One Day It Will All Make Sense

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

We should see ourselves as moving parts in a vast space.
Each one with a task to fulfill;
A role to play.

Focus on yours.
Draw out your essence,
and let it fulfill its purpose.
Do not be afraid.

You are one with the universe,
and the universe cannot harm itself.

You will know when a purpose is valid,
as it will be right…
without a doubt.

Your Story

To brave vulnerability in front of many is one of the most difficult things one can ever do but at the same time the most rewarding too.  Last night was an amazing time spent with friends, old and new.  Talking about one topic opened a lot of stories I never thought have been written in the pages of one’s book. Indeed there’s a lot to every person, a lot that we don’t see, don’t know, and maybe, we may never understand.  But that’s one of a couple of gifts I think that we can give to the world- our own make.

Each of us has our own story beginning differently. Some would have had it good, some already bad, and some would be a perfect mix of sugar and spice. However it started, regardless of age, surely it’s embedded in either your earliest memory, or it’s one of a few which carried a lot of weight and created the biggest impact on you. Either way, it kicked off the very first chapter of your book and carried you through this very time.

All of those things: the joys, the trauma, the pain, gain, loss, victory, defeat- it all made who you are now. However that makes you feel, I would say you’re victorious. Why? Because you’re still here- –  alive and breathing. No failure has beaten you up and left you for dead. No triumph has stopped you from dreaming and wanting to accomplish something more! So love yourself now, in case you still don’t. You’ve come so far, and the pages you’ve filled out up to this time is already a gift. A gift that you can share to the world. Someone somewhere will be blessed by it. Your story may inspire, encourage, or awaken another soul at one perfect time. You’ll be surprised of what it can accomplish.

Now that you know what you’re made of, what you can become is your second gift to the world.

Knowing where you are is one thing, knowing where you want to be is another.

This chapter and the ones that follow are still unwritten. You have to decide how it continues. Imagine what you would want to read about yourself when you reach 80 or 100.  Coz then time will have taught you what you already knew- that everything from here and now will just be a memory. What would define it’s worth is up to you- – it’s up to the choices you make.

You’ve already learned how to play the cards you’re dealt with, but you can do more than that, and you can do things differently this time.  You may want to stop doing and start being. Stop reacting and start pro-acting. Whatever it is, don’t stop here. As the song goes, “It ain’t over, till it’s over”.

Dream some more and make it happen, so that when you’re old and gray, you will have an ocean of beautiful memories to accompany you. You’ll have bags of wonderful stories to share with your grandkids. You’ll have plenty of highs and lows to tell the rest of the world.  Then they will all know that behind those wrinkled hands and the feeble frame is a person of strong heart and a tough will, who refused to give up, who gave more and gave all!

It All Burned Down To The Ground

“Now that you’re starting from scratch, you can think of  a lot of possibilities- what you can do, what you can be- something better, bolder, something more attuned to who you really are.”

That’s how the long conversation began with my brother.  Thomas Edison had a life-changing experience once and he was so grateful for it.

When he saw his factory burning down, Edison was all the more excited that he called his son and wife to witness the fire destroying all of his hard work. They felt pity for him but he felt relief.

Puzzled, the son asked him why he feels that way and his response knocked them down. “Don’t you see it?! Now I can start again! All the mistakes are gone. I can start with a clean slate!”

The attitude! Right? As Lenny Kravitz said, “ It ain’t over till it’s over”.  When life hits you hard, you hit back too, but, harder!  That’s the beauty of starting from scratch.  Think of it as life handing you a clean plate and on it, you can put all the delicious stuff your mouth can crave for- sumptuous, exquisite and delightful meal, literally everything your hands can grab, everything you ask for, everything you can imagine!  Fantastic isn’t it?!

Years ago, I was lucky to go to college in a city far away from my home.  Soon as I entered the gates, my heart actually exclaimed “This is great! I can start anew. I can start fresh. I can reinvent myself and create a new me!” That’s a lot to take in for a young mind, but girl, that was freedom!!

Stick to what’s familiar, and you’ll get so used to it that you forget to grow.  What happens then? You’ll miss the chance of discovering and rediscovering yourself.  You’ll miss your possibilities, your highest potential, and the best version of you.

