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Status What? (Part 1)

Sometimes I feel like some people make things look more difficult than they really are. When you ask people across professions–lawyers, accountants, doctors, entrepreneurs, students–there will always be this “really difficult thingy that only x and y and never z can ever do.” This kind of thinking, whether intentional or not, brings about a culture that not only causes people to lose their ambitions, but also causes them to settle in “okay” but “financially safe” situations.

My second to the youngest brother loves drawing and design and wants to become an architect. But meeting architecture students and professionals, he suddenly wants to change his mind. “Too much math,” “Too much work on plates,” “Two hours of sleep a day,” “No social life” were all he heard from them. For a tween who is not that good in math, who loves sports and who likes to go out with friends on a Saturday night, who will not be threatened by these? With his youthful yet fearful heart, the only way he can get back on track is to meet someone whom he admires who says otherwise. What stood as a firm decision now all boiled down to a game of chance.

When I look back, I see myself in similar situations but one thing stands out– and it took me four years to figure it out. Upon graduation, I knew straightaway I would struggle in a 9-5 office job. Although my job gives me the opportunity to travel and live in places I would never have imagined myself to be in, at the end of the day, I have to go back to my cubicle, finish my research, and do other office-related tasks. The set up of a chair, desk, artificial lighting and air-conditioning mentally and emotionally suffocates me. My mind always wanders what it’s like outside.

All mixed up, all intertwined

 

But I have to endure, I fool myself into thinking. I train myself into believing that I need to be in research because I love writing. That I need to be in one with communities so I can help them. But in the field, without a law degree to boot or a big fund to support them, every day seems like a storyline without an ending. Stories of suffering I have to put in one ear, and put in my heart. Nothing to ever put out other than, “I feel for you.”

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I Love You, World!

Ahhhhh, the joy of a Saturday morning coffee cup.
morning-coffee

Morning coffee. Image credit: Love This Pic.

Now let me start with a bit of a background as to why mornings are a bit more awesome with a coffee cup, lots of sunshine, and a laptop glare.

With a coffee cup in my hand, I know I have access to water, a coffee maker, electricity, coffee cup and grinds to keep me going. Oh, and the filter which is kind of a bonus. I am able to enjoy the sunshine while I work despite the traffic and on-going construction outside my door– there is no war, no strife that should hinder me from pursuing my dreams. Armed with ideas and the dedication to keep going, I have access to a laptop and the internet which help me record, update, revise, market, and to go through all the steps again.

With a coffee cup in my hand, I know I have access to water, a coffee maker, electricity, coffee cup and grinds to keep me going. Oh, and the filter which is kind of a bonus. I am able to enjoy the sunshine while I work despite the traffic and on-going construction outside my door– there is no war, no strife that should hinder me from pursuing my dreams. Armed with ideas and the dedication to keep going, I have access to a laptop and the internet which help me record, update, revise, market, and to go through all the steps again.I’m saying this because lately I’ve seen so many economically successful people who can eat three times (or more) a day, afford to send their kids to private schools, watch movies during the weekends, buy smartphones and sometimes even get to travel to where they want, and still get jealous of others’ successes, find it’s not enough, and keep on comparing themselves to what others have.

I’m saying this because lately I’ve seen so many economically successful people who can eat three times (or more) a day, afford to send their kids to private schools, watch movies during the weekends, buy smartphones and sometimes even get to travel to where they want, and still get jealous of others’ successes, find it’s not enough, and keep on comparing themselves to what others have.We now live in a world where we are spoilt so much, that information is just at the tip of our fingers, anything that we want to eat can either be bought in a grocery or online store, and anything and everything we want is basically right in front of us. But what happens is people complain on the lack of stocks of Pharrell’s Superstar Adidas shoes, or of their mom serving fried hotdogs for breakfast when they are on a low fat diet. People tend to take for granted what they have and continue to focus on what they don’t have, which further explains as to why there is so much unhappiness and competition in this world we are living in.

We now live in a world where we are spoilt so much, that information is just at the tip of our fingers, anything that we want to eat can either be bought in a grocery or online store, and anything and everything we want is basically right in front of us. But what happens is people complain on the lack of stocks of Pharrell’s Superstar Adidas shoes, or of their mom serving fried hotdogs for breakfast when they are on a low fat diet. People tend to take for granted what they have and continue to focus on what they don’t have, which further explains as to why there is so much unhappiness and competition in this world we are living in.

In truth, it would be really, really nice and awesome to live, wherever and however our place is in this day and time– it is just up to us to see the beauty of life. What is more awesome than waking up and retiring at night seeing how nature changes as each day passes by? Or having awesome people around you whom you can count on, through the good and the bad?Although it is unfortunate that money defines almost all– or all– of our transactions, I believe that as long as we have love and kindness everything else will follow. If we become a slave to money or power our eyes and hearts become blinded by the true beauty of life. This for me is what extreme poverty means, and there is no other cure to it other than looking within.

Although it is unfortunate that money defines almost all– or all– of our transactions, I believe that as long as we have love and kindness everything else will follow. If we become a slave to money or power our eyes and hearts become blinded by the true beauty of life. This for me is what extreme poverty means, and there is no other cure to it other than looking within.

