Setting a Goal

Inspiring quote for the day:

Set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can.”

— Unknown

On Finding My Unique Writing Voice

I know I’m smart, but I don’t sound smart when I write. I know I’m intelligent, but I don’t want to sound all-knowing or intellectual. I know I’m fun to be with, but I don’t want to sound like fun.

I’m a serious person – but I don’t want to sound too staid or flat when I write. I want my articles to be able to speak to you, move you, make you react or comment. You may give me pointers or feedback or anything as long as we can strike up a conversation. To create a ripple among other readers, I hope.

I want my blog to have a far reach – especially among people my age – but anyone is most welcome. I want my blog not only as a repository of my reflective thoughts on life in general. But of opinions on issues that matter around the world today. More so with the kind of world we have today that abounds with hatred, violence, lack of civility, and the like.

But I don’t want to write about anything political or of current events. Maybe just an opinion or two about some issues. Maybe just to influence some thinking and inspire some deep conversation.

I feel shy or embarrassed whenever I tell people I write in my own blog because I feel my writing lacks something. Perhaps what they say as personality or voice. Hence what I’m doing now is an exercise to find my own voice.

I know I write with sense – but I see now it lacks chutzpah. What can I do to add some life to my pieces?

Okay. I’m writing now to you my dear friend. You know me well enough, and one thing I like is I’m able to make you laugh because I’m witty, smart. There – I’ve just found two adjectives I want my blog to sound like: WITTY, SMART (not trying hard nor trite).

I also wish my blog to sound cool, soft and flowing – peaceful and serene. Because a deep part of myself longs for quiet and calm. Like meditative sounds in the background — that’s how I long my blog to sound like.

I came across this quote; somehow it makes sense.

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
—Elmore Leonard

Respect: What Today’s World So Badly Needs

It’s my first time to write something like this but I can’t just help it. What urged me to do so was the recent news that reported about one Law student being shamed by her professor when she came to class wearing shorts.

Her professor reportedly made sexist remarks to the third year female student and asked her to “dress properly.”  The comments made by the professor were indeed uncalled for, over the top, and yes, sexist —  arrogantly putting into question the student’s credibility and character!

Couldn’t he have just waited after class to reprimand his student in private? It would’ve been more respectful of him to do so, and could’ve avoided needless hurt on his student and the rest of the class. He should have comported himself with decorum, in the first place, for it was his perceived “lack of decorum” of his student that he was being angry about, and because he is a professor who should be modeling proper behavior to his students – at all times and circumstances. His profession demands he conducts himself respectfully, politely and with dignity.

Granted he could not wait after his class – shouldn’t he have chosen his words more wisely? Why did he have to go out of the issue anyway — the matter of dress code in his class.

Just because he is male, and an esteemed professor, he perhaps thought he had every right to chastised his student in front of everybody. So he chose to do so, without much discernment, without much thought to his choice of words and act. And according to another report, the professor said in an interview, there was no written dress code for students in NLSIU’s rules currently but he has asked the university administration to issue clarifications about the dress code to the students, especially keeping in mind that “certain decorum” is expected from students attending lectures taken “especially by a senior faculty member”.

certain decorum” is expected from students attending lectures taken “especially by a senior faculty member” — Clearly, the professor’s ego got pricked at seeing his student in shorts. More so, as this happened in a culture that is predominantly conservative, traditional and where a machismo attitude still takes hold of many males. But he could have acted with grace by keeping quiet until the bell rang, and talk with the student in a nice way.

Yes, I feel for the female student – and young as she is, I can just imagine the pain, embarrassment and shame she had to endure. She and her classmates had every right to feel aggrieved and protest this uncivilised act of their professor’s public shaming.

Yet on the other hand — I also wonder about people’s sense of propriety nowadays, not just the young. But older ones too. It seems to me that the very idea of being proper – is no longer observed because what is given more importance today is one’s individual preferences, one’s own comfort, one’s own ways. Individualism is the rage!

Who cares about what others say? But to observe propriety or decorum is still called for because showing respect is never out of place and is never out of fashion. Proper behavior or decorum is still a must in a civilised society. We all should adhere to unspoken rules as well that we give consideration for others, as we would expect them to be considerate of us. Respect for others, for places, for people’s time — this is part of plain good manners and right conduct. Giving others due respect is also respecting ourselves.

Yet many people — men and women, young and old alike — do not think about this, as they think of only themselves and what makes them happy and comfortable.

How would you think if a guest attends your formal wedding rites or that of your offspring, in very casual outfit – slippers and shorts? Would you not also feel upset about that? Or  even inviting your friend to a sit-down dinner at your home – honestly, wouldn’t you have some sort of expectation as to how your friends will be attired, or even you, when you visit other homes?

I’m not blaming the young girl – what I am just saying is, perhaps she, just like so many others – no longer think twice about discomfiting others – with the way they behave and dress in public.

Thus – my point is – whether the professor was right or wrong on being upset with what his student wore to class – he shouldn’t have behaved the way he did. And for the young girl, unless her shorts were of knee-length, such attire in class is improper indeed.

What the world today needs more of is RESPECT – respect for oneself, for one another, for rules of propriety, for whatever it takes to make the world a better, civilized place to live in.

Young and old, all should observe proper decorum. Let’s remember, the world isn’t just about us. We live with others; thus, it shouldn’t always be “live and let live.”

 

The Broken Glass: A Reflection

God heals a broken heart, but He has to have all the pieces.

This quote came to mind after I broke a glass by accident, and I was keeping it away intending to wrap it carefully before I’d relegate it to the trash bin.

God mends our broken pieces to make us whole again…

Despite the damage, a sparkling glean radiated – like a glint of the rising sun – from its sharp, broken edges and the shards scattered at the bottom, transforming the broken glass into a stunning beauty!

Reflection

We are just like that glass ~~  broken, crushed at times. Yet we can appreciate ourselves even more, if we can look at ourselves through God’s eyes. And if despite our weaknesses, our failures, our struggles, we carry on and lift to God our pains and sorrows, we strengthen our character; we strengthen our faith in God and in ourselves.

But we need to trust God, first of all. Trust that He can work His miracle in us if we allow Him to do so. Thus, we need to lift up to Him all our cares, our sufferings — He has to have all the broken pieces” of ourselves to make us whole again, and again, and again…

Times when I do get angry at myself for some reasons, such as not meeting my goals for the day, or when stuck at a certain task, or faced with situations that make me think low of myself. Tears flow, especially when the hurt inside is much like the pain caused by the sharp edges of a broken glass. Yet I remember to pray – sometimes, it’s a real struggle to, still I cry my heart out to Him.

At that point, God’s Peace and Mercy fill my heart to the brim, and I get the confidence to move on. Indeed, I can start to love myself wholly again, for God makes me whole again with His undying Love.

A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit…replace the tension within us with a holy relaxation.

Replace the turbulence within us with a sacred calm.

Replace the anxiety within us with a quiet confidence.

Replace the fear within us with a strong faith.

Replace the bitterness within us with the sweetness of grace.

Replace the darkness within us with a gentle light.

Replace the coldness within us with a loving warmth.

Replace the night within with Your day.

Replace the winter within us with Your spring.

Straighten our crookedness, Fill our emptiness,

Dull the edge of our pride, Sharpen the edge of our humility,

Light the fires of our love, Quench the flames of our lust.

Let us see ourselves as You see us.

That we may see You as You have promised,

And be fortunate according to Your word:

“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

(prayer courtesy of the St. Joseph Convent of Perpetual Adoration, Hemady, Quezon City)

 

Finding Contentment

When life gives you lemons, make some lemonade.

Thus the saying goes. And I say, when there’s brownout (power cut-off), take some photos.

So what else is there to do when it’s raining, with a pestering brownout to boot – almost eight-hours long. You take photos, just like I did.  Thus, during yesterday’s heavy afternoon downpour that led to that long power cut-off, I busied myself with my simple phone camera looking for interesting angles, textures and patterns.

And here they are. Be warned though; they’re not pro. These are just snapshots meant to amuse, and let the creative juice flow. Just my way of finding beauty in the mundane – just as in my previous post with the same title– even during a heavy rain.

Finding contentment, seeing beauty even in the most mundane…

 

 

Note: Too bad my photos got waylaid when I changed my theme…but still keeping this post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making A Choice to be Happy

Audrey Hepburn said, “If my world were to cave in tomorrow, I would look back on all the pleasures, excitements and worthwhilenesses I have been lucky enough to have had. Not the sadness, not my miscarriages or my father leaving home, but the joy of everything else. It will have been enough.” Do you think you would do the same, or do the sad times stand out in your mind?

I am generally the kind who’d rather be happy than sad. Yes, times when things really make me sad, hurt, disappointed, but I can shake these negative feelings off after a while. Being a reflective person also helps me in striving to look for the brighter side of things.

We only have one life to live, one precious life to make the best of everything, so it pays to create a positive outlook. Having a positive disposition can help us navigate the sometimes troubling waters of our lives. It’s a choice for us to make — to be happy despite the unpleasant, sad circumstances that may be dealt to us by life. I shall then connect this to my previous post, “On Becoming Who We Are” –

That if we define ourselves to be happy, positive persons, we then choose to be happy and optimistic however depressing our situations may be at times. Isn’t this a better way to carry our loads — with grace and equanimity? And I believe this is also one big secret to why Audrey Hepburn’s classic beauty remained with her until the end.

So the next time you find yourself being overwhelmed by a distressing moment, choose to be happy, and stay positive! Cheers!

 

On Becoming Who We Are…

Buddha said, “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Do you believe this is true?

