Living in the Moment – In This Life

 

“Sa buhay na ito, tayo’y manatili. Huminga ng malalim, huminga ng malalim.”

Sometimes, in life, we feel the need to force ourselves into entering a different zone, a different plane.

From men to machines.

To accomplish goals, to accomplish tasks, to prove that the ideal can happen.

But sometimes, we forget the essential.  We forget that there are times, the ideal things are not necessarily the most essential.  We forget to live in the moment.

Sometimes, the bottomline, the results, the expectations – these things are not everything that matters.

Sometimes, living in the moment is all that matters.

Living in this life is all that matters, even for a moment’s time.

Isn’t it extremely painful to be “present” in a once-in-a-lifetime moment, when one’s spirit, one’s soul, is wandering towards a completion of tasks that just pursue the “good results”?

Just as we have the self-discipline to turn ourselves to machines that efficiently and effectively produce the results that conquer the sky-high expectations, let us too have that self-discipline to return back to being mere mortals that need the warmth, the spontaneous spark, that urge to live in the moment.

“Sa buhay na ito, tayo’y manatili. Huminga ng malalim, huminga ng malalim.”

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Thank you Bamboo, for this wonderful music that somehow lifts the spirit.

Just an Excuse

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We all have been littered by motivational, inspirational messages on continuing forward amidst obstacles.

And, I do mean “littered”. Or is “cluttered” a better term to use?

As society continues to celebrate the underdog stories, I challenge:

When and how do we determine whether an incapability to perform is not an excuse, but rather, a symptom of something greater, or something worse?

When one attempts to let his light shine and fails, is it entirely his fault? Is success entirely a choice, or is it an amalgamation of things other than just “choosing” and “willing” to succeed?

And lastly, I ask what is the correct choice between these: accepting things that can be changed/unchanged and learning how to know what can indeed be changed (as the prayer for serenity advocates); or having the fortitude “to will things”, no matter the obstacle?

Thank You for Hurting Me

Thank you for hurting me.

When during my frosh years, I did not take the risk to be active in organizations because of my premature “burnout excuse”. This was one of my biggest regrets of my college life.

Thank you for hurting me.

When during my sophomore years I did not get something I thought I deserved – I felt so entitled and I thought then the world was mine.

Thank you for hurting me.

When during my junior years I tried to carry myself and do something that was something I did not really like nor love. I thought it was unfair being stuck, when I think there must have been better things I felt I deserved.

Thank you for hurting me.

When in my senior year, I learned my lessons. To fully know myself first, and never to feel entitled. That self awareness is about knowing what I can and cannot handle. And that one learns best when outside the comfort zone. That humility is a choice, and it will always be tested. That attitude comes first before skill or talent.

Thank you for hurting me.

Because in pain I found the most valuable lessons of my college life. In pain I found the strength to reflect everyday. In pain, I learned that life is about winning personal battles rather than competing in the rat race.

Thank you, Lord, for hurting me.

Because then you fulfilled Your promise, that through the baptism by fire I can be again that mythical phoenix who rises up from the ashes, ever majestic, but self-aware that I’m destined to be consumed and be reduced to humble dust.

Only to rise up again.

A Glimpse of the Superstars

Perhaps I have been blessed to be given a rare opportunity – a glimpse of how superstars do work they are the best at.

Industry leaders. Industry shakers. And even industry creators.

What separates them from the rest is not just their immense talents and resources, but rather the drive to achieve their crystal clear goals.

They possess the no-excuse attitude – either you deliver or you don’t. But the superstars I met emphasize the importance of giving back to the world, to the Philippines. They have their own advocacies.

The reason behind their riches is their unrelentless drive – 24/7.

And the question is: if we want to be superstars ourselves, do we have the resolve to sacrifice and be ad disciplined as them?

Impressing or Expressing?

Pursuing excellence to impress or to express? Image courtesy of Google Images

 

My English mentor in my high school sophomore year, Sir Marvin, recognized my talent in creative writing.  I was glad to know that I have a particular strength that I can indeed be proud of.  As a young teenager then filled with my own personal insecurities, I was yearning to find that inner treasure I can bank on.  To be excellent.  To impress my peers and my teachers.

But amidst all the grammar lessons he taught us, the literary pieces and the neologisms and all the other English-related isms, there is one thing I would surely never forget.

He told me, “You write to EXPRESS, not to IMPRESS.”

It was a lesson that time that I did not fully understand.  As I began to hone my craft in little ways, I developed my own corolary to Sir Marvin’s words: “You write for IMPRESSIVE EXPRESSION”.

