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What is your treasure?

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The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.

In today’s gospel, I am struck by the question, what is your treasure? What is your pearl? What is that something that you are willing to give up all that you have because you find the best in life.

I remember the time when I stayed in a retreat house for a few days because of the injustice I felt I experienced at work. I had a hard time accepting the fact that those kind of things really happen in life. People who will accuse and attack you personally discarding all the effort you’ve done in the past. In the first two days, I found myself complaining to God. I would sit in the chapel looking at God with those angry eyes, shouting from the top of my lungs inside of me (I cannot really shout in the retreat house, they might think something is wrong with me). But no matter how I prove myself right and them wrong, God remain quiet. As if He is just there in front of me, patiently looking at me. Nodding His head from time to time but saying nothing. Until, I am exhausted. I am tired of everything. And then, I felt His embrace.

Then, I realized, I forgot what is the most important to me. Is it my job? Is it the opinion of others towards me? Is it to prove that I am right? God reminded me to look inside and see what is important to me. Then, for the next few days, I searched and searched. I looked deep inside of me. I am searching for a treasure, a precious pearl.

Before I left the retreat house, my heart is light, my eyes are bright because I finally found that treasure. And since that day, no matter others do, no matter what others think, no matter what others say, I will just look at them and smile because I found my treasure inside.

 

 

Pag-ibig

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Ano nga ba ang pag-ibig?

Ito ba ay ang mga nakaw na sandali?

O mga kasinungaling natutunang bigkasin?

Makasama lamang ang taong iniibig.


Ang pag-ibig ba ay ang mahihinang usapan?

Sa hatinggabi habang ang paligid ay tahimik?

O ang madalas na away at selos?

Ngunit magbabati rin naman pagkatapos.


Ang pag-ibig ay parang isang barya.

May dalawang mukha, may dalang halaga.

Nasa atin kung alin ang titingnan

Ang masayang umpisa o ang sakit sa dulo ng kabiguan?


Kung ikaw ay iibig dahil sa kalungkutan

O dahil sa ikaw ay nasaktan

Ang payo ko lamang kaibigan

Pag-aralang unahing mahalin ang sarili bago ang sinuman.


Dahil walang sinuman ang kayang magmahal sa iyo

Maliban sa iyong sarili at sa Diyos 

Kung pipiliting sa iba hanapin ang pagmamahal na hanap mo

Naku, ihanda ang puso sa anumang sakit na dulot nito.


Words are Empty

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Words. What are they? Words are combination of letters that we assign to a specific thing, person, action, event, place, ideas and a lot more. But knowing a word does not mean experiencing whatever that it represent.

I love words. Maybe this is the reason why I choose to be an English teacher. I am fascinated by how words can describe a place, can stir up emotions, can bring up memories. But as I grow older, I appreciate words more when I experience it.

For example: paradise

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The word paradise has different meaning to a lot of different people, for me paradise can be a place where I can see God’s magnificent creation. I love mountains and lakes and oceans, and when I am in these places, I experience paradise.

Another word is friendship. Everyone knows the dictionary meaning of friendship but the true essence of this word can only be felt by those who are experiencing it. I am blessed to have a lot of friends. Through them, I understood what friendship really means. When I talk about friendship, I remember them. Here are some of my friends. Forgive me for those I failed to include their pictures here, like what I said, I have a lot of friends.

writing friends.jpgMy writing friends. Our friendship was formed because of our desire to become writers. It is good to experience friendship with those who have the same passion that you have.

LLR.jpgNow, they are my newly found friends when I attended a Single’s Retreat. They are fun and amazing people whose imperfections are offered to God and therefore transformed into something beautiful. It is great to experience friendship with those who like me are also stumbled and failed but never give up and stand up again.

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They are my friends on the meditation group that I belonged to. It is amazing how being together in silence can strengthen friendship.

And my last example is the word Love.

