Morning Meditation: Examining Success, Failure, and What it Means to Live Skillfully

I was doing morning devotionals with my partner this morning with a reading of Psalm Chapter 33.

In our second round through, he pointed verse 3 to me, which states that we are “to play skillfully”.

We briefly thought about what that meant in a work context, and I started thinking about the relationship between skilled work, living in excellence and the word success. Our conversation inspired me to meditate further on these two words, and brought me to some very important things to remember:

The Abstract

Fact: God demands, no, requires excellence – OUI!

Examination: Does playing skillfully = success with my desired goals, milestones, specific aims? – NON! Pas nécessairement.

Self-examination: Do I evaluate outcomes as successes or failures through the world’s eyes, or God’s eyes? – TO BE DETERMINED!


Remember that the excellence God calls us to live and embody does not always beget an “outcome” looking like success as defined by modern culture and the world

The world’s definition of success, according to Oxford Languages:


noun: success; plural noun: successes

  1. the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. – Psalm 33:10“he foils the plans of the earth, he thwarts the purposes of the people” – sometimes he thwarts my purposes, even with my good intentions, because I am thinking very small, very short term, compared to his very big, longer term picture of excellence and success.
    • the attainment of fame, wealth, or social status. – Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one or despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”  Replace ‘money’ with social status, your personal goals-vision, wealth, fame “her success owed more to hard work than luck”
  2. the good or bad outcome of an undertaking. – One of the first things we discover as Christians is that God’s value system is incredibly different from the world’s. I have to always challenge my thinking in seeing an outcome or situation as good or bad, the way I (human, not omniscient) shaped by the world’s education am led to see, and instead shift to thinking of how God sees it.

Remember to be realistic (for God loves his people shrewd) about what is in our control

In addition to our observance and acceptance that God is ultimately sovereign, omni-potent, etc., we must accept that often, there are 163947290 other forces (genetics! people with different motives and inputs!) influencing the outcome of our aims and purposes– things which are completely out of our control.

Accepting how the world actually works looks like acknowledging that an undesired outcome is not correlated with how “right,”– efficiently, productively, intelligently, or hard we worked. Thoughts such as “I could have done better,” “I am not good enough,” or “I am a failure” have no place in the world of a true pragmatist!

So…why am I trying to overcompensate and work even longer, bio-hack myself even further? Why am I defaulting to a self-induced state of anxiety, blaming myself, blaming another for an undesired outcome, proclaiming something a failure, instead of seeing something for what it actually was? What am I really trying to do here?

subvert God’s plan?

Remember that God’s view of time is different

Consider the probability that a decade for us is merely a blip, like, fractions of a nano-second (billionth of a second), for God. Try to see a situation, an outcome, or a pursuit the way God sees it.

Some questions to maybe ask:

Am I expecting God to fulfill an aim and purpose of mine? Do I have disordered expectations? Maybe I can have a conversation with him, ask God to let go of my expectations of him and what I believe an outcome should look like, or a situation should be played out like.


Remain in remembrance of God’s definition of excellence and success

In order to do that, we must constantly re-learn, memorize, elaborately rehearse, etc. etc. his aims and purpose is for us; we must have his view– his definition of success and skillful living committed to heart. So below are some:

Fruit of the Spirit

Embodying

  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Forbearance – patience, self-control, restraint and tolerance
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness 
  • Self-control

Beatitudes

  • Hungering & thirsting for righteousness
  • Being merciful
  • Being pure in heart
  • Being peacemakers

I respect Ray Dalio for amplifying a life principle of being radically open to feedback (love this book and re-read it yearly!), but the OG call is here before 4th century B.C.:

Proverbs 15:22; 12

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”

“Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.”

God’s will/aim/purpose is for us to be skillful and diligent in work

Proverbs 31: 13; 15-17

Depictions of a woman of noble character: “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands… She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her family servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”

Exodus 31: 2-3

The Lord to Moses about Bezalel: “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills.”

Proverbs 18:9

“One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.”

