Friday, December 30, 2005

Another Reason to Avoid TV

i stopped watching tv around 5 years ago, and ive been happier since then.

first, i stopped watching by default, because the ex hogged the tv and the sofa and i didn't like the programs he was watching. then, our eldest grew old enough to wrestle the remote control away from her father when she could, so that doubled my competition. for peace and love, i turned to reading and rereading my collection of books instead, and writing down my thoughts alone in the bedroom. i never knew that was a blessing in disguise.

i gradually learned what a bunch of drivel we're all fed when we watch tv, especially when we watch tv too much. little by little, you give away your own power over your own mind, what thoughts to think, because tv thinks for you, and feeds you ideas in a way that lulls you into acquiescence, because of the lack of true human interaction and discourse.

but here's another reason not to watch tv which i came across just now in one of the free newsletters i subscribe to:


For years, ETR has been trying to convince you to drastically limit the hours you spend watching TV. Not only does it waste time and lull your brain into a false sleep ... it is also slowly but surely eating away at your bank account.

The 2005 J.D. Power & Associates Residential Cable/Satellite TV Customer Satisfaction Survey reports that satellite subscribers pay an average of $57.72 a month and cable subscribers shell out an average of $58.51. That's about $700 a year squandered on mind-numbing, nattering drivel.

If you were to invest that money and get a 15% return, you'd have close to $7,000 in five years. Keep stowing that $700 away, and in 25 years you'd have close to $200,000! With that kind of money, you could buy a Ferrari F430 Spider, pay off your child's med school loans, or enjoy a much more comfortable retirement.

- Suzanne Richardson


nice food for thought, huh, but it still doesn't beat reclaiming your own mind from the clutches of mass-produced mindlessness.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

blessings flow

ive just finished my cleaning, filing and organizing, and i texted my sister to ask if her daughter would like my old collection of Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High books which id like to give away. she promptly texted back to say that Aia would love it, as much as Aia and her two other siblings loved the gifts i gave them last Christmas. my sister had a sweet way of describing what i did, of all the gifts they received, they loved yours best. you know their heart.

my heart further warmed to that, doubling my joy from just giving freely and with as much thought and care as i could. i feel blessed knowing i made my nieces and nephew really happy with their gifts.


and then, my aunt's secretary in cebu called me to say that my aunt, who's based in new jersey, but who has her export company in cebu, is sending each of us (including the kids) 500 bucks (10 dollars) each as Christmas gifts, through my bank account.

sure, it isn't much, but it's still a happy and surprise blessing. where i live, that's already worth a 2-hour spa massage session and a really rich and frothy cappuccino afterwards! : )


thank You, God, for these blessings too!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ray Bradbury Revisited

what's taking me so long to sift through my old files and books and rearrange them is that not only do i wipe each file, each book, lovingly, i open most of them and browse through old notes to my self, old underlined words, and remember who i was then, what i was thinking about, and how they have brought me to who i am, where i am now.

right now, i am taking my nth break from my "work" to digest things, even as i think about what i want to do next for the coming year.

right now, i am feeling quite glum for not making it to the two writing contests i applied to and was so excited about a few months ago (i just learned of the results today when i Google-searched for them again for the nth time, too), but i also feel the building up of a steel resolve to do better, to study my craft better, even get into the only national writing workshop for children's lit here by preparing for it well, and continue writing my stories anyway and telling my truth, win or no win in contests.

ive just come across an old beloved book by Ray Bradbury, Zen in The Art of Writing, and an old unsent letter to Mr. Bradbury falls out from the pages. it was from me at 26, wife, young mother, businessperson... but oh so lost about who she was then and slowly dying inside. i remember now how this book made me secretly cry copious tears, even as it slowly healed me and encouraged me to pick up my pen again, even if only by writing in my diaries, and find my own voice again, and write my way through my life again.

it has been 11 years since then. ive not only made a shift in my life's work from business to education, where i can be closer to books and writing, but have even made a part-time freelance career out of my writing, become a fellow to two national writing workshops, won a national writing award for my first children's story, and had my first book published to critical acclaim. the best thing, always, is people coming up to me and telling me how my writing has touched them in some way.

so i shouldnt feel so glum, but i still do. i guess there is the thought at the back of my mind that im not good enough for more, that maybe this is the end, that i shouldnt even dream about making writing my life's work (how dare i?), that even if i loved writing with a passion, writing may not love me back similarly... : (

picking up Bradbury's book again, erased all those doubts away, though, and renewed me.

here are now some excerpts from the book, which i not only underlined in red, but marked with a star even, to remind me of my deepest loves and passions--literature, writing, living, a constant wondrous inquiring into life and human nature...

- Stay alive! Yell. Jump. Play. Out-run those sons-of-bitches. They'll never live the way you live. Go do it.

- Not to write, for many of us, is to die. ... What would happen is that the world would catch up with and try to sicken you. If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy, or both. You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

- If you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being your self.

- Do not, for money, turn away from all the stuff you have collected in a lifetime. Do not, for the vanity of intellectual publications, turn away from what you are-- the material within you which makes you individual, and therefore, indispensable to others.

- To fail is to give up. But you are in the midst of a moving process. Nothing fails then. All goes on. Work is done. If good, you learn from it. If bad, you learn even more. Work done and behind you is a lesson to be studied. There is no failure unless one stops. Not to work is to cease, tighten up, become nervous, and therefore, destructive of the creative process. We are working not for work's sake. What we are trying to do is find a way to release the truth that lies in all of us.

- How does one get lost? Through incorrect aims... Through wanting literary fame too quickly. From wanting money too soon. If only we could remember, fame and money are gifts given us only after we have gifted the world with our best, our lonely, our individual truths. Now we must build a better mousetrap, heedless if a path is being beaten to our door.

- What do you think of the world? You, the prism, measure the light of the world; it burns through your mind to throw a different spectroscopic reading onto white paper than anyones else can throw. Let the world burn through you. Throw the prism light, white hot, on paper. Make your own individual spectroscopic reading.

- Go dig the Troy in you!

thank you again, Ray, for reminding me of what i am about.

and so, i will continue to write even more, and write even better, this time.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Passion

i heard about it and all its rave reviews but i never got to watch it when it was shown in all local theatres here more than a year ago. i was happy to find a vcd version of it, though, when we were at the local home movies shop a week ago, and i promptly borrowed it.

i didn't know what was coming when i asked Thea to play it for me yesterday early morning. it was just the last vcd we haven't watched yet, but the timing couldn't have been more right. watching The Passion of the Christ only made me see clearly what the life of Christ, and especially his birth at Christmas, was all about -- Love one another as I love you. that is all.

i cried so hard from watching the film, but it was a good kind of cry, the healing kind. i cried so hard i feel like all vestiges of whatever hurt and pain i still harbor from the unkindness of people in my past has all been washed clean.

the door to the past is finally closed, for good, and i am finally healed, whole.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

the right thing

i think i did the right thing by prioritizing the kids' Santa wish list items over housing loan mortgage arrears payments (sigh... this one's another blog to write about...!).

i arrived home from gift shopping for them late last night, and i think little Bea must have somehow wondered whether there was something special in the car (of course i hid the gifts in the trunk : >), because right after i went into the bedroom, i heard the car door close again, and i found her running from the car into the house and going directly to the Christmas tree, looking at the gifts under the tree again (these are assorted gifts from friends and relatives), gazed at the ones addressed to her, stroked them, hugged them, then re-arranged them more neatly under the tree.

then she went to the pc and clicked on the calculator function. apparently, she was trying to compute how many days more it would take before Christmas, as she asked Thea when Christmas would be and what date it was yesterday. : )

then, satisfied for the moment, she went back to watching tv.


the most "painful" part of my shopping yesterday was deliberating on whether to go ahead with purchasing the learning laptop Bea really wanted (Barbie, which cost 6k), or just any of the other China-made learning laptops, which cost one third of the Barbie laptop.

