Friday, December 21, 2007

[Essay] Freedom of Simplicity

Yesterday, I received a very interesting email from an officemate about the freedom of simplicity written by Bo Sanchez.  It’s quite a long one but it was worth the eye strain and I hope all you dear readers out there will learn from this too.

Freedom of Simplicity
Bo Sanchez

Happiness is not found outside of you. It doesn't come from cars,
clothes, cash, or Caribbean cruises. Happiness is found within.
But how can you find it if you don't have the simplicity of time
and space to discover the most important things in your life?
How can you search the depths of your soul if you are too busy
impressing others, acquiring wealth, protecting your properties, and
paying your debts?
Simplicity is not about the external either: living in a doghouse,
eating in Hepatitis joints, wearing rags.
Let me define what it is: Simplicity is living from the core of your being.

A TREASURE MAP OF HAPPINESS
Simplicity will point to you where and what and who the gold is in your life.
Let me share with you the seven powerful lessons I've learned on simple living:

1. LIVE ON LESS, AND DELIGHT IN THEM MORE

Some take their pleasure dining in classy restaurants, trips to Europe,
and owning the latest home theatre-equipment. I've chosen the simple path:
If I can simply be with my wife, or take a quiet stroll under a canopy of stars,
or play with a child, or read a good book in my home, or laugh with friends
over a pizza, I consider myself richly blessed.
Focus on what you have and not on what you don't have.

2. STOP RUNNING AND WALK INSTEAD

Here's the truth: The person who has covered the greatest distance does
NOT win, but the one who has most enjoyed the journey does. Stop
running around chasing your own tail!
Get off your hurried pace and learn to breathe. Replace doing with
being. Learn to say no to invitations, appointments, and commitments,
activities and events that will rob you of your focus. Learn to say
"yes" to rest, to tranquility, to quietness.

3. YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR WEALTH

I own very few things today. Because I am more than the brand of my
watch, the logo of my shoes, the name of my car. I believe that if in my soul
I deeply respect and value myself, people around me will sense that, and they too,
will value and respect me-whether I'm wearing Armani or not.
You are more than your wealth.

4. AVOID BUYING ON CREDIT

I don't believe in borrowing from credit cards. (For convenience, I use one card
but I pay the whole amount at the end of each month...) If I need something really bad,
I save up for it. Sometimes, at midpoint, I realize I don't really need the darn thing
and give up the whole idea. The only exception I feel we should enter into a
credit is when buying a non-depreciating item, such as housing or land.
I believe we should always live within our earning capacity.
Proverbs 22:7 says, "Those who borrow are slaves of moneylenders.”

5. GIVE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN

If I content myself with P250 shirt instead of P4,000 Lacoste, I can help others more.
Trust me, there is immense pleasure! You will find that the empty thrill of owning a
diamond ring on your finger pales in comparison to the joy of handling a
piece of bread to an orphan child.
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:8)
The Old Testament of tithing, or giving 10% of your income is a good guideline to follow.
The New Testament challenges us to give with a cheerful heart. (When you're cheerful,
you may give more than 10%!) Make it a habit.

6. SAVE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN

Saving is essential to being good stewards of the money that God "lends" to us.
Saving is an important way of providing for our future-both for our needs and
to be generous to others. I recommend that you save at least 10% of your income.
I can almost hear you now: "Bo, that's impossible!" Oh yeah? Well, how did you
live three years back when your salary was one-half its present amount?"
Sacrifice. Many of our needs are actually wants. Is cable TV a need? Will you
suddenly die if you can't watch CNN or HBO? Are those new golf clubs essential
to your existence? Invest in time deposits, long-term stocks and housing.

7. BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET

Make a list of all your monthly expenses, according to categories. Make also a list
of irregular expenses-those that don't come monthly. Set up another savings account
for these expenses and put in a little money each month. To differentiate this from
the savings account, we call ours "freedom account" because it frees us from worrying
about them when they suddenly attack. And stick to your budget!

ONE LAST WORD BEFORE WE CLOSE

Balance.
Don't take living simply to the extremes! Living simply doesn't mean living in deprivation.
There are special days when my wife and I eat in a fancy restaurant. Or, when we splurge into a vacation. Very rare, yes, but my point is that you take living simply NOT as a rigid goal  -  but as a happy process towards the goals of generosity, inner peace and holiness.
Have a nice day! God Bless.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

[Essay] The Paradox Of Our Time In History

I got this from an e-mail message and I believe this one is worth sharing not only to the people in my address book but to the whole world as well.  It is a really simple message but if you really read the quoted passage below, you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn from it and hopefully do something to prove this man wrong.  As for me, I’m going to try. 

