The reality of my dreams

The reality of my dreams

I am a dreamer by heart. I fall in love with visions, ideas, and possibilities. I have this undying hope for the future, believing in the best that is yet to come. It is this nature of mine that keeps me strong, ambitious, and inspired to take on the present. At the end of the day, it’s what we have right in this moment that makes what is awaiting us days, weeks, months, years from now.

Part of my aspirations, aside from giving back to the family that raised me and being able to contribute for the betterment of others, are things about myself that I would like to change someday. To be honest, this is due to my personal insecurities; and I feel that having a successful career will also compensate for those areas where I fall short. I want to be a doctor with expert skills and compassion who is also a strong and independent woman of substance. My parents would always remind me that I will become the person I want to be and do what I want in due time if I work hard enough, and I agree with them. It’s the dreamer side of me that makes it all true.

They say that happiness does not require a precedent. Positive psychology rather tells us that happiness is a choice and once we choose to be happy, then that’s when everything else will follow. Indeed, this is a spirited, groundbreaking notion to consider. But with this entry, I’m admitting to myself that even if try to be happy by seeing to it that I pay attention to the things I am grateful for today, there’s still that itching sensation brought about by vague dissatisfaction I can’t seem to get rid of.

Am I truly grateful? Of course I am! The follow-up question is, am I grateful enough? The answer is still yes. I appreciate what I had and all that is left. But the dreamer in me continues to dream dreams for me, and they’ll never go away. I now think that maybe, those dreams are what I am truly made of. Maybe, what I see myself in the mirror is just a shell. This is probably where my restlessness is coming from. The mirage I clearly see while my eyes are slumbering at night is who I actually am inside, bursting to come out.

But she will only make herself a reality if given enough time.

I maintain a love-hate friendship with time. It can be a real enemy as much as it can be a real friend. But whether or not I find it a pleasant companion at the moment, time will give me and everyone else exactly what we need. In my case, I could only achieve my dream self by going with the rhythm of time. It’s giving me the chance to take it slow, improve on myself, and above all, sum up the courage to embrace my ideals and fuse myself with it at the finish line, while taking with me the good stuff from the past. By then, I shan’t be afraid to finally BE who I really am despite of what others may think.

I wouldn’t be surprised to be judged in the long run for better or worse, to receive comments that imply that I’ve become somebody else (It’s up to you to think of variations of this), but I shouldn’t break a sweat. Maybe by then, I have changed, but even after all this time, maybe haven’t. They just didn’t know me well enough. For now, I’m using my time to work, regardless of anything, until my dreams aren’t just dreams anymore. For in my dreams, a reality can be found: They can be reached, and nothing is going to stop me from doing so.

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The WWJD Project

Since my previous blog post about the process we must undergo to achieve an unconquerable state of being, I unexpectedly remembered a particular day in Senior High when our Religion teacher and class adviser then mentioned in class the abbreviation, WWJD, which stands for “What Would Jesus Do?”

It is a question that ever holds significance in consulting our conscience in everyday living upon having “read the signs of the times”. Specifically, The Question may also serve as a beckon of light that will guide our decisions and actions towards what is right in various situations, may they be good or not so good. So, I came up with the idea of the possibility to keep the ball rolling by the effort of calling to mind this personal motto and reviving it to its full glory. What I have penned as “The WWJD Project” is my personal initiative and appeal to those who urge to feel the presence of God in their lives.

The necessities of this are rather simple to follow. The first of which is to ask yourself, “What would Jesus do? when you find yourself as well as others falling prey to unfortunate conditions; from the smallest unlucky coincidences that test our patience down to the most adverse and tragic of circumstances. You may also ask yourself The Question even at your highest point! Are you mad, impatient, confused, scared, offended, saddened, weakened, flattered, trusted to take on a high responsibility, at your best, even happy, and yet not sure what to do? What would Jesus do? The second need to fulfill this “project” is to answer it with an application of your informed knowledge of God’s principles and follow suit! You may come to realize: “This is not worth my dignity, I should not fuss over this”, “They need my help, they trust and depend on me. I should be here for them”, or “I still have a long way to go; I shall remain humble and keep my feet on the ground”; and translate these bursts of insight into fruitful action. The WWJD Project may be considered as a mental, emotional, and spiritual exercise we could perform everyday to improve our well-being, quality of life, and relationship with God. You don’t need to memorize or read anything to do it. It only requires your eager attention and an open heart to let God in.

