Monday, February 28, 2005


Paolo looks at the calendar and asks, "Mama, isn't it Feb. 28 today?"

and i say, "uh--huh..." while working on the pc.

"isn't your birthday Feb. 29?"

and i say, "uh--huummmm..." distractedly.

"but there's no Feb. 29 in the calendar!!! they forgot all about you!!!"

"it's okay, darling. they celebrate my birthday with the Summer Olympics when it comes, anyway..." : )

and then, his clincher: "Mama.... how did you grow so tall if you didn't have a lot of birthdays???"

: O


my friend elects
to embrace
his pain
than to let go
and take
my sometimes gently
sometimes angrily
but always lovingly
proferred hand
towards life's
little joys
and adventures.

my friend
lashes out
when i try to--
wipe his tears,
hug him quietly in company,
distract him with laughter,
open the windows,
welcome light,
and let sunshine
and fresh air in.
damned if i do,
damned-er still
if i don't.

and so i must
let go;
i can break through --
but not

Sunday, February 27, 2005

My First Book

Papa's House, Mama's House
2004 Philippine Board of Books for Young People (PBBY)
Alfredo Salanga Grand Prize for Children's Literature Posted by Hello

Read review here.
Order here. (It's the eighth book from the top.)

Thank you very much! : )

Summer's Coming

our happy family and what we did last summer Posted by Hello

i can't wait for another season of rest, fun and renewal!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Optimist's Creed

a quote i got in the mail today, attributed to Charles Schultz, creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip -

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia."

: ) : ) : )

Friday, February 25, 2005

Under the Tuscan Sun

i have always felt and believed that i am led to watch the movies i do watch in the same way i am led to books i eventually am drawn to read--by serendipity.

somehow, i have always felt that i have questions deep inside me that i am trying to work out, and films and books give me messages to lead me further on to my answers.

this movie i just watched is a true-to-life adaptation from the memoirs of writer Frances Mayes. it talks about how a woman (the author) reclaims her self again and finds her true niche and love after a nasty divorce, by following her heart. her journey takes her to Tuscany, where her gay friend was drawn to buy her a ticket to for a gay tour. her friend thought she'd benefit from the fun tour.

from desire to desire, Frances is led along, just following what lights her up, what causes a quickening inside her. she is moved to buy a 300-year-old house when she doesn't have the money for the asking price, yet the house was eventually sold to her by the owner anyway. her rebuilding and renovating the old house becomes a metaphor for her own attempts to rebuild and renovate her own life.

"Build the house, and forget everything else. You will be led to your joy," was one advice she got from a new friend she made in Kathrine, a mysterious, attractive, fun mature woman who captivates her with her gleeful delight in following her pleasures.

she also gets another advice from another friend, a married man friend (the house's real estate agent, actually) who told her the story of how the railroad tracks from Vienna to Italy (?) were built long before trains were even invented.

sounds very similar to a quote i read from a book many years ago, "If you build (the house), the occupants will come" -- or something like that.

i am even reminded now of that movie starring Kevin Costner as a washed out baseball player who eventually starts his life over in a new small town and gets a champion team going from a motley group of interested but untrained and untalented players, Field of Dreams, which also said something about preparing the field for the dreams to grow in...

hmmm... there is a message here for me somewhere, and the message seems to be that: i am on the right track, encouraging me in my journey.

since the New Year, i have decided to more consciously just follow my Bliss, pursue my deepest desires, express my truth and clearly state what i need and want from the people around me, and just having fun and enjoying what i have now and thanking God for it (also re-emphasized to me by the book i recently finished, "Womanly Arts") ... and strangely, things are working out, falling into place.

i see now that my instinctual "clearing out space" recently is my own way of building my new "house" for my truest desires and dreams to manifest.

and to think that the last movie i watched before this (Shall We Dance) also had a similar theme-- following one's lead that will lead one to one's joys!

: )

In Addition to Fun

... i feel joy, and humility, and gratitude, and awe.

