The Journal of Rula Shin

We're Having...
12/15/2008 01:45 a.m.

A BOY!! :-)

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Lina's 1st Birthday
06/24/2008 01:54 p.m.


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My Little Baby Lady and I
05/09/2008 01:48 p.m.

Lina and Mommy on Easter


My Little Lina Olivia


Lina and Mommy at Andrew's 1st Birthday

My Little Baby Lady and I

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Floyd, My Little Boy
09/24/2007 12:45 a.m.
July 18, 2007

There is nothing that I can say in words about Floyd. This was the conclusion I came to after attempting so many times to put pen to paper. I wanted to write a journal entry that described my feelings for him, and then a poem that painted his portrait in every shade available to my mind’s eye. Yet each time I tried, not one word appeared that I could bear to put on paper. “He was…” what? “Beautiful? Loving? Loyal?” Or maybe I could talk about the way he felt, the way he smelled…the warmth of his fuzzy face and big muscular body, his floppy ears and monkey tail. Maybe I could write some words that would accurately describe the smile he brought to my heart when I thought of his large imposing outward appearance as he insisted on jumping into my bed and cuddling with me all curled up in a HUGE ball trying to pretend he was small enough to fit.

Maybe I could find some magnificent poetic words, adjectives that would take you through my wailing heart and leave you feeling the now cold and empty space he left behind, or the warm presence of his memory deep inside me. I thought about all such words, all such descriptions, all such poetry and prose. I tried to write down “what HE was” and “what HE MEANT to ME”. But in the end I found myself speechless, unable to justify the use of any word I knew. In the end I could only sense him, feel him, know him, remember him, and love him…my little boy.

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My Son is Dead
09/24/2007 12:02 a.m.

April 19, 2007

My Son died today, a little after 7 pm. He was 12 years old and 4 months. An old man according to Mother nature. When he was first taken to the emergency unit, my mind was not in my control, as normally it’s not in my control. Thoughts passed through. Thoughts that I damned the moment they came, yet they came. ‘If he dies now,’ the thought came, “then I won’t have to see him suffer and die in a year’. How selfish and self serving this bastard little thought was. In just one moment, one second, it festered and exploded into a cancerous entity…much like the one that perhaps killed my son. “He’s old now,” nature whispered, “I’ve got to find some way.”

Floyd was, is, and will always be my first and most precious SON. Twelve years he was at my side. Twelve years we roamed from place to place. Twelve years he was my loving companion, my best friend, my protector, my everything. And all I ever gave him for his unconditional love was my companionship. That’s all it took for him to love me, follow me around…he just wanted to be near me. Now he is gone, and I want to go back and murder that bastard thought. I DIDN’T WANT HIM TO DIE!!!!! What thought had a right to infringe itself on ME!!!!??? Bastards, ALL of THEM! To HELL with them all!!!!

Floyd. Floyd Floyd floyd floydee floyd floyd floyd floyd floyd….where are you? I love you so much…so much. I can feel your soft velvety fuzzy face against mine…I can FEEL YOU. My Son.

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What Am I Worried About?
09/24/2007 12:01 a.m.

October 6, 2006

I am worried. I am depressed. But what am I worried about? What am I depressed about? Is it really my weight, my appearance? Is it really my work, my surroundings? Is it really the new addition? Is it really all those million and one little things I worry about for hours upon hours sitting on my bed or couch watching T.V. drifting away into oblivion? No. At 4:30 pm, having worked very hard at hardly working, thinking one million times in 4 ˝ hours, I walked into the shower. As the water poured over me I realized, “It’s not those million little things I’m worried about…it’s that one BIG thing. What am I DOING about what I’m worried about…thinking?? Yes, thinking I am DOING NOTHING.”

Yes, it’s ONE thought that encompasses the million others…ONE fault that creates a million others…ONE worry that breeds a million others. And there is only ONE ACT and ONE TIME that can unify one million divisions back into ONE.

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Perception Must Be a Hall of Mirrors...
09/24/2007 12:00 a.m.
August 26, 2006

As I was washing my hands in the kitchen sink, I noticed my cactus plant up on the sill and thought, “What happened? You were so bright, so alive, a tiny field flowering crimson atop your rugged head. Your only companion, a glistening stalk of crisp clean green shadowing waves of soft mauve like vines dressing him up for the sky’s deep gaze.

It was at the moment the scene was most clear to me that I recalled the “real” cactus. It was only in my “dreams” that she was LIVING…

The “dream” is a projection of the “reality,” and the “reality” a projection of the “dream.” It was in the moment of the dream’s clarity that the dream was shattered, becoming a new “reality”…I wonder, will clarity of the new reality make it shatter to a dream, transporting me once again into a new reality…and so on?

Perception must be a hall of mirrors…

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Every Center Has a Center
10/05/2006 02:16 a.m.

