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 ma├▒ana 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'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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