I adhere to this universal truth, and understand it from the eyes of my Christian faith. Other disciplines likewise understand this universal truth and speak about it in terms of their own languages, such as philosophy and psychology.

But in this post, I’ll write briefly about this in terms of my Christian faith and theology.

My Christian faith teaches me that I have been created by God who is Love, and since I am made in God’s likeness and image, thus my striving should be that of becoming a person of Love – a loving person.

To become a loving person who is able to enflesh God who is Love in our daily lives is the goal of each and every Christian. For to do this is to journey towards God, towards whom every Christian yearns to go back to.

An essential point, too, is to realize that in our deepest core lies God; in the center of our being is God.

Thus, to love as God loves makes us who we really are: good, loving persons, created beings in the image and likeness of God who is Love, and who is Good.

Yet, God who is Love also gave each human person his/her own free will, and through this free will, comes the freedom of choice – the choice to be good, or to be bad; the choice to be loving or not to be so.

In moral theology we speak of two kinds of freedom, but I shall not be delving on that here, but just know, through the free will God has given us, we can create a Christian moral vision of ourselves: “Who am I before my God?” Good person or evil/bad person?

Nevertheless, like what Buddha is quoted to have said, We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves,” when a person realizes that s/he is indeed a good, loving person, from the deepest core of his/her being, and chooses to be so, then the choices s/he makes are towards being good and loving. As such, s/he acts accordingly. Each act an act of goodness, of love.

To think good, to think love is an act, and all actions pertinent to such thoughts of goodness and love thus naturally follow.

However, as human beings, we do fail at times in our goal of becoming good and loving. We are sinful; we are weak. That is part of being human.

At the same time though, one act of failure does not diminish the truth of who we really are: good, loving persons.

Yet, if we constantly fail – then our acts of failure will become bad habits that may soon define the person we are becoming, which is farthest from who God has originally created us to be.

I know that to profess “God is love” sounds so abstract to many people, even to Christians – but as my final word in this post, it would help to focus on the Trinitarian God, for in the Trinity – 3 persons in One God – a community of Love exists, and this is how I believe God who is Love can be enfleshed in our lives, and how we ourselves can strive to be good, to be loving.

In short, by building a community of Love in our homes, in the society, and in the world, each of us can flourish to our fullness as a human person of love and goodness.

How about you dear readers, care to share your thoughts on this? Use the comment box below.

 

Knowing Sadness Makes Us Appreciate Happiness

Do you believe you need to know sadness in order to appreciate happiness?

I’ve always held the belief that to be happy is to be grateful with what you have, with your life, with who you are. Being happy also means appreciating the small things – like taking delight in your family, your everyday tasks, enjoying nature around you, seeing a smile on a loved one’s face. Just simply being thankful for another day…

Seeing beauty in a simple floral arrangement makes me happy…

Someone named Marc shared an entry from his grandmother’s journal, depicting this: “My body sometimes feels sore, but it works.  I don’t sleep well most nights, but I do wake up to experience another day.  My wallet is not full, but my stomach is.  I don’t have all the things I’ve ever wanted, but I do have everything I need.  I’m thankful, because although my life is by no means perfect, it is MY life and I choose to be thankful in it, as I continue to do the best I can.” 

And that is exactly what I feel and think about happiness, which I do my best to apply, in general. Making the most of what I have, striving to be and to do the best I can.

Yet on a different level, I think that sometimes, knowing sadness can help us appreciate happiness more. Because sometimes, we tend to take things and people for granted —

“Sometimes it takes sadness to know happiness, noise to appreciate silence and absence to value presence.” – Unknown

I do believe that if you haven’t learnt about sadness, you cannot appreciate happiness. Nana Mouskouri

Indeed.

And the good that comes out of our sad experiences? Our personal encounters with sadness can also help us in being more compassionate, more empathetic towards others in their times of pain and struggles, so it moves us to become more loving, more generous.

What do you think? You may share them in the comment box below.

Snowflakes in Summer…

It’s December, a month associated with joy, the Christmas Joy that warms the heart, the Christian Joy!

 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

 

But it is also a month people from the tropics – like me –  normally associate with the wintry cold in the west, with many countries experiencing Snow, something I myself never have experienced, but which I used to dream a lot about as a child.

And so I give way to this joyful, warm feeling of CHRISTMAS, infusing it with some frosty fun into my blog by bringing in some Snowflakes!!! Even just on my blog can I have a dash of Winter —

“Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! ”

 

On Being Positive

A good reminder for ourselves most especially when we’re feeling down or out, or ill — circumstances that make it easy for us to make excuses; indeed, we just do the best we can, no matter what, and at the end of the day, we’ll be glad we’ve kept our spirits up and alive!

By asking God for guidance and inspiration, I often find a reason to stay positive no matter what my situation is.

“Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” — Miguel Angel Ruiz

 

Read more Positive Quotes here