Showing posts from December, 2010

The First Day of My Christmas Holiday

I have been unexpectedly quiet these past few days.  I'm not sure if I have fully absorbed that I am actually in Cebu already, my hometown, and supposedly rekindling the warm and fuzzy feeling of the holiday cheer and family ties.  I was abruptly interrupted with all the holiday musings when upon our arrival the first order of discussion was the family's succession plan.  Our forebears have bequeathed a huge legacy to us through an educational institution  standing 80 years old.  Some of my relatives work in the place.  Some of my cousins grew up studying there.  But amidst it all is a wounded relationship of ties that keep the organization's core from moving forward.  
Oh how I would love to write the saga of our family!  Perhaps even try to make sense of it by uncovering all the stories intertwined in knots hidden from common revelation.  But I can't.  The story isn't finished and I do not think that without a happy and illuminated ending will fulfill me in the wr…

Making Lemonades

There's more to my heart than just romance.  
I've typed this sentence 3 times.  In a chat window while talking to Adi this nightmorn.  In my Facebook status and in my Twitter.  I did that because I want to express to everyone I meet and who asks me "am I single?"  or "why aren't you married yet?"  or "how's your love life, dare I ask?"  that something changes when you've had almost 10 relationships gone awry.  When 3 cheated on you.  1 you cheated on.  And 2 where physically violent. And 1 died.  
When something in your life never gets calibrated right, you should stop.  I did.  Well, I didn't stop completely but I changed.  I used to think that having  a love life was the "end goal".  I just wanted to leave home, settle down, have kids and grow old with someone.  But that has not been the case.  Life threw me lemons.  And against the expectations of more than half of the people in my life (all of whom thought I'd ende…

Sonya's Garden Revisted

Taking photographs of the flowers and the surroundings of Sonya's Garden has always been delightful for me.  I love the rustic landscape which very much looks like an English garden.  I wanted to take more photos but I didn't want people to wait for me while I did so.  Maybe one day, I will go back there by myself and take all the photos I want.  

The iPhone and my Creative Life

Yesterday's visit to the hills of Tagaytay was lovely except for one minor thing.  I lost my phone. Yes, I lost my phone somewhere between the visit to Pink Sisters, a stop over in 7-11 to get 5 bags of Cheetos and driving off to visit Sonya's garden to admire the flowers.  I don't even remember what happened.  But to my mind, the phone was just in the car waiting for me to attach it to the auxiliary cable so I can play music on the way.  
But I lost it.  And I love my phone.  And I had to let go of some of my savings last night just to replace it because the phone has helped me keep in touch with my writer/creative self.  It takes the little snapshots I sometimes post here but most of the time in my Tumblr page because I just like chronicling my day with images when I don't have words.  It allows me to check updates of my friends' lives in Facebook.  It keeps me in touch with my bestfriend in Singapore and in London.
Whoever took it, I hope they see the kind of life…

Ticking Time and Thoughts While Waiting

I'm enjoying Heather King's latest posts today.  It's gotten me to an introspective rhythm despite this morning's firefighting issues over distressed employees and their motivation.  She writes to passionately about her views on life and her faith.  She writes courageously without a tinge of arrogance.  She writes honestly unashamed of the rough edges that need smoothening of her own person.  
I like it when people admit that they have rough edges.  Sometimes we ignore the realities of the situation and just act all smoothened up and together.  It does not help those who find themselves struggling and can't keep their heart inside their chest.  I think this amount of pure honesty is healthy.  It forces me to look at the truth about human nature and see it's misery in the eyes of God.  Surely, misery of that intensity does not go unnoticed.
In a few minutes, I will be stepping out of the office and drive towards the hills of Tagaytay.  It's almost like a much …