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We know the intellectual meaning of the word Love but we will never understand its power if we never experienced it. Men go to war to fight for love. Women endured the pain of waiting, of labor, because of love. Impossible become possible because of love. Though some attached some negative meaning to the word Love, I believe we as human beings still choose to love.

I will close this with the words from St. Paul,

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthian 13:1

Yes, words are empty until you give them meaning. You can only give them meaning if you experienced it. Use words wisely. Use it to build and not to destroy. Use it to show compassion and care and not hatred. Use it to love because in doing so, living here on earth has a beautiful meaning.

 

 

 

Encouragement to Women

Throughout history women are suppressed. They are either a commodity, a prize, or even a curse to a man. Though men are to rescue them and rally war for them, women are kept silent. They are to obey their father’s wishes when they were young and to obey their husband’s command when they are old and married. And throughout history, we can see how some women rise up and stand for themselves. These women were not afraid to face criticism from their family and friends. And because of these women, we are now free to live the kind of life we are meant to live.

Still, there are those who are afraid of their own light. Women who prefer to be on the background supporting a man. Though this might be considered noble and admirable to some, I believe it has to be done with the total permission from the woman. Because like a man, a woman has her own purpose in life. She has her own needs, her own desires, her own fantasies. And to neglect these these that make her an exquisite creature to behold, she will lose the fire, the passion, to continue nurturing the earth. And to these moments of confusion, I offer these encouragements as they were my own encouragement in my moments of despair and disappointments.

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Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
(Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/48985)
Maya Angelou, a woman who inspired millions of people despite being a black woman. On this poem, she showed how woman can be phenomenally for just being who she is. I love the lines “When you see me passing,  It ought to make you proud.” because it reveals that we are not be competing with each other but rather become proud of who we become as a woman.
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A prayer written by Marianne Williamson on her book Enchanted Love shows how strong a woman can be. We can pray for someone’s happiness even though that happiness did not include us.
Dear God,
I pray for the loves of my past,
those who chose me and those who did not.
I pray for their happiness,
their growth and their good.
May their hearts be filled with light
and their desires fully satisfied.
May they find what they are seeking,
although it could not be me.
Amen.
And to those women who decided to live an ordinary life because it is easy and comfortable, may this message from Nadine Stair encourage you to stand up, wear your bootstrap and continue living an adventure-filled life.
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If I Had My Life to Live Over by Nadine Stair

If I had my life to live over,

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.

I’d relax, I would limber up.

I would be sillier than I have been this trip.

I would take fewer things seriously.

I would take more chances.

I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.

I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would perhaps have more actual troubles,

but I’d Have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I am one of those people who has lived sensibly and sanely,

hour after hour, day after day.

Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again,

I’d have more of them.

In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.

Just moments,

one after another,

instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere

without a thermometer, a hot water bottle,

a raincoat and a parachute.

If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If i had my life to live over,

I would start bare foot earlier in the spring

and stay that way later in the fall.

I would go to more dances.

I would ride more merry-go-rounds.

I would pick more daises.

(Source: http://www.simplybeing.org.uk/index.php/poetry/78-if-i-had-my-life-to-live-over-by-nadine-stair)

      And one last thing my dear friend, don’t forget that you are never alone. A man might not understand your mood swings and your unconditional love but remember, there’s always a woman willing and ready to listen to your stories because all women know and understand how lonely it is to be in the world.

 

 

If I am brave enough

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If I am brave enough to live my life

I will ride a bike every morning under the sun

Feel the wind as it touches my face

And dance in the sound of nature

If I am brave enough to admit what I want

I will climb mountain, and valleys

Swim on rivers and lakes and seas

Go an stare at the baby’s laughing trips

If I am brave enough to say what I feel

I will tell you how much you mean to me

The laughter, the struggle, the little moments

Which makes the every day, extraordinary

If courage is all I need

To live this life to the brim

I will take tons of it

To pour out as I walk the street

 

My Essence is Heart

Today, I am blessed to attend the Day of Stillness and Silence at Benpres Building under the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM). We had Sir Rivkha Rogacion, RGS who shared about “Grounding your Essence with Meditation”. She talked about the different types of Essence. Though everyone have these essences but there is always one dominant. She shared that the three major essence of a person is the Head, the Heart and the Gut.

