Gratitude

‚ÄčI closed this year’s series of learning sessions by doing a review of things we are grateful for. As much as was possible for such faulty memories, everyone did their best to recount at least one thing they were grateful for per month of the past year. Some already struggled just reviewing November. By June, it was pretty hard for most to be specific in what they are grateful for. 

How important is it to be grateful? There were times this year when we were so quick to bring down those who tried to shine a bit of light in the darkness of our world. For what is there to be happy about when humanity seems to be nearing its destruction? 

Life appears to me right now as a dance between light and dark…with each dancer pouring meaning into the existence of the other. Both are equally important in completing the dance and perhaps only with great humility will we understand…

Hurry

When you find yourself in a bit of hurry

Ask yourself, “Why all the worry?”

Life often likes to take its time

Even enjoys playing games with your mind 

There will be mornings when you wake up

Feeling hollow inside like an empty cup 

Yet life is a friend looking out for you

Asking only for you to be true

Speak Up

All of them, they had something to say. Look around! There are people dying! Who will speak for them? Who will protect them? Look at what you’ve done! Why is our world this way?

Yes, we are all concerned about the people around us…but are we really concerned about them or are we all just concerned about the implications that recent events have on us and our own safety? ‘Cause while people are being killed, what I hear are statements like “So anyone can just shout  and point that I’m a criminal and then I’ll get gunned down?” and “If worse comes to worst, I’ll leave.”

Don’t serve people when you’re not ready for it. They never asked you to do so anyway. 

The fight was never about building a bright future for yourself. The fight is here and now. And it calls for you to love in ways greater than you’ll ever know. 

The Finality of Goodbye

I remember a spiritual director of mine talking to me about why people always leave. I was hurting back then because people that were dear to me were slowly moving away from me. he explained to me that in the journey of life, we get different companions along the way…companions that bring with them experiences, growth, stories, memories. 

The moment when people move away is the moment when we reach those bends in the road. We all have our own destinations and each must go down their own way.

That moment when goodbye happens is a moment that allows us to reflect on how much we valued our journey with another person. When our roads take on different turns, it’s time for new chapters in each one’s lives to start.

Yet these days…is there really a finality in goodbye? I saw an article as I was browsing through my news feed and the caption described it as an interview with a truly rich lady who does not spend her life online. 

I’ve always considered getting off social media which has been a great hindrance to my doing more meaningful things. And so I find myself thinking about the reasons why I am still browsing through that feed. 

Often, I browse whenever I am not doing anything. Sometimes, I am curious about some person I know. Or maybe I just wanted to take a peek at what is happening. Some other person’s story. Another person’s discovery. I wanted to be connected to others in some way or another.
And maybe that’s the reason why I’m having difficulty with connecting with myself lately.

In my desire to know another, I lose time for knowing my self. What makes it worse is that the other which I am trying to encounter is nothing but a memory captured in a social media posting.

(I end my night’s musings here. I have no idea where they’ll bring me if I don’t stop and it’s almost time to go home…ūüėĀ)

Prompt: Everything Changes

Prompt: Everything Changes
Back in high school, our school required us to memorize this:
 
“The Seven Environmental Principles”
 