            “The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways but narrower viewpoints.  We spend more but have less, we buy more but enjoy less.  We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences but less time.  We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge but less judgment, more medicine but less wellness.

            We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

            We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.  We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

            We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life.  We’ve added years to life not life to years.  We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.  We conquered outer space but not inner space.  We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

            We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted our soul.  We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.  We write more but learn less.  We plan more but accomplish less.  We’ve learned to rush but not to wait.  We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less.
           
            These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.  These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.  These are the days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.  It is a time when there is much in the showroom and nothing in the stockroom. 

            Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.  Remember to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.  Remember to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.  Remember to say ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.  Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.  Give time to love, give time to speak.  And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind. 

And always remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” – George Carlin, a Comedian of the 70’s and 80’s.

Yeah, I’ll try to be a little bit more patient everyday, to spend only on the things I need and can actually enjoy, to get at least eight to ten hours of sleep every night by sleeping early and yes, waking up early for a little quiet time for myself while having breakfast in the garden, with the calming sound of bird song accompanying the rising sun as I give thanks for the mere fact that I’m still alive to enjoy another quiet breakfast in my garden… another day to enjoy, explore, and do the things I love to do.  Another day to kiss and hug those I love… another day to just be and to enjoy quiet moments like these before the world wakes up and I have to go about the rest of the day in a mild whirlwind of deadline pressures, of the incessant ringing of the telephone, and of people rushing to and fro.

Monday, November 26, 2007

[Essay] Three Months Left To Live

A doctor tells you that you have three months left to live, what are you going to do?

DJ Marco: I'd spend it with the people I love just having a good time and making wonderful memories
DJ Marco: then I'd do a lot of the things I always wanted to do
DJ Marco: visit the countries i wanted to see
DJ Marco: say the things i always wanted to say to certain people
DJ Marco: then on my last day, i'd go to a church and light a candle for the people i'd be leaving behind and say a prayer
DJ Marco: then i'd go have a party with friends and family
DJ Marco: then when the exact time comes, i'd go to a room lie down and close my eyes with a smile on my face

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Leah Serran: If I am a family man (not a woman) and a doctor told me I have three months to live, of course natural feelings is to be shocked at first, but first thing that will go in my mind is, "You are not God, it is only God can tell when I should die or how long I have left to live" I will first put my trust in God and be where he wants me to be and when he wants me to go. Next thing I would do is to settle everything I needed to settle if in case I would die. The arrangement for my funeral, the arrangement for my family that they'll be okay when I am gone. Spend all my time with them while I can since I will be gone soon. Make good memories that they can carry to their heart when I am gone. Let them know that I will be staying in their hearts even though I am gone. Live life to the fullest do the things you want to do so that you won't regret it in case you go that you did what you wanted. And always pray for God's blessing and guidance at the same time have faith that whatever the doctor told you it is only God who can take you whenever he wants to.

If it was me, (as a woman and a mom/dad) and the doctor told me I have 3 months to live I would say the same thing that only God can tell me how long do I have to live an have faith at the same time but I would go home to my family right away settle what I need to settle. let everyone I love know how much I love them (Friends and family) and spend most of my 3 months with them as much as I can. I would spend time in the orphanage with them and let them know how I care about orphans (since I am an orphan). So that they will do they same thing when they can at their own time. I will just live my life to fullest too with faith in my heart that God is only the answer to everything. I want to make sure that all the people I love is going to be okay when I leave. That I will remain in their hearts forever and they will remain in my heart forever. I will teach them not to cry over me but be happy because I know I will be right beside my Father looking down watching over you people that I love and care about.

If I have the money to spend I would do more good things on earth and leave a good memory for the Filipinoes because I am flipino in blood!  When I say good things there are a lot stake go to squatters areas give food or anything they need, go to home for the aged ...whatever that my money can do. As long as my family is already safe for the future too!

There are much more to say MG I might fill up your blog I will leave the rest for you since I know we have the same mentality anyway! "First thing to do though ,talk to God through your heart."