What I love about Sister Rivkha’s sharing is that she done through demonstration. She picked up three people from the audience and told us certain signals that will tell us which has the Head, the Heart or the Gut essence. And through these people we identify what essence we have.

At first, I thought I have the head essence. I think a lot and most of my friends would tell me how mental I am. But as the demonstration went by, I realized I have the heart essence.

The World of the Heart Essence

I always see the goodness in a person. Before I judge him, I will easily give my trust. Believing that “All men are good”. Though the negative side of that, I am easily abused by people. Sister Rivkha said that our own essence when it is pushed into something intolerable became our own weakness.

“Our own essence cannot be changed”, according to Sister Rivkha.  We are fashioned by God when we are inside our mother’s womb. The changes seen on the pregnant mother is not the qualities the mother gave to her child but the child’s characteristics shown through the mother. Sister’s words are “the mother was somehow possessed by the child inside her womb.” And the interesting thing about it is that, once the mother gave birth to the child, the mother returned to her own self, her true essence.

Now, I appreciate myself more. It seems that this sharing answered my questions to God this week, “Why I am like this? Why I am so emotional. Why I easily get depressed. Why I think of others so much while I have to think of myself first.” Also, I appreciate others more. It seems a heavy burden was lift in my shoulders. I don’t have to change others. I don’t have to change myself. All I have to do is to accept who I am and who others are. Yes, a person will always have negative side but I just have to remember that these negatives sprung from the positive side of their essence. And that, in the end, all is well.

Namaste.

P.S. You want to know more about the World Community for Christian Meditation, visit http://www.wccm.org/

Procrastination: Three reasons I told myself why I should not procrastinate

Procrastination – According to Wikipedia, Procrastination is is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the “last minute” before a deadline. If you are going to ask me, I would prefer the first definition of Procrastination. It gives me a sense of justification why I procrastinate.

But, as all of us, I am also trying to kill it, stop it, do something about it (I might do it tomorrow, just kidding) As a normal human being, a woman of 26 years old, I am faced with a lot of to do list, not just for work but also for other areas of my life, like my health, my finances, lovelife. Well, most of us would like to be more productive right? So how can I write a chapter of a book, write atleast two blog posts, do my job (though I am working as a homebased accounts specialist), do my exercise, read a book, call up clients, talk to some men (I am searching you know), and take care of my personal needs? Here’s the three things I tell myself every time procrastination knocks on my door.

1. What is my purpose? I know this might sound corny or something but when you really ask yourself why you do things you do, you will get a clear reason to do it.

Yes, there are cases where I even justify my actions even though I know my purpose. Like, when I am supposed to write a chapter for my book, I would tell myself that I can do it some other time, besides my deadline is on November this year. I still have plenty of time. Just like my old excuse when I was in college. Though I would cram before the deadline and promise myself not to postpone my tasks, I still do it. I never thought that I would still have it now that I am already working.

See how powerful habits are. Now, I am creating a new habit in writing. Yes, I am still struggling to make it work but I am confident that as I continue to follow through it will be a lot easier.

     2. Do it Now – With my type of work, I have plenty of time to use to whatever I wanted to do. I am working as a homebased accounts specialist for a company. I am working at the comfort of my home and I don’t need to go to the office. Imagine that freedom! I can just sleep, eat, watch TV anytime I want. I remember the first month that I began working homebased, I asked myself what should I do now? You see, before this job, I am a regular school teacher. I am accustomed to waking up around 5am, be in school before 7am, teach until 4pm and go home by 5pm. I had this routine, now that I can just use my time to anything I want! Wow, that’s freedom!

