Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baa Baa Black Sheep Have You Any Wool?

I was a stubborn kid myself. But my mom prayed a great deal and worked real hard to turn this stubbornness to perseverance so that I won't let myself be vanquished by any form of negativity. By then, I always knew that passion and persistence were not synonymous to ignorance and stubbornness. -Auj Lazaro

Auj says...
Is that my mom or me?

Suddenly, I feel my mom's voice and sentiments with my own. As intensely happy as we were both in meeting each other about a year ago, we are now as intensely mortified and direful of each other as days pass by. Pio, afraid of how mad I can become and me, afraid of how he will turn out to be. Do not get me wrong. I am impressed with the toughness that the boy shows but I don't think he won't learn much from being just a consistent, defiant prick. Consistent -- yes, this is a good thing. Prick -- never a good one.

Regardless, here are some propositions I can make for parents who may be handling a kid as stubborn and crazy as this one.

If any of these work for you, then let us know. It would be a great consolation for us to hear 'they' actually work. At least for you.

1. Lead by example. Simply put, walk the talk. It is important that we influence our children with ways that are positive.

2. Discuss and present your values clearly. It is important that your kid knows your stand on some relatively important issues. The power of good character is not just taught but also caught. The values we need to instill in them should be internalized by them by teaching and telling them why we believe in such values. In each day, there are innumerable hours to grab as a good chance to have your child be engaged in a moral talk.

3. Show respect to one another. By showing respect to your partner for one, you teach the kid how to be respectful as well.

4. Instill good manners at home. Make good manners a Golden Rule to be kept and obeyed at home. For this is where simple and huge social graces start.

5. Eat together without the TV on as often as possible. Child experts say that mealtimes are the best time to talk to your child. This is one value system I am grateful for that my mother's family has instilled in me. To talk things over while eating reinforces a strong sense of belongingness and concern in the family.

6. Plan things to do together. It makes the kid feel valued when you allot a special day for them. It reinforces too a strong sense of relationship building.

7. Maintain good literature at home. The greatest of teachers and mentors have used the means of story telling to motivate, inspire and teach little children. When reading is instilled in children, new insights are encouraged and this gives way to values formation as well.

8. Start develop empathy by letting them appreciate even the non-material rewards.

9. Always capture the 'teachable moment." There are numerous situations where you can teach your kid lessons on the importance of being responsible, compassionate, kind and empathetic.

10. Assign responsibilities. This would make them start to have a sense of balance of their desires and needs in their lives.

11. Always be clear about your expectations and make them accountable. This may be hard to understand for them but this is your way to let them know of your care and concern for them so that they may live and become people of good and upright character.

12. Keep them busy with positive activities. Channel their excessive energy into activities like the music, the arts, or church -- activities, no matter how simple, that would develop obedience, altruism, care and cooperation. This would also further their sense of accomplishment.

13. You have to be able to learn to say NO and mean it well. They may not be easily aware of this, but this could be your most loving act to them -- to be able to stand firm on something and steer him away from possible potentialities of harm that life may bring on them.

14. Do not ever cover up for their mistakes. The more that you will shield them from getting hurt or from any practical consequence of their action, the more that you will keep them far from learning personal responsibility.

15. Be careful of what your child sees and watches on tv. Monitor the materials that he watches and plays with.

16. Do not ever forget that you are the adult. It is important that your child knows that you are his friend but it is also very important that he knows that you are a parent. This means you have all the right to enforce the necessary limits to control their bahavior.

By the time Pio gets to read this post, I hope he has his own 7 year old to handle too. That is if he learns how to read first.

Like a true mother, I wished you nothing but love and affection. And I dream of nothing else but for you to grow up as strong and dignified as I was trained to be. As if you are my very first child.

Dori says...

One striking thing common in our growing up is having our mothers as dominant figures, yet one huge difference is in our rearing from your mom having an iron hand to mine having a loose rope. It certainly takes a combination of this extremely different child rearing to make some sense out of raising a very challenging kid.

I hope Pio realizes as he grows older how blessed he is to have us coming from two opposites of perspective, presenting him with the best and worst of both worlds.

As he becomes older, here are the thoughts I could only hope and pray will dawn on him:

That life does not end with PSP and watching DVD all day. He has to at least learn to read real soon.

That money does not just spew out of the ATM machines automatically. He has to stop complaining when there's only a few bills coming out when it's close to payday.

That Timezone as his favorite reward is earned when he does something right, but there is as well subsequent reprimand for every misdeed he commits. The Golden Rule he must absorb early on.

That he is in a crazy world and we are simply guides for him to muster enough faith to do on his own.

That life will present him with a lot of unfairness and we are here to help develop his strengths and support him at his weakest.

That he learn to honor his parents and realize that is key to success.