Mark 16:16-18

Jesus to his disciples: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

God’s will/aim/purpose is for us to embody forbearance, particularly in exhibiting control of our tongue:

Proverbs 18:21

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

James 3:3-6; 9

“When we put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder where the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell…. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

Some songs to encourage yes and amen’ing and inspire prayer:

Situation – Jonathan McReynolds : “There is a limit to what I can see, so I am not asking for an outcome, or praying for results, I’m not hoping that it all goes, exactly how I want, no I’m not asking you to do it, or asking that you don’t, I’m just inviting you to my situation”.

Yes and Amen – Housefires : We say yes and Amen (let it be!) to his plan and his desired outcomes, not ours 🙂


End thought: A conscious pursuit of aims and purposes in line and being on-board with God’s will does not create anxiety, a lack of peace, and it never leads to failure.

Bises,

Soo

Coverphoto is Charlotte Greenwood

Fish & Avatar Illustration Sketches

As I illustrated these, my mind took me back to a bible verse in Matthew Chapter 4, when Jesus spoke to the men who would become his apostles, saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”


I also illustrated an avatar of my sister with the thought that it would be nice if there was more open-sourcing of avatars and characters of multiple ethnicities (e.g. Pablo Stanley’s Humaaans project, but even more diversified). It would long term serve the greater good– in company efficiency and racial equity.

Do Not Worry: Illustrations from Matthew 6 in English and French

At the end of February, I put to image some verses I’ve leaned on during periods of uncertainty, worry, and when I needed to remind myself what I believed in. Tools used were my handy MX Ergo mouse and Adobe Illustrator.

I call these kinds of my illustrations Adult Bedtime Stories, as they are (picture books) children’s books made for adults like me.

The illustrations that follow span scripture from Matthew Chapter 6, from verses 25 to 33 in English and French.

I hope they are useful and bring comfort to anyone who stumbles on them:

Here is a link to the original illustrations:

English Version

French Translation

Bises,

Soo

Influenced by Faith: 6 Values I Strive to Live By at Work

My values for work and my work ethic have been influenced by many,

some through direct experience and demonstration by great and horrible bosses, and others through minds in books: Ernest Hemingway on the attractiveness and persuasiveness of brevity; Ray Dalio on embracing the natural bents, strengths, and weaknesses of others, Shane Parrish on the many mental models I could employ to make smarter decisions, and Marcus Aurelius’ father on how to treat your co-workers, to name a few.

I give credit to the Bible for most of the underlying values in work I’ve cultivated in my professional life; They are things I strive to abide by and commit to at the age of 28.


Here are some lessons I learned from the Bible on how to live as a Christian in work:


Rest and relaxation must become a familiar presence in your life. 

Having work physically, emotionally and mentally consume one’s life and identity is against the character of a Christian life.

As a Christian, participating in the Sabbath is an act of obedience, a reminder for me that I am not a slave beholden to my work (“How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!” (Matthew 12:12)), and a demonstration that I’m putting my money where my mouth is when I say I believe God is sovereign, at the center of my life and my purpose for being.

It’s also an healthy act of rest: to rejuvenate, restore, and re-center myself in the things that matter most to me in life.

So, we keep the Sabbath. (Deuteronomy 5:12-14):


Listen and actively seek and embrace guidance and counsel from others.

Be humble and open minded in the counsel and feedback of others.

Proverbs 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Proverbs 11:14: “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”

Proverbs 24:6 on being a wise and successful king: “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers”.

What these verses do not imply is to accept the guidance of anyone, or to always embrace the guidance of close counsel. They simply state the value of taking into deep consideration the counsel of one’s advisors. Who do you see as an advisor in your life? Hopefully someone close, who reflects principles and values you respect, and someone you trust and respect.

Despite demonstrated differences in values, principles, and/or opinion, have respect for and be respectful of placed authority.

It is important to show a level of respect to those placed in specific positions as they have been “elected” and placed there by people, whether it be by the board of your company, or by your nation’s people. (Romans 13)

While I struggle with showing deep admiration for someone when his/her principles are at odds with mine, regardless of position, I learned that is different from being able to show thoughtfulness and respect for the dignity and position of another.

Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street, has also savvily quipped once: “you can disagree without saying anything.”


Engage in and pursue work that has purpose and meaning.

Being involved in work that is “beneficial,” “constructive,” or benefiting the “good of others” is in close character with Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:23


Celebrate and compliment your colleagues’ strengths and accomplishments. Mentor your juniors; actively give credit to them.