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Bonna Balinas: Siguro pag may pera ako, mag-aaround the world ako, tsaka mag-aask ako ng forgiveness sa mga tao na nasaktan ko kahit na, ung mga taong di ko alam na nasaktan ko lahat, tsaka i-peace ko na lang na ganun talaga ung buhay mamamatay naman talaga tayo mas maaga lang ako.  (If I have money, I’ll travel the world, ask forgiveness from those who I’ve hurt and from those I unintentionally hurt and I would make peace with the situation I’m in because life is just like that—in the end we all will die but it just so happens that I am going first). 

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Ms. Kreng Basilio: alam mo kasi napakahirap kasi ng mapunta sa ganung situation eh di ba? Kasi parang ung family mo makikita ung sufferings mo, hindi lang ikaw ung magkukwestyon eh parang siguro pati ung family mo magkakaroon ng question of faith—kumbaga bakit parang kelangan magsuffer kami ng ganito, ano’ng ginawa naming kasalan—siguro kung ako on my part, bakit binigyan ka pa ng asawa, bibigyan ka ng mga kaibigan, nag-eenjoy ka sa buhay tapos bigla ganun lang (snaps fingers) mamamatay ka na pala. Kung iisipin mo, ano ung positive side? Mas maganda na nalaman mo na mamamatay ka kasi meron ka time to prepare, ang ibig ko sabihin, kung hindi ka pa nagcha-change, kung hindi pa ung buhay mo ay naka direct kay God, eh di pwede mo pa baguhin un. Ung three months mo, spend mo para mo hanapin ung purpose mo sa buhay. Kung ang purpose mo sa buhay talaga ay to bring pleasure to God, eh di gawin mo na un, kumbaga binigyan ka na niya ng pagkakataon na mag-serve whereas kung namatay ka sa aksidente, ni hindi ka man lang nakapagpaalam, hindi mo napaghandaan ung magiging buhay mo after ng buhay mo dito, di ba parang ganun. Siguro dapat, dapat napaka-strong ung tao para maging positive pa rin ung outlook niya sa buhay kahit na alam niyang mamamatay na siya. Tingnan mo si Rio Diaz, dati hindi naman siya ganun eh, dati hindi siya religious, hindi siya marunong magsalita about God. Nung nalaman niyang mamamatay siya, instead na mag-dwell siya dun sa pain or sisihin niya ng sisihin ung Diyos bakit nangyari sa buhay niya un, ginamit niya un, parang naging instrument un sa kanya  para siya maging inspiration to influence others. Siguro un ung dapat mong gawin. You have only three months to live, bakit i-spend mo ung three months na un living in pain di ba?  Parang ganun, un ung aking point of view.  Mahirap…madaling sabihin pero napakahirap gawin pero kung may faith ka, alam mo naman na ung reason kung bakit nangyari sayo un, dapat mahanap mo ung totoong dahilan at nang makapag-respond ka ng maigi kung ano ung gusto ng Diyos na maging response mo dun sa trial na un.  (You know, it’s so hard to be in that kind of situation, because it’s painful for your family to see you suffer. Not only you will question your faith but your family will question theirs as well and ask, “Why do we have to suffer like this? What sin did we commit to deserve this?” On my part, I would be asking, “Why was I given a husband, friends and an enjoyable life when all of a sudden, just like that I’ll learn that I’ll be dying?” If you’ll think about it, what is the positive side of this situation? I think it’s better to know that you’re dying because it gives you time to prepare. What I mean is, if you still haven’t change, if your life is not yet directed or centered on God, at least you can still change and turn your life around. Spend your three months finding your purpose in life.  Let’s say that your purpose in life is to bring pleasure to God, then do it. It’s like you were given the opportunity to serve whereas if you die from an accident, you’re not given the chance to say good bye, you’re not even properly ready for your afterlife journey after living out your life on Earth. I think a person should be very strong to still have a positive outlook in life despite knowing the fact that you’re dying. Look at Rio Diaz, before she’s not who she is right now, before she was not religious and she doesn’t talk about God. When she learned she’s dying, instead of dwelling on the pain and blaming God for everything, she used that life-shattering moment, made it her instrument and it became her inspiration to influence other people—and I think that is what you should do. You only have three months to live why spend it living in pain, right? That is my point of view.  It’s hard… it’s easy to say the words but its so much harder to put in into practice… but if you have faith, and you know the reason why it happened to you, you should search deeper for the true reason or meaning so your response to God’s trial will be the response that He is asking from you).

