't mean we have to keep our life secret to everybody, because you have no idea how many people might be inspired by what you are going through, and sometimes you will find out how many unexpected people would actually support you during tough times.

But a story compromising your sense of worth, a story you know will affect you immensely, a story you are actually afraid to tell; choose wisely whom you share those stories with. Because (I learned the real hard way, and still learning) we are all worthy of love and belonging, and sharing that kind of story with the people who do not care will only add the salt to the wound.

Do not cast your pearl before the swine.

Stop pouring your whole heart out on Facebook.

Choose wisely.

Somebody who loves you for all you are might just be a phone call away.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Menghitung Detik (bukan Krisdayanti)

Ada saatnya kita menghitung hari (kalau kata Krisdayanti), tapi sekarang kita hidup di jaman menghitung detik.

Lihatlah Twitter, kita bisa mendapat informasi mengenai kejadian ratusan ribu kilometer dari tempat kita tinggal dalam hitungan detik. Dengan berbagai gadget dan aplikasi semacam Blackberry, Whatsapp, YM, kita dapat dengan mudah mengirimkan informasi atau berbicara satu sama lain dalam hitungan DETIK.

Di sini saya tidak akan membahas soal betapa bergunanya teknologi yang cepat dan mudah ini dalam hidup kita, karena kita semua tahu betapa bergunanya hal itu dalam pekerjaan, pelajaran, atau hubungan sosial. Akan tetapi, berkaitan dengan post saya sebelumnya, kecepatan lalu-lalang informasi ini juga membuat kita gila. Sungguh. Gila.

Kemampuan kita untuk menunggu berkurang drastis, karena kita tahu hanya butuh waktu sepersekian detik untuk mengirimkan sesuatu. Lihat saja kalau Blackberry Messenger sedang mengalami gangguan, mendadak semua pengguna blackberry menjerit, memaki betapa tidak kompetennya pembuat Blackberry, atau memaki jaringan, atau memaki-maki saja. Saya pun mengalami rasa kesal yang luar biasa saat Whatsapp saya mengalami pending, padahal saya tidak sedang membicarakan hal yang penting. Jangan ditanya lagi saat internet mati. Beberapa bulan tanpa internet sempat membuat saya sungguh stres, seakan terputus dari dunia luar.

Tunggu. Dunia luar itu yang mana ya?

Seseorang pernah mengatakan pada saya, teknologi itu mendekatkan yang jauh dan menjauhkan yang dekat. JRENG. Benar juga, saat tidak ada internet maupun gadget lainnya, saya jadi lebih terfokus pada kesehatan, relasi dengan orang lain yang berjarak dekat dengan saya, dan dengan berbagai hal yang sungguh ada di depan mata. Tapi yang lebih berbahaya lagi adalah; bagaimana kita mengharapkan segalanya jauh lebih cepat dan lebih baik. Seakan kita betul-betul tidak punya waktu untuk mentoleransi kesalahan atau sesuatu yang tidak sesuai aturan.

Saya sendiri sungguh merasakan hal ini; kita semua mulai kehilangan kesabaran.
Kita ingin solusi yang baik; SEKARANG. Ini dunia yang aktif dan proaktif dalam mencari solusi, manusia lebih tergerak untuk melakukan sesuatu, dan itu sungguh baik. Namun seperti segala hal dalam hidup ini, kita juga butuh keseimbangan dalam menunggu atau menghargai proses.

Anyhow, saya tidak mau jadi terlalu filosofis.
Intinya adalah, mari lebih bersabar terhadap BBM yang pending, Broadcast Message yang ga penting, Whatsapp error, atau orang yang menggunakan RT instead of Reply.

Kenapa? Bukan cuma karena itu akan membuat kita tidak cepat mengidap hipertensi atau asam lambung berlebih akibat stres, namun juga untuk melatih kesabaran dan batas toleransi kita. Apalah sulitnya menelpon orang, bila BBMnya pending dan hal yang harus disampaikan penting? Apalah lelahnya menghapus beberapa BM yang memang hoax dari gadget kita? Apakah sulitnya membaca sedikit Retweet di timeline kita tanpa emosi terhadap obrolan yang bukan urusan kita?

Mengapa kita menjadi begitu mudah terganggu oleh hal-hal yang begitu sederhana dan memakan hitungan DETIK?

