Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Chaos

You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Xooma

I have been an avid water drinker for the last 2 to 3 years now and I can personally attest to the health (clearer skin, more regular movement, even weight loss!) and mind (lighter feeling, focus, clarity) and lifestyle (simpler, cleaner, clearer, more peaceful, happier, more joyful way of life) benefits that come from simply drinking lots of water regularly.

And I basically adopted more water drinking as a way of life because of several initiating reasons: tight finances necessitated that my children and I drink water instead of our usual favorite beverages, which in turn led me to the pleasant discovery of feeling lighter and more focused and losing weight and looking good, which coincided with my meditation studies and practices, which led me to spiritual literature and spiritual cinema, like "What the Bleep Do You Know?", which mentioned the water experiments of a Japanese scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, on the amazing effects of both positive and negative thoughts on water!

So, when I received an invitation from Vance Alford to check out Xooma and after I read and studied what Xooma was all about, I became very excited! Somehow, it rang true to both my heart and experience! And somehow, too, things seem to be coming together, addressing my first reasons for turning into a water-rooted way of life: as a way to deal with tight finances and wanting not only to look and feel better about my self and my life in general, but living a life of Abundance in all ways.

It has been such a wondrous journey, and I believe Xooma is not just any MLM company out to fatten its Network by feeding off its downlines, but a unique business that both offers a product that not only improves health but even helps promote a more peaceful way of life, as well as lets everybody in on sharing all the Abundance this Universe yearns to give to us all!

In case you're wondering what I do (and whether I'm just one of those tree-hugging kookies talking about the Universe, etc. : >)-- well, I teach Economics, Cultural Studies and Communications courses at a well-respected university in our city, a freelance writer, researcher, speaker and trainer, and a multi-awarded children's book writer in my country, and I'm willing to put my name and reputation on the line for such a worthy endeavor as this!

: )

Friday, December 01, 2006

Reprieve

a reprieve-- that's what i suddenly got earlier this morning, when my colleague texted me to say that our Cagayan de Oro trip is off, as all flights are cancelled due to the storms raging elsewhere in the country.

she was very upset about it, but i strangely felt gleeful and relieved inside. my sudden thought was--- yippeeeeeee!!!! 5 straight days, ALL TO MY SELF TO DO WITH AS I PLEASE!!!

it's like an early Christmas treat. i have officially notified the people at work (including my students) that i'll be back Dec. 6, yet. so i have today, this weekend and Monday and Tuesday of next week all to my self, to catch up and erase all backlog, as well as spend the whole time just luxuriating in my solitude...

well, it won't really be solitary with the kids around at home, but we all do our own thing around the house, and they know when im in an inner-directed solitary mode, so i might as well be
living totally alone at home.

the kids are still asleep and i am savoring these few hours of complete, unadulterated silence, just me and my self, just me and my thoughts.

earlier, i surfed for "Ocean Park in Hong Kong", as i further build up the dream of a Hong Kong summer vacation for the kids and i come April-May 2007-- 2-3 days at Ocean Park and the space museum and the cultural center in Kowloon, and 2 days at Disneyland. that will require some mind stretching planning and budgetting and manifesting magic, but suddenly, all my dreams are within view, within reach now. i just have to reach out and take them!

next, i'll text my brother to send that house painter to me today or tomorrow instead of next weekend.

thank You, God, for this special, wonderful, magical time, all to my self!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

bumpy ride

so it's a bumpy ride for us right now. so we're having our first real stand-off after 5 months, taking time and space from each other just to be by our selves and go back to living our individual lives without getting into each other's nerves.

nope, it's not a fight. our last communication was loving, but agonized. talking didn't seem to help much anymore. so maybe, this time, silence is best.

pain is a good teacher, if you embrace it and look it in the eye long enough to learn from it.

for the 3 or 4 days now that we have not been communicating, i have not only been focusing on attending to the other parts of my life again, i have also been doing a lot of reflecting and journalizing and reading, and reviewing and studying all the resources i have collected so far, especially in the last two or three years, on creating happier, more loving, more dynamic relationships... : ) it's funny now when i realize how i have been collecting all these articles and quizzes for a long-lasting loving relationship and marriage, even long before i was in an honest-to-goodness one!!!

