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i’ll be fifty-two years old on this day. and this fifty-two year-old self is whom i want to visit — wherever she may be…

…incidentally, my father turns 52 today. yes, to put a stress on the point, he is 25 years older than i am. happy birthday ningravs! 🙂

on november 6, 2007, i delivered my first ever speech at the toastmasters meeting. my dad had asked several days before that if i wanted to take on the challenge of taking the first step to becoming a certified toastmaster by doing the first task — the icebreaker. not wanting to disappoint my dad and with the desire to overcome my displaced fear of speaking before a bunch of washed-out oldies, i immediately accepted with the condition that i won’t have to carry out another task (word master — a thorough explanation on what this may require another post) during the meeting.

i was nervous and excited. i had roughly around five days to prepare before i was scheduled to deliver my speech. i thought about what i was going to say but my five days started dwindling away and i still did not have an outline in my head. now this first speech is supposed to be easy. you see, the icebreaker is nothing more than a glorified self introduction. one is supposed to talk about him or herself because the topic would most likely be most comfortable for the speaker and thus, avoid any unnecessary anxiety of having to think of and mull over a topic.

i thought and i thought. i’m not the sappy, schmaltzy kind, if you must know. i like idea of not having to fuss over what shade of gray is best, but instead, just limiting my choices to either black or white. i appreciate hard facts more than your run-of-the-mill telenovela-inspired emo-ridden cryfest. i take comfort in conversations wherein i don’t have to second guess what the other person’s agenda really is.

needless to say, choosing a topic presented a dilemma. i’m going to have to deliver a speech before a bunch of gray-choosing emo-loving tritely-conversing individuals. and worse, they’ll be ‘evaluating’ me. this, to my mind, was an even bigger problem. will they actually be able to get ME when i introduce myself? or will they be stuck in the confines of the scanned evaluation page from the toastmasters workbook?

i decided to talk about my name ilya kristine. i researched early in the morning of november 6. i ‘googled’ ilya of murom, a protagonist in a russian myth or ukranian folk tale where my dad got my name. i didn’t really draw up a speech but i was content with the idea of having an outline in my head.

i ran some errands in the afternoon and by 6:00 o’clock, i was well on my way to VIP where the meeting is held every other tuesday. at some point before i delivered the speech, i was so nervous i thought of calling it off. but then, i thought about how embarrassing that would be for me and my father so i decided to just resign myself to the fact that i was delivering speech no. 1, whether i was ready or not. for a minute or two, my mind was taken off speech no. 1 as i was asked to do table topics. but that diversion was short-lived and my mind quickly returned to its original preoccupation after the brief respite.

then it came. my name was called and it was my turn. i went near the lectern, adjusted the microphone and just let go. i talked about how my name came about. then i narrated the tale of ilya of murom. as a parting message, i rounded up my speech by stressing that like ilya of murom, i wished to be extraordinary among the ordinary things that i do in life. before i knew it, my time was up and i was done. i thought i did okay. but then, i told myself that i had to wait for the evaluation to know if my okay was good enough.

the person who evaluated me was from the land of squares. and in the land of squares, he might have been king, too. hahaha… i’m kidding. but my first impression of the evaluator was that he was quite rigid and rather standoffish. sigh. it pains me when i’m right. my diction is above par and my confidence level is high — these were my good points, the evaluator said. it was added that my use of the story-technique was also commendable as i seemed to be at ease in using it. then, the grim part came. th evaluator then talked about the off parts. the intro was so long, i didn’t really talk about myself, etc. etc. i can’t remember anymore. perhaps i choose not to remember…

—//—

in the movie the story of us, bruce willis who plays ben jordan says (i can’t remember the exact words but i know the gist by heart) that there is no better feeling in the world than the feeling of ‘being gotten’. he says that his wife katie, played by my favorite michelle pfeiffer, just got him.

—//—

while i was disappointed at not having aced speech no. 1, i was more disappointed about not ‘being gotten’. as i’ve said earlier, i’m not i’m not the sappy, schmaltzy kind. so don’t expect me to tell you my name, how far i went in school, what i do in my pastime, who my friends are, what makes my cry or what my innermost dreams and aspirations are, in a well-concocted telenovela-like blowing-gas-up-my-own-ass tale. i’m simply not like that. but still, i tell you, i bared myself out there and that’s why i feel it’s such a letdown that i wasn’t gotten.

we ended the meeting and i was still a little glum… then we ended by agreeing on next week’s theme. and you know what, who would have thought that the theme for the next meeting would be: be the extra in ordinary… my dad and some of the younger, more vibrant members suggested it.