To you, my son of a gun, thank you for continually challenging me to become a better person and mom. For teaching me endlessly what PATIENCE really means.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Days Of Zen

Auj says...

Recently, I have been possessing this feeling of deciding to live a simple life. And it was in some self-help blog that I read this: that the desire to live a simpler life would usually just be about owning and wanting little.

To own a little necessitates a pragmatic approach -- it is simply about decluttering my life and eliminating what should be eliminated. On the other hand, to want little is focused on what we think.

To honestly and sincerely say that you want little is a daunting task. Most of the time, this feeling takes us a bit farther away from certainty. To cut the psychological attachment to owning and wanting much requires more than a gradual process or a set of specific strategies; since this needs an immense shift in thinking, a deep shift in the way you live your everyday life and how you come up with the major decisions.

Depth, Emotion and Meaning. We need these three tools around for us to watch our vision come to life. Without these three, we lose that drive of passion we need. I have gotten to be more specific as I grow more mature everyday. I am not afraid anymore for desires to overwhelm my life because I know now what matters to me the most -- only the things that are contributory to my life's aims.

Lesson learned: You know you are matured when it becomes easier for you to say "No" when you are sure that it is not going to be part of your vision of the bigger picture.

So why do I want little lately? Aside from the more average sounding reasons of saving money and eliminating process, I want to lavish my time from the offset of times that I do not have so much work. Suddenly, I treasure sleep so much as if it is as important as receiving my paycheck weekly. And I need it to pack me up with new energy. I appreciate embracing now as something even more relaxing than getting a full body spa.

Lesson learned: To want little is just fine for as long as it still bears such great meaning and purpose.

The benefits of all these, I experience the most with our current traveling gigs. Learning to just pack the essentials or noticing how much different it is when you are in a tranquil environment.

Lesson learned: Maybe this is why I have been having the desire to visit temples lately even if I am not a Buddhist.

I have started with tiny victories. The world is a classic beast who always wants us to want more without even a solid reason. And hence to be persistent with the quest for living simple and in peace, we must embrace what is positive and be with plus-like minded individuals who are also wanting to cut themselves free from the usual leash of the world.

Lesson learned: Now I know why I don't get swept away anymore with the act of purchasing that most of us people lose ourselves in. This is because I get lost more in meaningful activities than in acquisition. I am now interested to do things that matter than buy things that could matter too.

Above all, I learned that wanting little is not about entirely depriving myself of what could be important to me, but in obviating all the clutter that gets in the way of my life. And this all accounts to being honest with myself.

Dori says...

"Be kind to the planet.
Be gentle on your wallet.
Rejuvenate your life."

- From Put Your Life In A Diet

If there is one thing that we strongly and similarly advocate, I believe it’s this travelling light in life and striving to be detached from worldly acquisitions. I agree it’s never easy to let go of the urge to acquire and be deliriously happy, albeit fleeting. But at the end of the day, when we lie down at dawn (it’s always past midnight) and sleep eludes us and our restless minds suddenly shift to being reflective, spiritually stimulated and intellectually incapacitated, there is this insurmountable joy to learn that with so little, we can be so much..

To realize that it only takes an inner dialogue shift and feeding our subconscious mind we are capable of impossibilities so long as we ask according to the Lord’s will.

  • To understand that our life’s journey is about learning how to balance and focus on the essentials to make it fruitful.
  • To say that I’m a truly happy person just by being truthful about how I feel all the time and not hide under a mask.
  • To find out that life is indeed like a box of chocolates, that it could be fun not knowing what you’re going to get, just let faith make you run, as did Forrest Gump.
  • To eagerly anticipate the day ahead having a clear picture of your life’s purpose and setting free from worries.
  • To embrace voluntary simplicity, making sound choices when and where to be thrifty or extravagant, having a generous mindset, being close to nature.
  • To soak into gratefulness about working from home, the precious time spent with the people who make your life worth living, the gift of sleep with so much work at hand, cooking from scratch, liberally hugging the one you love, challenging yourself to teach a dyslexic kid how to read, the perks of travelling to explore and ease burnout.. there’s so much to be thankful for.
  • To differentiate having a poor man’s attitude from living a life of simplicity and non‑deprived lifestyle.
  • To become a fan of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) store and learning to fix stuffs around the house and teaching yourself new skills that tickle your interest.
  • Most importantly, to live deliberately and consciously, giving you the freedom to love, and obtain peace of mind, more quality time, and enjoyment of everyday life.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When the plane started flying

My travelogue...