Toffee Nut Latte Joys

I managed to make a quick stop at Starbucks and have my favorite Toffee Nut Latte.  It's the first cup I've had this Christmas season.  I used to have more but I haven't found the time.  Actually, the only reason why I suddenly decided to stop for coffee is because I do not have change to spare and pay 7 pesos ($0.15) for the toll fee to exit the highway and enter Southwoods.  Yes, I'm lame.  I forget to get some change from my piggy bank this morning.  But, I think it's a perfect excuse.  
There are two Starbucks Cafe's that I usually pass by on the way to work driving down SLEX.  One is in Shell Gas Station and the other is just a few kilometer or 2 away in Petron Gas Station.  I usually drive up to Petron because it is bigger and nearer my exit.  But this morning, I decided to drive by Shell because last time I had wanted to get me a cup of coffee, the traffic in the Petron branch was horrible.
Fortunately enough, Shell's Starbucks had more car room and I …


Katherine's words feel like feathers.  Her blog is at evlogiaonline.  Reading her posts make me feel like I'm too noisy.  Like I'm a cluttered mind next to hers.  But her room online has caught me thinking about my own thoughts just before Christmas.  I haven't really been able to think.  Work takes up intellectual space again.  
But today I am looking forward to going up to the mountains and visiting Sonya's Garden.  My staff has asked me to take them there today and pass by a church on the way.  Our year end celebration.  Reconditioning.  
I'd like today to be a good and reflective day please.

Creating Circumstances

I'm in the hospital visiting Mom for her 5th chemotherapy cycle.  She has been here for 2 days because she had to undergo a blood transfusion yesterday before the chemotherapy drugs can be infused.  I spent yesterday in the office to hopefully ignite some of my staff to undergo a creative revolution by planning out our training video for the company's history.  I didn't get much input or enthusiasm.  Apparently they are not used to having their ideas roam free in a creative setting.  I was a little disappointed.  I spent 2 days working on the video script and they are not able to pick it up from there.  
I realized that I work better when I am surrounded by people who have a high level of energy and creativity.  Right now, the setting at work isn't quite so.  But I'm not about to be discouraged.  I ran into a status message in Facebook yesterday from one of my staff saying,  People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circu…

Jesus Hold Me Now

I'm listening to Casting Crowns' new album and found this song lifting up my spirits this morning.  Incidentally I found myself in the album of The Feast Alabang, a prayer gathering held last Sunday at the Festival mall.  That was the first time I joined the gathering after a long time of planning to go.  Last Sunday was an act of desperation.  An act of seeking.  An act of hunger.  An act of surrender.  

Blend and Blur

At 6:30am this morning the sky was still dark and I was soothed with the cloudiness of it all.  It felt like I can hide in my room forever.  Then the soft rain poured.  
I grabbed my camera and just started taking blurred pictures, a habit I have acquired when I don't really know what to capture and when I don't really know what to say.
But I like how the colors blend in the blur.  It tells me that even in hazy moments and when all that is vague seems troublesome, sense can be found in the circumstance.

Unsung Heroes

Right now, there isn't much to say.  Today was long and the time passed very slowly.  My mind was wrapped around a tight knot and the migraines pulsated like it was never going to end.  I don't know what to say because there's just too much to say and I'm trying to figure myself out.  
So here I am despite the difficulties for the past few days.  The constant and fluctuating directions which keeps me on my toes.  The emotions of a worn out soldier having just finished the day's battle.  Looking forward to the solace of a bed.
I'm talking cryptic and I usually do that when I do not know what to say about something I want to talk about.  
Life is hard.  Leaders make the toughest decisions.  And we endure moments that leave us as unsung heroes.
I walked around the parking lot towards the end of the day and told myself, "I have to find it in me to be grateful about some moments.  I have to."

