Sunday, April 28, 2013
I tell stories (or Why I don't see myself as a blogger)
A friend once remarked that I am someone who has a blog but isn't comfortable being tagged as a blogger.
I agree with her on that.
Being a graduate student currently taking up Methods of Research, I've learned that the first step in supporting my claim is to dig up the dictionary definition of the word blogger, pick concepts and constructs within the definition and establish a framework demonstrating that I am, indeed, NOT a blogger.
Being a graduate student taking up Methods of Research has got nothing to do with this. Plus, the definition of a blogger is a person who updates a weblog. Meaning, my theory of me not being a blogger may easily be proven as invalid.
The point is...
I am not a blogger for the simple and downright honest reason that I don't feel like one. I shy away from the word 'writer', too, so please don't call me that upfront unless you want me to blush. What I believe I have here are stories.
There are days I feel like I've stumbled upon a treasure in the form of a book. Read through it, lived through it and the next sensible step is share it. That is my story.
Once in a while, in the middle of what could have been a terrible month, I wake up to a perfect day. From sunrise to sundown, everything goes according to plan. I feel beautiful, strong and, more importantly, I feel like I can get things done. I have the option to snap a picture and post it somewhere for all the world wide web to see, as a remembrance. But that is not how I wish to relive this day in the future. So I write about it. That is my story.
There are Birthdays and Christmases, New Years and Valentine's days across many years. Despite traditions and familiarity, there would always be something that would make this year's celebration different from all the others. That is my story.
There are days I feel beaten to the core, my fingertips too tired and heavy I couldn't convince myself to count the blessings, instead. Days when you know you've lost. There is hope, yes, but hope rests in the arms of tomorrow. Today I let them win. That is a sad story. But it's a story, still.
There are mornings I wake up to when all I can care about is myself. Some days I notice the strangers; I notice the children roaming beside the highway obviously without a parent to watch over them. Suddenly I take notice of others' struggles. I realize how difficult difficult can get for other people. I stop for a moment. Think. Pray. Feel. That is my story.
And then there are days that look ordinary, went by ordinarily- from the outside. But I know the troubles I keep inside, like a raging river a day after the storm. The questions that fill the empty moments, the worries, the ugly things invisible to the naked eye but fatal to the core. Those days don't look pretty, don't end happy, but those are my stories.
I do not simply blog here. I do not simply write the words. I tell you a story. In Haruki Murakami's words:
“Which is why I am writing (this book). To think. To understand. It just happens to be the way I'm made. I have to write things down to feel I fully comprehend them.”
All of us have stories and we share them in whatever way fits us. I chose written words. You may say I could have kept a diary, instead. Believe me, that was the easier choice back then. Putting my stories out there is a brave step on my part. This space you are staring at, the words you read here, these are all part of who I am. This is a basket full of vulnerability, genuineness, hopes and dreams, and I am handing it to you.
I do not write about fashion or trends or restaurants or whatever the next big thing will be; I write stories. And from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for taking the time to get to know me through this. Handing you my stories and us talking about them are two different things, so if you are my friend, please pretend you've never come across this page. I am not that brave, yet.
One day, maybe.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
"Sing and dance and run and fly. Do not be concerned about who is watching; you are consumed by life and living, and you cannot help yourself. Invite everyone you know to join you and teach them your steps, and teach them the song and dance. Run with them and when they’re ready, they will learn how to fly too. After the celebration, break away because you will need to be alone to listen to the whispers of your soul. You will need to be alone to rejuvenate your spirit."
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Yoga Love: Think Holiday
For some reason, whenever I had a rough day or week, I crave
savassana (and comfort food, too, but I choose to deny it. Hee).
minutes of total surrender has the power to recharge me, sometimes
even more than a
weekend can. However, lately, I’ve been
having difficulty quieting my brain in that moment. So many thoughts keep
floating in my head and I couldn’t help but entertain the worries.
Last Monday, I attended a Jivamukti class. It is quite
different from the usual flow session. A few minutes are dedicated to chanting and
meditation. Throughout the class, I maintained my focus quite effortlessly. Yet, when the
lights went off in time for savassana, I started worrying away. I thought about
the things I had to do for work, the decisions I have to make, etc. etc. And
then, I realized it’s a holiday the next day. Once I had a change of
perspective, the worries melted away.