perhaps, i was gotten after all…

 

color wheel

the color wheel i found on the internet shows the twelve different colors on a standard color wheel. it also gives us the distinction between shade, hue tint and complement tint. who would have known it was this complicated to choose a favorite color… but based on this color wheel, i choose blue. in particular, i choose the blue shade (which to my mind is mediterranean blue).

blue is color of the vast and endless sea. blue is also the color of the sky. although my room is white (to give it more light), the trim on the edges are painted blue. the door to the room is small and blue while my bathroom tiles are blue too.

most of all, blue reminds me of the white stucco houses sporting a portico on one side and trimmed with blue paint on the edges, situated in a tiny seaport village along the blue breezy mediterranean sea. this is actually the inspiration for my room (though it may not show because it is, by far, in its messiest state now).

in another light, blue is a word which may refer to the feeling of sadness. the blues is also a style or genre of music which i don’t necessarily enjoy except for the more recent renditions of norah jones. blue is often associated with democrats (as opposed to red of the republicans). i could go on forever about the other symbolic significance of blue but wikipedia has already beat me to it so you can go check it there yourself.

as i wind up this first ever “table topic” post, i can’t help but observe how my screen is filled with blue. wordpress’ default is blue. windows xp is also blue. i guess a lot more people out there also have blue as their favorite hue. 🙂

 

ok, you have to bear with me on this one because you will need a good ten minutes to finish reading this blog… perhaps seven and a half if you’re a fast reader. 😉

about a year ago, i came across the prada website and at that time they were promoting the launch of the fashion house’s first perfume. the creative geniuses (a.k.a. ridley scott and daughter jordan) behind the famed (and über-pricey) brand made a short film which, by the way, i found rather uninteresting except for the recitation from a poem that was read in as a form of narrative commentary.

yes, that poem is the thunder, perfect mind.

the thunder, perfect mind was discovered among the gnostic manuscripts at nag hammadi in 1945. the title is, more accurately, the thunder – perfect intellect. it takes the form of an extended, riddling monologue, in which an immanent saviour speaks a series of paradoxical statements concerning the divine feminine nature. while these paradoxical utterances echo greek identity riddles, the author, date, and place of composition are unknown, but a cultural milieu like that of second- or third-century alexandria is plausible. more information on the thunder, perfect mind can be found at wikipedia.

now one last word about this poem… as i said, it was found among the gnostic gospels in nag hammadi and naturally, it points to the divine feminine. having read dan brown’s the da vinci code and having seen national geographic’s the gospel of judas, it is then of no surprise that the thunder, perfect mind was of immense interest to me.

—//—

the thunder, perfect mind
translated by george w. macrae

I was sent forth from the power, and I have come to those who reflect upon me, and I have been found among those who seek after me.
Look upon me, you who reflect upon me, and you hearers, hear me. You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.
And do not banish me from your sight.
And do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing. Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or any time. Be on your guard! Do not be ignorant of me.

For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am and the daughter.
I am the members of my mother.
I am the barren one and many are her sons.
I am she whose wedding is great, and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not bear.
I am the solace of my labor pains.
I am the bride and the bridegroom, and it is my husband who begot me.
I am the mother of my father and the sister of my husband and he is my offspring.
I am the slave of him who prepared me.
I am the ruler of my offspring. But he is the one who begot me before the time on a birthday. And he is my offspring in (due) time, and my power is from him.
I am the staff of his power in his youth, and he is the rod of my old age. And whatever he wills happens to me.
I am the silence that is incomprehensible and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name.

Why, you who hate me, do you love me, and hate those who love me?
You who deny me, confess me, and you who confess me, deny me.
You who tell the truth about me, lie about me, and you who have lied about me, tell the truth about me.
You who know me, be ignorant of me, and those who have not known me, let them know me.

For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and boldness.
I am shameless; I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and peace.
Give heed to me.
I am the one who is disgraced and the great one.

Give heed to my poverty and my wealth.
Do not be arrogant to me when I am cast out upon the earth, and you will find me in those that are to come.
And do not look upon me on the dung-heap nor go and leave me cast out, and you will find me in the kingdoms.
And do not look upon me when I am cast out among those who are disgraced and in the least places, nor laugh at me.
And do not cast me out among those who are slain in violence.
But I, I am compassionate and I am cruel.

Be on your guard!
Do not hate my obedience and do not love my self-control.
In my weakness, do not forsake me, and do not be afraid of my power.
For why do you despise my fear and curse my pride?
But I am she who exists in all fears and strength in trembling.
I am she who is weak, and I am well in a pleasant place.
I am senseless and I am wise.