Somewhere In The Middle

Today was about carefully treading through sacred spaces.  I would say that I haven't been consistently in touch with my prayer life as much as I used to over the past 3 months because there was that point wherein I thought, I was praying too much.  It made me start bordering on self-righteousness and I realized that it started to frustrate me.  Shouldn't prayer be a peaceful moment or at the very least a moment that makes you find some sort of illumination from the divine?  
I'm trying to talk about faith in layman's terms because I have this tendency to dig in too deep and I just get lost in it.  Sometimes I think I escape into spiritual matters because I cannot deal with the things I see in the world.  And that's supposed to be a good thing right?  Until you find yourself walking into an abyss that you sort of don't understand.  I remember one of the things I was told that when God pulls you out into the deep, you start to not see things and everything gets v…

With New Eyes

Clicking the shutter and pointing the camera at people and random moments in the office last Friday was liberating.  I have always wanted to  do it but was just to conscious to let that part of me loose.  I was afraid people would find it too weird or too eccentric.  And when they do, I'll end up having an even harder time. So I've been quite careful about my artistic inclinations at work until last Friday.
Dressing up as a Native American Indian gave me the perfect excuse to click away.  Being engaged in the project of SNS Challenger as helped me approach photography a little bit more reflectively.  It reminded me why I started looking through the lens in the first place.  Gary Mcleod says it more articulately 
I am not a photographer. By this, I mean that I am not a technician who is trying to help recreate someone else’s vision. I have an understanding of my own vision- and this may sound like arrogance- but this understanding has come from study and experience. I do not mean…

Corporate Theatre

On the way to work this morning I worried greatly about the Employee Integration Program and other training programs that the company expects from HR.  After having finished the Training Needs Analysis Report yesterday I realized that there is really a big problem on managing performance
A lot of the people rating employees did not know how to rate performance let alone manage it.  No wonder efforts seem unsustainable.  No wonder people feel so tired.  No wonder everyday feels like such a home stretch.
Great performance cannot be articulated because nobody wanted to breakdown what comprised it.  Most of them probably just wanted to rate people and give them high marks because they were afraid of being disliked if they didn't.  Some of them had the guts to call out improvement needs mostly on attitude.
Still the problem is glaring at my face.  Ano ang gagawin ko about sub-standard performance?  The message has to be brought across in such a way that people will immediately engage so…

Unearthing Creative Strength

I think I've totally lost my creative rhythm this week.  I'm a little bit frustrated since I have been starting to grasp it quite comfortably.  Engaging in discussions with other writers and reading their work.  Engaging in discussions with artists and philosophers who attempt to create another worldview of modern interactions on the web.  Engaging with close friends on musing about God.  These are the kinds of conversations that make me breathe.  But since they happen so occasionally I find myself trying to create an opportunity to have these kinds of conversations at work.  
I realized it is not easy for a lot of people to talk about things that are beyond skin deep.  Most of them do not even look at work that way.  Most of them would rather shut the door after they leave the office.  Very few of them attempt to integrate their own personal life to the life they live for 8 hours in the work-place.  
I used to be that way.  I used to compartmentalize my work life from the rest …

Brain Knots and the Attempt at Untying

I'm not sure if I had enough space in my mind to think of anything related to literature this week.  My mind is as tight as a knot again.  And this usually happens to be the case when I'm engaged in such a rigorous activity of brainstorming for work.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm happy about it.  It's just that it was such a tiring event to pull everybody through.  I didn't imagine it to be that hard when I was in business school.  Getting people to brainstorm is a feat.  Getting people to talk about what they have brainstorm is another. Getting people to write about what they brainstorm is a miracle.
Such are the hurdles I face as a young HR leader.  Sometimes I feel like I'm 50 years old at this rate.  I need to stay young.  I need to wade a little bit in the pleasantries of life.  More soaking into beautiful stories of inspiration.  More of seeing with new eyes.
I have really nothing much to say this morning because I'm not sure I know what I want to say r…