From that point on, I promise to savor savassana, live in
that moment, like it’s a holiday tomorrow.
Sometimes, we can’t help but carry over today’s stress to
tomorrow, and the next day and so on, creating a snowball effect. Eventually, minor
troubles turn into this big, unmanageable burden.
Like in savassana, I vow to try to leave each day’s worries
before starting a new one. I would remind myself to rest like it’s a holiday
tomorrow- always like it’s a holiday tomorrow.
Works on the mat, works in life.
The Black (Note)Book
*written on Easter morning of '13*
A year ago, for Holy Week, I attended a 4-day silent retreat
at Karis. I only had a few minutes of conversation every day with my spiritual
adviser. Other than that, I spent hours resting, praying and having inner
monologues. Needless to say, those were the longest 4 days of my life.
For the most part, my thoughts flew by too fast I couldn’t
even catch up. A handful, I was able to hastily write down in my black notebook. I never dared open the notebook and reread what I have
written there- until today.
When people asked me, then, why I wanted to attend a
retreat, and a silent one, at that, I gave them a safe answer: I want a deeper
connection with God. And although that was true, there was a deeper WHY to it.
My heart was at a bad place that time. All my relationships
except for the one I have with myself. I was beating myself up for being a
coward, for sticking to something that makes me miserable. I was lonely; I was
angry at myself for acting helpless when I could have easily changed things for
the better. On top of that, I was scared of the person I was becoming, simply
because I was letting a routine transform me.
What made things more difficult was me trying to hide it from
everyone else. I wanted to show a facade that was calm and unbothered. I never
wanted people to feel that there was something wrong; I was belittling my
problem. At one time, during prayer, I even said the same thing to God. I was
so mad I blurted words of frustration. I felt like God thinks my problem was
too small, that it was insignificant compared to others’, which might be a
matter of life and death. True, my problem lacked the urgency to justify my
helplessness but it was weighing me down, so much that it is completely
changing me into the kind of person I never wanted to be.
On the afternoon of Good Friday, I felt too tired I couldn’t
beg anymore. I couldn’t even pray. You know what’s in my heart- that was my
Looking back, I am in a much better place right now. Not
only because I was finally able to move on from something that almost changed
me for the worse, but because I know now what sustains me. I know now what is
important to me, what made me feel that way before, what made me suffer and why
I allowed it. The answers didn’t come instantly. When I went home from the
retreat, all I had was a certain calmness that was a product of my submission.
Whenever I looked back at my retreat days, I feel a little
silly for exhausting myself because of a problem that wasn’t really a problem
if you look at it. But after re-reading my black notebook, all the anxiety, the
despair, the pain, they all seemed real again. I knew I was in a terrible place
at that time. No words could ever express why I felt the way I did but I was definitely
broken. I couldn’t be thankful enough that, somehow, a higher power led me to Karis.
Rather than finding comfort and answers from my limited strength and wisdom, I
found my way to Him.
There were so many lessons I took away from that experience;
lessons that even go far beyond what I came there to pray for. During one
consultation with my spiritual adviser, he shared with me words that definitely
helped me out of desolation. He said, in more or less words:
“You are concerned
about your work. You don’t want to do it and yet you’re frustrated about not
being able to give your best. It’s because you care about what you create, even
at times when you do not find meaning in it. What more for God? He created you.
He loves you. He care about you so much that it is impossible for Him to
abandon you. He is always by your side. Trust Him.”
Those words rekindled my composure. I was able to let go of
my anxiety and trust in His bigger picture. The funny thing was, when I finally
started being diligent at work again, the opportunities came pouring. It was as
if God only wanted to teach me something. And when the lesson was learned, the
path was laid down in front of me so I can finally move on.
I celebrated Easter last year by embracing my struggles. I
emerged from the retreat feeling grateful, recharged and, most of all, hopeful.
I guess that is the true message of God’s resurrection. This life, when
entrusted to His great will, is, in John Bucan’s words, a perpetual series of
occasions for hope. Regardless of life’s ever-changing mood, there is one
constant companion we can all surrender our worries to.
This year I woke up to a hectic, definitely noisier Easter
morning. But within me, peace still reigns, and I have the Big Guy Upstairs to
thank for it.
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