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Mhyra Ignacio: siguro magpapahanap na muna ako ng pari para makapag-confess, tapos maggagawa ako ng letters para sa mga tao na sa akala ko may nagawa ako ng di maganda pero ung purpose naman nun is para makahingi ng forgiveness pero hindi ung para kaawaan nila ako or what kasi mahirap para sa akin ung kaawaan ako kasi sa time na un, hindi un ung kailangan ko, parang ang kailangan ko is lalo nila ako i-uplift para lalo ako’ng guminhawa. Pero hindi lang letter of forgiveness, letter of thanks din. Siguro magrerequest na ako ng mga gusto ko nun! Pagkakataon ko nang i-enjoy ung mga gusto ko as long as kayang ibigay ung gusto ko. (I think, I’m going to ask for a priest so I can have my confession, then I’m going to send out letters to those whom I may have hurt but the purpose of that letter is to ask for forgiveness and not for them to pity me or what because it’s hard for me to be pitied at. Besides, at that time, I probably don’t need pity but what I need is for them to cheer me up so I’d feel better.  But of course, I’m not only sending out letters of forgiveness. I’ll also send out letter of thanks. And most probably, I’m going to request for all of the things I want! That would be my chance to enjoy the things I like as long as money is not a problem).

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Mary Heidi Drilon: Pray and thank the Lord for giving me three months notice to live. Ask forgiveness from those I have hurt, paint a lot and be remembered. Meet family and friends… date with my boyfriend.

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Cristian Valaquio: At last the time I’ve been waiting for! Now, I can finally rest in peace. There’s nothing I can do. You may find my answer kindda stubborn but that’s the truth. Death is inevitable. Kung oras mo na, oras mo na.  Thou shall not fear death for death is just the beginning.

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Lalaine Kristine Miravite: Siguro cry ako. Pero I’m going to live my remaining days as I want.

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Teresita Tablarin: first, I will examine my conscience and do soul searching…where did I go wrong in my life? Did I commit a mortal sin? Then maybe I should start changing spiritually by going first to confession, tapos do some charity work—not necessarily financial, donating money, no… kasi syempre limited din ang income ng isang may sakit for example they are not that rich so financially, magkakaroon ng constraint dahil nagpapagamot syempre not because you’re dying you’ll just wait for your death. You have to do something so instead of sulking, you do something worthwhile before you die so may maiiwan kang legacy hindi lang sa pamilya mo, but also sa sarili mo makarecover ka from your previous mistakes. Another maybe is to talk to people na suffering—you go to cancer wards, talk to them, comfort them—kung kaya pa ng katawan mo, syempre kung hindi na kaya, well, magbasa ka na lang, listen to music, make your life a little more comfortable through music kasi music daw is the food for the soul. Ewan ko that is my point of view, because since we cannot prevent dying, it will always come we just don’t know when, we might as well get ready for it. We don’t have to mope and cry all day because you’re dying you have to do something else to keep you busy and forget the pain for a while. Kumbaga kasi keeping yourself busy is a temporary anesthesia for loneliness, for depression, yun…  ang tao nadedepress lang pag idle but if you keep yourself busy, you’ll forget that you are dying, di ba?

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Anne Marie Joy Tablarin: Three months to live? Second opinion. Pagka-second opinion three months to live pa rin, o eh di ano, instead of living quantitatively, I would live qualitatively na. Oo, andyan ung let’s say syempre three months to live na yan so I’m sure may mga symptoms na yan andyan ung let’s say ano primarily andyan nangunguna pain so syempre I would consult an anesthesiologist for pain management tapos ung mga other symptoms let’s say nahihirapan huminga, then I would also ask a respiratory doctor para to relieve my difficulty of breathing, mga ganun… any symptoms, I would seek specialists just to alleviate my pain and other symptoms para maka-function pa ako so kung ano man ung gusto ko’ng gawin.  Once palliative care has been achieved, I would go spend the rest of my remaining life qualitatively. Meaning, I’d try to do everything, enjoy everything before I die. So let’s say hindi pa ako nakakapuntang Switzerlandpupunta akong Switzerland para mag-ski, just to touch the snow—that’s just one.

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After all that has been said and done, I can’t help but think this topic through and I realize that we shouldn’t have to wait for those fatal words to be uttered to us before we actually do the things we’ve always wanted to do; to forgive and ask to be forgiven; to appreciate the people we have and to tell them or make them feel appreciated; to tell and make our loved ones feel loved and know for sure that they are very much loved.