i guess i must have needed to collect these as sort of a treasure map, as guideposts to help me as i grew my self towards them.

i revisited an old haunt, Rinatta Paries' site, WhatItTakes.com, and reviewed my quiz results again and took some new ones. i just finished printing out and answering a Long-term Relationship and Marriage Quiz (one i never took before as i didn't feel qualified to answer it because i wasn't in such a relationship then), and my results are interesting.

generally, i garnered 88 checked points over 100 items, so that must be really very good now. but what made the results really interesting for me, though, was that the quiz asks you to review those sections where you got the lowest scores on, as those sections are intended to be your learning guide, the areas you still need to grow your self more on.

for me, i got a score of only 5 out of 10 in the section on How You Deal With Your Negative Feelings, and 6 out of 10 on Taking Care of Your Needs, which hit my personal issues right now bull's eye!!!

these are the areas i'm learning i still need to grow more of my self on now (the ones i answered False/did not check):

- I don't save up feelings, even when they seem minor, because then I would blow up when I get full.
- I voice my feelings even when I am afraid of scaring away my partner.
- I try to discuss feelings when they come up.
- I have a right to my feelings and never have to justify how I feel.
- I have a responsibility to not use my feelings as weapons against my partner.
- I do not punish my partner when he/she is unable or unwilling to be there for me.
- I do not punish myself or think badly of myself when my partner is not able or willing to take care of my needs.
- I know that it's not personal when my partner is unable or unwilling to take care of my needs.
- I do not have a problem asking my partner and other safe people, repeatedly if needed, to meet my needs.

so i have my work cut out for me; i have things to do and work on inside even if it appears like there's nothing happening on the outside. : ) when we get back to talking again, my Beloved will be prouder of me, and who i have further grown my self into! : D

despite the pain of being somehow "separated" from my Beloved right now (although i don't really feel separated, because even in the silence, he is there with me... : > ), i thank God for this Love and Friendship i have come into, because it stretches me, and refines me, and makes me strive to become the best and finest person i can be.

there are necessary pains, like this one, which have to do with growing up, and there are unnecessary pains, like the ones i've had before, which were, at their very best, manipulative and dark and confusing; and, at their very worst, even abusive and toxic to my overall emotional, psychological, physical and even spiritual health!

i thank God i have come to this blessed place at last.

God help me be worthy. And God help me do it right this time.

God bless my Beloved, too, that he will find his own clearer way through all these, and that we will only come out stronger, wiser, finer, and more in love with each other still (which i have no doubt now is the likeliest thing happening!!!)!!!

God bless M and i, and our Love and Friendship... and Marriage, someday soon. : )

Sunday, November 26, 2006

the ugly, horrible me

'tis true what i have been reading lately, that it is precisely when you are most in love and want to present your best, blooming self that you are feeling most vulnerable, and your ugliest, smallest self comes out too, because as your heart and soul open forgotten spaces for all the good feelings, these same spaces are also the avenues through which all your past, buried, ancient hurts, pains and fears rise up.

so it has been happening lately that as My Love is focusing more of his attention and energies on really working hard to make our dreams come true soon, i have started feeling neglected and pouty and scared and resentful and even jealous of his work that's taking his time and attention away from me. : (

i try to rationalize with my self that his is the wiser course and that i should do my best to be the positive, cheerful and supportive partner, but some little part of me rises up and demands his love and attention now and all of it.

so, the other day i threw a tantrum, despite my best self. it just came up. and he expressed how he felt so tortured and agonized, knowing he was causing all my hurting, and how do i have better suggestions other than the course he was already taking and doing?

that jarred me back to my senses, although it did not keep the little girl in me from holding her ground and pouting and sulking and resenting his work still...

i managed to put up a good positive front, though, and released him from his torture.

still, i realize now that these are my own inner issues i have to deal with, on my own, and my own inner work to do.

i thought i have long moved on and healed from these issues, but apparently, they are still there, waiting to be brought up at the slightest provocation, and asking to be healed, so i can be made more whole again.