Creative Workspaces and Other Epiphanies

This morning's conversations have led me to think a little bit more about how creativity can exist where I work.  I was trying to tweak this idea by referring to company as community.  In my head I was talking to myself and mouthing the words c-o-m-p-a-n-y and c-o-m-m-u-n-i-t-y.  It starts to feel a little bit different talking about the work place as a community instead of a company.  I started to feel a little bit of gusto.  A little bit of creativity.
I had a couple of things to address this morning. Meeting with an employee who wants to avail of early retirement.  I had to find out if I can make him stay on or at least stay longer till a replacement for him is found.Call with the senior manager of our telecom provider.  I had to find out when they will send their network team here because it seems that they are not listening to our red alert.Call business dev't candidate.  I had to follow-up on an interview schedule for the president because the candidate wasn't replyi…

Work Day Specifics

This day has been spent trying to get my team to communicate a little bit more. Since I have been getting into this whole writing rhythm, I thought I'd share the experience at work.  That way I can integrate my life and they learn how to be a little bit more reflective with theirs. 
Reflection and introspection are not normal to a lot of people where I work.  Most of the time the immediate reaction is an impulsive banter or an icy retort.  When you ask them to write something down I sense a little bit of queasiness as if you were forcing them into a straightjacket.
I wonder a lot about the quirky little strategies I try to implement in my division.  Sometimes I think I'm going for something totally unorthodox such as requiring all of them to update their Google Calendars everyday as a productivity report instead of a lengthy email.  It is also my way of being able to tell where they are at a given moment if they accurately update their schedules online.  
I enjoy thinking of thes…

The company of an old grandaunt's Journals

Last night I was sifting through my grandaunt Filomena's journals. She left them for me when she passed away in 2007. This is a memory that I always enjoy reminiscing and I don't know if I'll ever write it down accurately enough but I felt like touching the pages of old notebooks and snippets of little notes scratched on newspapers and postcards she labeled "musings at midnight". The scent of time passing were on the pages and the dust that's collected between them. They reminded me of old libraries and wood paneled walls.
She was a widow with no children to her name and all she can held dearly of her life was her one great love. His name was Telesforo Polvorosa, a troubadour who swept her by the feet and showed her the world.
Her parents was not so happy about the relationship because he was a divorcee. But her heart was drawn and she never let go.
I often wonder about what God would've thought about my grandaunt's life. I remember watching…

Learning About Creative Intent from Goldsworthy

Yesterday I discovered Andy Goldsworthy's work. He's amazing. I immediately thought, "I want to be like him!" Sculpture entered my mind yesterday because I was thinking of wanting to do something tactile aside from discovering my writer's voice. But I didn't want anything too complicated such that it required too many tools or other processes that required installation or electricity. I was thinking of junk art and sifted through some Youtube videos about this medium. However I'm no engineer and I'm not sure I can even think of anything relevant using junk right now. But I had an interesting time reading about Found Art and how it was started in the early 20th century by Marcel Duchamp. All this, it needs to be noted, has come from what I have absorbed during nightmorn conversations with Adi for the past 2 years.
The absence of time and opportunity to study art has been compensated by keeping in touch with her all this time and taking in her o…

Spot On: Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity

The Salonierre shares this video on Another round of applause for Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love author, for hitting me on the spot again in less than 2 weeks.

Her talk liberates me and puts me into a calm thinking rhythm as this Friday almost comes to a close in 50 minutes. The afternoon passed pretty quickly and I am happy because I feel that I can breathe a little bit easier right now. She's pointed out quite a few things I really resonated with, like the usual judgments given to artists in search of their muse. The struggle of emotional stability when fighting for the creative genius to stay afloat. The tension between wading in purely creative seeking activities and having to be in a stable job to earn a living.
Yes, she hits the point the right there because that's where I am. Yet she says it ever so gracefully that you do not feel invalidated for being in that arduous struggle. You are in fact affirmed for struggling and keeping up with the strugg…

Letters: Sylvia Plath (ii)

