Sách checkpoint

Điểm lại những quyển sách quan trọng nhất trước 25t.

[Đắc nhân tâm – D. Carnegie. Sách của mẹ, lấy từ tủ phòng gỗ to. Đọc lớp 8, lớp 10 đọc lại]
[Hiểu về trái tim – Minh Niệm. Biết đến nhờ chị Nu. Đọc năm đầu ĐH]
[Trịnh Công Sơn, tôi là ai là ai – TCS và các bạn. Tự tìm đến vì quá phê nhạc TCS. Đọc 2015]
[Giap – Boudarel. Biết đến trong khi tìm hiểu lịch sử quân sự Việt Nam. Đọc 2016]

Những ánh sao đêm (1962)

Rất thông cảm với bác Phan Huỳnh Điểu.

Làn gió thơm hương đêm về quanh khu nhà tôi mới cất xong chiều qua.
Tôi đứng trên tầng gác thật cao nhìn ra chân trời xa xa.
Từ bao mái nhà đèn hoa sáng ngời bầu trời thêm vào muôn vì sao sáng.
Tôi ngắm bao gia đình lửa ấm tình yêu, nghe máu trong tim hoà niềm vui lâng lâng lời ca.
Em ơi, anh còn đi xây nhiều nhà khắp nơi.
Nhiều tổ ấm sống vui tình lứa đôi.
Lòng anh thấy càng thương nhớ em.
Dù xa nhau trọn ngày đêm, anh càng yêu em, càng hăng say xây cho nhà cao, cao mãi.
Ôi xinh đẹp Tổ Quốc của ta,
Anh lắng nghe bao lời ân ái, những bài tình ca.
Lòng nhớ thương quê hương miền Nam anh hằng tha thiết ước mong ngày mai
Anh sẽ đi về khắp làng quê xây những ngôi nhà tương lai.
Dòng sông mát xanh vòng quanh phố phường và nhiều công trường xây niềm vui mới.
Khi bóng đêm trở về rực ánh đèn lên, em thấy như muôn ngàn vì sao thêu trong đêm tối.
Em ơi, tuy giờ đây hai miền còn cách xa,
Niềm chia cắt thắt đau lòng chúng ta,
Nhưng không thể xóa được hình bóng em.
Dù xa nhau trọn ngày đêm, anh càng yêu em, càng hăng say xây cho nhà cao, cao mãi.

«Ngẫu nhiên đi tới Tây Hồ. Ngẫu nhiên vào mua hoa. Ngẫu nhiên ghé lại quán hoa mà thưởng trà. Ngẫu nhiên thành hoa sen trên đầm thiêng. Hà Nội thương và hiểu, nên để dành cho những gì sâu lắng nhất, chắt chiu từ lòng nước Tây Hồ.
Đã yêu rồi, trái tim có đa tình tới đâu, có chỗ cho cánh rừng Bắc Âu, chỗ cho biển Địa Trung Hải, chỗ cho đường phố La Mã,…cuối cùng vẫn chỉ một dạ muốn trở về trong lòng Hà Nội, viên mãn.
Bụi và khói từ những kiếp mưu sinh, cái ồn ã tấp nập của những đua chen phố chợ, và những nét trầm ngâm chỉ tỏ cùng tri kỷ. Hà Nội sâu.»

Mít – Hè 2015

Vua Quang Trung trước khi chiếm lại Thăng Long, 1788.

Đánh để dài tóc,
Đánh để răng đen,
Đánh cho chích luân bất phản,
Đánh cho phiến giáp bất hoàn,
Đánh cho Nam quốc sử tri anh hùng chi hữu chủ.

Đỗ Cao Bảo

Đại tướng Võ Nguyên Giáp, vị tướng tài ba, vị anh hùng của các dân tộc thuộc địa, vị tướng của nhân dân, đã dặn dò chúng ta: « Thế hệ cha anh đã rửa được nỗi nhục mất nước, thế hệ ngày nay phải rửa được nỗi nhục nghèo nàn, lạc hậu ».
Chỉ khi nào khát vọng rửa nỗi nhục nghèo nàn, lạc hậu trở thành nỗi đau, niềm canh cánh của tất cả lãnh đạo cao nhất quốc gia, của hàng triệu trái tim Việt thì lúc đó chúng ta mới có hy vọng. Và chỉ khi nào khát vọng Việt biến thành những hành động cụ thể của mỗi người chứ không phải là những lời phê phán hay chỉ trích, thì khi đó mới có cơ may biến hy vọng thành thực tế.
Việc truyền và nuôi dưỡng ngọn lửa khát vọng Việt và biến khát vọng Việt thành hành động cụ thể của mọi tầng lớp nhân dân, đặc biệt là của tầng lớp doanh nhân Việt có lẽ là nhiệm vụ quan trọng nhất của lãnh đạo quốc gia.