Splurge. Yes, that’s the word to aptly describe how I enjoy travels and vacation. It’s not about spending luxuriously and aimlessly watch your hard-earned money bid your wallet sayonara. It’s not about becoming indifferent to other people’s needs and then lavish yourself with pleasure. It’s about investing on what’s really essential in life – relationships. It’s about those moments you’ll have the chance to give yourself that needed sojourn, to breathe, to unwind, to refresh your soul, and to renew your spirit, thus contributing to the overall positive energy field of this world (okay, I’m going overboard with this Deepak talk). It’s about that priceless laughter, that shared sumptuous meal, that precious sleep, that thrilling ride, that warm feeling of just being together and enjoying idle times. Abandoned carefreeness.

For the past months this blog has been serene, we were chasing dreams, travelling to places we only see in postcards and favourite noontime show. It’s been totally overwhelming and until now I still pause and wonder how we’ve pulled things through and made the journeys happen. For all these, I stand in awe once more for the Lord’s generosity and I am reassured over and over that He can be as generous as we want Him to be if we just learn to align our hearts with His will and surely outpouring of blessings follows in small and big packages.

So now, let me start a photo essay here before dementia catches up on me and I am going to title this “The Journey of Blessings.”

September 2009 -
CWC in Camsur and finally seeing Mayon in Bicol on my birthday was a long-time wish come true. The great fun and team work we had at the water park will remain with me and gladly reminisce until my rocking chair days. How we helped push each others’ butts to reach a goal and laugh our hearts out in the process, that will always put a huge smile on my face. The carefree laughing to tears at the huge trampoline, that will always remind me of how life is just like, a jumpy, up and down cycle. The Amazing Race feeling of going against time going to Tabaco just to view Mayon, that will always remind me my knees can still do the running. Overall, it felt great to relive my youth in this fun-filled place even though we didn’t gather enough guts to try the wakeboarding, trampoline did compensate enough.

October 2009
“Some people tell it like you just finally find "the one." And some people say it's just work, you pick someone and they pick you and with a little work and a little luck, it works out. Some people say, "I wasn't ready until now, I had to grow," and some people say, "I was waiting for you my whole life." Romantic love contains within it the idea of knowing, and thus, for some of us, requires a leap of faith. I think you change, and keep changing, all the time. And you find "the one," it must be that you've changed in some way that has made that possible. You've found someone with whom that particular part of you emerges, the part of you that can imagine one person, forever."

It’s been one remarkable year. And I couldn’t think of any other place but Dakak to celebrate that. We'll never know how long we'd stay together, but as long as we are, we'll keep on going and growing and traveling and learning and living this life joyously together. For the rest of our days, I vow to be by your side - a balm for every ache, a push for every weakness, a shadow of light for every darkness, steadfast in love.

November 2009 - O hail Cebu for the best lechon, for the wild edge coaster ride, and for the resort hopping like no other! No other way to spend your birthday but be like a balikbayan tourist seeing nature and tourist spots at its best and at the end of the day lie on orthopedic beds that lure you to sleep, sleep and sleep some more. Except for the taxi hassles, the Sutokil overpricing, and scourging heat of the sun, I will always remember Cebu as the place I learned not to book an early flight back for you not to have a tantrum of not wanting to go home and still want to sleep and watch cable and swim and just lay around.

It's been a heck of a journey and we still have a lot to explore. With you, impossible is not an option. Let's keep it rolling ;-)

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." -G.K. Chesterton

My random travel notes...

I am a traveler. I like being at home too, but traveling really does something to me. The entire concept of it changes something in me. But traveling with someone you love makes the whole process easier, always.

If given a choice, I would want to be in a travel phase of our lives all the time. Ironically, in traveling terms, I am glad we are both growing comfortable with becoming unsettled. :)

I think it pays us good to get out of our usual selves every once in a while -- to open up ourselves and walk right in a different world to see it with a new pair of eyes. The pleasure we get from transporting ourselves to a different place is incomparable.

Traveling vastly reminds me so much of how small a being I am compared to the amazing creation of our Maker. History is everywhere, in every corner of the world that we choose to turn to.

Jesus was once a traveler himself. But he traveled far and traveled deep -- pushing everyone to places beyond our comfort zones, a place where we can explore and confront our spirits.

The world can be so vast sometimes that all of us can get lost easily without someone having to find us. I am so glad we found each other, even if you weren't even probably looking then. :)

It feels so good to be sometimes out of the loop in another place. To feel a bit bemused with a language we are not familiar with. To find a little bit more of ourselves, to know each other and ourselves deeply. I don't know if you are even aware of it. But I feel our souls touch and reconnect each time we travel.

If there's one thought that I am most grateful about each time we travel together is this: We already know how to travel light. We are free of encumbrance to begin traveling anytime. That goes the same with the life we are trying to live everyday together now.

I am privileged enough to always take that seat beside you. Whether I would sleep through the whole trip or not. ;)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

To Fear: "Is that your best punch?"

