Choices

When people ask me to define love, I say, "Love is like handing someone a gun, having them point it at your heart, and trusting them to never pull the trigger." (Sponge Bob)

When they ask me why I laugh at my mistakes and even write them with pride in my blogs, I say, "I'm not crazy. I just don't give a damn!" (Daffy Duck)

When one time I was conducting a group activity, a student asked what road sign I love the most, I said, "I like dead end signs. I think they're kind. They at least have the decency to let you know you're going nowhere…" (Bugs Bunny)

And when for the nth time a friend would ask me what do I get from writing, I'm not even sure if there are good old souls out there visiting my site, I just smile and say, "Kung gusto mong maging manunulat, eh di magsulat ka. Simple." (Bob Ong)

And last night when Eva said she wants to quit from her work because nobody believes in her, her boss got mad at her, she doesn't even have friends at her agency, and she's crying like hell, I said, "Either you stay to prove your worth or you quit and just show them you're a loser, you have to strive for your happiness." (MY original)

My CHOICES: I remained believing in love. I continued spicing up my mistakes and rewriting my life, accepting failure but keep on dreaming until words would fade into thin air.

Oct 26, 2007

A Woman's Passion

All the atoms the cosmos is made of has conspired to lead the Woman to her dreams.

She lay there on the grassy fields counting the stars and they said, "Let's dance in all majesty that we may entertain her." Then she marvels at the beauty of their rhythm.

Then the grass felt her presence, they said, "Let us emit our most fragrant dew that she may feel the velvety moist soothing her senses." And she felt the sudden rush of calm from within her.

The wind inhaled her scent and they said, "Let us whistle God's hymns upon her ears that she may feel His presence through us." So they did, and she was more than glad.

The skies rejoiced at her sight. Thus the moon highlighted more the dancing stars with their rays of crimson blackness. The Woman was more enchanted.

Her thoughts moved about. Dreams flash like striking lightning. She shivered. Feared the unknown. Her desires swept over the horizon like ephemeral bursts of vivid hues. She knows some of her dreams are like the grass, she can hold them with her bare hands. But she too knows that some of them are like the stars, wonderful to behold but unreachable.

Then just as when she wants to give up on her passion, a wishing star came across the sky and landed at the tip of her toes. She held it with her bare palms and said, "My dreams are impossible no more."

Oct 25, 2007

Intellect of a Woman

One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides to take a nap.

Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.

She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and says, "Good morning, Ma'am.

What are you doing?"

"Reading a book," she replies, (thinking, Isn't that obvious?)

"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her.

"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing. I'm reading."

"Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment.”

"I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault," says the woman.

"But I haven't even touched you," says the game warden.

"That's true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any moment."

"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.
Indeed, “Never argue with a woman who reads. It's likely she can also think.”


To Marianne, my UP and Shelfari online-mate, thank you for providing me this vignette. I truly appreciate your friendship and the strength of your character. Not all women can be so tough like you in moments of grief and sorrow. We may not have known each other personally, but through your prose, you inspire me to pursue my passion in writing, sacrifice for family and love for children with special needs.

For all Women, if you have read this, remember your intellect and strength in your character. Never allow yourselves be abused and misused.

Oct 24, 2007

Lessons from Warrior of the Light: A Manual

If I have finished The Pilgrimage in almost a month, I have completed Warrior of the Light in almost a week. This is not because I liked the latter more than the first but because time was extravagant with me this week. It doesn’t mean however that I have lesser work this time because I assume it is doubled due to the upcoming accreditation. The reason was: There is traffic everywhere these days! And last night was a tragic night for me because the bus I loaded in waited for almost an hour last night just to pack the bus with passengers. Then after a kilometer away from the station, a police patrol ran after the vehicle for not having flashers (Duh! Whatever that means!). Everyone in the bus was restless. I was grunting like hell. I was hungry. It was almost nine in the evening and traffic is still building up. So is heat. Then a passenger was smoking insensitively like he was the only creature in that side of the planet. An old woman yelled at him and he yelled back. The nerve! Some passengers were also throwing some satirical statements that the police was just worried his finances won’t suffice the upcoming Christmas season that is why he needs to make some money (Pangongotong!). Nice, eh!

But before my stomach get those bruises from ulcer, I opened a biscuit and started chewing like it was the most delicious meal I ever had. Then I realized, I had no water, so I stopped. I opened my book instead and read for all I care I almost finished the book. So this morning, I had only a dozen pages to read. Alas! I’m done. And so I write…

The best part of the book?

Every passage is important. It pictures the entirety of being a Warrior of the Light, fighting the good fight, searching… seizing his dreams, conquering it and living his Personal Legend as an important part of the universal history.

Let me count the ways:

1. A warrior of the Light knows that he has much to be grateful for.
2. All the world’s roads lead to the heart of the Warrior.
3. A warrior of the Light does not rely on strength alone; he makes use of his opponent’s energy, too.
4. He never resorts to trickery.
5. The Warrior sometimes fights with those he loves.
6. He believes that “To persevere is favorable.”
7. He also knows that certain moments repeat themselves.
8. A Warrior of the Light is never predictable.
9. Warriors always have a certain gleam in their eyes.
10. The Warrior does not worry that, to others, his behavior might seem quite mad.
11. He also chooses his enemies.
12. The moment that he begins to walk along, the Warrior of the Light recognizes the Path.
13. The universe is going to help the Warrior.
14. He carefully studies the position that he intends to conquer.
15. He knows his own faults, but also knows his qualities.
16. The Warrior of the Light knows that no one is stupid and that life teaches everyone.
17. Every Warrior felt afraid of going into battle.
18. The Warrior listens to the words of certain thinkers.
19. He does not however postpone making decisions.
20. A Warrior knows that his best teachers are the people whom he shares the battlefield.
21. He too shares his world with the people he loves.
22. The Warrior of the Light meditates.
23. He knows that he must act, but he must allow room for the Universe to act too.
24. He is also a victim of some injustice; he usually tries to be alone, in order to show his pain to others.
25. A warrior of the Light needs love.
26. He knows that it is impossible to live in a state of complete relaxation.
27. He manages to balance Rigor and Mercy.
28. He sometimes behaves like water, flowing around the obstacles he encounters.
29. For the Warrior of the Light, there are no abstractions.
30. He has the qualities of a rock.
31. He however knows when the enemy is stronger.
32. A Warrior of the Light is never indifferent to injustice.
33. He is never cowardly.
34. A Warrior is never in a hurry.
35. He needs both patience and speed.
36. A Warrior often loses heart.
37. But he keeps his heart free of any feelings of hatred.
38. The Warrior remembers the past.
39. He also knows the importance of intuition.
40. The warrior of the Light sits around a fire with his companions.
41. The Warrior is free.
42. To engage in any activity, the warrior needs to know what to expect, how to achieve the objective and whether or not he is capable of carrying out the proposed task.
43. The Warrior of the Light pays attention to small things because they can severely hamper him.
44. He though does not always have faith.
45. But he knows that no man is an island.
46. In the intervals between battles, the Warrior rests.
47. The Warrior of the Light knows that everyone is afraid of everyone else.
48. For the Warrior, there is no such thing as an impossible love.
49. The Warrior of the Light recognizes the silence that precedes an important battle.
50. He is a believer.
51. He has learned that it is best to follow the light.
52. The warrior is always trying to improve.
53. A Warrior of the Light is reliable.
54. He knows that there are occasional pauses in the struggle.
55. A warrior knows that an angel and a devil are both competing for his sword hand.
56. Whenever the Warrior draws his sword, he uses it.
57. Sometimes Evil pursues the Warrior of the Light, and when it does, he calmly invites it into his tent.
58. He unwittingly takes a false step and plunges into the abyss.
59. The warrior of the Light behaves like a child.
60. A responsible Warrior is one who has proved able to observe and to learn.
61. A Warrior of the Light cannot always choose his battlefield.
62. The Warrior is terrified when making important decisions.
63. He accepts his Personal Legend completely.
64. A Warrior never accepts what is unacceptable.
65. The Warrior of the Light never forgets the old saying: The good little goat doesn’t bleat.
66. A sword may not last very long, but the Warrior of the Light must.
67. A Warrior is always vigilant.
68. He does not keep company with those who wish to harm him.
69. At the beginning of his struggle, the Warrior says: “I have dreams.”
70. The Warrior of the Light has the sword in his hands.
71. He never falls into the trap of the word “freedom”.
72. Yesterday’s pain is the Warrior of the Light’s strength.
73. He always has a second chance in life.
74. He is as wise as a serpent and as innocent as a dove.
75. A Warrior of the Light does not accept gifts from his enemy.
76. Often, warriors find their lives meaningless.
77. He is now walking from his dream.
78. Like the fighter, the Warrior is aware of his own immense strength; he never fights with anyone who does not deserve the honor of combat.
79. He remembers the five rules of combat set down by Chuan Tzu – faith, companions, time, space and strategy.
80. He rarely knows the result of a battle when the battle is over.
81. Each Warrior of the Light contains within him the spark of God.
82. Sometimes the Warrior feels as if he were living two lives at once.
83. The Warrior of the Light needs time to himself.
84. He is also wary of people who think they know the path.
85. He knows he needs armor after he has learned how to use the sword.
86. A Warrior trusts other people because, first and foremost, he trusts himself.
87. He views life with tenderness and determination.
88. With confidence, he open the door of life presented to him.
89. A Warrior of the Light practices powerful exercise for inner growth.
90. He also knows the power of word.
91. The Warrior knows the value of persistence and of courage.
92. A Warrior knows when a battle is worth fighting.
93. He too knows how to lose.
94. The Warrior of the light knows that when somebody wants something, the whole Universe conspires in their favor.
95. When the Warrior takes on a commitment, he keeps his word.
96. When he wins the battle, the Warrior celebrates.
97. A Warrior of the Light shares with others what he knows of the path.
98. He has learned that God uses solitude to teach us how to live with other people.
99. He gives before he is asked.
100. The Warrior tries to enjoy the small everyday things of life.
101. A Warrior knows that a great dream is made up of many different things, just as the light from the sun is the sum of its millions of rays.
102. When he is forced to perform the same task several times, the Warrior uses this tactic and transforms work into prayer.
103. When it comes to treachery, he is implacable.
104. A Warrior does not go into battle without knowing the limitations of his ally.
105. A Warrior of the Light has no regrets, because regrets can kill.
106. He uses common sense to judge not the intentions of an action but its consequences.
107. A Warrior knows that everything a person does has enduring consequences.
108. And he never judges someone else’s suffering.
109. So the Warrior fights the Good Fight and he helps others, even though he does not quite understand why.
110. The Warrior of the Light concentrates on the small miracles of daily life.
111. He knows that the most important words in all languages are the small words.
112. A Warrior also knows that the fool who gives advice about someone else’s garden is not tending his own plants.
113. No one is entirely good or evil; that is what the Warrior thinks when he has a new opponent.
114. A Warrior knows that the ends do not justify the means.
115. The Warrior knows about the “waterfall effect”.
116. Then the Warrior of the Light thanks his traveling companions, takes a deep breath and continues on, laden with memories of an unforgettable journey.