common sense would dictate that i purchase the cheaper ones; they still meet the requirements in her list-- a laptop-- didn't it?

but heart sense felt violated at the idea.

i remembered how it was when i was her age, hoping and wishing and praying for some particular item in my Santa list, and getting something like it on Christmas day, but not really the color/style/form i wanted. through a few more Christmases like that, i learned how to settle for less, for what's available, instead of staying close to my heart and going for my heart's desires, keeping passion for life alive. i remembered how, for most of my growing up years, i felt much older and wearier than i am now, simply because i almost forgot about my heart and its true desires, in favor of what was sensible and logical and rational and economic and efficient. : ( ... and i remembered how, for a long long time now, Christmas has been almost like a tiresome chore to tolerate and get done and over with. no wonder.

so i closed my eyes and stood by my self at a quiet corner of the toy store for a few minutes, and reflected on my decision. the Barbie laptop that Bea has been daily praying for and checking out for and hoping for, or the cheaper generic laptop which was more favorable to my budget?

the thought that i could be dampening my little girl's young heart and maiming her spirit by making her settle for less clinched it for me; i couldn't do that!!!

and so i bought her the Barbie laptop.

the saleslady who tested it for me had so much fun playing with it, i knew i did the right thing. i could already see Bea's eyes light up when she opens her gift on Christmas morning, and feel her heart soar, for heart and soul desires fulfilled, even when appearances seemed to go against its fulfillment.

the gift is as much for Bea as it is for me, an affirmation of faith in the goodness of life and the Universe and God, and miracles, and dreams coming true.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The X

while turning a corner on the drive home last night, another car appeared to want to turn in the direction i was going, too, but hesitated and paused... so i let it go ahead. i only found out a moment later, while i was following it and my headlights beamed on its plate number, that it was the ex's car.

i was bemused by the situation and i just watched what would happen next. the occupants in the other car seemed excited, though. i saw the ex's head rear up and i guess he must have sat up straighter, as his head actually showed over the head rest (he is not a very tall man). the other occupant, a woman, seemed all agog turning her head this way and that, then turning to look at my car. although there's nothing to see-- my car is tinted.

i couldnt make out their faces and expressions either, as they appeared to me in silhouette; i could only make out their agitated movements.

why would they be agitated, i wondered? we're both free now, with the annulment. they can do whatever they pleased. if that was the gf, i even hear they're planning to marry next year. but, the way they acted, looked guilty to me. and i just sat there amused.

when i first heard the news of their planned marriage a week ago (the ex bragged to the maid as he came to pick up the kids, and the maid told me. he said childishly, i have a house now... duh!), i felt a pang somewhere deep inside. was it jealousy?

not of the other woman; people tell me she's nothing close to me. my sister was actually blunt about it: she's ugly, manang. : )

but still, jealousy, yes... in the sense that he seems to be moving on in that department, while i still have years to go. but in my heart, i wish him well, and i wish her good luck. : )

still, just before i woke up this morning, i dreamt of the ex. he was in a training seminar i was in, too, and people were talking about us, about how we used to be married to each other. i just took it calmly, going about my way nonchalantly but he seemed overly disturbed.

as i turned a corner to go to another room, he blocked my way and confronted me, and started blaming me again for the past, for leaving him, but which i coolly ignored. that must have infuriated him further as he now started talking abusively to me, calling me names and insulting me. even in that dream, his anger at me was palpable. but all i remember thinking was that, my god, he's still hurting after all these years, poor guy, so trapped in the past.

finally, when his abuse was getting loud and obnoxious, i challenged him to a fistfight to settle it once and for all. i took on my basic aikido stance (the only stance i learned... heehee... as i only had one session of aikido), and prepared my self to take him on.

instead, though, he tried to kick me, but i was able to adeptly cut his kick with my hand and twist his leg so, he groaned in pain.

people gathered around us and i could tell he was dying from shame. i only calmly told him, nobody abuses me anymore and gets away with it.

and then i woke up.

Friday, December 16, 2005

All Set

the kids and i are all set for the christmas holidays.

the house has been cleaned (i only have to re-arrange my books in the shelves), the tree has been up since october, my classes have ended while theirs are winding down by early next week, i have received my whole month's pay for december as well as my 13th month bonus, and i have drawn up my budget to last us through the middle of next month, at the very least. i even have the budget for gifts all drawn up, too (i hope i will be able to stick to it and not get swayed by the holiday frenzy again...; i have a strategy planned even for that, to do my christmas shopping when the malls open and there are still very few customers around) : )

i only accepted invitations to attend three parties, though-- the ones where the people are really my closest friends or students. the rest, i declined.

i like to spend my holidays quietly, reflectively. i will be re-arranging my book shelves tomorrow, even as ive already started reading two books simultaneously. the kids and i just got in from the mall, where i treated them to an early dinner, and then we spent our time browsing for vcds we could borrow over the holidays. i have my own set of movies to watch, too, movies i never got to see at the cinema as i had no one to watch them with, but which i can now watch happily in the privacy of our own home.

im busy handwriting on my diary again, even as i make plans and revise my timetables and budgets for the coming year and years...

it's only been our fourth christmas since the sep three and a half years ago (and my first christmas as a legally free woman again! : >), but the kids and i are back on our feet again, by God's grace and the love and generosity of friends, family and even strangers.

life is good again, thank you God!

we know it can only get better! : D

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


it's been 4 days already since i witnessed that early morning road accident while driving bea to school last friday, but i guess i am still reeling from the shock of it all.

on the surface, i go about my days, seemingly the same, but inside, something shifted for me.

right after the bridge along the circumferential highway on the way to bea's school, we passed by a navy blue toyota lancer rammed into the back of a sugarcane hauling truck. no wonder there was a long line of cars already at 8am on this normally wide and open highway.

when it was my turn to go around the road mess, the image of the front of the car, left-half twisted, top right-half ripped off, sent chills down my spine. whoever was driving it and riding in it too couldnt have survived that impact. i said a little prayer for the souls of whoever was in it, whether they died or are still alive.

three hours later, on our way home from bea's school and with the noonday sun bearing its heat and glare on the highway, i slowed when we approached the accident site, and mentally said a little prayer again... but this time, when i turned to look at the exact place where the truck and the hapless car had been, the sight of broken glass all over and a torn shirt caked with blood still on the middle of the road and against the brightness of high noon, shook me up more than the early morning sight had.

the first thought that came to my mind was whoever was in it mustve thought they'd still get to celebrate christmas this year. was the driver alone, or with passengers? was the driver a single parent, too, like me, with three young kids at the back? or was the driver a younger person, probably rushing home from a late late night party, but rushing to his doom instead?

whoever they were, the one thing that remained with me was how fragile and fleeting life truly is. and the next thought that came to my mind was that how stupid and useless it is when we waste it on petty quarrels and smallmindedness and meanness, when it could be so much more given its fragility and fleetingness....

and then i thought how i must still be wasting it with my negative self-talk, too, when things don't go my way, and i blame my self for them, even when ive done all i know how and the best i could.

so that has been my struggle these days, especially the last 4 ones-- being more conscious of my negative self-talk going inside my head and learning how to gently and lovingly deal with it, even as i try to move on now to higher ground...

and because of this increased awareness and alertness to negativity from both inside my head and outside me, i am seeing more and more how most people and the media and the world in general are basically stuck at the level of complaining and negativity and unlovingness...

that's why ive been so quiet, too. suddenly, i am feeling like i am in this world yet not a part of it anymore.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My Anthea

my eldest, Thea, had a call from a classmate and a friend the other night. apparently, this friend wanted her to do a long homework for her, as we had Internet access and the friend did not.

i overheard Thea speaking to her gently but firmly on the phone to check out other sources instead (like books, duh) or ask her older siblings or parents about it, or even come to the house to use our pc and net connection. apparently, the friend insisted that Thea does it for her, putting on peer pressure. and Thea said, "no, sorry."

the friend even had the gall to ask her why.

and all Thea said was, "because i am not like that."

and then she hung up.