This is no easy matter and people don’t change overnight especially with the forgiving part. People by nature aren’t forgiving but we can learn. Of course we can’t really and truly forgive a person who did us wrong when we ourselves are still hurting. The key is to move past the pain into healing and only then will we be able to forgive.

As for being a little bit more appreciative and being a little bit more loving everyday is something that we can start right now, at this moment. Start by brushing up on positive adjectives like for example, when someone gives you a much needed item, you appreciate them by smiling and saying, “Oh wow! This is great! Thank you!” instead of your usual flat and emotionless “Thank You.”

To be a little bit more loving, we could try this: if we see our friends, family or loved ones a little bit down, we could show them we love them and that no matter what, they are very much loved by asking how they are or by spontaneously giving them a hug, or leaving little notes or text messages saying that you love them or how much you love them.

Small things could brighten someone’s day and the good feelings you’ve created in someone comes back at you and in turn brightens up your day and brings in good karma.

So you see we don’t really need to hear those fatal words to be a better person or to be able to do what makes us happy. It is a matter of choice… and of perspective.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

[Essay] Angel Encounters

Do you believe in angels? While not all of us are aware of these heavenly beings, sent down to Earth to guide us and yes - guard us from evil and basically to keep us safe from harm, there are some of us who have this strong, almost physical connection whether they are psychic or not. Whether it is true that these Angels exists or not sometimes depends on your faith or through the experiences you have encountered that made you believe these heavenly beings are truly here on Earth to guide us mortals.

Ever since I was a child, having been brought up in the Catholic faith, I believe that Angels do exists although I haven’t really had an Angel encounter until I reached college. Having already an active interest in the paranormal, I was reading everything that I could get my hands on spell crafting, witchcraft, Wicca, natural magic, and novels dealing with the supernatural world. Psychics would probably say that my own psychic powers have probably evolved. Maybe it’s psychic because during those years in college, I can vaguely feel a “spiritual presence” but it was easily relegated to the subconscious mind but after reading the novel “An Angel for Emily” by Jude Deveraux, my so-called angel awareness heightened. At first, I referred to it as intuition or what others commonly called “that inner voice.” My awareness for these heavenly beings heightened in the sense that I felt it physically in the two or three instances that it happened.

On a school day, I wake up between 4:30 to 5:00 am to reach school before 7:00 am. Even though my classes won’t start until 9:00 or 10:30 am, my mom would wake me up nonetheless so we could all go to the same university together since my mom is a professor there, me and my two other siblings study there too—the reason for this is to save on transportation expenses—hence we all go together. Normally, I go back to sleep on the way to school and to refrain from wearing badly wrinkled uniform top, I would wear a t-shirt then the prescribed skirt and dream away at the backseat of our family SUV. By that time, we all have mobile phones equipped with alarm clocks and though I set the alarm earlier, I don’t hear it go off most of the time. But I was never late for that first class. How did that happen? I would somehow always awake to the pain of being slapped in the thigh near my butt. At first I thought someone slapped me awake—my mom or siblings perhaps—but when I came to, no one was in the car except me! And the timing is also good—thirty minutes before classes start. Enough time for me to get into my blouse, fix my hair, powder my nose, wear lip gloss and casually stroll into the next building and wait by the door of the classroom. It wasn’t always a slap but sometimes, I would dream about rushing to school because I’m going to be late and I would instantly wake up. So after these series of paranormal events, I saw an interesting book about angels while I was browsing a bookstore and the title plus the attractive pink background caught my attention and I couldn’t help but purchase the book “Who Is Your Guardian Angel?” by Veronique Jarry. So now, my guardian angel has a name and he is Mikael from the Powers family. Yes angels have families too.

Another significant angel encounter was when I was crossing the street one night and I didn’t notice the approaching delivery truck. I would have been hit and probably be crippled or worse, lying six feet below the ground right now if it wasn’t for my ever vigilant Angel Mikael. I felt him pull me a step or two backwards in the nick of time because honestly, I just stood there in shock like a deer under the blaze of bright headlights. At the back of my rational mind I know it to be called reflex and yes, maybe it is but what made my brain function again and for my body to be able to follow that reflex order from my brain? I tell you, when you’re in shock, everything goes blank: you can’t feel, you can’t think, you can’t even breathe and you certainly can’t move a muscle and for a moment there, it is as if time has been put in slow motion and you can see everything clearly. After that moment of slow motion action I felt the tug at the back of my collared blouse and I stepped backwards and the truck sped by inches from where I once stood.

