Lesson #2 Give without expectation

This season is teaching me not to hold back. It is teaching me to give a part of myself even when I don’t feel like it. It is teaching me to be unselfish. It is teaching me to overcome my sense of entitlement. It is teaching me to be generous in sharing myself to others. It is teaching me to love unconditionally. Love is the one thing that propels me to give beyond what I am inclined to give.

Many times, I tend to deny someone a part of myself because they are not giving a part of themselves. We are more inclined react and reciprocate to those who are giving us something but if we reach out to those who are not offering us anything, that is real generosity.

Most of the time, our actions are dictated by how other people act around us, by how much they give, by how much they say, by how much they do, by how much we receive, by what we think they will think of us. We like people because they like us, we appreciate people because they appreciate us,  we demand from people the same things that we offer. We should learn to move beyond this. We should learn to overcome being reactive and start being proactive. Reach out, give, share,  open yourself to people without demanding the same things from them. Don’t hold back a kind word just because you haven’t received it, don’t hold back a smile just because they won’t smile back, don’t hold back an act of love because they may not give it back. Give because you have something to give. Reach out. You are a gift worth sharing. Give out of love and do not expect anything in return. It is in this form of giving that we learn how to become full by who we are rather than by what we receive.

Subtle

I found beauty in its subtlety

In its quiet prodding

In the unspoken words

How small things collectively could mean something

Something big

How each pause and awkward glances

Could still mean something

Something deeper than what IS

How we try to search for beauty in grand gestures

Grand things

But all this is beauty in itself

And if it is all it shall ever be

Then it is enough

Forming a Habit

After 9 days of holiday vacation I returned to work in my laziest. During the vacation I was contemplating about quitting my job this year. I read somewhere that quittinga job you hate is something old people regret not doing. I’ve always felt that this job was not meant for me. I couldn’t see myself growing old in this industry. But being in my 20s, I had that hunger to learn, to please people, to let them know I am brilliant. Yes, after a short time people saw that and that’s when the decline happened. That’s when I felt like I no longer needed to prove that I am an exellent employee so I gave myself room to slack off. I think the only thing that has kept me doing this job for the past 7 years is my habit to do well in anything and everything that is thrown at me. Because I have built myself well in this job there are times that I feel I’m being over appreciated. People still appreciate my work even though I feel like I did not give my 100 percent. It’s good but I guess it also made me jaded because I know that even my so-so is good enough for them. It just didn’t push me to work harder, to give more, to be better. It has left me giving  mediocre.

So yeah.. I came in Monday and complained about everything. That’s when I realized that I do really complain a lot — from small stuff to the big ones. That’s when I listened to myself and to the people around me. We complain a lot! Read facebook, twitter, etc. so I made a plan, a rule — Not to verbalize any complaints, to completely avoid complaining.

Tuesday rolled by and I broke the rule at 10am when I shouted in the office “Ang BAGAL ng INTERNET!”. Strike 1. I pushed myself that day to do my work without complaint.  When I got home in the evening, our neighbor was holding a party with people singing karaoke at the top of their lungs. I restrained myself from complaining, trying to divert my attention by thinking about something good out of the situation.

Wednesday came and I had to zip my mouth when the HR sent an email saying our salary will be delayed. “uh-uh don’t complain” I told myself so I preferred not to comment. Our neighbor held another party that night.

Thursday came and I thought I was doing pretty well. When I got home, our neighbor was holding another party. I didn’t sleep well the night before and I really needed a good sleep that night in preparation for a busy weekend. As much as I restrained myself from being annoyed, I just really couldn’t take it anymore. By 11pm they were still not done and I couldn’t get myself to sleep. I searched the web for the building’s number and called them. Gladly, someone answered who told me they were about to finish. I just couldn’t hold back myself from posting a complaint on twitter. God must have really tested me that week and I failed.

I’m still trying to follow that rule everyday, forming a habit. I hope the next time a neighbor holds a karaoke for 4 straight nights, I will have more restraint.

By verbalizing our complaints and negative thoughts, we are throwing the negative energy out in the universe, creating an echo. We must learn to drown out these thoughts before they come out of our mouth.

Complain Less. Do More.

What’s your type?

“Ano bang type mo?” A friend threw the question at me in the car last night and I remember having a hard time finding an answer. Type? Errr. The only answer I could find was “Wala eh. Hindi ko na iniisip kung anong type ko. Darating nalang yon.”

Of course, there are certain qualities I would like to find in a  future partner but I’ve learned to quiet down those desires. I’ve learned not to put people in categories. I just think that making up a list blinds us in discerning what God is giving us. Once we have drafted a picture of that someone, it becomes so easy to reject the person God has designed for us when he/she doesn’t fit the picture. I know that when I meet the person God has planned for me, it wouldn’t be an instantaneous recognition. It would be like spring or watching a flower bloom, like listening to a million yeses from God over time.