I just had my hand at this earlier today. My sister and I found ourselves in a deadlock when we were both willing to compromise. It was only as small as observing silence in the room for we have been sharing one together since forever. My take is that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate well on my readings if there was music always playing loudly, while my lovely little sister argued that without it, she couldn’t focus on hers. Wearing headphones, according to her, causes her headaches; and I’d still find it distracting even if she turns the music down because of my hypersensitive ears. I could also hear from her tone of voice that she was getting annoyed and frustrated at me and started making sarcastic remarks like how I might call out the buzzing sound of the air conditioning unit. Knowing the shadow side of my personality, my instinct is to become irritated and slightly offended enough to make a comeback of my own. But just before my potentially hurtful words came out of my mouth, I stopped myself and asked, “What would Jesus do?”.

I was instantly reminded that I should not lose my temper, be patient, act maturely, and know better since I am the older sibling. I swear, I was already feeling the irritation compressing my head and I started breathing a little heavier than usual. But after doing this, I was able to compose myself by inhaling deeply and exhaling all the negative feelings insinuated. I just stopped making a big deal about it. And I gave myself a pat on the back and a flying kiss to the skies because the situation did not worsen. Maybe if I hadn’t done this project earlier, our discussion would have turned into an exchange of cruel words thrown back and forth in raised and unguarded voices. My sister and I would have hurt each other even if we didn’t mean to. I was caused to be reminded that this test of patience will not put me off. Eventually, both of us understood each other and became more willing to give way.

The example I’ve given is merely a small one, but this could be translated into even bigger issues, such as when we encounter people with controversial reputations and ideas, pass by a person in need or calling for help, become a “fatality” by a poorly made decision by another person, are ill-treated by those we love and by strangers, disappointed with ourselves–the list goes on. WWJD and what succeeds it will help us put things around us in perspective by allowing ourselves to take a step back to pause and reflect and go back to the situation with an enlightened mind. This way, we are reminded of the essence of God residing in our souls. We are more empowered to think and act according to what He upholds.

The WWJD Project is surely worth a try as a way of caring for ourselves and offering praise to the Lord. It may be that I am not the first one to start a spark about this, but it is nevertheless an honor to pass on the torch.

 

 

Unleashing the Invictus in us

Unleashing the Invictus in us

This poem by William E. Henley is immortal for its universality and meaning. Coming from the Latin language, the title means, “unconquerable”. That was how the author felt upon coming up with this wonderfully written piece of literature in spite of his debilitating troubles during this time: He was weakened with tuberculosis, made physically disabled by a leg amputation, and haunted by his impoverished childhood.

Clearly, Invictus is Henley’s cry of rebellion against the endeavors of his circumstances to thwart his spirit and what would become as an inspiring hymn for the coming generations to attune to. Yet, it is but simpler to read it than to actually live it.

The question now is how William E. Henley was able to muster the resilience and strength of mind when he was surrounded by the gravest of circumstances. The answer lies in the following lines:

“I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.”

He acknowledges the generosity of the omnipotent supreme being/s in giving him the zest for life. Henley kept a nonperishable fire that will burn through the obstacles brought by the natural imbalance of destiny, for he kept his faith in the Heavens intact.

…And when he wrote with conviction that he is the master of his own fate, and he is the captain of his soul, he already knew that with his faith solid, he and God are i n s e p e r a b l e. 

I realized that, aside from the central theme of this poem which is to continue thriving while keeping our head high amidst our problems, Mr. Henley is also telling us something about surrendering our entire selves to nothing and to no one but God. Through such initiative, God will take the form of us as we take the form of God Himself. When we fuse the core of ourselves with His, we become the same as God: Indestructible, whose power prevails all, unconquerable… INVICTUS.

A crucial step towards channeling our inner invictus is taming our ego. The time when we allow our ego to dominate us is the time that we separate ourselves from God. I came upon this while skimming through a self-help book that I pulled out from a shelf at the bookstore. When our primary function is our ego, we begin to believe that we are an independent entity that is uninfluenced by the rest. We think that we must have everything in our control. Consequently, we become frustrated with ourselves when we are enslaved by bigger and more serious problems, until we start pointing fingers and spreading anger, hatred, resentment, and envy. We devolve into heartless human beings with despair but no hope and an eye for nothing but the worst in the world.

