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…😁)

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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

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

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.

Faithfulness 

My life so far has led me on this path of becoming an art therapist. Over the last week, I was in a workshop series learning about anthroposophic art therapy (color therapy), organ archetypes, fairytales, inner development and life. I never knew art therapy had distinctions and was therefore surprised to know it is so. As the group would say, only when you’re ready.

This therapy in particular focused on your inner development. Much like coaching, there’s a process of where are you stuck and how can we get you unstuck. The focus is also on just creating movement; not on reaching the final goal by the end of the sessions but just on getting you moving once again. And so you create a piece of art true to your present self and then you recreate it to the best of your ability to mirror a healthier human person.

And therefore the requirement is to know what a healthy human being looks like in colors before you even try looking at if others are healthy. How do you learn this? You’ll have to start with yourself.

Of course my reaction was “Oh, wow.” It was consoling therefore when I got home and started researching about anthroposophic art therapy courses and found out that age requirement is 28. Well that means I have roughly 3 years to get myself ready. Hmm…that’s so much time to just be lazy…
Yeah I’m really lazy…but then again, there is so much I have to learn first before I start studying art therapy. Faithfulness to my calling is very much needed throughout this process. There is work to be done. I guess for this one, I’ll remember the fairytale about Jorinda and Joringel. Joringel travelled far but kept circling around the castle that held that which he longed for…maybe to remind himself to stay faithful to his higher ideals even as he needs to pass the time away and take care of sheep.

The next question then is…so where’s my sheep? 🐑

Introduction to Art Therapy

I attended an Introduction to Art Therapy talk last night. Although feeling a bit tired coming from work and due to lack of sleep, I managed to stay awake, listen and take note of what the speaker was saying. Yay!

The speaker was Iris Sullivan, an art therapist who studied under Lianne Collot. I remember her saying how she was in her early 20’s when she decided to pursue art therapy and only got to really living out that dream 14 years later. Still lots of time for me — yay again!

She taught us quite a lot of things and having very little background on the work of Steiner and on Waldorf education, it was hard to grasp everything she’s saying. At this moment, I’m still trying to make sense of what I learned from last night, re-writing my notes and talking to my sister and boyfriend about it. It’s just the first night anyway and the actual experience starts tomorrow. Hopefully, things will start getting clearer once we get deeper into the practice.

Some insights about today:

I liked the explanation about the meaning of the colors blue and red. Blue is for reflection, red is for taking action. Blue is for encapsulating ideas, red is for limitless discovering. Blue is for thinking, red is for moving, willing.

The way I understood it is what we want is to strike the balance between the two colors. To calm the restlessness of red, to wake up the sleepiness of blue. To spend some time moving and acting, then spend time reflecting and evaluating.

I do not know how to end this post since I’m really just writing down my scattered thoughts so that I accomplish my little goal of posting something each day. Time to sleep!