: )

Friday, November 25, 2005

Soul Food

i just came in from a colleague's book launch. this is his first book of poetry published.

my classes ended at 3pm but the book launch was at 5pm yet and i had to take the two older kids home. as what usually happens, when i've arrived home i don't want to go out anymore, and i was almost tempted to do this for the book launch.

but then i remembered my own first book launch two years ago and how much it meant to me to see likeminded friends who share my love for literature be there for me too, and i didn't want this colleague to feel any less than he should on his first book launch.

then, too, i figured that this was a good way to learn more about my craft; i thought the stories i submitted to NCCA and PBBY were already very good, and that if there's something to improve, it would be craftwise. so i decided to go back to school at quarter to five this afternoon to learn more about my craft anyway.

i am glad i did.

the poetry reading parts of the programme did it for me.

as soon as the readers started, i closed my eyes and just listened to the words call out to me, flow over me, no matter if the readers were inexperienced and awkward at some parts. for some brief but precious seconds, time stopped for me, as the words and i made love.... in some parts i got teary eyed, in other parts i embraced my self in recognition and joy. it must have lasted for some five to ten minutes but it felt like forever to me.

when i opened my eyes, i saw this guy to my right looking at me amusedly so i just humored him and smiled. he doesnt know the ecstasies ive just been to. : )

i am soooo much better now. yes, im still walking around sniffling and feverish and with a throbbing headache from this flu ive been carrying around for almost four days already, but in those timeless five to ten minutes, my blues were gone!

what a fine way to end the week, and an even finer way to start a full 11 days of no work (!) in the middle of Prelims, just because our university is hosting the 23rd SEA Games too!

thank God for literature. thank God for soul food.

Email to Me, for 2025

i just sent this email to my self via Forbes' Email Time Capsule... anything to get out of this funk i'm in. : (

Hello, Jeanette at 57!

How are you today? How are the kids? Thea should be 32 by now, Paolo, 27, and Bea, 25. You should be finally free to live your own life again now, without the little ones tugging at your skirt. : ) Do you like it? Do you like your life even better now?

How have you become? Have you become just older, wisened but broken, bowed, defeated by life's simply happening? Or are you the woman I envision you to be-- a better, finer, wiser, kinder, gentler, sassier, sexier version of me right now? : ) Somebody with even more grace and fire, having hurdled life's challenges gracefully, with spunk, fun and spirit.

I hope to God you are in a much better place and have become a much better person than who I am right now.

My life is good now, having just resigned from the IDS Chair (still remember that?) and having gotten my annulment last June. I'm going for our dreams now, crafting and building our life one stitch, one block at a time.

But RIGHT NOW (as in RIGHT NOW, Nov. 25, 2005; 1:56 a.m.), I am just recovering from a really bad case of the flu and I've been feeling so down and low lately, as if our life is not amounting to much and I am nobody to anybody at all.

NCCA and PBBY haven't responded to my entries; even a courtesy rejection letter would be appreciated. J is perfect, but oh so far away and cannot yet be ours. A nice man from far away who's been courting for months and who's supposed to be here in Bacolod now has suddenly become mum and unheard from, even...

From the biggest dreams and desires of our heart to the littlest pleasant curiosities-- I feel like I am being blocked in some way. My dreams for you and I are there, I can see them, and yet, they are out of reach.

Our horoscopes say it's just Mercury and Saturn retrogade. I think it is, too. Because we're not normally in this kind of funk; and even if we were, we're not normally this vulnerable, are we?

One good thing, though: this downtime has forced me to do some soulsearching, and a lot of handwriting and visioning and planning on my journal again (no, not the blogs). I discovered, to my pleasant surprise, that the coming year will be the starting year when we can finally pay off the last of our debts from the marriage, and generate savings from all my income streams so far, at last.

I call 2006 our Year of Surplus. : ) Isn't that great, to be out of survival mode at last, and to be rolling on one's way to one's dreams again? : )

How are you at 57, Jeanette?

Have you become the internationally-known, bestselling, and well-loved author that I've always dreamed for us to be? : )

Is J still with you; are you together now? : ) : ) He is soooo good to us, sooo good for us, isn't he?

How are all the worldwide travels? Have you done your stint with the UN or UNESCO yet, or have they ceased to exist, because the world where you are now has become a happier, more peaceful place at last? : ) : ) : )

Do tell me, tell me, Jeanette at 57. I need the hope of you in a better, nicer, much happier place to comfort me right now. I need the hope of us triumphing over life's struggles... and even life's blahs.

Please tell me, Jeanette at 57. I will stay open, and look out for your signs.

Until then, keep well, and many blessings!

Your former me,
Jeanette at 37

Monday, November 21, 2005

Is the "War on Terror" a Just War?

i rarely wax political, but this is what i've been busy with for the past few weeks now, my MA studies in Conflict and Reconciliation. 'thought to share a paper i recently did here, as it's an issue that actually goes beyond political and challenges the very foundations of how we live today--

The War on Terror/Terrorism

International terrorism has long existed before Sept. 11, 2001, and has, in fact, been documented by the U. S. Department of Defense since the beginning of the 1960s (U.S. Army, 09/09/04), but the scale and impact of Sept. 11, 2001 has prompted the U.S. Government, through its President, George W. Bush, Jr., to officially declare a “War on Terror” after the attack.

With the mastermind and financier of the Sept. 11 attack identified as Usama Bin Ladin and his al Queda group of Islamic extremists, the U.S. launched an attack on Afghanistan, believed to be the hideout of Bin Ladin, on Oct. 7, 2001 (9/11 Commission Report Executive Summary, 07/04). A year later, the ruling Taliban government of Afghanistan has been toppled and replaced by the U.S.- supported Northern Alliance, but Bin Ladin hasn’t been caught.

A year after Sept. 11, President Bush, with the support of U. K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, pushed for a pre-emptive war against Iraq, on the grounds of suspicion that Iraq was heavily building up weapons of mass destruction, and that if not stopped pre-emptively, could hand over these weapons of mass destruction to Bin Ladin and his terrorist group (Falk, 09/27/02). Today, Iraq’s leader, Saddam Hussein, is in jail, a U.S.-supported government is in place in Iraq, but Bin Ladin still hasn’t been found or caught.

The U.S. Defense Department reports that it has foiled many other terrorist attacks since then, because of the joint cooperation of nations in sharing intelligence information across borders. It says that this international cooperation has led to the hundreds of arrests in more than 50 countries and the detaining of around 1,100 people in the U.S., mostly of Middle Eastern origins, for immigration offenses. (BBC News, 03/04/03).

Meanwhile, issues of concern arise, which mainly spring from President Bush’s using the state of war to justify the introduction of new legislation that widens his power and strengthens law enforcement, which includes, among many—the creation of military tribunals to try suspected terrorists who are not U.S. citizens, the expansion of powers of law enforcement agencies to detain people without trial on immigration violations or on grounds that they may be material witnesses in terrorism trials, and the tightening on the release of information to the public on ongoing investigations. It also includes the power to indefinitely imprison alleged Taliban and al Qaeda fighters at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, especially those who have never taken up arms against the United States. Detainees seized in Britain, Bosnia and Zambia are among those indefinitely imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, at present (Leonnig, 12/02/04).

There is no deadline on the “War on Terror” and its boundaries are unlimited. President Bush has explicitly announced that his war on terrorism will not end until "every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated". (BBC News, op. cit.)

The Just War Theory

The Just War Theory evolved from the recognition that although there are ideal values to uphold, the realities of the real world as it is have to be contended with, too, and that there are times when it might be necessary to resort to violence to defend or pursue that which is good and valued. The thirteenth-century theologian, Thomas Aquinas, developed and refined the theory, by laying down three conditions for waging war:

1. that the decision to wage war should be made by a legitimate authority;

2. that war should be waged for a just cause; and

3. that combatants should resort to war with right intention, for the purpose of achieving peace and justice, not revenge.

