Friday, February 04, 2011

Reflections on My Day 9 of the Chopra Center's 21-Day Meditation Challenge

Time February 3, 2011 at 6:48 am 
I’m catching up with Day 9 although I see the Day 11 link in my Inbox already! : )
I think I have to do this again and again until I feel “whole” about it… I got stopped twice when the audio stopped right after the part on sending metta to loved ones… buffering trouble I guess.
So while letting the audio buffer, I read through the comments and I felt affirmed that my sudden welling up in tears is shared by many! That’s why I feel like I have to do this over and over until I’m completely “washed clean”.
I’m using this audio pause to say thank you to all here for sharing this journey, and to Chopra Center and davidji and our many guides here, for facilitating! Abundant blessings!
Time February 4, 2011 at 5:37 am
This has so far been the biggest challenge for me. After my attempts last night, I found that I could not finish the meditation (not only because of the slow buffering time, but even later when it was completed buffered.)
There was a hesitation in me, my heart was balking at being given the spotlight! So I decided to sleep it off and return again today.
The whole day today was a very emotional day though. I woke up feeling very troubled about a close relationship I have now. I’ve always thought this was the best relationship I’ve had so far, but this morning, insights came at me fast, insights about how I’m giving too much of my self into this relationship actually, without getting the equivalent back. It made me see how my current relationship is really not much different from previous ones, and I was very very bothered by what I suddenly saw with my heart!
I wept and grieved at the sudden realizations and my heart broke with my deep, heavy sobs!
Is this an expected effect of a metta meditation? By focusing on one’s heart, one’s heart actually fully reveals itself and all its hardy outer shells fall away?
Anyway, after a heavy morning of grieving and sobbing, my head became clearer and I could see better with more than just my physical eyes, but my heart’s eyes now, and I was able to go through the rest of my day very serenely.
So tonight, I just did (and completed) the metta meditation again, as I felt I was ready to do it now. (I faced it with a sort of resolute grimness though :> )
Tears still flowed when I finally did this meditation fully, especially in the part where one had to send metta/bless those whom one feels has hurt one. But, this time, my heart felt softer, less crusty, more magnanimous.
I realized that what I thought was a long-healed and very open and magnanimous heart was actually still hurting and breaking so, and even closed so, from years of denial and bypassing, that my way of giving too much without expecting anything in return was a form of control, and denial of my own heart’s value and needs.
The Soul Of Healing MeditationsI will need to do this Day 9 metta meditation over and over again until my heart is set aright again. 
So this is both a very challenging and enlightening meditation for me, to realize that I finally must pay full attention to and respect and listen to my heart, without denial or judgment or selective attention.
Thank you for this difficult and painful but most enlightening and enriching meditation. I will move on to Days 10 to 12 now but I will keep coming back here until I get this right, until I do right by my heart, at last.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

List of Failures

I just finished conducting a seminar for my colleagues in the College of Business Accountancy, where I shared information and my learning on Professional Scholarly Writing in a Global Context; the difference among Plagiarism, Copyright and Fair Use; and the use of the latest APA Style, 6th ed.

What struck me most from the seminar was the audience's feedback on using sensitive language in research, and "describing participants and subjects at the appropriate level of specificity." I gave them the example of how, sadly still, in our University, we use the term "List of Failures" to publish the list of students (well, their id nos. actually) who have incurred failing grades in their subjects at the end of the semester. A more appropriate and specific term for "List of Failures" should be "List of Students who have Failed Grades".

It catalyzed a spirited discussion among us, about our almost unconscious tendency to throw words around as if they meant nothing more than what we intended to use them for the moment. I shared my own thoughts about how, when we really take time to reflect on them, a lot of the words we use are actually violent, in the sense that they contribute to a paradigm of treating people as less than the fullest human beings that they are.

I remember a time many years ago when I was still chairing a new department in our University, which was really a department formed to "catch" all the students who've been floating around, shifting from one program to another, and just aimlessly going through college. The department was euphemistically named, "Interdisciplinary Studies" (IDS), but it had the stigma of having students whom people perceived as "losers", since they got kicked out of their previous programs.

So, when I took over as chair, I was faced with the challenge of how to handle 400-plus IDS students who perceived themselves as losers and failures, with half of them put on academic probationary status for less than satisfactory grade standing. They are usually called "Probees". And when you're an IDS Probee, that's double the stigma.

Just out of curiousity, and to put a more "fun" and positive spin to the status, when I called them for meetings, instead of posting the usual "Attention IDS Probees..." in the bulletin boards, with their names listed there, I turned to using the term "Late Bloomers" to call them, still with their names listed there.

It quickly caught on among the students and they thought it was really cool and fun... and they started seeing themselves that way, as late bloomers-- they may not have bloomed yet, but will.

I should have done a formal research on that, but I was too engrossed in addressing the myriad needs of the students in the department, getting them to believe in themselves again and to get out of the ruts they have temporarily dug themselves into. After 4 years, though, the "Late Bloomer" list interestingly went down from 50% of the student population in the program to only around 15%. Coincidence?

I don't know so.

That's why I don't join (name your disease/angst) support groups. The very act of naming them there and attaching "support group" to it actually perpetuates the mentality and one's perception of one's identity as being stuck there.

Naming something is making it real.

Be careful of the names you use.

Friday, March 05, 2010

oh, me of little faith!

here i am, down to my last P200 again, feeling the claws of anxiety gnawing at me again, EVEN IF--

-- i already know there are more funds in the pipeline from projects accomplished; they just haven't gotten to me yet, but will do so in a matter of days;

-- i already know how there are ample food and other living provisions at home, and there really is no extra foreseen expenditure for me to attend to this weekend, so all i need is to get through the weekend with just my (actually) extra P200;

-- i already know, from experience, that even without the above, i am still taken care of, somehow;

-- i already know, from experience, too, how it's been like for me many times before this, and that there really is no need to worry, because things do really turn out alright, for me and my kids;

-- i already know now, from my many spiritual studies and practices, how the Only Reality there is is God's Love and God's Infinite Provision, and that all else is human-made Illusion, yet i, with my anxiety, still allow the Illusion to have more power than the Reality!

ohhhh, me of little faith!

i can understand better now, how the fishermen in the boat must have felt amidst the raging storm at sea, and how Jesus must have felt when they called upon Him for help!

oh, me of little faith!

Lord, grant me the grace of more Faith!

Friday, January 01, 2010

2010 Day 1 Early Morning Lesson

I feel bad. And on a New Year's morning at that! : (

Nope, it's not about me nor my life (thank God for that, at least!). It's about someone in my household I was trying to help.

Weeks ago, a colleague asked me for recommendations as to whom I can refer to her to help her cook for her children around the New Year, as they were flying in from many parts of the country with their families to celebrate New Year with her. And she said that, this time, she wanted to enjoy them as well as the occasion, instead of slaving away at her kitchen feeding them all.

So I recommended our laundress. She's a widow with grown children but whose grand kids have been left with her for caretaking as her grown children seem to not be able to take care of themselves on their own... They lead messy lives and have dumped their own young children on her.

Manang Lisa only comes to our house once a week to do the laundry. Actually, we don't need her services anymore because I have two washing machines and a dryer at that. But we still keep her on if only to add a little bit more to her income, since her other incomes are irregular, what we in the Philippines call "remedio heneral" (literally, "general remedy", wherever it can be found.)

So I recommended Manang Lisa to my colleague, and they arranged a meeting for my colleague to pick her up yesterday at 1pm at Jollibee Lopue's East, so that she could start working for my colleague for 4 days, where she will be paid P200 a day, net of transportation expenses. I thought that was settled, and felt good knowing that Manang Lisa would be starting the year right with sure extra money.

But, things happen, and--calming down a bit more now as I write this--I guess, the things that happen reveal character and life lessons to us if only we pay keener attention.