We actively eliminate things we consider unimportant in matters of seconds.
Kasus Twitter menjadi salah satu hal yang menggelitik. Banyak orang merasa terganggu dengan RT-abuser atau mereka yang kerap menggunakan RT untuk berbicara dengan orang lain sehingga dapat dibaca oleh seluruh orang yang mem-follow dirinya. Pertama; kadang memang itulah alasannya ia menggunakan RT, karena mungkin ada sesuatu yang unik dalam pembicaraan itu, atau kadang orang yang berbicara dengannya ingin di-RT (biasanya fans dari seorang artis akan bahagia bila ucapannya diretweet). Kedua, memangnya Anda butuh berapa jam untuk scroll-through beberapa (belas) twit yang tidak menarik?

Saya rasa hal ini juga adalah cerminan kehidupan kita sehari-hari. Memotong ucapan seseorang karena kita (pikir kita) tahu ke mana tujuan pembicaraannya. Melewatkan detail sebuah artikel karena kita (pikir kita) tahu apa isinya. Tidak datang ke suatu acara karena kita (pikir kita) tahu apa yang akan dilakukan di sana.

We become so sceptical about everything that might surprise us, because we do not have that extra seconds to 'waste'.

But if we just drink coffee in 5 minutes instead of 3,
we walk 10 minutes instead of 7,
we talk for 15 minutes instead of 10,
we might find out that sometimes by wasting some more, we also get something more.

*but if you do take 5 hours to drink a cup of coffee, then forget about this post

The "Apple-Cycle" and Our Fast-Paced World

I am a proud owner of an iPad 1.

I know, it is crazy, isn't it?

I can still remember being so excited having the first iPad, using all the applications and stuffs, playing with it until midnight, and making everyone jealous about it.

Until the iPad 2 came along.

Suddenly there was this madness of grabbing this new gadget, and people instantly forget the first iPad. Not only the new camera or the new iOs or the thinner look of the iPad 2 that created the excitement, it is simply an excitement of a newly developed something coming. People begin to forget the iPad 1. Even in the stores, it was really hard for me to find a new case for my iPad, it seems like everything having to do with the 'old' iPad vanish in an instant. And it is getting worse when the new iPad came along.

And then it occurs to me...what kind of world are we living in?
*I am indeed over-dramatizing everything

I can only imagine being an Apple fan. Being so excited about a gadget, testing all of its features, only to know that when the new one comes along, it is another excitement, another waiting in progress. I am not being cynical, I also like Apple products, but this really fast cycle of waiting and upcoming excitement also takes away my joy and excitement of having the one that I am holding, that actually still functions perfectly. We are so excited about the future that sometimes we lack of gratitude of what we actually have. We are always promised of the new model, new technology, new camera, new operating systems, new stuffs.

It is great to be excited over and over again, but I think we are now living in a world where HAPPINESS has shorter span. The duration of excitement grows smaller. This "Apple phenomenon" is only a great example of what we are facing on daily basis; the time is ticking fast, the world is changing fast, and somehow we are moving real fast. We have newer sets of goals, we are expected to have new innovations.

My iPad is still functioning. Greatly. It still does all the things I bought it for, but now I have to see iPad 2, new iPad, iPad mini, and so on. Barry Scwharz, a researcher who speaks on TED about The Paradox of Choice said that having more choices does not make us happier. It tends to give us higher expectancy of things, because of all these choices, one of them must be perfect. When it is not perfect, we then tend to blame ourselves, why can't I afford the new one, why did I think that way, why did I choose this, why...

Just stop this madness!

You know, I really, really miss the days of Nokia 3310. When we are all excited to play one game; Snakes. When everybody in the classroom talks about their highest score. It is not only the gadget that I miss, but our gratitude toward what we have and the tendency to maintain something more than just months. The urge to REPAIR the old one instead of to BUY a new one. The willingness to hold on. The gratitude of having anything at all.

I know, I am over-dramatizing things. But can you imagine if we are doing the "Apple-cycle" in all aspects of our lives? What if we are doing the cycle for friends or partners? What if we keep looking for the new better upcoming ones? We are so hungry of change, we want it fast, we so want to have better ones...that sometimes we forget that what we have is ENOUGH. Maybe 5 or 10 years from now, it won't be enough anymore. But not months. Not days.

I struggle with gratitude EVERYDAY. But my message (which is also a note-to-self) is just; stop. Look at what you have and be grateful, do not let the wave of other's excitement takes away your own, give more credit to what you are doing and what you are having, because no matter how much excitement the future would bring, it is not present. Give more time to happiness, let it stay longer, do not let the moment slips away because we are too busy waiting for something bigger and (maybe) better.

Oh, by the way, I am still a proud owner of Apple's iPad 1, and also a proud owner of Nokia's Lumia.
One reminds me that the world is constantly changing, and better things are coming fast.
Another reminds me that some things last longer, and to be grateful that they do. :)

link to Barry Schwarz's talk (TED) "Paradox of Choice"