And thus, all that has been mentioned has inspired me to start an e-book inspiring women of all ages to take a step in living their own Personal Legends and shed their rays for all to behold as a Warrior of the Light.

The Pilgrimage: A Review

At last, after almost a month, yesterday, I was able to turn the last page of the book “The Pilgrimage”. And I can’t help but sigh in relief and in awe how beautiful and poetic Coelho has conveyed his message of fighting the good fight with its mysterious, seemingly magical approach.

The novel, despite my knowledge that it is an account of Paulo Coelho’s real experience to his way to the Road of San Tiago made wonder, actually ask myself and some friends, whether everything that happened, every detail he has related were really true. Or did he just talk in mysterious ways so as to drive at his point with impact and greater influence to his readers.

“Ah!”, I told myself, “Now I’m acting like the common folks who only believe after a miracle has been performed. What else is there to look for, when my very own existence is already a mystery in itself. Life thriving in every corner of this universe and beyond it is enough proof that there is someone far greater than us.”

And the secret of Paulo’s sword so he will gain possession of it is so simple. So simple that we can say, Paulo is indeed one of us for he too, was not able to realize that in time for the ritual the Tradition has performed in the castle of the Order of the Templars in Ponferrada. He was almost at the end of his journey through the mysterious road when he was able to realize the reason for all his struggles.

We are often like Paulo too, we exist, we are present, but we don’t know why. We struggle to achieve something without knowing the right way to attain our dreams, fight the good fight and why we have set such goals. Lucky are those who do struggle and know why they do, but pity to those who don’t and die without realizing the meaning of their existence and why they have to dream and achieve their dreams.

Let me quote:

“And the secret of my sword, like the secret of any conquest we make in our lives, was the simplest thing in the world: it was what I should do with the sword.

I had never thought in these terms. Throughout our time on the Strange Road to Santiago, the only thing I had wanted to know was where it was hidden. I had never asked myself why I wanted to find it or what I needed it for. All of my efforts had been bent on reward; I had not understood that when we want something, we have to have a clear purpose in mind for the thing that we want. The only reason for seeking a reward is to know what to do with the reward. And this was the secret of my sword.”

If only all of us know this, too, we are more able to muster all of our strength and enthusiasm, our faith, hope and love – the kind of love that consumes, agape and live better lives. Then world will be a better place to live in to. Indeed, we don’t need to walk that Road to Santiago and find our sword too like Paulo, we are pilgrims in our own lives. The way we live this life and clarity of our goals are, are the things that mattered. All rivers lead to the same sea. In God’s house, there are many mansions. In life, we have a numerous paths. The path is not important. What is important is how we stride the path and we let the path walk us through.


Note:
As for the RAM exercises in the book I promise to include in my entries, I find it difficult to post. Not because I lack the time, but I want to pave respect to the Tradition and to the sacredness of the rituals. I feel incapable and unworthy to do so. Hope you understand.


To Mr. Paulo Coelho, I admire your enthusiasm, the fire of agape burning within you which you share in every word you write, ignites the same fire within us, your readers. Thank you for the inspiration. Accept too my apologies for always including in my blogs your writings. For having copied the text as it appeared on your books; this is because I am afraid that my words might not be enough to express what you mean. But there are times like this that I try to explain what I thought of about what you have said and may have explained it too simple or my insights might sometime be wrong, this is because I struggle too in my search for meaning. Either way, thank you for your understanding.

Happiness of a Woman

The Proverbs says: “A happy heart is a good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 AMP)

Being a Woman, she is called Salt of the Earth and Light of the World because she believes that a happy disposition begets positive aura, inviting the cosmos to dance her own beat.

She immerses herself in the joy of faithful surrender to what life wants her to be, with courage and discernment – and sometimes – with a touch of madness.

She welcomes her desires, tears and happiness with vibrant paroxysm of colors. Gyrating like a Bohemian spirit, in quest for meaning. Then the colorful hues spread out the tips of her nails and toes touching every creature, great and small, young and old, sinful and seemingly not, proud and humble… with equal intensity, with equal passion, with equal happiness… with equal love.

Such is the desire of a Woman, a world of happiness and of love. For where there is both, the Hand that Created manifests itself in brilliant ardour.

Oct 23, 2007

Praise of a Woman

A Woman, after praising the power that created her, appreciates others, oftentimes, more than herself.

Michael and Gabriel fight over her on who must stay as her look out. Then both angels would agree – compromise the day and time of day they would take charge.

Envious onlookers would say, “She’s not worth it.” But the Woman hears beyond what words speak of.

That is why before the sun bids goodbye, she walks the road to herself, encloses all that has been in her solitude and praise God for the bounty He has endowed her.

She too never fails to remember friends, no matter how long her list may be, she names them one after the other, in no particular order or rank… patiently… for she recognizes the wisdom that uplifted her.

Then her day ends in perfect harmony with God’s plan and time.

Oct 22, 2007

Blog Your Blessings Sunday: A Special Nook

We at times sit at one corner alone, appreciating life as we see it through our eyes...

Suddenly, someone surprises us… shares that corner until it becomes the world.


Isn't that amazing?

Sometimes we are caught off guard by people who then were strangers from a far off land. We meet them. We become acquaintances. We learn to like them. We find some differences, yet we click. We laugh at the same corny jokes over and over again. We cry at the same old movies we have both watched but re-tell the story as if the other missed out the details. Sometimes we become so stupid raking some thoughts to spill, but in the end, we feel that silence becomes a unity of colors and sounds that fill-in the gap between us. Then we realize, we have found a friend in this then stranger.

The cycle never stops. In doesn't find an end. I met Armila. Then Teresa. The three of us ate some burgers at Mc Donald's. Then there was Myrna. Then Ate Arnila. Then Flor. The six of us ate pizza at Greenwich.

Then Teresa moved out. Then Armila. After a year, I moved in with Armila. Then we have found our home with some other people who became our friends. There was Ate Imelda, then Ate Marivel, Ate Daisy, Ate Glenda, Ate Nida and Ate Cathy. TheN Teresa found her way back to us. Then Flor moved in with us. After a year, Ate Arnila from another planet joined us. In the process, we lost contact of Myrna, but some more people came – Analyn, Marie, Ruby, Ate Chai, Ma'am Nora, Ate Rosabel, Ate Reynilda who came for a moment then left, Ate Alma and our new baby, Arleen. And who knows who else would find their way to our small nook. Now we eat a full bilao of pancit.

Yeah, I started in that small nook I thought was so beautiful for someone like me. After almost nine years, I woke up and found a colorful nook with unity of various hues and sounds. Geeezzz! Now I will have to get a more spacious place for all of us…

The Perfect Heart

This is the opening story in one of our Departmental Meetings in school. I have only modified it to suit what I intend to convey.