Belbeth from Central America emails me to congratulate me on my blog: Hello Jean! I am a 30 year old girl, I love your articles!.. They are so enlighting....!!!.. and totally true..!!I could easily post a coment in your blog but.. I rather CONGRATULATE! you in private.!!I am a big fan of your ideas!!

so i reply back: thank you! i hope you still comment though, so i could also click the link on your blog and comment too. (in short, id like to know more about you and why you agree with my thoughts, heehee).thank you very much, it's 5am and you just made my day. : )God bless.

and she clinches it with: No need to thank, dear Jean. You are so talented and such an amazing woman!! I have to recognize that!!! I live in Central América, Guatemala., I am single, and very dissapointed in some guy´s issues.. but .. one of your articles.. really brought me up to life again.. God bless your brilliant mind!!! And I am definetely looking forward to be your friend in América.

of course my heart fills up with joy at praise like this!!!

but more than that, i am in awe. God does send angels in our midst to lift us up when we think we're so alone!

thank you, too, Belbeth. you are a blessing too with your generosity!


i had a really fun time with a new friend tonight; i've never felt soo good in ages!!!

i don't remember feeling this relaxed and enjoying my self and laughing so hard with a new friend i've just met.

i am going to sleep smiling. somehow i have the feeling that, for the first time in a long time, the bedbugs won't bite tonight.

:) : ) : )

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Why Love Is Not Enough, 2

i am reminded of this poem i wrote two months ago here, as i think about my life right now, and the people in my life.

i am reminded too, of this advice from a relationships coach free newsletter i subscribe to: that what makes relationships last are not common backgrounds and even values and attitudes towards life but "the key compatibilities that matter in a relationship are similar intimacy style, similar desire and availability to be in a relationship, and desire for a similar depth of connection."

it goes on to say that (i'm copying most of the article verbatim now): "Consider this. You may go to the same place of worship; both be smart about the same things; have a great way with entertaining; earn, save or spend the same way; and both believe in fidelity and the value of family. And yet, at the same time, you can both be completely miserable with each other, unhappy in your relationship."

"Intimacy style is a set of internal rules of conduct by which a person functions regarding emotional and physical closeness and communication. Note that you can't tell someone's intimacy style for about the first three months of the relationship, unless you know just how to look.

Ability to be in a relationship is the ability, desire and know- how to sustain a relationship. It may seem natural and intuitive, even innate, but it is not. It requires emotional relationship-centered maturity, and that only comes with emotional growth. Being available for a relationship includes the desire or an aversion to closeness, in terms of time, geography, physical contact, and emotional engagement.

Desire for the depth of connection, real intimacy, or lack of it, both physical and emotional is not a given, even if a person is dating to find a relationship, is in a long-term relationship, is married, or even has a family.

If you are in a relationship you value and the two of you are not compatible on these three criteria, you both need to focus on growing yourselves.

If you are compatible with a partner you are drawn and attracted to on these three key compatibility criteria, you have a good chance to be happily in love with each other for a lifetime, almost regardless of whether you are compatible in other areas.

these thoughts come to me as i consider the number of men friends in my life now, whom i respect, care about and adore, some of whom i may even have fallen in love with in the past or are in love with now, who care about me and respect me and adore me in return--yet, why am i not in a mutually agreed-upon long-term committed romantic relationship with any one of them?


remembering the poem and the quotes from the article, now, i see again that it takes more than mutual attraction and even loving feelings to create a longterm and loving relationship, much less sustain one.

i think it boils down to mutual readiness, and mutual availability and desire for a relationship and depth of intimacy.

i'm ready in the sense that i'm open to a romantic relationship and i believe i have the mature relationship skills necessary to create and sustain a loving one (based on the superior quality of other non-romantic relationships i have with people in my life; "everybody loves me!" heehee), i'm emotionally available and soon to be even legally available, and i desire a relationship of depth, even if i'm not so keen yet on a relationship of lifetime length... : )

so maybe the key is to find someone im not only mutually attracted to and have loving feelings for, but who shares my own readiness and desire levels, especially in terms of depth (length can be negotiable heehee).