1. Nature knows best
 
2. All forms of life are important
 
3. Everything is connected to everything else
 
4. Everything changes
 
5. Everything must go somewhere
 
6. Ours is a finite earth
 
7. Nature is beautiful and we are stewards of God’s creation
 
I remember how it was so drilled into everyone’s heads that when asked about it, people would mindlessly, robotically, recite all of it without giving them much thought anymore. I found these principles interesting though especially since, compared to them, I only went through 4 years of repeatedly reciting all 7 since I came from a different elementary school (others went through 11 years and maybe even more of reciting these lines).
As I was browsing through random posts on the web, I remembered about this list. And I took a bit of time to review them and reflect on them in the context of what is happening in our world.
The year 2016 is basically considered the worst year ever. With all that is happening. Yet the principles outline for me the reason why I still wake up everyday and do my best.
Nature knows best. And nature for me is the physical representation of God. God knows best. Despite all the evil forces at work, if we really believe in God, we choose to believe that hope is still there out there somewhere.
All forms of life are important. Whether classified as good or bad, people are all important. Animals are all important. Plants are all important. Each has their purpose to fulfill. Whatever that purpose is…who knows?
Everything is connected to everything else. Our present is happening on a set-up made of¬†past decisions, while the stage for tomorrow is being prepared in the present. Each choice we make creates a twist in the story and that’s what makes the present so powerful.
Everything changes. And so we have to continue being open. Forever is made up of choices made each and every day. There is hope in that there is always an option to change for the better. And we find humility in knowing that mistakes and failures can also happen anytime.
 Each of our decisions will always lead to something. Whether it is something good or something bad, no one really knows. The most we can do is to be mindful and open to whatever happens.
Ours is a finite earth. As much as we can, it is important to only take what we need and not go beyond that. The curbing of our appetites seems to be most difficult to manage and it is contributing to the greed that is poisoning the world today.
Nature is beautiful and we are stewards of God’s creation. All of us are created beautiful and we are all responsible for taking care of ourselves. To keep not just the world but also our inner selves free of¬†“pollutants”. We always start with tending our own gardens.

Genuine Humility

Genuine Humility

In OneCORE, our 8th principle is:

“Genuine humility creates personal success.”

In the past, I explained it as just one’s realization that one’s success is not meant to be compared to others. And so to be genuinely humble is to focus on one’s personal process and not go bragging to others about it.

The meaning of that principle was not that clear to me back then. I always felt confused about how to explain it and after many attempts to do so, there was this nagging thought that my explanation was not enough. For you can never fully teach what you have not fully learned. Genuine humility sounded good to me but I was yet to fully understand what genuine humility really is.

To be genuinely humble is to be completely open: all forgiving, all loving, all accepting, no judgement, no raging desire to be in control. I woke up one day to the realization that I was not being affected so much and that I was being more understanding. At first, I felt uncomfortable about it, thinking that this was me being anti-social, I have to be more involved in what is happening, maybe I should rant out my frustrations as well…but at the same time, there was this soft, fluffy feeling of being at peace. Even if my friends are going on about their frustrations, I can laugh to myself and not be worried, knowing that they will find their way through them even without my unsolicited advice. Of course I will be there when they need me but I have somehow loosened my need to give my reactions.

To be genuinely humble is to be open to the possibility of not knowing. I have met a lot of people craving for answers to big questions — questions that I once have asked as well and have found answers to. Yet I choose to breathe out that desire to blab about my answer and allow others to find their own answers. As a workshop facilitator, I do need to share my answers as well but I also leave my students with a stream of things to ponder on for, as one of my favorite teachers said, the answer may be different tomorrow. Thinking about it, it really is hard to write things down for by tomorrow, these thoughts can just change altogether!

Yet we still share what we have for to be genuinely humble is to not be selfish of what is given to us as well. For all grace is meant to be shared and it is with humility that we allow ourselves to be vessels by which He can touch lives. Doing God’s work is an act of genuine humility in itself for to let your life be in control of One who is Greater than you…is definitely frustrating. All the waiting, all the “in God’s time”…

But then, only with genuine humility will we find that sense of inner peace…

I am still in the process of learning to be¬†genuinely humble. And I have yet to discover that lasting inner peace. I am on my way and I am¬†grateful…

Forgiveness and Compassion

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Hanggang saan dapat tayo magpatawad? 

I remember a story shared by our workshop facilitator about someone who experienced having his entire family killed in front of him. He was left alive and forced to be the interpreter for them who killed. It was so easy for him to be hateful and to be vengeful but he knew how hate can be so destructive. So he chose to love and be compassionate…to look for the human in the eyes even of those who bring suffering to others.

Hate creates more hate. It was hate that brought the problems in the first place. Now it is hate that is addressing the problems now. And then it is again with hate that we respond to the hatred that we see. No wonder the cycle never ends.

So, are we willing to love? Compassion for the other does not just need to happen with our police being compassionate with those involved in drugs. We cannot be selective with our compassion. Compassion has to start with us and how we address ourselves when we need compassion most. And then it is when people come along to bring out the hatred lurking inside ourselves and we are asked to heal ourselves by replacing that hatred with love. Only when we are successful with this can we see things change…not exactly in the entire world but at least where we are and where we have been.

To love a person and not condemn them by their actions. There is no one to blame in the greater picture, yet there’s so many who need to love and be loved.