Later on, other considerations were added by other scholars:

4. that the evils of war should be proportionate to the injustice to be prevented or remedied by war;

5. that the resort to war should be a last resort; and

6. there must be a reasonable hope of success. (Rigby, Coventry University)


In the light of the foregoing discussion on The War on Terror and the Just War Theory, let us examine whether the Just War Theory is relevant to justify the War on Terror:

1. The decision to wage war should be made by a legitimate authority. According to U.S. and international laws, the decision to wage war must be ratified by Congress.

The attack on Afghanistan appears to be a military sanction authorized by the U. S. President, allegedly to flush out Bin Ladin, but with the effect of toppling the Taliban and installing the Northern Alliance, without finding or capturing Bin Ladin. No Congress resolution can be found on the net authorizing the attack on Afghanistan, but then, this was a time when the “War on Terror” was not publicly bandied about yet.

The attack on Iraq was officially authorized by the U. S. Congress (Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, 10/10/02), albeit after much debate both in and out of Congress. There is even debate now on what, exactly, the U.S. Congress specifically authorized, as the resolution appears couched in vague and inaccurate terms. For example, the October 2002 joint resolution authorized the use of force in Iraq, but it did not directly mention the removal of Hussein from power. (Milbank and Pincus, 11/12/2005)

2. The war should be waged for a just cause. According to Falk (8/27/02), in international law, a "just cause" for war can only be made under the following conditions--

To go legitimately to war in the world that currently exists can be based on three types of considerations: international law (self-defense as set forth in article 51, backed by a UN mandate as in the Gulf War), international morality (humanitarian intervention to prevent genocide or ethnic cleansing; i wonder now why the U.S. or any other super power didn't take advantage of this to wage war on the perpetrators of the genocide in Rwanda in the mid-90s, the genocide that killed around 800,000 people in just 3 months!), and necessity (the survival and fundamental interests of a state are genuinely threatened and not really covered by international law, as arguably justified the Afghanistan War).

Still according to Falk, too,--

With respect to Iraq, there is no pretense that international law supports such a war and little claim that the brutality of the Iraqi regime creates a foundation for humanitarian intervention. The Administration argument for war rests on necessity, the alleged risk posed by Iraqi acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, and the prospect that such weapons would be made available to al Qaeda for future use against the United States.

Therefore, President Bush’s “just cause” for The War on Terror, is, at best, dubious, essentially based on scanty proof (Falk, 9/27/02) that indeed, weapons of mass destruction exist in Iraq and that they will be used on the United States soon or late.

3. Combatants should resort to war with right intention, for the purpose of achieving peace and justice, not revenge.

This is still open to a lot of debate. What is right intention? What is the concept of peace and justice for the U. S., and what is it for Iraq? Is forcibly waging war on a country already economically and socially ravaged by more than ten years of U. N. punitive sanctions, on mere suspicion that it might contain weapons to attack you someday, just? Will that lead to peace? What kind of peace?

4. The evils of war should be proportionate to the injustice to be prevented or remedied by war.

Has the U.S. Congress even stopped to cautiously weigh this? Has it considered the human, social, cultural and economic costs of war in Iraq (not to mention Afghanistan) against the foreseen advantages of finding out if indeed, there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and if so, annihilating these weapons? What about the weapons of mass destruction presumably developed and stored elsewhere in the world, including the U.S.? Will not that, and the costs of war in Iraq, still cancel any foreseen advantages from destroying those in Iraq?

5. The resort to war should be a last resort.

It appears now, that the move to declare war on Iraq was hasty, and, on hindsight, even unjustified (because there were no substantial enough weapons of mass destruction found). The twin methods of deterrence and containment, which worked so well to contain a former super power like Russia, has not even been fully maximized with a small country like Iraq, which has already been ravaged by a decade of U.N. economic punitive sanctions, even.

6. There must be a reasonable hope of success.

Obviously, on hindsight, the war on Iraq was successful in the sense that it was able to topple Saddam Hussein when the U.S. only sought to find and destroy weapons of mass destruction, which it never was able to accomplish, as it did not find any.

However, the War on Terror still continues, apparently, because of President’s Bush’s pronouncements and what is actually happening in anti-terrorist operations all over the world.


The Just War Theory is still as relevant today in evaluating whether The War on Terror justifies itself, because it still springs from the same dilemma faced today—the tension between universal and global humane ideals and the demands of real global situations.

Examining The War on Terror against the light of the criteria of The Just War Theory, in fact, serves to illuminate the fact that The War on Terror is not a just war at all, and that its employed means dramatically highlight and make suspect its avowed ends of “ending terrorism all over the world” to achieve global peace, presumably. It points to other, more selfish suspicious ends, like global dominance at the cost of true peace and justice, instead.

The War on Terror has, in fact, not only been examined under the constraints of The Just War Theory in this paper, but even the constraints of international laws, and it fails both sets of criteria in more ways than it satisfies them.


MA-CRS 2005-06 Course Pack CD

Falk, Richard. “War on Iraq – Not The President’s Decision”. Sept. 27, 2002. (refer also to: articles)

___________. “Impending Constitutional Crisis: The Rush to War”. August 27, 2002. ( refer also to: articles)

Rigby, Andrew. “Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Justice”. Coventry University.

Internet Sources

“Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq”. Oct. 2, 2002.

9/11 Commission Report. Nov. 20, 2005. America’s War Against Terrorism. July 22, 2004. University of Michigan Documents Center.

BBC News. Nov. 20, 2005. “Investigating al-Qaeda: An Overview”. March 4, 2003.

Leonnig, Carol D. Nov. 20, 2005. “Judge Questions Sweep of Bush’s War on Terrorism”, Dec. 2, 2004.

Milbank, Dana and Pincus, Walter. Nov. 20, 2005. “Asterisks Dot White House’s Iraq Agreement”. Nov. 12, 2005.

U.S. Army. Nov. 20, 2005. “Timeline of Terrorism”. Sept. 9, 2004.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Birthday, Blog

around this time last year-- well, five days ago, to be exact, this time last year-- i started blogging, and i started with this blog.

i look at my entries then, and i remember things id rather choose to forget, even as i also remember things i never even knew i wrote or happened.

i see me, still with the same openness (too open, sometimes, to the point of indiscrimination) and candor (too candid, even, to the point of bluntness)... and at some parts i cringe at who i was then, what i've written, while at other parts i smile and shake my head in amusement.

what i most sense between then and now though... is the change in tone. there seems to be less coarseness, less roughness, less bleeding over, less pain, in how i write now, than how i wrote a year ago. there's also less bravado, more depth and insight; less showing off and bragging, more discretion and tasteful honesty. like ive moved from being Sally Jesse Raphael or Roseann Barr to Oprah. teehee.

a year ago, too, i only had this blog; now there's four (make that five, if we include my Friendster blog, which is actually just an echo of any of the other four, at any one time)! these offspring of blogs seemed to naturally gestate, be born and grow even as i gestated new births, birthed and grown my self too-- as a woman, as a writer, and as soul and spirit. ive been blogging so much now, i have few and far-between entries in my handwritten journal now.

happy birthday, blog.
happy birthday, dear heart.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

So Now I'm A Metrospiritual

i just read this article from one of the newsletters i subscribe to, and it pleasantly jolted me to find out that, at last, i finally fit in some kind of box! [... although i must say, it is a box with customized boundaries.. : ) ]

it says that metrospirituals are "the kinder, gentler post-Yuppies who want to treat the earth and native cultures with respect, connect with their inner source and inspiration, test their bodies and expand their minds with ancient physical practices—and do it all with serious style."

it also says that a key hallmark of metrospirituals are "learning, openness, and exploration", which i've just always thought is what life is all about. (isn't it? : O)

although my first reaction was pleasant and amused surprise, on a deeper level, i find that i don't really like the term.

first, it sounds faddish, as if it's just a trend that won't last, as trends always do.

second, well, the article gently pokes fun at this kind of belief and lifestyle: of being true to your self, of being one with your core, with nature. yes, it is fun, but it is not funny at all.

third, i don't like the very sound of it-- "METRO SPIRITUAL"-- kind of oxymoronish; i think "spiritual metro" sounds better and describes this whole thing more accurately : >

then, too, the very act of naming it is boxing it, which is what the whole belief and lifestyle isn't about.