i am very openly communicative, willing to talk tough issues out fairly and ride tough times out gracefully, would love to be doing lots of things together with my man, am the touchy-feely sort, but who would also like to maintain her own privacy. except for the last quality, which i readily find in most men, the rest seem to be hard to find in men...

somebody openly communicative and in touch with his own feelings, loves to do lots of things together with me, and the touchy-feely sort... WHO IS NOT GAY? : (


Monday, February 21, 2005

Shall We Dance

i watched the movie starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez today, with my two girls.

i was missing D badly; it got so bad i wanted to cry but couldn't, so a migraine developed instead. i called in sick from work after lunch and slept the afternoon off. im glad i messaged D before i slept though; because it was a pleasure waking up to find a message from him in my cellphone! : )

as with all blues coming on, i have learned to instantly counteract it by quickly following my gut and asking my self "what would give me the most pleasure at this moment?"

so i slept and the nap did me good. next, i had to fetch Thea at 4:30 p.m. and Bea wanted to come along. from pleasure to pleasure, i felt the need for more, so i asked the girls if they wanted a snack. of course, both said a hearty "YES!"

as we were driving around, we discussed what we felt like having. both Thea and i agreed with felt like having pasta, and Bea piped up with a mocha shake desire, so we decided to go to Robinson's Mall and indulge our selves. we had so much fun just being pleased that we decided to watch a movie afterwards.

Shall We Dance caught Thea's and my eye, especially since we were planning to enrol together in belly dancing lessons come summertime. the movie's blurb read, "a new comedy about following one's lead in life" or something like that, and that sealed my decision to purchase the movie tickets.

it was supposed to have been a comedy, but as with all comedies, it made me cry. because it contained gems of truth within it.

the movie basically explores what lights people up, and how following what lights you up leads you to your joy, in one way or another.

the one thing that touched me most in the movie was when Susan Sarandon was asked by the detective she hired to spy on her husband (Richard Gere) why people bother to get married anyway if they are just going to be unfaithful to their spouses at one time or another. Susan answered: " to have a witness to one's life. there are 7 billion people in the world and what does one life mean if nobody's there to witness it, all its ups and downs, the good and the bad, the growing and the stagnating,... to witness it and to care about it, no matter what?"

well, something like that.

and that's what made me cry the most, because it is so beautiful and so true.

i wish D watches it too. he would enjoy the dialogues, like that "you are a woman to love" line he kept pointing out to me, in another movie we watched together last time. : )

Waiting for Nothing

beyond survival
finally arriving

rosebud unfolding,
a fresh blooming

doing what i can
to make things right

doing all i can
choosing to be joyful

no matter what
being at peace

no loving lost
as all remain in the heart

waiting for nothing
the good life happens

expecting all
done hoping, just doing

no postponing my life

just savoring Today
as it happens

knowing Bliss
is mine to make

at last.
at last.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

9 Days To Go

i have really been going at this "cleaning up backlog and things of the past" thing with a vengeance, almost like i had a gun pointed to my head. i don't know why; i've never done this before, but gutwise, i just feel that i have to clear space in my life for when i turn 37, so a truly new life begins for me.

it's interesting though that in Chinese astrology, this is the first of another 12-year cycle for me. i was born in the Year of the Monkey, which was also last year. the last Monkey year before that was when i was 24, the year i got married. imagine the coincidence huh.

my numerology reading also says that last year ( a "1" year) was the beginning of another 9-year life cycle for me, with this year, a "2" year, the year i put down new roots and lay the foundations for the next years to come. a "2" year is also the year when most people meet their soulmate. : ) ... hmmm.

even this free astrology report from Sara Freder tells me that something really outstanding in the heavens occur at midnight of March 1 (something about the beneficial planet of Jupiter aligning with my birth planet Neptune), with the next three months becoming really momentously beneficial months for me! ... another hmmm.