    Though there are downside of it. Remember the habit thing I told you earlier? It eats me. But because I don’t teach on times, I am teaching before, I have to fill in that time with something. Can you guess what that something is? Well, I am bigger now than I am before, so you can tell what it is. My resolution to my problem? Write my To Do List. What’s interesting fact I learned about To Do List is this, you can still choose to ignore your To Do List. The list will not complain, though i finished some of them.

     So now, what I am doing? I do the task NOW. If I remember I have to do something, I immediately write it down on my virtual sticky note. Because I am always working with my computer, this is very helpful to me. I would include my deadline on the note. And start doing it.

     3. Rewards – I identify the rewards I will get once the task is done. Some of these rewards are: the sense of accomplishment every time I delete the task, the peace of mind I had every night knowing that I finished a lot of things that day, the free time to do other fun things like meeting up with friends, play badminton, jog and play some FB games. My rewards sometimes came from outside sources but I learned to give rewards to myself every time I do things now. This makes my day a lot more exciting, productive and fun.

      Again, when I am tempted to procrastinate, your put the things I have to do now for later, I told myself these three things: What is my purpose of doing this task? Why would I do it? Do It Now because I don’t know what will happen later. I might have other important things I have to do later. And lastly, I asked myself, what will I get in doing this task. Sometimes, I have to trick myself with doing that. It might be weird but I have been doing it for the wrong reasons why should I not use it on my own advantage.

     Now, I still delay things. But I delay gratification. I now look on the kind of future I want to have. A future that will not be possible if I don’t stop procrastination.

On Taking Pictures

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       Lately, I learned the art of taking selfies. I guess this change on my perspective of taking my own picture changed after I took the trilogy signature leadership program given by OCCI few months ago. During my Leap journey, I am part of the Leap 61: Wholehearted, I learned the fact that I am physically beautiful. You might find this something funny and shallow but for a person who believes for the longest time that being physically beautiful is bad and unattractive this discovery is huge.

      C360_2014-12-15-18-24-38-281I found myself enjoying when I took pictures of some events in my life. Last December 15, 2014, I went to watch a movie with a friend. This is unplanned and this is the first time I watched a movie with Rona Bartolini. I met Rona during our Truly Rich Club events, as I am a staff and she is a volunteer. Somehow me and Rona clicked instantly. We would talk like some old friends and I enjoy her company.

      We watched the movie “The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies”. We met at SM Megamall in the afternoon of Dec. 15, to get the book that I borrowed from her. While sitting I just shared with her that I like to watch a movie but I don’t want to do it if I’ll watch alone. To my delight, she said she also wanted to watch a movie. So we decided that I’ll wait for her at Starbucks as I do some work while she go to her meeting. By 4 in the afternoon we watched the movie at Edsa Shangrila Cinema 2.

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        This is my latest favorite. I took this selfie last November 30, 2014 at St. Paul University in Quezon City when I attended the Sayawit 2014, a celebration of song and dance prepared by the high school students from Manila, Quezon City, Rizal, Marikina and Laguna who are the members of the Salikana Bayan, a religious school organization headed by the religious congregation of the Alagad Ni Maria Seminary.

       I can say that during this time, I feel depressed and weighed down by different concerns of life. But I guess looking at this picture, no one can say that I am experiencing such difficulties. I guess what i have in this photo is the genuine joy I have inside. Besides being with the SLK Family made my love tank full of love and acceptance.

     I recently had a date and though the date ended well, my date asked me if we can have picture together. I politely refused. I saw the confusion on his face when I said it so I immediately explained to him. “Hey, don’t be hurt. I really don’t take pictures in a romantic date. I prefer to have the memories in my head than on a picture.” I guess, he understood because he smiled.

    I guess, creating memories is still more important than capturing a moment in a photo. Yes, you will have a tangible evidence of the event but sometimes the beautiful things don’t need to be put in a frame. I learned this truth from the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”.