But when we willingly let God into our lives, interconnectedness and belongingness are felt. We are more receptive now to the beautiful things in sight. We accept that though we are blessed with our talents and our freedom and we can plan for tomorrow all we want, we still exude humility to profess that God knows what’s best for us and is always a step ahead.  It will dawn on us that true power does not mean being able to control everything; rather, it is rising above our plights with God’s guidance no matter how much they try to weigh us down. The unshaken belief that we are never alone in good times and bad times, for we would find ourselves in God and the other way around: a Friend, a Confidante,  Savior, a Brother, a true Father. To learn to love our lives and ourselves for what they can be AND what they are right now. To become more optimistic about the future because whatever happens, not only is God with us, he is also within us. After all, He gave a piece of Himself to each of us. It’s up to us now to give value to that. We may be uncertain about many things but never of Him. The Invictus has God as a constant in his or her life. 

So as we catch ourselves in the middle of rejoice, joy, triumph, victory, anguish, hopelessness, guilt, grief, sadness, disappointment, impatience… Let us turn to God to praise, glorify, thank; ask for penance, grace, and peace of mind, strength, and many more. Invictus starts as a sense of becoming and transforms into a sense of being. And in placing our trust in God, the Invictus in us is, at long last, unleashed.

A reminder when faced with negativity from other people

One of humanity’s frustration about life is the existence of uncalled for negativity. Each of us had at least [more than] once become a target of gossip, backstabbing, and manipulation without asking for it. Encountering negativity is inevitable; we would have to deal with it because a life that is squeaky clean of negativity is impossible. It’s like attempting to deconstruct the air you breathe with the naked eye, hopelessly trying to make out each floating particle.

We eventually become used to it in resignation. The prevalence of this sad reality is indoctrinated into our system until we become a part of THE system. And little as we are willing to admit it, we develop the tendency to transform into those horrible monsters we ourselves are terrified of and disdained by, casting the very stones that hurt us unto others.

It is during this internal battle that we should remember where to draw the line between justifiably defending ourselves and speaking or acting out of provocation. The anger that we feel upon exposure to negativity is the nutritive soil out of which our inclination to creating negativity  springs. Once in a while, we can send back to them what they dish out… but we don’t need to fight fire with fire all the time. It’s too vicious of a cycle to participate in. It’s a fight that generates unnecessary casualties wherein we are highly likely to be included in the head count. We don’t want that.

We also don’t want to wear out everything good that makes us by letting anger, and thus, those who hurt us, take over us. After all, that’s their aim: To throw us off-balance. As long as we stay conscious of our worth, values, standards–The real essence of who we are–we are in a good place. We are the masters of our own thoughts and actions. We ought to know better because we ARE better. In the moment we are tried, we must grip onto our steering wheels more tightly for no one else is taking charge here but us.

It is perfectly human to be mad, but being mad is not the only human thing left to do. While we are doing our best to hold up the mental fort and keep our behavior in check, we might as well make something else good out of it if we find it hard to forgive yet. Because we are in control, we may use all their lies and devaluation of us as motivation. Breathe,  and let the pull of negative tension launch us to all sorts of positive directions. Also, we are still capabale of loving deeply and making the world a better place with our own ways. We may inhale the bad stuff in the air, but the air we breathe out can give life to the most beautiful of flowers. Success, love, happiness, and nerves of steel are the ultimate comeback to any insult, judgment, and backhanded compliment there is. 

If we give enough attention, we realize that sometimes there is no use in raving over it, so it’s best to just let it go. There’s a possibility that the people who are trying to knock you down  do not matter to you and are of no use to you. You know why? Your future is not in their hands. You do not depend on them. You don’t need them. For all we know, they need YOU. Better yet, the people who will believe them do not matter either. You may tell me that in your situation, it’s the people that you expect to have your back who have hurt you in the past or are hurting you right now. Well, if they’re doing you harm, they’re not the right people to invest your feelings in. Sort out those that have got to mean something to you from those who should not. When you’ve got that covered, the only thing left to do is love and cherish the keepers in your life, focus on your goals, nourish your individuality, and keep up the pace.