Lift up your peers [hype them] when there is any true opportunity to do so. BUT avoid flattery.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
“For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.” (Romans 16:18)
“For there is no truth in their mouth…. their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” ( Psalm 5:9)

Bises,

Soo

On Respecting Authority or Differences in Opinions and Considering the Harm Done If We Choose Otherwise

"I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them:
1. To vote... for the person they judged more worthy.
2. Speak no evil of the person they voted against, and
3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side." 
- John Wesley, English cleric, theologian, and philanthropist
The following are questions I entertain and often, given the current climate of our country:
  • What does it mean to really respect instituted authority, respect entities, and respect individuals despite encountering drastically differing opinions, values, or personalities?
  • What does it mean for our mental and emotional states when we choose to do the opposite?
Surely the thoughts we express can be of potent criticality without adding to toxicity.
I wake up this morning desiring to understand how to do this better and authentically in all circumstance… how about you?

My Faith Grounded Musings:

Romans 13:1 on Submission to Governing Authorities

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

As a Christian, I can rationalize the validity of this command or “rule”. When one considers the grounding tenets that define Christianity, a quick survey will reveal some very constant albeit complicated narratives that frame our faith: an everpresent dance and balancing act between the subject of God’s sovereignty, having free will and its impact, and the concept of time that is not linear or as we see it according to modern physics. Following God is not about always having the answers and the whys to everything from the start (I would say I struggled with this question as a believer my whole life until maybe about last year!). Sometimes a situation requires obedience before we are able to see and understand 20/20, even with a controversial verse and command such as this that many Christians either outrightly ignore or struggle with (including myself!)

The fact of the matter though is that God’s word is God’s word. When we say we give our life over to him, we are surrendering our right to picking and parsing things we like and dislike, accept or reject, and that includes where we stand on the merits of the Bible’s commands. When one accepts the truth of the Gospel, the only requirement for being “Christian,” this implies a full and total acceptance of the Bible as the living word (Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”).

*For context, the word of God referred to the written or spoken word of God, and the Bible is accepted as the word of God.

Poem_Grief

I’ve known seeing someone I love point a kitchen knife to their neck, to their belly.

I’ve known being choked to the point the still lights above me started glimmering and dancing.

I’ve known saying no feebly in my drugged stupor so many times as he tried to take off my bra.

I’ve known having meaningless sex to drown out pain

I’ve known the persistency of the pain of feeling unloved, rejected, abandoned that resided and was rooted in with my soul.

I’ve known denial.

I’ve known the sounds of police cars and the cold, professional voices of inquisitors.

I’ve known measuring the bicep of my arm with the circle formed between my index finger and my thumb to make sure I did not get any bigger— “the only thing I could control”.                                     

 I laugh.

I’ve known the hollow crevices of walls and floor-beds where I laid with my back, wanting to sink in until I disappeared.

I’ve known crying tears and screaming loud, bellowing out versions of sounds I no longer remember–not human, not animal– wanting it all to go away.

I’ve known.

Visiting my Dad in Nashville for the first time.

My dad and I didn’t talk for nearly two years when the divorce was officially about to come into action on the legal side. Prior to that, we barely saw each other, and it was complicated.

I still remember the first day we tried we tried to meet again. It was while I was still working at Barneys New York. Winter. We met at dinner in Koreatown. I was beyond nervous, kind of like how I was this time– for different reasons though. I saw him then, and I burst out crying. I couldn’t stop crying all throughout dinner. I was so happy and so confused. I think my dad was too.

This weekend, there was a semblance of stability, and a bit of real, solid, long interactions of healthy emotion.

I’m happy to see our relationship developing in new ways, and in loving, healthy ways.

I can’t compare it to the past, because it is not anything like the past. The relationship I had with my dad then was nothing I wish for a child.

I am grateful to be getting back the years we lost.

This weekend was a great weekend.

I write this, because I am a living testimony of what happens when you choose radical openness and vulnerability, and you choose love and healing and looking for the ONWARDS as your targeted outcome over anything else.

Trust me on this. No two experiences are ever the same, I know :). And I will never understand fully what you went through or are going through, but I’ve been through it all in my own unique way with the pops.