it mainly has to do with my fear of abandonment i guess. at the slightest hint that a special loved one is turning their attention away from me for a while to focus on other things in their lives, this feeling of being neglected summons forth these fears-- of being abandoned, of being unworthy and not good enough, of being unlovable and unloved.

i guess they stem from a long-ago childhood of an unstable home life and erratic and confusing signs of love and affection. mainly, my way of coping has been to shut down and act cool, fortify my self against the vagaries of life, love and human nature. but when a button is pushed (usually through signs of being left alone to be on my own when i don't want to be on my own), i get really mad, even furious, even raging furious, and i start to act all whiny and needy and saccharine sweet manipulative alternating with cold withdrawing power-tripping...

so really infantile.

so really downright small, ugly and horrible.

: ( : ( : (

i am so ashamed of my self at times like these, and i wonder how anyone can still ever put up with me and keep on loving me.

: ( : ( : (

at times like these, i just wish to hide deep into my deepest self, and never come out again.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Sufi Reading on Building Your Own Temple Out of Your Own Being

"A sensitive person has a great need for the sacred. One needs to protect one's very fragile soul against the turbulence and grossness, vulgarity and ruthlessness one finds in the world. How can one be in the world and not of the world? ... How can one preserve one's attunement where one's soul is being pummeled all the time from all directions?

"In the course of history our societies have built temples and churches in order to seek refuge, so one is able to find one's soul again in favorable circumstances. The purpose of the temple is to provide a safe place for worship, to give expression to the nostalgia of our soul. The nomads, whether they were Jews or Arabs, found that since they were always on the move they could not rely upon a place where they could find peace and the sacred attunement of their being. They realized they had to create their own temple. Living in our modern societies, we might benefit by dedicating a room in our home that would be a temple for meditation, but not all of us can afford even that in our crowded lives. The answer is to build an inner temple out of our own being.

"The temple provides a threshold marking a very definite transit from the profane to the sacred, and marking a protection so you are able to find peace within your self without being subjected to the impressions coming in from all sides. You can seek refuge in that temple, even when you are right in the middle of activity, because you have built the temple from within. It's always there."

--Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

***

for me, my temple is books, the spa, a date with my self at the beauty parlor, then my favorite restaurant, long walks through Nature, books again, swimming naked, lots of walking again, enjoying watching people quietly in a busy, noisy airport, more books, and writing, and more writing-- all done alone.

a solitary woman enjoying her own company in today's world seems anathema, though, and i had to struggle to establish, protect and nurture that temple.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Wish for You

whoever you are, if you have come to this place, i believe you are meant to read this. so here is my wish for you today (please click on the word "wish") ...

and please just pass it on. : )

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

angel angst

somebody pointed out to me long ago how my role in life seems to be that of a "fiscalizer" (his term, although looking up the meaning now, i find that no such word exists; it is a Filipinized term that means "watchdog" or "monitor", so i guess he used the wrong word), saying how i seem to come in when all the rest of the world go out, to straighten out people's mess, and do a good job of going about it quietly and tenderly.

in my family, i am the most sensitive and the quietest one, and everyone turns to me for wisdom and comfort when the chips are down. unfortunately for me, it seems, im the most honest one too, so everyone tends to turn uneasy with me and shun me (temporarily), too, when they're bullshitting and i name their shit.

among friends and at work, it is the same. i usually get picked to do the job nobody wants (because it takes too much, and no known solution is in sight; because it is too complex; and/or because it is too messy), and i am able to turn the job into a source of admiration and envy for everyone in the end.

just last friday while in manila for a creative writing fellowship, and riding the taxi from quezon city to makati, the taxi driver poured out his life story and his pains to me, telling me of the double life he's lived for ten years now, how he had to leave his hometown because he killed somebody in defense of his gay brother, with the other life his wife and children now even knew nothing about! as i reached my destination, i could tell he was restraining himself from crying. i asked him for his name, his real name, not the alias his wife and children knows him by, and said his name and left him with a "God bless you", praying for the grace of God to bring him the healing that he sought. he bowed at my little blessing, and his countenance seemed much lighter, as i alighted from his taxi...