THIS IS THE WAR THEY ONLY THINK WE CANNOT WIN. THEY ARE WRONG, MY FRIENDS, FOR AT THE END OF THE DAY, WE MOST CERTAINLY CAN.

The thing about life being unfair

I’m sitting here in cold silence as I brood over the things in my life as of now.

They’re not looking pretty.

My moment right here has happened many times already. As they slowly took up my time and my inner peace, I wondered, what the hell did I do wrong? Why did these problems come at me all of a sudden? You mind your own business, making an effort to be at least a decent version of yourself, if not the best, then fateful, uncontrollable boulders of obstacles are unexpectedly hurled at you. I found the lot of it terribly unfair.

Life is unfair. It’s the expression that people use as a form of rebellion against the unfortunate circumstances that take part in shaping the course of their lives. It’s three, simple words powerfully arranged that we mutter to ourselves to show our disdain towards the world. At the same time, it’s one of the oldest cliches in the book. But, we must remember that they’ve been repeated over and over for a reason: It’s because it’s the truth.

And yet, we forget there are always two sides of the coin. On the one hand, we often look and understand solely our current situation for we think it’s only ours that matters. That’s how we end up feeling victimized. On the other hand, it’s this: The unfairness of life has worked for our advantage as well. Have you ever felt so blessed because you got more than what you deserved, like getting a higher grade than expected, having been given a shot at your dream job no matter how hard you think you screwed in the interview? Second chances, overlooked mistakes, free passes, or even a piece of valuable money note on the pavement? Acting like a jerk and getting away with it?

This is the patch of land underneath the rough, solid, heavy rock that we need to cling to during difficult times. That way, we give ourselves the chance to learn from our problems. Maybe we’re just destined to learn this same significant knowledge, differently, hence the creativity by which life molds and sends us our problems. Nevertheless, we can get wiser, stronger, more patient, in suffering.  We cry, we anger ourselves. We envelop ourselves in sadness. But we don’t stay there for long. We pick ourselves up, move on, and start over. We do not lash out. We don’t fight fire with fire. We get rid of that sense of entitlement. We stop demanding from the world.

Yup, Mark Twain was right. The world doesn’t owe us anything. But we owe everything to the world. Not excluding the bad times. And teaching ourselves to properly rise above adversities, become better than our complaints and excuses, to go on with our lives and to continue to make the most out of it are ways to give back.

We have to. I have to.

It’s through improving ourselves this way that we also get to impart this important knowledge to the people around us. Thus, we get to even out the playing field just a little bit for the sake of humanity. Life is unfair, yes. Life may be unfair to us, but that doesn’t mean we can be unfair to one another as we wish.

I now begin to prime my mind into accepting this essential bit. I need to remind myself of this Again and again. I am not through with this lesson until I truly learn it. So I better quicken the pace and get my heart right into it.

 

 

 

 

Feeling lazy to work out? Read this.

As summer draws into a close with the gradual sheets of rain beginning to dominate the skies to signal the coming of rainy season, I remember the hot afternoons spent by my brother and my sister sweating their butts off… without me. It was I who influenced them to eat healthier and start exercising. I was able to go from 162 lbs (I am 5’5″ inches tall) to 110lbs between 2014 and 2015 and have been maintaining it since. I continued watching what I eat and running on the treadmill three times a week for 30 minutes, along with light weightlifting courtesy of XHIT by Rebecca Louise; and a little cardio HIIT (also from XHIT, check it out on YouTube) as an occasional substitute for running. Everything was going well and I was feeling at my best.

Until one night, after another 30 minutes’ worth of running, I felt a subtle, sharp sensation below my right knee. It was my body’s way of saying to take a break, so I did just that for a week. But as the days went by, the pain didn’t go away and it got worse. Eventually, after an entire afternoon spent at the mall, my knee got swollen and I knew something was up. I later found out that I am suffering from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, also known as Runner’s Knee. It would take me months to fully recover, without certainty how many. Up to now, I am unable to run, do squats, or walk long distances. Right now, it’s not even possible to do exercises that involve placing much weight on my right leg. I have no choice but to temporarily let go of my active lifestyle and rely on eating healthy.