Manang Lisa had very painful diarrhea yesterday, according to her. So she sent one of her grown sons to tell me early in the morning yesterday. But her grown son only came to me yesterday at around 2pm already, when my colleague had been waiting for Manang Lisa at Jollibee's East for 1 hour already!

So I told the son to go to his mom quick, and at least take her to Jollibee's East to talk to my colleague and let her know of the situation and arrange a new set-up with her. And I also texted my colleague yesterday to just wait for Manang Lisa a little bit more as I sent the son to fetch the mom.

Not hearing any more from either for the rest of the afternoon and evening yesterday, I thought things were worked out between them, only to find this morning, upon my waking up, that Manang Lisa never did get to go meet my colleague yesterday.

And I feel soooo bad, imagining my in-her-fifties colleague, waiting for nothing yesterday, and having to contend with cooking for her large brood at the last hour, without any backup!

I rarely recommend people, but when I do, it's because I believe in them and want to help both parties.

Needless to say, this is an embarassment to me, and of course, a loss of potential additional income for Manang Lisa. My colleague has quickly found a replacement, at least, thank God!

Of course I felt very angry at what happened. Sloppiness always upsets me, in addition to dishonesty and cruelty of any form.

But I try to calm and center my self, considering that it's the New Year, and force my self to find the gem in the mud. "Nothing happens by accident." "The Universe always delivers me perfection, each and every moment." I try to recall past quotes and affirmations learned and used, as I will my self to calm down and not let this get to me.

Why is this happening? What is there for me to learn?

And then it dawns upon me:

Many times, the Universe helps us with our needs for abundance, like more money, or more of what we need and desire, and the Universe usually courses it through people and circumstances. Since this is a physical world, too, there has to be physical channels.

However, we not only have to be open to them and ready for them and say "Yes!" to them, we also have to ACT on them with commitment and follow through. Receiving is not a passive matter. We have to go out there and TAKE what we've been given, and not let anything like diarrhea, stop us from receiving it.

And when we start receiving it, it's only the beginning, to get the momentum going. We have to keep maintaining the open-ness and the saying "Yes!" and the committed action to reaching out for more of it, until it fully manifests in our lives.

That's how God's Help, the Universe's assistance, miracles, deliverance, whatever-you-call-it -- works.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

morning rush, morning ritual, random morning thoughts

i woke up to a cold, rainy morning thinking it was only 6am, to find out soon after checking my cellphone clock that it was already 6:59am!

out i jumped from the bed, waking up Polo who was still snuggled in his comforter beside me, and then going to the girls' room and announcing the Time. it was a flurry of activities after then.

Thea went for her shower, while i asked the household help to transfer Polo's lunch into a neutral-colored Tupperware container as she put it in Bea's old pink (!) lunch box as i checked on Polo's and Bea's bags and their assignment notebooks which we failed to work on last night coming home late and tired from having to wait for Polo finish his soccer practice, then called out Polo's and Bea's names over and over again as i did Polo's Social Studies and English assignments while i instructed the household help next to bring Polo's and Bea's uniforms to them and wake them up for real.

we left the house by 7:30am and i got them in school by 7:50am, 5 minutes late.


at 8am, i come home to a quiet house at last, turned on the pc to prepare it for later, put on Bach on the music player, and sat with myself as i ate my breakfast of rice, sunnyside ups, salted fish (tabagak) and corned beef, finishing it off with a banana and hot chocolate. but not before i talked with the help on which kitchen stock needs replenishing and discussed lunch and dinner to prepare for today.

as i sat there eating, i thought of the things i had to do for today--resume checking my Econ. classes' papers, go back to the beauty parlor i went to yesterday to have them retouch 3 of my manicured fingernails, buy the kitchen stock needed at home, then go to the office by 3pm so Bea can use the laptop when her schoolday ends and while we wait for her two other siblings end their schoolday, review the thesis paper i will panel for by 430pm, panel at 430pm, then bring everyone home by early evening and catch up with Polo and Bea on their homeworks.

i also had this stray thought-- there goes a day in the life of a 41-year-old single mom who lived in the year 2009, who managed not to let the morning rush stress get to her or else, she would have driven her and her children off to a morning car accident (!).

that thought was followed by another on a completely different track-- how Polo cried and threw a stomping tantrum last night when Thea just announced to no one in particular that she's watching "The Proposal" on dvd again and simply plopped down and changed the tv channel to video mode, when Polo and Bea have been watching a show on cable already.

for a while, there was a squabble, and it only stopped when i stepped in to ask Thea, who insisted that she already informed everyone about it, if she also waited for everyone's "permission" to her "information". Thea still protested but weakly this time, while she switched the tv back on to cable mode and went to her room to stew.

and i thought how, of all the three of them, Polo has the most sensitive heart and keenest sense of justice and injustice, while the girls have a tendency to try to get their way no matter what if they are not called on it.

and then, another thought-- how i see and know my children's hearts so well, and how, if i as a human parent, can know things this way, how much more our Heavenly Parent?

and now i sit at this pc, writing on this blog again, unwrapping my day, as Bach keeps me centered as best as i can be centered this morning.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

God, Energy and Bea's Question

i was driving to and back from Paolo's friend's house this evening, where he's been sleeping over for the 2nd night in a row now, to bring him a fresh change of clothes.

while driving on almost auto-pilot mode, i was deep inside my self, turning over in my mind all the many lessons i learned from this morning's presentation by CENECO general manager, Mr. Sulpicio Lagarde, Jr. i invited him weeks ago to speak to my Econ1 classes on electricity generation, transmission, distribution and costs and energy efficiency and sustainability, in relation to our class lessons on production and cost theory. he surpassed our expectations by also discussing concerns on global warming and the need to downscale our postmodern energy-dependent lifestyles, as well as inspired us to do something about our laws and systems to support a more sustainable and energy-renewable lifestyle.

i was particularly struck by the metaphor that hit me of the process of generation, transmission and distribution. he said that 138,000 volts from the main generator becomes converted to only 13,200 volts by the transmission line, and even further down to 230 volts when it's distributed, because of conduction resistance. and it struck me that Energy generation, transmission and distribution is like God's Spirit and Blessings--

God is the generator and He/She yearns to give us All things Good and in Abundance, but we, as transmission/distribution lines, can only take so much, because of "resistance", and so whatever Good there is flowing through us becomes diluted in more digestible form, although they are still Good, of course.

and then i remembered one lesson i learned years ago from my Silva Method readings and courses, about an elementary principle in electricity: the best conductor is the one with the least impedance/resistance.

and i thought how this is explained now by what happens when one goes regularly and deeply into meditation practice: how one gets clearer, less "impeded", thus one experiences more Good in one's life, both as a receiver and as a channel for Good too for others.

and then my youngest, 9-year-old Bea, who has been sitting quietly in the dark back seat of the car i forgot she was there, suddenly pipes up: Ma, what's the difference between a spirit and a soul? (this has happened so often already, how the kids pick up on the direction of my secret thoughts while i'm driving, that i take it as naturally as breathing now!)

and so, inhaling deeply, i gave it my best shot, responding from my heart: Spirit is that invisible part of you which is a part of God's Spirit, while Soul is that invisible part of you which is you, your personality, your emotions, your talents and likes and dislikes, 'langga (dear one).

Bea: like twins?

me: ye-esss... sort of, except that they're together, they stick together, there's just one invisible you, and part of it is Spirit and part of it is Soul.

Bea: what's our body for, then?

me: (pause)

me: we-ell... it's like our clothes, or the car we drive, to make our way in this earth. since the earth is a physical thing, then we need to be put in something physical too.

Bea: wowwww... so it's like, we go in and out of different bodies?

me: ye-eess. after we die, we go back to the lower levels of Heaven closest to the earth, and we review our life and see how we did and what lessons we learned and what lessons we didn't learn. and then, we decide what to learn next so we can improve and get closer to being more like God. the more we become like God, the higher we go up in Heaven, until someday, we are together with God again, completely, and we never have to be apart again.

Bea: so earth is like school, and Heaven, too? there are many levels?

me: yes.