Why have you hated me in your counsels?
For I shall be silent among those who are silent, and I shall appear and speak,
Why then have you hated me, you Greeks? Because I am a barbarian among the barbarians?
For I am the wisdom of the Greeks and the knowledge of the barbarians.
I am the judgement of the Greeks and of the barbarians.
I am the one whose image is great in Egypt and the one who has no image among the barbarians.
I am the one who has been hated everywhere and who has been loved everywhere.
I am the one whom they call Life, and you have called Death.
I am the one whom they call Law, and you have called Lawlessness.
I am the one whom you have pursued, and I am the one whom you have seized.
I am the one whom you have scattered, and you have gathered me together.
I am the one before whom you have been ashamed, and you have been shameless to me.
I am she who does not keep festival, and I am she whose festivals are many.
I, I am godless, and I am the one whose God is great.
I am the one whom you have reflected upon, and you have scorned me.
I am unlearned, and they learn from me.
I am the one that you have despised, and you reflect upon me.
I am the one whom you have hidden from, and you appear to me.
But whenever you hide yourselves, I myself will appear.
For whenever you appear, I myself will hide from you.
Those who have […] to it […] senselessly […].

Take me [… understanding] from grief. and take me to yourselves from understanding and grief.
And take me to yourselves from places that are ugly and in ruin, and rob from those which are good even though in ugliness.
Out of shame, take me to yourselves shamelessly; and out of shamelessness and shame, upbraid my members in yourselves.
And come forward to me, you who know me and you who know my members, and establish the great ones among the small first creatures.
Come forward to childhood, and do not despise it because it is small and it is little.
And do not turn away greatnesses in some parts from the smallnesses, for the smallnesses are known from the greatnesses.

Why do you curse me and honor me?
You have wounded and you have had mercy.
Do not separate me from the first ones whom you have known.
And do not cast anyone out nor turn anyone away […] turn you away and [… know] him not. […]. What is mine […].
I know the first ones and those after them know me.

But I am the mind of […] and the rest of […].
I am the knowledge of my inquiry, and the finding of those who seek after me, and the command of those who ask of me, and the power of the powers in my knowledge of the angels, who have been sent at my word, and of gods in their seasons by my counsel, and of spirits of every man who exists with me, and of women who dwell within me.
I am the one who is honored, and who is praised, and who is despised scornfully.
I am peace, and war has come because of me.
And I am an alien and a citizen.
I am the substance and the one who has no substance.

Those who are without association with me are ignorant of me, and those who are in my substance are the ones who know me.
Those who are close to me have been ignorant of me, and those who are far away from me are the ones who have known me.
On the day when I am close to you, you are far away from me, and on the day when I am far away from you, I am close to you.

[I am …] within.
[I am …] of the natures.
I am […] of the creation of the spirits.
[…] request of the souls.
I am control and the uncontrollable.
I am the union and the dissolution.
I am the abiding and I am the dissolution.
I am the one below, and they come up to me.
I am the judgment and the acquittal.
I, I am sinless, and the root of sin derives from me.
I am lust in (outward) appearance, and interior self-control exists within me.
I am the hearing which is attainable to everyone and the speech which cannot be grasped.
I am a mute who does not speak, and great is my multitude of words.

Hear me in gentleness, and learn of me in roughness.
I am she who cries out, and I am cast forth upon the face of the earth.
I prepare the bread and my mind within.
I am the knowledge of my name.
I am the one who cries out, and I listen.
I appear and […] walk in […] seal of my […].
I am […] the defense […].
I am the one who is called Truth and iniquity […].

You honor me […] and you whisper against me.
You who are vanquished, judge them (who vanquish you) before they give judgment against you, because the judge and partiality exist in you.
If you are condemned by this one, who will acquit you? Or, if you are acquitted by him, who will be able to detain you?
For what is inside of you is what is outside of you, and the one who fashions you on the outside is the one who shaped the inside of you. And what you see outside of you, you see inside of you; it is visible and it is your garment.

Hear me, you hearers and learn of my words, you who know me.
I am the hearing that is attainable to everything; I am the speech that cannot be grasped.
I am the name of the sound and the sound of the name.
I am the sign of the letter and the designation of the division.
And I […].
(3 lines missing)
[…] light […].
[…] hearers […] to you
[…] the great power.
And […] will not move the name.
[…] to the one who created me. And I will speak his name.

Look then at his words and all the writings which have been completed.
Give heed then, you hearers and you also, the angels and those who have been sent, and you spirits who have arisen from the dead.
For I am the one who alone exists, and I have no one who will judge me.

For many are the pleasant forms which exist in numerous sins, and incontinencies, and disgraceful passions, and fleeting pleasures, which (men) embrace until they become sober and go up to their resting place.
And they will find me there, and they will live, and they will not die again.

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