Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Writing a World

Let the words flow like river.
Allow its string to sway you away.
Dig deep in your heart,
and move your hands
along the waves 
of your emotions.

Create a mellifluous music.
Make your phrases dance
with the beat
and rhythm of your mind.
Let it take you to a world
of comfort and freedom.

Trace with the thousand stars.
Write your heart out on the vast skies.
Light up the night with clauses 
which can lift up the desperate souls
and appease the worried ones. 

Beautify life with sentences.
Breathe in to your words,
bring your phrases to life,
hear your clauses' heart beat.
Write, and change the world.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Last Saturday (Feb. 22), I came home with a DVD player entitled Francis and Clare, and with the news that I passed the sisterhood exams in St. Joseph's College. Sr. Susan, the sfic vocational directress, told me to watch the movie and decide if I would enter the convent.

I saw the movie just a while ago. St. Francis and St. Clare were deeply inspiring. They were both madly in love with Jesus that they left everything they had, and offered themselves to Him; St. Francis became a friar, and St. Clare, a nun. I was moved - moved enough to cry and ask myself things about me and God.  

I can't remember exactly the first time I learned about God.

I was too little then. Perhaps, I first thought of Him as Someone I should really know to pass the Religion subject. I do remember myself studying the proper way of doing the sign of the cross and memorizing prayers. And yes, I even tried reading the Bible just for the sake of reading it.

I, as well, cannot remember exactly how I fell in love with this God . . . and fell out of love of Him . . . then back again. 

Clearly, it was during highschool when I first claimed my love for God. I was willing to introduce this God to people and to do everything I knew He wanted me to. I did my best to be kind and faithful despite and in spite of everything. Within me was a burning desire to offer myself to Him. In return, I saw how God favored me. He made me trust Him by answering almost all my prayers. He made me feel His love by giving me the best things in the world . . . until I got to college.

I fell out of love with God during college. Everything turned simply the opposite of my highschool life; things did not go as I planned. My life then was a bad mixture of seemed-to-be-unending stress, heaps of problems, and well, some tinge of confusion. I was outstretching my arms out to God, but felt like He wasn't there for me any longer. T'was like a thick cloud was hindering my prayers from reaching heaven. I changed . . . a lot - not only in terms of faith but also in will and character. I hated myself. I knew I wasn't becoming the person I wanted to be.

But it didn't stop there, thankfully. One day, everything suddenly fell back into place. T'was like I banged my head on the wall - I woke up, hurt, but this time, felt better. I never thought that falling out of love of God would make me learn how to truly love Him. I realized that I've never really loved God in highschool - not as sincerely as I should have been. There was this hidden selfishness in me. I realized I wasn't mature enough to really know what "loving God" was. I reckon, I was just in love with the idea of me loving God, and not really doing the act of loving God Himself. 

I realized that such kind of love was the hardest thing to do, and the best yet most difficult way to achieve it is to have that sense of "nothingness". Mother Teresa said that for God to fill You in, you need to empty yourself first. I remember, I prayed for that nothingness before I entered college. I prayed to feel it because I wanted to grow in faith. I realized, God granted it. 

Now, there left the question, "Should I push through with sisterhood?" Maybe not now. Not now that I just learned how to truly love God. There's still too much to learn in the outside world. Maybe not now. Not now that He seems to be calling me for another vocation, and my family apparently needs my help. Maybe not now. Not now that I know I can still serve God without leaving my loved ones behind. Maybe not now. Maybe. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

How to Control Your Temper

It is never right to burst in anger. We don't know where it can bring us. Perhaps, we don't want to go around regretting what we've said and done. However, no matter how we avoid people or things which seem to potentially push us to our limits, getting angry is still inevitable. We, humans, are emotional beings. We cannot stop other people, even those who love us and whom we loved, to hurt us in any way. I, therefore, formulated simple ways on how I could control my temper whenever something or someone puts me to rage: pursed lip breathing, clearing my mind, and praying.

Whenever stressed, our body responds by increasing almost everything in our system - heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar level. Sometimes, if the stress is moderate to severe, we can feel our heart palpitating, head getting heavy, and our fingers cold and trembling. Even our ability to concentrate can break loose. The same happens to our body whenever we're angry. One way to counter this is to do pursed lip breathing. This is done by inhaling deeply through the nose and exhaling with a pursed lip. Experts say that this is effective for relaxing the system and increasing blood flow in the brain. I've done this several times, and it helped me relieve my anger a bit.

Along with the pursed lip breathing, I also clear my mind to control my temper. Just like in meditation, our goal here is to refresh the mind by shaking off everything it contains. Whenever I do this, I close my eyes and relax my body as if trying to fall asleep. Clearing the mind can help take away negativity and anger.

