Look Back: June.

I only have two words to accurately describe how my June went: rain and good byes.

The Philippines entered the gloomy climate once again, as expected of this time of the year. And it followed in the most inconvenient manner that heavy traffic going to work and going back home were to be part of the norm–again. I love rain when I can ceremoniously appreciate it from the dry side of a window. I abhor heavy traffic. The mix of both in one ride to or from work has been very confusing. Hah!

My eldest sister and 4-year-old nephew, Ozzy, left for Malaysia. Real family drama is what I’d call it. I spent almost the whole day of their scheduled flight fighting back tears and trying not to break down in my office workstation. It will be a while before we can have a complete family picture again. But they’re happy (according to my sister’s latest report) and that matters way more than a picture.

We also had to say good bye to a very close friend from the office. It’s sad in the sense that our clique (yes, it’s a clique) has been seeing one resignation after another. But try as I might to feel sad about the leaving, I’m starting to see it as a fact of life. Change and whatever it may require of anyone simply happens, and it’s always for the good.

The last bit that literally closed my June was me saying good bye to my position as a copy writer. Just in time for July, I said hello to me being our department’s first ever Junior Producer! Crazy, I know. But I’m liking it so far. Will update you soon. *wink*

On Instagram:

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Meditation on meds.

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Our bodies are like ticking time bombs.

At least that’s what I began pondering on when I found myself in the hospital for a couple of times last week. The number of medicines I need to take (and the manner in which I should take them) amounted to something close to an algorithm. See below:

Step 1: Take medicines W, X, Y, and Z after breakfast.

Step 2: Take medicines Y and Z after lunch.

Step 3: Take medicines W and Z after dinner.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 for two weeks.

Step 5: Schedule for a hi-tech procedure that requires sedation.

Step 6: If, on not-so-rare occasions, one or two of these medicines cause migraines or 24-hr nausea, consider discontinuation of said medicines.

Step 7: Of course, consult the doctor first before doing anything stupid such as Step 6.

Can you imagine how easy it is to threaten a life? A few abnormal cells, and people get cancer. A little pressure in the internal organs, and people bleed. In these oftentimes life-altering reminders of death’s reality, everything else cease to matter. What we consider material becomes irrelevant, and the immaterial reveals itself to be the most important.

Our bodies are like ticking time bombs. This is the kind of reminder I am very most grateful for.

Heart on the cross!

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[Image via]

A few minutes ago, before I said good night to my siblings and began pounding my fingertips on the keyboard, I nonchalantly exclaimed (as if it had to be heard), “I need to write about my Holy week reflection! Otherwise, Holy week won’t happen!” A complete exaggeration.

Now here I am, a little clueless on how to write what I need to write. My mind has been scattered these past few weeks (should I say months?) and my emotions have been a perfect panorama of a storm. Some days are calm and peaceful. While there are days filled with worry and unsolicited pain, of which I was either the inflicted or the inflictor.

I’m stating these with no intentions of jiving into the drama of the season. I’m stating these as facts. For some reason, I have been a little more difficult than usual to both myself and the people around me. I beat myself for not being good enough, and it follows that I treat people the same way I’ve been treating myself. You think it stops there? I’ve also been consequentially angry at myself for being the way I’ve been (as if that would help anything).

“Lord! Make me less of a human!” I found myself desperately shouting in my head while I was at church yesterday. Had I been more of a supernatural, I would have enough capacity to understand other humans and be extra patient with them when needed. I wouldn’t even have to worry about my own flaws because I would have less of them, if not none! It was quite a fun plan to play around with in my head. Fool.

The inescapable truth is that I have the kind of patience the size of a peanut, a positivism that’s as fickle as a flickering light bulb, and an understanding that can sometimes be akin to that of a sloth’s. It’s enough to make anyone go, ‘It’s a bad time to be a human.’

Yet a single glance at the crucifix — taken in the proper context and in the proper disposition — made me feel just how loved I have been in spite myself. Do you know what that’s like? To know that you are loved in spite your mucky self? That mixed feeling of gratitude and hope is what I call elation.

If only I would acknowledge it more, then I’d be able to open my eyes to how this love raises me to a level above my own; how it sets me apart from all other things. If only I would constantly live my life in His presence, then I would be able to see this very same love in other people. I’d start seeing them through His eyes, with tender affection of patience and understanding. This very same love will free me from anger, pain, hatred, pride, arrogance, and my twisted sense of entitlement in picking on people’s flaws — as well as mine!

I was told that when people know they are loved, they feel powerful; as if they are capable of everything beyond their measly human abilities. I hope I give this love the justification it deserves.  Maybe by then I could start living a life of peace with God, His children, and myself.

Must-listen: Empty Space by Bukas Palad

Look back: February.

February

This month of hearts:

1 Difficult decisions were made — and I was part of the back up team.

2 A crazy Valentine’s day was spent at the office with girl friends.

3 Books piled up.

4 Realized I was made for breakfast.

5 Discovered I have a doppelganger in the office.

6 Was the last month of our very reliable intern!

7 Office dramas and victories were shared.

8 It was me and shrimp against — well — me.

A question on Prestige.

“Pa, what do you think of people who look for prestige?”

I asked because I was genuinely curious.

“What do you mean?” my dad asked back.

I’m not a person in search for prestige. I mean, I want to be GREAT at what I do – if I do ever figure out what I want to do. It’s just that popularity comes second to the substance I’m aiming for, if not the last. Not to down anyone or any specific mindset – at least the people in search of prestige know what they want. Here from my end, I’ve just started chiseling my way through the pinnacle of an iceberg that has “What Aix wants out of life” written all over it. It’s a dirty job, I know. But somebody has to do it. By somebody, I mean me. Doesn’t it make you curious why prestige is in the bag of must-want, must-have, or must-reach for some people? I’m curious. And I want to know if it would make me less queer if I start going for the same thing.