"Choosing love, not fear, is where true power comes from. Having the innate compassion, deciding to act, and refusing to give up. The process of spotting fear and refusing to obey it is the source of all true empowerment.

Real power is usually unspectacular, a simple setting aside of fear that allows the free flow of love. But it changes everything."

- Martha Beck, A Course in Miracles

Dori says...

In this world of uncertainty, even if we choose to be optimistic, events usually happen that will somehow try to shutter whatever light and good feelings we have shining through in our day. Things like bills unpaid, a project not pushing through, a bad weather ruining a planned travel, an emergency expense, an unmet deadline. True, having faith works wonders believing that eventually it will get better no matter how gloomy it looks, but not all the time especially when we let fear creep in. Fear of being hurt, fear of being judged wrongly, fear of what other people would say, fear of losing one's identity, fear of not meeting your own self expectations.

When I am gripped with fear, I only have this question I ask myself - Where would this fear bring me? Usually I get the answer - NOWHERE. It's either I have to stay status quo or be hanging indefinitely, which I both dread being in because it feels like staying in purgatory waiting for the final judgment, if there is even such a place. It's of course not bad to stay as is and be content at what's at hand at the moment, and certainly it's part and parcel of life that we go through waiting time and enter the School of Patience.

I am surely re-learning the trusting instincts of a child. To walk and not be afraid to stumble and fall. To scream and not be afraid of being heard. To dance wildly and not care about looking foolish. To love with all cards laid down and not fear losing. To shower in the rain and not fear getting soaked. To laugh out loud and fear not being thought of as insane.

It's about trusting trust and loving love. Try it. Just do. Like I'm getting accustomed to doing now, with you around, and it always turns out exciting, no matter what the result is, because experiencing is what really counts.

And that's the only assurance there is. Because I have found the person whom the Lord is making right for me and subsequently makes me aligned along that purpose.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?" -Marianne Williamson

Auj says...

Why do we fear? In this world, the feeling of fear comes in when the realization strikes us that we can never be in total control of anything and everything. However, within the boundaries of this fear, the spirit of confidence arises when we are provoked to still manage and handle all types of eventualities which could possibly arise in every moment.

When we refrain from living in fear, that is the only time we begin to be true to ourselves. To live authentic. To live with certainty, which others think is utterly impossible.

We forget that once we become certain of ourselves, all the rest of the good things happen. Our mind becomes more clear. We start learning how to live in the present. We suddenly understand how to define limits and boundaries when it has been long wrongly perceived that to be fearless is to know no boundaries. Fearless is not synonymous to knowing no rules. Courage comes with discipline. We start to nurture compassion within our hearts for our own selves, for others, and anything else that surrounds the space we live in.

Let us forget about being anxious of things of this world that we can never ever be in control of contrary to what society dictates us that we can. Once we embrace the idea that we cannot control everything, but only acknowledge that we are capable of confronting the moment and the rest of the eventualities posed to us by things and scenarios which we cannot control, to live in the present --- are the most potent ways for us to watch our fear evaporate into thin air and be introduced to freedom.

I fear nothing because your love assures me everything that's good and lovely and amazing.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

And two became one

"Spiritual partnership does not necessarily require religious belief, but does require people who work together for "something more." In practical terms, we're talking about getting to know yourself—getting to know what you're feeling, what you're thinking, what you're intending, what your fears are, and what your loves are. That is, what it means while you're walking on earth.

Spiritual growth and meaningful relationships develop together. In other words, the journey to your soul requires the courage to create relationships of substance and depth. These are spiritual partnerships – partnerships between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth.

A spiritual partnership strives for more than just marital vows to provide material comfort. If you want to have the kind of relationship that your heart yearns for, you have to create it. You can't depend on somebody else creating it for you.

Spiritual partnerships have four main requirements—commitment, compassion, courage and conscious communication.

Are you in a spiritual partnership? The first step to finding out is to write down five words that describe your marriage. If you're not married, describe the relationship that you're in right now."

- Gary Zukav

Dori says...

Five words, hmm..






By loving fully, we become fulfilled and challenges we face together make life so much meaningful no matter how unpredictable it may be.

So, are we on the right track? :-)

May we both be watchful that no animosity or fear ruin the rhythm of our nicely choreographed dance. May we not be engulfed by complacency. May we stir away from false assumptions and worldly temptations. May we not grow apart amidst our individuality. May we not lose focus on that one true thing in this life - that is to become God's glory.

Grace and miracles have been our constant visitors, and I'd surely want them as permanent residents in our new abode. Thank you for unceasingly magnifying the Lord's touch just by your presence in my life.

I love you. More. And more. Each day. Everyday. And always.

Auj says...