There was once a young woman who walked along the streets boasting to every soul she meets how perfect her heart is.

Another lady approached her, somewhat feeling envious, “How did you maintain such a perfect looking heart?” she asked.

The young woman replied, even prouder because by now, a little crown is gathering around her, “I just watch over it everyday. Careful that nobody touches it. I make sure that others stay in a distance so they would not be able to leave imprints on my heart. The more that I don’t let anyone hold it. They might just drop my heart and break it into pieces. And lastly, I encase it in a metal casket that it may remain cold and preserved, not exposed to too much warmth.”

Just as the crowd is growing more excited of the site of the young woman’s perfect heart, an old woman interrupted them. She was claiming that her heart, no matter how imperfect is more beautiful than the young woman’s heart.

The young woman, hurt with the claim said harshly, “How come you say your heart is more beautiful than mine, when your heart is all jagged? The surface is all bumpy and coarse. There are even missing pieces of it. It seemed all worn out, broken and slashed a hundredfold. Your heart is bleeding. It has tears. Its angles are ragged.”

The old woman patiently replied with a smile painted all over her face, like some sense of fulfillment and contentment, “My dear, my heart is more beautiful with all its imperfections because the bumpy and coarse surface is the footprints of people who crossed my life and handprints of my handlers. The missing pieces are part of me which I have unconditionally shared to people I meet along my way. I share with them myself and the love that travails into me. My heart seem all worn out, broken and slashed a hundredfold because sometimes people I share my life with hurt me despite the love I give them. But in spite of, I still continue loving them I forgive them and love others still who will come my way. My heart is bleeding and is shedding tears because I pity others who seemed to have forgotten that the beauty of one’s existence lies in how much she has given and not how perfect her life is. Its angles are all ragged because some people who have shared with my life have returned favors and the love I have given them. But the pieces they have gotten out from their own heart to replace some holes in mine are not the same size, some smaller, some bigger… but it doesn’t matter, what matters to me is that at least these people have learned the meaning of co-existence and sharing.”

After her long explanation, the young woman tore a piece of her heart and covered a bleeding hole in the old woman’s heart. Both smiled and walked the road together.

The Creation of Woman

A woman knows how much blessings she receives and she appreciates the down pour of every rain, as well as the heat of too much sun. Because when God created woman, His design was so special.

God was working late on the 6th day when an angel came by and said, “Why spend so much time on that one?”

And the Lord answered, “Have you seen all the specifications I have to meet to shape her?”

“She must be washable, but not made of plastic. She has more than 200 moving parts which all must be replaceable and she must function on all kinds of food. She must be able to embrace several kids at the same time, give a hug that can heal anything, from a bruised knee to a broken heart. And she must do all these only with two hands.

The angel was impressed, “Just two hands? Impossible!”

“And this is the standard model?”

“Too much work for one day… wait until tomorrow and then complete her.”

“I will not,” said the Lord. “I am so close to complete this creation which will be the favorite of my heart.”

“She cures herself when sick and she can work eighteen hours a day.”

The angel came nearer and touched the woman. “But you have made the woman so soft, Lord.”

“She is soft,” said the Lord, “but I have also made her strong. You can’t imagine what she can endure and overcome.”

“Can she think?” the angel asked.

The Lord answered, “Not only can she think, she can reason and negotiate.”

The angel touched the woman’s cheek. “Lord, it seems this creation is leaking! You have put too many burdens on her.”

“She is not leaking… it’s a tear,” the Lord corrected the angel.

“What’s it for?” asked the angel.

And the Lord said, “Tears are her way of expressing grief, her doubts, her love, her loneliness, her suffering and her pride.”

This made big impression on the angel. “Lord, you are a genius. You thought of everything. The woman is indeed marvelous!”

Indeed she is! Woman has strength that amazes man. She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens. She holds happiness, love and opinions. She smiles when feeling like screaming. She
sings when feeling like crying. She cries when she is happy and laughs when she is afraid.

She fights for what she believes in. stands up against injustice. She doesn’t take “no” for an answer when she can see a better solution. She gives herself so her family can thrive. She takes her friend to the doctor if she is afraid. Her love is unconditional.

She cries when her kids are victorious. She is happy when her friends do well. She is glad when she hears of a birth or a wedding.

Her heart is broken when a next of kin or friend dies. But she finds the strength to get on with life. She knows that a kiss and a hug can heal a broken heart.

There is only one thing wrong with her…

Like what I said, she is grateful of so many things. She appreciates everything that happens to her. But she forgets what she is worth.




This is a presentation passed on to me by a friend through e-mail. I wish to share it to you as prologue of my newly conceived e-book inspired by Women I know, personally and not. They have inspired me one or the other in their struggles and wisdom. To my few visitors: “Spread on the news. Send to women you know this site, that they would be reminded how special they are in the eyes of God. Send this too, to men you know so they too would appreciate the women in their lives.”

Oct 19, 2007

Introduction

Not so long ago, I am a little girl, growing amidst a chaotic world, as I perceive it was. I was in constant struggle in asserting my autonomy. But with grown-ups I often don’t understand and more often than “often” don’t understand me either, I wasn’t able to get the feel of such autonomy I was fighting for. I was in constant agreement (I should, or else…) with what they like me to wear, what they want me to eat, what they want me to do, even when I should sleep and play. They tell me what to say, when to say it and to whom would I talk to. They influence me how am I going to think in almost every situation, how to react to it and how to handle it. They manipulate how am I suppose to behave, what are the things I have to value in life and how to get through these goals. In summary, I think, talk and act the way they expect me to.

Yes, that was how my childhood was. And my adolescence. Which I have carried through my early adulthood. These have manifested in my relationships, with people around me, with acquaintances, with classmates, with officemates, with friends, with boyfriends, with relatives, with family, with myself and with God. I was in constant struggle to stand on my own. I was so dependent on others. I strive to please people who sometimes are not worthy of. I lost my identity. I lost myself. I lost me.

But motherhood showed me a different perspective of being a woman. A woman fighting for her right, for her family, for her kids and her love one. A woman craving to be heard. A woman whose independence matter most. A woman whose decisions are firm and has authority over her household. A woman who stands against all odds just to raise her family as opposed to how she was reared. And too often, such struggles are the most painful because she is not just fighting against circumstances but more against herself.

I am a woman. Wanting to be heard. Writing my thoughts. Changing the course of my destiny. Hoping to enlighten others who seek their own path.

I am beginning a journey with you and with myself. Come along with me.

Thanksgiving and Dedication

To Mr. Paulo Coelho, your book, Warrior of the Light: A Manual gave birth to this idea. Hope you would understand that each time, I would be referring to a line or two, or a passage lifted from your book. I also wish that you get to appreciate this labor of love. Thank you.

To Maricel, your struggles of being a mother gave me the inspiration too. You have showed me that happiness comes from simple things in life through your posts in Blog Your Blessings Sunday. Indeed we don’t need extravagance to be contented about life. Books and crayons are enough to show us that happiness is within us.

To Hazel, Lifting the Petticoat was such a nice read. Simple but meaningful. My childhood was almost the same as yours, except for wearing that petticoat. Your entry motivated me to start my introduction as I did.

To Nanay Linda, the only parent I have left in this world. We may sometimes have misunderstandings, but I truly appreciate your presence in our life. I admire your courage and how you stand beside your family no matter what.

To my mother, Mama Ding, who is no longer in this realm from whom I have first seen and felt agape encapsulating her every fight. Ever-forgiving. Ever-understanding. Ever-enthusiastic. Ever-loving. She is all these, even in the midst of pain caused by people around her, more painful than bouts of cancer.

To every woman who are present and has departed… I write this for you.

Oct 18, 2007

Life's Rhythm

The Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis tells how, as a child, he found a cocoon attached to a tree and saw that the butterfly inside the cocoon was just preparing to emerge. He waited for some time, but because the process seemed so long drawn out, he decided to speed things up. He began to warm the cocoon with his breath. However, when the butterfly did finally emerge, its wings were still stuck together, and it died a short time afterwards.
‘What it required was patient ripening by the sun, and I could not wait,’ says Kazantzakis. ‘Even now, that small corpse is one of the greatest weights I have on my conscience. But it taught me what is truly a mortal sin: to force the great laws of the universe. We must be patient and wait for the right moment and gladly follow the rhythm God has chosen for our life.’

by Paulo Coelho (http://paulocoelhoblog.com)

Life is a rhythm. Everything in life is rhythmically designed. Everything in you and me.

The beat of our heart. The breathing in and out of our lungs. The palpitation of our pulse. The workings of our organs to achieve homeostasis. The sweating off from glands. The grumbling of our stomach when it is hungry. The movement of our body as it strides to its destination. The opening and closing of our eyes. The strands of hair on our scalp. The bones connected by hinges within us. The fibers of every muscle that cling to our bones. The nails artistically situated in every finger and toe. The sexual harmony shared by man and woman. The sound of voice. Laughter. Steps. Claps. Chants. Songs. Speech. The occurence of meiosis and mitosis, dividing simple cells to a splendid life with body and soul. You. Me.