I’m with you. I see you. Look at love. Explore God. I believe he is the only one who will ever understand the depths of our souls, for I believe he created them.

At some point, you just have to stop focusing on the brokenness and look at what you can start mending.

God is good.

Written on 9.25.2019

Bises,

Soo

Examining Myself Today a la Style de David Evans and Bill Burnett’s Designing Your Life

Health:
Physically, I’m in pretty good shape. I’ve been trying to work out almost every other day, and it really helps me wash out the negativity and the mind wormholes I get into pretty often as someone with a head that has trouble not thinking. While being in shape is important, the need to exercise for me I feel comes mostly from the endorphins and relaxation (rewards!) I feel from getting an engaging workout in and having it demand all my physical and mental attention. It quiets my thoughts, and I really love that.
Food wise, I haven’t been eating healthily and I need to change that. I’m pretty tired from work most of the time, so I need to make sure I’m not eating foods that support lethargy or a weakening of the immune system.
I’m also struggling a lot with memory. Short term and some long term memories are really joggy and it’s getting concerning. At first I thought it was because I’m all over the place, and I’m just someone who needs to implement check lists, plan and such in very concrete, written ways. But I’m beginning to think it’s not just that. I keep forgetting things at an alarming frequency. Something to address and commit to going to a doctor for before it gets worse.
Physically also, I’ve been exploiting my youth by running on a bad foot for a while. The fractures keep recurring, the pain never goes away, and yet I’m still running. A conversation with a physical therapist last weekend really woke me up because she warned me that while my body is giving me all it’s got now, it won’t ever do that as I age, and that this could quadruple into a really serious issue if I’m not proactive and don’t make the decision to stop running as I’ve avoided so now. It hurts my young self: my passion and love for the rush of BREEZE I feel when running, experiencing nature at that kind of speed, and my pride as a 26 year old woman, but I need to work on being okay with stopping.
Work:
Work is pretty intense. I’m realizing more and more in hindsight that there were and are parts that are more intense and hard for me, as I’m still struggling a bit with resisting the unbalance that comes with being entrepreneurial. I kept fighting it. and I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’m supposed to be sitting alongside the minion that is crazy startup life and embracing it. Not all of it, but some of it. And that my understanding and personal definition of what it means to be “balanced” is a little rigid and maybe open to revision. It’s crazy hilarious and exasperating just how much I’m resisting the startup life. It’s perhaps very foolish of me. A developing thought, and not a belief yet, but sharing nonetheless. Business this early stage is also not going well at any point in time, and as a small company it’s hard to take the gains and losses of the company at arm’s length. Everything hits me.
I need to mentally be there, in that everything I am doing is understood [by me] that it was the best I could do at every given moment, with the best interests in mind and that I need to be better at bouncing back, being more openminded, and adapting even more so when the variables and circumstance change around me.
In terms of network and and professional life, things are going really great. I’m coming into my own as a professional and as an individual who is really curious, has a lot of things to say and craves deep connection. I’m continuously building upon and defining this multi-faceted, yet-to-be-determined creature that is my public self. I’ve been freelance modeling, started lecturing as a guest lecturer at NYU, consulted a few consumer brands, and advocating for mental health & my main work, ATEM. Life is very good on that front, and it’s amazing being part of a new tribe that’s full of many beautiful, bright, and well-meaning people, and thick in with the entrepreneurial, founder, business-women & men community.