Have you told your Mom, Dad, sibling, friend, partner, how much you love them lately? 

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After a Year: The Cycle of Life

The only reason why I checked my dusty blog today is because I wanted to write for someone dear to me who came into my life four months ago. And WOW, much to my surprise, it’s been the exact day last year since my last post! 
 
It’s interesting to know how much one year can do: how meeting the king of jerks and a**holes can turn into meeting the sweetest and most open-minded person I’ve ever known; how ultimatums can turn into your last laugh; and how your worst year can turn into your best thus far. 
 
But the road that led me to where I stand now is so worthwhile that I can’t help but thank the Past for leading me to the Present. Life, as in any other element in what we see, feel, hear, is both a microcosm and a macrocosm of something else. Everything is so interconnected that if we look at life this way, we could say that there are no absolutes and it’s as if life is anything but wrapped up in emotions and thus just a big web of permeable consciousness, living and existing for, within and among each other. If we look back and take all our joys and pains, it’s as if they are in existence for each other, with each running on a continuum of Having and Nothing before getting to the other side of its own world, which in turn is a bigger part of the world where it belongs to, until the cycle never ends. 
 
I’m saying this because if there is one thing I have realized during this part of my journey, it would have to be:

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— That we occupy this little space in the Universe and so if we go on believing that the world revolves around us, we are bound to frustrate ourselves in the end with always wanting to achieve, collect, flaunt and compare. The world is such a big place and yup, no matter how much money you make, the Sky has the most elegant and brightest diamonds of all.
 
And this led me to my first post after a year. Surprised at the timing but knowing it came with a purpose. Thankful because after thousands of detours I was led this way, and one in which I was led into this person I was talking about. I may not know what to say after a year, but at this point, all I know is I’more than content and ever more trusting to the hand of Time. 


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Dreaming and Living

Chasing dreams is but normal for humans. It is natural for us to aim for something higher, bigger and otherwise unachievable at the moment of thought. Chasing one’s dreams is not all cotton puffs and rainbows though. Expect challenges and be ready for them. But when we have achieved this dream, are we truly satisfied? Once, we all have dreamed of finishing college; but did it stop there? Haven’t we dreamt also of finding a good job? Then aimed for a better one again?
Chasing dreams goes side-by-side with human development; but the question is, when does the chasing stop? When does dreaming truly give way to living? Is it possible to live without dreaming?

As Rabindranath Tagore says:

dfa01-rabindranath

“I have on my table a violin string. 
It is free to move in any direction I like. 
If I twist one end, it responds; it is free.
But it is not free to sing. 
So I take it and fix it into my violin. 
I bind it and when it is bound, 
it is free for the first time to sing.” Image Credit: Amazing Bharat.

Many times, we need to be twisted and bound to truly realize who we really are, and what our place is in this world. In this lifetime. If we do not give ourselves the chance to be moulded in many different ways, how can we be strong enough to face what lies ahead?
We always hear that life is too short and that we should always seize the moment. But life is not all about achieving, of being the best, of toppling down others and being the most popular and bowed down upon. Life, after all, is about finding contentment and fulfilment… of finding peace and true happiness. Achievements give us merits on Earth, at this lifetime; but, never shape us as who we truly are. In another life, in another place and time, all these merits will all but be forgotten; and all that will be left are the memories; our shoulders offered to a friend in times of need; our time and energy for someone who needs them the most; our time and genuine concern to listen…
Which brings us to the next question,
How do you want to be remembered in this lifetime?
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Bhagavan Das: Be Here Now

Sometimes it takes just one person to make you realize how short life is, and how important it is to make the most out of it. I’ve met so many people who have inspired me to do something beyond what I am comfortable with, like my parents who encouraged me to stay in Manila for university, the 10-year old kid who walks 6 miles every day amidst the muddy pathways just to go to school, and my friend who balances her studies with her passion for missionary work. They are among the countless people who made me appreciate more my existence in this world.
But this person, whom I’ve met by chance, is an exception. He helped me accept the things I cannot change, and made me realize all the endless possibilities in the world which are all hanging up there, just waiting to be picked up by somebody who grabs the courage to do it. He has inspired me to think beyond what I am capable of.
The thing is, he hasn’t even done anything. He didn’t go to great lengths on giving me lectures, sorting out advices, or talking as much about his life to make me feel so little compared to his exciting and adventurous life. We were just casuals, nothing more than saying “hi” along the corridors (on very busy days, it’s as if neither of us exists).
But what was in that very brief time that turned my life upside down? What was in there, or rather, was in him, that made me, truly and deeply, realize the essence of my life?
Angel on earth?
As I look back, it is as if I met him at the right time, and at the right place. I was then at the crossroads of my life, pushing myself to achieve this and that even if I am not physically and emotionally prepared for these goals. I constantly lived with “What Ifs,” trying to make sense, not of what I could do with what I have now; but, with what I could have done if not for the string of dire events for the past months.
I am not even sure if our paths will ever cross again, but the comfort and joy of having met him will forever rest in me. And, if all circumstances will lead us to seeing each other again, I will take that brief opportunity to thank him for so many things he has done for me.
I highly doubt if he will ever understand why I’m thanking him and what he did for me in the first place.