The best thing about me is you. -Shannon Crown

Never did I believe that love is easy. And I am so grateful I learned and tasted its bitter fruit early on. Yes, it could be as that disgusting. Just come to think of it. We have traditionally used the word "falling" in love which is so ironically masochistic and ends up as something sadistic if eventually, you get your heart broken by the very person whom you felt completed the wholeness in you then. Aren't we all crazy?

However, nothing could be better than tasting it for yourself, learning from it, knowing what it is, and how it should be treated. Love.

I strive to become a good person for this love that embraces my life right now for the noble reason that it is the very essence that made me a good person again. Many say that to become one is to acknowledge that you are actually two. And that there is so much more to share if we would take the time to merge the goodness that God has planted in us, that is Him. That goodness which we can never earn, but can only be given by Him. Hence, we become good to each other. We then turn out to be good ourselves.

More than you will ever learn about how much I love you, I put you on a pedestal higher than myself. I give you my highest respect and trust just because you give it to me naturally as well. Like grace. You don't make things hard for me because even before I can prove things, I know, deep within myself, that you have already believed. Always, when we talk, I can see your heart embracing mine sincerely, like how we restfully embrace in love at the end of each day.

If there's one thing...

I want to let you know at this point in our everyday race, that I have never really made it well with love. I have always been a subversive wave trying to break free from the vast shore which was actually broken pieces of me everywhere. But with someone like you existing around me, I realized that it was worth again fighting and risking everything for.

I'm glad you were the greatest risk of my life.

For it felt so much better than risking for nothing.

It has been utterly overwhelming. But the right track is definitely where we are right now.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Quiet Face of Puerto Galera

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book(Lady Chatterley, for instance), or you take a trip, or you talk with Richard, and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom(when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this(or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death."”

-Anais Nin, erotic writer, 1903-1977

Auj says...

If there's one thing that came out right with my mom convincing me to take up tourism instead of journalism was my adoration for travel. Every once in a while, everything gets into me like unwanted dust that keeps me from breathing easy. Like a champion boxer who gets all beaten up from all the training and the main fight, I always desire to 'hibernate' and let the wind take me to places where I have yet to set my eyes on. Something that would keep my sanity clear. Something to take me far so I can draw near. The irony of living. It always has a subtle way of saying after you were just convinced that there's no stopping, that it's time to 'take a break'.

It takes us a lot more than just worrying about where to go, what to bring, or how much to spend. It's about with whom we will leave the little boy with. To get away is easy. To stay being away is what's hard. After all, you'd realize that all your individual problems and troubles are nothing compared to raising another being who has to live. Luckily, Pio lovingly trembles at the sound of Mamu's voice.. which reminds me each and every time of when I was his age. The only difference is that Mamu is way tamer now. Lucky boy.

They say that to set goals is really hard as to committing to strive to do them consistently. To commit to work is difficult. To commit to leisure does not come easy too. Surprising as it may seem.However, I am glad that we open ourselves up to that opportunity. To leave for a while the lives we live everyday. And be someone else. More free. More carefree. Be worry-free. More time. Less deadlines. More sense. Be senseless and laugh about it. To breathe.

It is always a great honor to spend time with you alone. It makes me realize how patient life has been on me. It tears down all my fears knowing that there may be no guarantees, but I am not alone because you are with me. I touch the face of contentment. Silence that makes us both hear all the words we couldn't say in very ordinary days.

I have no back up plans even if the worst may come for us. I only have travel plans to take you away with me.



I’ve been awakened exactly 353 days now. Time surely is on the run, but vivid as a night’s dream do I recall the timid look, the gullible appeal, the mystifying aura. Meeting you for the first time then did not prepare me for what has been the greatest shock I’ve ever had, shock in a good sense that is, that woke me up from my stupor. Life has been treating me kind then, but there was always dubiousness in my everyday, with dullness and boredom slowly killing me. We met and monotony suddenly bid me goodbye, for good.

If hibernating would give us the time for fruitful reflections and to drown ourselves with gratitude and appreciation, it certainly was a plus lying down on kayak while hovering around the serene cove of Galera, the clouds forming images that seemed to convey ethereal messages meant only for us and the wind seamlessly blowing our concerns far away from us, something I would definitely look forward to doing over and over again.

It may have looked simple, but taking turns to row on the kayak gave me dashes of assurance and sprinkles of certainty that whatever wave comes shaking us, it would be a welcome treat as we’ll be there to watch each other’s back.

With you, life has been such a splendid travel with a lot of learning twists and turns. Surprises come in different packages all the time and with Pio as our passenger, I’m sure we’ll never run out of adventures and explorations.