... for me, it's just living life from one's mind, heart and soul, as a centered and integrated whole.

i don't see anything "metro" about that. not even the fact that i share the box with Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Leo di Caprio and Richard Gere.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Pockets of Calm

it's getting to be quite a habit, my intermittently taking time out for my self over the course of a single day, just sitting quietly in a corner shutting other people out, or going home to take a nap after lunch before i go back to work... and i like it.

i find i am more energized when i come out of my little pockets of calm, and am more centered and serene when demands are placed upon me.

as they say in Silva-- "every day and every way, i am getting better, better, and better!"


i sound like somebody just let out of the hospital, or worse, prison... heehee... well, in many ways, that is exactly how i feel, too!!!

Friday, October 28, 2005


i think i am improving much in the self-care department, these days.

it is 2 am and im finishing my long overdue stats assignment in my MA Conflict and Reconciliation Studies course, but i am okay. there was a time when i used to automatically and subconsciously castigate my self for not doing all that i have set out to do for my self for the day, for the week, and i am my own harshest taskmaster and slavedriver, pushing my own self to burnout.

but these days, my attitude is -- if i couldn't do it today, despite my best efforts, then it must have been something that couldn't have been done today. so what, there's still tomorrow, after all, paraphrasing Scarlett O'Hara. : )

and i am more conscious now about the self-talk going on in my head, taking care to congratulate my self for all that i've managed to get done so far, for all the love i've given to others, for managing my finances better, for taking some time for my self to rest and renew, leading a more balanced life now.

i am gentler with my self now for the things left undone, easier to just ssshhh them away softly as i allow my self to take space and time for my own inner needs for rest and renewal, building up from the little snippets of time i could only manage to eke out for my self before.

and i find that i am more at peace with my self and with the world, lately, less likely to get stressed from the myriad demands placed by other people on me... it's like i have a warm, golden bubble of serenity enveloping me all around as i go about my day, and no matter how rude or cranky or irritable other people are, it's not easy for them to get to me anymore.

this is a healing place i've come to, and i am glad and grateful for it.

Monday, October 24, 2005

This Life I Live

at times like right now, i shake my head at the kind of life i live.

there's a measure of stability now, more or less, but moments still come up when, because of my inherent good faith in things working out, and my creative open nature, i do things at the last minute (but perform oh so well!), causing me and those around me both anxiety and thrill at how i will be able to orchestrate things in perfect timing so that they turn out well... at the last minute.

i promised a friend today a long overdue date to a mongolian buffet lunch and a spa massage treat, in "payment" for her being so good to me last May, when, also because of my last-minute habit, the flight we were both going to take for a speaking engagement i was going to and which she was going to assist in, bumped her off in favor of me, because we both lost our seats coming in after check-in deadline.

i did schedule today weeks ago. and i did schedule today to use some funds from a writing project i did and earned weeks ago. however, i deposited the check only last thursday, but the bank teller did tell me it was going to be cleared today.

i am getting fidgety now, though-- the funds haven't cleared yet, and im down to my last P20... although i have my butterfly biz commission of around 40k hopefully coming in via bank transfer by noon today, too.

so, it's another magic act to orchestrate. it is both exhilirating yet wearying on the nerves, too, this "dangerous" life i live. : (

next time i will do better. my friend deserves more from me than this. : (

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"Aha!" Moments

it's the second day of my senior mass communications and interdisciplinary studies students' theses and theses proposal defense today. i've sat in their defense per group every hour, by the hour, for two days already. so far, i've helped facilitate the defense of 8 groups. needless to say, it can be very mentally draining.

still, it's a special feeling one gets during those moments when they do well, articulating themselves and their thoughts excellently as they defend their theses. i remember the many hours of our working together and discussing their ideas and brainstorming for better ideas and the long sleepless nights of poring over and improving on what they have written so far. but that moment when they finally get it right, when you and everybody else who listens to them and reads their work see how something has finally clicked into light inside them.... ooohhhh, you are both humbled and awed and proud at being participant and midwife to such blossoming!!!

in moments like these, all the struggle and the painstaking walking them through their mental and spiritual landscapes makes it all worthwhile!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Can't Wait

the semester ends on friday; we're just having exams this week. the kids will be having theirs next week, and then it's vacation time again!

this is my first semestral vacation in four years where i don't have to work as administrative officer, as i am back to faculty status now, so when my students vacation, i vacation too!!!

ooohhh, joy of joys!!! i feel like somebody just let out of prison and enjoying her first time out in the world alone! heeheee....

thank God for small everyday blessings! : ) : ) : )

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Becoming My Own Best Friend

becoming my own best friend takes some learning and practicing.

i started to do that more consciously today by deciding two things--
1. that i would more steadfastly guard my mind, not so much against the negativity and unloving thoughts, actions and behaviors of others (as i've learned to be good at that already), but more of against my own not- so-loving thoughts, actions and behaviors against my self;
2. that i would more reverently treat my self, from the littlest thing to the biggest things, and not rush around too much, but to take time just to savor each moment and my experience of it, and to always go gently and tread lightly with how i treat my self.

today, just the practice of showering and eating breakfast alone became enlightening meditation and self-reflection sessions.

while showering, i closed my eyes and rubbed and soaped my self slowly, gently, reverently, letting the water flow through my hair and down my skin and body, and sighing at the pleasure of it all. although it was pleasurable, it took some effort from me, though, to pause and start going gently again, as i found my self rushing out of habit, and soaping my self absentmindedly. it took effort trying to gently lead my self back to becoming mindful of my self and the whole experience of showering again, but the few moments when i did get it right... became pure bliss.

it made me reflect and wonder how i could have lived before so driven and so stressed, accomplishing much, yes, but also neglecting my own self too much. now that i am able to actually experience these little snippets of unadulterated joy and pleasure just being mindful of the moment, i want to cultivate the habit now of more of these little mindful reverential actions... not just because they make me feel soo good, but because they help "insulate" me somehow from the storms and stresses of the outside world, and also because i know that the more i build up a habit of little self-loving actions like these, the more i will cultivate and attract a more serene and self-loving kind of life.

it was the same thing with my eating my breakfast. i normally already eat slow, savoring each bite and swallowing slowly, but this time, i really paid attention to what i was doing, even smelling the food i was going to take in. and i had to exert extra effort, too, to just pay loving attention to what i was doing, as the usual cacophony of insistent thoughts tried to assail me.

interestingly, as i paid attention to what i was doing as if it was the only thing worth doing today, i actually felt less affected by the thoughts starting to distract and attack me, like somehow, an invisible bubble had formed around my innermost self, and nothing could touch my peace.

these must be what all saints and mystics have described as the meditative moment and how living life this way in a series of these meditative moments, is the key to peace and love and joy and all those myriad inner blessings of life and the spirit.

for me, though, this morning's experiences also felt like making good, sweet, passionate love to my self, in more and all ways than just the usual. : )

Today is Mine

i first woke up at 5:30 a.m. earlier, looked out the window, wanting to take my early morning walk again, but decided to go back to sleep after seeing how very dark it still was for a solitary walk.

i next woke up at 7:07 a.m., and, instead of quickly jumping off the bed as i am wont to do, not by nature but by habit and lifestyle, today i just opened my eyes and stared at all the things around me, like a newborn babe just awakened, in alert but serene and quiet attention. and then the realization fully dawned upon me-- today is mine to use and choose -- and i smiled.

of course, most of us intellectually know that, but today, i knew it from inside, looking at all the things in my room with the kids-- the dresser, the closet, their scribbles and artwork on the wall and in the various pieces of paper taped to the dresser and the closet... and of course, my sleeping daughters, most beautiful and innocent in their slumber.

i felt a tremendous sense of gratitude for my life and my children, and how it's turning out so far, the home we have, our safety and good health and wellbeing, the food and clothes and books and toys we have, the love and laughter and learning and dreams and struggles and pains we all share...

i just felt lucky and blessed being alive today.

and so, instead of jumping off the bed, i started savoring today more slowly and tenderly and gently. first i stretched and enjoyed the stretching, then i got up slowly and walked barefoot, even as i turned off lights and opened the windows and started the pc. right now, i am listening to PianoRadio's Whisperings even as i go through my emails, the butterfly biz emails, and now, my blogs.

a little niggling thought tries to upset me-- "you have a verrry long list of To Dos; what are you doing taking your time not doing even one on your list?"

but i brush the thought away and decide-- i will probably always have a long list of To Dos for the rest of my life, what with my many interests and passions and projects. so what, let it be. the To Dos will always be there, after all.

but starting today, i decide more fully, more consciously now, how i will go about my day, which To Dos to pick and work on (or not work on), and how my day will turn out at each moment, each experience.

i decide to be happy and joyful today, to savor and enjoy my moments, to go gently, to speak softly and lovingly, to work more serenely, instead of letting other people and outside "demands" on my time and energies get to me.

i am feeling like i've just won the lottery this morning, with the next 16 hours a precious precious gift to do with as i please.

today is mine. and all the days after, from now on.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bea's Food

late yesterday afternoon, while in the car with the kids driving home, we (Thea and i) got to scolding Bea again for eating too much. she had barely started on her tempura and native milkshakes yet she was asking to be bought some boiled corn from the street vendors we passed already.

just yesterday, aside from her usual meals, i bought her her usual ice cream treat at the mall after picking her up from nursery school. then she wanted a doughnut with rainbow icing, too, and then a slice of pizza and some juice, and then french fries, which she all ate with gusto in half an hour!

in the afternoon, on our way to picking Thea and Paolo up from school, i decided we'd pass by my father's bakery first, and pick up some bread and sweets for home. i called the bakery staff before we left, so the goods would be ready for pick up by the time we got there, and i wouldnt have trouble with the traffic police when i double-parked in front of the bakery, as it would only take a moment anyway.

on the way to the bakery, Bea thought of ordering a cupcake with strawberry icing on top, too. this irritated me as i explained to her how i cant guarantee that because we hadn't ordered it over the phone, and it might take some time getting it, and i might get a ticket for double parking along such a busy street. Bea kept quiet... and as we neared the bakery and she saw the tight traffic situation, she softly asked me, "I won't be able to get my cupcake after all, huh, ma?"

it tore at my heart, when Bea gets like this. she has a way of telling you how she doesn't really want something she actually craves.

and it got me to thinking how maybe, her passionate love for food is her way of filling up some empty spaces needing comfort and assurance inside her.

of all my three kids, Bea, the youngest, was the one i wasn't able to focus all of my energies and attention to while they were growing up, as Bea had barely turned one year old when i left their father. all these past years, in my struggle for survival and getting my feet back on the ground again while trying to take care of the kids and i independently, i mainly let being there for Bea when she cried or was hurting go.

before, with the two other older kids, i made it a policy and a habit to quickly go to them and comfort them when they cried or were hurting in some way. with Bea, i would, at best, perfunctorily hug her, give her some food or her pacifier, then go back to what i was doing.

so now, the connection becomes clearer. at 5, Bea still sucks her pacifier when she's feeling tired and stressed. now, too, food is her prime comfort, although it doesn't show yet in her body, as she's pleasingly plump in a cute way.

Thea and i got to talk about it privately, last night, these insights and reflections of mine, after Thea commented how much of a glutton Bea is becoming. i tried to explain to Thea how we need to give Bea more love and assurance and attention, to wean her away from her excessive attachment to food and her pacifier.


i can't help feeling guilty, too, like i'm not doing enough as their mom. although, another part of me knows im being the best mom in the world to them; even the kids keep telling me so with their daily i love yous and cards and artwork with "I love you, Mama" scrawled all over them.

still, the bottomline is-- i have to be there for Bea more.

God help me with this, too!

Paolo's Bullies

last week, Paolo told me how he and his 1st grade classmate were playing with some 2nd grade boys in the football field, and how more 2nd grade boys later joined them and challenged them to a fist and wrestling match. at first it was just playing, he said, but then later on it hurt, and the 2nd grade boys taunted him and his friend for running away.

the next day, Paolo got some more of his 1st grade boy classmates to come and play with him in the football field, and the 2nd grade bullies were there, too, challenging them to a fight again. this time the match was even.

i think it affected Paolo, though, because when thursday came last week, which was their Club Day, Paolo asked to be absent from school. after further probing, i learned that the 2nd grade bullies were in the same club as he was. i told him, "okay, you can be absent now, but you can't be absent forever. you will have to face your own problem; let's find a way to solve it." he agreed to my terms.

last friday, i was told by the office secretary how Paolo and his 1st grade friend came running up to her and asked her to accompany them to the football field where the bullies were heckling them again. the office secretary, who was plump and looks stern, amusedly told me how the bullies ran away after seeing her holding Paolo and his friend, one on each hand, marching to the football field. i smiled, too, thinking how cute it was, but inside, i felt troubled.

i was torn between being the usual protective, angry mom who felt like reporting the incident to the teachers and the principal, even confronting the bullies themselves right away and scolding them and threatening them. on the other hand, i remember my training now in peace work. i know the first option, although the natural one, isn't the way to go. i realized that this was a good opportunity for me to teach my children more peaceful and creative ways of handling conflict and violence...

so in one of our car rides home, when the kids usually talk about their day, i asked Paolo and his elder sister Thea to at least get the bullies' names first, and what their class sections were. Paolo was afraid, "why, ma? are you going to scold them? don't do that please! i would look like a sissy to them, telling on you!!!"

"no, honey. i just want us to know them better," i explained. "the more we know about our problem, the better we are able to know how to solve it." then i tried to gently explain how we need to understand why the bullies do what they do, as a second strategy. i made it sound like a game, even a military game, to appeal to their sense of adventure, but im hoping that as i lead them on, we won't even have to resort to "military" actions. : S

anyway, i asked him about it again just now, remembering that yesterday was Club Day. Paolo said they didn't do anything to him, as the teacher was there. but he got one name right, and i asked him how that makes him feel. he says he doesnt feel so afraid anymore, knowing he has the name. and i said, that's good. right now, we'll just watch them and observe them okay? and he nods his head nonchalantly and moves on to talk about other things.

he seems okay, so far, and im a little relieved.

but i understand now the terror that struck in Mary's heart, when they found 12-year-old Jesus speaking to the scholars in the temple. it's the same kind of terror, the realization that you can't protect your little boy from the world anymore, that he must find his own way, develop his own spine and spirit, yet you must be there for him, too, in gentle and loving support, without babying him or smothering him.

i fear for my little boy, and yet, i am also proud of him so far, for his own ingenious ways at trying to solve his own problem-- first, getting more kids on his side, too; then, getting the help of a fearsome looking adult to scare the bullies away.

still, i know, those methods are not enough. i have to teach him more creative and peace-promoting lifelong lessons and skills in conflict transformation, the same lessons and skills i am learning now in my MA Conflict and Reconciliation Studies course... if i can't do that for my children, all the degrees in the world won't mean anything!

God help me walk this fine fragile line between being a righteously indignant mother and a more enlightened peace worker right. God help us all!