Bea: so right now, i'm also made up of some dead person's spirit and soul?

me: ye-es... and that dead person before was you too.

Bea: wowwwww.... so i'm many persons?

me: yes.... in this earth, living many lives, at different times and places, like taking many subjects, until you master them all and become perfect like God.

Bea: if God made me, and God is already perfect, why didn't He make me perfect too, so i don't have to be separated from Him in the first place?

me: (long pause)

Bea: well?

me: God did make us all perfect. And He also gave us free will. So we were perfect to start with, but with our free will, we chose to do things which made us imperfect... until we learn that it really doesn't work out for us in the end when we insist on our own way...

Bea: why would i want to do imperfect things? (Bea is our perfectionist in the family.)

me: you don't think they're imperfect when you choose to do them; you think they're perfect, especially when you haven't spent time with God a lot.

Bea: ok.

me: (silent prayer: God, where is she going with all this??? Holy Spirit, help me!)

Bea: so if i don't want to do imperfect things that i thought were perfect, i should spend more time with God?

me: yes. so you will know God's Heart. and His Heart connects with your heart more strongly. and you can hear His Heart in your heart more clearly.

Bea: ok. that makes sense.

by this time, we had arrived home.

and Bea ran out to eat her newly-bought Berry Strawberry ice cream in front of the tv.

while i-- i am left with these thoughts, and shell-shocked by the experience.

whoa, where did all that come from???

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

getting better

it still comes, this gnawing, anxious feeling that eats at me, especially when i'm "doing nothing" or not doing much in line with my To Dos and my schedules... it still comes.

but i'm getting better at dispelling it now: i know my bottomline priorities and i'm kinder, gentler to my self now.

i've also adopted the philosophy that if things can't be stuffed into one full day, despite my best efforts, then they were really not meant to be done today.

i've also some to respect and honor the flows and cycles of Life as they come-- sometimes what we think should be done ASAP might usually be better off being left alone for now and allowed to take further "cooking and stewing", in the bigger scheme of things.

and then there is my meditation practice, thank God for it! it'll be 3 years now this December, and i'm getting better at intentionally carving out time and space for my self for it, and i've found that indeed, the busier one is, the more one needs this holy solitude to ground and center one's self in.

now, it has come again, this gnawing, anxious feeling that eats at me, telling me that i should be doing something else more "productive"... but i stay here, with my self, preparing for meditation.

i have learned that when this voice comes and nags me to keep "doing", most often, it's a signal for me to stop and stay ... and learn. that there is something going on inside of me, or in the subterranean depths of my life, that i need to pay attention to... but the ego is uncomfortable, would rather escape into "activities"... yet the Soul demands complete and focused attention.

and so, i stay, despite the discomfort it brings.

and so, it still comes.

and then, it'll go, i know that much, for sure, now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Building Futures with the IDS

Aug. 27, 2009; 1:30 p.m. - It is way past my regular lunchtime, and I have just finished my last of two IDS (Interdisciplinary Studies) 109 classes since 10:30 this morning. My stomach is hungry, yet my soul is full.

IDS 109, or Futures Principles and Futures Planning, is a major subject taken by IDS students to train them in futures thinking and in applying selected futures studies methodologies. We had the start of their group scenario building presentations on their selected and approved topics today.

In previous sessions, we did group exercises on scenario-building by using prepared data from Ging Deles’ presentation on Emerging Scenarios in the Philippine Political Environment for 2010, and Al Gore’s film documentary on climate change and global warming, An Inconvenient Truth.

Scenario-building is a futures studies method used especially when the circumstances and information are dynamically-changing and one wants to get a “hold” on what is coming, so one can better prepare and take proactive action.

In our IDS 109 class, we have distilled the method down to its essence. The students are asked to build their Possible Futures (Status Quo, Worst Case and Best Case) as well as their Preferred Future on an issue, before they outline their recommendations for strategic action.

This morning, they started presenting their own full cases, researching data for their selected issues and presenting the global and Philippine situations for these issues, before they present their scenarios and recommendations for strategic action.

In the 1030am class today, they presented their scenarios on the Futures of Work, Futures of Philippine Out-of-School Youth, Futures of Relationships and the Futures of Weapons/the Arms Industry. In the 1200nn class, they presented their scenarios on the Futures of the Philippine Militant Mass Movement, the Futures of Families, and the Futures of Food Security. In the first week of classes after Midterm Exams, more groups will be presenting on such issues as the Futures of Education, Jobs, Energy, GMO Food, Drugs, Population and even Sex!

I was very impressed with the depth of analysis and the richness of the scenarios the students presented today. Setting aside certain formatting weaknesses in the order of one or two groups’ presented topics, I felt both gratified and humbled at seeing them research information from many sources, putting this often-times seemingly unrelated information together, and coming up with analyses and scenarios that are at once deep, multi-disciplinary, experientially-truthful and achingly rich and still hopeful (preferred scenarios) despite the worst possible implications they also came up with.

For instance, the Futures of Weapons/Arms Industry group (August Baniel, Jeremy Fernandez, Shaundell Ferrer, Evrel Mabugat and Raffy Remitio Jr.) pointed out how, since war is a big, global business, to effect a just and lasting peace in the world, we must also make it more “profitable” for those already engaged in war to engage in peace. They pointed out that it’s not a question of having no money to take people out of poverty, but that the money is there, and it is just used for war.

The Futures of Family group (Laura Jane Biong, Berlyn Deoric, Ruth Ordoyo, Brian Palencia and Anne Villar) pointed out how, globally and nationally, the structure and dynamics of families are changing, facing multiple demands and challenges brought about by globalization in the context of families “breaking up” because of parents’ career and job demands and transfer to urban areas, intercultural marriages, single parenting and young children basically left to parent themselves early on. In their recommendations for strategic action, they proposed family-friendly employment environments, civic and government programs for the family, and a basic family-first orientation in otherwise business and government structures and systems. They discussed how doing otherwise have very damaging impacts on everyone concerned, affecting even our economic and societal lives.

I am looking forward to Sept. 8, when the groups resume their presentations again, with some groups even telling me that they have prepared video versions of their analysis and scenarios.

For now, times like these tell me—I am so blessed in the kind of work that I do, working with these young minds and hearts, having both the opportunity of influencing them and being influenced by them, and daily being able to shape and craft unfolding futures in a more solid and tangible manner, in my constant interactions with them.

With the IDS and students like these, the future is in good hands, after all.*

Saturday, July 04, 2009

my Silence here

is it because i speak with my heart now

that words only get in the way?

this heart is full.

let my Silence speak.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Conspiracy of the Rich

Read this as a crash course on the global financial crisis and why we have gotten into this mess and who are responsible for it and what you, as an individual, can do about it...

Read this to save your life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

mortal thoughts

bea is in my bed, sound asleep. thea and polo are with their dad, for a change. i am alone in a quiet house, my thoughts my only company.

i had a good day today--ticked off most of my little To Dos (although i still have 3 left... oh well, i'll just move them to tomorrow, as usual), had a fun time meeting with colleagues in my Econ. Dept. over lunch at Sugarland's Twist cafe, went grocery-shopping (To Do for tomorrow moved to today) with bea for polo's birthday party on april 29, and had dinner with bea too at Kuppa enjoying a quiet time together.

the thoughts occupying my mind since lunchtime today, though, are about my health. i found out at the meeting how to go about availing of our university health care, which i've never availed of (except for dental services) all these years i've been at the university.

i've been feeling mostly fatigued since late last year; i thought it was just grief from papa's and mama's passing just a year ago, but now im not so sure. i know for sure i have high blood sugar levels; i've been using papa's leftover home tester and testing my self weekly until the strips ran out. and i've asked my sister-in-law to issue me a prescription for low-cost but effective metformin...

i've also been really serious about taking better care of my self, converting to using pi water for drinking at home, eating more fruits and veggies, sleeping and resting whenever my body asked for it, exercising more with my long walks, meditating more, divesting my self of many commitments and just basically simplifying my life.