October 4th, 2006

Every center has a center, and every dream is embedded within another dream. A measurement is only a measurement in relation to a counterpart measurement. If you measure yourself in relation to me, and find yourself in the same league, a failure by comparison, you cannot fail without implication. If you measure yourself in relation to me, and find yourself in a different league, a failure by comparison, then you cannot use me to measure, unless you convert me to your standard, placing me on the lowest rung. We all have to turn tricks for our trade at one point or another, but if we are in the same league, let’s not play tricks on each other. After all, some of the most horrific consequences have been the result of best intentions, because we can’t SEE that every center has a center, and every dream is embedded within another dream.

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09/02/2006 09:29 p.m.


I was watching C.S.I. and was struck by a thought as a result of a statement made by "Grissom" regarding dead bodies. When speaking to a murder suspect, he recalled his own experience with the physical aspect of a dead body. In a job that inevitably requires him to be in contact with the dead, the actual "reality" of the victim's physical death only strikes him occasionally. Its perfectly motionless position, its smell, the way the blood glistens in some places, or dries in others, and its surprising heaviness strike him suddenly as a thing of great obscurity.

Grissom was, of course, voicing his own experiences as a subtle means to get the suspect to recall his socially unacceptable actions. He wanted to link the suspect's emotional center to the memory of having committed the crime, trying to reach his conscience. He succeeded to a certain extent when the suspect replied, "I'm not a bad person." The point is not this, but what occurred to me at that very moment. Grissom's occasional realization, or rather, wonderment at the MEANING/STATE of death is mentioned because most viewers are not accustomed to dealing with death on a daily basis. Thus, to a layperson, a dead body can be a true shock to behold, a real bewilderment that is magnified by the bewilderment of a man who DOES come into frequent contact with dead bodies. People tend to speak most mysteriously about the things that they know least about, and although this is an obvious statement, it brings into question what mysteries lie right before us that we seem to miss altogether?

Most of us see death as the peak of all that is unknown. What struck me, however, is that Grissom would never have spoken that way about a LIVING body. "Well," one would say with the same logical deduction, "the living are in constant touch with the living, therefore there is hardly a need to be mystified by what we see every day: the motions and emotions we experience in time, the mechanics of daily physical and mental activity, or by the very consciousness with which we cannot imagine ourselves without. Yes, we do think about these things occasionally, but not with the same intense stupefaction as death. But I suddenly realized that this is a strange phenomenon, not because the average man does not come into contact with the dead, but because he doesn't. No, the average human comes into contact with the living, and this is what struck me as a contradiction, because we are confounded by the absence of consciousness, and not by its presence.

The irony is that we don't talk much about what's beneath our very noses because we all seem to believe we know what's there…for it is the everyday routine of living that most of us seem to have in common. But it is probably what we commonly experience every day that in 'truth' eludes us most, as nature's mask is least visible and most convincing when it can only be viewed relative to one's own self. Indeed, human beings are a bifocaled bunch as the human mind cannot construct any "reality" near or far, externally or internally, without a releative experience.

One relatable manifestation of this 'truth' is captured in that very common saying, "It was right under my nose the entire time, and I never saw it." The same seems to hold 'true' for things "too far that I can't see." But we are less concerned with distances, while our habitual identification with the "near" often leads the mind to assumptions and false conclusions. "Near" and "far" as relative concepts are both necessarily blinding and necessarily revealing. How can one ever identify the contents of a painting by seeing just one brushtroke? And how can one ever realize the detail of the painter's design when standing at the other end of the room? The problem is that we are most often unaware of being unaware...unaware that the brushstroke is not a painting in itself...unaware that the painting we see is an intricate combination of brushstrokes. When one can't separate himself from the nature, as he is part of the nature, then one can never be far enough or close enough to SEE with perfect vision. It's only at the intersection of "far" and "near", "inside" and "outside" that one can reach his SEEING potential. But well, the intersection is clear past the bridge and we are stuck in the neighborhood traffic jam.

So, why shouldn't Grissom have made the exact opposite statement? Why will he never have that far off look in his eyes when he speaks of the way a body moves? Why is he not perplexed by that which makes a person ALIVE? By that which makes a man conscious, by the mysterious energy that lies behind his every breath? Should we not be as mystified by each moment to moments' breath as we are by the last? Shouldn't we be mystified by that "thing" which keeps the machine operating, the heart beating...what is IT that sparks LIFE into the inanimate, and what is IT that extinguishes that SPARK? Why is the end so much more compelling than the moment it takes place? For isn't it more accurate to say that when we are hit by intense thoughts of mystification regarding the meaning of DEATH, it is really LIFE we are deliberating? I think it must be the question of LIFE disguised as the question of DEATH. By the way, one of the most beautiful essay's I've read on this peculiar sense of wonderment is Virgina Woolf's "The Death of the Moth."