of course, ive already written down here previously about my own four-year growth cycles, with my feb. 29 birthday and all, and it just strikes me quite eeriely that all these cycles and my gut feeling of clearing space, and the recent self-proclaimed beach vacation with a friend (to clear out pent up "hunger", heehee) and Ancient Paths experiences ... all seem to converge to bring me to this point.

ive just sent in my long overdue PhD assignment backlog (due dec. 15, 2004 yet!), and the last of the backlogs are gone. the only work i have now are the current ones, and i'm starting to rev up again.


whatever is in store for me, dear heart, ... stay gold. keep true.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Evening Prayer

thank You, God, for today, and for my winning in all three categories in the Toastmasters Club Area Contest i joined!!! : D it's: champion, evaluation speech; 1st runner-up, table topics speech and 2nd runner-up, international speech!!!

ooohhhh HUUUGGGGSSS!!! it feels soo good, being in the Path i am meant to be in at last, making heartfelt secret dreams come true!!! (i wasn't focused so much on winning but doing my best; but the winning is an affirmation that im on the right track, with my dream of maneuvering my career towards international and professional writing and speaking after im 40 taking shape now!)

thank You, God!!!

Morning Prayer

God help me with my speech categories in international prepared speech, table topics and evaluation today as i compete in our Toastmasters Club Area Contest. bless me with presence of mind, organization of thought, clarity of voice and effective delivery, within the allotted time limit!!! win or lose, help me do my club proud as their chosen representative.

i feel scared as i am unprepared, even up to now, going into battle on suicide mode. help me study and prepare (cram, actually) for them later and give me the inner centeredness to proceed forth from there. send Your Spirit to center me and guide me as i prepare my speeches this morning.


help me, too, with finishing my long overdue novel summary and analysis assignment this morning. thank You for dr. alburo's amazing patience and graciousness with our delays and help me make an assignment worthy of her long wait!


most of all, God, thank You -

* for our continued good health and safety from harm, my children, family, friends and i;
* the love and respect and joy of my children;
* my work, the people i work with, my students, the tests and trials which refine my character;
* my talents and skills and dreams and goals, and for helping me grow closer towards them a little bit more each day;
* my family and their continued love and support;
* my friends and the lessons i learn from them and with them; especially for M, and T, and D, and even N, and K;
* the past, for all the lessons and the gifts;
* the future, for all the wonders that You will still perform : );
* today, for another chance to be who i am meant to be and do what i am meant to do.

i pray, too, for all the sick and grieving people in my midst -- for papa, and mama, and honey, for jojo and his mother who has just passed on and their family, for the ex's uncle danny and their family; for T, in his searching and growing, for my student K and her husband and their marriage, for all the people around me trying to find peace and wholeness and healing again. bless them all with your Spirit and Love, and may my presence in their lives be of help, too.

thank you, God, for all the people in my life, for those who have left, and for those who are still coming! bless us, bless us all with Your Grace and Abundance!


Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Ancient Paths Experience

i first came across it two years ago, when i was in another city attending a conference on regional culture. it was a sleepy early afternoon, and i walked out to get some breeze. while walking around the university grounds, this streamer for "Ancient Paths" caught my eye, and i joked to my colleagues later on how i was tempted to gatecrash that seminar instead of attending my own conference, if not for the fact that when i inquired, the Ancient Paths seminar was full and couldn't accommodate me any more.

then, last july, when my sister accompanied me to receive my book award in manila, and we took a boat trip instead of the usual plane flight, as we had the time to spare but not the budget, she told me about this Ancient Paths seminar she recently attended. she told me about how it helped her see our family issues in a new light, and how she healed some deep ancient hurts in some way, as the seminar touches on intergenerational family issues and healing.

the boat trip was a healing, welcome trip too. as we couldn't anything much for a day and a half except walk around the ship deck and/or eat, we talked and connected again in a way we had never done ever since our college years and before we were married.

so anyway, i told her i was interested in attending one too and for her to let me know if another one was available.

and so finally, this january, she forwarded to me this text invitation to another Ancient Paths seminar and i signed up for a slot.