And so far, the latest significant angel encounter happened just last Saturday, September 1, 2007 and this is the reason why I wrote about angel encounters in the first place. It has been a week since my older sister brought up the subject of going to the Manila Seedlings Bank—a place where you could buy every possible plant seedlings available in the country and learn more about gardening and plants. When I first heard about it, I didn’t feel like going there. It’s not that I’m against plants or something but the truth is, I do enjoy sitting out in the garden and see colorful flowers and plants around; in fact, if I had a house of my own, I’d like for it to have an extensive garden filled with blooms, trees, herbs, and a little brook or pond. It is either Zen-like or wild and rioting, I still haven’t made up my mind. Anyway, that fated Saturday, my sister still wanted to go there and I have ideas of going somewhere else entirely—a place where my mom haven’t been to yet. But after my morning swim I felt like going home instead. It was such a strong feeling as if someone was whispering, “Go home, go home…,” but I didn’t listen because I thought that I’m just being lazy and tired from an hour’s swim at the hotel’s pool, and so I didn’t mention it to anyone. We stopped at the corner of Agham Road and Quezon Avenue when lo and behold, another SUV at full speed crashed into the back of our car. Despite the considerable force of the impact, our vehicle did not suffer major damage compared to the damage the other car got and for both parties, thankfully, no one was hurt. You might be thinking, how being in an accident is still considered an angel encounter? Well, for me, I still consider this an angel encounter because the first part, that inner voice was telling me—and apparently my mom too, as I later learned—not to go anywhere else but to head home instead but we—meaning me & my mom—did not listen to that voice. The second part is that it is miraculous to get out of such an impact unscathed and with little damage to our car. I guess all four of our angels got to work real fast to take on some damage control because their protégés were stupid enough not to listen. As for the driver, well he crashed into our car despite the brake lights on was because he was sleepy. So lesson learned: (1) don’t drive when you’re sleepy and intoxicated (2) listen to that inner voice or intuition.

Sometimes these angel encounters aren’t just about inner voices or your conscience speaking. Most often than not, Angels speak through the people around you, like your family or friends. It would be those instances when your parents kept on insisting you stay home instead of partying out with your friends, or your best friend telling you that someone you just met is bad news or something like that. Small and usually negligible events that sometimes make us want to sulk in a corner or scream with frustration because your day didn’t go as planned for a minute or two but after that you’re back to your cheerful self. In short, those are the instances that are very much easily forgotten.

Speaking of inner voice, there are so many instances back in college that I had, that told me to just stay home and not go with the planned outing or something and somehow, I always listened to that feeling. As I started working, there is nothing that would put me in danger because my office building is just a block away from home and because of this; I probably have forgotten to really listen to my intuition. Yes, I’m probably psychic and Angel Mikael was giving me those vibes to keep me safe from harm. So next time I get one, I promise to take heed.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

[Essay] People

Last March 25, 2007 I received a forwarded SMS message from my mom and it reads:

“In life you’ll realize that the people you meet have a purpose. Some are put there to test you, some would use you, some would teach you and some would bring out the better if not the best in you. Some may even cause you pain and heartache but one must learn to move on. So let go of the people who can’t treat you right and hold on to those who love you back and see your worth.”

And I find this to be true. You learn more about yourself through the friends you have and they also learn from you.

Yes, I have met and lost a friend back in high school who used me and therefore taught me not to take advantage of a person’s kindness or generosity and to at least say thank you for the small, thoughtful things they did for you. I also learned from my high school best friend the value of patience and tolerance for unwanted attention and that true friendships stands the test of time and circumstances. From my college best friends, one brings out the best in me every time we see each other and the other taught me to be more spontaneous and not to dwell on irritation brought about by scheduled activities that didn’t go according to plan because plans aren’t set on stone but instead plans are just there as guides on what activities or tasks to do and so forth.

That is not all. In my young life of 25 years, I have met the one man (for now) who challenges all of my moral and karmic beliefs and tests the strength of my character, of my will, of my sense of right and wrong, of my resolve to stand for what is fair and of my resolve not to give in to the temptation no matter what. I have also met new friends and one of them taught me that there is a time and place for everything and that some people are really meant for you as friends and nothing more if that would make them stay longer with you.