So, when Grissom talks of how DEATH feels to his 5 senses, and the peculiarity of the thoughts and emotions that follow - the unfathomability, the mystery, and most of all, the contradictions of a reality that is unfathomable - he is actually asking the more direct and meaningful question, "What IS the LIFE FORCE?" - Because when one questions the absence of anything, one is ultimately questioning its PRESENCE.

After reading this JE, Ashok Sharda added the following insight into my inquiries:

E.F.Schumacher, the famous economist and author of the famous book 'Small is Beautiful' was perplexed by this force we ought to know as 'life energy'. In his book, rightly titled 'A Guide for the Perplexed,' he tries to perceive the life as it appears on different levels starting from the inanimate, which he equates with M (mineral,) a common element in all the levels of being. But there is something which turns 'M' into a plant. What is it? What's this force which vanishes when the plant is dead, not responding to its surrounding? What is it that holds it from disintegrating when 'alive'? Schumacher equates this force with X. He continues with his deduction and adds force Y to N and X and this turns into an animal. Y, he equates to consciousness, and man is M+X+Y+Z, Z representing self consciousness.

I wish to quote him on this issue: "To say that life is nothing but a property of certain peculiar combination of atoms is like saying that Shakespeare's Hamlet is nothing but a property of a peculiar combination of letters. The truth is that the peculiar combination of letters is nothing but a property of Shakespeare's Hamlet."

To add to Ashok's brilliant reference, I will close by quoting what I feel are the most beautifully worded realizations from Virginia Woolf's "The Death of the Moth" which captivated me long ago and moved me to identify my own sense of this fundamental and arguably unknowable question:

"The possibilities of pleasure seemed that morning so enormous and so various that to have only a moth’s part in life, and a day moth’s at that, appeared a hard fate, and his zest in enjoying his meagre opportunities to the full, pathetic. He flew vigorously to one corner of his compartment, and, after waiting there a second, flew across to the other. What remained for him but to fly to a third corner and then to a fourth? That was all he could do, in spite of the size of the downs, the width of the sky, the far–off smoke of houses, and the romantic voice, now and then, of a steamer out at sea. What he could do he did. Watching him, it seemed as if a fibre, very thin but pure, of the enormous energy of the world had been thrust into his frail and diminutive body. As often as he crossed the pane, I could fancy that a thread of vital light became visible. He was little or nothing but life...It was as if someone had taken a tiny bead of pure life and decking it as lightly as possible with down and feathers, had set it dancing and zig–zagging to show us the true nature of life...He was trying to resume his dancing, but seemed either so stiff or so awkward that he could only flutter to the bottom of the window–pane; and when he tried to fly across it he failed. Being intent on other matters I watched these futile attempts for a time without thinking, unconsciously waiting for him to resume his flight, as one waits for a machine, that has stopped momentarily, to start again without considering the reason of its failure...One could only watch the extraordinary efforts made by those tiny legs against an oncoming doom which could, had it chosen, have submerged an entire city, not merely a city, but masses of human beings...Again, somehow, one saw life, a pure bead...[but] the unmistakable tokens of death showed themselves. The body relaxed, and instantly grew stiff. The struggle was over. The insignificant little creature now knew death. As I looked at the dead moth, this minute wayside triumph of so great a force over so mean an antagonist filled me with wonder. Just as life had been strange a few minutes before, so death was now as strange..."

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Letter to My Self
07/31/2006 01:54 a.m.

July 25, 2006

Sometimes I want to ask, “why do you love me?” But there can’t be a definite answer, so I don’t ask anymore. It must be my defeatist self who wants to know. Who I am or want to be seems like a land of murky waters, and I’m more lost than ever. I read a JE today of someone on Pathetic who bluntly declared that if you are depressed you should either stop complaining or just kill yourself. I felt nothing but contempt towards this apparent ‘truth’.

Still, I want to know why you love me, if only to remember why I should love myself. You fear the defeatist self, and I tell you that I’ve been worse places and haven’t quit yet. It’s true, I won’t, despite this PAIN…this emptiness. But I didn’t tell you that it’s not because I’m brave, but because I’m a coward.

You hold back from me for love and fear, or you don’t hold back from me for love and fear. Fear of loss I suppose. But I wonder what is there to lose? Either way I’m too weak inside. But I know you, and you will say this means there is much room to grow hahaha Still I wonder what gain has there been for you? What meaning but a hope that brings a fear of shattering? Standing in the murky waters the defeatist self is queen, the one that action alone can conquer. Action alone. Instead “we” hold pity parties and drink, indulging in the misery. It’s true, one should either STOP or just end it.

Meaning has no meaning no matter how I struggle to give it definition, to give it a form when the only meaning is formless…when the only meaning is HERE, a distant star away, and the journey a miracle in the making if one step alone can be made.

Maybe writing this counts as action. I hope it does. I hope in all hopelessness. Because I don’t have the strength of mind or body to do any more at this particular moment. But still one thing I know for sure is that I have no intention of ever giving up, for whatever reason, be it cowardly or courageous.

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