if i were a painter

water colour, practising

if i were a painter
i would paint my reverie
if that’s the only way for you to be with me

we’d be there together
just like we used to be
underneath the swirling skies for all to see

and i’m dreaming of a place
where i could see your face
and i think my brush would take me there
but only

if i were a painter
and could paint a memory
i’d climb inside the swirling skies to be with you
i’d climb inside the skies to be with you

(norah jones)

“mỗi con người vì sợ mất tình mà giữ trong lòng một nỗi nhớ nhung” ~ ‘each person, afraid of losing love, holds on to some memory’ ~ trịnh công sơn. ah yes, when there’s not enough love at present, i love the rest of the past. memories of true love could feel better than the reality of casual affairs ~ sometimes it seems more mindful to be just a bit less present

i let the paint brush follow the foundation of a past, with patches of recent ups and downs, and current getting to know ~ it seems they all should be memories as all are not here and now…

tôi để em nghỉ ngơi

hơi lạnh trên da đón ánh mặt trời

lá bàng khẽ khàng rơi

bầu trời xanh – trắng – xám

cố gắng nhiều rồi em ơi ngơi nghỉ

“ba chìm bảy nổi với nước non”

với mình, với người

yêu, thương, ơn, nghĩa

thời khắc em thấy em không thiếu cũng không đầy

nhẹ nhàng em đặt xuống

gánh nặng thời đại, thế hệ

với tình yêu trong mình

nhẹ nhàng em đặt xuống

những ràng buộc vô hình ta chuộc vào thân

ta không thấy trong gương mặt mình những ám ảnh

không bình yên ta không hiểu vì sao

thả

trôi

em

thấy

vậy

biết

vậy

“bao nhiêu năm rồi còn mãi ra đi

đi đâu loanh quanh cho đời mỏi mệt”

em nghỉ ngơi,

thở và chơi

~ sam, sài gòn 9. 10. 2018

Let me rest for a while –

Let me enjoy the cold and the sunlight,

The soft falling oak leaves

And the blue-white sky

I have struggled so long,

Let me rest a while – I have struggled so long

To prove myself to myself,

Myself to others, to try

To be worthy of their love –

To try to prove I loved them.

Now I start to see

That I am neither lacking nor complete

And I let the burden of ages, of generations softly down;

I put it down with all my love –

We did not know we were carrying it –

We did not catch the haunted look in the mirror –

We did not understand why we had no peace –

And it is only as I start to put it down,

To let it go,

That I see it for what it is;

I have been running for a long time –

Now I allow myself to stop and enjoy.

~ Brother Phap Linh, Plum Village

on moderation

from venus

yellow bowl is mixed from a bunch of small vietnamese frozen bananas and a sour sweet mango ~ beautiful colour yet actually quite sweet with the combined sugar from both bananas and mango. i hopped down 5 floors to get a lime from the fridge on the ground floor, squeezed half then the whole lime juice and mix again, better yet still a tad sweet and is missing something. i walked down and up 5 floors again to pick up the frozen vietnamese sour long strawberries for the final mix et voila, from venus to mars

to mars

i cook with feelings not with spoons, just like my mum (‘s practice and habit too). i would feel the amount of salt, spices etc. that i sprinkle onto the ingredients while cooking. after a few times of salt accidentally falling out too much, i learn to sprinkle gently slowly (still not using a spoon hmm!) and take out extra salt if it happens to fall out too much

yet in relationship, i only remember to moderate the feelings i give out sometimes. this is something i need to practise more as too sweet food either pleases the eaters too much and makes them addicted to it, or it might not be the amount they want ~ which are both not that healthy. it’s about respecting others and myself aswell. i should practise to retain my energy a little bit better ~ think, talk, give, care, share a bit less. be fresh, be peace, be joy, be love first and let these energy radiate to the surrounding environment and people

similar to walking down and up 5 floors a few times for the more ‘right’ smoothie, it takes motivation, effort and time to create the more ‘right’ food, friendship, relationship. don’t let ourselves so starved that we have to eat something quick and not to the taste we deserve ~ we are also part of the food and relationship we create