still, i can't help feeling anxious.

i'm basically all alone now, with papa and mama gone, and my two siblings with their own families to take care of, with still 3 young children in my care.

i've just texted a doctor-friend a best friend recommended, as to when would be a good time for me to visit her tomorrow; i'm still awaiting her reply.

basically, i've learned from the lunch meeting that to avail of our university health care without paying a cent, or at most paying minimally, one has to get one's self admitted to the hospital for at least 24 hours, and have one's doctor order for all tests there.

i'm okay about seeing the doctor for consultation tomorrow or soon. i feel anxious, though, about going to the hospital, and admitting my self, alone, and staying there overnight, alone.

the memories from taking care of papa here, and then mama in Georgia, in January to March last year are still raw; it feels like i've had my fill of hospitals for a lifetime already.

and i dread the thought of sleeping on a hospital bed alone. i've heard enough ghost stories from the nurses.

and even if there were no ghosts, what if some crazy person came in and murdered me in my sleep?

the obvious solution would be to have somebody there with me. i would love for one of the kids to go, but it wouldn't be good for them, having to sleep on a sofa. it wouldn't be good for me, too, having to take care of them when i should just be concentrating on resting and taking care of me.

i could ask our household helper, who's also been the kids' nanny... but who will be left alone with the kids?

i could ask my sister for any one of her household help... or even Nanay Asyon, our own nanny while we were growing up and who's still in our family home...

but then again, i also would like a quiet day and night all to my self, reading, and not talking to anyone else unless necessary.


i remember i used to say to my self when i was in my 30s that i'd never get this old-sounding like the people around me: talking on and on about their health and tests and medicines.

but now it has hit me, right smack when i turned 40! not only because papa died 9 days before my birthday, and mama died 10 days after my birthday last year, and i was almost living round-the-clock in hospitals halfway across the world from each other... it was also when i discovered my incredibly high blood sugar levels when i had my self tested for it while waiting to get blood for papa at the blood bank and laboratory during one of his crisis times before he died.


so this is it: my mortality staring me in the face.

no wonder i've been feeling so fatigued, if not for anything else.

somehow, much of the world has lost its taste for me-- except for my children, and my writing. the rest can go hang.

i'm feeling like i'm just marking time here now.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

what to write?

what to write here?

i am stumped.

this is funny and ironic, considering that this blog started my blogging life and deeper immersion into the online world some 5 years ago, as well as birthed 3 more main blogs, and then 2 or 3 more sub-blogs (children of the main blogs), plus at least 4 Wordpress blogs, my own author site and blog, and my various social networking blogs and notes.

lately, i've been mostly engaged with Facebook, so that must account for my non-writing here, as well as in my other blogs and sites.

i suspect, though, that maybe it's because Mama -- my number 1 blog follower-- is gone, and so one of my main motivations for keeping the blogs up and alive is gone, too. it was not only my way of keeping in contact with her aside from emails, but a way of letting her into my world, in a side-stage kind of way. there are things you can speak about to strangers but you cannot speak about to your mom in a personal email. blogging helped facilitate that in-between world.

even B does not follow my blogs anymore. : ( i guess we know each other deeply enough for him to not have to do that. but i still wished he would. you can never know a person deeply enough, if you care to look closer. every moment changes us, if we care to pay more attention. and life is so short!

lately, i've even been tempted to just erase all my blogs and my presence here online, except for my author site and blog. like a way of starting all over again, clean slate.

but then again, i am still attached to my old posts, if only as a way of revisiting who i was before from time to time, and measure it with who i am now.

maybe, too, it's because i've turned back to handwriting in my physical journal now, as well as turned to my morning meditations first thing in my days... there are things one knows but cannot speak of without demeaning them somehow. there are things that have to be experienced and felt to be fully understood. there are things simply beyond words...

oh well, so... life has happened.

am i less of who i am because i share less here? or have i, actually, become more of who i am because i keep to my self more?

time will tell.

Life will let me know.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

audacious living

would you believe i'm going to a "high tea party" at the city's poshest subdivision in a little while, with Paolo and Bea tagging along, with only P200 in my wallet and official payday still 10 days away?

but no one would know unless i tell them, right? ) besides, the kids and i are dressed like we belong there. heehee.

what the heck. i got an rsvp invitation when i emailed them to ask about their land rates a few weeks ago. so i accepted!

most people would call it foolish. audacious even.

i call it living my Dreams. now. every chance i can, every opportunity i'm offered. just getting into the "feel" of it, at the very least.

the more you feel like you're one with it, and it's one with you, the sooner it manifests for you, physically. that's how it has always worked for me.

and it just occurred to me now-- isn't it funny that the most ardent naysayers are the ones who also don't have what you want? and they have the gall to "advise" you on why it can't, won't possibly happen?!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

"My One Boobed Mamma" now on Amazon and B&N!

My third children's book, My One Boobed Mamma, is now on and Barnes and Noble! Yay!

(Please click on "" and "Barnes and Noble" above to link to the exact pages. Thank you!)

Happy International Women's Day to all the brave and soulful women out there!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

hello, goodbye

i have not heard from you
since New Year's Day--
'makes me wonder if
you've died.

but i've scanned
and searched
the Wheaton obituaries
and your name wasn't there.

it would be so easy
to think:
your Silence
is a reflection
on my value.

but not anymore.
i know better now.
thank God!
for saving me
from that crap.

people can break
or shut down
under pressure;
i don't.
(not break, at least;
shut down, yes.)

that's how i choose
to think
about your Silence

so, the first day
after i turned 41
i said hello again--
that is,
if you are still alive,
only with a horrible case
of cabin fever.

my hello
could also be
my goodbye.
that is up to you
to take
or leave.


is coming.

if you're not careful,
you'll lose me

Thursday, February 26, 2009

just enough

i left school early today (my IDS classes called off, for IDS Week) to pay the electricity bill, and then to shop for food and stuff for the home as it's my turn soon (the ex takes care of the food needs every 16th to the 31st of the month).

when i received my university pay a few days ago, plus my butterfly biz dollar commission at around the same time, i felt thankful that i had double the pay all my other colleagues usually receive, since they just rely on their university work. for me, i felt "mucho" then, and it was a good feeling. : )

but when i lay down with my self these past few days (i like to lie down on my tummy in bed when im doing bills, the position seems to make my mind clearer, more alert), counting up all the bills and payables against the money i've just recently received-- i was dismayed to find that it still wasn't enough. : (

of course, it's almost always this way for everyone, i realized...

but since i've committed to paying my self first (by putting away first the 10% of all incomes received) last Feb. 1, i was pleasantly surprised to have had actually extra money come in from other sources-- like a hefty refund from the university bookstore for a bookkeeping error they made, and even a surprise $110 check from my short-lived fumbles with internet marketing a year ago (i was on for only two months, and invested around $80; i guess this is profiting time now huh? except that i stopped my sites and memberships then ... so whatever incomes i'll still receive would be passive, residual incomes... hmmm... at least now i know these stuff do work!)

so it added to my mucho feeling these last weeks, like it was the Universe's way of supporting my attempts to not only become more fiscally responsible but even grow towards becoming fiscally powerful!

still, as i walked down the grocery aisle this afternoon, mentally calculating and recalculating my grocery bill when i'm done, i felt more and more deflated as i realized i even have to wipe out whatever Asset Buildup Fund (that's what I call my 10% stash) i've built up so far, not only with the increased food and grocery prices, but also paying for the additional expenses for Thea's Prom, which is due in a week.

i came home feeling deflated... defeated even.

maybe it's just better to just go back to the old ways and not even attempt at my Asset Buildup Fund... who was i kidding? : (

but then, as i turn on some meditation music and set the table for my lunch (even if it's takeout, i prefer to eat the food as if i'm on fine dining :> ), and then savor a long shower... i started mentally calculating again the remaining needs i have to cover before next payday, and i am again amazed at how the money i have left now is EXACTLY the money i'll need to cover for the remaining needs!

knock on wood, barring accidents and emergencies, i actually have just enough.


i used to call it a miracle, but when it happens more often than not, i think now that it is really how Life is, when we just go with the flow, do our best in each moment, and leave the rest to God.