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“I just want to know what you think of it,” I said after a long pause.

“There’s nothing wrong in looking for prestige in life, it’s normal. It’s just that when you constantly eye on ‘Prestige’, your sense of self-value is greatly anchored on how other people look at you. It’s a race of popularity, of who’s who,” my dad said.

Well, I got some confirmation out of that – it definitely did not stimulate a tinge of interest in me in any way whatsoever. To me, the physical or the tangible doesn’t look too valuable. Competition of who’s better or who’s more was never exactly my thing. It being a probable sign of lacking motivation doesn’t worry me, with my fair share of both notable wins and losses. I’m just not constantly on the run for forms of ‘entitled’ acknowledgement or affirmation — and talking about this alone is starting to incredibly bore me lol.

You have the divine right to call me a nut case with what I’m about to admit. Just for everybody’s reference, I have always had – and I don’t think I’ll ever get cured of this – my heart set on the abstracts, on the immeasurable and the infinite. The only problem about this is that I never know where I am until it feels right.

Just when I was about to dismiss the thought, my dad followed his answer up with something that had a pull on the heart strings: “Eventually though, if you want to get more of life, you’ll have to learn to consciously start putting value on how God sees you over how the world does.”

Word to the wise: Don’t criticize what you don’t fully understand.

I’m a Roman Catholic.

Not the nominal kind. My siblings and I have been active in the parish, and a good number of my relatives are members of Opus Dei. Neither of those two make any of us instant saints, admittedly (that’s for another entry). And in what we do and in what we believe, most people think we’re ridiculous. Like they see our way of showing our love for God as something overrated; a little ‘too much’ for the One who gave us much more than we actually truly deserve.

Here’s an example:

DoYourHomework2Most people don’t understand. Much like how I don’t understand where their disgust in the faith and the church are coming from. But like in this case, he should’ve at least done his homework first before he went on yapping about today’s feast day.

I know we all look like the Bieber fans (Sorry, kid) had the whole religious human race been segmented into music preferences. It’s just really sad how we oftentimes treat our religious differences with — more often than not — barely any respect or consideration for the hearts and souls behind the beliefs.

When I go losing.

This is isn’t exactly how I pictured my October to turn out.

But I guess we lose what’s important to us, to teach us how to take better care of what remains with us. This will be the 3rd day our puppy has gone missing, and I woke up today missing the sound of his tiny high pitched bark in the morning. Maybe I should have tied him that day he went missing? Maybe I should have been more wary of the possibilities of losing him? Maybe I should have petted him more that morning he was still around? Not that the Maybe’s has anything to do with what I should be doing now.

THE WRITER by Ellie Goulding

“I’d rather pretend I’ll still be there at the end,

only it’s too hard to ask. Won’t you try to help me?”

In the presence of the God of silence.

“Your life has been scaled in God’s scale; and it was found that your life has been lacking weight.”

I was due for a retreat.

Suddenly everything in my life started looking up and so before I never again look back to what was, I had to process past life events under God’s magnifying glass.

I’m not going to share to you the specific details of the reflections, resolutions and affections that were imparted to me in my 3-day silent retreat. But allow me to share with you my notes during our meditations with Father Perez of Opus Dei, as they were beautiful revelations to me:

ON INTERIOR LIFE

“If God gets me now, will He be able to say to me as he looks at the life I lived, ‘Well done, my child. Very well done’?”

“Take me Lord from what takes me away from You.”

“Interior Struggle is a commitment of the will to do what is pleasing to God.”

“You have to behave and talk in accordance to your dignity as a daughter of a King, as a daughter of God.”

“The rock of your faith is: God is YOUR father and YOU are the daughter of God.”

“There is such a thing called Radical Freedom — that we are all capable of taking a U-turn in our lives at any given time.”

ON LIVING THE FAITH

“A faith that is not shown in deeds is a dead faith.”

“Don’t allow your will to be attached to anything that is displeasing to God.”

ON HUMILITY

“Humility is to be simple, grateful, cheerful, and to be child-like.”

“To rely on our strength is to build on sand. To rely on God’s strength is to build on rock.”

“We have not been created to live for ourselves; we were created to turn ourselves into a gift to others and God.”

“Don’t be too dependent on the opinions of other people. We oftentimes complain, ‘how come she has more, how come she has the credit, how come she did this, how come she says this, how come my face is like this? SO WHAT. You are a daughter of God.’ “

ON OBEDIENCE

“The Lord became man to teach us how the children of God should behave, living in the spirit of obedience.”

“There are two things God wants for you in your life: 1) God wants you to be a saint; 2) God wants you to be very happy. Very happy.”

“Be forceful in following the commandments of God.”

ON PUTTING TRUST IN THE SACRAMENTAL LIFE

“Don’t keep conversations with yourself. Remember, you are NEVER alone. Pray. To pray is to love God.”

“NEVER allow yourself to believe that you are beyond redemption. God never gives up on us. It’s a never ending story with Him.”

“You cannot blame anyone for your personal relationship with God. We are responsible for our own decisions.”

“Sadness is a manifestation that you have allowed an obstacle between you and God.”

——-

Excerpt from my personal journal:

Me: Lord, please tell what you want me to do.

Lord: ARE YOU KIDDING ME. You already know what to do, my stubborn daughter.

Me: Right.

(Image above via)