At that time, it made sense.  Find something or build on something that makes you passionate to say what you want to say, or write what you want to write – then find the right “techniques” to deliver them in an awe-inspiring manner.

In a world filled with Dips (from Seth Godin’s The Dip) and industry leaders, managers, bosses and superiors with limited time, the world has become a system of “who-can-impress-me-the-most-in-the-shortest-amount-of-time”.  Competition becomes ruthless.  People, advertisers, marketers, politicians – they compete for the audience’s minds and utilize all sorts of gimmicks to gain attention, then perhaps eventually gain traction on their own campaigns.

I thought that perhaps, impressing is more important than expressing.

But I was wrong.

In my experience when my creative juices run dry and I encounter all sorts of de-motivations and the most daunting of writers’ blocks, I have observed one thing: I have focused too much in impressing, more than expressing.

What I did not understand back then, is that words, in the greater scheme of things, are just symbols.  They have no meaning when not put into context.  They are not enjoyed when randomly juxtaposed.

In the greater scheme of things, words, pictures, campaigns, and any form of language or media – they are supposed to be representations of authentic emotions and ideas wanting to be EXPRESSED.

I realized that perhaps “IMPRESSIVE EXPRESSION” is the art of finding the most precisest (pardon the intended wrong grammar) symbols, images, and/or words that would closely convey what we want to express.  Without something worth expressing, no attempt of impressing would work.  Though some impressions-for-the-sake-of-impressing may work superficially for the short term, they would undoubtedly crumble and be exposed as half-truths or lies in the long-term.

Now I know why the lesson is stated as “You write to express, not to impress”.  By focusing on sincerely expressing one’s idea, insight, or campaign, impressing the target audience follows.

By stating “one writes for IMPRESSIVE EXPRESSION”, there is an assumption that he must have mastered already the basic principle of “writing to EXPRESS, not to IMPRESS”.

In a world wanting to be impressed, the irony is to do so, one must be truly sincere in what he wants to express.

Let not the fear of having to impress the world cloud our mission – to express our innate excellence and talents to the world.

The Price of the Prize (of Greatness is Great)

Ten months being exposed to how the development sector’s problems, education-oriented goals & social impact driven motives are being married to business’s sustainable, viable & profit-driven objectives – I realize that the road to the true practice of CSR and social entrepreneurship is hard to travel. Talking about these seemingly feel-good things may be easy, but truly walking the talk is a whole new different story.

Truly, the price of the prize of greatness is great.

As the Phoenix Burns (Out)

“Rise up from the dust like a phoenix.”

These words, from Bamboo the band’s “I-You”, resonated to my whole being.  It’s as if they created that line solely for my consumption – it’s as if the line is tailor-fitted to who I am.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Phoenix who is in a never-ending cycle of painful death and majestic rebirth.  My fascination with the mythical creature dates way back in high school.

I honestly wondered, who would not be in love with the Phoenix story?  It tells a story of a young chick with all the big dreams of becoming a majestic Flaming Bird, for everybody to adore.  Then once it becomes who it wants to become, it must then face the pains of stepping down from the majestic glory and burning itself to ashes.  Death.  But the story does not stop in death, for a Phoenix emerging from the ashes, the dusts of pain, is a stronger creature compared to its previous incarnations.

My question: how long does the phoenix rise from the ashes after burning out?

How long is the recovery time?

How does it find the Herculean strength to rise up and vow to be stronger than before?

How does it muster the power to pursue its personal redemption?

How does it get the confidence that it will be stronger than before?

How can it get the self-assurance that same failures will not be repeated?  That it is past the foes and shadows it once feared to fought?

How does it overcome the fear?

The thing is, a phoenix needs to be stronger when it undergoes rebirth, because the previous status quo it once lived in will possess far greater challenges.

In facing uncertainty, having Father Time on its side allows the Phoenix to recuperate and complete the rebirth.

 

Get Well Soon

Intertwined, as if, as one

Emotions that picture battles not won

Hoping things will get better, not bitter

Making the fairy tale a true happy ever after.

Circadian Haiku

Shades of green, dreamy

Blurred, vague, blinding light

Sunrise! It’s out of my hands!

CSR Series: Baptism

Sometimes, baptism can be harsh.  Purification can be painful.

All the things that happened may be a harsh spanking from Mother Nature to remember to take care of her.  Perhaps we should have a change in lifestyle?

But still, after half a week of rainfall, the sun shines.  The aftermath of a purification, a symbol of hope.

As my favorite OPM artist, Bamboo, would now sing:

“Tuloy ang ikot ng mundo!”