A Rant on Patriotism

I lay last night mentally ranting about patriotism. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I kept going through it over and over in my head so I quickly brushed it off and whispered my night prayers. My rant went something like this:

I wish Filipinos could be more patriotic. How can people exclaim Pinoy Pride when someone with even the tiniest drop of Filipino blood makes it big internationally and then almost die with shame when something goes wrong in the country? How can you say Pinoy pride when you can’t even teach your children to speak Filipino, when you can’t even put your palm on your chest when the national anthem plays (I’ve seen it a thousand times in the cinema, in the opening of an event –it’s like people are ashamed to sing the national anthem or place their palm on their chest because it’s “like” UNCOOL.Whut?! ). Shame on you! And you have the guts to complain why our country is not progressing while you watch and wait for the government to do something. Have you even done anything to help alleviate the condition of our society? If only every single person in this country did something to help someone else then maybe a lot of our countrymen won’t be as unfortunate. If only you show your love for your country as much as you say you do and actually do something to serve others then we won’t die waiting for the government to do something.

“No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” – Edmund Burke

Shoe Boxes

Since I was a kid, I kept shoeboxes of my ‘stuff’. Photos, memorabilia,  letters, small gifts, anything that meant something or made me remember something and things that were too cute to throw away. I always had these shoeboxes. Even when I moved away from home and lived with my sister, I carried with me the shoeboxes. When the shoeboxes got too old, tattered and ugly, I would replace them with newer ones. Sometimes, I would clean up the boxes, throw away things that didn’t mean anything anymore but I always carried them wherever I moved to.

These shoeboxes are a part of me. They hold the memories that gets pushed away through the passing of years. Opening them is like opening a journal that was written years ago. Rereading old letters, going through old photos, browsing through things that were long forgotten would always always make me smile. It reminded me of how silly I used to be and how complicated growing up could be.

The other day, I sat at a cafe with someone who used to be one of my best friends. The hours went by with me trying to hold back tears and spilling tears, hearing words that were like daggers to my heart, and all the while my heart was screaming “No. You are so wrong.” I could not understand how she could think that I betrayed her.  I was still weeping while I drove back to the office. What happened  felt unreal and vague at the same time. I left the cafe knowing that the friendship we had was lost.

That afternoon, I decided to put the morning’s event in a box and I stowed it away. Our emotions are very powerful. A person gripped with anger and grief can easily twist a story into something as ugly as what they are feeling. I realized that everytime I replayed the words that I heard that morning, it burned a different emotion which I recognized could easily turn from defense to anger. I just wanted to forget it so I put it in a box. I could always choose to open the box again but at this point, it won’t do any good. I hope someday that girl in the cafe and I could both open the box and laugh at how ridiculous it was.

I know it would take some time for her to heal. I’m not expecting a reconciliation very soon but I’m not losing hope. For now, it’s enough that I found out her reasons. I hope someday she will realize that I never betrayed her.

We could always choose to revisit a painful memory, replay it over and over until it gets uglier than it really is or choose to put them in a box and stow it away.

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is how to silence the mind.” – Caroline Myss

Snippets of Random Realizations

Inspiring thoughts and ideas come to me at the most unexpected times and these are one of those things that I just had to write about.

Just be happy being here. It’s more than enough.

-watching the finale of SYTYCD S09, it made me realize how happy the finalist were at being finalist and how they say it’s more than enough for them to be there, that whether they win or lose it wouldn’t matter. And it made me realize that maybe that’s how we should approach life. Just be happy about being alive and being where you are right now. Happiness is not a destination. Contentment has always been something people struggle to achieve but I guess when you realize how blessed you are at the moment, you’ll never focus on what’s missing.

Our fear of commitment stems from our fear of failure.

– I haven’t been training seriously for a little while now. Ever since I learned that Camsur Marathon was cancelled, I dropped my program and ran only when I felt like doing it. I didn’t push myself to run any required distance nor run at a defined pace or heart rate. After reading about the TBR alumni 21k group run, I knew that there was no way I was not going to run it. I got excited but then my heart sank when I realized that it was really a 21k. Easy run or not, a 21k is still a 21k. I lacked mileage and I only had 2 months to fill the gap before the race. To add more to the pressure, I was going to run it with my sisters. Even with lack of training, they can still outrun  me at any given time. They were talented while I keep pace with them only because I train harder than they do.

I couldn’t help feeling dreadful while my mind was busy calculating and plotting my program to at least finish the 21km uninjured. That’s when I realized that I was dreading a training program because I was afraid to fail. The last time I trained my ass off, the training period was often times frustrating and stressful. However, I did reap the benefits of following it as religiously as  I could. I finished my comeback race on target. I guess I was more concerned about going through the frustration and stress all over again. More than that, I was trying to escape the commitment to training because I was afraid of failing.

Sometimes, our fears keep us from achieving the things that we are really capable of. To move out of that fear zone, we must believe that we are capable. Besides, we only fail when we refuse to try.