“Friends come and go throughout our lifetime. Some of them stay with us while others leave us behind. Don’t be sad when friends leave you because it only means that you have learned from them whatever it is you needed to learn in life.” - Anonymous


Aside from the above quotes, I would like to share with you this email which was forwarded to me by an officemate entitled “Reason, Season and Lifetime.” Here it goes:

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on. Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season. LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.” – Author Unknown


With all that I’ve learned and still learning from the people I meet and still keep, I think it is best to forget the reasons why some friendships turned sour but keep the lessons close to your heart and learn from those mistakes and move on. Life is a beautiful journey. It can take us wherever we want to go with enough room to discover what lies ahead or to retrace our steps by looking at our mistakes objectively and learning from it and we could either travel alone or with a bunch of best friends. Either way, we’re not really alone in this journey for every single day we are blessed to meet new people or to discover something new in the people we already know.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

[Essay] What Is Important To You?

Another thought from last Sunday’s homily stuck in my head and made me think and look back to what was important to me since childhood until now and if I do still think they’re important to me.

Have you ever noticed how when you were a baby, it is more important for you to be fully fed when you cry out, to be entertained when you’re awake, to be kept dry at all times, and to be comfortable 24/7? Did you notice that at this stage of your life, everything was, is, and will always be about you? What about during your childhood years, didn’t you notice you’ve learned what sharing means, the joys of having playmates, discovering the world around you and letting your imagination soar high above the clouds and beyond? Have you ever noticed that during your adolescent and teen years, the things that are more important to you are the things that are tangible and had the latest technology and something worth bragging about? Yes, you still value non-tangible things like friendships because who are you going to brag to if not to friends, right?

As I looked back on my life, I answered yes to all the questions above and thinking about what is important to me, now that I’ve reached quarter life, I still think it’s important for me to have the basic necessities plus a few extras that technology and life has to offer. But on a deeper level, I feel that faith, friendship, honesty, and most especially, the love and support of family, friends and love ones are just as equally important and probably a little bit more on the scale. Maybe I’m getting sentimental but think about it, when you’re sad and downright blue and you’ve unwittingly isolated yourself from your family and friends or you’re stuck on a deserted island all by yourself and your gadgets, can your gadgets lend you comfort or a shoulder to cry on or give you sound advice to a love problem you’re experiencing? I don’t think so. Yes, you can call someone up but that is, if you’ve got a network signal on the island but if it’s dead, I still don’t think so. Plus, don’t you think it’s so much better to be hugging someone and be hugged back when you’re tired from work, when you’re sad, and when you’re crying your heart out? I do think all these gadgets are important in a way that it helps keep your relationships alive but of course, if you just live nearby, it would be infinitely better to be physically there to cheer up a friend, comfort a sibling, hug a parent, and hold hands with your special someone.

Now that I’ve fully thought about what’s more important to me, all those material possessions that I have and still dreamed to have one day are more like goals to achieve, something to look forward and work hard for. Although a lot would say I’m too young to think like this – as if I’m someone either with a death wish or someone suffering from a terminal illness – I believe that life is short and that we should spend more time with the people who are important to us because we’ll never know who goes first to the afterlife; people who are fun to be with and who makes us laugh, inspires us to be who we are or can be because life is about living in the moment and dreaming of the future; keep happy memories and bury the sad ones but keep the lessons you’ve learned from those sad events to help you change yourself into a better person and so as not for the past or the disastrous result to repeat itself in the present.

What about you, what is important to you these days?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

[Essay] Presence And Presents

The idea for this article really came from a homily last Sunday, July 22, 2007. Although I don’t have a family of my own at the moment and for ages more to come, I believe that this is the primary reason why families today are not that bonded together. They don’t talk to each other much anymore because of the demands of their jobs, their activities, their social circles. Because of these factors, they compensate by showering their children with presents and practically anything that money could buy.

I’m not saying that giving your children presents is bad – no it’s not but it would be so much better if you could enjoy those presents together with your kids. If you’ve given a train set to your five year old kid, then help him assemble it and then play with it right along beside your kid – spend time with them because it makes the presents all the more memorable and it will teach your kids to take better care of their things because if something is memorable to you, your tendency is to cherish it. I’m not also saying that technology in this regard is bad – I firmly believe that in this instance, technology could help strengthen the bonds of family especially if you all live far from each other – now that we have emails, mobile phones, etc.