So why do people stay stuck? Fear. For one, we don’t want to be judged by peers for being different than everybody else, for changing and shaking things up not a bit, but big time.  We also don’t want to labor hard or harder in any case. We want a pain-free, struggle-free existence.  Well I say, you’re welcome to do anything you want to do. It’s entirely up to you.

When life kicks your butt it’s actually good. As when lightning strikes, your body jolts up and you’re finally more alert, more alive. We’re all sleeping beauties you know, we need someone or something to wake us up, to give us clearer vision and wonder-woman-courage- to feel invincible again!

Uproot yourself and fly- far away so you cover more grounds, the world is a much bigger place than you imagine.

It all boils down to perspective- how you see things and how you see through them,  and your attitude. You don’t ask  “Why?”, “Why Me” anymore. Instead, you ask, “What now?”

A.H. Wilson said it right about Edison’s experience that fateful day, “Well, the next thing to do, is to dive right in and rebuild”!

Your Suitcase

I’ve read a story about a traveler who met a monk on his journey and decided to come by his place. When they arrived, the traveler was surprised to see the monk’s house barely having anything apart from a bed, a chair, a table, a cup and a book. Curious, he asked the monk, “Why do you only own a few stuff?”. To this, the monk replied, “I can see you carried a few stuff yourself”. Baffled, the man explained, “Well Mr. Monk, that’s because I’m a traveler!”. With a twinkle in his eyes, the monk smiled and said , “So am I son, so am I.”

Have you thought about how simple life was when we were kids? We play, we eat, we sleep, then hit the repeat button. Or more profoundly, have you thought of how your life once was:

– when you were young and innocent
– when your heart was full of big dreams and hope
– when you were unafraid or maybe, less scared
– when you didn’t know what “worrying” meant, because you had so much faith,
– when you can’t be bothered by petty things and can’t afford to hold grudges ‘coz you desire peace & harmony & friendship
– when you knew forgiveness, the gift of it
– when you had so much love?

How wonderful it was. “If I could only go back”- the wish we whisper secretly in our hearts hoping the universe would hear and answer back.

So what’s the deal with us? Baggages. We carry too much. These days we are crippled by fear, weighed down by hurt, consumed with regrets, paralyzed by indecision, suspended by thoughts of “what-ifs” and “maybes”. Why? Because we chose to. It’s not pleasant to hear, but It is our fault. Our life doesn’t just unfold by itself. We steer its course. We have to learn, to grow, to take courage, to take responsibility for our choices, and let go already. Release, and let go.

What else? The consuming desire for fame, for power and fortune, that it becomes an obsession! The moment it takes hold of your life, the noble man inside of you dies. Like the characters in the story, we are all travelers in this world. Let’s not get too comfortable in it. Be extraordinary but learn to live simply. Good works and good deeds define a man. He’s measured by the attitude of his heart. Stay away from the trappings of this world. Guard your thoughts, guard your heart, pack your life’s suitcase. Go, and travel light!

When You’re In The Rough

Have you ever felt less-equipped, unfit, incompetent on a job and told yourself you’re not gonna last another six months?  I did, and that was two weeks ago as of this writing.

You see I got this new job, a better one by the way in terms of stability, culture, people to work with and of course, challenges.

I welcome challenges like a person who welcomes the sunshine into her own home.  It pushes me to stretch and it perks my senses up.  I work hard the whole day that after dark, I’d feel so spent and yet so fulfilled.  By then I’d go and say, “I did my best and now I can rest”.

Isn’t that what we look forward to every day? A sense of purpose and meaning? That confidence to tell yourself, “I matter, and I know why I’m here”?

Yet days can become very exhausting at times, it will drive you to believe that you’re not enough. And when your job is on the line, you ready yourself for the worse but you keep doing what needs to be done.

On several occasions you realize there’s a lot left unfinished and yet you can only do so much.  At other times too you have to learn to let go of how you used to do things and try something new.

My old boss would always say, there’s a lot of different ways to skin a cat, and when it comes to solving problems, there are a lot of different approaches you can take.  So you learn as you go and you learn from other people too.

Now at this point in time here I am, feeling defeated some days but winning on most.  Victory doesn’t mean performing miracles at work but it means, continually fighting the good fight, win inner battles and beat the monsters within, self-defeating thoughts, pride, unwillingness to bend, to move, preference for what’s comfortable, easy and unchallenging.  After all, It doesn’t really matter what awaits in the end, so long as you know that at every moment, you did the best you could.