it was interesting how i started.

they required a paid reservation and i frankly told the coordinator in charge that i couldn't pay yet until the second day of the seminar when i get my pay. could they accommodate me still?

i was touched by the lady coordinator's generosity. she offered to pay for me her self with me paying her back on the day i get my pay. : )

i thought that was a good sign for me to go ahead.


i had my initial trepidations.

this was sponsored by a Christian church. as a lapsed Catholic who haven't gone to church for a long time except during special holidays (Christmas, sometimes), and someone who has had her religious-seeking phase in her late teens, experiencing quite a sampling of different other churches but finding mostly form but less substance, i was wary.

the opening night of the seminar, the introductory "ministry" part took 45 minutes! we were asked to stand up and sing, as we followed the lyrics on a screen. i sat on the first pew and stood up cooperatively but just read the lyrics with my eyes and enjoyed the singing of the other people. after ten minutes, i got tired of standing and sat down. at the back of my mind, i was already thinking that if some righteous church member here forced me to stand up again and sing and dance (!), i'd walk out. : )

gratefully, that didn't happen. and so my anxieties were eased up and i began to relax for the seminar itself.


it is called "Ancient Paths", for ancient, universal ways of being and relating that lead people back to themselves, and God.

the seminar basically focuses on how people's identities and destinies are formed by their family cultures, mainly through how their parents treated them-- whether in an affirming (they call it "blessing") way or in a negating ("cursing") way. and the thesis of course is that most people are so lost and wounded and broken today because they have been cursed (negated) by the very people who are supposed to be their haven of love, peace, comfort and joy.

so the small group interactions and prayers after the one-hour video lectures by Craig Hill are designed to help people express their woundedness, as well as to ask the Holy Spirit for healing and cutting off of "cursed" ties.

one other thing emphasized by the seminar is the concept of topical vs. relational communication. it discusses how most curses (negations) and relationship conflicts arise from the fact that people focus on topical communication--which actually comprises only 7% of real communication-- as opposed to relational communication--which comprises the other 93% (55% body language, 38% tone of voice and attitude of the speaker).

that was a key insight for me-- how we most often stew in hurt and pain over heated and negating arguments and conflicts with people we care about because of the topic (what/who is right/wrong), when the more important thing is the underlying value of the relationship (if we value the relationship, we can disagree in a non-threatening and even loving way, affirming the identity and worth of the other even as we disagree on ideas, behavior or performance).


parents are supposed to have key spiritual obligations to their children as special agents of God. they are supposed to impart blessing to their children, affirming their identities and thus creating happy destinies for them, as God has meant everyone to have. especially crucial are seven key times in one's life when the impartation of blessing is most significant--

1. conception
2. pregnancy
3. birth
4. infancy and childhood
5. puberty
6. marriage
7. old age

as one enters each phase, whether a blessing or a curse has been imparted determines the quality of one's later development. so people who were conceived and borne in lust and not in love tend to always have the feeling of unworthiness at simply existing, etc. the mother is supposed to have the primary task of birthing and nurturing.

at puberty, the father is supposed to have the main obligation to impart gender identity to his son and daughter. if he is not able to do this, or do this well, he releases his son or daughter into a world confused instead of confident, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually wounded and limping instead of strong and bold. and so on, and so forth.


anyway, my own personal insight and learning from the seminar is this: that i missed out on my puberty blessing.

that is why i still keep seeking for affirmation of my self, especially as a woman, from men who are much like my father--emotionally withholding and negating. add to that the fact that while i was growing up, both my parents were so engrossed in the business of keeping us and their stormy marriage alive that i was basically left to parent my self emotionally and psychologically. at puberty, my mother, whom i see now was still also uncomfortable with her own womanhood at that time, treated me like the little girl she probably wished i would remain forever, and neglected to teach me the ways of womanhood.

at 12, i had the body of an 18 year old, but the emotional maturity of a 6 year old. today, at 36, i have the body of a peaking thirtysomething but am still working on catching up in the emotional maturity department, especially when it comes to romantic entanglements.