But some families tend to take advantage of technology in a negative way like having TV sets in every room of the house. Yes, our family is guilty of this too but somehow, we still see to it that we watch if not the same TV series, at least a movie together. I tell you, it is so much nicer to watch a movie together with the whole family squeezing in on the couch or at your feet and sharing a big bowl of popcorn or two big bags of chips; or having lots of fun and bickering when making a dive for the remote and guarding it with your life so your siblings won’t be able to watch their favorite TV series that is currently playing when your favorite TV series is on then finally settling down to agree to switch channels during commercial breaks. Yes, that was how we three siblings watched TV during our younger days. And I miss it from time to time so instead, we watch a video together and we still do share the chips even if we have three bags of different flavored chips, we’d open one bag first then the second then the third.

Because of all these childhood memories, I seem to recall the significant difference between these two words. We were never that close to our dad because of time & place constraints and he would instead shower us with gadgets, clothes, or whatever we wanted that is within his reasonable budget when he comes home, which is rare, while my mom was always there for us despite her long teaching hours at the university, she still takes time out to play, read, watch, and to talk about each of our day, share thoughts and stories. Because of this apparent difference in emotional bonds, I noticed that the things, both big and small, that came from our dad has less sentimental value compared to those given by our mom. Although both parent’s presents were given due appreciation, the interest in the presents our dad gives fades quickly and easily discarded our we could easily part from and give to charity but the presents that came from our mom lingers and comes back to us every time we see it, because we remember the occasion when it was given and the succeeding memories associated with such things because she too was there to share it with and it makes it all the more hard to just throw old stuff away or part with it.

With a typical family in this day and age, granting that jobs in the 21st century is much more demanding and time consuming compared to before and that although we have the convenience of washing machines, rice cookers, microwaves, vacuum cleaners to help us in doing chores but why is it that despite all these time-saving devices, we still find ourselves having not enough time for everything else or rather, for the important things like family time?

Maybe it’s not really the demands of our jobs but rather the pressure we put on ourselves. Working too much or too long will not solve or clean your incoming office tray because you know work doesn’t really end. It’s a never ending cycle every single day and in the whole scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter whether you go home at 5pm or at 12am because your work will still be there come 8am. So instead of slaving over it and missing the important things in life though it may be as simple as seeing the setting sun, hearing your kids yelling at the top of their voices and chasing their siblings or playmates across the street or around the house, teaching your dog a new trick, taking a walk with your father, mother, wife or sons and daughters, talking with your family about their day, their plans, their hopes and dreams under the light of the stars and full moon as you all gather together sitting at your front yard and drinking something warm to aid digestion after a full and hearty meal or just laughing about old memories; why don’t you stop for a while and enjoy the simple pleasures of life?

For some, life is short but there are others who are blessed with a tremendously long and healthy life. Would you like to live this life and come to its end only to realize that it was all such a blur, that you didn’t even really know your own family or worse even your own self, it’s like you’ve lost your own self worth or identity in the whirlwind of your work, or would you rather have spent your life filling it with good and bad memories of people and places you hold dear, with happiness and tears, failures and achievements?

In short, what do you prefer: a dull, boring existence or a life bursting with brilliant colors? Remember that in the end, it doesn’t matter how much wealth you’ve accumulated but rather, it is how you’ve lived your life and how you’ve touched others lives is what counts the most.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

[Essay] Alternate Hollywood Dimension, Anyone?

Is it possible for a person to change so much so that she becomes a completely different person from the one you knew? Well, unless you’re an accomplished actor, I believe an ordinary person wouldn’t be able to pull it off so consistently. So this brings me to ask: Which then is the real person’s character and which is the mask? Could it mean that in the four years we’ve known each other she was pretending to be someone else she’s not and now she’s finally decided to unleash the real her just because of a very petty misunderstanding?

It all started when our common friends suddenly had a craving to eat at our favorite restaurant but before that, they were insisting she go with them to the mall but she declined saying that she wanted to save up. Knowing that, they didn’t thought to invite her to dine with them that night and from that time on, she changed so suddenly it’s hard to miss it unless you’re living in another planet.

So tell me, is that ground enough to ditch your old friends and change personalities when you yourself said you want to save up? Was it so wrong of my friends not to invite her to dine out with them knowing of her need to save more and spend less?

I personally don’t think so. That would be so shallow and narrow-minded. I know her to be a deep and open-minded person whenever we get to talk. I wonder where that person went off to. I miss her terribly.

For me, change is a part of life but for a person to change, it should be for the better not the other way around. But as I can see it, she has changed into something that is worse compared to who she was before and it’s hurting her friends deeply, friends who truly care about her. I just hope she comes to realize these things before she lose us all, because a person can only take so much pain from a friend, a loved one at that.