After doing the first two ways, I put my hands together and pray. I ask God for forgiveness and enlightenment. The challenging part here is when guilt kicks in - pride gets hurt. However, when this difficult part is surpassed, controlling the temper becomes a success.

So far, these three ways - pursed lip breathing, clearing one's mind and praying - have already saved me a lot of times from sleepless nights of worry, guilt and regret. Mitch Albom said, ". . . But hatred is a curved blade . . . and the harm we do to others . . . we also do to ourselves." Remember that anger, when not controlled, can lead to hatred. Hatred brings wrath. Wrath can cause insanity.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dear Lord

Dear Lord,

My teachers in Coursera told us to write a gratitude letter to a person whom we have never properly thanked. And I thought, it had to be You.

I'd like to start this gratitude letter with a big big SORRY. I am so sorry, Lord, for I've not been grateful enough. I know You have loved me and is still loving me unto the depths of me. I know, as well, that You've given me all You thought I needed. However, I've never been amply thankful for any of that. All I chose to see was darkness. I've been too perfectionist over my life when I've also been well aware that there's no such thing as 'perfect' life. I want to sincerely say sorry, Lord.

Writing this gratitude letter makes me realize that my life isn't an empty bowl. Actually, it is an overflowing one. You've filled it and still pouring in it gallons of nourishing water. I was expecting for something else. I forgot that Your blood and water is more than enough to keep me alive. I forgot that Your love alone should suffice.

You are in everything, Lord. I can feel You through the sweet refreshing breeze of the morning. I can see You in those calm and brightest rays of the sun. I can smell You in the fragrance of fresh flowers, water and leaves, all combined together. I can touch You by grazing upon the cheek of my loved one. I am surrounded by Your love and beauty, Lord, without me realizing it.

Thank You, Lord. I know that it is You who help us find food to eat and water to drink each day. It is You who shield our shelter from violent earthquakes and heavy rain. You, who protect my loved ones whenever I'm not around to save them. You, who find us money to buy shoes to cover our feet and clothes to warm our body. It is You, and nothing but You, the Great Provider.

You are there for me whenever I thought You're not. I had the most difficult times. My faith came to a point of failing. I even thought You forgot about me. I thought I've become too much of a sinner to lose Your favor. But in the end, I realized that I was completely wrong. You were there, You've been there, and You'll always be there for me. That all I needed was for my eyes to see and my heart to feel that You've been a faithful lover. That there must be the hard times for love to grow.

You are there in my success, happiness and dreams. You lift me in victory, laugh with me, and daydream with me. I forgot how You would love to see me smile, and to hear me speak of beautiful things. I forgot how You would love to put sparkle on my eyes and fill my heart with deep gladness. Thank You, Lord. I am very grateful; no other words could suffice.

Lord, I am genuinely thankful, most especially, for my family, relatives and friends. Truly, Your love is personified in each of them. Living wouldn't be more meaningful without such a great company. I thank You, Lord, for I am surrounded with loving people; for I am cared for; for I am helped in times of need; for I am comforted in times of grief; for I am directed whenever I am lost, and; for I am forgiven whenever I am at fault.

I don't know how to end this letter, Lord. There's just too many things to be thankful for. Was I able to properly thank You? Your goodness is endless...and (aha!) so is this letter...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Can't get yourself to work? Inspire yourself first.

Have you ever felt empty at work? Are you waking up in the morning just because you have to? You know well that you're the one who chose where you are now. More so, you're fully aware that you are to blame if you're already feeling bad at work.

I think, we all have the "bad days." And one possible reason for that is we're not inspired all the time. Whether we love our job or not, it's just that inspiration seems to drain itself like water in a glass with tiny holes. So what are we gonna do? Fill it again. Let's inspire ourselves.

Questions is . . . what inspires you? One good thing I realized about inspiration is that you can get it anywhere. It may be in the form of your favorite song, or of a soothing classical music. You may find it in that picture of your friends or family which you slipped in your wallet. Or maybe, it's in your old notebook - that beautiful piece you wrote when you were in fourth grade. Try to talk to your sibling or trusted friend, and you might get inspiration from the words they're gonna say. If you're studying medicine, you might want to watch an episode of House since Dr. House used to inspire you to become a physician.

Now, let me share to you where I get my inspiration. The problem with me is that the holes of my glass are too large that I empty myself with inspiration easily. In that case, I cannot always bother my loved ones to help bring me back to that game mode. Therefore, I am often provoked to find that inspiration on my own. So here's quite a list of my sources of inspiration. Knowing mine might do some help to you too. It's gonna be great to have the same list as you!   