Let’s sail on.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


For communication to have meaning it must have a life. It must transcend "you and me" and become "us". If I truly communicate, I see in you a life that is not me and partake of it. And you see and partake of me. In a small way we then grow out of our old selves and become something new. To have this kind of sharing I cannot enter a conversation clutching myself. I must enter it with loose boundaries. I must give myself to the relationship, and be willing to be what grows out of it.

From Notes to Myself - Hugh Prather

Auj says...

We often hear the old cliche of saying that we often hear but we don't really get to listen. The usual scenario of having someone in front of you, you get a nod, you somehow assume you are being heard, but you just get a blank stare as a matter of fact. And then you'd hear how the old movie script goes between sweethearts, "hey, are you there?" or "where were you? are you with me?" or better off "are we on the same page?"

How do we listen? How do we let the other feel that we really care just by simple gestures of sincere nodding or a genuine focus of eye attention that would make you melt at that very point in times of conversing? What makes a conversation relevant? Yes, we may know how to define communication, but how do we really implement it in any kind of relationship? What blocks it? What makes us shake when those same blocks start tumbling down on our heads and witness the start of a breakdown?

Those who often claim that the reason of their relationship's failure is lack of communication revolves around statements that sound like these:

- 'There are lots of things that I don't understand about us.'
- 'There are lots of things that I can't seem to comprehend about this love that we hold for each other.'
- 'If you would always listen to what others would say instead of what I have to say first, then we are headed for nothing...'
- 'You never tell me what's wrong.'

or the worst would be this:

- 'We never really talked...'

To listen requires more than just using your pair of ears. Do you even know that we lose so much more that we have to know when we pretend to be listening rather than just literally not being there and missing the whole actual doing of hearing? We lose and watch our quasar of love die down with its own light when we get afflicted with speculations rather than be comforted with assurances. The heart is what we should not put to a close. If we would only listen with it. If we would only listen to one another as we dream together.

Each time we open our hearts as we listen, the chances of longing to be understood yourself expands into a horizon that is limitless. And it is only by then that we can luxuriate in the level of communication that defines us both as a couple and as separate, exquisite beings.

It's nice to hear from others how much they see us love each other at our best. But isn't it sweeter to hear it straight from each other how we are changed every day into something better with our love?

Imagine how peaceful relationships would be if everyone would be humble enough to overcome those fears, which are often, in fact, unidentified, and open one's self to communicating..

When we learn how to listen, that's the only time we can be truly heard.

Dori says...

Imagine talking to a wall, a flat, lifeless and blank wide space in a four-cornered enclosed room, all you would hear is a loud echo of your own voice. That's sometimes how people can best be described especially when coupled with emotions of anger in an argument or heated discussion. All you would hear is your opinion and anybody who would dare contradict should be prepared with Matrix moves and avoid all flying objects you would be throwing at the peak of your rage. So what actually happens is you yourself are not yet really open for communication since no strand of your hearing nerves is working, all shut down; just your blabber mouth and every muscle used for babbling are active.

You might ask, what about with positive emotions, say for example being so happy? It could be said that when you are happy, endorphins are high, so chemically speaking it's easier to channel which senses you would like working best since there is no constriction of vessels compared to when you're angry. You would be in such high spirits to welcome anybody who'd like to share their feelings and ideas with you, thus you both enter into the traffic-free highway of communication. Ever wonder why highways are also called interchange? Word Web explicitly defines it as a junction of highways on different levels that permits traffic to move from one to another without crossing traffic streams. Perfect. Just the right balance of talking and listening for people to meet at some junction and not cross boundaries yet allows for smooth interaction. In the process, both of you end up enriched, interchanged, transcending from I and myself and you and yourself to we and us.

Yes, the heart listens more intently than the ears. If these senses work in harmony, there will be less war, less fighting, less trouble in the world.. well, I might be going overboard in my faith to aim for world peace, so let me just go back in saying how heartwarming it feels every quiet moment spent reflecting on how we have, through time, improved on ourselves by trusting our fears are laid to rest in each other's heart vessels.

I'm so glad my fears are safe with you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Breaking Free

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

-Haruki Murakami

Auj says...

At some point in our lives, we all want to break free from something. For most, it would be the usual topics of vices -- to try to break away from smoking or from eating like a boar. For some, it may be about breaking free from the usual patterns and daily routine like simply working too much. For others, it may be about escaping from the chains of the traditional. For them, it's about coming out.

Various reasons that circle around each other like threads striving to get through the needle's hole. And right there and then, we arrive at something common. We feel weak and incapacitated as we let so much of ourselves to control us. The obsessions. The desires. The addictions. The unchanging habits. How do we loosen its grip around us?

There is no solid answer that we can give or anybody else's can about this. Does it live in us? Does it control us? If so, why do we accept defeat and admit that the mere habit is stronger than us? Which specific part of our body is it located? Where does it creep in? How does it get out?