Love:
The love is great. Not without some bumps and minefields thrown onto the plane I live in, but man is it great:
My love for God is amazing right now and rising.
My family, as colorful as our dynamics are, is trending up in the most beautiful, and wholesome ways I’ve never seen!
My romantic experiences, while colorful [in part to my overthinking myself], have been wonderful in their own ways, and I’m growing and learning more about myself: exploring the good sides, examining the needing improvement sides, and am interfacing and growing to know, see and share in the promise of love with someone that I believe and am grateful I have such a natural connection to.
Friendships are great. I’ve really seen this arena defining itself in the past 2 years and friendships are sifting and solidifying in their places as I feel they should be. There is the constant influx of new and old characters of course, and navigating that and my changing feelings and our changing positions is sometimes verging on the disorienting (hello people pleaser Susan, but short on time and life Susan), but this sphere’s developed into something that’s very much a solid ecosystem of peoples that are very loving and awesome and just solid, solid, lovable, trustworthy friends.
Play:
Play for me from experience (and I only have twenty-some years of this thing, experience) is doing or seeing something very creative or emotionally provocative.
That usually means for me seeing art, going to see an opera, being in some very high-nature habitat, maybe going horse riding? (it’s on my bucket list, I’ve never done it!!).
Reading is for certain for pleasure, but most recently I’ve been reading a lot to learn with the intention of helping myself develop as a professional and in more public facing contexts, and I’ve not honestly been allowing myself to pick up much reading for sheer “valueless” (whatever that means) pleasure . Learning though is a direct pleasure channel for me, so this is a little murky. I love to read to learn. But I suppose the topics I would be reading on would slightly change if I was only reading this past season for sheer pleasure. I would be less focused [by my nature] in my choice of subject matter, and would be reading anything from surfing, to horseriding, to vinoculture, to wines in Paso Robles, to the history of an art I have my eyes newly fixed on, to reading on photography, to reading on sculpture making, to reading all the books I have in my personal reading to do list, and rereading Jane Austen on replay over, and over, and over again.
As Bill Burnett and Dave Evans define it in Designing Your Life, play eliminates any and all consideration of “work” that is colored even with a drop of something that is not pure joy:
“Play is all about joy. If you observe children at play, you will see the type of play we are talking about. Play is any activity that brings you joy when you do it. It can certainly include organized activity or competition or productive endeavors, but when those things are done, “for the joy of it” they are play. When an activity is done to win, to advance, to achieve– even if it’s fun to do so– it’s not play. It may be a wonderful thing, but it’s still not play. The question here is what brings you joy purely in the doing.”
While work has required me to pull down on the play, I’ve managed to stay really committed to a really concentrated number of “play” activities I consider my top most priorities and most consistent sources for sheer Susan joy: reading, nature, and art 🙂
In an ideal world, I’d like to have even more leisure to explore more and see if other play activities would actually bring me more pleasure, but unfortunately exploration does require new commitment and more time allocated to things that are uncertain and at best to be determined in their joy-value adds in my life.  At least for now 🙂 And that’s okay.

