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.

Aug 29, 2008

CABAnata 19: The LUKER Fever!

This is my first entry after daring to make a step forward. And today marks the 7th day after the first ever licensure exam for Guidance and Counseling in the Philippines.

Seven long days of anxiety for the 160 of us who dared to make history… our 7th day suffering the “Luker fever”.

The two-day board exam started last August 21, 2008 held at Manuel L. Quezon University, Quiapo, Manila. The experience of just being in the busy streets of Quiapo, passing by the miraculous church where several old ladies unconsciencely sell “pamparegla” (instigate menstruation) roots soaked in whatever liquid that was and goon-looking men hiding themselves behind innocent-looking children waiting for prey was already an ordeal for me to go through. What more would answering 675 items with just a ten-year experience in the field to equip me bring out in me? Oooooohhhhh… the “Luker fever” I guess!

You bet I had the most… I mean, one of the most significant experiences in my thirty years of existence (Yeah! Yeah… I’m thirty years old. Not so young anymore!) during the board exam – it’s being introduced to “Luker” for the first time. And what a heck of an experience!

Have you been subjected to an overwhelming embarrassment all your life?

Oh well, in my case, the only consolation for my embarrassment was… errrr… so far, that is, was that my level of embarrassment wasn’t known to others.

Right that you are! I was caught off guard when I encountered “Luker” and his/her theory encapsulated in almost 10% of the questions in that milestone called “board examination”!

In my previous blog, I mentioned with pride that I have used eclectic counseling for almost ten years now. There are my favorite Person-Centered Approach by Rogers and Existential Theory by May and Frankl and several others. There is also the all-time controversial Psychosexual Orientation by Freud and his famous libido concept; Erikson’s Psychosocial Development; Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; Piaget’s Cognitive Development; Developmental Tasks by Havighurst; the Behaviorist perspective by Pavlov, Skinner and Bandura; Williamson’s Trait-Factor Counseling; Transactional Analysis by Berne; Glasser’s Reality Therapy; REBT by Ellis; Psychosocial Learning by Krumboltz; and a dozen more like Super, Parsons, Roe, Gottfredson, Dawis, Holland, Brown, Young, Mitchelle, Gysbers, Ginzburg and Ginsberg for career pathing. But “LUKER”???

Oh “Luker”! Don’t even know if he is a he or she is a she!!!

Haven’t really met him/her even by-passingly in any psychology-related or guidance and counseling book… more so of his/her theory and developmental stages in counseling.

So how did I answer the almost 10% question?

Easy meat!

I used a bit of common sense.

Spiced with my analytic persona.

And then 99% of “ini-mini-my-ni-moh” stuff!

Sure that’s neat for someone who would like to make history, eh!

But I’m sure as heaven could witness, I am experiencing the “Luker fever” up to this very moment!

Maybe the only way to lower the tension is the board exam result to be posted -- the “gate-keeping” perspective -- either opening some fresh and new heights for me or ending my Guidance and Counseling career.

Duh! Anyway I already have my Special Ed license, it won’t matter much anyway!


Hey, I’m not sour-graping!

Just being realistic anyhow.

But to anyone who happen to pass by my site and read this entry, hope you’ll bridge the gap between me and LUKER!!!

Aug 15, 2008

CABAnata 18: Next Big Step to Be "I am"

Career development involves one’s whole life, not just occupation. As such, it concerns the whole person… More than that, it concerns him or her in the ever-changing contexts of his or her life. The environmental pressures and constraints, the bonds that tie him or her to significant others, responsibilities to children and aging parents, the total structure of one’s circumstances are also factors that must be understood and reckoned with. In these terms, career development and personal development converge. Self and circumstances – evolving, changing, unfolding in mutual interaction – constitute the focus and the drama of career development (Wolfe & Kolb, 1980, pp. 1-2).

“Working lives” and “working histories” – two powerful words, shaping and re-shaping who we are.

This week, will mark another milestone in my life. Career pathing. Life pathing.

After passing the Licensure Exam for Teachers last April with a whooping 84% equivalent to a two-week self-review, I have accepted another challenge – professionally that is. I mean… I have chosen to take a rather courageous step in conquering another licensure examination – the first ever Licensure Exam for Guidance Counselors in the Philippines.

But the pressure is stronger this time. At least when I took the LET then, I had an excuse of not passing. I can easily say even in a bitchy way, “Oh well, I only had my Education units via the Open University System. Modules didn’t teach me well. And I only had a two-week review in my self-contained asylum.” Isn’t that neat?

Yeah! This time is different. B.S. Psychology is my undergraduate degree. I earned my Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling in 2006 from an accredited state university. Guidance and Counseling is my career for ten years now.

I have been practicing eclectic counseling as far as I can remember. Maybe I have mastered the use of REBT and script analysis throughout my practice. I can recite with ease the counseling techniques from cognitive to affective to behavioral domains. Theories? I know them by heart including the theorists. Though Rogers and Frankl are my favorites.

An update? There is the Neurolinguistic Programming. The pioneer in the Philippines is Dr. Imelda Villar. And luckily, I have a copy of all her books.

I have slept over making a module in group process. Consensus theory. Conflict theory. T-groups. I even tried combining my knowledge in Adjunctive Therapeutic Techniques with Group Dynamics. And it works.

I do career counseling every now and then. I can draw with clarity Super’s and Krumboltz’s and Ginzberg’s and Peterson’s career guidance models. Thanks to Parsons who started it all.

Starting January through December, I deal with more than a dozen psychological tests -- from the simple SLU-Verbal and Nonverbal Intelligence Tests to the somewhat complicated Otis-Lennon School Ability Test and Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale; from the easily interpreted Emotions Profile Index to the 16 Personality Factors Test to a seemingly difficult to interpret Adjustment Scales for Children and Adolescents. Item Analysis. Norming. I go over the process year after year after year.

And of course, with the Guidance Program, all these are possible. Ah! The board exam includes the development, administration and maintenance and evaluation of a Guidance Program. What can I say? I just submitted today the final form of our TSDP Challenge or the Tri-lineal Strategic Developmental Plan Challenge. That makes the program developmental in nature.

But my! The pressure is on me. If I fail…

Yeah! If I fail…

Can’t fill-in the blank this time.

But honestly, whether I fail or hit the 75% passing rate, I shall treat myself for accepting the challenge – the challenge of partaking in a milestone in Guidance and Counseling history in the Philippines.

Imagine, even if I fail, at least I can say that I was the first “guinea pig” who failed in the board exam! Nice, eh!!!

But I hope and pray (and hope you’d pray with me and for me, too) that the good Lord shall open my long-term memory bank so I can pick out the correct data from my compartmentalized brain.

This is my career.

This is my choice.

I decided to be here.

Myself. The integration of my personality and society – past experiences, present and future motivations made all these possible.

This is my life.

I am “I”.

Aug 13, 2008

Tuesdays with Morrie (Mondays with Me)

In the South American rainforest, there is a tribe called the Desana, who see the world as a fixed quantity of energy that flows between all creatures. Every birth must therefore engender a death, and every death brings forth another birth. This way, the energy of the world remains complete.

When they hunt for food, the Desana know that the animals they kill will leave a hole in the spiritual well. But that hole will be filled, they believe, by the souls of the Desana hunters when they die. Were there no men dying, there would be no birds and fish being born. I like this idea. Morrie likes it, too. The closer he gets to good-bye, the more he seems to feel we are all creatures in the same forest. What we take, we must replenish.

"It's only fair," he says.

I'm reading two books in a row which I started the other Saturday; both of which is written by Mitch Albom. You guessed it right if you are a fan of this renowned author – Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

It seems I cannot have much time savoring the content of these books. I read one on my way to school and on my way home. Yeah, my usual routine. I read inside the bus. Sorry to Dr. Guani, I never followed her advice. Does that make me a bad patient? Sort of, eh!

But what did I get from reading through Morrie inside a moving vehicle? Headache? Yeah! Headache and nausea. I don't care.

Go back to the above italics, isn't it amazing to know that we are all interconnected? God created you and me and anyone and anything else in this world for a purpose. Not just out of a childish whimsical chuvanes of an ultimate showing off of power. I am here because I was destined to be here. You were born because you were meant to be. A blade of grass grew out of proportion in your neatly manicured lawn because it was preordained by nature to be there. There is meaning in every swaying of the leaves. There is purpose in every drop of dew. There is significance in every lighted fire. There is a consequence for every word spoken no matter how trivial. There is one rhythm the Earth follows. And for a single beat that falters, everything falls out of order.

Death? Life? It is part of the cycle. It is part of the rhythm. It is the beat that all human and animals and plants and even the simplest of all creations – both living and non-living things – everything fills in a destined place, and when it vacates its place, something would fill in the vacated hole.

What the heck is this hole? Simple. It is that key note when left unattended would erode and pull everything else, destroying the beauty and balance of nature. Leaving a vacuum of nothingness.

"I heard a nice little story the other day," Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.

"Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. he's enjoying the wind and the fresh air – until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore."

"'My God, this is terrible,' the wave says. 'Look what's going to happen to me!'

"Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, 'Why do you look so sad?'

"The first wave says, 'You don't understand! We're all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn't it terrible?'

"The second wave says, 'No, you don't understand. You're not a wave; you're part of the ocean.'"

I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again.

"Part of the ocean," he says, "part of the ocean." I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out.

Indeed, we are all part of a great ocean. A greater plan. That even after death, eternity awaits us. Only the physical of who we are dies. And decays. But the wonder of our creation merges with a far reaching purpose. Whatever that may be… I'll just see you when we get there!

Yeah… when our time comes. When we crash to the shore. When we join all other waves. When we realize we are home in our oceans.

And after closing the last page of Mitch's lessons with Morrie, I break loose the page of the other book so I can have a good taste of its substance – trying to find out how is it to have another day with a loved one.

Next issue, I shall post my review for "For One More Day". Feeling so spooky? Hope not. Because Morrie said, "It is only when we learn how to die that we learn how to live."

"Why so?" Again he said, "Everyone knows they're going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently."

"How?" you may ask. I say, "If you knew that you will have to die at exactly six o'clock this evening, I bet you won't honk and curse the old lady crossing passed your CRV. Instead, you'll move out from the comforts of your car and lead that lady where she is headed to."

Now, that's what's makes death help you to become more human. Adding an extra "e" so you become humane.

For the next part of this post -- "Mondays with Me",

Aaaahhhh.... I guess you have to wait until Monday!

Aug 10, 2008

The Five People I Might (Want to) Meet in Heaven

You see, when my time comes, I want to be as prepared as possible that even the people I would meet in Heaven is already playing in my wild imagination. But actually, death is still something I don't want to entertain because I have two little kids I wish to see grow and accept the world's challenges in my presence. Though creepy, the two books by Albom I just read made me realize that life is better lived if one considers death as something that comes unwarrantably.

Death distinguisheth not the kings from the subject, the wealthy man from the pauper, the old man from the youth, the wise man from the fool. Death maketh equals of all men. The size of the palace, the speed of the chariot, the title of thy breastplate and the gold thy possesseth matter nary a bit. Death surely conquereth thee when thy hour is nigh. It is thy truthfulness to thine conscience and loyalty to thy God that shall save thee from the wrath of eternal fire.

Death is indeed indispensable. It comes like a thief in the night. Or even at daybreak that even the most powerful has no authority to command death to depart from him. And if I shall meet my Creator, these are the people I might meet or say want to meet:

1. my Father

This time, I won't be afraid to disclose my anger with him. Afterwhich, I would tell him how much I love him and longed for his presence in my growing up years. If given the chance to choose a father, I would still choose him. Why? Because the blood, the genes, every little fiber that traverses into my system that made me ME comes from him. He who has left me wounded but remained the father whom the Father had bestowed to bring me to life. Therefore, we are both blessed to be the father and daughter that God planned us to be. The pain and suffering that he has caused the child in me to grow immaturely and carry the burden as head of the family was destined to be for without these, I won't be as strong as I am now. Decisive. Principled. These are the lessons he has taught me.

2. my Mother

God made a woman soft as a rose's petals, shed tears to wash away the pain and a tender touch that can encourage even the most coward of all beings. This woman became my mother. She has the gentleness of a shepherdess, the calmness of the breeze but the firmness of an authority to respect. That of which, guided as to grow in full bloom in the absence of a father. The merit of bringing in harmony the hatred that filled our hearts to something of worth is my Mother. And I owe her this life of warmth and compassion behind a facade of firmness.

3. someone I don't expect to see

Whoever this person is might have been someone who has taught me something. And that something is what I am looking forward to of knowing when that time comes.

4. Carl Rogers (just a product of my imagination)

This renowned psychologist might tell me that he has taught me how to be more affective in my approach as a Counselor and Educator – to talk more with the heart than by always trying to rationalize things (Peace Mr. Ellis, I'm not referring primarily with your REBT stuff!). Mr. Rogers had made me realize that feelings are exclusive to every person. And that, a counselor should see beyond what is visible – from the nature of a client's stare, to his fidgeting fingers, to her breathing, and her feigned smile, to his eye movement, with the droop of her shoulder, or in the animation in his voice and the stature of his or her very own words. Know thyself. Person-centered -- not only the person of the client, but my own personhood as a counselor-educator. As the cliche goes: You cannot give what you do not have! So the "I" in my encounters is the most powerful tool to make or break a client. Self-actualization. Thanks for the powerful words.

5. a former reader of this blogsite (just another sinister hallucination… don't feel creepy, eh!)

This someone has encouraged me to write even the most stupid of my ideas. I may just have an average of two readers a day eversince I started this site but these patient souls who so everyday make it there habit to read a line or two inspire me to make use of these words called Byblos originally created by the Egyptians that of which the Greeks of long ago has modified adding five more letters (the vowels) to the bunch of letter symbols which they baptized as the alphabet. A name now used to define the new form of writing which I over-use (I hope not abuse and misuse) to elucidate the core of my existence -- that of which I am created for. Thanks to you who has taught me the virtue of just being ME.

How about you guys, who do you think will your five people be? Let me know so we can write them in this blank canvass others call BLOG but I name LIFE…