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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Week of Love: Let The Love Shine Through

I would wake up in the morning feeling all refreshed and energized, but after I opened Facebook or online news I usually got all tired and angry and simply out of it. It happens all the time.

It is not the media or Facebook itself. It is the people.

I wanted to write about love today. Sweet, glorious love that warms you inside, the calm content feeling that you felt, that one time where you are truly at peace with yourself. I wanted to write on how the lack of love makes you bitter and unhappy and live you life as if you are in the deepest level of hell. Not love as in Anthony-Cleopatra love, but love as in love for others, for yourself, for the world we live in. Not anymore. At this point, I doubt my writing would make a dent in anyone's mind, so far gone we are in our delusioned state of mind.

Reading other people's opinion or news in the internet is like watching a sport program: you shout and yell and scream, you discuss lengthily on how this and that should be done, but in reality you don't know jacksh*t because you were never on the field with them, you never walked in their shoes. And most important of all: you never did anything that can change the way things are.

But that's the "beauty" of the internet. Shrouded in animosity, we dare to say things that we would not say in real life and to a real person. When I say animosity, it doesn't mean we truly believe that we are untouched if we voiced our opinion through internet. What happened is that internet eliminate the body language of our opponents. We do not visually see or hear how other people react to our opinion, and thus, it does not makes us uncomfortable. Deep down inside, we are not built to hurt others. Or lets put it this way: we are built to emphatize with other, to feel what other people feel.

Yet the same thing that truly define us as human is what we lost over the internet. Fear, hatred, scorn, all are aplenty in the internet. Love too, but the voice of love is no as loud as fear and hatred, because we choose so. And without physically being there, it is far too easy to just point and accuse outward instead of point inward and ask ourselves: what can I do to make it better?

It's not the media's fault that they do not broadcast about the children's massacre by Boko Haram in Nigeria, it is our fault for not caring. Do we even know where Nigeria is, or do we even care about Nigeria if it hadn't been for the massacre?  Comments about how sick the world is or how we felt how terrible our country is, how does that help? All the negativity, all the "Well it is *their* fault", no matter how it sounds, don't help at all. We are but a sulky toddler who whines.

For all that is worth, for all the pain and discomfort it cause, almost all of these negativities can be cured with one thing: Love. To love something is to accept them as they are, to understand their need and imperfection. To love something is to try to help them, but without treading on their feeling. To love something is to ask "why" first and understanding the reason behind the action, instead of judging and jumping into conclusions.

This is not easy, especially if they hurt us too much (or we believe so). Muslims are bad. The Kafir infidels are bad. LGBT people do not belong in this world. LGBT haters know no love. Meat-eaters are the worst. Vegan can shove organic carrots up their a**. Pro-choice can rot in hell. Pro-life has no right to own other people's womb. The list goes on and on. Or sometimes, we just got irked with a piece of news and being nasty about it, comfortably forgetting that news these days are generally written in somewhat provocative manner because that's what we, the audience, dig in the most. So, it's back to us again.

This week is a very special week. The Lunar (Chinese) New Year was on Monday, a joyous celebration with family and loved ones. It is also Ash Wednesday, a day to repent and introspection for many Christians. In Bali, this Wednesday is Galungan day, the day where Dharma (goodness) won against Adharma (evil). Though stemmed from ancient mythology, the true meaning of Galungan is for us to defeat the evil in us and let the goodness win. Let's not forget Valentine this Sunday too. This day of overpriced flowers and bankcruptcy-causing dinners originally started as the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival. All in all, this week we are celebrating love in all its form: love for our family and ancestors, love for God(s), love for others, love for ourselves. Is there any room for love for those who we do not know yet?

A friend of mine Betsy Baker with the Sandy Hook Promise team ( has put together a new initiative: Start With Hello. It is a coincidence that our friendship began with a "Hello" too. I was the salesperson for her wedding photography, and after the event I e-mailed her to say thanks and it was a pleasure to assist her. The rest is history. Here in US, thousands of miles away from my friends and family in the tropical paradise, she has become a piece of home to me even though we never met. I don't think we have much in common, our interests and lifestyle are pretty different from one another, and normally I would be uncomfortable with that. But it's difficult to be uncomfortable with someone who smiled at you albeit in e-mail, it doesn't feel right to judge someone whom you know. That's what the power of Hello is. That's what the power of love is.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is understanding other's need, other's perspective. Love is willingness to accept. Love is letting someone know they are accepted. Love is opening your heart.

We don't need more hatred over the internet, nor vile vitriol comments and finger pointing. Negativity is like the ooze that seeps through our blood system, infecting it and killing us from the inside. And we don't even realized it. Our face is full of scorn, our heart is full of anger, and in our every waking moment we are filled with despair and discomfort. And by spreading this negativity instead of love and positivity we infect others too. Why bring hell to life?

Don't hate the Muslim. Don't hate the non-Muslim. Don't hate the pro-choice. Don't hate the pro-life. Don't hate the LGBT. Don't hate people who are against LGBT. Everyone has a story to tell, a cause or a believe that they clung on. Understand them. Don't hate them. Respect them. Don't despise them. Just because other's belief is different than yours, it doesn't make them your enemy. We need more love to heal this sick world, to heal our sick self. Let the love shine through.

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