"Give us this day, our daily bread"... so, yes, we do have our daily bread always, in just enough proportions for the needs of the day.

for the rest of the uncontrollables and unexpecteds, my children and i just live again on God's Grace, even as having just enough now is also God's Grace.

and then, i remember how i took my one year unpaid university leave last school year-- i only actually had savings enough to tide us over for the next month but people didn't believe me when i said i was just living on God's Grace. they thought that if i had the audacity to take a year's unpaid leave off from work for A YEAR, i must have at least a year's savings stashed, too!

well, in a way, i guess, i had. although it wasn't in my accounts nor in my pockets yet... heehee. they were still in Heaven, on the way to me, and available only for withdrawal when the need arose! ; D

so, see, dear heart? if you survived that audacious, crazy year and even managed to travel to the US twice (and not at your own expense), how much more now and the coming days when you actually have more of your wits and "rationality" about you, and with your intention now to "break out of the rat race and start making your money work for you" ( per "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" Robert Kiyosaki's advice)?

do not be afraid, dear heart.

you have enough.

you always have enough.

and you are always taken care of.

you know that.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Consumatum est

Consumatum est.
The Truth is finally revealed--
I was used
with my half-conscious consent:
niceness and kindness
and too much live-and-let-live,
my own chains;
the princess bird in her gilded cage
all over again.

Consumatum est.
I finally woke up,
though slowly,
to my own awakening.
One can only take so much.

Doing one thing yet naming it another,
As a matter of fact,
As a matter of course.
Call it what you will,
I still call it lying.

Consumatum est.
The Lie is finally put to rest.
I will have no part of it anymore.
Consumatum est.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Brighter Days

song by Ronan Keating

I've done a lot of
Living in my life
Chased my share of
Rainbows in the sky
Before I stopped to
Ask the question why
I've fallen out of love
Too many times
But now I see
The possibilities
Oh how my life could be

From any other love
I'd walk away
Love is temporary
I would say
Now each night I
Find a reason to stay
With you there's
Always brighter days

I've broken a heart
A heart or two
I've let the curtain fall
I guess, it's true
The thought of
Something borrowed
Something blue
Was something that
I never could pursue

But now you're here
My doubt has disappeared
The clouds are gone
It's clear

[Repeat chorus]

Even on the coolest nights
Even when the
Sun won't shine
It's sweeter in
The morning time
Just knowing that
You're there

[Repeat chorus]

Saturday, January 24, 2009

25 (not so) Random Things

Rules: Once you have been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

25 Things

1. I am half Chinese by blood, a fourth Spanish, and a fourth crazy. Err, I also meant a fourth Filipino (but who is the Filipino with no other races' blood mixed in)?
2. I am a reluctant Chinese. I spent my kindergarten, elementary and high school years in a Chinese school, but I refuse to speak Chinese. Probably out of rebellion for the very strict, authoritarian (no questions asked, especially from girls) upbringing.
3. Funny thing, though-- I LOVE Chinese food!
4. I am allergic to blamers and complainers.
5. When I grew up I wanted to be a book author. But then, Papa said writers starve. So then, I wanted to be a doctor. But then, Papa said with my very sensitive (he called it weak) constitution, I couldn't stand the pressure. So then, I wanted to be a nun. Papa went speechless with that. : )
6. Now I'm a happy book author and teacher and mother.
7. I discovered as early as age 6 that what I fervently, earnestly prayed for with all my heart, mind and soul, came true.
8. At age 6, I prayed that my (baptismal) name that I was using then, "Jeanette", be changed into "Mary Jane" (because of a popular song then which went, "Mary Jane of my mind..."). When I entered grade 1, the school asked for my civil-registered birth certificate, and lo and behold, even my parents were surprised and confused, my name was registered as "Mary Jean"! : O Civil registry clerks had a lot of power then... they typed whatever was convenient for them, and parents signed without checking.
9. Lately though, I've been using "Jeanette" again-- my spiritual name, as I've come into my own, come back to my own spirit at last.
10. I still feel so eternally blessed that I was able to pass through the proverbial needle of
a horrible marriage, had it annulled both civilly and in church, and came out much better for it. That's why I'm so careful now with just thoughtlessly giving my precious freedom away again... Uh-oh, not this time. I peer keenly into a man's CHARACTER now, especially in stressful, conflict situations. That's always the best test. (Shhh... sometimes when the going gets too easy... I make myself BE the stress! :> )
11. There are only 3 Rules I live by now-- always be true to your Self/follow your heart; be honest, be kind.
12. My deal-breakers: dishonesty (yes, including not being true to one's word) and cruelty in all forms.
13. I am an incurable romantic and indefatigable optimist.
14. I also love sex... and good food, and travel, and learning about many cultures, and books, and Nature, and long walks, and children, and good coffee with good conversation ... well, all the abundance of Life, really!
15. I am tired of starting all my sentences with "I" here, and my mind is going blank. But, Adeline started this, and is waiting for my turn.
16. I meditate regularly, almost daily, for 30-minutes to an hour. It keeps me centered.
17. I write on my journal daily, too. It keeps my mind clear.
18. I am relieved to see I'm on No. 18 now! : )
19. I can never over-repeat this: I am allergic to blamers and complainers.
20. I am allergic to blamers and complainers.
21. I am also allergic to alcohol. Once I passed out just from Maria Clara Sangria. And even if I just taste beer suds or take a sip of wine or whisky, I turn beet red. Once in Romania, though, I drank two bottles of red wine, straight, just to keep warm. And then my older companions advised me to drink pitchers of water at the hotel afterwards, to prevent a hangover. I woke up very late, but feeling heavenly, with no allergic rashes at all. Maybe that's the exception.
22. There are only a few things I want to devote my energies to for the rest of my life now: being in good health (for me and my loved ones); living a happy Love, Friendship, Marriage and Family life with my Soulmate for the rest of our lives; helping touch and transform others for the better through my gifts in writing and speaking; and traveling the world with my Love and our children.
23. I am allergic to blamers and complainers.
24. I am allergic to blamers and complainers.
25. I am allergic to blamers and complainers. Enough said.

Thank you for reading down to here--congratulations! : )

Now it's your turn.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Path to Joy

10 Principles of Spiritual Optimism by Deepak Chopra ( please click on "10 Principles" to get to the complete article. )

(Adapted from "Why is God Laughing: The Path to Joy and Spiritual Optimism" by Deepak Chopra, Harmony Books, 2008)


i want to post here the pictures and diary of my kids' and my Grand Manila Vacation last Dec. 19-24 where we did the rounds of Ocean Park, Enchanted Kingdom, Museo Pambata and Fort Santiago, The Fort and Bonifacio High Street, even a special trip to the Philippine Army's Civil Military Operations School and the American War Memorial (courtesy of my one and only and best brother in the world!), and of course, Star City and a little ice skating and shopping at Mall of Asia to round it up, while sandwiching in between their U.S. non-immigrant visa interviews (yep, they were approved with 10-year multiple-entry visas each, and without even being asked for our docs! ohhhhh God is soooooo great!)... but the 250plus pictures take so long uploading, and i'm not in the mood right now for copying our diary to this blog... so that will have to wait for better times, and im posting the one above instead as my way of contributing to a Happy 2009 for all of us! : )

Abundant New Year blessings!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


once, while introducing Peace Journalism to a group of campus journalists, i asked the question--

"what five-letter word do we always speak of, hear of, write about, talk about, but can never get enough of?"

of course, the answer was a give-away: "Peace", and the audience almost simultaneously spoke it.

then, i asked--

"how come? if we speak, hear, write, talk about it so much, how come we still don't have it in our midst?"

that took a while answering. and the audience fell silent for a couple of minutes.

then, somebody ventured, "maybe, it's because we don't live it out yet? when we actually live something out, we don't even speak of it anymore?"

i smiled and nodded, and the audience guffawed when i said, "just like sex, no? the people who keep talking about it are the ones who are not having it in their lives, true?"