Life is a rhythm. Everything in life is rhythmically designed. Everything in nature.

The swaying of the grass. The opening of a bud. The falling of dried leaves from its branches and the shooting of a new one off the same location. The germination of a seed. The rustling of the same dried leaves all piled up together blown by the wind. The wind whispers its own rhythm. The clit-clattering of raindrops on the ground. The splash of play. The dance of fire. The soundless clamor of the soil. The pebbles rolling down a cliff or as carried by the river. The ripples it creates when thrown to the sea by a lonely soul. The sound of animals. The chatting of the insects and all that crawl upon the earth. The chirping of the birds and all that travails the sky. The twinkling of the stars. The movement of planets. The revolution of each. The appearance of the moon. The heat of the sun. The occurence of eclipse. And all within the cosmos.

Everything. If I forgot to mention some things, please remind me.

But all the beauty of this rhythm depends upon man's virtue -- PATIENCE

Just another name...

A man said to a friend:

‘You talk about God as if you knew him personally, down to the colour of his eyes. Why do you need to create something to believe in? Can’t you live without that?’

His friend replied:

‘Do you have any idea how the Universe was created? Can you explain the miracle of life?’

‘Everything around us is the result of chance. Things just happen.’

‘Exactly. Well, "Things just happen" is merely another name for God.’

Things happen. And evrything in my belief don't just happen. They were made possible by a powerful being... more powerful than computers which man has devised to surpass that One true power. In the end, man forgets that his existence did not just happen... popping out of the cosmos, but this One true power whom he denies present is the One who made him possible.

The former message is a Daily Message posted by my favorite author in his website http://www.paulocoelhoblog.com and you can refer to his daily messages anytime you want to further enrich your spirituality like what he did to me almost three years ago when I first got hold one of his books.

The latter is my comment which I left in his site.

How about you, what can you say about your own existence? Let me know, we might be in the same side of the cosmos.

Keep on reading my blogs. Next week, I will be posting Paulo Coelho's spirit-enriching exercises found in his book The Pilgrimage and hope you will embrace the same learning (or much more) like I did.

Have a great day everyone!!!

Blog Your Blessings Sunday: Tired, eh!

I'm a bit surprised to see myself infront of the mirror looking so awfully tired while packing my things at five today. The whole day was such a blur that I went on my counseling routine as I was chewing a gum. Kids can be soooooo squeezingly delicious sometimes. Teens? They have achieved my level of tolerance. Er... well, almost there. You see, when you're a counselor, you can't just yell even your damn client is pushing you to your let's say peak of no return... I mean anger spurts. But hey, I'm good at hiding my real emotions behind my tweetums-diddums smile that paints "I fully understand you, kid!"

Geeezzzzz!!! Patience-patience... P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E!!! My virtue? Hope it is. Because when work gets in you and being tired eats your system to bits, home is not a home but just some cheap motel to rest your body.

But to me, when I get my hands turn the knob to my home, I smell cinnamon rolls calming my senses. Bea hugs me and kisses me and massages my feet while Gaby turns over me with all the saliva all over my face when she showers me with butterfly kisses... I mean licks me like a pup and my hubby has cooked my favorite dinner, adobong okra! Hhmmmm... that'll make my day!

Tired, eh?

I'm tired no more...

Six Men and A Lady (Continuation...)

God! I almost fell from my swivel when I heard my phone ring. I was as serious as hell writing an entry about my Father. I was about to explode in tears emoting when I clicked on my phone and heard the usual playful voice on the other end of the line. Well, even if I would be seemingly dead, I would recognize Aurora's voice.

I said, "Hey girl, wazzup!"

She demanded an explanation why I did not call her.

"The nerve!", I hissed. "What for?"

"So you could make a good continuation of that entry you posted about my love life. You kept it hanging for sometime, the readers might lose their ganacity to finish my story."

Argh!

"Hello! Then it's my fault?! You must have forgotten that you hanged up on me. It is I, my dear Aurora, whose credibility and reputation that was put to a hook. Just reminding you, in case you have forgotten."

Then she was laughing like some loony that I almost dropped the phone for fear that she must be really out of her mind because of Romualdo. Then I voiced out my fear. The more that she laughed. After some minutes though, her laughter faded (but it seemed echoing in my head).

"You sure, you wanna continue writing your entry about me?", she asked.

I hesitated for a moment, "Sure!", I declared after realizing that this might be a good indication that she is now ready to talk. At least I could have a share in helping her unload some burdens.

So she went on…

"After Romualdo, I met Honorio (with a silent "H" – mabantot pa rin). He was witty, fun to be with, like a combination of Renato and Diomedes but different."

I blurted, "Idiosyncratic!" (Sounds familiar, eh!)

She agreed with the term. Though I was thinking of another working definition (like Research) which means, I mean a shorter term for "Idiot!" (Ain't I creative?) I wish to include "savant" to the term because he is an expert – a real expert manipulator. Why? Read on, dudes!

Aurora simply ignored my side comment. She continued…

"Honorio is such a gentleman. He would feed me good sumptuous meals. He would buy me chocolates and roses and shower me with soft shy kisses."

"Shy? Uh! Really? A real idiot!", I unintentionally uttered in a frisky tone. But now, I don't know for whom the term applies to – is it with Honorio or Aurora?

Because as far as I know, the guy sucks! During those times she was courting Aurora, he was dating some other girls. He dated them in the same places where he brought her to feed those good sumptuous meals. He bought the same chocolates and roses for those others whom he claimed girl-friends. He was sweet to almost every girl in school. He was a gentleman so she admires, but I think he was a scheming wolf. In fact, he gave me that same chocolate and that same rose he bought for Aurora. In fact, he brought me to that same diner where he brought Aurora the following night. I knew it because I followed him after he dropped me off at my apartment. I knew it because he is the same guy my boardmate saw coming out from an apartelle early morning where a same promiscuous young woman lives. I bet my head off, both did not have a good night sleep.

Aurora knew those facts, but I wasn't sure she realized she was falling off his bait. Yes, she did. I just confirmed it, right now.

Honestly, I didn't know what to say because this guy was the reason why Aurora and I had a little misunderstanding that was blown into a full length disagreement that lasted almost a decade. She mistook me flirting with the idiot guy!

I reminded her. She was apologetic at first but we both felt the rush of laughter at the incident. Those were our childish foolishness. Damn the man! Really… damn him!

Guy number five is Liaracious. Sounds delicious, eh. Indeed he is yummy as Aurora claimed he is. But like Honorio, Ejercito (Irap ba? Liar nga!) is also an expert – expert liar. Sometimes he believes in his lies as his reality that when you try to check and balance his universe, you become the criminal. Duh!

Next guy, please!!!

But Aurora seem not to hear me. She persisted.

"Don't be so hard on the guy, girl. I know he just loved me so much that's why he made up those stories to impress me, my family and other people. He is afraid to lose me because he always tells me I am his life. And that he would die if we would not end up together."

"And you believed him?", I snapped (the real villain that I am), "Aren't you still convinced that the guy has some personality problem? He thinks the whole world admires him. He even thinks I liked him."

"Isn't it true?"

"Aurora!"

"Okay, well. In some ways…"

"In some ways what? You believe me but in some ways you don't. Is that it? You too are crazy. Don't tell me you're still in love with the guy."

"Hell, no!!!", she almost broke my eardrum with that. "I mean, of course, I did love him. I actually realized that after some time. Even when the moon is round and I feel a little chill he might struck me with his pocket knife each time. Uh! I still loved the guy."

"Now the real lunatic is talking."

Aurora giggled. "I think I'm ready with guy number six."

"So you love him?"

"Sort of… I mean, I almost kinda fell for him."

I gave her my silence.

"Okay! Okay! I'm deeply in love with the guy. I think this is what they call real love."

Again, my silence.

"Fine. I know this is wrong. All of my relationships are wrong. The more that this is wrong. I mean, Husbandtolitis is pretty much like the others…"

I burst out laughing with the name she branded guy number six. It sounds like some kind of bacterial infection.

Aurora agreed. "He really is like an infection consuming my system."

"God, you're serious."

"Yes I am. But I know this would lead me nowhere."

"Like the others."

"Yeah, like the others."

Now, it was Aurora's turn to be silent.

"Are you still on the line?"

"Yeah."

Again… silence.

"Maria?"

"Yeah."

"I think tomorrow I'm going to Ruth's house. Can you come with me?"

A little doubt embraced me. But God knows I felt a tinge of hope. And hesitation. "Why?"

"It's time for me to settle things with my wife… once and for all."