One study said that every memory we make is laid in each of our cells. That time when you were hurt. That time you caused the hurt. That time you were misunderstood. That time you misunderstood. That time you were put down. That time you have put down someone. So you can just imagine how all these can possibly seep in inside our body, be stored in cells, and find our bodies just plainly responding to what we have just gotten used to but also from what's programmed already. The only question we'll once again come back to is that, who would be running the show, is it gonna be you or is it gonna be your body?

This leads us to the regaining of a perspective that opens our eyes to what is more real about being true. The realization of the immense thought that breaking free is more than just getting to finally do the things that you've always wanted to do but more intensely about touching freedom, holding it like yours, and equips you with sufficient knowledge and impressive wisdom to make the 'right' decisions 'always'. It is simply about learning what is finally best for us, and to not deprive ourselves of it. Hence, this makes us an enlightenment to others -- a greater blessing that you may never have wished for a lot thinking you are unlovely or unworthy.

If we want to do things at our best in complete passion and fulfillment, we should stop acting like a cantankerous child and just grow up. Remember, that getting to know one's self is so essential that it is impossible for us to break free unless we realize this.

It would really be one hell of a job to hold on those reins but we can push ourselves more by reminding ourselves that we are our own's bosses.

You will know you are free when you no longer have to be you.

Then live accordingly.

Hold her hand. And let her take yours.

Did you notice that? We are one.
We are free to love each other.

Dori says..

Through time and life experiences, my belief about fate has evolved from the maƱana mentality where during my early teens I'd always wait for the last minute before doing things and hope for a miracle, then to the que sera sera logic in my twenties thinking that even if I don't do anything life will treat me kind if that was my palm reading or stroke of luck, to now the power of thoughts and having control over shaping my own destiny, walking by faith and grace.

As novelist Aldous Huxley once wrote, "There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." One corner. It sounds flyspeck, but the fact remains your shadow does invade that substantial light no matter how vast the universe is. It rings true also that if you want to weather any storm and be alive to see calmness and rainbow-colored freedom, you have to master yourself, know what will keep you dancing in the turbulent rain, and most of all when to step back if thunder and lightning is too much for you to bear.

I totally agree true freedom can be experienced when no storm is tumultous enough to crash you from inside; when after all the stupid mistakes, the stubbornness, the bloated ego, the resistance to change, the refusal to grow, and the denial of truth, you rise above your own self and follow the One Master. Only then can you feel breaking free from all the cares of this world and serve as pathway for others to see the light. Splendid. Riveting.

Knowing what will make and break you will make your life so much more bearable and thus empower you to create beautiful relationships, nurturing and loving. When you finally understand how to be like a child in constant wonder and to relive your innocence, that's breaking free.

And yes, realizing that love is the reason why we were created, we are so free.

To touch her hand and feel love, that's blissful freedom.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Tension of Opposites

From Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
"Have I told you about the tension of opposites?", he says.

The tension of opposites?

"Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn't. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.

A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle."

Sounds like a wrestling match, I say.

"A wrestling match." He laughs. "Yes, you could describe life that way."

So, which side wins, I ask?

"Which side wins?"

He smiles at me, the crinkled eyes, the crooked teeth.

"Love wins. Love always wins."

Auj says...

I have always favored this topic and series of exchanges between Morrie and Mitch. This was the solution to my adolescent questions of confusion. This served as one of the keys to the many doors of getting to know myself better. And now that I am moving huge steps forward, I wonder how these lines can help me once again.

The tension of opposites becomes alive to me each time I am torn between major decisions that envelope goodness or evil, want or need, things like that, which other people may regard as simple but naturally complex. This is something that you define of like knowing what is actually right, but still doing what is wrong. Or when you are trapped in the sense of putting aside yourself for the benefit of the ones you love, like family. And then you follow the usual advice of simply following your heart.

To leave my family and be on my own is a plan I have had for a long time but never really found the chance to do it at an earlier time. I went through extreme measures to live what is so called "my" life. Not that I was a rebel but I've always believed that we are all given a right to not allow others to live our lives for us. Even at some point. Or just one point. If we are that good. Or kind.

But everything has its time. There is that point where we begin and there is what we call ending. Even kindness has its own end. So again, once you reach the end, where do you begin?

With the concept of living together finally drawn clear, our schedule every week is a bit tough but we're able to manage. We alot particular days for each clan. That part is easy. But to combine them is not. There are just things that I see as consequences for each and every action or decision that we settle for. However, I believe that these are the same things we can settle too with the power of time.

Time is of the essence. Perfect.

But what about it and when?

That I can not answer. But guess what? I plan to just wait. For things to unravel on its own and define itself, justify itself, redeem itself. I personally believe for things to heal more permanently when you don't get too finicky about the whole idea. When we let the perfect time to dwell with us, even when uninvited.