: )


this makes me wonder now about which is deeper, truer then... the pain that one can speak of and describe in all its gory, gnashing detail--

or the one which renders one wordless?


in the same vein, which is the truer, deeper love then... the love that everyone knows about because one announces its every nuance and development--

or the one which is kept in the silence of one's heart?

Thursday, November 27, 2008


this is what my horoscope said yesterday--

Wednesday, Nov 26th, 2008 -- People more powerful than any you've known will enter your life over the next decade, forcing you to reassess your priorities. This may take a while to notice, but it can begin as you get involved with new social groups or organizations. Not surprisingly, as your friends change, so will your world. Even if you cannot yet fathom what's ahead, just remember to voluntarily let go of the past when it's time. Struggling to hold on to the wrong things can exhaust you when you need your energy for something more important.

and this is what it says today--

Just give yourself the space to dream big because anything is possible. The greatest limitations at this time will arise from within your own mind.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A cosmic explanation for the Obama era

From my free subscription email:

Change is coming, fight it as you may! The expansive, worldly sign of Capricorn welcomes Pluto this week for a 16-year stay, heralding a time of complete global transformation - in economies, structures, and governments.

On a more personal aspect, this is what Pluto (the planet of transformation) in Capricorn (the sign of worldly matters) has for me--

A New Moon in your career zone on Thursday paves the way for a new beginning, especially if you're embarking on a new job. Your first tentative steps will lead to great things. Pluto moves into your social zone on Wednesday, where it will remain until 2024. It's going to transform your social life from the inside out, bringing you new high-powered friends and encouraging you to be practical and realistic about your long-term hopes and dreams. You're going to be in the spotlight whether you want to be or not. Get ready!


Does this explain all the "fame" I've started to experience lately, as a preview and jumpstart of things to come?



For more on Pluto in Capricorn, please click here.

Some points I'd like to highlight about what this astrological transit means, though:

Pluto transits typically include a breakdown phase, where structures that no longer serve us are dismantled to make room for new structures that are more in line with our spiritual evolution. I like to think of these periods as course corrections, where our guides or gods decide that certain changes are required. If we understand the process and can surrender to it with trust, this can be an exhilarating time of transformation and empowerment. If we resist and hold on to the past it can be full of tragedy and pain.

When Pluto goes through Capricorn we can expect the transformation of all things ruled by that sign - such as our religious institutions, halls of government and political structures, the way we inter our dead and take care of our old people, construction techniques and buildings, and how we handle ownership of property.

Pluto will be entering Capricorn for the first time January 25, 2008 and will retrograde back into Sagittarius one final time on June 14. It will journey back into Capricorn on November 26, 2008 and remain there until January 21, 2024. For sixteen years, Pluto will engage in a process of breaking down and then rebuilding the structures on which we depend for a successful experience in the material world.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

8 Ways to Increase Hope

Don't let bad news and depressing outer circumstances get you down. You can still create hope, for your self and for others. To read more, please click here.

1. Be kind to your self. Take "care breaks" as frequently as you need to.

2. Create a daily 5-minute silence ritual to stay connected to your Soul.

3. Curtail your intake of news.

4. Treat each day like a precious gift. Be vigilant in looking for things and people to appreciate. What if today was the last day of your life?

5. Take a break to savor Nature and to remind you of the timeless ways and truths of Life.

6. Express love tangibly.

7. Say this affirmation every day and see where it leads you: "I am the key to Peace."

8. Make a positive difference. Our accumulated gestures of care and compassion will ultimately transform our lives and the lives of others. We are each the source of that transformation.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


My 8-year-old Bea keeps saying lately how she wants to be the first lady President.

of the United States of America.

: ) : ) : )


i'm scheduled to do a volunteer storytelling session with 3-4 year-olds on Monday at the Provincial Library, whose librarian asked me to do so some weeks ago, in celebration of National Book Month.

it's strange how I'm feeling jittery and self-doubting about my ability to engage my audience, when I've been going around the country these past few years training and speaking to even thousands (1,700 has been my biggest audience so far) of older people!

there's something more special, even sacred, with having a session with 3- to 4-year-olds, i guess. they're purer, clearer, more transparent, more honest-- either you jell with them or you don't.

God help and bless me and these children! May our time together be mutually enriching and blessed!

Monday, November 17, 2008

3:44 a.m. thoughts

the kids and i bought a new 8-foot Christmas tree and its matching ornaments of green, gold and copper today. Thea wanted an autumn look.

they put it up and decorated it as i watched.

our trees grew over the years as they grew, from a 3-foot one to a 6-foot one, and now our big and tall, 8-foot majestic tree almost touching the ceiling.

we all beamed joyfully as we ate the fusilli pasta Thea and Bea made earlier, over candlelight (since it was a brownout), and i proclaimed as we admired our "Royal" tree, "first a bigger, more elegant tree, next a bigger, more elegant house!" : )


i miss Papa and Mama.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Tight Times" nominated for National Book Awards TWICE!

I am honored to learn that "Tight Times" has been nominated in the Manila Critics Circle's and the National Book Development Board's National Book Awards for books published in 2007 not only once but TWICE-- for children's literature and best design.

To think that among the three stories I submitted for PBBY Salanga 2007 before, I thought "Tight Times" was the "weakest" because it required less effort from me in terms of craft, that it just flowed when written...

Hmmm... come to think of it... so did "Papa's House, Mama's House" (PBBY Salanga 2004 grand prize winner)!


Maybe the writing flowed in these because the effort was in the months and years of actually living them out.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

IPRA memories, Leuven, Belgium (July 15-19, 2008)

Photobucket Album

surrounded by angels

i have 7 kids aged 8 to 15 sleeping in my home.

my 3 treasures--Thea, Paolo and Bea-- had such fun with their cousins at the Greenhills Memorial Park yesterday, they wanted to sleep over at Angkong's and Grandma's mausoleum! in the end, they decided on a happy compromise (as the cemetery had to close by 10pm): sleep over at my home instead.

my place's being the next best thing to Angkong's and Grandma's mausoleum is something i consider a compliment. : ) apparently, the kids feel comfortable with me and trust me enough for their joy and fun.

so, after we got home from the cemetery at past 11pm last night, i proceeded to my own bedroom to sleep, while their evening had just finally started.

as i slept, they had the run of the house, doing as they pleased-- some tinkering on the piano organ, some watching dvd copies of The Simpsons, some chatting on the net, some playing card games, and everyone feasting on the leftover-food-from-the-cemetery-celebration on the table, including the tub of Mahinay native ice cream we brought home with us.

now, the house is quiet as everyone (except for Redd, who hasn't slept yet!) is asleep. : )

as for me, i must've mastered the art of sleeping amidst chaos, as i slept very soundly, peacefully and happily last night.

on second thought, who wouldn't sleep so well, knowing one is surrounded by angels?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Today's Sharing: Soul and the Alchemy of Crisis

I'm not really in a sharing-my-self mode lately, more on inner-journeying, hibernation mode, but here are some stuff I find beautiful, and which reflect where I'm at right now, too...

We all flow from one fountain—Soul. All are expressions of one love. God does not appear, and flow out, only from narrow chinks and round bored wells here and there in favored races and places, but He flows in grand undivided currents, shoreless and boundless over creeds and forms and all kinds of civilizations and peoples and beasts, saturating all.
-John Muir


In The Alchemy of Crisis, my favorite quotes:

... "How do you live?" Not only survive to save your skin, but how do you survive as a soul? How do you reinvent yourself after catastrophe? How do you handle the really extreme things that life deals you and come through intact—and with curiosity and interest and enthusiasm in your life?