So, why did you leave your old job? People would ask me.  Well, why wouldn’t I.  There’s a lot to experience in the world, and I won’t be able to get a taste of as much as everything if I choose to settle. When days are predictable, what would I be excited about?  When everything becomes routinary and ordinary, we ease off, and then we stop growing. Would you want that kind of life?

Push forward and onward you go.  You will get all the help that you need at the right time. Ask and you shall receive, sow and you will reap. Believe in victorious endings.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in the world. Some may tell you that whatever you do or give is just a drop in the ocean, it’s small and will not even matter.  You know what? Do it or give it anyway. Every ocean is made up of millions of drops, and yours can be one of it.

Every challenge that lands on you hands has been given to you for the simple reason that you’re the only one, who has the nerve, the guts, the courage and the heart to take it on.

Now go ahead, rise and win it.

 

What Scares You

Fear is most people’s nemesis.  We’re afraid to lose, to fail, to get hurt or to start again.  We’re afraid to frustrate loved ones, to be laughed at by friends, to not gain everyone’s approval.

Fear is in not knowing.  Take for example a newbie investor.  He’s unsure how the market is going to perform, where to invest his money, or to invest at all.  He fears he’s gonna make the wrong choices, lose his money and fail.

What could this person do? Study. Research. Know everything there is to know. When you learn, you equip yourself, and then you can make informed decisions.  What if the decision was wrong? The important thing is you did what you know was right at that particular time with all the information you have. If you fail, then take the lesson with you. Successful people pursue learning. It feeds their appetite.

Fear is a control issue. This is when a person knows he doesn’t have a hand or power over things. Paranoia exhibits this fear- a condition where one is obsessed with the belief that bad things are going to happen and that everybody is out there to get him. He becomes helpless, paralyzed, panicky, worrisome.This is not a pleasant and healthy state to be in and there’s no easy cure but two ways can help:   To trust and to let go.

First, It all boils down to your belief system.  when you learn to trust people and trust a Higher Being, your perspective change.  To worry and to focus on things you can’t control just doesn’t make sense. It’s  a waste of your time and energy, two resources that you have a limited supply of. To shift your focus on things you can control is more sensible and a more productive way to live your life. Delegate.  Do what you do best, and leave the rest to experts.  You ask for help, you collaborate or team up with the someone. You can even team up with God.

To let go on the other hand demands acceptance- the courage to embrace the truth.  There are things that are bound to happen. You can’t do anything about it.  Even if you can the efforts would be futile. Death, taxes, and change are on top of the list. You can’t avoid death. You can avoid taxes but with disastrous consequences. You can resist change but that will disrupt your growth.  See, it’s pointless to argue with these truths much more prevent it from taking place.

Lastly, fear is refusing to take responsibility for your own happiness. When you dread rejection or demand affection you are bound to fail. The former will immobilize you, the latter will frustrate you.  Don’t avoid the chances of getting turned down. Successful people have had a fair share of it. There’s  Colonel Sanders, Oprah Winfrey, and Sylvester Stallone to name a few. On the other hand, if you look forward to pleasing everybody- you will end up living up to their expectations and not yours. Remind me, who’s life is this again? Yours right?

Fear has many facets and all of it are not good for you. Of course, there’s a healthy kind of fear and it’s a topic worthy of discussion on a separate occasion.  For now, think about where your fear stems from, then deal with the root cause.  Work on what you can.  Everything else is not meant to be dealt with by you. Wave the white flag if you must.  Help will certainly come.

Blue Skies

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I could have quickly snuggled back in bed and gotten two more minutes. But that morning, I said, “No. Not again.”

Hitting the snooze button most days left me feeling sluggish. So that day, I reckon, was going to be different.

The Lake

Stepping outside the building, a cold wind greeted me. The sun was slowly rising, and I could see a few neighbors running and sprinting.

“Let’s do this,” I said.

Since I admire physically active people, even non-athletic ones, I emulate them by spending most time outdoors. But with winter, it is a bit of a struggle.

Like a few of my friends, I gain weight during colder months. Call it “hibernation mode”- to justify longer hours in bed or most days on the couch telling stories with friends over a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

As I stood outside breathing the fresh morning air, sunlight gently lit up our side of town. I climbed down the steps and slowly headed towards the lake. The water was calm. How can it be when the world “out there” is full of noise? “Even my mind right now can’t stay quiet.” I wonder.