The art of imperfection

Robyn Griggs Lawrence

According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen no Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to tea-master Takeeno Joo, who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden. Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.
To this day, the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood to his very core a deep cultural thread known as wabi-sabi. Emerging in the 15th century as a reaction to the prevailing aesthetic of lavishness, ornamentation, and rich materials, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all. In Japan, the concept is now so deeply ingrained that it’s difficult to explain to Westerners; no direct translation exists.
Broadly, wabi-sabi is everything that today’s sleek, mass-produced, technology-saturated culture isn’t. It’s flea markets, not shopping malls; aged wood, not swank floor coverings; one single morning glory, not a dozen red roses. Wabi-sabi understands the tender, raw beauty of a gray December landscape and the aching elegance of an abandoned building or shed. It celebrates cracks and crevices and rot and all the other marks that time and weather and use leave behind. To discover wabi-sabi is to see the singular beauty in something that may first look decrepit and ugly.
Wabi-sabi reminds us that we are all transient beings on this planet—that our bodies, as well as the material world around us, are in the process of returning to dust. Nature’s cycles of growth, decay, and erosion are embodied in frayed edges, rust, liver spots. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace both the glory and the melancholy found in these marks of passing time.
Bringing wabi-sabi into your life doesn’t require money, training, or special skills. It takes a mind quiet enough to appreciate muted beauty, courage not to fear bareness, willingness to accept things as they are—without ornamentation. It depends on the ability to slow down, to shift the balance from doing to being, to appreciating rather than perfecting.
You might ignite your appreciation of wabi-sabi with a single item from the back of a closet: a chipped vase, a faded piece of cloth. Look deeply for the minute details that give it character; explore it with your hands. You don’t have to understand why you’re drawn to it, but you do have to accept it as it is.
Rough textures, minimally processed goods, natural materials, and subtle hues are all wabi-sabi. Consider the musty-oily scene that lingers around an ancient wooden bowl, the mystery behind a tarnished goblet. This patina draws us with a power that the shine of the new doesn’t possess. Our universal longing for wisdom, for genuineness, for shared history manifests in these things.
[…]

Need, Want, Like

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus – The Minimalists

Maybe you’re dying to do something different with your life. Maybe you want to discover your mission, change careers, or take a midlife sabbatical, but it doesn’t seem sensible to make a big change, to do something different, does it? You’re tied to your soul-crushing job, fettered to an income you’ve become accustomed to—it has a stranglehold on your life.
But you can break free of the shackles of unnecessary obligation and its laundry list of side effects: stress, debt, discontent, anxiety, depression. The two of us took back control of our lives with a simple, three-category list. You can do likewise.

First, write down all your expenses—every last dollar you spend. Mortgage, car payment, rent, credit card statements, meals, gasoline, electricity, student loans, bottled water, trips to Starbucks, retirement, healthcare, savings, etc. Write it all down. All of it! Now separate those expenses into three categories.

Category One: Needs. What do you really, truly need to live? Everyone is different, but most of us have the same basic Needs. What do you need? Food? Shelter? Super Nintendo?
Category Two: Wants. This category is important. Many of the things you want can lead to happiness. The problem is we indulge too many of our Wants—new vehicles, designer clothes, impulse buys—many of which end up being Likes instead of Wants. Another way to look at this category is to ask yourself, What adds value to my life?
Category Three: Likes. This category is for when you say things like, “Yeah, I like my satellite radio, but I don’t get a ton of value from it.” Or, “I like that dress, it’s so my style, but I don’t really need any new clothes.” Many of the things we just sort of like suck up a ton of our income, and it’s hard to notice during our consumer-driven frenzies. These Likes are often impulse purchases that feel great in the moment, but the post-purchase methamphetaminic high wears off by the time the credit-card statement enters your mailbox. It’s an odd double-bind: it turns out you don’t really like many of your Likes at all.

You’ve made your list, you’ve got your three categories, and now it’s time to take action. We’ll start from the bottom and work our way up. (This is what we did before we were ready to make any big life changes.)
Month 1, get rid of 100% of your Likes. All of them—gone.
Month 2, get rid of 100% of your Wants. Yes, all of them (at first). Once you’re headed down the right path, and you’ve made the necessary changes in your life, you can reintroduce your Wants one at a time, though you’ll likely realize you want far fewer of your old Wants (your pacifiers) once you’re traversing a more meaningful path. Remember, your Wants are important—they add value to your life—but they’re not more important than changing your life.
Month 3, reduce your Needs by at least 50%. More if you can. You might be thinking, But I need a roof over my head! I need to eat! I need my MTV! Okay, you needn’t get rid of everything: you needn’t live in a hut and eat only Ramen noodles. But you can significantly reduce your cost of living. Can you sell your home like both of us did? Can you cut your rent by 50% (or by 75% like we did)? Can you sell your car and get a cheaper one like Ryan? Can you find ways to reduce your food costs by 50% like Joshua? Of course you can. While there isn’t a cookiecutter answer for anyone, you can reduce your expenses and live more deliberately. This is the high price of pursuing your dreams. Unfortunately, many people aren’t willing to pay the price, and so their dreams never become Musts for them—they remain Shoulds, which eventually turn into Wishes, which one day become Never Going to Happens—and that story always has a sad ending.
But once you remove yourself from the clutches of money, you’ll worry less; and once you get rid of your worries, you’ll have nothing to worry about—you’ll be able to make any change you want to make.
That doesn’t mean you should go out and quit your job today—it means you should plan accordingly, and when you’re ready, you can make the right decision. Knowing you’re no longer trapped by the trappings of your previous income requirements, you can make a real decision, one that’s not based on fear.
Every beautiful change takes time and action: it takes time for a flower to bloom. These changes are scary at first (they were terrifying for us). And although big changes are often simple, they’re rarely easy—but nothing worth doing is ever easy.