Sun rays Through Clouds
For me, such sight is holy. What I love about traveling in the morning is having the chance of beholding the vast clear sky. And I don't know why, but whenever I see the sun rays passing through clouds, I feel like Someone's gonna descend from heaven. And I just can't take my eyes of it each time. Merely looking at such view can (abnormally) make me feel at peace.

Self-Help Books
I can't remember where I learned this, but I've been applying this self-help-book-first-thing-in-the-morning rule for 2 years now. A motivational writer said that one way to start your day right is to read an inspirational book or passage. Feed your mind with good words, and good things will come to you. 

What I do is I read a page or more of a certain self-help book each morning. Once I finish it, I put on another book which is again, assigned to be read solely every morning.

Quotable quotes

I think this is effective for most of us, especially today that heaps of quotable quotes are very searchable. One inspirational author said that if you can, post on your wall or anywhere noticeable the quotes or lines that inspire you. This can help you build optimism. I actually tried this once. I pulled out a clean paper, wrote the line, "God promises that good things will come to you" on it, then pasted it on the wall atop of my desk. Now, whenever I see that paper, I remember holding on to God's promise and I start forgetting all my worries.
I also regularly search for quotes on the internet and copy-paste some of them in a folder in my computer. I bet some people do the same thing too. 

Pen and Paper

I love writing. And just like all others out there who love this craft, I do experience writer's block. Nevertheless, what inspires me to stay on my chair and provoke the muse, are the pictures of fountain pens and old notebooks/papers in the internet. When I was still a kid, I was contented looking at the empty pages of notebooks in the market. I felt like I can fill them all in with my writings and drawings. Now that I'm older, it shouldn't just be an ordinary pen but a fountain pen, and the paper must either be from Moleskine or Papemelroti (Just kidding. Hihi.) I actually feel free with just holding a pen or putting my fingers on the keyboard. 

Praying the Rosary

I admit that I seldom pray the rosary. Why say a long prayer when you can utter a short sincere one? However, each time I find that willingness to pray the rosary, and start it...then finish it, I feel my heart bursting with hope and inspiration. Indeed, there is always this strange enlightenment which only praying the rosary can bring.

Aside from the 'rosary' itself, I also find reciting the 'Chaplet of the Divine Mercy' with the same effect. It is the prayer which is said to be taught to Sr. Faustina by Jesus Christ himself. To pray it, you can use the beads of your rosary too. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How did you know?

I can see it in your eyes. That part of you which is far different from what you're showing. Your eyes tell me everything - your feelings, your thoughts, your secrets, your desires...your soul. They cannot lie, they cannot hide. It's in your eyes that I can see the real you because they always show what's inside you.

I don't have to see how you cried last night. Your eyes are puffy, dried and tired.

I don't have to hear how angry you are now. Your eyes look defensive and strong yet numb.

Whenever you're smiling, I can say that it's genuine if your eyes are curved and sparkling. Otherwise, it's either you're just too tired or faking.

Your eyes widen when you're surprised or shocked or excited. Along with this, your wrinkled brow would tell that it's a bad news.

You're guilty of trying to hide something whenever your eyes are evasive. Either it's about something wrong you've done or something you think is wrong about you.

Your eyes always beg to be understood.  They heed for acceptance. Your eyes say that there's something painful and rueful about your past, and that it's better to leave it unsaid. I can see it in the deepest color of your eyes.

Other than the observable, my eyes themselves connect with yours to understand everything else about you.

How did I know? I can see it all in your eyes. I bet you can see it all in mine too. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Wanna Pig Out, But I Can't.

I wanna pig out, but I can't. It's difficult to live in destitution (I'm referring to all types, I guess) and crave for mounds of food at the same time. I actually find it hard to sleep every night because each time I close my eyes, salivating images of pizza, burger, chocolates, sushi and a lot more penetrate my mind. (Alright, that's quite an exaggeration. But real or not, haven't you, yourself, experienced a craving akin to that in your whole life?) So to put somewhat an end to my voracious thoughts, here I am, making a list of foods which I swear to eat once my lucky wealthy days come. That'll come, of course. I declare it. So here my list goes:

Lugawan sa Herran
I'll never forget the first time I chanced to eat the flavorful special goto in Lugawan sa Herran.
I learned about the humble legendary eatery when I was in highschool. I don't know if it already gave birth to branches, but that one I visited was in San Andres, Manila. I think their goto was the best I've ever tasted. With the first sip or bite or however you want to start it, you'll surely be surprised by the rice's dense flavor produced by the well-tempered blend of meat and condiments. Combine it with a hard-boiled egg and some pig or chicken parts, and certainly, you'll find yourself craving for more (like me)!