The Wooden Bench

I walked for what could be the longest I’ve done in the past 7 days. Stopping by a wooden bench, I clasped my hands behind my back and stretched while tilting my head back. Ahhh, and there it was.. blue skies! A moment more and a little bird flew by. Beautiful!

Funny, I realized I hadn’t looked up to see the skies for quite a long time. I might have, unconsciously, but not really experienced it like I’ve had now- in joy and wonderment.

Reflecting on this, I recognized it was no different in how I’ve managed situations in my life. I have looked to myself and to others for answers. Of course, I have looked to God, too, as I imagine Him beside me. But there’s something different about looking up.

The Blue Canvas

The vastness of the skies reminded me of how little my “world” is. So from that perspective, most things became unimportant.
-The world will not collapse if I miss a deadline.
-My phone would still be working if I missed a notification.
-My experiences are still enjoyable even without the adorable photos.

Most things can wait. And some can be enjoyed just by themselves, without adding anything to it.

Looking up also gave me a sense of relief. It’s peaceful to see the “heavens.” I think it’s because there is less “clutter” up there. There’s no congestion, no noise, and dare I say, there are no personalities to deal with, even my own.

So my takeaway in all this, look up. Better yet, gaze into the skies now and then. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed, empty, lonely, or grieving, I think it’s worth the try. You may think it’s too simple, but maybe, that is all we really need.  

The Day I Decided To Let Go

Letting go is obviously one of the hardest things that we can do, but at times, stepping into that new kind of freedom is very much worth it.

sundaewrites

The year came like anything normal and in so many ways I have underestimated it. Certainly, you’ll never really know where life would take you. 

During the first few months, inspiration struck. It triggered me to make small decisions and subtle changes affecting very important aspects of my life.

Letting Go of Stuff

    It started with a few clothes, some old, some new, that I’ve never really worn for months. Like most, I’ve held on to those pieces of clothing because I’ve paid for them and I already own them. 

I realized later on that possessing or not possessing them didn’t really affect the quality of my life. Nor has it affected the level of my happiness in the long term. Maybe that’s why you and I call this and similar things as stuff because literally, they’re just that. Most things we can live without and some we can only need enough of. 

On the other hand though, our stuff can be a piece of gold to someone who really needs them. With that, I gave away clothes to friends, neighbors, relatives and some more things to charity.

I was able to sell some of the stuff too and more will be sold in the comings months. I remember meeting this buyer and our conversation went like this.

Buyer:  So how long have you had this?

Me: 6 months

Buyer: how many times did you use it?

Me: thrice

Buyer: It’s in superb condition and you’re selling it for half the price. Why did you buy it in the first place?

Me: Well, I thought I needed it and would do me good. Later on, I realized, it’s bulky and cumbersome. I can actually get rid of it and make do of what I already have.

Buyer: Well, this is a gem for me. Sorry, you had to sell it.

Me: Oh no, I’m glad I did! (“and I met you”! – bonus point that I felt he didn’t need to know – insert “grin”).


Letting Go of biases

    I think you would agree that we all have our biases when it comes to culture, people of a different race or sometimes people from our own race. I for one am guilty about this. In the past, my generalizations about people have hindered the possibility of me knowing them at a deeper level and understand how they see things. 

I’ve come to realize that it was a mistake and a loss on my part. I mean, some of them could have been my close friends. They could have contributed to my growth. Most could have been helpful mentors, teachers, coaches or perhaps role models. I remember a colleague of mine said to me one time. “It’s not you. We’re just not used to saying please and thank you as often as you do. We don’t even say please or thank you to people from our own country”.  Another shared, “We look like we’re fighting because we seem to be shouting at each other, but we’re not. This is just a normal conversation”.

When I decided to finally open myself to other cultures and other communities, I felt like my heart expanded and my understanding broadened. I began to see these people the way I see myself and my friends- just human beings with imperfections like we all have, and trying their very best in life as we all do.  

Letting Go of Who I thought I was

We are who we are. This belief also limited my success as a person. 

I always thought that I’m an introvert and therefore, don’t have the ability to connect with people and actually be energized in the process. I always thought, I could never write, just because I barely passed my first essay in college. My English teacher would always ask me to explain what I’m trying to say. That time I have a knack for tying two words together, not because they mean anything but because they just sounded good. Well, it’s hard when English is not your first language. These are just two of several beliefs which crafted my idea of Me. This same idea pushed me to stay in my comfort zone because venturing out, I assumed,  would lead me to failure.  