Poem_Fragile Humans

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”
– James Baldwin

1 part Pretense

1 part Earnestness

Bubble. Smooth. Leaven.

Add new voices.

Mix.

Bake New.


Holding onto the promise and truth that my God makes beautiful things out of dust.

Personal Traits to Desire

I’ve written down a list of traits I find most desirable in a human:

Discretion

Understanding

Uprightness

Love

Faithfulness

Discipline

Righteousness

Wisdom

Humility

A study of these and I find I have much to improve on.

It’s easy for us to forget these most important things when the things we chase after for which we can see the end result/return more easily/tangibly start to consume us.

Better to write them down, imprint them on your skin, sear them in your heart, then to forget and find yourself lost in the chase.

The chase is long. And the human race has proven time and time again that it’s a gigantic, messy blob prone to dissatisfactions, strivings, and wanderings.

It’s good to re-evaluate regularly what you are about, who you are, and why you are pursuing the things you are pursuing.

It would be a pity if you found yourself at the long tail of a track some day… having run all your life… having forgotten the why.. so far away from the person you initially dreamed you’d be.

Rituals

 

  1. On Sundays, I will allot 2 hours of my afternoon to read in a cafe with good lighting that makes me happy and keeps me alert. I try not to switch around locations.
  2. Every morning, as soon as I wake up  and before I reach for my phone,  I run a motto through my head: it usually rotates from these three:
    1. By the grace of God I am worthy.
    2. Thank you God for this day.
    3. God, help me to give my day to you.
  3. I read at least a chapter of the Bible every day. Currently I am working through Isaiah. Usually I will read Psalm 95 and dedicate a prayer to God before, so that I can prepare to give my heart and attention wholly to the reading.
  4. I go in for a  video call with my family once a week. Objective: To hear what my mom and my sister has been up to and to actively engage in listening to the people most important to me.
  5. I drip coffee every morning. Grinding coffee and hand-pouring coffee is a therapeutic experience on its own. Having the consistent and dependable reward of drinking better than average coffee always leaves me coming back the next day ready to go into the routine regardless of how snoozy I am.
  6. Before my foot injury, I would wake up at 6 or 6:15 (depending on the day) to run a route of 4 miles at Central Park (north – south from my place to the south entrance cleanly amounts to that much). It was one of the most rewarding and helpful routines I’ve developed in my adulthood. Unfortunately, due to my present state, I satisfy myself with long walks back home from my work place (about 4 miles), and I always work to stretch out my body for about 15 minutes either in the morning or before I head to sleep. I’d like to walk more often.
  7. In the mornings, if I’m extra productive, I try to get to text messages that I haven’t responded to in the previous days.
  8. Throughout the week, I task myself to read the book I am currently on if I ever find myself still fully alert post-work hours. If I’m less than fully alert (had wine; burgers!, tired out of my mind, or feeling unfocused), I will pick up a lighter book (if I have one by the side and at the ready), read articles and studies I’ve pocketed (my go-to sites are on the website tab), or a short essay.

It’s hard to get into a routine, because the word itself implies that you are blocking off a finite resource, time, of yours for an extended amount of time to invest in a variable reward, and sometimes starting one for the sake of doing it for accomplishment or because it aligns with your value-based identity just isn’t that sexy of a pull.

From my personal experience though, investing in the time to develop these practices has probably contributed to the greatest positive changes and developments in my life.

They keep my character, spiritual, physical & mental life strong.

Getting to a point in which you regularly exercise habits that require little to no cognitive effort to initiate (holla heuristics) is also a great reward in itself (less work for increasingly more rewards!).

They also help me keep my positive, optimistic, and energetic demeanor (which are arguably my most marked characteristics)  in a way that’s as close to 100% authentic and sincere.

Anyways, it’s 9, I’d best start my day. Happy Memorial Day. I remember and honor those who gave their lives up for us.

“Don’t  just fill up on things that you’ll have forgotten the next day”- Jonathan McReynolds

“What is the value of a fine watch if you don’t keep winding it and it can’t keep time.?

 

Perspectives Global: A Young Streetwear Brand with a 2,000 Year Old Message.

US label Perspectives Global, a streetwear brand founded in 2012 by brother duo Cody and Devon de Jardin takes the phrase “the medium is the message” seriously.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 5.49.44 PM

Check out their brand here and let me know if you’re seeing what I see.

In their most recent campaign the talented duo took direct inspiration from one of the oldest books in the world, the Bible, to send a message of strength, resilience, and endurance:

“Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart o the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” – Psalms 46: 2-3

We are in a world full of turmoil, whether we choose to acknowledge it wholly or not– it is present through the never ending flow of class and racial strife, international tension, hurting children, and civil conflicts in institutions.

More and more, young, talented designers are harnessing the power (and influence) of their strong visual narratives and their brands in a deliberate attempt to forge renewed meaning and send out messages to a sentient generation.  Likewise, the Jardin brothers speak to their observances of a reality full of brokenness and of distractions– in which it’s become easy to stay “blind to the darkness, pain, and injustice all around the world,” in their SS17 campaign.

Screen Shot 2017-04-13 at 6.01.07 PM

Life doesn’t always have to be about religion, about what you believe, or what you stand for, but it makes it a little more worthwhile living, if you do make it about that, don’t you think? Nevertheless, it feels great to see fashion brands standing for something beyond escapism and creative inspiration.

Asides from supporting their great vision, I’m also a big fan of the brothers’ activewear merchandise, namely the Katakana and Future Lite jackets.

Their lifestyle oriented outerwear is a an eye-catching alternative for you if you’ve exhausted your options with Patagonia, The North Face, Columbia, Marmot, Adidas and Arc’Teryx.

Check out the styles here:

 

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Future Lite Track Jacket

 

Yours,

Soo

Band of Friends

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes are not content with his wealth. ‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is meaningless- a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – Ecclesiastes 5:12

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This is my wonderful CG. It’s crazy to think that I’ve only known my friends here for a little over 3 months.