Six Men and A Lady

I was about to give up in giving my blogsite a taint of interaction because it has been a week since I posted an entry about HAPPINESS and I received no comment or message whatsoever from my readers (a few good souls). But before closing my doors to such thought, a friend e-mailed me with a three page confession about her encounter with Happiness. I have summarized her info (with her permission of course) and chose to spice it with some laughable stuff and sprinkled a bit of saucy side-comments – pun intended, to make our learning with life lighter and juicier. Whoa! Actually, she rolled off her chair laughing at her silliness after she read this entry (she edited the names of the guys in respect to them even those bastards deserve not a pint of such). I hope too, that you'll like this as much as my friend did. And so I write: Six Men and a Lady.

It was June of 1991 when Aurora (of course, this isn't my friend's real name, I'll protect her identity too, baka sugurin siya ng mga diyaskeng lalaking naka-ulayaw niya – her term) felt the fangs of the so called love bit her innocence and squeezed her sanity and be fooled by this cute angel-looking guy her age. Renato (of course, this isn't the guy's real name, too) didn't know Aurora loved him from a distance, though she would initiate brief conversations to attract his attention. But sad to say, Aurora was plain-looking that time and not a single guy could take to even just look at her with all her pimplets (small pimples, not actually pimples, but some sort of a skin disease she managed to have acquired from her ancestors, so she claims) and display some kind of affection or even wanting to be her friend.

Poor Aurora, she just contented herself loving Renato at a distance. One day, the guy seemed to have noticed the lass' intellectual prowess that he, for the first time, talked to her… really talked to her. So they say, too, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." We may call it magic (to me I thought of it as witchcraft), that Renato started wooing Aurora. He followed her everywhere. Attended parties with her. Gimmicked with her and her girl-friends. Until he disclosed his undying love for her. Promised her everything under the sun including every single entity in the heavens and the galaxies.

Indeed poor Aurora, she believed the sweet lies of Renato. She gave her the kind of love she thought she is not capable of sharing with someone other than her parents. She was happy. Very, very happy. Almost felt bliss. Ecstasy. Her moments with her seemed to last a lifetime. But it didn't. A trivial incident, so she thought, ended her happiness with Renato. An act of concern to another ended the happiness she has encountered with Renato. He left without hearing an explanation or asking her for a line or two. The next instant she knew, he was with somebody else. The promises? They are now all part of the heavens and the galaxies Aurora said, that which she can never reach in this life. And I add: Sana nagpatiwakal ka na lang para nakarating ka sa heavens and galaxies na promise ni Papa one sa iyo. (Kung doon nga ang patutunguhan mo!)

Then I asked: After sixteen years, what do you feel for him?

Aurora answered: Stupid guy! She fooled the wrong woman.

I retorted: But you believed his promises?

Her answer: Of course not! The stars he must have mentioned he would give me might be the craters (meteors) he saw all over my face when he once stared at me blankly under the acacia tree. I'm intelligent you know! I can read whether the guy loves me or just playing off with me.

So I asked back: Then why did you engage in a mutual understanding with him?

She snapped: Just for experience! His promises? Well, it hardened like kidney stones in my memory…

And so I concluded: Let's call Guy number 1, Renato – Promisecalises.

Happiness… when it left, it became her source of sorrow, she must admit.

But life must go on. She met Guy number 2, Diomedes – Dedmatolagious.

Why so? Guess you have to read on. But I think you don't need an ounce of gray matter to presume.

Well hell! The guy needs some bludgeoning. Aurora took her (again) for experience. Funny though, she fell in love with the guy without her noticing it. She just woke up one day, ready to take the kamikaze drive and plunge herself in the pits of no return which she again called love.

Aurora reminisced in her letter that the Pontius Pilate was a real funny guy and she found comfort in his laughter.

I replied angrily (somehow): So laughter can allure women like you to get into a relationship when in the first and second place you knew you weren't (aren't) compatible (well, so I concluded because of the difference in their mental abilities)!?

She answered with equal intensity: Yup! Aren't you?

(God! I feel guilty some ways because I was one of those trusted friends of Aurora who took the initiative to get the guy's leg going. I mean, nanulsol para ligawan siya. Promise! I didn't know the guy was dumb as hell! A girl-friend just said he got a "0" in Philo class. Argh! And it was too late then. Forgive me Aurora! But I have seen her happiness (quite a pull) with Diomedes. The name I chose really stinks, eh!)

At this extent, Aurora claimed: If only I were near you, Maria, I can squeeze your veins off your flabby neck!

I said: Back off girl! My flabs are quite an investment. They attract Virgin Coconut Oil buyers dahil naubusan na ng coconut sa buong Pilipinas sa dami ng gustong mag-invest sa fad na ito. Kaya ayos na ang Cocobutt Oil! Jeeerrsss!

To cut the short story shorter, Aurora broke up with him when one day, she requested to fix her comforter carelessly spread through her bed.

"Why? What the hell can that instigate?", you may ask.

Because my readers, Diomedes, a.k.a. Dedmatolagious is like a living dead walking around town without his brains dictating some logic and a bit of knowledge and common sense. What he did? (Suspense ba?) He got the whole computer unit all fixed on top of Aurora's bed and exclaimed proudly, "I carried with me too the mouse and the keyboard, Sweetheart. Aren't you thankful?"

Diddums!

Believe me, he did that.

If you don't. Well, I'm not in the position to force you to.

And so Guy number 3 came into the picture. Too late than Aurora could have wished he would have. We decided to name him nothing because in essence, he was almost nothing (so she thought, again… and again… and again… na parang ako na rin). Kasi naman po itong si Romualdo ay walang bay--! Namputsa! Aurora almost bared herself infront of him and he only said one word, "Ginaw!"

Di ka man mabato, aba'y nagbalot-balot na si Mareng Auring sabay talikod kay Romualdo na kung gaano ka-masculine ang kanyang appeal lalo ang pangalan ay siya namang tiyope ni kulukoy.

Life is a big joke. Really it is! When Aurora was no longer entertaining in her thoughts the image of Romualdo that was when he called her up. She was surprised to receive his call after almost four years. And she felt sheer excitement, too. She thought that maybe, Romualdo has matured a bit and gained some confidence (guts) to eventually ask her out for some cup of coffee. After a few minutes of chit-chat, the line went blank. Some whooshy-whishy sound at first then went dead. She waited for a couple of minutes. Then an hour. Then a day. A week. A month. Until a year. And ultimately, she resigned to the hope that he is still interested with her.

Time flowed like living water, finding some place to rest for some moments and in due time would rush through the sea and join with the gyration of the waves.

That happened with Aurora. Like a living water, she purified herself immensely, have grown more beautiful (so she claimed after she spent some million in leveling the craters on her face and pouring some acid all over her body to make it white as snow… ugh!). And after almost nine years, she saw him climb the bus she was into. Their eyes met. Some spark aglow. He passed through her. Brushed his warm skin daintily against hers. Then he spoke, "Hi!"

My reaction: THAT WAS IT? After so many years, that was all he had to say? After having kept you waiting, that was all he said? By golly! That jerk!!!
I sensed some tremble in Aurora's voice on the other line. There were no letters appearing on my screen, too. She went blank.

And I don't think I can go on with my story just yet because our editing ended with Guy number 3. Hope you understand. The girl needs some time to think it over. And I guess, Romualdo still has a part in my friend's heart.

What do you think?

And hey, before I forget. I guess by now you could assume (as safe as one could) why we called Romualdo nothing.

Hell yes! The guy says NOTHING!!!!

Oct 17, 2007

Two Seas in Palestine

There are two seas in Palestine. They are both very different. One is called the Sea of Galilee. It is a lake with clean fresh water from which people can drink. Fish and people swim in it. It is surrounded by green fields and gardens. Many people have built their homes near to it. Jesus sailed across it many times.

The other big body of water is called the Dead Sea, and it really lives up to its name. Everything about it is dead. The water is so salty that one would get sick from trying to drink it. It has no fish. Nothing grows along its bank. No one wants to live anywhere near its unpleasant smell.
The interesting thing about these bodies of water is that, the same river flows into both of them. So what makes the difference? Just this one: one receives and gives; the other receives and keeps.

The Jordan River flows into the top of the Sea of Galilee and out the bottom. The lake uses the water and then passes it on for other use. The Jordan then flows into the Dead Sea and never gets out again. The Dead Sea selfishly keeps it only for itself. This makes it dead. It gets and never gives.

- Two Seas in Palestine by John Marsabwlla
in 1000 Stories You Can Use, pages 1-2
by Fr. Frank Mihalic, SVD

This was the opening story of Ma'am Alma's sharing in our meeting a while back. The topic of our meeting: Connections!

Isn't that amazing? A meeting on bridging the gaps people created within themselves and among themselves?!! This is what makes our Departmental meetings in school unique. We are not much interested in winning the war of the brains people of today are preoccupied with. But we are more concerned in rebuilding human nature which manifests itself in complete and genuine harmony of what Jesus has exemplified.