Dear Sylvia,
Yesterday while pining restlessly waiting for the work day to end, I read what you wrote during the summer of 1951 in Swampscott, From this experience also, a faith arises to carry back to a human world of small lusts and deceitful pettiness. A faith, naive and childlike perhaps, born as it is from the infinite simplicity of nature. It is a feeling that no matter what the ideas or conduct of others, there is a unique rightness and beauty to life which can be shared in openness, in wind and sunlight, with a fellow human being who believes in the same basic principles. I experience that kind of faith when I am sharing an artistic process with other people. Either intelligent discussions about life or work or even the spiritual journey most share in isolation. The resonating timbre of thoughts vibrating to the same wavelength becomes such an intimate connection of souls. But moments like this are few and far between. Mostly they occur more in what you have described in th…

Letters: To Sylvia

Dear Sylvia,
I read your journal today and I wonder what it must have felt to be you during your time. I find it sad that you had to end your life so quickly because people like you are quite hard to find especially in my day. There aren't a lot of people I can relate to like how I relate to you as you talk about yourself in your journal. There aren't a lot of people who are able to articulate themselves like you and remain available to people like me (albeit in paperback form).
I was talking to Adi this morning about how you write and how the words just breathe with life. She says your writing sounds timeless like your voice spans many different eras.
Well, it has sure reached mine. I know I've put you in the corner of one of my shelves in my room primarily because the picture on your front cover was a little bit scary to me and that time I just watched a movie that they made about you. I didn't want any haunting thoughts to surmise while I was in bed looking at …

Pondering with Sylvia Plath

I want to write some more but I do not really know what to say. How painful it can be for a writer to feel so mute with words. So I took some of my collections of writer's diaries and finger through the pages finding their own words my own. I land in Sylvia Plath's Journal written in Northampton. I hate myself for having to sit here and be torn between I know not what within me. Here I am, a bundle of past recollections and future dreams, knotted up in a reasonable attractive bundle of flesh. I remember what this flesh has gone through; I dream of what it may go through. I record here the actions of optical nerves, of taste buds, of sensory perception. And, think: I am but one more drop in the great sea of matter, defined, with the ability to realize my existence. I found these lines highlighted in yellow. I wonder when I highlighted them. The pages are brown now compared to the other journals. The oldest one in my collection is Anais Nin's Diary. I bought it la…

Melancholy Birthday Dinners

I ate dinner at this new Italian restaurant with my family last night. I think this was my Dad's first time to celebrate his birthday here in Manila with us again after quite a while. Since he works in Cebu and his birth date often falls on a weekday he has spent it over there. Since Mom's cancer diagnosis he has been coming home almost weekly instead of the usual twice a month rhythm.
My Dad just turned 63 and there is so much about him that I would have wanted to write in this post but all I can muster is what he told me in a toothy grin when I greeted him at breakfast yesterday, "Matanda na si Tarzan!" (Tarzan is now old). I often wondered why he refers to him as Tarzan. I'm trying to recall a childhood memory that faintly glimmers in my mind this morning about the time we watched Tarzan together. It register vaguely so I'm dropping that thought. Musing some more about, I suppose it's because he always says he grew up in the Island of Cebu an…

Listening And Faith

I felt quite an illumination reading James Woodward's blog this morning. I thought I'd check his site out after keeping it tucked in my Reader for a few days now. He hits my own self musings right on the dot. If we don’t really know how to attend to the reality that is our own inner turmoil, we shall fail in responding to the needs of someone else. And the desert literature suggests pretty consistently that excessive harshness – readiness to judge and prescribe – normally has its roots in that kind of inattention to ourselves. Abba Joseph responds to the invitation to join in condemning someone by saying, ‘Who am I?’ And the phrase might suggest not just ‘Who am I to be judging?’ but ‘How can I pass judgment when I don’t know the full truth about myself? For this past year, it has been hard for me to maintain a cheerful and patient disposition. It has not been easy to de-clutter my thoughts because of the numerous issues I'm handling in my own life and the lives of others…