Life

 

Life is an adventure

Whatever its course,

At each bend, at every turn,

There’s a hurdle to leap

Sometimes life may be too

Strange for us to behold

Too complex for our naiveté

To comprehend

Times when the things we want

For ourselves

Belong to another time and space

And we try to capture

Just a semblance of those things

In the time we hold now

It isn’t always easy to answer

The hows and whys we encounter

Why we do things the way we do

Stranger still are

Some of the people we meet…

Just like you and I

There’s more to us than meets the eye

There’s always something deeper

No one could just fathom

Not even ourselves at times

Life indeed can be puzzling,

Mysterious and full of rarity…

Like you were my least expectation,

Now you’re a big difference

It isn’t easy to answer the questions

But sometimes all we need to do

Is just to understand

By: Marichu Fajota Jose

* I wrote this poem about 18 years ago; I also presented this in a Speech-craft session of the Toastmasters Club, Casino de Espanol Chapter, Manila, in 1999. I shared this too on Writing.com, where I go by my username Summerblossom.

A REFLECTIVE EXPERIENCE

On Thursday last week, I went to Cubao where I had a most stirring experience that led me to a deep reflection. It was close to noon when I had to take a bus from Commonwealth, Quezon City to go to Cubao. In the bus, I asked the bus driver, “Please sir, when we arrive at Aurora Bridge, let me know.” Then the driver replied, a little impatiently, “Sister, can you speak to me in Tagalog? I don’t understand English!” Feeling sorry for myself, I kept silent and during my trip, I was so nervous that I did not even notice I had already passed the Aurora Bridge where I should have gone down. After almost fifteen minutes, looking outside through the bus window, I couldn’t recognize any place, any street. Suddenly, I shouted, “Para! Para! Para! Please.”

It was at Ortigas Station, along EDSA, where I got down, frightened and confused because that station was not familiar to me. EDSA was almost empty at that time, and rarely a person appeared on that highway. There were many buses passing along, but no one stopped because there wasn’t any bus stop! So I decided to walk back to Cubao, not only very angry and tired, but also hungry and thirsty.

While I was walking, many street people came into my view; some were sleeping under the tree, others were selling merchandise, while a few were begging for money. At that moment, the words, “Find the Lord in all things” struck me. I then thought “The Lord is in each of these people. Thus, instead of walking angrily, I must pray for them.” I reflected, “I have a house, food to eat, a family, a community, my sisters, and all other things I need – whereas these beggars don’t have anything at all.” Immediately, I prayed from the bottom of my heart, “My Lord, forgive me; I have been ungrateful to you.”

Soon after, my spirit renewed, I walked the rest of the way with a spring in my steps, more able to bear the heat of the scorching midafternoon sun. Finally, I arrived at Cubao, spent but relieved and thankful!

Reflection on Mark 10:46-52

Today’s Gospel tells me about the blind man who begged Jesus, “Lord,  let me see again.” These  words touch my heart and move my spiritual life. Like this blind man today, I want to ask the Lord from the bottom of my heart:

“Lord, let me see again your Face, your Presence, not only in my personal reflection, but also in my daily living, such as in my studies, my community, my work.

Lord, let me see again my vocation with desire, hope and faith.

Lord, let me see again my religious life with my eyes full of faith in simple things.”

 

A Message for the Youth

 

Youth, you still have a long way ahead
Take your time but use your head
Life is easy if you work hard
Enjoy each day as it passes
Just be sure to leave your mark…

Never take anything, anyone for granted
Youth is not a licence to do as you please
Be daring and adventurous —
That’s your privilege
You’ll learn a lot if you don’t
scoop yourself in
Just remember not to go overboard…

Be gentle and firm with yourself
And with others, too
Remain friendly, but be a friend loyal and true…

Look up, aim high
Discover yourself truly and honestly
It’s in accepting yourself as you are
That you’ll be able to see others
as they are…

Do not try to search for everything
For what is truly yours will surely
come your way;
As you go on with your life
Once in a while try to look back
at where you’ve been
Remembering the lessons you’ve learned…

Remember, too, to bring along some memories
Look at the past and remember
That once you’ve passed this way

Lastly, no matter what Life has to offer you
Give thanks and be humble
Know that if you walk with God
You will never be lost.



Message For The Youth is my reflective sharing of wisdom to all young people whoever they may be…— Marichu – I shared this poem on Writing.com

 

 

 

Destiny

Once there were two people, a boy and a girl, who met in the river of time…it was a ‘relationship by fate’, destined to meet because there was a reason for it. Thus, started their journey of knowing each other a little better each day. Times when the sailing was just fine, the weather was fair. Times when they had to cross rough seas and there would be tension and sometimes, fear. However, sincerity of heart prevailed and flew her sails and quietly, friendship came over to them with smiles, laughters and words. Everything changed. Day by day, understanding became deeper and acceptance became full. Times when words were left unspoken, yet both could discern what the other would like to share. It seemed their thoughts were synchronized. The sun was shining.

