Showing posts from December, 2011

A Tradition of Prayer

Part of my family's tradition every year is to spend some prayer time at the cemetery where the old folks are buried.  It's quite a different tradition from everybody else.  Who wants to spend an hour at the cemetery praying when the whole world is getting ready to party and meet the New Year?  Sometimes I ask myself why I let myself go through it for the past how many years.  But it's a tradition that I have been learning to love and look forward to.  For me, paying respects to the old folks before we start a new year is an act of reverence and remembrance.  I draw strength from remembering the stories of the lives of those who have gone before me.  It reminds me that I come from a wealth of collective experiences and no matter how difficult a circumstance might be, I can look to the lives of my forefathers and see that they have walked this earth fulfilled in what they have contributed to the world.  
Every year, I lead my family into prayer and sometimes I break out in…

I'm Waiting to be Made New

It's the last day of the year and I'd want to remember this year with an old hope revisited.  I fall into this quiet moment which I want to linger on for many days.  That kind of quiet that you don't want  disturbed because you've been waiting for the unraveling of something.  A song.  A tune.  A string of words.  A life authentic.  
I'd want to write so many things in remembrance but there is not much to say.  I partially empty from surrender and I've become this pilgrim who journeys by the hour just waiting.  For something.  
So I end this year in waiting.  Waiting for the promise of the One who said, "See, I make all things new."

Straddling Between 2011 and 2012 | An Attempt for Resolutions

I'm nearly straddling between 2011 and 2012 and for the past few days I have been seriously thinking about my New Year's resolutions.  Okay, so I have been procrastinating a little bit because I feel that if I dig into it a little bit more I'll just discover a number of them that might overwhelm me and might end up dumping the idea of actually doing them.  What is it about resolutions that make me afraid?  
I've decided to buy a Kindle a week ago so that I can discipline myself to read and write more. That's number 1.  This past year, I've learned how integral reading and writing are to my capability to function as a person.  It's like breathing.  I'd die without it.  It's not just about reading and writing per se.  I need to read and write about something that sparks some life in my spirit and those things aren't what I encounter at work really.  No, they're not business books or even human resource manuals.  I need to read and write about …

Visiting La Belle Aurore Bookshop and Parlor Treats

Today was a special day for me because I got to do "girly" things with my sister and my Mom.  I rarely go to the parlor and have my hair and nails done because I don't have time but Mom decided to treat all of us to a parlor day.  It was quite relaxing and it occurred to me that I'd like to have more moments like these with my family.  Lighthearted and peaceful.  
For many years, I've always been the subject of contempt from hairdressers because I've always wanted to dye my hair black.  No undertones or overtones.  Just black.  My hair is naturally black but because of its frizziness and the humid Philippine weather, it grows out from its colored dye of either burgundy or chestnut brown, into a dull colored shade of brass.  Since I look very Asian, they said that to dye it just black would make me look plain or some would say, I would look too sharp featured.  
Five years ago, I would probably have agreed with them but at this point, I suppose I'm in thi…

Christmas Peace

The past 5 days of my vacation here at the hometown has been quite restful. It's a much needed break indeed.  I've finally been able to have some time to write and read as much as I want without having to worry about being interrupted with another work issue.   I have found a place of peace from within and learned that there is much to cultivate inside my spirit to keep the interior peace alive.  It is the fragility or the strength of the interior mettle that determines how peace can survive. 
This Christmas season, I have learned that my life is largely a result of God's favor.   Willpower can only take me to certain lengths.   I say this because I have managed to survive 3 years of working in such a stressful environment and the most stress-relieving moments have been found when I've "let go" of most of my concerns and just surrendered my cares in an act of prayer.  
The weariness that have resulted from all the work I've done this year is because of t…

That Holiday Stretch

I touched down at Cebu this morning at 30 minutes past 12 noon.  I was an hour delayed.  The pile up of planes waiting for their chance to make the lift off on the run way numbered to about 4 in line.  It took us an hour waiting.  The trip wasn't so peaceful.  Beside me were two tourists trying to figure out their map. A baby couldn't stop crying on the seat behind.  But miraculously I managed to finish 1 chapter of a book.  I was trying to silence my mind from thinking too much.  The things I'll be missing out on.  The things I'll be waiting on.  The things that should be unfolding while I'm gone.  There's so much that's happened and I don't really know where to place myself when 2012 begins.  All I know is that I've made some decisions today and that letter I wrote yesterday has already been sent.
I pray for better opportunities of growth.  I pray for some kind of fulfillment.
The whole day was spent in the hospital with Mom.  She looked better…