Now I don't think I can resign from this Institution without crying a river.

Existence

Simplicity.

Spontaneity.

Play.

These are the three things that alternately appear in my mind while I was heading home. (There is but just a short distance I have to toddle from the highway to our house.) Last night, the air was cooler than usual. There was a silent breeze sweeping through my face. I could even hear the rustling of dried leaves rolling off the empty street. As well as the tender swishing of leaves cuddled by the trees' branches. The nocturnal insects are also in harmony with the gentle tunes sung by nature.

It was almost nine then. In our little town, this time was already a holy hour. Streetlamps are alight, tricycles are scarce, only a few people walk around the plaza, and silence predominates the sound of opened television sets in houses that usually stood apart from one another. I can hear some murmurs from the unlocked windows I passed by. Some giggles of kids running about their humble dwellings.

I walked slower than my usual pace. I decided to close my eyes and savor the breeze against my skin, the melodious unity of sounds in my ear, the darkness and tint of light getting through my shut eyes, the scent of some smoke from burning leaves I was able to notice a little while later combined with the aroma of the rich vegetation from the nearby field found their way to my nostrils and made my tummy rumble then suddenly, even without any food fed in my mouth, I got to taste some bitter-sweet tang lining my palate, the sensation of my feet, even with my shoes on felt bare with the occasional presence of pebbles crumbling here and there, and the impression I get from walking in the dark, alone with nature made me aware of my existence.

I really am alive. I can feel. I can see. I can hear. I can smell. I can taste. But the most important thing is, I am one with God's creation. And God is with me. I am never alone. Even in the midst of seemingly deserted place, I have company. There is God in all that is there. He is the breeze. He is in the leaves, robust or dried ones. He is in every vegetation that grows, along the streets or in fertile ground. He is the pebbles, in stones and in rocks. He is in the nocturnal animals that sometimes scare me when I pass by our street in moonless nights. Now even the starless sky tells me He is there. The earth I step on is He. He is the road I travel every night. And all other roads I take. My existence is not coincidental. He created me. I am special.

Simplicity.

Spontaneity.

Play.

Hope these three words would again guide me the next time I let them take full control of me. The next time, I shall discover not just my existence and the God in every entity and within myself, but also the purpose of my being.

Simplicity.

Spontaneity.

Play.






P.S.

Try them. They won't harm you.

CABAnata 9: Conquering My Devil, Enviousness

Your confidence and your sense of mastery depend a great deal on how you react to threats made by others.

A threat leads to nothing if it is not accepted. In fighting the good fight, you should not forget that. Just as you should never forget that both attacking and fleeing are part of the fight. What isn't a part of the fight is becoming paralyzed by fear.

- Petrus, The Pilgrimage
by Paulo Coelho



Perhaps by now you know how gradual I read the current book under my perusal. Like what I have said, I lack the luxury of time no matter how much I wish I could move on to the next book in my reading list. But I find this pace more advantageous. I mean, I have all the time (Now that may sound ironic!) to contemplate after every chapter how I could relate it to my personal experiences. And I am one hell of a lucky person because my every fall has some Coelho line or two that would retrieve my dampened spirit back to its struggle and back to my reality.

And a while back, inside the bus on my way to work (as usual), I have come across with the above lines. And so I went on with my contemplation as I integrate it with the lines I have posted last Saturday.

I admitted I was envious in some ways to what my friends have achieved. Well, that is how I interpreted my feelings. But my introspection told me I was not necessarily envious with their achievement, because for a fact, I have my little own, too, but I was more focused on the earthly wealth those achievements suggest.

My envy is instigated by other people. But it all boils down to the fact that this envy is a threat to my confidence and sense of mastery to conquer my dreams.

Yes, I too felt fear. Fear of not being able to conquer my devil. Fear of not achieving the expectations I have set for myself, not just the dreams I have fantasized in my mind which I vocally expressed but also the plans I have weaved for my kids and my family. Fear of not being able to be who I was purposely born for. And fear of many other unknown faces of my existence, my devils.

And these fears made me so insecure of my ability to achieve and even doubt my potential to be. But thanks to Petrus who told Paulo not to be paralyzed by his fear. I too would take his word that I should not be paralyzed by these fears. Even if Petrus might laugh at me if he would come across this blog (Umasa ba?) and he would repeat to me the same lines he told Paulo with the presence of the nun. To those who have read The Pilgrimage, I know that you know too well what I am referring to, but to those who haven't, let me just quote Petrus' lines (even this may fail to encapsulate the whole scenario):

"…When you sensed the presence of something positive, your imagination concluded that someone had arrived to help you. And this, your faith, saved you. Even though it was based on an assumption that was absolutely false."

I seem to be that. I assume, as Petrus and others may perceive that the lines I read from The Pilgrimage are directly and intentionally for me because of my experiences at the moment. I just do hope, my faith in Petrus' lines would redeem me like Paulo from the calls of evil.

Ah! Life space. I interpret the things around me as some conspiracy designed by the cosmic powers that travails my hemisphere. Argh! Poetic? Nah! I'm just playing with words… again.

Like I have said, blogging is cathartic for me. This is my avenue for expression. At the same time my way of negating the ill feelings I start to sense building within me. Actually too, I have sought the help of an expert about my feelings of envy. I was a bit pacified because she said that these feelings arise as part of human nature. It is not wrong. It only becomes wicked when my envy eats up my sanity and I devise devilish schemes to kill my source of envy not by knives though but by the power of my words. In Filipino slang, chismis or paninirang-puri (fabrication of issues to dehumanize others); which I am not capable of.

And let me go back to blogging. Aside from its cathartic effect on me, it also gives me a sense of fulfillment because I am able to share a part of who I am to people I actually do not know and inspire them (as they claim) in more ways than one. And just last week, I forgot to mention may be because my envy then was guzzling me up, Nice (a reader and blog visitor) told me that my entry "I am a Certified Bookworm" was posted by Paulo Coelho himself in his blogsite
http://paulocoelhoblog.com and she too appreciated the booklist I presented along with another blog visitor.

Imagine how euphoric I was! The renowned Bestselling Author of The Alchemist among all others actually visited my site and skim read a few of my entries (I presume because the entry he posted was not the day's recent post and to the bloggers, you know what that means) and chose to post in his site a simple prose written by an aspiring writer like me. And so after checking my entry on Coelho's site (News section, now in the Archives), I got to have that sense of achievement. My enthusiasm in writing was ablazed even more.

Yeah! This is what I am driving at. The fight I am fighting is not seeking achievement with material compensation. My fight is to experience the love that consumes. Agape.

Now it has become clearer to me as I write this blog and integrate my recent analysis to previous stored introspections in my memory bank, that my devil is not a dog with many faces but money and the power and prestige it promises. If you may recall with me, the reason why my American dream was born was because of my need to help those who have helped us during Mama's suffering. My purpose was to finance my dream to build a school for children with special needs who are growing in number in our locality but has no facilities to provide them with the quality intervention they deserve. My reason too was to get myself back to school (with my kids of course going to the best schools) and finish a degree in Clinical Psychology and be an author of books in Psychology and stuff that could give life more meaning for people.

Rationalizing?

I may be. Yes I am. But it is only through seeking your own reality and questioning your own intentions that you can give more meaning, deeper that is, to your own existence.

So be it…

CABAnata 8: Enthusiasm

Which kind of love are you talking about: eros, philos or agape?

Eros is the usual love that exists between two people.

Philos is love in friendships. It is also that love felt when the flame of eros stopped burning between couples and still they stick together.

While agape is the love that consumes. And this may be experienced in the form of enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm meant trance or ecstacy -- a connection with God. Enthusiasm is agape directed at a particular idea or a specific thing. We have all experienced it. When we love and believe from the bottom of our heart, we feel ourselves to be stronger than anyone in the world, and we feel a serenity that is based on the certainty that nothing can shake our faith.


- Petrus, The Pilgrimage


I was very vocal in my past entries how disillusioned I was after attending that seminar for aspiring teachers to the US. It seemed to me that all of my hopes and dreams all crumbled to my feet like some quivering protoplasm withdrawn from its source of nurturance.

The more disheartened I was after a week when my friend called me up telling me she received a call from the agency to attend the orientation for interview. This just meant that she has some chances I didn't have to get an interview from some prospective employers. Another fact: She didn't attend the seminar. I only fed her the details. That pulled the trigger of disillusionment right on my head.

The week after, another friend who is already in the US e-mailed me she has already paid that debt she had in a bank just to go to the US. Next month, she might have a car. This December, she might come home for vacation. Envy? Yeah, right that you are. Envy consumed that little hope I have.

Last week, two friends e-mailed me. They said they are processing their US visa. Come next year, they might be spending the summer there. Good for them, eh?!

Last night, with all the failures I directed to myself, I asked my husband, "What would be our resort if in case I won't be getting a job in the US?"