Lots a Pizza

You might have already heard about, or seen Lots a Pizza in several places. It's so far the cheapest, but definitely worth-more-than-the-price pizza I've ever chowed down. And they come in different sizes and toppings! Fortunately, as it can be read on the image above, you can avail two large boxes plus 1.5 L of Coke for only P299 and P399, depending on the type of pizza you want! I personally don't have a particular favorite because based off of my experience, almost all their flavors can render satisfying bite.

I'm really not a fan of Korean gourmet, but this one has, indeed, delighted my taste buds. Specifically, I've learned to love the Ramyeon of Seoul Express located at the Fort. I've actually tasted other Ramyeons, but none save this, got me craving for more. I wish I got a picture of that mouthwatering (and I guess, nose-watering too) noodles so I can post it here, but I think that that hearty evening meal made me forget everything else in the world. The seafood, noodles and all other ingredients (which I'm not that familiar with) in it plus the punch of spice made this Korean noodles perfectly palatable!

McChicken Burger

I believe I've already tried all types of burger in McDonald's when I was in college. But among these, I personally declare McChicken as the best and I think, the healthiest too. For me, its mere smell is appetizing (but for others, it's a bit the other way around). And it's quite given that Mcdo's chicken is a far-out, so putting it in a bun plus lettuce and mayonnaise makes the whole burger more than a far-out.

Big 'n Tasty Burger
Big 'n Tasty Burger is, for me, Mcdo's second best and, as it appears, second to the healthiest too. What I love most about this burger is that it's stuffed with vegetables. The veggies put a crunch in every bite, and help neutralize the overwhelming cheese and rich meaty flavor of the patty. In relation to that, I could say that this burger is generally balanced in terms of nutrition compared to other burgers. Really, what's spending a hundred for such a "big" and "tasty" burger as this? I should ask that to myself, isn't it.

Chicken Joy with Jolly Spaghetti
Gosh. I know this looks like any other ordinary for-birthday-bash, or easy to cook, home-made foods, but we, Filipinos, know that Jollibee has a way of making chicken and spaghetti super extra special. You know, I just can't stop thinking about that crispy-licious, juicy-licious chicken dunked in that gravy, and of that lip biting, luscious, (always) well-cooked pasta. Got a tagline for this: Once tasted, always wanted! I can eat 3 orders of that at maximum if my purse and stomach would allow it.

Saisaki's California Maki
I don't know what's with Saisaki's California Maki, but I personally think that it stands above other california makis I've tasted. I've actually been to a lot of sushi stores (well, not that "a lot"), so I got quite a chance to compare it. Maki is specifically my favorite sushi. I enjoy the unique blend of mango, rice, crab stick, nori and the measly orange eggs, all huddled together, then dipped into kikkoman with calamansi. But the moment I took one whole chunk of Saisaki's california maki into my mouth, my eyes widened and some crazy heavenly music played to my ear. I feel like there's something special in it which is not present in other makis.

Hershey's Cookies and Cream
Of course, I've also been thinking about my dessert. I actually love white chocolates more than brown or dark chocolates. Milk and sugar formed into a bar seems to be way too satisfying for me. However, Hershey's Cookies and Cream has always always blow me away. I like the idea of having the sweet cream overpowering the itsy bitsy tinnie winnie yet numerous cookies. Just a little square of it can make me really happy!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

It's been calling me since I was a kid.
That Voice, I surely won't forget.
It resonates in me everytime It speaks.
It echoes the desires of my heart.
It brightens up my world.
That Voice, which I heard one holy night.
It used to bring me in ecstasy.
Now, It pierces me in the heart.

I once was decided to bring it on until the end.
I planned to follow that Voice.
I dreamed of prostrating myself in front of the altar,
and of wearing that ring of infinity.
I imagined myself in a habit,
and holding my rosary near to my heart.
I was determined to give it all up,
just to follow that Voice
which I heard one holy night.

However, one day, the heavens suddenly changed;
the sun went to sleep,
and the sky turned red and gray.
T'was not a bad sunset, nonetheless.
My world topsy-turvied,
and the Voice seemed to change itself
to something a lot more real
and equally wonderful.

I never thought that something impossible
could ever be this concrete and possible.
My thick wall got penetrated,
and my heart was enfettered.
Everything drastically changed
beautifully yet with more difficulty.
I more than enjoyed his company.
And essentially, I felt that life could go on
even with him, only.

After this, there came the storm.
I got no shade; I got nowhere to go.
I was all wet, cold and undecided.
I ran as fast as I could until I knew I had to face it.
From the dark sky, roared a thunder.
That same Voice shook the ground, asking
"Which to choose, and which to give up?
Where to go, and what to leave?"

I sat down and pressed my legs against my chest.
There I was, amid the cold heavy rain, lost in reverie.
There I was, stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Which calling should I respond to,
a vocational life, entirely offered to God
or a life with someone I love with the love of God?