Yesterday's Rundown | That road when you're struggling towards Peace

Yesterday's Rundown

Today, I find a peaceful rhythm after writing a letter conveying some of my transparent thoughts to my boss.  Hopefully the Christmas break will give us perspective.  I've written three drafts and the peace settled on the 3rd so I know that it's time to finalize it and send it.  
Tomorrow, I'm heading to my hometown for Christmas break.  Unfortunately, it might feel a little different this year since Mom has still not been discharged from the hospital.  But I'm looking forward to the change in scenery and smelling the island air again.  
Last night, I was able to find some peace in the music of Yimura.  My favorite so far has been Kiss the Rain and even mustered a poem because of it.  

all i can do is cry
to the endless crooning
of a piano hummed song
the afternoon’s weight
washed away like leaves
on a tear-filled river
and the waiting is of no end

the wine glass fills
yet again
the red stains in drops
and i wonder how sublime can be its taste …

Just Dreaming of a Bookshop

This weekend felt other-worldly.  I was mostly home alone and the weather was cold and raining.  I woke up before dawn on both days for some reason and had time to just take everything in.  The life that went by this past year.  The difficulties and the remaining challenges at its close.  This very moment, my mother is having an operation for incisional hernia and while I was dressing up for work I could not help but stare at my fear in the face.  What if this Christmas won't be a nice and peaceful one?  What if I will get stuck in a job that will stifle the life out of me?  What if the coming year will not bring me new opportunities to look forward to?
I looked back at the weekend that I allowed myself to revel in.  Soaked in the words of my books and spent some time looking at travel blogs that showed me a life existing in the big world out there.  I looked at all the things that have happened that felt like an exhausting train ride.  And now I am looking at the destination of…

Life Balance | One of those things you can't leave home without

Today is one of those days when I realized that I can be quiet and still without flinching. I can be quiet and still and remain content.  And I can sit endlessly and hold a pen and paper on my head and jot down all the words that attempt to escape my thoughts.  It's been a while since the quiet has settled in like this.  I'd normally go for my public blog for this one but right now, I think I'd rather just have this small space.  This small micro-window that's almost as invisible as the next period coming.  
But who knows where this writing will lead?  
After having scribbled some words on my journal I realized that my complicated personality and complicated life has been all woven and defined by: obligations.   The call of duty from being a youth minister to being my parents' daughter to being the head of a business unit (previously the head of human resource department) to being a "child of God".  I am very much threatened by the idea that I will not live…

Waiting for Sunrise

It's been a while since I've waited for the sun rise.  The week ends and I woke up this morning at 4:30a because of a message on my Blackberry.  I would have gone to the dawn mass if I weren't tired.  I haven't enjoyed enough quiet on morning's like this.  The dark night sky slowly lightening up to the day.  It brings back so many memories of places I've visited like Paris, Seattle, Toronto.  All having the same feeling of morning peeking from twilight.

I look at a stray branch of a tree crawling up my neighbors roof and I'm remembering the maple leaves of Canada and the lush mountains of Switzerland.  Everything felt so free then.  And the world so big that all my concerns were crushed against the earth's grandeur and beauty.  
The past few months, I've felt my world shrink into this small ball.  Cowering and scared.  But I long for my prayers to be lifted up and move past the boulders that block the beauty of life from my view.  I survived this …

Your Prayers

I noticed that I don't really address my readers a lot as I blog.  I suppose I don't want to be so conscious about those who "read up" about my life because I might just end up shying away from public writing altogether.  But today I'm taking the time to acknowledge and admit that those of you who visit me here and read whatever it is I write encourage me to keep believing and to keep the faith.  
I hope that someday I will get to know one or two of you and share more than a silent conversation with you. :)  I hope that your lives are well and are filled with peace.  I hope that this Advent season will bring you true joy.  
Tonight as I write this, I am faced with a lot of difficult struggles.  I struggle greatly with my job.  I struggle with its demands and the personalities involved.  I struggle with its purpose and the mission it no longer infuses in me.  I also struggle with relationships especially with those who are closest to me.  I struggle with keeping …

The Word that Keeps Us Together

Reading Ann Voskamp's blog this morning has given me hope in my current situation of being sifted in an experiencing of transition and the changing faces of relationship.  Admittedly it has been difficult to get into the Christmas spirit with all the work that has piled up and all the issues that I have faced.  From my  Google Reader, her post's title cried out for attention.

"when its hard to believe in miracles this Christmas."

