Living and Learning

An Unexpected Gift

An Unexpected Gift

I came from a small, exclusive school for girls ran by Catholic nuns. Because it was an all all-girl school, it was a rarity to lay eyes on anyone from the opposite gender while at school, unless one counted the jovial, much older janitor or the sniveling much younger altar boys towed by the visiting […]

Brain Food: It’s Not Just What’s on the Menu

You know that what you eat affects your brain. You are familiar with the usual brain foods. Advertisers make sure you are aware of the mind-strengthening supplements available. You have learned how alcohol and drugs can dull your cognition. But have you considered the other kind of food you feed your mind? Static and Over […]

How I Defended Myself from “Incredible Hulk’s” Plunge

Danger loomed unexpectedly during my otherwise serene resort holiday. A drunken man got into the pool. Halfway through my laps, I inadvertently splash chlorine-filled water in his eyes and he heads towards me in a rage. The words noodle defense dance across my mind from yesterday’s exercise session, as I notice an inflatable bolster nearby. […]

Instrumentalism in Improvisation: The Flourishing of Jazz

Spontaneous and soulful, that’s how jazz music is expressed and appreciated. Such free-flowing lack of musical structure makes Jazz universally popular across divides of language, education, race, and social status. Instrumentalism, not music principles, accounts for its timelessness. The performance emanates from deep soul ideas expressed in a tilt of a note, a wailing crescendo, […]

Is Do Re Mi as Easy as Ready, Set, Push?

You half collapse on the sofa at the hotel lobby, happy for the time to just sit before yet another meeting, your third one today. Music flows from the piano at the nearby lounge. It is upbeat but relaxing, produced by a player who has obviously been at it for years. Letting out a deep […]

Fashionable and Beautiful: Trump card or Wild card?

Fashionable and Beautiful: Trump card or Wild card?

The concept of beauty is introduced early in a woman’s life by statements heard in childhood. If she has a good-looking mother, she will hear it exclaimed, “She is as beautiful as her mother!” or whispered with some head-shaking as if it were the end of the world, “Oh, she did not get her mother’s […]

I live with 7 Zen Masters; All of them, Cats

I live with 7 Zen Masters; All of them, Cats

(The title is adapted from Eckart Tolle’s book The Power of Now.) Animals are such great teachers. Observe how they genuinely understand and respect nature, never taking more than they need, not squabbling unnecessarily over things which are of no real importance. Cats, for example, are very peaceful creatures.  Like other animals, they are very […]