This pain will make sense someday.
Marcus Aurelius is the fifth among the five good emperors of the Roman Empire. Meditations is pretty much his self-reflective diary or his collection of “notes-to-self.” He didn’t intend to publish his writings as he was only writing for himself but in 1559, centuries after his death, the first print came out. (Makes me wonder how he’d feel when he finds out it’s read by millions of people already.) 🙂
Meditations in a nutshell: coming out on top, if not better, after overcoming/enduring the many stresses of the world. We can not control other things except ourselves. Appreciating life in a larger context. Accepting things (and people) as they are and not how we want them to be.
Having been able to peek into the mind of an emperor from one of the greatest empires of history, this is a fascinating read. I personally think though that Marcus Aurelius is a bit too forgiving or lenient so not everything he wrote resonates with me and the Stoic philosophy is not everyone’s cup of tea, however, it’s a book you can go back to time and again, worthy of a deep and thoughtful read to be able to absorb the wisdom that is offered.
Quotable Quotes :
“The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do. Not to be distracted by their darkness. To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.”
“Don’t look down on death, but welcome it.”
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”
“For it is in your power to retire into yourself whenever you choose.”
Rating : 4/5 stars
I was faced with two choices:
the choice to leave
and never see you again,
or to stay and feel the pain
of you not loving me.
Maybe it’s wrong,
maybe it’s stupid,
I don’t know…
but I stayed.
Unsure what hurts more…
Losing you or knowing you
didn’t fight to keep me?
Ending my reading hiatus is my first W. Somerset Maugham read. Narrated in the third person POV but mostly of Kitty’s, is pretty much a morality tale but is actually more complex.
The husband and wife in this book are Walter and Kitty Fane. Walter is a bacteriologist, charmless and cold. Kitty is an upper middle class shallow girl, views the world like a child which I think is her tragedy. Time is creeping up on her as her younger sister is almost getting married, so she married Walter and head off with him to Hong Kong where she started to despise him and then fell in love with Charlie Townsend, a charming womanizer. Walter eventually discovers the affair and didn’t pretend to know nothing so he decided to work in Mei-tan-fu, a remote area where there’s cholera outbreak and Kitty was left with no choice but to go with him (though she knows that Walter wants her to die there) since Charlie refused to leave his wife for her.
Maugham’s writing is simple and elegant. This is a very introspective work and this book seemed to be his voice to tell his opinion about adultery and so much more. It speaks of love, betrayal, forgiveness, reconciliation, understanding other people, understanding one’s self, one’s place in this world, the very universal truths about relationships, and the true meaning of life.
It’s a wonderful read, I’d probably watch the movie and compare.
Quotable Quotes :
“How can I be reasonable? To me our love was everything and you were my whole life. It is not very pleasant to realize that to you it was only an episode.”
“If a man hasn’t what’s necessary to make a woman love him, it’s his fault, not hers.”
“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don’t.”
“One can be very much in love with a woman without wishing to spend the rest of one’s life with her.”
“One cannot find peace in work or in pleasure, in the world or in a convent, but only in one’s soul.”
Rating : 4/5 stars
This is the 9th time I’ll be celebrating this month-long holy event so somehow, I’ve quite adjusted to it already.
Ramadan occurs on the 9th month of the Islamic calendar when the crescent moon becomes visible and ends with the sighting of the new moon. It is believed to mark the time God revealed the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.
If I’m not mistaken, I think Ramadan starts 11 days earlier each year, thus the change in the dates/months it is celebrated. (The first year I came here, if my memory serves me right, Ramadan started maybe late August thus ended around the third week of September.) So it can occur in both hot or cold seasons. The length of day varies and matters a lot since Muslims are fasting during this month. Fasting is one among the five pillars of Islam. (The other four include the testimony of faith, charity work, praying five times a day and the holy pilgrimage to Mecca).
We also have to keep in mind that when we speak of fasting, it doesn’t only mean fasting from food, it also includes abstaining from smoking, drinking, sexual intercourse, etc. As what I’ve seen here, they usually break the fast by eating dates and drinking water or laban (and some other drinks, I forgot how they’re called) right after sunset and then followed by a festive meal. It was a great shock for me the first time I’ve witnessed such until I eventually got used to it.
Anyhow, I just really wanted to wish all my Muslim friends a Happy Ramadan. I hope you don’t forget the true meaning of this holy month and put it in practice.
Sometimes, we create our own heartbreaks.
Why do you chase it
when all it does is keep you
from being happy?