- O -

You have these moments when you snap awake, and you’re in the present. And it happens so rarely that when it does, it feels like almost like an altered state. And you think, "What’s different now?" And what’s different is that my eyes are open and I’m seeing. I’m actually here. These sacred moments are happening all of the time. But we’re in a kind of trance. We’re in a workaday, mundane hallucination of ordinariness. And what you realize is when you touch mortality, where life and death meet, that’s where epiphanies happen. Nothing is ordinary. What could be less ordinary than being alive? On this mysterious planet? It’s extraordinary.

And when you have that experience, it changes how you see. Not permanently, in every minute. You're still screwed up, struggling you, but you have a reference point for something that’s beyond mundane.

- O -

What’s the difference between people who transform in crisis and people who melt?

One of the most important things is being able to imagine yourself in a new way. If you can’t, it’s very hard to come through fire. When mystics talk about ego-death—it’s a very literal experience. It doesn’t feel good. It’s not easy. But you realize you are so much bigger than you thought you were.

Most of us have to be forced, kicking and screaming, to give up our ordinary life, even if we’re not happy. That’s what’s amazing. A lot of people would rather hold on to the hell they know. And those are the people who melt. One guy I spoke to, he was in the hospital for eight months and said he could tell within a couple of minutes whether somebody was going to survive or not—and it had to do with whether they were willing to see themselves in a new way. If they couldn’t, they were doomed.

What conditions have to exist for us to imagine ourselves different?

One is the inability to escape. Because most people will run away from whatever is uncomfortable. The inability to escape is a blessing because it really, truly forces you to be there, grow through that, and then transform.

So transformation isn't about will?

No, no. When you’re going through rapids, often it’s surrender that gets you through. That’s why I called the book "When You’re Falling, Dive," because, if you don’t dive, you do so much more damage to yourself and you don’t go as far because you’re kicking and screaming and holding on to the branches. If you dive, you find that life will take you. And you feel—finally—part of something bigger. When you go through it enough times, you start to trust it.

And I’m a control freak. I'm a type-A personality. Your typical macho, idiot guy. But when you can’t control it over enough years, and find that you’ve been taken consistently places you didn’t expect, you start to believe it. You start to believe you’re really not driving the car.

What did you learn from the people you interviewed?

On thing is that loss or change becomes part of who you are. I can be a little transformation crazy, one to just do a 180. But it’s never 180. There’s residue. There are shadows. There’s something that’s left in you from the loss. And that needs to be blessed.

What else did you learn from them?

That your body has an intelligence, and it’s talking to you. But most of the time we’re too busy blabbering to hear it.

- O -

And when you have walked through whatever your fire is, it connects you to the human condition in a way that you’ve probably spent most of your life avoiding and denying. That’s a huge, wonderful, beautiful thing. It deepens you as a person. It humbles you as a person. It opens your heart. It makes you grateful. We forget to have thanks for the things in our lives. People think it’s corny, but it changes everything.

- O -

So, life isn’t blueberries. And nor would you want a constant diet of blueberries. Often it’s the thing that irks you that pushes you forward. For myself, so many of the things that I thought were the most infuriating have been the things that have made me face my s**t and walk through doors I wouldn’t have wanted to walk through. Almost everything that grows you is stuff you would avoid if you could. That's something people can learn about crisis—that it gives you faith in pain. And that sounds weird, but we automatically think if there’s pain, there’s something wrong, and that is really not true. The impulse might be to fight or flee. But bearing is for me, the real revelation.

You realize everyone has their cross— and what do you do with it? You bear it. It becomes a part of who you are. And then you stop resenting the hardship and see it’s the stuff of your life. It’s the shadows in your life that make your life better. People want it easy—they want "life lite."


Read more here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"My One-Boobed Mamma" Debuts!

You can pre-order it now before it gets to Amazon and the major bookstores! ;D

Please click here.

My Probe Team Interview

It's going to be aired tomorrow (Sept. 24, Phil. time) night, at 11:30 p.m., right after Bandila! ;D

For other schedules, channels, countries--

Wednesday, 11:30 PM on ABS-CBN (VHF Channel 2)

Thursday, 4.50 AM on ABS-CBN

Saturday, 5:30 AM on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC)

Sunady, 1:30 PM on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC)

Wednesday, 11:30 PM on TFC
Wednesday, 7:30 AM on TFC (replay)

Thursday, 9:30 AM on TFC
Saturday, 5:35 PM on TFC (replay)

Friday, 11:55 PM on TFC

Thursday, 8:50 AM on TFC
Friday, 2:55 AM on TFC (replay)

Thursday, 8:40 PM on TFC
Friday, 7:15 AM on TFC (replay)


Do watch and let me know how you find it, please!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Glamor Girl

I had fun being one of the "glamor girls" our colleagues picked to represent our College of Business and Accountancy at the U-Week's first night's show tonight; a welcome light and pleasant change from the usual intellectual focus and challenges I am usually preoccupied-- if not inundated-- with.

We danced to a combination of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" (we were assigned a 1950s-60s theme) and "Material Girl" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, wearing evening gowns and faux glittery jewelry. I even wore a tiara. : )

I've never really thought of my self as the glamor girl type before; I've always thought I was too big, too tall, too heavy, too fair--compared to the petite, tan Asian-Filipina frame--and too shy and even too plain (the only makeup I wear daily is lipstick, and the only jewelry I wear is a pair of pearl earrings!) to even come close, much less to be considered as a likely Marilyn Monroe type. So, it's also a compliment to be even asked to join in this dance presentation.

I still don't think I'm the Marilyn Monroe type, though. Up to the last minute of our dance practice, it surprised me that some thought I was to be the central attraction as the buxom (buxom?!!! me???) bombshell, acting and lipsynching the part. I thought that was hilarious and I'm still not over it!

In the end, when they saw me come out of the dressing room in my simple long gold gown, with long silk gloves, simple but tasteful jewelry and tiara, they finally agreed on what type I thought I could approximate at least-- Grace Kelly. : )

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Forgotten Grievers

When it hits, it hits hard.

I woke up very early (a little after 12 midnight) last Monday, eager to finish computing the last of my Econ. classes' Midterm grades, so I could surprise them that day with not only fully returned papers but also their Midterm grades, the first day after Midterm exams, and not a week or two after, which is the norm.

So when I met my first class at 9:30am, I was fully prepared. I heard one student comment to another that she can't believe I've returned their papers to them and given them their grades so soon, and I was secretly pleased with that.

Then came my 12:30 class, and everything went well, too, and I was so proud of my self for being so efficient.

By then, though, I had already started to feel a throbbing headache, which I just shrugged away as the effect of waking up too early.

By two o'clock, though, just 30 minutes before my next class, I was feeling so dizzy and nauseous I could barely walk straight to the University Clinic. I only thought to have my blood pressure checked but I couldn't even trust my self to still remain solidly seated while they took my blood pressure, that I went straight to the nurse in charge instead, asked for medication and one of the beds to lie down and rest on.

I was promptly assisted and while I lay down there feeling groggy, but needing to inform my 230pm and 330pm class contacts still that I won't be able to meet them that day after all, I still managed to text them. After which, I put my phone on silent mode and proceeded to go to sleep, hoping I could at least sleep off some of the throbbing headache away.

I remember my last thought just before I dozed off, though-- how, if it weren't for B and the hope of being happily together with him someday, as well as the hope of seeing my children grow beautifully into happy people leading meaningful lives, I'd be happy to die right then and there (!). I remember this because it surprised me even as I dozed off.

An hour later, I woke up feeling better but still groggy and feverish now, and promptly went to the car to drive over to the Integrated School area to pick the kids up.

While waiting in the car (they knew it was pick-up time), I suddenly just started to weep, feeling sorry for my self. Even if I wanted to climb into bed right then and there, shut out the rest of the world and just rest and be babied for a change, I couldn't, as I still had responsibilities to attend to like pick up the kids and shop for groceries on the way home, as food stock at home had run out.

