A White Elephant Lesson

The game caught us off guard and we made things really messy .  Yet, instead of stopping the craziness, we kept on playing, and stealing and laughing. After numerous attempts, someone was able to get the most desired gift.

Poor me, I ended up empty handed… Exhausted.

It feels like our adrenalin run out that night. And for a while, we were trying to figure out how to get back on track.

Lesson learned:

I then examined what went wrong. Some of us were motivated by the desire to get the famous gift, not realizing that there are lots of gifts around. Others were able to grab many kinds of stuff, went home completely satisfied.

The demands of today and our mistaken sense of expectation and obligation can easily cloud our view, robbing us of what would bring us the greatest joy and of special moments.

 In our desire to get the best, and grab hold of the world for ourselves, we were making ourselves busy and competitive. Focused on a substitute for the real thing, vying for control to walk away with the best present.

Count your blessing.

Always look at the bright side of life.

Release the expectations and just allow ourselves to be okay with who, what, where we are.

Choose to be excited about the simple attributes and the unique qualities of  life.

Maybe these sound simplistic – but living it day after day makes it profound.

 

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Getting ready!

 

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My loves!❤

 

 

 

Bravely

I often deny. Said things were good when they were not. I spent most of my life hiding. Expressing my feelings just sounded dreadful. A foreign concept for me.

I would step the hamster wheel and run in circles again and again. Oftentimes, trapped in a feeling that dictates expectations which were exactly the reason why I needed to be brave enough.

But there’s always a fresh start.

I may not be as capable and as strong as wonder woman but my bravery is demonstrated through my ongoing attempts at letting go and acceptance.

Knowing what is within my control, what is beyond my control and accepting it. A scary proposition but it is so freeing.

Closing my ears to the hypnotic rhythm of false expectations.

Fear must get out from underneath my shield.

I have found balance. I have peace.

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Wanderlust

Anything goes – Everything else worked itself out. All our worries and hesitations were for naught. Happy Thoughts. Happy Feet.  This describes our 10 – day trip to Central Visayas and Northern Mindanao. We didn’t have a concrete plan. We just let our happy feet take us to every place.

Our journey was surrounded by the unknown which I call a travel moment. Threw ourselves out there and approached strangers. Not having guides in most destinations. Waiting for a bus, a ship or a motorbike ride for long hours seemed like a lifetime. Looking at each other with no need for words but completely understanding one another became second nature. The ringing of the alarm clock and requests for a few minutes’ worth of extension.

There were lowlights but more on highlights and favorite things about this trip. Walking and aimless wandering were among my favorite parts to get to know a city.  A beautiful sky made of moon light. The enchanting forests. Adventures that excited us and terrified us both at the same time. The creepy look of strangers. The kindness of strangers. The way vendors called us “suki” despite it being our first meeting ever. Some weird sounds coming from different places.Food that we either loved or hated. Places that are exceedingly picturesque. The overcast and grey weather that certainly added depth and nostalgic appeal in  every place. The historical sites in which I could relate to each vignette though clueless of the details of the characters and the places. Conversations, realizations that started, blossomed, and ended… all on the road.

There was always an opportunity to laugh, to chat, and to play together. We set aside our vanity issues. Limited on-the-go clothes instead of the fashionable ones. We got messy and sweaty and did not mind. I could be grumpy when I was hungry or tired, and when I was, he got to my nerves. Well, he felt the same way. However, we simply enjoyed our trip together for what it was and stayed on good terms when it ended. After all, at the end of the day, we only had each other.

So, where did these stories take place?

In the busy streets of Cebu City

The laidback town of Carmen, Bohol

In the endless road of Siquijor

In a guesthouse in Dapitan

Along Dumaguete Boulevard

In the Port Areas of Bohol and of Dapitan

In the economy class of a passenger ship

On a boat docked off Dumaguete and Cebu

Walking through the streets of Dipolog

In a Treehouse Bar and View Deck in Dumaguete – Hayahay

In Cebu streets swarming with local food kiosks

Every memory would come flooding back. Each bubbled with fun. We didn’t get to do everything we had hoped for, but it was definitely enough time to convince that everything  was worth it.

Till our next adventure!

 

 

 

 

“Remember Erlinda”

A Piece of History

One day in Bataan, a Filipino soldier patrol found the body of a young Filipina who had been raped and killed by the Japanese soldiers. Next to her body was a handkerchief with the name “Erlinda” embroidered on it.
Whenever our Filipino soldiers wanted to give up in the battle against the Japanese soldiers during the said occupation, each soldier would remind them of the battle cry “Remember Erlinda” and they would fight even harder for the country and its people amidst hunger, thirst, and exhaustion brought about by war.

A beautiful story about bravery.

Erlinda – signifies our deep emotional scars, our frustrations, failures and disappointments in life.

Perhaps most of us are weakened by the memory of our sufferings. We are discouraged by our mistakes, intimidated by the unknown future. But just like the soldiers who are encouraged to fight back every time they will remember Erlinda, I think that we should do the same. We need to revisit the pain and learn how to use it to regain our strength and to restore the fire in us. The significance of looking back should serve as a reminder to move on, to look forward, and to fight with grace.

It’s so easy to look back, regret and stay. But remembering our own set of  “Erlinda” should not hinder us but rather encourage us to fight against the tides.

“Erlinda” is not our destiny, only a part of our journey.

Allow those wounds to heal you till the wound will turn into a beautiful scar.

To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair – Isaiah 61:3

Army of God

Sugar Coat

I used to love this lollipop thingy where I have to dip it in a powder to make it sweeter. This sweet treat was appealing not just  to my eyes but also to my taste buds. I remember how I spent all my pocket money just to gratify my guilty pleasure.

In life, everything sweet ain’t sugar coated. We become expert manipulators. Our eyes are only focused on what will bring pleasure to us. For the things, we think will satisfy us. Despite the stress and strain of doing so, we give in to our guilty pleasure hoping to  be accepted and respected;  to fit in.

Sugar coating what we hope they will never find out

Yes, it does bring happiness. A fleeting state that we can capture only for a brief moment. Only to find out in the end that still, it cannot suffice us. Then we  crave for more. Till it leaves us empty.  Short glance can be alluring. Subtly we can be deceived by its appeal. Failing to notice what is behind that pleasure.

Guard your heart. Basic yet it is where too many people tend to fail.

Each of us is facing this kind of battle, in different areas. It hits us especially when we are in our most vulnerable state. Uncontrolled desire  can be  a destructive force.

Our desires, if not being managed well can make us soar to the heights of happiness or plunge us into the depths of despair.

We may expertly conceal these things from one another, but there is One before whom we are always exposed.

The pursuit of pleasure is good, but sugar-coating it cannot substitute for real joy.

Let our pleasure be elegant, and more importantly divine.

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life – Proverbs 4:23

Soliloquy

Looking for some ways to pen my feelings sensibly but couldn’t find the right words to express it.

I am completely taken off guard.  Magnetically drawn to my feelings. A blow to my fragile emotion.

I am now in  an uncomfortable  position. I should  have thrown caution in the wind.

I should be bounded by the rule.

Drenched myself with defenses.  That repels me.

The loop has to end with me.