Thursday, October 06, 2005


i've been feeling like a retiree these days.

the long years of struggle and proving my self seem to be finally over. i am coasting along now, borne by the goodwill i've sown among people, and the various inner gifts of character, insight and wisdom i've developed because of those long years of struggle.

i'm wrapping up old long, overdue projects even as i launch new ones with new people, new groups im meeting in my life now. new shoots are sprouting up, which are going to need my care and attention in the coming months and years. they are shoots now that are more in line with my lifelong goals and vision for my self and the kind of life i desire for the second half of my life -- peace work, communications, training and consultancy, writing...

wonderfully, they are also projects which would be giving me multiple streams of income in the coming months and years. just what i've always wanted; to not be too dependent on any single regular job, beholden to some people and an institution, but going freelance instead, working from home, and being sought out by people who need my services and willing and able to pay good money for them too, because of the reputation i've developed for professionalism, quality work and integrity...

i'm even relearning these days how to be my own best friend even, not bashing my self too much for things left undone at the end of the day, but congratulating my self instead for things i did do. there is a lot less pressure now to pack it all in in 24 hours, when they are things actually good for accomplishing in 48 to 72 hours.

... all good news, huh? : )

still, it takes some getting used to. some days, i still slip into the old mode, "pressuring" my self almost unconsciously instead for largely inconsequential matters... i guess it's always like this in the process of growth and change... a cyclical process where even as you move forward, you step back a step or two some days and actually almost "regress", just to feel comfortable again in the old mode, even as you try on the new and grow into it and learn to get used to it... much like a child, too, on her first few attempts at doing something new for her self, then going back to mama or papa to hide and be a baby again, then going out to attempt a little more next time, until she gets the hang of it.

but then again, i feel really old and wise and a little world-weary too, now. been there, done that, know a lot now.... so instead of looking ahead, as a blogger friend suggested some time ago, i just look around now and enjoy the sights and sounds, smelling the roses at last, just being open to what life offers each day, and responding as i am, however i feel like being at the moment.

it's a strange kind of being, though... being this at peace with one's self and one's world and one's life, when all around you people hurt and struggle and hurt each other and spin around in circles not knowing whether they're coming and going...

sometimes, i think i could die now, heehee... but not yet, as my kids need me to take care of them still. still, i can't help but feel too... there must be more coming, surely this must just be a temporary resting place, before new challenges come to test my mettle again... except that, this time, i am not afraid nor confused anymore, as this time, i finally know what i am about...

40 is still three years away. but i think Life has finally begun, even as all the "practice-living" before is now finally ending.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


i haven't posted lately, as i've been busy, just keeping my head up above the waters of my "real" world of work and responsibilities.

then, too, there's the recent financial challenge.

as soon as i got my butterfly biz commission income, i settled down to planning my budget for the next cycle, and i felt happy to see that for the first time in a long time... i am finally able to make ends meet!

and then... the blow.

i left for a weekend training at a mountain resort last weekend, thinking that all was well with my world and home, leaving it safe and comfortable. but just as we got down from the mountain to return home sunday afternoon, the jeepney we were riding in had engine trouble. so we had to stop in the middle of a quite deserted highway to get the trouble fixed. after two hours, it still wasn't fixed and my companions were getting edgy and complaining as it was getting dark. i decided to count the stars instead.

by eight in the evening, i did arrive home. i gues the highway incident was just a portent of things to come.

when i arrived home, i found our water tank non-functional and the car unable to start. i hastily texted the water tank repairman, who, to his credit, did rush to fix the problem, even if it was a sunday, and a sunday evening at that, working late into the night. i texted the car mechanic too who promised to tow the car out monday morning.

all that trouble meant only one thing-- a ruined budget for me. of course i had the funds to pay for the major repairs, but it also meant wiping out half of my budget for other things and bills to pay. it didn't help when i learned that the reason the water tank broke down was because the maid forgot to turn the water motor off when they had a brownout earlier in the weekend. : (

at this point, it was easier to whine and complain and even harangue the maid for being so foolish-- see what it cost us! but i rememberd counting stars earlier and the sense of peace and untouchable serenity i got even from those few brief moments, and i resolved to my self i won't let these things get to me, that surely i am bigger than all of these, that i won't stoop down to pettiness and bitching and complaining and making other people miserable just because it's getting me down, too.

i did feel attacked... besieged, though. i thought life was being terribly unfair. here i am, a single mother, doing everything and more just to keep things together and make things right, and it throws these monkey wrenches at me at the most unexpected of times! have i no right to even just enjoy some feeling of non-anxiety from always having to make ends meet? do i not deserve to rest too from all the working and struggling and scrimping and straining?

i cried my self to sleep that night, feeling so alone and helpless. but i never did outwardly complain or bitch at the people around me. what's the use?

i woke up the next day with a grim determination to see these challenges through, again, like i always have. i kept my tongue even when it was most tempting to be catty. i held my peace even when i was feeling most besieged. i went to manila for another meeting, and decided to just temporarily enjoy being away for a while and forget about the problems here...

it is strange, though, that when i came back from manila the next day, things just somehow started to fall into place. the car and water tank bills were huge, much larger than i expected, but it didn't bother me anymore. i figured i'll be taken care of anyway, as i always have been.

and indeed, i am being taken care of!

a client i am doing some writing for asked to meet for more work to do (which means more income for me!) i found cheaper but quality substitutes for some items in my list i had to buy, so that freed up some more funds in my tight budget. i even discovered that i erroneously budgeted for my youngest's tuition twice, so i only actually had to pay half of what i budgeted for her, freeing up some more funds...!

and that's not really just it... the money matters. as i went about fulfilling all my other To Dos, i just found people more accommodating of me, more eager to grant my requests happily. i finally went to the civil registrar to request for an annotated copy of my marriage contract, annotating it annulled. i've put off this task for a month now, knowing how tedious and time consuming the process can be at these government offices. but the other day, strangely, i accomplished it in just one morning! : O

all these little magical things, of the tide turning for me... made me wonder if i've suddenly acquired some magical charm to make people and circumstances suddenly do my bidding. i remember a moment when i even thanked God for the double whammy of the huge car and water tank bills-- isn't it a good thing i can actually finally afford to pay in cash expenses like these? : D (i think i must've gotten beyond desperate, going over the edge in my positivity to giddy silly level!)

but i seriously suspect now that some universal law is at work here.

i've read about it in many books, not just metaphysical ones, but history and literature, too; there seems to be that special time in the tide of human affairs, that particular moment, when nothing seems to going for the hero or heroine, when everything is, in fact, going against him or her, and her last recourse is her faith and will, and she takes hold of those, reclaims those, and decides to rise above her circumstances anyway.... and slowly but surely, the tide begins to turn in her favor... the blessings start trickling in again... the magic happens.

it is an eerie feeling, when one finds one's self in the center of all that, seemingly causing all that, coming face to face with one's Power. i find my self glimpsing into eternity here, understanding the miracle of the fish and the loaves at last, like i've finally found some old ancient key that unlocks all doors...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Where The Heart Is

it is just an hour or so till bedtime but the kids dont want to sleep yet, squeezing out the last few joys of an extra free day from school and work, because of the national transport strike against spiralling oil prices today.

they groan when i remind them of school tomorrow, and i get a sinking feeling too when i think of going back to work tomorrow (although i have the luxury of telling my thesis classes that we will meet next meeting instead, as they still have to submit their thesis proposals tomorrow, which should have been today, if we didnt have a transport strike, so i still get another self-declared free day tomorrow, but to check on students' papers though...).

it has always been like this for us, because home has become not only a haven of rest and relaxation, but also a beehive of activity and interests that arouse our passions.

from the moment we wake up, we craft our day as we see fit. im not a very regimented kind of mom; we follow our feeling, whether its eating or doing anything else... over the years, we seem to have developed a synchronicity to our eating patterns, that we still tend to eat at the same time anyway, and always talking to each other and sharing our thoughts and our feelings and how our day has been.

the little ones go out to play, build houses or buildings from old tables and chairs and toys, climb the roof to reach the blueberries from our tree, drive around the village in their little bikes with the maid or their bigger friends accompanying them, come back for a sandwich or juice, then go out again to explore the world. sometimes they prefer to stay in and watch Disney Channel or Nickelodeon, or draw and paint on their papers and coloring books on the floor, or simple quietly read from their bookshelves, too.