He answered with a grin on his face, "Well, honey, I don't have any idea. Actually, I don't ever think about it. Believe me, you will get that job you want."

Nice push!

My brother also texted me, "If it will happen, it will happen. Don't be so hard on yourself."
Am I being hard on myself?


This morning, in my way to graduate college, I brought out The Pilgrimage (I honestly haven't finish reading the book yet. This is my third week, I guess. I don't really have the luxury of time to finish the book. I only read it inside the bus to my way to work and home and school.) and went on reading as usual inside the moving vehicle.

Then I reached the agape thing. Then enthusiasm. Then that page on regaining enthusiasm. Then the Blue Sphere Exercise. The moving bus didn't stop me from feeling the blue waves strike my system. The noisy people that moves about in the bus didn't mean a thing. That spark was there. Playing in my mind. Getting through my veins.

To those who have read the book, they know what I am talking about. I mean, it seemed the whole world stopped with the lines as I read them. The words are so powerful that my imagination worked with every description. And I seem to actually experience that blue sphere consuming my being.

The driver's yell dragged me back to reality. And I promised to myself, I shall perform the exercise. My only problem now is: With whom?

Nah!

Disheartenment is failure to see the importance of your struggle. I feel some degree of shame. I thought I was fighting the good fight. But I wasn't. I am not. Because I still haven't searched that substance that will keep my dream from sparkling even in the midst of darkness.
Indeed, I am a pilgrim... still searching for purpose and meaning.


What is there behind my US dreams?

Wealth?

Pristege?

Power?

All seem so earthly for me.

Ah! Blogging even gives me more meaning because my realizations I am able to express in words and share to people, touch them in some way even when we move in different planes.

Life space?

Yeah, move about in different life spaces.

Sour graping?

Sweet lemoning? (If there seems to be a term.)

I hope not. I am just expressing my thoughts... for now.

CABAnata 7: The Pilgrimage, My Pilgrimage

Time flies so fast. As I have recollected with you, my American dream was born in 2005. I started from scratch. I only had an ounce of hope. But I pursued. I may not still be in the US but I am struggling like many others.

I started reading The Pilgrimage I think a couple of weeks ago and haven't finished the book yet because of too much work load -- as a Counselor and as a student. Idagdag pa diyan ang pagiging wify ko at momma-my sa two girls ko na super sa kakulitan (the source of my profoundest hormonal joy) pero malalambing at matatalino at cutie (kagaya ko... hope Ronald won't be able to read this!). So I am not ready to post an entry for my Bookworm Review, though a line... I mean lines, have caught my attention. Sabagay, halos ng binabasa ko ay puro pinadungis ng highlighter dahil mahilig akong mag-emphasize ng mga magaganda at meaningful lines sa mga binabasa ko (liban sa hiniram kong book kay Mamita) at lahat ng corners ay may sulat. "Letra lang ang walang latay" kumbaga dahil kapag sumasang-ayon ako sa nabasa ko, nag-leave ako ng comment. Pati kapag taliwas sa paniniwala ko ay nag-disagree din ako at ipinapamukha ko sa author ng librong binabasa ko ang mali sa point niya... though sa book ko lang naman ipinararating. Diddums!

And before I say more than you can bear, here is the line from the book that I thought applied to my own journey, struggle... my pilgrimage in life.

-- Petrus and Paulo started their Pilgrimage to the Road to San Tiago in search of Paulo's sword (whatever that is, it's for me to read pa). They crossed the Pyrenees in six days which could have only been travelled in a day. The distance from their point of origin to their destination is only seventeen kilometers. Petrus just pulled off Paulo in different routes to teach him a lesson. And this applied to me. And perhaps with you, too. Paulo didn't notice such because Petrus said, "The only thing that existed was your desire to arrive at your goal."
Petrus added, "When you are moving toward an objective, it is very important to pay attention to the road. It is the road that teaches us the best way to get there, and the road enriches us as we walk its length. And it is the same thing when you have an objective in your life. It will turn out to be better or worse depending on the route you choose to reach it and the way you negotiate that route."

Petrus is right, right?

Sometimes, we are too pre-occupied with our goals in life that it is the only thing that matters to us. We fail to see the road we take... the beauty in every experience and the relationships we build. I think this is what caught me most. As I journey, there at times I set aside some things I think are trivial but in the long run, I find myself getting mad at myself, saying, "Bakit ba hindi ko nakita iyon?" When it is but just common sense that I should have seen it or done this and that. But because my focus is the future, I forgot to consider the here and now... which is not just as equally important, but most important because this is what dictates the outcome of that future you are looking forward to and desiring to have.

In some ways, the road I chose to reach my objective is NOT forced. Every opportunity came my way. Every situation I find myself into is to my advantage. I grabbed them and savoured them with much enthusiasm. I went back to school. Finished some of the subjects but I never absent from class even the lessons are familiar. Every quiz and exam, I reviewed like they were the first time. They said I can just ask my professors to consider me as a refresher student, but I did not. I reported in class, submitted requirements on time and took my exams like everybody else. Special considerations? Nah! I hate those stuff! I want to earn every unit with my own effort. With that, I did not just earn the respect of my professors (good grades included) but also friends. If I frquently absent in class, would I have this kind of bond with my co-SpEd majors? I doubt it!

In my pilgrimage, I also became closer to my colleagues in school since we now share the same secrets. Hahahaha!!!

In my struggle, I have also nurtured my relationship with my aunts (father side), of whom I can say was never like this when Papa was still alive. We e-mail every now and then. They send my kids goodies and got some pairs of shoes. Diddums! But aside from that, the connection between us did not fade in the absence of my father, mas tumibay pa nga.
In my journey, I have proven my Ronald's love and support in all my undertakings (kasi daw sabi niya makikinabang siya sa dolyar! jokingly though!). My family, my brother Yamoj na talaga namang spoiled ako.

And lastly, my Creator, who provides me the eye to read amongst my pilgrimage His signs. Hope I understand them correctly. Thank you great Father for your gift of ME. I have known myself better through others -- what I am capable to do and achieve and what I am not destined to be.

Indeed the roads we travel are as important as our goals... even much more because they show us who we are and teach us the right path to that dream.

Hail to Thee!!!

CABAnata 6: Do You Follow Your Star?

things will turn out well...

i am not in place to give encouragement for i have not followed what i always wanted...

but this i tell you ma'am...

shoot for the star!

-rai

Rai is one among the first graduates I have as a counselor at CKC. I didn't know she was following my blogs until she left a comment on one of my entries -- CABAnata 5: Divine Intervention and I'm quite inspired by her words.

I have always wanted to be a Counselor. I also wanted to pursue a degree in Clinical Psychology. I got married. Had children. I remained devoted to my vocation. In addition though, I was driven by the tides to what they call Special Education.

I tutored a child with autism. Then a child with mental retardation. Then came another child with autism. Then with a learning disability. Then with partial deafness. Until they grew in number. They came and they went. But all of them left an imprint in my life.

Then I finished my MA in Guidance and Counseling. Then a stupid Guidance and Counseling Act which had taken for granted my Master's degree and my nine years as a counselor. Would I take the Board Exam? I'm not decided yet.

Then opportunities poured. I grab each one with enthusiasm... with much hope in my heart that I may remain loyal in the profession I chose and be more than what I can imagine I could be. Perfectionist? No, I'm not. I just believe that if I was created in the image of God, then I can be whatever I want to be as long as I bear the goodness of intentions in my heart.

I don't want to just look up to the sky like what Vanessa and I usually do. I want to be one among the stars... giving light to many. Inspiring.

Oct 16, 2007

CABAnata 5: Divine Intervention

Have you; even for once in your life have experienced Divine intervention? Or have you tried challenging God to give you a sign especially so when you are at a verge of fear to decide on something, whether you are doing the right choice or not?

I have. Not just once but many times in my life.

Don't I feel ashamed of what I do because it is as if I am putting to the test the existence of a more powerful being than I am? Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. Isn't it that even Jesus himself tried to seek a sign from the Father when his death was nearing but in the end, he humbly said, "Let thy will be done."?

And so that's what I do, too. I knock and I hope for a positive response from the Father to open His door for my intentions.

Why am I telling all these stuff?

It is because of that "Not so highly qualified!" thing I am still worried about. It really bothers me you know. It is as if my dreams and plans are evaporating into thin air before my very eyes. Even when I said I don't hope much and that I just let the opportunities come and grab them if they do, in my heart, I know that this is the only hope I have not to let my children experience the same conditions I had as a child, as a growing teenager, as a student, as an adult and as a mother. Whatever these are, they involve painful experiences (traumatic in more ways than one) with financial difficulties as a source of or an off-shoot to something and of something. Most Filipinos know what I am talking about. I need not expand.

Divine intervention. No doubt it is there. I only falter to believe its existence. But every now and then He reminds me He is just there.