She wrote about her visit to the exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  I liked this part the most. “I thought they would be one long scroll,” a son murmurs.“I didn’t know they’d look so… ” “Fragile.” His brother finds the word for him. “Oh, but see…” I slowly trace the outline of the fragment on the glass.   “Aren’t these the strongest Words ever written? Words that have beaten back time, that have spoken of Him beyond time Who steps into time, to deliver us out of time… Centuries of humanity building lives on these very words… and they hold. Do…

Homage to the One who Taught me to Embrace the Dark Night

Today is the memorial of St. John of the Cross.  I've started reading about him and his well known work "Dark Night of the Soul" in 2005 after experiencing my own fragments of the night from a series of broken relationships.   It was then when I went on an extreme search for truth that I only began to find in the realities of everyday suffering.  When I say suffering it doesn't mean blood and gore.  That "everyday suffering" of having to bear the discomfort of your inability to withstand certain things like: another person's noise, like the traffic in the highway, like the irritating countenance of a family member, like the work day that passed without fulfillment.  
It was through him that I realized how "suffering" is not actually some kind of "punishment"  that belittles us or renders us unworthy of something better.  This "suffering" that the "dark night" makes us go through is something that makes us aware o…

A Writer of Story

Somewhere in a distant past I was a writer of stories.  I love writing short plays.  In my lifetime I can say that I was happy with writing 2 short plays and 1 full-length originale musical (for church).  I don't know why I'm finding myself looking through old pictures of these moments today but I have been wanting to do it again.  To create and breathe like this again.
This short play was called "Maybe I'll Find Me".  It's an interpretation of Jungian archetypes.  We were asked to do something creative for an elective in business school called "Creativity and Intuition".  This class was meant to teach us to tap into our creative intelligence so that we can be more wholesome as leaders.  I wrote this short play with 6 different archetypes in mind and one main character.  The play starts with a song sung by the different archetypes and the Self.  The monologues show the different struggles experienced by the Self as manifested by the archetypes.  In…

Taking Heart

Looking through old posts today feel like following breadcrumbs that lead back to home.  This one was an excerpt I got from reading Paulo Coelho back in September 2008.

We go out into the world in search of our dreams and ideals, although we often know we put away in inaccessible places, all that which is within our reach. When we discover our mistake, we start to think we’ve lost too much time looking far and wide for something which was nearby; and this is why we allow ourselves to be overcome by a sense of guilt, for past mistakes, for the useless search, for the grief caused. But that’s not really true: although the treasure is buried in your home, you’ll only find it when you distance yourself. If Peter hadn’t experienced the pain of negation, he would never have been chosen as head of the Church. If the prodigal son hadn’t abandoned everything, he would never have been joyously received by his father. There are certain things in our lives that carry a seal which says: “you will…

The Martyrdom of Self-Knowledge

There is another kind of martyrdom. It is the martyrdom of facing oneself, one's emotional self. No one wants to face his emotional self. Nobody wants to admit that he or she acts at times like a 10 year old, that they have different moods, that they are afraid of the silliest things. We don't like to face these facts. This is the beginning of our martyrdom. The second stage of the journey toward martyrdom is being torn apart between your emotional states and knowing yourself as you are. The third stage is an ability to really face oneself without all the emotional camouflage. Though painful, it is a stage so filled with grace, that in a sense, it ceases to be a martrydom and becomes a sort of oneness with God.

Now one looks at one's sins truly and honestly. That looking is another phase of the martyrdom. But one is no longer upset or in any despair. The martyrdom is being oiled by the love of God. It no longer rubs abrasively, hurtfully. There descends an understanding tha…

Sursum Corda | Lift Up Your Heart

The past few days have been extremely challenging for me.  So many Christmas parties lined up one after another and there has been very little time to take a breather.  The work environment at the office hasn't gotten any better and I'm starting to feel the weariness from carrying all that "heavy load".
Today, I made a decision.  Today I decided not to do any work at all.  And while I continue to worry about the events of the coming weeks, I'm standing by my decision.  I don't want to keep doing work that no longer makes sense to me.  I don't want to keep doing work that feels like I'm a puppet on a string.  Today starts the prayer where I ask for new opportunities that will breathe in a me a fresh new beginning. Where I ask for illumination and wisdom from the Spirit so I know which way to walk.  
Today I start the offering to heed the words of Christ when He says, "Cast your burdens upon me, those who are heavily laden and I will give you rest…