no wonder i get so clingy and needy and insanely jealous when i fall in love and when i'm still unsure (and i am never sure!) about my beloved's affections for me. in many ways, i still keep longing for the affirmation of my womanly worth that i was never blessed with at a crucial time in my life!

it struck me so suddenly and clearly that i wept.

i've always "known" something like that, and i've begun to wonder about the patterns in my relationships, but it has never been that clear to me, the cause and effect of it all.

i have forgiven my parents long ago, around the time when i also left my marriage and finally took responsibility for my own life. but the insight that i gained from the seminar is that i have never really truly grieved over what i was cheated out of.

thus, the blockage i feel in emotional relationships with men even though i have moved on in all other areas of my life. although i am an empowered and accomplishing 36-year-old in managing my finances, work, career, talents, hobbies and in nurturing my friendships and social support systems, i revert back to a confused 13-year-old (if not further back to a clingy, needy, self-centeredly jealous 2-year-old!) when i start falling in love!!!

anyway, my small group prayed for me and with me, and gave me my long-overdue puberty blessing. : )

so im a full-fledged woman in her own right, in her own skin now. : ) first, the physical empowerment via the self-proclaimed beach vacation... and now this emotional, psychological and spiritual empowerment!


so in that sense, the seminar was a journey of self-discovery and healing for me. thus, the valentine gifts to my Papa and the ex... for forgiveness and closure and moving on.


a friend told me i have a different, lighter aura now, and i feel it too.

i am less prone to jealous attacks even when the bait is dangled right in front of me, for starters.

i am also less prone to taking things way too personally, imagining all sorts of doomsday scenarios, suspecting the man of mean intentions.

i am more forgiving and tolerant of a man's adorable inadequacies ("oh dear heart, he is JUST a man! : >) and i actually love the way he is more, starting to finally relax into true friendship with him, seeing him at last as not The Enemy who is out to get me, trip me up, con me, and/or use me if i don't let down my guard, but a fellow journey-er in this mystery of loving and living. in short, i have more compassion for him now.


the rage is finally spent.

even the "hunger" is not so all-consuming anymore. hmmm...


i am not afraid-- of me, of life, of men-- at last.

blessed me.

God is good, indeed.

: )

Monday, February 14, 2005

A Meaningful Valentine's Day

no, i still didn't any receive any roses, card or chocolates from a special man. and no, i still didn't get treated to any romantic dinner with plans for a more romantic and sexier getaway later on-- but heck, so what? how can i miss what i've never had? : )

today is the first valentine's day for me though that i didn't cringe nor stew in resentment for not being part of the special day. i made it special for me.

as a result of my Ancient Paths experience (i know i still have to write about that one), i did two very unexpected things today: i gave the ex a valentine gift, and gave Papa a valentine tribute.

the ex's gift was nothing huge; it was just a small green (his favorite color is green) scented candle with the letters "PEACE" engraved on it. and this is what i wrote on the card: "now that our 'mutual freedom' looms, i release and bless you to your joy. know that i have forgiven you and i, and that i don't regret the past. happy valentine's day!"

the tribute to Papa took longer and was emotionally costlier to make. i wrote little notes on all the things i learned from him, what he did right as a father, what i appreciate about him, as well as pasted baby and childhood pictures of me with him, on a little album made of handcrafted paper.

one insight from the seminar struck me, about how we write and speak beautiful eulogies to our parents and loved ones once they're dead but how we never even let them know how much we appreciated them when they were still alive...

i guess this valentine's day is a sort of closure for me. saying goodbye to the past and blessing the past, even as i clear space now to make room for truly happy valentine's days ahead!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Ancient Paths

(thoughts and feelings from the seminar experience are still in process... but a link is provided in the title above as a backgrounder on where i've been soaking my self in for the last 3 days. : >)