I really miss exercising. A lot. I miss the rush of adrenaline I experience in the middle of my routine, and the burst of endorphins that comes after. I miss not only exercising, but also how exercise made me feel. And so as I watch my siblings get sweaty and fit from a pitiful spot where I sat, I, too, remember the times I felt lazy and too full of “valid” excuses to work out. How could have I and why did I ever take my chances of working out for granted?

As Robin Scherbatsky said in an episode of HIMYM about having kids, not wanting something you can have is one thing, but not wanting something and being told you can’t have it anyway is another. It’s the same with working out. I understand that it can be terribly laborous, but with an injured knee and a sad realization, I am stating a number of reasons to say to myself to stay motivated to push through with exercising come the time I can finally do it again.

You’ve already made progress.

Are you ready to go back to your unhealthy self whom you worked hard to psychologically discipline to get to where you are right now? I didn’t think so. Get to work.

Your metabolism has greatly improved!

During, and even after exercising, your body becomes more efficient and faster in burning all the food you consumed because of the muscle you’ve gained. Slacking off for a day may lead to another day without exercise until you get used to it. In turn, your metabolism will slow down. In fact, just your first week without exercise can slow down your metabolism due to decreased muscle mass. Now go fetch your training shoes.

You cannot not cheat on your diet forever.

Alright, most people say it takes 80% diet and 20% exercise to stay healthy, meaning you’re going to have to be conscious of what you eat. But for how long? Realistically speaking, it might take the slightest bit of anything–Say a picture of a tempting slice of chocolate cake–to trigger a binge fest. And if you DO give in…

How else are you going to get rid of the excess calories?

Nothing else can be a good idea than exercise after a cheat meal (or a cheat day), since you’ll have more energy for your body to use. It takes the guilt away, reasonably. Continuing what you do will give you a fresh start after that sinful stint you had. So start lifting your weights!

It’s a great way to handle stress.

It is because of working out that you were able to handle the pressures of reviewing for the board exams and the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT). Before, you resorted to emotional eating, having three cups of white rice at lunch after that bowl of spicy Korean ramen you just had at a restaurant near the University literally an hour or two ago. Now, whether you’re overwhelmed by work or sleep-deprived, you know what to do.

Just keep in mind the post-workout feels.

I’m talking about the adrenaline and endorphins I mentioned a while ago. Your skin feels light; you just know those toxins managed to ooze out of your pores. The mind is energized and alert. There is increased stamina and endurance. If you were able to get over your pre-workout sluggishness by working out anyway, then you can take on anything! And obviously, they’re called post-workout feels for a reason. You can’t have them without exercising in the first place. Post-workout. Feels. Let that sink in.

You should have learned your lesson by now.

…And you learned it the hard way. You know how it’s like to let an entire day pass by without the routine you’ve been sticking with. There were times you wished you didn’t have to work out, and when you physically can’t, it sucked. This is your opportunity to get yourself back in the game. And don’t forget:

You can’t have immediate results.

Whether you’re just a day or a week into the frenzy or you’re trying to get your old tough stamina and muscles back, don’t expect drastic changes right away. This whole thing takes times, diligence, patience, and a ton of commitment. Don’t give up, and keep your glutes tight while you’re at it.

You’re better than your excuses.

Of course. Everyone is better than his or her excuses. Nobody succeeds in this feat with the mindset of a quitter. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you can, you’re right”. And you can!

 

I’ll just leave it at that for now. Gosh, am I more than ready to go back to working out! I’ve been out for a month now and I’m not too happy to say that I’m not yet close to returning to running and XHIT, but thank God I can lift and allow a slight bend in the knees. As for now, I have to be patient and allow my knee to heal in its own time. I can hardly wait for that day to come.

To those who wandered long enough to come by my blog, welcome!

The internet is more congested now with another blogger in the club, thanks[?] to me.

I just had an impulse to start blogging about the things in my life that I want to preserve in words. I originally wanted to do this chronicling, old-school style (i.e., with a pen and a notebook) but I figured that this is going to take less time.

This shall serve as an outlet of mine and sort of a progress tracker. But if whatever I post here makes sense in your life and will help you in some twisted, random way, then that works as a motive too. Why not? After all, it’s also nice to think that there are others whom I can relate to and the other way around.