Their friendship was truly invaluable and genuine; both expressed the wish for this to endure the passage of time. It was tinged with sadness though because soon they would have to part when they reached the port. Both would have to go on without the other. Thus, sometimes, her tears would flow in the darkness. It was destined to be so.

Their friendship was truly invaluable, genuine and mysterious. One day, the need to express their care in a special way surged between them and they sealed their bond with a kiss. It was wonderful and sweet. There were other kisses as well as hugs, too, all sweet and tantalizing. Yes, tantalizing. Perhaps it was really such that unknowingly and naturally, if there was pure affection, it would want to find some physical manifestation and they became close. Now she feared this. She did not want to destroy what they had; it was a treasure she would always cherish for a lifetime…she wanted some beautiful memories to live by when they would be gone from each other.

It was a moonlit night. She was sad, afraid, and she cried. In the end, she believed he was truly a very good person, with a pure heart and soul. She remained hopeful he would not lose respect and admiration, and their affection would stay sweet; their friendship would last.

There was a rainbow in the sky.

Now she knew how it was to be truly loved with a pure heart, deep affection and great respect. For that, she was truly grateful.

Dreams are free…so she allowed herself this beautiful chance to live out her deep desire and hope, even if everything seemed impossible. At least she could hope and hold on to her dream.

Today, there was sunshine. Tomorrow might rain. Hence, in her sleep, she found herself not alone. Just like the stream that flows onto the river and cascade as one; just as the flower petals open up to the kiss of the sun.

 –Marichu

 

My first try at story-telling — it tells of the uncertainty of young love. I posted this for the first time at another writing site, Writing.com. I go by the  name Mayflower (Marichu), and username, Summerblossom. 

 

Poignant Angst

 

One voice failed to catch the wind —

Its words laid out like carpet…

Yet, the waters of the stream might have washed them away

Beneath stones upon stones…

Hence no ripples could they make

To let the mighty wind stop by its side

If only for awhile;

Oh how that soul lies in anguished wait —

As it bleeds beneath the trampling hoofs of its scorn!

                                                                                    — Marichu

On Academic Writing: Some Helpful Tips

As I was browsing through my Facebook, I came across this fascinating quotation:

“Life is like a camera…

Focus on what’s important,

Capture the good times,

Develop from the negatives. And if things don’t work out,

Take another shot…”

Suddenly, I thought this beautiful quote may also serve as an excellent guide not only for living our lives well, but also for improving one’s writing skills. Writing is such an important life skill to learn; in fact, outside school, a student like you has to write a great deal — when you write to your family or friends back home, update your superiors on what is happening to you in your present life away from your home community, when you apply for a scholarship or student loan, or even just to post something on your social network site such as Facebook, or Twitter. More importantly, writing comprises a great deal of a student’s academic life, so there is no way to avoid it. Surely, you would like your message come across clearly, and interestingly, as well.

Let us see then how each pointer can help you craft an excellent piece of academic writing.

  • Focus on what’s important. As you think of your topic, you also think about your main point, the central point that you would like to communicate regarding your topic. This is usually termed as the controlling point because it controls the flow of your discussion letting you avoid getting around the bush, or totally going out of your topic. When you think of the details to add “flesh” to your discussion, you just select what is important to make your meaning more clear.
  • Capture the good times. I should say, in terms of academic writing, this would mean that in discussing your main points, it is much better to think of the positive aspects of your topic; then write about them. On the other hand, if you are presenting an opinion, state it well in a positive statement rather in the negative. In this way, you will be able to have a lot of room for defending your view. Moreover, writing on the good points of an idea, place, thing or person that you are writing about, leaves a positive feeling on your readers. Stating your opinion in a positive statement can easier make your readers see your point and let them agree with you.
  • Develop from the negatives. In photography, pictures are developed from the negatives. In academic writing, these are the mistakes you make in form, structure and content: grammar, sentence and paragraph structure, choice of words and ideas that do not help communicate clearly what you want your readers to understand. In other words, as you go through each writing stage, you should patiently revise and edit until your composition is perfect. A helpful way to help you check out for the negatives and develop your topic from there is to discuss your initial draft with your peer, that is, with your classmate. Perhaps, you may ask your professor to take a look at your draft so he/she can give you feedbacks on how to better handle your discussion.
  • Take another shot, if things don’t work out. In taking photos with our cameras, we discard shots that do not capture well the scene we would like to have. This is especially easy to do nowadays with digital cams and phone cameras. Likewise, in academic writing, after you have spent a considerable amount of time on your paper, and you seem not able to get your points clearly mapped out for your readers, then it is time to start writing all over again — on the same topic, or on another. If you re-write on the same topic, you may have to consider looking at it from a different perspective or controlling point,  or try using a different approach in presenting it. Usually, for many students, it means looking for another topic that they can easily work out on a clean slate.

Each of these pointers, if followed patiently, diligently and with care, will surely give your readers a very interesting, clear and well-detailed picture of your ideas. Indeed, to paraphrase — writing is like a camera!   

Note: I refer to these pointers as general rules to follow, and students should be aware of the other writing requirements needed for their specific task. (Teacher Marichu)

My Reflection on “Finding God at Home” and “Finding God in the City”

    

I had just been going through the first few paragraphs of the 1st chapter of the book, “Finding God at Home”, when it startled me to discover I was reading something about myself, or rather something about my quest for something akin to what the author calls ‘Life on the Edge.’

A longing to meet a deeper reality could aptly describe that stage in my life when, without my recognizing it for what it was, the need to overcome or resist some norms in my normal Catholic upbringing started to surface. A high school student at the time, I didn’t know the reasons for such need. Nor do I now remember exactly what those norms were.

I had been brought up in a deeply religious Catholic family, and had been educated in an exclusive (all-girls) Catholic school run by nuns. Later, I pursued my Psychology course at the oldest university in Asia, a pontifical university. All throughout my childhood until I got married, life at home had been characterized by daily family prayer-time, regular Sunday Masses, and various church activities like singing in the choir.

My parents were both active members of our parish with my father as a lay minister and a member of the Knights of Columbus, while my mother as a member of the Apostleship of Prayer. One of my younger sisters is a member of the contemplative order of the SSpSAP (‘Pink Sisters’), and a brother is a priest.

Perhaps then, even in this kind of family atmosphere, I had not been able to define what ‘Spirituality’ was, because honestly, I thought it only belonged to the priests and nuns. At the same time, I had prided myself for being a part of such a family.

Years later, I slipped away from that kind of religiousity, and went on to question some practices like praying the rosary, ritualized prayers, and novenas. Although by not praying in my traditional way, I also felt not Catholic,and I felt some guilt and fear because I no longer had a sense of belonging.

Yet, I kept moving between the Church and some other Theosophical thoughts. I once thought I was perhaps looking for some easier way to connect to God, or for some justification why I shouldn’t be praying the traditional way because at times I found them tedious or too much of a ritual.

Becoming a mother didn’t stop me from that kind of “search.” I even experienced what the author described in the chapter on “Life at the Center” as ‘to feel energy, talent, hopes and ambitions all being slowly drained’ because I felt I was always another person for someone else, for some people, never for myself.

If our lives are our gifts to God, our offering to Him, then I didn’t somehow realize this, as it was like I was full of many things, but was nothing at all.

However, after more defining experiences that brought in wisdom and maturity, answers – good answers have started to take shape in different ways. Now a single parent and a grandmother, this book seems to give more meaning to what I am now. I may be like the first kind of soul: I am a bow in your hands, Lord, draw me lest I rot.’ Reading the book, I have realized here are newer and fresher insights.

The article “Finding God in the City” is a very good example for me of life being lived ‘on edge’ and ‘at the center.’ The author’s 7 principles are inspiring and worth living by, too.

Like crystal waters, the thoughts and examples presented by these two authors came to clear my mind of some doubts.

 

Note: I share this as one example of how students can write a personal reflection based on an assigned reading. Again, students are advised to follow their professors’ specific guidelines/requirements.

Shanghai By The Moonlight

 

 

This is a poem I wrote in 2000, inspired by both Enya and a postcard of a Shanghai Buddhist Temple. Though it is in poetry form, it is also a good example of how to write vividly by using descriptive details that are concrete and specific. Doing so can help our readers use their imagination to see, or hear, or feel what we as writers present in our composition. (my note to students)


Like folded hands steepled in prayer

The Longhua Pagoda solemnly beckons –

Where are the stars that paint the sky;

Only the gentle moon silently casts its light

On the mysterious city of Shanghai…

What a cold, lonely night

As I walk through its snow-laden grounds

And I behold the haunting sight

Of winter trees and stones;

And hues of blue and gray and white

Dance to the eerie sounds of silence…

Upon its lace-mantled bosom

A golden light glows

A solitary glimpse of warmth

For a distant soul in hope

Of Memories and a China Rose…


Poetry Prompt #17 – Dreamflights