Friday, February 11, 2005


5:10 a.m. - i wake up with a start, after dreaming of stepping on bugs and insects and trying to crush them with my foot. they were very few, around 3 or 4, but just as i crushed one, another would appear. i was on white sand and the insects were on some sort of silkscreen frame. next i rode on a tricyle to take me to a hotel, but once i got there i remembered i left another luggage at the beach. the hotel concierge told me not to worry, why don't i check in first and they will just take care of sending the tricycle over to get the other luggage? at the back of my mind, i said yes that's a good idea, especially as my man was already waiting for me in our hotel room.

i go straight to the computer groggily. i shake my head and wonder who "my man" in my dream was. i have a sense he was my ex, but then the dream's setting reminded me of my friend i recently vacationed with...

6:10 a.m. - i sit staring at the computer screen as it rebooted for the 5th time. early morning and im already pissed off. i just got the computer back after a week at the pc shop for virus cleaning and hard drive reformatting. and now, this!

6:20 a.m. - thankfully Windows finally started right. so i log on and check on emails, chat with one or two old friends and another girl friend re our Toastmasters meeting the night before, which i wasnt able to attend

6:35 a.m. - i have to log off. have to wake up kids and start the day. Bea's whining and crying from being awakened. God, i can't handle this right now! i decide to let her go back to sleep and absent from nursery school today.

7:15 a.m. - i drive out to bring Thea and Paolo to school. thank God, we beat the traffic!

7:45 a.m. - i go back home to take a shower and prepare for my own day.

8:35 a.m. - the school paper editor-in-chief calls me on the cellphone to ask where i was; i say im still at home changing. the student journalists' 3-day workshop-fellowship we're hosting is about to start and i'm late!

9:00 a.m. - i arrive just in time for the Brother President's welcome remarks and to make the usual social protocol of greeting University bigwigs. the workshop-fellowship starts.

9:30 a.m. - i sneak out to bring the computer to the pc shop again for checking.

10:00 a.m. - i go back to the school paper staff's office to work on my own lecture for this afternoon's workshop.

11:00 a.m. - i go fetch Paolo from preschool. he reminded me of my promise to buy him his favorite fruit from the market fruitstand. we go to the ATM machine to get my pay and proceed directly to the fruitstand. i bring him home, then go to the nearest mall to do grocery shopping.

12:15 p.m. - i go back to the workshop-fellowship to take a late lunch with the staff. i was actually the only one late, everybody has eaten but a few stayed around to keep me company as i eat.

1:30 p.m. - i go to our Personnel Office to process health care papers needed for my Papa's hospitalization. he's been in the ICU for 3 days now, for having difficulty breathing and hypoglycemia. this is his 7th ICU stay in 6 months. : (

3:30 p.m. - i lecture on "Feature Writing" at the workshop-fellowship. it must have been effective and successful. the participants came alive and interacted freely with me, after a soporific previous session with another speaker who spoke on "Creative Writing".

4:30 p.m. - Thea meets me at the workshop venue so we could go home together. but first we have to go to the hospital to visit Papa, and to bring the health care papers. thankfully, he's getting out of the ICU, but he looks so old and frail and vulnerable now. not at all the big, powerful and fearful Papa i used to be afraid of and to love so much at the same time.

5:45 p.m. - the computer shop staff texts me on my cellphone to remind me that my unit and the scanner, router and new printer i ordered are all ready for pick up and that they are closing by 6 p.m.

5:55 p.m. - i get to the pc shop just in time, check my equipment, and pay for my job and purchase orders. Thea and i are excited going home. she says we are so rich! our home may not be so pretty looking but we have what we need: food for the body (i just told her i replenished the refrigerator today), food for the soul (our library of wonderful books) and food for the mind (our new computer thingies)! : )

bless her. bless my Thea for her wonderful insight and wisdom and optimism!

