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Enlightenment

Mayo 1, 2012

Last Saturday night, during my “TV schedule” (or the only day in the week that I choose to watch television), I chanced upon a new HBO Series here in Mozambique. It was right after my favorite shows here, New Girl and Once Upon a Time, aptly titled Enlightenment. The show definitely caught my attention because of the title and I got to watch two consecutive episodes. I’m not sure if it’s going to be that way for next week and the succeeding weeks, however, I have already mentally added it to my menu.

Anyway, as I watched the TV show, I couldn’t help but resonate with Laura Dern’s predicament. In most of the scenes, I felt that there were particularly interesting commentaries about one’s process of “enlightenment”. It made me reflect on my own journey and I’d like to share some things that came up for me.

The first thing that struck me was how there’s usually an element of total breakdown (usually an illness, an accident or deep depression, as in my case and in the HBO series) right before one shifts towards enlightenment. Is this really a prerequisite or a necessary doorway? The old life crumbling to give way to a new life, like the Phoenix’s spontaneous combustion in the Harry Potter movie. Throughout our lives, we’ve had these mini-breakdowns or shifts, but it seems that the “real deal” happens when there is a total breakdown. This probably means that if you’re going for the real deal, then you’d better be prepared to fully confront your fears and have an unlimited supply of courage.

Then the second one is that common need to “find oneself”, a self-imposed timeout from the world or time for oneself that can take on different forms (going to a healing center, traveling someplace alone, living in a new community), which interestingly almost always has an aspect of communing with nature (sea, forest, safari, farm, mountain).

The third commentary which I deeply resonated with, as I had experienced it myself, was about the return to the “old world”. After that profound discovery, finding one’s true self or connecting to the spiritual in us and around us, we go back to the lives we left and get “culture shock” somehow. People don’t understand us and we try to convince them to see what we have seen, trying to articulate an experience and eventually realizing that we can’t really express them in words (or at least in the language that people we are explaining it to can understand).

We then find ourselves in a sort of Jeckyll and Hyde situation, shifting from our true selves to our old selves, a roller coaster ride from extreme peace to anger and confusion, back again to calmness and love then to frustration and sadness. We are the new and the old all at the same time, moving along the spectrum of emotions and realities like a pendulum. I find this the most challenging part of the journey, and having limitless compassion for your self and for others is like wearing a safety contraption that ensures you don’t get thrown off the roller coaster.

Furthermore, there is the tendency to be righteous because we have become something that the others are not, or not yet. Of course this tendency makes it all the more difficult to convince those we are trying to get on board the “new world” because we may have the best message but we have not yet learned how to deliver the message in such a way that people can accept and fully digest it.

This third commentary that I mentioned above had been my experience before my own healing and empowerment journey. I did encounter that initial “enlightenment”, that “aha” yet it felt immature and righteous, maybe it was more surface level, a suit I wore but did not really fully imbibe. It was coming from a need, not from fullness or wholeness: the need to be right, the need to be acknowledged, the need to help and teach others, the need to be special; all pointing to that needy, unworthy, unlovable self.

At the end of the day, we may have had an enlightening experience and be awakened to our true selves or spiritual purpose but we still have to remember that it doesn’t stop there. It is an ongoing process, an ongoing journey to fully integrate the different aspects of ourselves and our lives. Our unhealed selves are longing to find wholeness, longing for true love not from others but from ourselves. This wholeness is always complete unto itself, love is always complete unto itself. So, whenever we find lack and fear in ourselves, lack and fear in others, or lack and fear in the world…maybe we also have to acknowledge that we are still in the process of healing, of becoming…like everyone else. There’s no need to be special, we already are. Each one of us is bound to find wholeness, at our own pace, in our own time. Each one of us is unique, moving along his or her own unique path.

Healing Heart

Marso 25, 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in this blog, or any blog for that matter. There’s just so much going on within that I couldn’t even get myself to write. Perhaps, I just wanted to honor my process, allow for things to settle and unfold.

The journey is never-ending, but I’m definitely getting the hang of it. I dove the depths, swam back up…and now I’m riding the wave. My life has turned almost 360 degrees. The reality I am in is probably the opposite of the reality I once created and had left behind.

Interestingly, as much as I’d like to scream, struggle, and run away (to the life I had, to the life of service to others and outer work)…this reality is something that I’ve also wished for. The relationship with my parents, especially my mother, is simply amazing. After all those years of arguing and fighting with her, I’ve found healing. Now, I see my parents as they are: people I love deeply, who love me deeply as well. My pain, my childhood pain has blocked this truth before. To come to this realization and see this truth now…priceless.