As a CG, we convene every week as a means to deepen our relationship with God and engage in fellowship. Here, I find myself being fed not just spiritually, but intellectually, physically, and emotionally. It’s almost indescribable to explain the encompassing and enormous nature of the benefits and joy I’ve received from these gatherings. I’ve also noticed that I’ve become more alert and acquired a heightened sensitivity to the going-ons in the world around me… to the conflicts and celebrations arising day by day in the personal lives of those I care about and also of those I was previously indifferent to.

Every week, we challenge each other with our questions regarding issues present in our world and current events, and around scripture; we ask each other about our careers, our job searches, our physical well-being – whether that leg is feeling better and how much exercise it’s taking, whether x project/x presentation last week went well; we rapidly learn intensely personal things about each other (exhibiting an unbelievable level of vulnerability and trust) I’m not sure I’ve ever learned this quickly in my other relationships.

We build one another up, and the effects of this is enduring and lasting throughout the week. Together, we actively seek and discuss ways to address and alleviate the hurt rampant in the broken world around us and to better each other as young citizens and humans bonded by a common belief.

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Sometimes I wonder if without this CG, I’d have ever befriended them or have even crossed paths with them. We all come from very different backgrounds and paths in life, and our personalities range across the entire color spectrum; it really would be hard to explain our deep friendships in relation to our compatibilities in the traditional sense of the word here.

Yet, these people have quickly become a home to me unlike any other I’ve found, and I can’t imagine a world not knowing them and not loving them.

I only wish I could explain to you better just how good this feels. How good he is to me.

Bises,

Soo

Soo’s 2016 Gift Guide

While the holiday season is indeed a time for many a celebration of significant histories propagated by religious institutions, it also heralds in a month of humanly epic proportions of consumption…

Engineer the perfect setup for a cozy evening in your urban abode this holiday, and use this time as an excuse to get some self-loving R&R.

1. Revolutionary Speakers

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Devialet Phantom

Patented intelligence and one tiny, savvy, smart sound system that packs an immersive sound experience in a very large room.

OR

2. Silent Headphones

Bose Quiet Comfort 35 Headphones

The first time I got my hands on Bose Headphones was when I “acquired” my dad’s QC 15s. Ever since, I’ve been hooked and fiercely loyal to this headphone line.

One of the best headphones I’ve ever used in my 24 years of existence– It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing, but personally, I really value being able to listen with uninterrupted focus to my music sans NYC noise over looking cool with my headphones. Function over form wins here for me.

Cnet Review: https://www.cnet.com/products/bose-quietcomfort-35/

3. Idyllic Drawings

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COCTEAU, Jean. Dessins

While Jean Cocteau was rather infamously remembered for being an aggressive social climber (cool fact: he was actually slighted in a portrait painting by Modigliani for these very reasons) and a “celebrity friend,” I deeply appreciate Cocteau for the writings, films, and doodles he created throughout his life. I think these reveal most significantly the contents of his character which do deserve remembering.

4. Relaxing Drink

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Pouilly-Fuissé 2014 – Maison Louis Jadot

Not cloyingly sweet and not too crisp. I generally prefer red wine over white, but this one was really well balanced, and truly enjoyable to drink! Wine Spectator rates it in at a 91 — Good for drinking through 2022.

(Pouilly Fuissé is the appellation (A.O.C.) for this white wine (spec. Chardonnay grape) grown in Maçonnais (subregion) of Burgundy, France.

The labeling regulations for wine labels are very lenient; according to federal law, one is only required to list alcohol percentage if the proof is over 14%, and has liberal authority over what metric is signaled on the label header (such as Producer; Wine Region; Grape Variety). As a young wine drinker, these kind of things posed a great logistical challenge for me as I was trying to have deeper drinking experiences beyond that of a mere somatic examination. The Wine Spectator had an op-ed on this issue earlier this year, I’ll link it here once I’m able to find it–  a much more informative source, if you’re interested in learning more about the consequences of unsystematic wine labeling!)

5. Hand Candy

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Zalto Denk’Art Universal Glass

Boasting a modest, but sublimely delicate design, the Zalto Universal is competitively suited for all kinds of magical, multi-purpose drinking. It’s an absolute pleasure drinking from this glass and being able to indulge  3 senses.

I’ll be having a very warm and agape holiday season, and I hope you do too.

Bises,

Soo