6:15 p.m. - we get home. Thea begs for all the new thingies to be installed and tested as she wants to start working with them already. i tell her i still have an Ancient Paths Seminar to attend at 6 p.m. and im already late as it is. but i give in, as usual. : )

7:57 p.m. - i am still here by the computer. all the new thingies work, except the scanner. i texted the computer shop lady to send a technician over here tomorrow morning. i also texted the Ancient Paths coordinator i cant make it tonight. my left eye's contact lens started itching and burning real bad an hour ago and now i can't drive at night with an eye infection!

7:59 p.m. - i will eat dinner now, take a long shower and sleep early. this has been a looooong multi-tasking day!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

By Desire, Not By Design

looking back at the past four years, i am amazed my self at my own growth. what makes it more special is that i grew in ways that were authentically me, doing things i loved to do.

i seem to have achieved more in terms of personally meaningful accomplishment in my life in the last four years than in the last 30 or so years of consciously planning and intending "goals" i wanted to achieve. come to think of it now, these "goals" were not really mine as they were by the people around me, standards and criteria set by other people of what would make for a successful and happy life.

i look back at the last four years and i smile to my self at the wild rides i've taken. i try to discern a pattern, a formula for what made me get to where i am now, but i see none, except for consistently observing one criteria: following my heart, my pleasures, my truest bliss, instead of following what other people said would be good for me, would work, would make me happy.

maybe that is the key to an authentically joyful and rich life. it may not always be happy; the griefs are too deep to be told. but it will always be rich and meaningful, and you always feel fully human and alive.

how can you not be when you go out in uncharted adventures with only your heart as compass? you stretch all your resources and all your wits about you, just to make it through and come out still being able to look at yourself proudly in the eye!!!

but it is a scary journey, this following your heart. suddenly there are no crutches to fall back on. there are no scripts to follow and no guides to take you by the hand and lead the way. you are finally alone, with your self. just you and you.

you are brought back to your primordial instincts. you develop an inner, clearer and all-seeing eye for both what appears obvious and what lies underneath. you build up a steel will, after finding out that there's nobody else out there you can truly count on, so it's either you break down or break through, on your own, by your own intention. you acquire a sensitivity for timing, for knowing when to let things be, and when to push for fruition, for speaking out, and for saying more by not speaking at all. you discover an almost prophetic knowing, for what comes next, and what must be done, although it is oftentimes a kind of knowing that cannot be put into words.

so life happens, but you are not afraid anymore. you know you can survive it all and even thrive above it all. you know you. you are finally you.

by desire, not by design. you get the kind of life that is truly yours.

would i have had it any other way?

no way, not now. not ever. not anymore.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

This Time of the Year

it's that time of the year again, the last month before my birthday on feb. 29, except that this year marks the beginning of another four year cycle of no real feb. 29s to celebrate, except by the fourth year.

i don't know if others really measure their inner and outer growth by their birthdays, but i do. however, i measure it in terms of four-year cycles, which gives me opportune time to stretch out a soul growth issue over more years.

this time of the year, i feel myself building up the energies to finish everything from the previous year. and given that this is going to be the start of another four-year cycle, i am doubly feeling the pressure on my self to finish unfinished work of the last cycle, so i can truly start on a clean slate when my birthday comes.

this month, it has more to do with finishing up old work backlog. but i know that somewhere deep inside, there are rumblings too, to finish old emotional issues of the past cycle.

the last four years have been intensive transformational and growth spurt years for me. on feb. 29, 2000, i was still an unhappily married woman, with no career direction. by feb. 29, 2004, i had since left my marriage, zoomed up in the career ladder, got two fellowships to national writing grants, won a national book award for my children's story, and had my first book already being published.

emotionally, i've travelled from a naive, clueless young woman-- about herself and the ways of the world and men-- to somebody who can confidently take on life and the world and men with grace, spunk and wisdom most times, with wit and humor at the very least.

still, i have yet to settle into a truly loving, nurturing and empowering mature and intimate relationship with a man, though. maybe that is my next task for this next coming cycle, even as i dig in my heels now in my chosen career path and direction, knowing now what i love to do most and what i do best.

26 days more and counting, dear heart.

i can't wait!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Jim's Reminder

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the final analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace."