A Daily Pattern and Rhythm: Worship, Work, and Music

In my previous post, I talk about the need to Establish a Daily Pattern and Rhythm in Our Lives.

This is so we can have some order and inner peace and a sense of balance. But how can we create a daily pattern and rhythm to bring about these?

Let us first look at these terms.

Pattern, according to Oxford dictionary, is “a regular and intelligible form or sequence discernible in certain actions or situations.” Rhythm, says Oxford, is “a regularly recurring sequence of events, actions, or processes.”

Through our daily routine and regular activities, we are able to build a system or order of conducting our lives, which lends a certain cadence or tempo into our days.

Hence, we talk of our regular eating/sleeping time and so forth. If we skip a beat, we might feel uneasy. We get sick, if we form the bad habits of sleeping too late or getting not enough sleep, and missing our meals. (I will be writing more on this in a later post.)

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Again, using the fine example of contemplative religious communities, they start and end their day in worship and prayer, and interspersed in between are their hours of work and/or study, as well as time for their rest and recreation.

Such mindful use of their hours with nothing put to waste! So much so they have no time to focus too much on the bad and the ugly. Rather, they tend to set their sights on the good, their hearts on God.

God’s Template

Come to think of it, I’ve realized God himself has given us the perfect template for creating pattern and rhythm in our daily life:  work and rest and worship.

“For six days, you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God.[…] For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.” — Exodus 20:8-11

  • Worship and Prayer

Wouldn’t it be good to also start your own day with a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to your God, the Creator of the Universe and of all beings? As well as end the day with a prayer or quiet time with Him?

Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels

For Christians, worshiping God is His first commandment to us, which He himself spoke to Moses and the people of Israel on Mount Sinai:

“I am the Lord your God […] you shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20: 1-3 (NRSV)

And Jesus too spoke of the same when He was tempted by Satan in the desert:

“Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him.” – Matthew 4:10 (NRSV)

For the religious communities I mentioned above, in obedience to God’s divine law  to worship Him, these  are two verses from the Bible by which they design their daily life:

Psalm 119:164 “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.” (KJV)

Psalm 119:62 “At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.” (KJV)

So Christians even in the secular world are called upon to worship God — though not exactly in the way religious communities arrange their prayer time.  I myself have been doing my best to preserve my own sacred time with God. I wrote about this in my previous post, Create Sacred Time in Daily Life to Attain Calm, Achieve More, and Grow.

As God himself commanded us, so be it, as it is good for our spiritual lives. Worshiping Him is God’s greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your might.” — Deuteronomy 6:5 (NRSV)

Non-Christians also do pray. They have their own special ways to commune with a Higher Being or Deity.

In other words, praying is as basic as the need to eat, sleep, and breathe — to  ground oneself, be firm, and grow.

  • Work/Study

Surely you know how work and study are important for us to grow.  Work is the means by which we can make use of our God-given talents, and enables us to provide for ourselves and those entrusted to our care, as well as be of help to the less fortunate.

But what I’m stressing more here is how to make your day more meaningful. How are you maximizing your time? What are you aiming for — being busy or being productive?

Aim to spend each hour of the day in producing results that can lead you closer to your goals. Avoid spending time on needless tasks or activities that will not help you grow — as in too much time on social media. Allot time for your continuous learning. “One hour per day of study in your chosen field is all it takes, “ as Earl Nightingale once said.

When we fill our days with meaningful work or activity, we glorify God. And we are safe from the temptation of the evil one, as the popular saying goes, “An idle mind/hands are the devil’s workshop.”

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash
  • Music

What better way to mark our daily pattern and rhythm with special sounds that can enhance our day than music? I like this definition of music from Wikipedia: “Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time.” 

Music as a form of worship and prayer is uplifting, soul-refreshing, unifying our soul and spirit with God. It is indeed the highest form of prayer we can offer to God, to whom all Glory and Praise belong.

Outside the realm of religious rites, music is an invaluable part of our lives. It’s one of the most effective ways to express emotions and create mood. Isn’t it nice to have music playing in the background while you work (or do chores),  study,  or to simply relax?

Also, today more and more people are turning to music as a healing therapy, such as those offered by Breathe & Chill on YouTube: binaural beats, calming sounds of nature. They even have binaural beats for children.

So there, dear reader. If you are already getting fed up by the noise  and pain in the world, or yearning to deepen your spirituality, or to gain clearer direction, it is time to re-arrange your daily life with these 3 important elements of worship, work and music. Let go and let God, too, if things are getting too much to bear!

  • God created the Universe and all in it according to His set design and pattern, so there may be ORDER in the natural word.

“For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it, (he established it; he didn’t create it a chaos, formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the LORD and there is no other.” — Isaiah 45:18 (The NRSV Catholic Edition)

  • God gave us His commandments for our own good, that we may lead orderly lives and not lose our way.

“GOD is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all. ” — 1 John 5 (NRSV, Catholic Edition)

See this article too on “Why is Obedience to God Important?” by Mary Fairchild, Learn Religions, Feb. 11, 2020.

God’s perfect template for pattern and rhythm in our daily life: work and rest and worship.

 

 

 

Establishing a Daily Pattern and Rhythm in Our Lives

Are you getting jaded, disheartened, or depressed by what is happening around the world?

Our world today is full of strife, noise, and excesses. These chaos around us can deplete us of our inner energy and peace, causing us to drift mindlessly or drown in a sea of confusion or meaninglessness. It is easy to lose ourselves.

So we need to retain or restore our sense of balance and of self. One way to do this is by establishing a daily pattern and rhythm.

Lately, I’ve been striving to build pattern and rhythm into my everyday life under the maxim, Ora et Labora: Prayer and work incorporated into each of my day. I also include listening to music into my routine: classical, instrumental, and healing music.

My inspiration for this is the monastic and convent life of religious orders and congregations of contemplative  priests/monks and nuns, (those whose main life is devoted to prayer inside their monasteries or convents) such as, to name a few, the Benedictines, the Carmelites, and the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (Pink Sisters) of which my younger sister is a member.

A community of Pink Sisters at prayer. We brought my dad’s urn to the Pink Sisters community where my sister is a member, for a memorial Mass, as they are not allowed to go out and attend family events…

Their daily life is marked by a routine of worship and prayer, work and study, rest and recreation.

Not to overlook that singing is also part of their worship and prayer. Music is very much interwoven into their daily pattern.

PATTERN and RHYTHM Brings ORDER into Our Lives

It will be good for us, if we can adopt the same principle into our own life in the secular world.

Establishing a daily pattern and rhythm  brings order into our lives, both external and internal. Let me explain further.

Have you ever had some experience dealing with or interacting with contemplative monks/priests and nuns?

If so, you must have noticed how calm, quiet, and gentle they go about their day. Even their movement seems unhurried and fluid, their voice soft and angelic. Nothing harsh nor abrupt in the way they move or speak. The same is true with my own sister and her co-sisters in their convent.

It must be their disciplined, structured life. I also remember my professor in Pastoral Psychology and Counseling, a Jesuit priest, reminding us to “move slowly, speak slowly, eat slowly.” He stressed the importance of being in the moment, in the here-and-now.

Perhaps there is wisdom in that way of living, which we can adapt to our own individual environment, circumstances, and everyday living to:

  • Help us put up with the negative forces around us of which we have little control;
  • Enable us to tackle the challenges and problems of modern life, especially those brought about by technology, and still remain sane.

Among the downside of technology we are facing today are:

  • Disconnect between the real and the virtual world
  • Climate of negativity and superficiality on social media
  • Spread of fake news, lies, and hate-crimes
  • Depression and suicide among the young
  • Technology-driven warfare

So disheartening, huh? That is why, I state again, we need to have some form of defense against these negative forces in the external world, or call it crutch if you will, to help us maintain our inner composure and equilibrium. Something to pull us back to ourselves in case we get lost.

Now,  some of you  especially the young or those of you who are more free-spirited and dislike being hemmed in by a strict time regimen and routine,  maybe you won’t agree with me. But it pays to have structure and regularity in our daily life.

Photo by Robin Spielmann on Unsplash

In fact, studies show we are wired to follow certain patterns and rhythms – just like our heart beats, breathing, and sleep-wake cycle, for example. Even nature follows patterns and rhythms, like the rising and setting of the sun, the ebb and flow of tides, seasonal changes, and so on.

Just observe things around you. You will notice the presence of patterns and rhythms in your own life and in the natural world. Don’t you just feel safe and secure when you see daylight comes out after the dark hours of night? No matter the weather is, day is sure to follow night. That is the natural law, the natural order of things.

More than a disciplined, well-arranged daily pattern, these priests/monks and cloistered nuns seem to be possessed with quiet confidence that everything will be alright despite all the above-mentioned issues. They remain unperturbed like lotuses in a pond.

We can indeed re-arrange our days to help us weather the external chaos going on around us; that despite the turmoil of a superficial, hostile world, we can still live with inner peace and balance.

In my next post, I will show you how you can create pattern and rhythm in your own life through Worship, Work, and Music interwoven into each of your days.

 

* NOTE: This is my revised post. The original contains the 2nd part which I now have to make into a new post in itself.

 

 

 

Create Sacred Time in Daily Life to Attain Calm, Achieve More, and Grow

I remember growing up with a daily structure to follow. I belonged to that generation when parents instilled a disciplined time management to their children. Whether on schooldays or vacation, we had to start our day early.

Do you know the saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise?” That was my parents’ motivation for us.

This is true for most parents that they want their children to be successful in life. They believe success starts with an early day.

Another parents’ favorite saying is, “The early bird catches the worm.” Thus, when my own children were growing up, I also instilled in them this good habit of waking up early.

Downside of Flexible Hours

But as years went by, long after my children had grown and started their own lives, I managed to establish my own flexible time routine as my needs demanded it. Like if I had a class, or appointment, or an errand late in the morning, I’d get up late too, beyond 7 am.

My days became more and more flexible, since I quit my teaching job at a pastoral institute and opted to work from home. Yet, the freedom flextime (flexible hours) gave me was both simultaneously good and overwhelming!

Photo by Enikő Tóth from Pexels

I realized I wasn’t as productive as I used to. Without a set time structure for my day, the hours seemed to fly by without me having accomplished as much as I wanted or needed to.

Besides, the feeling of cramming too many things in a few hours of the day was already creating a sense of mindless flow and needless stress.

It seems like Time and Temper run in short supply, as we get older.

The Beauty of Creating Sacred Time

Fast forward to the beginning of this year, I vowed to be more mindful of the hours I spend in a day.

I had to rediscover the joy of waking up much earlier again, at the crack of dawn when everything was still dark, cold, and dreary.

But, more than waking up early, something inside me was still yearning for more, for something deeper and far more meaningful for each of my day.

I realized then I needed to create a special time for prayer or quiet meditation, a time for communing with God.

And I can only do so by setting particular hours of my day for this Sacred Time, spread throughout my day, with intention; to pray not only when I feel like or have extra time.

So far, this has been helping me set the tone for my day.

The beauty of doing this? Waking up earlier than usual and creating Sacred Time for certain hours of the day, I can, among many other benefits:

  • Start my day with a prayer and conversation with God with no hurry
  • Enjoy watching the dark dawn turn light into a new day
  • Watch the first glow of the morning sun peeking through the mountains in the eastern side of the metropolis
  • Observe the pigeons in the neighborhood take flight for their morning exercise
  • Organize my day’s activities, including rest, more mindfully and meaningfully
  • Focus more on the present
  • Feel more calm and relaxed despite hardship and challenges knowing I am a prayer away from my Creator
  • Accomplish more by giving priority to the most urgent tasks and doing away with killing time
  • End my day with a healing prayer before bedtime
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

In short, I find it refreshing and energy boosting in starting and ending the day on a positive note, which can only come from having a time for prayer. My Sacred Time! It has helped deepen my prayer life.

Of course, I still feel challenged at times, and problems still take the better of me. Yet, growing closer to God through my Sacred Time, I can overcome the negatives, do more, and grow to be the best person I can ever be.

“Be still and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10

If you feel you need more calm, want to be more productive, and grow, you too can try this. You can also create your own sacred time or space. You may have your own version of it – your own quiet, solitary time, communing with your Higher Being, at an hour/or hours  and place you choose. It brings the same effect. It will surely benefit you in many more ways than you’ll ever know.

 

 

 

 

 

2020: New Year, New Life, New Hope

It’s 2020! A brand New Year!

Like most people, I ‘d like to believe a New Year signifies New Life, New Hope.

A new year inspires in us a new way of living.

Living more positively.

Resolving to overcome bad habits.

Creating new ones in the hope these will bring us much closer to our goals.

And this is what I’d also like to wish for my blog, too: time to head for a new direction, a fresh outlook, more inspiring posts and articles, and so forth. To rise again like a lotus.

There was a time I used to name this blog, Summr LotusPond. Why?

As I wrote then in my blog’s former About Page, I’d like to see my blog as somehow akin to a Pink Lotus flower — that despite my imperfections in writing, my blog can hopefully withstand these and continue being a garden for my creative inclinations where my dream of being a writer can flourish.

And though I still see my blog as ‘a garden for my creative inclinations,’ I will strive to post something more useful, more inspiring, for you dear reader, straight from my heart.

Photo by Vivek Doshi on Unsplash

The Pink Lotus is considered to be the supreme lotus; though not a Buddhist myself, I like the symbolism attached to it — Rebirth. The Lotus thrives in dirty, muddy ponds — goes through a cycle of opening all its petals in the morning, then closes each in the late afternoon — yet, it emerges untainted and beautiful despite its mucky surroundings.

And just like the Pink Lotus that is said to symbolize a person’s spiritual journey: while still a bud, it represents a ‘closed’ person who is yet to move on to the next step in his/her spiritual journey; as the flower blooms, it represents an opening up of a person to all that is around.

Last year, my blog sort of went on a limbo, when I stopped posting in the second half of the year.  And this year, I promise you, just like the Pink Lotus, English All You Can: TeachMarich Journal of Inspiration will have another of its Rebirth!

 

Why I Can Never Forget My First Travel Abroad

It’s been over two months since my first travel outside the Philippines, and here I am still reeling from this incredulous feeling of finally, “I made it!”
 
Everything about my travel – the places my son and I visited, the food, the people there, and all these that I narrate here – make my first travel abroad something I can never ever forget.
 
Thanks much to my son who invited me, my long time dream of going abroad has come true — and traveling SOLO at that! Of course, my son would be there to meet and fetch me after work, then take me around. You see, he often goes to Singapore as part of his job, so he wanted me to be able to visit the country while he was there.
Me and the mini Merlion somewhere along the Marina Bay – a photo taken by my son, my avid photographer during my stay at the Lion City

Yet, the prospect of traveling abroad all by myself – getting to the airport and back (from the trip), and going through the long process from check-in to security check, and flying alone with strangers — was daunting enough for me because that meant getting out of my comfort zone. I’m used to being assisted especially in new situations.

 Last year in fact — as I shared in a previous post — the chance to travel overseas already presented itself to me. Not your regular adventurer at heart, I found many excuses to back off.
 
But this time, I mustered the courage to embrace this golden opportunity, for such may no longer come my way. Besides, my son had already bought my plane tickets at short notice, too (so I’d no longer have any excuses to say no).
 
With little time to prepare my mind, my heart, and my things, “a drum of anxieties was revolving in my consciousness” (to quote Alain de Botton in his book, “The Art of Travel”) days prior to my scheduled flight.
 
Worrying about losing my way at the airports (here and at Changi), my hearing impairment, and my natural clumsiness even at my age, I was getting to be a big bundle of nerves as the time drew near.
 
Despite my own research on what to expect for a first-timer traveler, plus lots of pointers and encouragement from family, I still feared making mistakes. Which I had on several instances. After all, I wouldn’t be me without my bloopers!
 
My family and some close friends understand how I also hate taking a taxi on my own, or going home late, much less taking myself to the airport back and forth.
 
Yet, anticipation and thrill, together with my complete trust in God that He’d take care of me overtook me. An act of faith, as one good friend said.
 
Thus from my Grab ride to NAIA to my surprisingly pleasant experiences going through each step, and everywhere I went “already the confusion and jitters of the present moment were receding.” (Alain de Botton).
 
Today, I am still reliving the sights, sounds, and flavors of Singapore — as if it were only yesterday. Already I’m missing my first taste of authentic Hainanese Chicken rice and soup, the very first meal I ate right at Changi Airport. I want to go back to Singapore and explore more.
at the Marina Bay, Singapore with the Esplanade in the background – the first area where my son took me right from the airport
Capturing the Marina Bay Sands on my 1st evening…

Ah traveling abroad – even for a short stay – does open a wider perspective and a great way to know myself more! I’m giving myself a BIG pat on the back as well for taking up the challenge.

Funny but the urge to travel again to a new place is creeping up on me now.
 
Most of all, I am overflowing with gratitude  and I thank God for this blessing. Indeed, all these that I have overcome with grit and faith and my loved ones’ moral support make my first travel abroad an experience that will last forever in my heart.
While waiting for our lunch to be served, I took a shot of this view of the Marina Bay Sands from the National Gallery of Singapore
 
One of the waterfalls at Cloud Forest at the Gardens by the Bay – I was careful not to let my phone slip from my hands while taking this photo
Silhouette of the Marina Bay Sands looming in the background

 

NOTE: You can find two more related articles on my Singapore trip posted on another blog of mine:

Vignettes of My First Overseas Travel

Flying to a Dream

Do you still remember your first ever overseas or first ever solo travel? How was it? Please do share about it on the comment box below.

Starting 2019 On a Positive Note

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone! Welcome 2019!

Two weeks into the new year, and I’m still keeping up my good spirits, which I should be if I want to make 2019 a much kinder, brighter year than the last.

And I invite you all as well to start this year — 2019 — on a positive note.

Let’s do our best to be THANKFUL for every BLESSING, big or small, that comes our way. Something may or may not be what we truly want or hope for. Still, let’s be grateful for it because it’s the best way to keep negativity at bay.

We start with this — with GRATITUDE in our hearts — to create a positive mindset as we greet each new day.

Most of you I’m sure have your own resolutions to be and do better this year. So do I.

I hope I’ll be able to stick to them, for I’m making sure these are doable for me. I hope it’s going to be the same for you.

One of the things I keep reminding myself to do is: Prioritize and focus on the task at hand. ONE at a time. I should quiet my mind from distractions.

I find multi-tasking no longer as effective with me as in the past. I cannot segue from one task to another hurriedly lest I become absent-minded. My memory is starting to slow down. Ahhh, the travails of aging!

But sometimes, situations will arise where I still need to attend to several things at the same time. In which case, I must remind myself to pause a bit in between. And this works better for me now.

I end this post by sharing a Prayer for the New Year, which I came across online.

Lord

Whether I leave behind

a year of joy or of trials and difficulties,

I pause to GIVE THANKS.

Thank you for being with me

Every day of every year.

Thank you for making all things NEW

And for giving me the grace of

Fresh starts

And New Beginnings.

Remind me of your presence in the days to come,

Even when I feel pushed and rushed by

Busyness.

Be Glorified in My Life This Year.

~ AMEN ~

heatherking.org

 

 

A Look Back at the Fading Year 2018

Three years ago in the last quarter,  I wrote this in a Facebook post of mine:

“…it’s been almost 2 weeks since I moved into this place which I now call home and share with my son, this time, with my eldest. […] Somehow I feel like a tourist in a strange land. With an inventive mind such as mine, it’s so easy to pretend I’m now in a place like Manhattan in NY. I’m no longer in my house on the prairie which I shared with my younger son and his family […] nor am I in my tiny English cottage by the woods which I shared with my dear feline friends.

“Now here I am in the heart of the bustling metropolis learning to ease out of my reclusive mood. What I get to enjoy is being able to keep house and prepare home-cooked meals for my son […] and having human company to converse  with, not just my plants, or my cats, or my favorite lizard…”

Now three years hence, and I’m still conversing mostly with my plants, my new set of lizard friends, some ants. No cats at all. Not that I mind. My son’s hectic work schedule and his personal life leave me all by myself most of the time.

On one hand, I’ve gotten used to my own company and still preoccupied with my part-time work, personal projects including this blog, my photography hobby, among other things. Yet it can be quite depressing at times.

Looking back, my life’s roadmap this year has been a riveting mix of ups and downs. On the upside, I’ve accomplished many of my goals. Topping them all was self-publishing my first eBook ever, Finding Your Authentic Self: A Path to Wholeness, which took me about 3 months to write.

But circumstances — such as work and financial problems — can be so overwhelming that without faith, I would’ve come crushing down. I must admit times when my very faith comes asunder letting me go on a roller-coaster ride with my relationship with God.

Like a child lost in the woods, I keep running to find my way — yet the farther it takes me away from home.

When doubt assails or bitterness creeps in, I quickly remind myself God is with me, in me, around me. He’s just hidden in the clouds.

My eyes look at the clouds to seek God’s face among them, somehow hoping to see Him in the concrete as well as in a deeper, spiritual sense. When I come to Him in prayer, I either feel empty or full of hope. When tears fall, I know deep in my heart, He has heard my cries, and suffered my agony too.

I find myself grieving still over my Mom’s passing, even after 4 years. As they say, something is taken away from you when your mother dies. So it is with me. During my difficult times, I miss my Mom’s strength and comfort.

I find I’m an irony unto myself. I, who long for human interaction and real conversation, has shied away from most invitations to social events and meetups with friends this year.

But I’m made of sterner stuff. My faith in God remains strong despite some backsliding. My faith in the goodness of others is still alive, my love for my family unshakeable, and my confidence in myself intact despite my defeats.

I’ve come to a few realizations:

  • A structured schedule for each day works best for me
  • I should assign a particular day for each important chore
  • I can no longer lump together in one day chores that use up too much energy
  • Less multi-tasking so I can focus
  • Must include writing practice, learning and reading into my daily schedule
  • Less social media and news reading
  • Back to book reading and journaling
My reading list — books I’ve read (since 2012) and current readings

Through all my ups and downs, God has been my Shield, prayer my best tool. I remind myself my human frailty is the devil’s strength. So I must always keep myself in check and keep God’s hope and promises in my heart.

“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagle’s wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. –Isaiah 40:31

This is the trajectory of my life this year — and I hope and pray 2019 will be kinder to me, with God’s grace. That like an eagle, I can soar to new heights. I do believe.

I also pray for strength, clarity, and comfort for anyone dealing with their own pain and struggles.

Above all, I hope and pray for greater peace, compassion, unity, less violence and negativity,  as well as maturity in social discourse, especially in this Blessed Season of Christ’s Birth. Merry CHRISTMAS and a Peaceful, Brighter New Year to all!

Essentials You Need to Grow Your Friendship

Friends come and go, we often say. Indeed, as we grow older, some friendships fall on the way, so we just move on and grow into other friendships.

As we mature, we discover some friends were not real; others, we may have outgrown.

But to answer the question —

how do you make a friendship grow?

I’d like to quote one Indian proverb: “Don’t let grass grow on the path of friendship.”

Like a garden covered with overgrown grass, the beauty of friendship can easily fade with neglect. You can only see the weeds, unless you remove these and nurture your garden of friendship back to life.

Yes, unless you nurture your friendship, it will not grow. Come to think of it — each friendship is unique…special in its own way, so much like the variety of plants and flowers in your garden. Each needs its own nurturing care, love and special attention.

These are the essentials you need to grow your relationships with your friends if you are to keep them for life.

Sometimes, all it takes is a simple message of “hello, how you’re doing” or “what’s up” or “are you alright“– just to make them feel you’re not taking them for granted. This is especially true with long-distance friends whom you seldom see.

Thus, with my own set of friends, I try to give time to make our friendships grow.  Time to chat a bit through social media (or even like or comment on their posts) or see them in person.

Cupcakes of friendship ~~ photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I only need to make time (though sometimes I fail too) for each of my friends,  for lunch or just for a cup of tea or tall glass of iced coffee, with a cute cupcake to boot, to make life a little sweeter with our bonding moments.

Since life makes us busy every single day, going out with friends can be quite hard and means giving a little sacrifice.

Whatever it takes for you, cultivate your friendships through making time and communication.

It’s nice to have real friends — not just fair-weather ones — who can journey with you through the different seasons of your life, through your ups and downs, especially as you age.

 

*Note: I’m reviving this post I wrote way back in 2015 with minor revisions.

3 Cardinal Virtues You Need to Be a Better English Learner or Teacher

Are you an English learner whose mother tongue is not English? Do you come from a non-English speaking environment? Or are you an aspiring or practicing teacher of the English language? To be more specific, are you someone whose native language is not English, but have the passion and capability to teach the language?

Then read on, for this post is for you.  Perhaps at some points, you may be having difficulty in your English language studies. Or if you are a beginner teacher of  English, self-doubts sometimes cloud your mind.

Photo by sean Kong on Unsplash

In this article, I want to share 3 cardinal virtues: faith, hope, love — that help English learners and English teachers be better. I won’t be discussing the education/training, skill set and other credentials  an English language teacher must have. I also won’t dwell on how learners can read or speak better and other related learning tips.

Rather, I’d discuss the necessary disposition learners and teachers alike should develop if they are to achieve their learning or teaching goals and succeed. Continue reading “3 Cardinal Virtues You Need to Be a Better English Learner or Teacher”

Soliloquy – An Anguished Soul Speaks Out

You get stuck. Again. Something makes you stuck.  As ever.

And this perhaps is why you never can get your blog off.  Why you can’t attract as much traffic as you want to. As you need to.

Fear. Yes, fear is what keeps you from writing with your whole heart and soul. From conveying as much as you want to – in the way you want to express yourself.

You’re afraid of giving a piece of your mind about issues that matter today.

COURAGE – this is what you ought to have. Yet…

Now look at this quote — it’s supposed to inspire a trying-hard writer like you. Oops, never be too harsh on yourself. Please.

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.”  — Robert Cormier

 

But it doesn’t really apply to you, right? In the context this post is about?

All you can think of now is how saddening to see how much the world today is ripping itself apart. Hatred. Violence. Injustice. Destruction of the environment. Loss of respect. Enmity between kin.  Apathy towards others. So much division, disunity, disintegration. So much Evil…

Others may tell you – hey,  this has been happening since time immemorial.

Yes. So you push back and ask —  why then has humanity not learned anything at all from the lessons of history? Is humanity that hardened, dense, fragile, weak …or just plain overcome with EGO? Must we just tolerate the negatives within and around us?

You start to feel at times your faith – in God and in humanity —  slipping. Especially when you read the news. The bad news all over. Or reading ugly debates on social media. You try to avoid these as much as you can. Yet you cannot totally do so.

There — you’ve bared your soul. You’ve expressed somehow that pain in your heart.

This one seems to be a perfect guide for you — by Leonard Cohen

“Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.”

And this is your reflection for now. You do NOT have to be as gifted as others nor try to be like them. For as long as you speak out your Truth. That’s your Life Purpose. Just be your Authentic Self.

For from Love and Goodness you have been created. SO it is upon you to answer that call to be the image of the ONE who has created you and the rest of the Universe. That’s being authentic.

Your authentic self is meant to provide light to those you meet on your life’s pathway. But it’s still your Choice.

To let the LIGHT from within you to radiate to others. And give Hope. It is upon you to share that hope. As you journey with others. You encourage others to grow into the best person they can ever be — by being the best you can ever be too because you have that hope in your heart. You choose to be that kind of person.

Yes you feel anguished, helpless, hopeless about the state of affairs in society. You even start to think that animals have become more civilized than humans, transcending their very nature of just living for themselves. You see how different species – enemies by nature -unexpectedly learning to co-exist peacefully and enjoy each other’s presence. You see and hear of stories of loyalty and love pet animals provide their owners.

Yet do not despair. Remember? Despite humanity’s brokenness and because of that very crack in humanity, the LIGHT of the World has come to save, to redeem us all.

It means despite our brokenness as  human being because we are not perfect – just like everyone else — there is that spark of Light within each of us. Within you.

Still in your own capacity, and with God’s grace – you can help bring the Light, and Hope, and Faith to others. It behooves upon you to rise above your own frustration and anger at what is happening in the world to spread even  a ripple of kind thoughts or deeds.

In whatever way you can. Through your writing perhaps. But remember  you can only do this with LOVE in your heart. Spread the message of love, hope, and joy, especially as it is almost the Season of that LOVE that has come to save.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…  — 1 John 4:18