Precious wish

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Reaching down to deep roots
Lifting folds of self
I seek out that hushed, precious wish
Polished brilliant blue by wave after wave of love
Give it a name, a place to rest
So the Universe will know the sound of my heart.

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Everytime I travel, I’ve always enjoyed participating in the local wish-making and luck-assuring customs, whether it’s throwing a penny in the fountain in Florence, eating 12 grapes before midnight on New Year’s in Madrid or writing my wish on a wolf-shaped ema in Kyoto. For me, Japan has the most fascinating rituals and presents the most number of opportunities for seeking blessings. Here’s a previous post about my experience.

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Regardless of how we do it, I think the act of – wishing, praying, asking – is what’s important. But string up those wishes wisely, pluck the truest and the brightest. I read somewhere that making a wish is like sending a sound wave to the Universe that says “this is what I want”, and the Universe answers ❤

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Lipstickandmiracles 2017 

In response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge “Wish

Pulled to rest by morninglight

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABorobudur at sunrise

She led me down a light-filled river
Up curved sails of an ancient temple.
She led me across the tenuous borders of myself
Into silver vastness of a breath.
We joined hands before the morning spoke
Waited in mist for her first words.

In the darkness we crossed many thresholds,
Desire, like a humid jungle filled with treasures
Struggle, a deep tangled ravine
Solitude, where we no longer sought but knew
Each pink shore and blessed wave, and the
Heart that is pulled to rest by morninglight.

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Borobudur at 5.45 am

I knew I wanted to start the year and celebrate my birthday with a special trip. A short weekend trip, somewhere close to Singapore, a soulful destination where I could review the past year with peaceful objectivity and deep gratitude, and set my intentions for the next 365 days with optimism and trust. Borobudur called out to me and who could resist the pull of one of the greatest ancient Buddhist monuments in the world?

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Borobudur at 6.30 am

The temple is located on the Indonesian island of Java, about 40 km or 1.5 hours drive from Yogyakarta where I decided to stay at the lovely Phoenix Hotel. There are many ways to experience Borobudur – solo or with a guide, at sunrise or sunset or anytime in-between, as a tourist, a photographer or a pilgrim. Continue reading “Pulled to rest by morninglight”

Sacred little things

What can I tell you about sacred

– that you haven’t already felt deep in your soul
when the warm salt wind blows in from the Laccadive Sea
laced with fishermen’s gossip and mothers’ prayers?

– that you haven’t already tasted on your finger tip
as it traced the silver veins on pink lotuses melting
in the sun on ancient alters?

– that you haven’t already heard in the festive
song of dancing clouds rolling boldly
across our bare-souled pilgrimage?

– that you haven’t already held, fistfuls of rough
sand and pink salt rocks, shaped like uneven worlds
tumbling between love and habit?

©Lipstickandmiracles 2016

In response to The Daily Post Challenge “One, Two Three!” and Daily Prompt “Sacred“.

Heroic elephants crossing

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She kicked a million blue pebbles
on her way to the sunset
where she believes her dreams
would hang low, kingly fruits
on Thambili trees
close enough to taste the nectar
of her buried purpose.

She picked a million misshapen shells
on her way to the Spirit river,
her toes digging in the black sand
with the weight of stars on her back,
shed the mantras and watch
blooming lotus clouds
wakening an unfamiliar sky.

She will come to you
draped from head to ankles
in fuchsia silks and pearls,
sure-footed and resolute like
heroic elephants crossing the sliver forest
weaving silent songs
and counting milk stupas.

Instead of a million steps
stay and take a million breaths,
I heard her say to the sunrise waves.

©Lipstickandmiracles 2016 

I’ve been obsessed with elephants since my trip to Sri Lanka last month. Their strength and peacefulness, dignity and fierce loyalty make me think they qualify, as much as any other Marvel character, to be my superhero ❤

 

Pink lotus and wild elephants


“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
~ Martin Buber

I’m not sure when I started feeling drawn to Sri Lanka and I’ll admit that it wasn’t on my list of places to visit while I can walk. It turned out to be one of those hidden gems of a destination that gives back so much more than one imagines, especially when explored with an open mind and  grateful soul. My journey through Sri Lanka brought me to a place of intense inspiration and spiritual alignment. And if like me, you’re a child of the sea, a fan of majestic elephants, an explorer on the soul’s path, a lover of lush mountains and poetic sunsets, you would love love love Sri Lanka too.

Promise.

I  have rarely experienced so many soulful moments in one short trip as I have on this one. It’s easy to see why this magical place gave us the English word “serendipity”, which stems from the island’s ancient name Serendip – and isn’t being lucky the same as being blessed when one’s self and soul are aligned with the Universe?

There are so many spiritually nourishing places and things to do in Sri Lanka, from the grand Esala Perahera (procession) in the sacred city of Kandy to the wide array of meditation and yoga retreats. I don’t think one needs to do any of these things, though, to have a soulful experience here. I was moved just by the simplest things.

Here are my top 5 soul-stirring Sri Lanka moments:

  1. Watching the procession of women, men and children gently place fragrant lotus offerings at the feet of ancient Buddha statues at the Gal Vihara (rock monastery). It’s said that the standing image has a sorrowful expression and an unusual para dukkha dukkhitha mudra or “sorrow for the sorrow of others”. These magnificent, larger than life statues have been receiving human woes and wishes for over 830 years. In the same area, there are many amazing artifacts to ponder, like the headless Buddha statue at the Lankatilaka Image House that took my breath away.

2. Coming up close and personal with wild elephants at the Minneriya National Park near Polonnaruwa. The park is located on an elephant corridor and since I was there in August, I got to witness the gathering of hundreds of elephants, probably the largest meeting of Asian elephants in the world. I was enthralled by them. There was something peaceful, almost meditative about watching them under that crisp blue sky. The elephants would twist and pull at the grass with their trunks until they get a hearty bunch, thump it on the ground to remove the soil then lift it to their mouths and chew. Repeat. Continue reading “Pink lotus and wild elephants”

Sea stories

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim-the rocks-the motion of the waves-the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

~ Walt Whitman, Miracles

BNAP5443A horizon full of promise

Where do I start with the sharing of these soul-nourishing moments preciously gathered from voyaging? Let’s start by the sea on an island, because I was born on one and because the sea holds all my secrets. But not just any island! This is a paradisiacal one on the west coast of Malaysia called Pulau (Island) Langkawi, the Jewel of Kedah.

The most popular beach on Langkawi is Pantai Cenang, busy with all manner of diversion from sea sports to shopping. It’s also blessed with fine powdery sand, a horizon full of promise, and the clear turquoise Andaman Sea sighing for all who care to listen. The backdrop lends itself to a magical journey, inwards and out.

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For a little soul time, I like to stand in the water and just let the waves decide the song and the dance.
Enjoy the raw, salty scent.
The hot, salty wind.
The sprinkle of salty dust that clings to my skin.
I like losing myself in that frothy cadence. Offering up my plans and ambitions and finding, in return, my purpose.
In all that movement and music, the sea is where sometimes I find the most meaningful silence.

I’ve often walked on the beach looking out at the sea and the sky, the surfers and kayakers, missing a whole universe at my feet. Here in Langkawi, I met the Sand Bubbler Crab, beautiful tiny transparent artists patterning the sand with their labour. I found shiny shells, a toy car, abandoned sand castles…

11.pngFinally, I laid under a coconut tree to read, sipped cocktails till the sun set and walked home full of miraculous sea stories.

I hope you enjoyed this and I’d love to hear about your sea stories!