Gates

The gateway to my client’s parking lot is controlled by a sensor reading the identification units of motorcycles and cars.  For reasons unknown, especially to me, it has always recognized me as a season ticketholder, that is until recently.  What was normal changed in a day.  All history was forgotten and I was treated as an alien or at least a stranger, barred from entry.

As my frustration and anger boiled, a security guard offered to assist.  As we replayed the process a new fact emerged.  My bike’s IU unit has died.  It seems as though the bike no longer knows who it is!  Without being recognized, nothing works in Singapore.  Tolls roads become accumulating violations, parking garages are off limits, and anything one does is potentially a violation of a rule or regulation. read more

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Friends

The end of each year is a natural time for reflection.  If there was a recurring theme to this year it was the illusiveness and thirst for hope.  Fear, chaos, and real pain dominated life for many.  No matter how severe one might think her/his life is, there was someone in the world facing something worse.  A common thread I found in the eyes and voice of the people I met was the longing and need for hope.  Individuals want to believe; but it is a struggle.  Individuals are trying to hold on; yet they are never quite sure if their grasp is going to hold.  Individuals long to believe things were going to get better, even as they wonder if they are going to get through the day. read more

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Taking Charge

I was recently reminded of what happens when one permissions others to act without checking in to see if you are “ok” with the action.  Even as things unfolded, I found myself watching and responding in quiet surprise.  It was engaging in wonderful ways I never imagined.  Actions I would normally initiate taken on by others.  I was involved but not in control.  I was completely engaged even as I wondered.

The fact that I like to be in control is a reality that I readily acknowledge.  I wish it was based on confidence, assurance, or conviction.  As I reflect, the root is a simple and disturbing one – I think I know what is best for me.  There are lots of follow-ons from this.  I want to ensure that my agenda is the first agenda in my life.  I want to control as much as possible.  I want, I want.  As natural and normal as this might be, it often blocks others from doing something better, or as least as good. read more

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Leathers

As I got dressed for a long ride, I went through my checklist.  In the old days, one would check one’s leathers.  Today, when one is riding in tropical weather, one tries to stay cool and safe.  There are options with breathable mesh and armor at the critical spots, making traditional leathers a second choice.  Helmets have multiple vents, letting one’s head stay a lot cooler than it would otherwise be.  Even gloves and boots have evolved.

As I considered the difference between old and new, I realized that the one thing that had made the biggest difference in my safety was one that most did not notice – blue tooth communication with another ride.  Four eyes and another mind on lookout fundamentally improved my ability to stay safe. read more

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Belonging

“We are way overdue for a catch-up.”

It was a statement.  We stay in tough regularly through social media, calls, and frequent time for casual conversation.  Later, as I caught up with his girlfriend, she brought up the same subject.

“You guys should plan on catching up regularly.  At least every month, no take that back, every two weeks.  Even better, you should see each other at least once a week.”

As we talked later that day, I realized that I was relaxed and energized by catching up.  During the course of our conversation I could feel the release of things that had been building for awhile.  Little had directly to do with me.  While I knew most of the players involved in the stories, it was the angst that I recognized.  As we talked about it, empathizing, wondering, and imagining, ideas came into focus.  More importantly, the tension within went on a walk about. read more

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Distance

The decorations on Orchard Road have been up since October.  When I look at them and try to remember, it seems like early October.  Initially the bright blues and silver were fun, even if a little bit early.  At this stage, they have become a part of the landscape, unnoticed and often ignored.  The one thing that I associate with them is that the normally already cold almost freezing air that flows out into the streets from the stores is legitimately numbing!

I have come to realize that I have not walked through or by the stores all season.  I do not recall a conscious decision.  It seems like every day had something busy in it, demanding my attention and time.  I also think that my lack of consumerism played a part.  Each time I considered the option I felt like I was the person described by a writer; “You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.” (Psalm 91.8) read more

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Gifts

A single moment this year defined what I most appreciate at Christmas.  While I do not want to sound dramatic, it was quietly defining.  At the time, I was by myself, in the company of a doctor and nursing team that I have grown to trust.  During the course of an otherwise routine procedure, my body reacted and for a brief period of time everything stopped.  As I emerged from the overwhelming darkness, I had no idea where I was, why I was there, or even who the two individuals were around me.  As I look back on the moment, even in my mind, I had names for others but none for myself. read more

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Unknowns

I have no idea what will happen over the holidays.  All I know is that there are options, ideas, possibilities, and an appointment or two.  I have no desire to know with certainty how surprises will unfold and what gifts may come.  Life continues to remind me that anticipating goodness is a sweetness one should enjoy and savor.

At the same time, there is a lingering feeling of dark unknowns and uncertainties.  The pull to see life’s glass half empty competes with the desire to hold onto hope.  It is an endless battle that overwhelms even the strongest.  It seems that for many the blues and the holidays are mysteriously linked to each other. read more

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Fear Types

I have come to appreciate that there is a distinct difference between different types of fear.  On one extreme there is the fear that comes from uncertainty and unknowing.  At the other end of the spectrum is the fear that arises when one is aware of potential danger.  In the former, with emotions driven by uncertainty and various views of potential danger, one’s heart rate increases, senses move into high alert, and the body tightens and prepares to defend itself from all possible dangers.  In short, one emotionally and physically gets ready for battle!  Nothing inside or out is left to chance. read more

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Havens

On a recent ride, I cam up on an odd sight.  Nestled in behind a big bus was a guy on a small bike.  He was bent over in the tuck position, hand twisting the throttle to the maximum.  Taking advantage of the pocket of air created behind the aerodynamically inefficient bus, to some this look like a safe have.  As I watched coming up from behind, I wondered he he had any idea how dangerous his position was Lucky for the rider, the bus gently slowed and the ride carried on by himself.  It could have easily turned out quite differently! read more

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