Credit to the owner of the picture used in the beginning: http://folkfoto.co.uk/taiking-photos-22.jpg

The Gifts of Waking Up Early

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http://Photo Credit: Eduardo Estéllez via Compfightcc

 December 12, 2014

    For the past few days, I always find myself waking up around 4am. I don’t know why but it always happens. I remember some friends who were doing meditation (I am part of the WCCM here in the Philippines) that they would meditate during this hour. They said that there is something about this time. I told myself it might be the silence during this time of the day where most people in the city are still asleep. Some of them would look out from their windows and see the beautiful sky outside. On my case, I just don’t know why I would wake up during that time.

    Last night I arrived home around 11;30 in the evening. I came from our office in Ortigas and I went straight to Benpres Building for the meditation session. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who just wanted to be silent and be connected to the source. The group is ecumenical so faith and religion is not an issue. Everyone respects everybody but come together to meditate. We are reminded by Argel (the leader of the group) to be faithful to the practice of meditation. We are encouraged to meditate in the morning and in the evening. Before leaving the group, I told myself I will try do it everyday.

    And then opportunity came this morning. I woke up around 4am. I tried to go back to sleep because it is still early but I can’t. Then, I remember to meditate. I set my alarm for 20 mins. I will do the laying meditation (there’s a lot of way of doing meditation). As always, the first few minutes my mind is going wild with the things I have to do today. There even come to a point when I asked myself why the alarm is not ringing. I might set it wrongly. Then, I remember the reading we had last night from the teaching of John Main. When distractions came, just IGNORE them. That’s what I did, I ignore the distractions without punishing myself for having them. When I am distracted, all I have to do is to go back in saying the mantra. After 20 minutes, my senses are wide awake. I am energized. I am excited to start my day. This are fruits are some fruits of meditation but I don’t meditate to receive these kinds of rewards. I just want to spend some time connecting to God. Allowing Him to speak to me through the silence.

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http://Photo Credit: Roger Smith via Compfightcc

    After meditating, I get my Bible and my Daily Bible Reading Book. I looked up for the Bible Readings for today. I am blessed by this line taken in the Gospel for today.

                Luke 1:46-47

                   And Mary said: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

    I’ve been struggling for the past few weeks and recently I realized the reason why I am so depressed. I forgot to rejoice in God. I forgot to be grateful to all the blessings He unselfishly shower upon me. I forgot to have a grateful heart despite of what is happening in my life. I forgot to trust in Him. I am so blessed to have friends who reminded me of God’s love. Through them I know that whatever mistake I might have done, whatever bad decision I might have, He still loves me. Mother Mary is a true symbol of God’s faithful servant. In this regard, I always find consolation every time I pray the rosary because I know Mother Mary is with me, interceding for me.

     Then, by five in the morning, I decided to jog at Marikina Sports Center. At first, I felt some resistance inside of me. There is a small voice telling me what’s the point of going out early just to jog. Good thing I didn’t listen to that voice, by 6 in morning I am jogging in the oval of Marikina Sports Center looking at the clear sky, breathing the cool wind. I even saw the sun rising this morning. What a gift.

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         By 7am, I arrived home. While waiting for the breakfast that my mom is preparing I watched my favorite Asean Novela Queen Seon Deok. The Tagalog Version of it is being shown in Channel 12 of Signal Cable. Though I was able to watched it before (like years ago) I still find myself interested in watching it. Aside from my fascination with Kings and Queens and how their dress are delicately made, I am learning a lot from this kind of show.

        After eating breakfast, fried rice with daing and fried eggplant, I went home to have a refreshing shower. By 9am, I am ready to start doing my work. I am fortunate to have a job that doesn’t require me to go to the office. I can work at the comfort of my home.

       I love having my freedom of time. I can do what I love to do while earning. Gifts are really everywhere, all I have to do is to look and receive them.