Many people struggle to heal their relationships with those they love, often too late to do anything about it. They continue to carry their burden for the rest of their lives; repeating patterns of mistrust, unworthiness, shame, and all the negativity that they have learned from their families of origin. I am fortunate to have found this peace and much-needed healing while my parents are alive, while I am alive. To release myself from karma and to release them as well. Most importantly, to experience their love and to share my love to them. As much as I can, as much as I am able.

I was equally fortunate to have found a deep, soul-evolving love with another. Though things did not work out, I will forever be grateful to him; this healing journey would not have transpired had I not met him. My love for him remains but it is not the kind of love that I once knew, it is not attached nor clinging. It is a spiritual love, a love that wishes for the other to be his highest self, and find his true self. The same love that now resides in me, the same love for self that lives within my heart –I wish only that for him.

This journey, my healing journey, is a journey that has opened, shattered and eventually strengthened my once closed and fearful heart. I have learned to love others…I have learned to love myself. I continue to learn to do so.

It’s not a one shot deal. Everyday I have the opportunity to cause conflict, to hate, to doubt or to be negative about others and about myself. Yet, everyday, I also have the chance to find peace, to love, to trust or to be positive about others and about myself. Everyday when I wake up, I get another chance, a new opportunity to choose how I am going to be and who I am going to be in this world. Everyday, I create my own reality. We all do.

Now, I know that I am where I need to be, although at times I’d like to be somewhere else. My heart longs to be somewhere else. Then I get reminded that my heart may long for others, may love others, but it is where it needs to be…within me.

Know thy Self. Love thy Self. To thine own Self be true.

Thank you dear Universe, thank you dear Angels and Ascended Masters for all your guidance.

Blessings of peace, love and light to everyone.

Fully emerged, full circle: “I AM.”

Agosto 27, 2011

Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and even both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. – Black Elk, Oglala Sioux

I have come full circle. In almost exactly one year, I’ve lost myself only to find a wonderful new version of me. Dove to the depths of my being, and slowly, painfully confronted the darkness that has enveloped my light. One challenging, yet conscious step at a time, I climbed up the dark well of my own making. Now, I can truly say I have fully emerged: gloriously, lovingly, graciously, and with the utmost respect and gratitude for the Divine, the Supreme Being, the Universe for guiding me in this journey. Now, I AM.

This blog has been a witness to my journey, and to close the circle, I wish to share what I have discovered and experienced in the “tail end” of this particular chapter in my life. There were a lot of lessons and insights from the whole journey, but the most significant, that eventually “capped” the process were about Resistance and Attachment.

A few days ago, it finally dawned on me — not only in an intellectual capacity but experiential and perhaps spiritual — that I was still in resistance and still in need of release from my attachments. All my life, I have been resisting the loving guidance of the Universe, which was apparently anchored on my attachment to events (or regrets) in the past and to expectations of the future. It was difficult to welcome possibilities, and completely trust the present moment when I was always looking back or looking far ahead. All this time, I have carried the pains, fears, doubts and worries that I experienced in childhood and allowed these to influence the way I lived my life. Alternately, and probably intimately connected to my past, I was always running towards the future. Maybe to escape my past, I have been impatiently pursuing a future wherein all my regrets will be replaced by accomplishments. It seemed as though I was always picking up bits and pieces of these regrets and kept building them around me until I couldn’t see beyond the wall of self-created darkness. The only way out was to dismantle all these bits and pieces, one at a time, leaving “no stone unturned”.

As a child, like everyone else, all I ever needed and wanted was love — to be nurtured, cared for, appreciated for who I am, mistakes and all. Instead, I experienced control, insecurity, punishment, envy, shame, guilt, which eventually contributed to a general feeling of unworthiness. I was not worthy of what I desired for the most, of the simplest longing, of Love. I grew up looking for love and worth everywhere, beyond my home. Everything I ever did was probably tainted with this need. There was a hole inside me that kept growing, making me more needy and more hungry for love and sense of worth. This desire created another destructive energy: anger. I was angry at my parents, my family, my friends, my society — the educational system, the government, the rich who hoards, the weak who can’t fight their battles, the materialism, the poverty, the world. Most importantly, I was angry at myself. I was a rebel with and without a cause.

Being in a state of resistance my entire life, I had to find, recognize and “zap” every bit of resisting energy in myself. This was not easy, I lived and breathed resistance for almost 33 years, it’s like trying to figure out what is me and what is not me within me.

