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A complete list of my writings published on Medium

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time…give it, give it all, give it now.
Annie Dillard

My most viewed article

My most viewed poem

Writing and Creativity

Does Writing Ever Become Easier?
When the Words Don’t Come Easily
Writing in a Time of Pandemic (a tribute to George Orwell)
Will You Write When You Feel Blue? (on being authentic)
The Magic of Embracing Stupid (on dealing with inner critic)
Why I Write To My Son?
My Escape From the Most Useless Place, the Waiting Place
Totally Random Thoughts

Self and Life

We All Have Enough…

I don’t know where I would be without understanding this

Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

In one of his Late Shows Stephen Colbert asks Keanu Reeves, “What do you think happens when we die?”

Keanu pauses with a long sigh and says, “I know that ones who love us will miss us.” His answer causes Stephen Colbert to become speechless for a moment before he shakes hands with Keanu and moves on to wrapping up his show.

I was struck by the simplicity of Keanu’s answer and the way it made me miss people I love both living and dead.

We tend to complicate our lives in countless ways perhaps because simplicity isn’t so simple…

It’s been the best investment.

Photo by Snappy Shutters on Unsplash

My experience is what I agree to attend to.

— William James

I’m in a big grassy meadow surrounded by redwood trees. I lie down on my yoga mat and gaze at the clear blue sky. High above, a flock of hawks swirl in a seemingly erratic manner. They go every which way — left, right, back, forward, and in opposite directions to each other only to turn around and go the other way. Their flight pattern makes little sense to me, but I find them utterly relaxing to watch.

When I close my eyes and listen, I can make…

It was just what I needed to hear

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Ahhh, so frustrating. I can’t seem to write anymore,” I say to my husband.

“But, why do you want to write?” he asks.

“You know, writing is my attempt to heal myself,” I say.

He asks more questions to help me reflect on what I’m going through. I silently go over my reasons for wanting to write. Writing grounds me. When I don’t write for a long time, I feel more restless and out of touch with myself. Writing lets me express myself and explore ideas I care about.

However, I dislike self-imposed pressures and feelings like I have to…

Because time neither waits nor cares about wealth.

Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash

Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.

— Frederick Lewis Donaldson

Recently the New York Times published Here’s How Bored Rich People Are Spending Their Extra Cash. Apparently, the price of luxury goods, collectables, and assets such as jewellery, watches, sports cards, vintage cars, sneakers, and crypto art skyrocketed during the pandemic as lines for food banks grew ever so long.

Although it is no surprise that the pandemic made the rich richer and the poor poorer, it still saddens me to witness this widening disparity…

The magic of seeing ourselves as the storyteller of our lives.

Photo by Charlotte Coneybeer on Unsplash

A little boy dressed as Superman jumps from a high window into the sky. He believed he had superpowers and could fly just like his hero. Miraculously, a group of good Samaritans banded together and safely caught him with a blanket before he reached the ground.

I’ve carried this scene in my mind for many years. I couldn’t remember the source of the story about this lucky boy. So I Googled to see if it was in the news. When I found that it was originally published in the New York Times in 1979, my heart sank. …

Reflections on my month-long break from alcohol

Photo by Sara Cervera on Unsplash

January has always been a month of hibernation for me. I can’t remember anything significant that ever happened to me in January in the past ten years. I don’t know how the first month of the year became my least memorable month.

One legacy of 2020 is that it heightened my awareness of time and made me more attentive to my life. I no longer want to sleepwalk through it.

In my attempt to make this January more memorable, I’m taking a break from alcohol for an entire month. …

A ritual that helped me out of depression

Photo by Ugne Vasyliute on Unsplash

Try never to abandon hope for if you do, hope will surely try to abandon you.

— Sally Brampton

Disclaimer: I wrote this story not to offer any advice about how to get out depression. It simply is my story about a ritual that helped me.

I have a ritual of hiking at least every other week. But I fell into a bit of a rut last December and didn’t hike at all. I resolved to get back to the trails starting on January 1st, which I did.

As I walked on the narrow muddy trail along a dense forest…

I’m hoping to connect with my friends in the New Year

Photo by Alex Hockett on Unsplash

I’m sitting here in a boring room
It’s just another rainy Sunday afternoon
I’m wasting my time, I got nothing to do
I’m hanging around, I’m waiting for you
But nothing ever happens
And I wonder

—Excerpt from Lemon Tree by Fools Garden

I woke up feeling icky about the “ground-hoginess” of my life. The monotony of going through the same routine day after day has recently gotten under my skin. Over breakfast, I snap at my husband for not sharing my feelings. He has never once complained about being holed up at home indefinitely.

We try going out every…

Never underestimate the power of ordinary beautiful moments

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Gingko leaves are falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
Gingko leaves are falling down,
My birthday boy

Collect them up with your naked hands,
Naked hands, naked hands.
Make this memory with your friends,
Bestest friends, bestest friends,
My dear son

As a toddler, my son liked to sing London Bridge Is Falling Down. Now he likes to dance to Dance Monkey. On December 21st, he turned 9.

Two of my son’s best friends came over to share pizza and cake with us in a neighborhood park. It was one of those beautiful days in Northern California.

The sun streams…

Zul Bal

I write to collect, capture, and curate ordinary beautiful ideas.

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