After years, a breakthrough came.  I decided I will no longer fear failure. So I started a journey of self-discovery and that meant trying new things and doing things that actually scared me or made me nervous and uneasy. I tell you, when I look at myself now, I like what I’m seeing. Frankly, I still make mistakes but I’m growing and continuously learning.

The good thing about letting go of who I thought I was is that every day I am embracing the opportunity to reinvent myself and expand my horizons. It opens a whole new door of possibilities of what I can still be, and the results usually astound me. What you can or cannot do, is indeed entirely up to you. Henry Ford puts it this way “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”.

My friend, is there something in your life that you need to let go and why, or, why not?

Carry-on

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Reminder today: Travel Lightly.

Not with the fullness of the past;

nor the emptiness of the future.

Take only what you need;

which if thought about, is not much.

Complexities only build up,

when you care too much about wants.

But without them, you have enough.

Honor the past and recognize that that was then,

and you are here now.

Respect the future,

despite the uncertainty that it brings. 

Yet, know!

Nothing weighs more than the reality of every second;

where you are; 

how you are; 

who you are;

what takes place at the moment;

and whether it requires something for you,

to experience,

or to do.

The “Now” is rich enough as it is.

Recognize it, and you’ll see,

what eternity looks like,

what heaven feels like,

what the purpose is; and

what life is- – right before you,

it’s unfolding as it should.

I drove 67 miles to get there, and all I ever said was, “Thank You.”

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

I strongly desired to attend a Catholic Mass on a Wednesday afternoon after a two-year hiatus. Of course, there were nearby churches I could go to, but for some reason, it had to be that one.

I missed the Church, the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Confession. So like a desperate lover longing for that one hello, one embrace, one touch of a hand, I set on to drive a long way one Saturday morning, unsure of what to expect and what to find.

The Place

Entering the Church felt different yet familiar. Different because the past couple of years changed me, as it did to most people. 

I think events like a pandemic throw most of us, if not all, out of balance. People like me then didn’t see it coming. We were so engrossed in our own little world. And that world got magnified when we were forced into our tiny holes. 

But after a while, the little world blew up and we began to see things differently. Our bubbles burst, and we realized we weren’t superhuman at all. Why? Because death will get us, regardless of race, religion, status, location, physique, or mental acuity. It’s just a matter of time.

So yes, a pandemic has a tremendous power to wake us up. And we didn’t even know that all along, we were asleep.

Photo by Paolo Bendandi on Unsplash

Now, why did I say entering the Church felt familiar? Because then it felt like home. I imagined my parents and grandparents asking, “Where have you been?” But instead of a long sermon, it was quickly followed by,

 “Tell us about your adventure,”  

“Is there anything you need right now?”

“We missed you, but we knew you would come back.”

And yet there was Someone else. And all I could hear Him say was, “I know. It’s okay. And I love you,” before I even uttered a word.

As I approached the priest to receive the Holy Communion, an overflow of emotion came over me. My chest felt like it was going to explode. It was so powerful that when I knelt down to pray, all I could ever say was “Thank You.”  

The words came on repeat until the emotion subsided. I couldn’t think of anything else to say or even ask. Then, after a while, something dawned on me. Like a lightbulb moment, I suddenly recognized a straightforward truth, and it’s this: That all I need or could ever need is already in me.

The Message

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Often, we search for what we want and desire in the wrong places. In turn, we end up miserable, unhappy, and unfulfilled. We occasionally experience the “highs,” but they never last.  

When I pondered upon this, I thought we must be missing something, and now I believe we do. It has to do with our expectations about external conditions to fulfill an internal need.

“I will be complete when I find the love of my life.” (Meanwhile, I am deficient.) 

“I will feel free when I finally get rid of this debt.” (Meanwhile, I am burdened.)

“I will be happy and excited when I travel again.” (Meanwhile, I am depressed and bored.)

Notice the thoughts that play in the background.

Relying on external conditions to settle, pacify or heal our inner state causes frustration simply because the external is limited. It can only do so much and never beyond it.

If I leave you with one thing, it’s this: “All you need or could ever need is already in you.” So try to ponder that thought for a moment and see how it liberates you.