Let me count the ways. The night before I left for Manila to attend the seminar, I had a dream. A little bit vague. It was my mother. I remembered my brother's line when I almost forgot Mama's birthday last September 11, her 51st supposed to be. Yamoj said, Mama might visit me. In Tagalog, mumultuhin daw ako ni Mama. I shrugged away the thought. But indeed she did, not to scold me though, but to encourage me to pursue my dreams. How did I say that? In my dream I heard her (actually I said my dream was vague because I didn't really see her face, but I felt it was her because of the gentleness of her voice and the feel she left in my heart) telling me that I should not give up. And that I have to be patient, something to that effect. She also mentioned some numbers I wasn't sure of and what is it all about. If these numbers were lottery winning numbers or what?! Geeezzzzz!!! But some angel whispered me, it is a sign.

I woke up crying a bit and pushed through as planned without clarity whatsoever about my dream. Then again, while I was packing my things, my husband and I had a little disagreement on what I am going to wear (which I already mentioned in CBAnata 4). I said my casual jeans are okay but he wants me to wear something formal (which I later on followed, of course he won me out again with his arguments) because if I did, I wouldn't have a coat. Day before, I texted my aunt, borrowing a coat of cream, black or brown hues since the only slacks I have is of these shades. But unfortunately, she wasn't able to lend me one. Or so I thought. Because before I boarded the bus to Manila, their van was in front the bus and she was frantically waving the coat out the window. In short, I had a coat. I counted to myself, second sign.

While in the bus, I recalled my dream. Thinking my butt out what the numbers really meant. I even can't remember what numbers were mentioned though I know there were. Again, I heard a small voice playing in my head telling me that the numbers were seventeen (17) and four (4). "What are these?", I asked back, even more puzzled this time. Then the voice said (Hey, just a warning: I am NOT a lunatic!), "One year in preschool, six years in grade school, four years in high school, four years in college, two years in graduate school before you got married ("Before Mama died, too.", that was my mind butting in.), so that's equal to seventeen."

"Yeah right! How about the number four?"

The voice continued, "You continued your MA in Guidance and finished it in two years time and you have the next two years to finish your MA in SpEd."

I need not add. The voice inside me was right. Mama was right. I have gone a long way and spent much in my studies (at times sacrificing my time with my kids, I mean usually on Saturdays) that it is impractical for me to just drop my hope.

I whispered a million of gratitude to Him who sent the voice to talk me out of my discouragement. So I had two signs to lighten up my soul which was taken away from me too soon because of that "Not so highly qualified" thing I discussed with you earlier in my previous CABAnata.

When did the third sign come? It also came too soon than what I expected it to come. Last Friday, a friend and I were talking about signs. Another friend was also telling me about "knock and it shall be opened" stuff. I obeyed them. I prayed and prayed. I kept on hoping. I was weaving plans in my head that seemed impossible. Again so I thought because my doubts were answered.

Last Saturday while waiting for a bus to bring me to graduate college, the university's associate dean who happened to reside in the same town as I do arrived at the bus station minutes away before I was to ride a bus, just enough to tell her my dilemma, and just enough, too for her to give suggestions on how to solve my problem.

She suggested I take up MA in Science Education in the same university the following semester. I will be majoring in SpEd (since I am about to finish this semester all the academic requirements for SpEd) and Science becomes my minor. As for the four subjects I was supposed (one of which I have taken last summer) to repeat (because I was starting a new curriculum), she suggested that I ask for re-evaluation and if it is possible, be converted to PhD subjects.

That's it! As easy as I felt pathetic, I regained hope in a minute or so. Third sign.

My weekend, I spent it contemplating. Thanking too for the opportunities that come. I'll grab them. I know these are for me. I hope they are (Some jarred isolated note of disheartenment, eh!).

Divine intervention. They don't just come as they please. They are always there. In little ways. In subtle ways. In big-bang ways. But they are always there. It is just up to us to open our eyes and hearts and souls to the power of His presence.

And so be it!




P.S.

I would also like to thank you my dear readers for journeying with me. Writing is where I release my anxiety, my tension, that I may, in some way achieve a sense of well-being, homeostasis in a more scientific term (no matter how temporary the palliative effect may be), but it is through the words I share you that I maintain my sanity and my being.

CABAnata 4: The Checklist (Anxiety Could Kill!)

I am too anxious to be excited. Last week, I needed to keep myself busy about almost everything. From my reports in school, counseling schedules, Homeroom Guidance activities, preparation and proof-reading of just procured test materials for students and teachers, visualizing and making teaching aids for my demo teaching for my practicum, making reviewers for Bea for her unit test and all other stuff that has nothing to do of acknowledging the source of my anxiety, that is, attending the seminar-evaluation on potential teachers to the US at the Intercontinental Hotel.

Yes! I was so damn good hiding my anxiety that most of the people around me seem so sure I was confident I can make it. I am confident. Yes I am. I am confident that I have inadequacies in the requirements for hiring. I am confident that there are certain criteria I cannot meet. And yes, there really was. That added up to my anxiety.

Last Sunday during the seminar, I got so pre-occupied of mixed feelings that fully enveloped me from the tip of my toe nails to the farthest end of my hair. First, I worried on what to wear. I had a dilemma whether to use casual jeans or wear a coat and some formal stuff. I worried on what time to wake up and where to get my ride. I worried on how to deal with the people around the hall, the organizers and the participants. I worried whether I could make it or pass the evaluation.

By golly! I have everything to worry about.

The form was given to us. The facilitator said, we fill up every detail with accuracy. I went over first on the checklist for "highly qualified". And it said:

18 education units : check
at least 3 years teaching experience : check
student teaching/practicum : not sure (regular student teaching unit is 6, while I only have 3 units)
currently teaching : not sure (I am not certain whether my Homeroom Guidance is accepted as teaching immersion as well as my tutorial: negotiable?)
30 units subject area : what area? (SPED? I already have more than 30 units. Math? Science? Argh!)

In summary, I am NOT highly qualified!

Am I vindicated with my anxiety?

Yes, I am.

No doubt!

Could my anxiety make me more qualified?

Nah-ah!

It could kill me.

Yes it can.

I'm dead meat!

My cousin told me, "Break a leg!"

Yeah, right!

I broke that little hope in me.

Yeah, I'm dead meat!

Oct 15, 2007

CABAnata 3: American Dream, Anyone?

The President said that the peso is gaining its stability and appreciating in value. The advertisement I saw last night was as ironic as it was presented. A woman (mother) was talking about how her burden of raising a family has grown lighter because of the low price medicines the government has to offer. While I have just been to the grocery store and fortunately found out how unfortunate my one thousand peso bill has become. Milk increased in price from fifteen to thirty pesos (or more). Isn't it that this is the most important item mothers like me should buy especially so when raising your kids, especially those with babies?
Just a thought to ponder on anyway...

But why did I start my CABAnata in such a pessimistic manner. Well of course to exaggerate my point and well of course, to rationalize my decision of going to the US.

Let me again quote the following details (as fact) from Wikipedia:

Population in Diaspora

There are more than 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, about 11% of the total population of the
Philippines.[1]

Each year, the Philippines sends out more than a million of its nationals to work abroad through its overseas employment program. Others leave to become permanent residents of their country of destination. Overseas Filipinos are typically known to be as doctors, accountants, IT professionals, engineers,
[8] entertainers, teachers, nurses, military servicemen, students, bar girls, domestic helpers,[9] housekeepers,[9] and caregivers.

Did I drive my point clear?

If it still seems vague to you, well, here is what I want to say:

"Get your butt the hell out of the Philippines if you want to finance your dreams and make them come true."

Did I sound so unFilipino? Well, not. I was just stating a painful fact. Painful because I am hurting for the millions of Filipino migrant workers who sacrificed leaving their families just to give their love ones the best opportunities they could offer (which is unlikely achieved in their own hometown). And the more pain I feel as I browsed down :

According to estimates by the
Central Bank of the Philippines, overseas Filipinos are expected to send back $14.7 billion in remittances to their ancestral homeland in 2007, up from $14 billion in 2006.[10]

Again I ask: Where does this sum amount of money go?

Decision: I have decided to take the risk and plunge into the unexpected than breaking my bones working here more than ten hours a day with a take home net pay of nine thousand pesos which would only last one week before the next pay day.

Fact: I'm not leaving for good though. I just want to earn ample wealth (so to speak) to build a better house (without the termites) for my kids, send them to the best schools until they finish college and they can finance their own further studies if they wish to. And of course for my studies again because I really wanted to take up Clinical Psychology and put up my own clinic or further my knowledge in Special Education so when I come back here in the Philippines for good, I can put up my own SpEd school and regular school that mainstream children with special needs without fear that their fees are wasted because individualized services due them are not given or provided for.

Another Fact: My American Dream is just a stepping stone, not an end in itself. In short, I'm just taking advantage of the opportunity. Bluntly I say, "Ginagamit ko lang ang Amerika para matupad ang pangarap ko para sa Pilipinas."

Last Fact: I only sound like I hate the Philippines.