The self-pitying mode spiraled and I started thinking of how, even if I have a good life now, I still have to do everything on my own, and how, even if I have a good love with B now, we are not together yet... how unlucky i am, getting to a good place at last but not really there yet,... and so on and so forth. It helped (or didn't help?) that Meryl Streep was belting out "The Winner Takes It All" and "Slipping Through My Fingers" from Mamma Mia in the car stereo.

By the time the kids came around, I had wept enough to manage to wipe my tears off now and present my happy (well, composed, at least) Mommy face to them.

And so, on to the grocery shopping, then the dinner instructions to the housekeeper at home, then the homework with the kids, and finally, getting my much-needed rest in my own bed a few hours later, with the throbbing headache and fever to a high pitch now.

By early morning yesterday, it was a full-blown case of the flu.

And then, I realized, it's not just the flu.

A little email exchange with B made me realize that this is something deeper than just the flu.

Since June, I have been down like 3 or 4 times, when I never even had the flu for the entire year last school year while I was on leave, and even while taking care of Papa and Mama during their last days at the hospitals.

My thoughts since Papa and Mama died have been mainly on how this world does not appeal to me now, how I've lost my taste for things which used to inspire, excite and move me to work and reach for more, how I've even dreaded going on my all-expenses paid travels now, and how I just wanted to stay home, close to the kids and the things I loved, doing only what I truly desired--reading and writing learning how to cook and bake well so I can feed my family and my self well, and taking long walks in Nature...

I used to think that my parents' deaths have blessed me with this acutely clearer sense of who I am and what I essentially just want in my life; I still do. I also used to think that I've been taking my parents' deaths quite well, compared to many, as I have in fact been flourishing and blooming in so many ways, even people tell me so.

What I didn't realize was that in the subterranean depths of my life, I am grieving so deeply, it takes my body to tell me (and to keep telling me) this now.

I surfed for grieving articles late last night (I slept most of the whole day yesterday, so I felt fully awake and alert late at night instead), and yep, a lot of the physical, emotional and even social symptoms are there: dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, fatigue and weariness, loneliness and sadness, wanting to withdraw from social contacts, even a sense of wanting to die or dying soon...

This one article struck me most, as I just wept and wept, recognizing my self in it even as I read it: "The Peculiar Grief of the Adult Orphan".

Forgotten grievers, disenfranchised grief, orphaned adults, adult orphans, midlife orphans-- they can't even agree on the term yet, but at least, there is recognition of the phenomenon now, when before, it was just swept under the rug, with "adults (are) supposed to be fundamentally different, quickly dealing with the grief of losing the people that raised them from the cradle."

I wept my self to sleep last night.

I wept so long and hard that I woke up feeling cleared and refreshed, like I've excavated my lungs and heart out of all the dross and pain there, so I guess that's a good thing.

I'm still feverish and groggy this morning, though, so I still called in sick. I even asked the kids if they can just be absent today, too, so I don't have to drive out to take them to school and then pick them up again later today. Naturally, the kids are happy to be free, while I have this temporary reprieve today, at least, from further mommy duties.

What this recent bout with the flu has taught me, though, is to finally sit up and take notice of my grief over my parents' recent deaths and all that it entails, to fully acknowledge now my much-decreased energies and capacity to give to others (I'm glad I refused overloads this semester, and have refused a number of university assignments too; my intuition knows me better than I know my self consciously!), and to not expect my self to perform tasks as well, as efficiently and as generously (loading my limits taking on multiple projects all at once and just multi-tasking) as I used to before.

Lately, I've been concerned about how I couldn't seem to concentrate and take in information for long periods anymore (that's why I have 900-plus unopened emails), in addition to my inability to stay up all night working without paying for it health wise the next day.

I've noticed in my self an increased incapacity and intolerance for bullshit (that's a good thing) with a shortened fuse and fast-boiling temper (not really so good), too.

It's a good thing I've resumed my daily meditations as regularly as I can again. But even that has its challenges, because meditation makes you even feel more onion-skinned and sensitive to energies in and around you even as you become more cleansed... and that's maybe why I have just been so quickly prone to flu and so weepy lately.

When will this end?

I don't know; I don't think I should even expect it to end. The articles I've read say it subsides over time, but at the oddest of times, it comes up again.

I'm just sharing my journey here. It's my way of dealing with it as healthily and positively as I can ...

I don't even expect any answers anymore.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Secret to a Happy and Long Life

Based on a research on nuns (yes, nuns! ... to minimize confounding variables, the research says), this is the secret (excerpt):

The belief that we can rely on shortcuts to happiness, joy, rapture, comfort, and ecstasy, rather than be entitled to these feelings by the exercise of personal strengths and virtues, leads to legions of people who in the middle of great wealth are starving spiritually. Positive emotion alienated from the exercise of character leads to emptiness, to inauthenticity, to depression, and, as we age, to the gnawing realization that we are fidgeting until we die. The positive feeling that arises from the exercise of strengths and virtues, rather than from the shortcuts, is authentic.

The trait of optimism helps explain how a single snapshot of the momentary happiness of nuns could predict how long they will live. Optimistic people tend to interpret their troubles as transient, controllable, and specific to one situation. Pessimistic people, in contrast, believe that their troubles last forever, undermine everything they do, and are uncontrollable. Optimism is only one of two dozen strengths that bring about greater well-being.

We need a psychology of rising to the occasion, because that is the missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of predicting human behavior.

Read more about it here.


Somebody I loved told me once, "Can you tone down your sunny you please? You make me feel worse."

It hurt, very much, considering that my choice to be positive is a choice borne out of the pain and struggle of rising above negativity, not just a blind adoption of some Pollyanna-ish philosophy.


Of course I didn't "tone down the sunny me"!

I said goodbye to him instead.

I'm glad I did.

It wouldn't have worked out for us in the long run; he would have been a drag, to say the least.

He would've significantly shortened my life too, haha.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My One-Boobed Mamma

Happy surprise!

I found this while surfing.

I thought My One-Boobed Mamma would be released in early 2009 yet; apparently, it's coming out this August already!

The release of one's work to the public always feels like sending your firstborn out to The Big School. I guess I'll never stop feeling this way about my "creative children", aside from my flesh-and-blood creative children...

May My One-Boobed Mamma reach those who need her most, and may their lives be better from reading her.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's Time

I intend to die at 80. That leaves me 40 years to go.

For the last 40 years of my life so far, I have been mainly taking, receiving, learning from others, even as I sought to find my own way and become comfortable in my own skin. Now that I am in a good place at last (my own skin : >, knowing my way), I figure it’s time to give back, to “pay it forward” so to speak, as the next half of my life spreads out before me.

One would think that with the many sites and blogs I already maintain, I would stay put with these. Well, I guess I surprise even my self up to now. It’s ideas, gut feel, and spark that get to me best. It’s not really about planning and deliberate creation; it’s more like spontaneous combustion for me.

Way back in 2000, after finishing a creative writers’ workshop, I was asked to deliver the “valedictory” speech in behalf of all my other writer-fellows. I remember summing up the experience of the journey in creative writing as being composed of three levels: first, there is writing for catharsis; then, there is writing for self-expression and self-discovery; then, there is writing for craft and communication.

I guess it would apply to this new endeavor, too, although this is not about creative writing. As I created this new blog (actually, this was the last one in this new series), I also created along with this other blogs (please see Blog Roll) which reflect my interests and passions, as well as my training, education and experience so far.

It’s writing for craft and communication time now, giving back to the world what I have learned so far in my own journeys, studies and reflections.

I see this new endeavor as also a way for me to bridge the link between the so-called experts (the academe, the civil society organizations, even business) in their field that I have worked with for most of my life, with the everyday person and net citizen out there, as that seems to be a vital but still unfulfilled link today.

I have discovered that I have this gift– for linking seemingly unrelated ideas and incompatible people and groups together. Since it’s payback time for me, I might as well use this gift well and to the maximum.

The Net (and WordPress) is a good place to start.