It will arrive.

I do not fear of losing my credibility or being deprived for any worldly triumphs or trophies for that matter.. for choices that I have made on my own with the confidence that I also deserve something to achieve for myself. Leaving the ones we are so used to being with since our childhood is as difficult as the struggle of living together. But if there could be any reward for such bravery of my decisions, it's the wonderful presence of the one you want to spend your lifetime with that makes it all worth it.

Love wins. Love always wins.

Dori says...

I like this phrase the most - You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted. It hits me every time that probably this is the root why many relationships fail, whether it be romantic or familial. When time comes that you get so used to being treated a certain way and you feel it's routinary, you may react just two ways - first is you might feel like a growth retard and get bored especially if your family treats you still like the first grader they've nurtured eons ago and seem to forget you are indeed maturing, OR you may start thinking about ways to foster changes for this retardation to stop - live on your own, create variety in your relationship, and even try new ventures or adventures.

Indeed a tension of opposites having to live together and leave the familiar grounds we once called home as we now build anew our own home. The tension of family favors and expectations and coping with the scrumble of daily life. The opposites of being good and being right. The rigor of raising a challenging kid and working at home and earning a living. But at the end of the day, nothing but gratefulness reins in my heart as every struggle reminds me I am living it right when I let love make the decision for me. I agree everything has its time and it is my sincerest hope it will be kind to us that day will come soon when our families will finally mingle. I also faithfully believe that these tensions don't come close to the parallel force we have as we face each opposite now side by side.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Beginning

What marks the beginning of a relationship?

Auj says...

What better way to begin than to become friends. Trying out one's luck to start all over in the world of relationships is widely experienced by both sides of the world: the one who has been single for a long time and the one who's always hooked with someone (regardless of the duration) but never stayed long with just one person. The common thing: both is looking to have someone 'for good' this time.

Many would ask when would those sparks fly? How would you know that you're up for the grab this time? Who would really make your heart beat in a rate that is increasingly unimaginable?How do you know that this is finally the person whom you can bear being with in your everyday and still manage to make you undoubtingly happy?

It all goes down to that 'getting to know each other' phase. It was two to four years ago when I got this lesson from watching a Korean soap. The lead guy character was a typical playboy who always rushes way past this stage in his relationships and later on learned things the hard way by getting his own heart broken in the end.

The guy believes that to go through that phase would just mean a lot of time wasted. There's a lot of people like that walking in and out of each other's worlds. They carry the perception that there is no need to still go to the details if you know the person is right for you already. What we forget is that this is what a relationship is going to be about. The tiny bits and pieces about another person that you choose to love and spend your life with are the very parts that will complete the whole presentation of your loved one's totality of self to you. Everything matters.

If we would put this into heart, we would easily realize that we are not wasting time at all especially if we'd discover that once we commit ourselves again to a lifelong dream of love and passion, to get to know each other is what we'll be spending all our time on.

When we love truly and beyond more than we thought we are just allowed to, we can be compared to "*the eccentrics who wow us with their unusual habits and stream-of-conscious creativity, the inventors who give us wonderfully unique gadgets that whiz and whirl and make our life surprisingly more manageable, the geniuses who discover new mathematical equations, the great musicians and writers and artists who enliven our lives." (*taken from Liane Holliday Willey's "Pretending to be Normal")

Dori says...

If we are to go astronomically inclined, the cliche that the moon and the stars must have been in perfect alignment and shining brightly at the exact time that two people meet would explain how relationships begin. I know, it sounds corny, but how else could we at least grasp an understanding of why a simple smile or a quick hand shake gives you a heart flutter and for that split second feel for a moment that the world's turning goes into a halt?
Indeed, it sounds like a fluke hits you when after the introduction, unconsciously both of you hear angels singing in your head, "I call you and you call me..it's funny how we get on so easily..coz we're getting to know each other a little too well.." and when you wake up in the morning find yourself humming in the shower "Everytime that your eyes meet mine, I light up like a neon sign, yes, we're getting to know each other a little too well..."

Many people say that when you finally meet the one, it feels right. The person seems to fit the missing pieces in your heart, and definitely mind. The telltale signs of being in love then become apparent on you - you show up at work earlier than usual and very inspired that even your boss will notice the glow in your eyes (not knowing that you're just showing up for work to chat), the nicest smile stuck on your face with the sound of a text message and finding yourself in need of unlimited text load. There's just the magic word why this happens - you click.

Things and events fall into place and it feels like the universe is nodding in agreement. Not even GMA's SONA traffic or MRT's endless lines will stop the two of you from converging. If there's a will, there surely is a way - a street, a road, an alley, whereever you might find yourself heading to that place where possibilities meet.

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