This is a Vent

I was trying to keep myself from writing about today because I'm not sure I'll be able to say anything great  about today.  But this blog is about being able to unearth the most honest of emotions so that I can process them raw and find myself making sense of its meaning through the words I carve out of thoughts.  So here goes.
I am very disappointed at how some people at work think they're being supportive when they do not even have a clue about what is really going on and if what they are doing really supports you.  Today I had to deal with trifle matters that felt irrelevant because it had no impact on how things can be improved on.  I had to deal with people who would not give me feedback and leave emails un-replied because they choose to disregard how I've been following up incessantly to the point of probably being bothersome.  I think it's rather rude how people do not respond at all especially when things are important to you.  Sure, it might not be import…

Justifying Investments and Standing Up for People

Today was better.  Two hours until it ends, I've finished 5 papers for investment justifications and put my heart out on the last one which encapsulated what I wanted to push forth the most.  Moving for commensurate compensation for our hardworking tenured staff.  It's different when you're pushing from an HR department perspective.  It feels very distant compared to if you're pushing because they are your staff and you know they deserve more than what they're getting now.  Sometimes when you've repeated to yourself that you're an HR practitioner, there is that feeling of indifference when you start encountering all these people issues day in and day out.  I've left the HR post since July of this year and was moved to the frontline of a strategic business unit and I can say that I continue to carry the flag of promoting the equity of human capital investments.
In all the rush of trying to grab the business opportunities, we can easily lose sight of tho…

How Some Things Don't Lose Value Even In Incompleteness

The streaming music from Ann Voskamp's website plays on repeat.  It soothes me tonight as I wait for my mind to uncoil after a long day of trying to figure out solutions to the problems in the workplace.  I have no definite answers in hand.  All I have are more questions and the fading of strength as I try to renew my mind and overcome the worldliness of needing to achieve something.  Trying to learn how to let go of that compulsion of "figuring something out".  Learning how to accept that some battles are not meant to be won just now.  
We barely achieved much today but explaining that to those whose hawk eyes are unrelenting as they pass our floor to and fro is quite a feat.  So today I try to close in a prayerful disposition and lift up those who are hard to get along and convince that people did work hard today.  The mishaps occur because it is normal for teams to have a difficult time especially when everybody is trying to adjust.  While these reasons are often mis…

Understanding the Poustinia and Quiet Prayer Corners in my Room

The call to go into a quiet place every Sunday morning always refreshes me.  I am glad I didn't resist the whisper for intimate prayer.  Having finished reading Heather King's Shirt of Flame, I am quite rejuvenated to begin my daily practice of prayer again.  I've managed to survive the challenges of this week because of prayer and a constant lifting up of my heart to the hope that doesn't disappoint.  
This morning I find myself sitting still before my room's place of prayer.  I haven't given myself much of a chance to be quiet as I have this morning in a while.  The words of Catherine Doherty soothe me and bring me to that stillness where the restlessness of the heart finds its way to God.  She talks about the the vocation of the poustinia (in Russian a poustinia is a place to pray, most of the time in the wilderness where you can be alone).  
It means that within yourself you have made a room, a cabin, a secluded place.  You have built it by prayer--the Jesu…

Poetry as Spiritual Practice | Moving on to the Next Assignment

My next writing assignment from GlenOnline's Workshop has taken a while to gestate.  Working on understanding poetry in a different way simultaneous to working on a day job has been a challenge.  But I am still determined to complete it.  
The rhythm of poetry can only be captured in a moment of silence.  Where thoughts quiet down and you can hear the sound of your own breathing.  It's impossible to digest a poem with a noisy mind.  The words do not penetrate and the meaning behind it is lost.  Yet, when you get to the discipline of being able to sit with a poem and be patient with the words while they unveil themselves to life, the wait is worth it.  
Earlier this week I expressed a bit of frustration about how I'm not able to remain consistent with the writing flow.  Somehow I've accepted that the creative flow come in waves and what nurtures an artistic pursuit is the perseverance to make the attempt again and again.  Remaining graceful and grateful at the same tim…

Peacemaking and Breathing Rooms

Perhaps these next posts will be reflections on some of my favorite quotes from Shirt of Flame.  I never really quite ponder upon a book long enough to let things sink in.

You broker peace in a war, but you can only broker peace if you're at peace with yourself.  You free the enslaved, but to free the enslaved you have to have done the long, hard, lonely work of being freed from your own inner bondage.  All things, big and small, are a version of this: you allow your ego to be crucified.  To allow your ego to be crucified, you have to get very close to Christ.  [Heather King]
I'm obviously not completely at peace with myself.  Then again, who is?  But these words remind me again that I'm not and that I need to keep working at it but remaining consistently anchored to my faith.  As I keep pondering about God's call every moment, I've managed to accept that I am often called to help mediate and bring peace to situations and to people who are in conflict.  Sometimes …