Trích Sài, Hà Nội 7. 10. 2017

fear

i was born quiet
scared of
darkness
‘ghost’
butterfly
dragonfly
lizard
the list goes on

grown up
i frown upon
ruthless swearing
loud voice
violence
heard too much from my neighbours
parents’ fights
people talking shit about others

summer two thousand and nine
i since learn rubbish can be transformed into flowers
if there’s no compost, there’s no flower
interbeing
impermanence

capitalist environments pushed me to refrain from
over working
speed
competition
i’m choosing
slow, flow, feelings, sensations

the quiet fearful kid

is still somewhere in me
one thing i realise

i have never been afraid of
is to live my feelings
to the fullest

with each person
i can never cut my emotions short
even if we’re not together anymore
my emotions live on
’til they age
and retire
i then love the next person to the full

with each new friend
i’m often just myself
totally opened up
i used to think of that as being honest and enthusiastic
yet i’ve learned more and more
to take time to get to know a person
to respect myself and others
as how i give
might not be how they want to receive
though i’d still be myself and flow
it doesn’t hurt to take it slow
be still and know

hanoi, 3. 10. 2017

vietnam, vietnam

living in a vietnamese neighbourhood, i get morning social alarms of voices, construction works to wake up. around meal times smells of food from the neighbours ~ we love frying seasoning like garlic with a little bit of oil first until you can smell it before adding other ingredients. windows doors open conversations faces smiles. funerals’ loud music reminds me of impermanence and also a chance to, as Vietnamese would normally say, ‘share the sadness’

the police asks for residence registration in handwriting ~ could be seen as a rather more personal way, could have been even nicer if my fountain pen had some ink left. i wrote in black and am reminded it’s safer to write in blue as they might ask for that, ah yes because the form is already in black so it would be easier to read in another colour, i guess there is some sense

communists don’t work enough, capitalists work too much ~ when will we be socialists?

Bình Thạnh ~ Saigon, 19. 9. 2018

overflowed joy

pure words, songs echo

bell invited, wooden tocsin

Vietnam charm, tears rounded

“i have arrived, i am home

in the here, in the now”

blossomed smile, heart flowered

lotus pond, croaking frogs

sixth month, Plum Village

france, southern

happy farm ~ plum village france, summer 2015

p.s. wrote this while relaxing at the port in Venice when traveling after ‘ecology & mindfulness retreat’ at Plum Village

saigon saigon

from my favourite seat at Soma
she often looks like Cinderella with the apron on top of her dress, sitting reflecting writing in her diary

together with other girls she makes me feel like we’re sisters
‘i put more juice for you’
‘are you tired, keep working i’ll give you a massage’

besides food, human care and sentiments is the Vietnamese specialty i treasure and forget

sometimes

13. 9. 2018

beauty

the scent of green papaya ~ l’odeur de la papaye verte (1993)

i longed for truths and found ~ as life has enough edges, i gradually choose to curate beauty and share more of the found romance through image and text ~ one of my inspirations is Vietnamese French director Tran Anh Hung

isn’t it lovely, we grew up with fairy tales, no longer believe in them then want to create a dreamy world again ~ because, why not planting and embracing good feelings, with grains of reality here and there to enhance even more the poetic living being of beauty

29. 8. 2018

miracle

we dreamed of fairytale as kids, question romance when we’re older then enjoy magic again when we realise life doesn’t have enough of it. maybe that’s why fairytale was created in the first place ~ to soothe our souls

miracle, for a prisoner, is open air and the feel of grass. we need to learn and practise to embrace these seemingly ordinary miracles when we still can. maybe that’s all life is about ~ to breathe the air and play with the grass. and to remember to do that often, to be aware of our each breath and that the grass is green ~ here and now

human and life has an interesting relationship ~ we’re given life, sometimes want more of it, sometimes feel like we’ve had enough ~ loved ones want more of life for each other. more life, more suffering, more love ~ intertwined. maybe the charm of life is that we’re not that free even when we practise to be free ~ we’re attached with life to continue it ~ breathe it in, and out

‘the green mile’ (film, 1999)

saigon, 11 august 2018

no mud no lotus

no cliché, no cool

no mud, no lotus

no right, no left

no east, no west

no classic, no contemporary

no player, no nerd

no judgement, no tolerance

no you, no me

no mess, no zen

no trump, no bernie sender

no conservative, no labour

no capitalism, no communism

no global, no local

no death, no life

no suffering, no happiness

no garbage, no flower

no yes, no no