thea and i mainly sit by the pc and laptop, doing our own stuff, surfing, writing, she also drawing electronically or downloading music, or us eating something from the fridge while we watch a movie together, or just reading in bed, in quiet companionship.

and tonight it ends again, as we prepare for another regular day with the usual world out there. sigh.

i am ending it now, though, with a new found possibility i am taking seriously at last-- home schooling. thea has been mentioning it for almost a year already, as she says they all learn more and enjoy more from home than from school anyway, but it is only tonight when i seriously surfed for homeschooling articles, and emailed the government education agency and some homeschooling guides on how to go about it.

thea is right about their seeming to learn more from home, because maybe of our very unstructured setting (we only have two rules-- be honest and kind, and clean up your own mess) at home, and where they are encouraged to follow their interests and speak their minds. the two little ones, especially, ask a lot of thought-provoking questions ("What's God's family name?" "Why do people have to get married?" "Why is a fire truck not called a water truck when it contains a lot of water anyway?") and i try to answer as truthfully as i can, to the best of my knowledge and ability. when i don't know the answer, i tell them so and ask them to check what they find out in Google.

today, paolo exclaimed, "Google doesn't know everything either! I typed in 'heroes of the philippines' and it gave me Batman!" : )

until today, too, i never knew squirrels could fly, according to paolo and bea, that's what they read in Reader's Digest's Amazing Facts. "They glide, ma, not fly," thea corrects. : ) : ) : )


well, at least, with my websurfing for homeschooling information today, we have something to look forward to... even if it's only an idea and a possibility right now. it's a nice feeling we can do something about our situation, at least...

and im warming up to the idea, too, especially when coupled with my dream of working from home, earning from home... : )

after all, where the heart is, there most-- if not all-- of life should be, too, shouldn't it? : )

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Day The World Changed

sept. 11, 2001 - i was stuck with a colleague at Charles de Gaulle Airport in France on our way home, told that our plane would be delayed for 5 to 8 hours. the airport was packed, but the tvs were off, so we didnt know what was happening outside.

i was certain, though, of what was happening inside: a decision has been made-- i didn't want to be married anymore.


today, four years later, i have--

left my marriage,
learned to stand up for my self,
learned to take care of my self and my children on my own,
earned two national writing fellowships,
won a national writing prize for my first children's story,
published my first book,
created and transformed an academic program out of virtually nothing good to speak for it,
launched a speaking and consultancy career,
had my marriage legally annulled,
been there, done that, with men, so-called love and life...
found my true love (knock on wood)
looking forward to age 40 three years away from now with excitement instead of trepidation,
for a life just now truly beginning and yet to blossom in full flowering for the rest of it!

that day in 2001, the world changed indeed.

and oh, how it has changed mine!

Friday, September 09, 2005

keeping my eye on the ball

the cooking fuel did run out last night, and i quickly texted my sister to ask if i could collect only even 1/3 of the amount she borrrowed from me for now, with the rest payable today as promised, or even next week.

thankfully, she came by last night to pay me back the 3k in full, the 500 of which i used to purchase the cooking fuel early this morning. with 2500 in my wallet again, i was feeling quite rich, calculating that only very little things in the household needed replenishment, i would have a comfortable amount left after doing groceries today, enough to tide me over until the 15th next week, when my reguarlar pay from my day job comes.

now, i am home, with a full fridge and a happy little girl eating the food she picked at the grocery store.. but with an almost empty wallet again.

i am still reeling from how fast food and grocery prices have risen along with car fuel prices; there was a time early this year when i could do two weeks' worth of food and groceries on a 3000 pesos budget, 4000 if i allowed the kids their food "luxuries"... but today, it's barely enough for a week! there was a time too when my car could run happily on just 500 pesos worth of fuel a week, full tank each time, but today, even 1500 each week, on the same route, can barely make full tank.

times like these, it's easy to get discouraged when i look all around me and see so many "For Sale" and "For Rent" signs on houses and on cars. times like these, it's very tempting to keep my eyes focused on what's happening, and forget about my desires of what i want to happen in my life.

but i must remind my self that i mainly moved forward exponentially in my life in the past three years, both internally and externally, by keeping my eyes focused on my inner riches and dreams instead, that dreams have come true because i kept my eye on the ball carrying them, to the point of simply ignoring present realities and living with them gracefully, because my mind, heart and soul were intent on something else-- the good, the better, the best that were coming to me and my children.

God help me keep my eye on the ball, today, especially, when it seems so difficult to do so.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


recently, i've started using my baptismal name in my email accounts; the last time i used it was when i was in kindergarten 32 years ago, before the primary school i was enrolling for grade one in asked for my birth certificate, and the birth certificate my parents found in the local civil registry gave me another name instead, the other name i have been using since then : ( , although cousins and friends from childhood still call me "Jeanette" ...

somehow, though, using "Jeanette" again feels perfectly right, with my new life now, reclaiming my self and my life back from the clutches of a horribly wrong marriage and a spiritually deadening administrative career.

i say my name out loud to myself now, rolling it on my tongue like candy... and i find it deliciously sweet. the feeling is both of depth and height at the same time, like earning a purple heart for a battle long and nobly fought and won.

i plan to start using "Jeanette" whenever i can now, mostly as a pen name for my stories and my books. once ive established my name in the mainstream, i also plan to legally change my name and all my legal records someday soon...

"Jeanette" was the name i was blessed with, so "Jeanette" will be the name i will use from now on as i moved on with my magnificently blessed life now, so blessed in many and all ways! :)

i am coming home to me, at last... and for good.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Living On the Edge

my little anxiety-causing problem of the other day was quickly solved yesterday.

as i said, there was the free rice offer from Papa, so yesterday, after picking the two older kids up from school, we went straight to Papa's "for a visit". i'm glad we did, not only because of the rice, but Papa was in one of his rare genial and relaxed moods. i felt better seeing him being up and about and looking strong and active, unlike my last visit almost a month ago when i found him in bed in his darkened room at noontime, feeble and weak. he invited the kids and i to have dinner with him and i accepted. i knew it was his way of prolonging our visit, and i wanted to continue chatting with him too. it would look bad and we would feel bad if we just went there for the rice!

then, early at dawn yesterday morning, it occurred to me to email my aunt, whom i do a website content provision for, to ask her if i could have my monthly consultancy fee of 5k advanced from the usual 15th payout. by early afternoon, it was already transferred to my bank account, thank God for her!

so today, as i needed only 1k to 2k for additional food and groceries for this week, i only withdrew that amount and bought some more food and groceries, feeling safe and secure again that i still have enough left as temporary savings...

however, by midmorning today, my sister texted me to ask if i had any spare funds as they were rushing to beat the deadline at the bank before the checks they issued became overdue. i only thought for a moment or two, and decided that the funds in my possession are not really mine to own and even hoard, that i am just a channel of blessings, even as other people have been channels of blessings to me. so i offered her my remaining 3k left today, which she promised to pay back by friday or monday.

i come home to a house that is safe and comfortable (especially with two airconditioners working now!), made warm and secure by the love and laughter of my children, even if my wallet is, again, almost empty. : )

some part of me is tempted to become anxious again -- what if some household things or the car gas runs out even before the week is over? what if emergencies arise and i have nothing to cover for them? what if....????

so many what-ifs,... so many taunts and jeers against my inner peace, trying to fan my fears and consume my as-yet fragile sense of security today. sigh.

but i take a deep breath and force my self to counter-- haven't i always been taken care of? haven't people and circumstances always moved to take care of my good in the end? haven't things always worked out for good?

yes. yes. YES!

i will be okay, even if this crazy life is lived on the edge a lot. : ) i will be okay. my children and i will be okay.

thank you God, for your unfailing Love and Abundance!!!