Now, I have realized that resistance, is anything and everything that creates a negative feeling, a tightness, a block in my breathing and creates all sorts of negative thoughts in my mind (often manifested as headache).

I understood this process when I was raising funds for my study, as I consciously observed every little thing I did on a daily basis. I kept planning, strategizing and entertaining ideas that I know would only make things more difficult for me, or create more problems in the future instead of completely trusting and allowing the Universe to guide me. I did not seem to believe, despite the interesting opportunities I experienced in my recent past, that the Universe wanted only the best for me, and what my heart desires. Beneath this resistance is my attachment to doing things my way, fear of failures, doubts in the future, doubts in my personal power and the Universe’s guidance.

Concretely, this insight came after the realization that I had gotten attached to studying this year, even though I applied last year without expecting anything, just to follow an inner guidance. My still healing ego wrapped itself around the idea, got impatient and focused too much on the results and the perceived success of this endeavor. I kept asking the Universe, “what’s the next step?” but I wasn’t listening or I could only hear the answer that I wanted to hear. Then, it happened. My heart finally opened up and truly listened. The Universe had answered my prayer long before. The answer was to accept what I had resisted all my life, my parents’ love — and to understand the meaning behind their “help”, which until that point I interpreted as criticism and control. This was deeply connected to my resistance to self-love, to self-care and perhaps to true independence and freedom.

In this entire journey, I have found healing, I am now whole. I have come full circle with almost all of my issues — relationships, finances, family, work, purpose, attitude. I have embraced my shadows and darkness with love and light.  I now meditate and pray to the Universe about everything, with every step I take. I release my fears, doubts and worries to the Universe, seek guidance before I do anything and thank the Universe in every possible moment. It has always been a simple process that I have somehow complicated. It’s as simple as breathing, release and allow, breathe in and breathe out. A full circle. Just as I AM.

Now, I’m off to write my first book (yes!), a new play or two and prepare for the next amazing chapter in this journey called LIFE.

Saranggola ni Pepe: Flying high!

Hunyo 23, 2011

The commemoration of Jose Rizal’s 15oth birthday was a huge success! The rain could not stop the entire country from celebrating June 19 in honor of this historical, radical and mystical being. His birthday was even celebrated in several countries. I went to Calamba (Rizal’s hometown) with my only Filipiniana attire, the one that I wore for my longtime friend’s wedding (I was emcee for her wedding, and I was one of those given a gown…thanks Jane!) which garnered me a spot on the Celyo Rizal’s float for the historical parade. A huge thanks to “Apo” and Kataastaasang Babaylan Reyna Yolanda Liban Manalo for this wonderful opportunity and for the multiple celebrations I got to participate in. Not to forget, the wisdom that I am fortunate to receive through never-ending conversations, rituals and experiences with “them” and the Celyo Rizal community. All very, very interesting. I even got filmed by a TV news crew that featured the group. How historical can it get!

Another important lesson that I’ve recently learned, I will not go further into this for now, but I can say that deep in my heart, I truly accept that a fellow Filipino such as Jose Rizal, is of Divine origin…because as man is made in the image and likeness of God, so is he…and most importantly, so are we. As Christ, the Buddha, Mohammad and all other prophets had their purpose in their time, so did Rizal (again, I will post more about this soon, but not now).

Looking closely at Rizal’s life inspired me to look at myself and my life in the same way. For what was it that he aspired for then? That we, his fellow Filipinos liberate ourselves from the enslavement that we had suffered. Free ourselves from the limitations that the colonial mind imposed on us and see our greatness just as we now see Rizal’s greatness. Authentic empowerment, the same vision I am striving for today.

I know that there was a purpose for me when I went to Calamba and celebrated our National Hero’s 150th anniversary in his hometown. Besides the fact that I was there — June 19, 2011 — to be part of an historic moment in our country’s life, there was a message for me.

The message that I am a Filipino, it’s time to truly embrace it. I am part of a blessed, “magical” and truly amazing race. A brown (golden) race that has weathered more than 300 years of colonial rule, pummeled regularly by natural and man-made disasters yet continues to thrive as a people and always blessed with the most abundant of natural resources. I live in a tiny land with tiny people, who have big hearts and big dreams with a mission that is as important as Frodo’s from Lord of the Rings. A mission we shall all recognize in due time, rather, in just a short while.  Meanwhile keep your eyes and ears open, listen to your heart’s desires and follow your purpose.

As for me, a significant aspect of my mission was clarified (or even “polished”) this past weekend. I am Pepe’s kite, flying high towards my big dreams but deeply anchored in this land with my people. I may roam free and fly wherever the wind takes me but like Pepe, like Jose Rizal I will always come home and share all that I’ve learned, my gifts, my visions, my passions, my Self with my fellow Filipinos and with my Inang Bayan. I shall fly free, fly proud, fly as high as a Filipino can…just like Pepe, just like the Divine Jose Rizal.

Eat to Live! (based on my personal journey to health)

Hunyo 17, 2011

I recently got together with two football (soccer) clubmates who needed advice on weight loss. We had a wonderful conversation, they felt good and energized by what I shared and I felt equally encouraged (or reminded) to continue what I’ve been doing. It really goes to show that the teacher-student relation is never unidirectional — when you empower others they also empower you. After our chat, I also told them that I’d be sending an email of what we’ve discussed, a first of a series of “reminders” that will aid in their journeys to health. I wrote this a week or so ago and came across it again. Then, I felt like, hmmm…might be good to share this with more people. So, here it goes…

For every choice you make, choose the healthy choice as much as you can. Get to know your body, get to know yourself, get to know everything about you. Then…love your body, love yourself, love everything about you. Not just as a concept, but as your reality.

1. Morning Routine

Wake up, Pee, Drink water, Exercise (at least 20 to 30mins everyday with varying degrees of difficulty), Eat breakfast (most important meal) and Take a bath (to rid your body of the toxins of the previous day/ night).

Before taking your breakfast, you can drink a glass of water with calamansi (just 1-2 pieces, depending on what you feel comfortable with, no sugar).

A good morning routine can spell the difference between a “bad” day and a good day. If you start your day feeling light, refreshed, energized and ready for whatever lies ahead then you’re setting up a day that can work for you instead of against you.

2. Meal Portions

Eat like a Queen/ King during Breakfast (or the first meal you take).

Healthy snack (Fruits and Nuts, choose those with less sugar and less salt or keep away from those that are too sweet or too salty).

Eat like a Prince/ Princess during Lunch (or the meal you take in the middle of your day).

Another healthy snack in between.

Eat like a Pauper/ Beggar in the evening.

3. One Step at a Time.

The pace by which you do the changes in your life (lifestyle) will be determined by you. You may go at it determined, focused and highly committed –that’s great — but make sure that you’re taking everything “in stride”, as relaxed as you can, working towards your goals one at a time.

You can incorporate one healthy habit at a time, or replace negative ones at a time. Remember, you had years to create the life you live now, and the body you have now so don’t be too hard on yourself. Allow yourself the patience and kindness you need to create a new and better life (and a new and healthier body).

Start by replacing the “white” and processed (canned, preserved, “junk”) food with natural/ organic and “whole” foods. Or lessening your intake of “fast foods” (gradually decreasing over time).

4. Find Joy and Happiness in everything you do.

Choose healthy meals you love. All you need to do is to replace certain aspects of those meals with healthier alternatives/ options.

Choose exercises that are fun for you. Don’t do stuff that can add to your burden, or to your negative thinking.

Support your health and your happiness as much as you can and you’ll realize, your life will change slowly….but surely.

Keep focusing on the present moment, on what you can choose to do and create in your life. Let the vision of yourself and goals you’ve set for yourself be your guide, but remain focused and committed on each step that you take to get there.

Rest when you need to. Pause or Stop if that’s what your body, soul and spirit need. Release all guilt, shame, pain and struggle. Live life! Don’t let every moment pass without feeling alive! ;p

5. Find supportive people and create the environment that will support your health and happiness.

We have been given two special powers as human beings, the power to create and the power to choose. If your life doesn’t allow you the freedom you need to express your best self, then remember: you always have a choice, you always have a chance to create anew. We are all powerful. The only thing that can hinder us from expressing our powers — our negative thinking and fears.

If the people you surround yourself with aren’t helping you create the life you want, you can engage or enlist their support or find people who will. Again, you have a choice.

Always focus on what makes you Happy and the Universe will support You!

Just keep going, you can do it.

PS. If you are reading this and want to do this or share this to more people — go ahead! And don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

This journey to health has been greatly inspired by two of my friends, who also served as my “health” mentors (and introduced me to USANA, a company with integrity that changed my perspective on True Health). A big shout out and thanks to them: Liza Pascal and Ayan Rivera! Much love and gratitude to you (including Luna) for everything!

An Invitation to Wholeness

Hunyo 16, 2011

Wholeness. Integration. Coming together.

That was the message for me today. An opportunity and invitation to see that we are indeed perfect as we are, individually and collectively. If we suspend any judgment about ourselves and others, we open our eyes, minds and hearts to the truth — that there really is no right or wrong, only contexts and perspectives. What one may see, think, feel or experience is different or similar to what others see, think, feel or experience, but in the end all of those create that undefinable whole.

“There are no spare parts in the Universe.”

I’ve heard that many times but the experience of a small group of people that I had a chance of being with, communed with earlier reminded me that indeed our contributions great or small create the substance of the entire intangible and tangible world we all live in. However we choose to move in the world is our choice, our piece of that collective puzzle. Learning to respect ourselves and each other is key to allow the wholeness to emerge. Honoring ourselves, each other, and the spaces in between will lead to the transformation and healing that we all seek.

And it all happens within us and among us.

I see you. I respect you. I honor you. As I honor myself, respect myself, see myself. In ways I know how, in ways you know how. Always anchored in love, coming from deep within our hearts.

Alongside one another, we open an invitation to wholeness that includes all of us, the earth, the wind, the sun, the moon…and the spaces in between, tangible and intangible, seen and unseen.

Then we lift up the intentions we carry in our hearts to that whole and know that all our wishes, hopes, desires and visions are good as done, nurtured, waiting only to manifest before our very eyes.

Freedom and Responsibility

Hunyo 11, 2011

What if we all know that we can create whatever we want? Or that we can always choose the life that we want to live? In fact…whatever is in our reality right now is what we’ve chosen. The life we are living. The world we are all in.

You’ll probably look around you, look back at this post, look at yourself and tell me…NO, THIS IS NOT THE LIFE I WANT. Then…what is it? What do you want? If you can create your world, what would it be like?

Yes, going deep within, recalling how I lived my life and being conscious of my thoughts, my words and actions everyday…I believe that we are all innately free. Limitations are those that we’ve set upon ourselves. The more we break free from these limitations, the more we expand, and the more we have the power to choose and create. But because of this great freedom, we suffer so much fear. This is where all of our pain, struggle and drama come from. We are free but we are living in fear.

What are we going to do with this great freedom? What are we going to create? What are we going to choose? Can’t others just choose for us? What if we fail? What if we can’t handle it? What if we succeed? It can’t be, why should we be granted so much freedom?

Because we are human beings, made in the image and likeness of God, the Divine, the Supreme Being, Bathala…we have the same powers. The problem is that we aren’t really aware of it, or we haven’t accepted that we are. Those who have an idea or have realized that…maybe, we are…have to go through the whole “We can’t be, we’re not worth it” drama.

Ok. So let’s say that you who are reading this, like me has accepted that I am entirely free to choose and create what I want. And, yes, I’ve figured out what I really want –happiness, bliss, service, abundance (let’s say that this is a detailed vision in our minds, hearts and even on paper). What is the next step?

Focus on Love. Choose Love. Create Love. Acknowledge, recognize and embrace the fear (or fears) that come(s) up…then choose and create Love. Yes, this one is tough. The toughest step yet. We’ve been so used to being controlled or in control, loved “conditionally” or love ourselves (and others) with conditions that we might get lost and give up. All our issues will rise to the surface. But this is also where the shift happens, in our hearts. When we choose and create from the heart…we will be able to manifest in our reality what we truly want, the life we dream of.

Another aspect of this freedom is responsibility. Can we be conscious of everything we create and choose…and be responsible at the same time? This means, for example, if we are choosing happiness and creating happiness…can we be responsible with this happiness? Or if we are going to choose abundance and create abundance…can we be responsible with the abundance that we manifested?

You see, the world we currently live in is also proof that we are not aware of our responsibility. We created and chose fear, and look around, we’ve sown so much fear. Did we take responsibility? We created and chose lies, doubts, apathy and powerlessness…did we take responsibility?

What if we start embracing both our freedom and responsibility? And choose and create only love? Try it for yourself. Imagine, feel, act.

I am continuously and consciously exercising this freedom and responsibility in my life at this time. There are moments when I’d rather give up, overwhelmed with fear. Then I remind myself to choose love. And, when I choose love…patience, compassion, hope, peace, trust…they all follow. Then I am also reminded to do things one at a a time, to be gentle with myself, nurturing whatever I choose and create. It’s the same with planting a tree, or taking care of a newborn. Well, I guess, since I’ve also just “given birth to myself”…I am a newborn. Hence, this need to truly take care of the new life that I hope to create for myself.

Why don’t you come journey with me? Embrace your own freedom and responsibility.