i've never seen it in my lovelife before, though, until now-- just now, after my love has finally revealed to me the state of his life and the source of his fears... and how he is afraid he will disappoint me and hurt me. : ( i am quick to cheer him up, of course, because i don't see it that way, and i encourage him to get his life back in shape, that i will always be his good friend, beyond and before anything else.

this just suddenly reminds me of the ex, though, and how, when he met me, his life was going downhill, too, and how, his marrying me, his trophy wife, somehow gave his life a semblance of stability and acceptability, that he initially worked to build on, but later lost the steam for, as old habits and character traits got the better of him, when bigger challenges came our way.

this reminds me, too, of the few romances i've had, with people who were at a "lost" point in their lives, drifting, aimless, and who, in one way or another, expressed to me how i provided them with the motivation to go on, to shape up....

the last big love (not a little romance at all) called me his "Angel", for essentially fulfilling the same role in his life, except that, for me, too, he also became my angel in many ways, healing old wounds and dark hurts.

now here is My Love, calling me "precious"... and i understand why, now, after his recent revelation.

it makes me wonder though, if i'm meant to be attracting these people to be an angel to them in their lives, or are there just basically a lot of broken-ness out there?

it makes me wonder, too, how, if im an angel to many people, who is my Angel to me, the one to salve all my deepest pains and save me from my darkest self?

so far, no one has filled that role for me, except my Higher Spirit, God, books, consistently all throughout my life. i count all i have come across with as my angels, too, in the sense that i have learned and grown much from being with them and loving (and even hating) them and being loved (and hated) by them, but they were never the angels in the way i seem to be to them, that of almost-saviour, light, guide, rescuer, lifeboat.

times like these, i feel so alone. always the giver, rarely the receiver... sigh.
...

or is this just telling me that maybe, it is now time for me to be so less self-contained and self-reliant, to learn to depend and let go and trust others more now, to relax into letting them take care of me too?

hmmm.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ebb Tides

there used to be a time when i would panic at the first sign of decrease... at the first signals of slackening... especially in close romantic relationships. i wanted all the highs without the lows... well, the lows too, but the emotional and dramatic kinds of lows, not the routine blah ones that normally accompany daily living and loving. i wanted the dance to last forever.

these days, though, i am learning to sensitively recognize and accept ebb tides gracefully, go with the flow and even ride them in peaceful, loving contemplation, welcoming the breathers, in fact, to temporarily withdraw and mend my own nets, nurture my own garden... knowing and trusting now that when the flood comes again, it can only be better, more transformative, deeper, bringing us even closer together.

these days, i find my self developing a wiser, more sober, more mature, but nonetheless even deeper kind of loving, the kind of loving that knows in time when to let go, and when to embrace, in tune, in step with the dance at last.

that psychological concept of the challenge between intimacy and independence that one must go through as a developmental task in adulthood; i think i am getting it right this time, balancing my and my loved one's needs for both, letting my self succumb to the natural rhythms without fear and anxiety now... well, there's still always that little feeling of dread and trepidation before the descent... but with more trust and grace and peacefulness and inner joy now.

i am also reminded now of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola-Estes' "Sleep of Trust" phase that she described in her book --

When lovers enter this state, they are surrendering to the forces within themselves, those that have trust, faith, and the profound power of innocence. In this spiritual sleep, the lover trusts that the works of his soul will be worked in him, that all will be as it should be. This lover sleeps the sleep of the wise instead of the wary.

His trust is not dependent on his lover not to hurt him. His is a trust that any wound that comes to him can be healed, a trust that new life follows old.

For love to thrive, the mate must trust that whatever will be, will be transformative.

this is where i am right now.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Wildish

until i was able to articulate it to him, i never realized that's basically the essence of all my "Search" all these years, all my life-- i was looking for my match, my mate, that man of a good mind, a good heart, a fine spirit... and a wildish nature.

earlier in my youth, i met mostly people with a good enough mind (why else would i be initially attracted?). but i hadn't come around to the good-hearted part until lately... much more the fine-spirited kind. it has been a loooooooong journey indeed.

but, it is only now, that i have met someone who seems to possess all the first three qualities, plus his very own fourth quality, my wildish man, that i realized it was the missing piece that i have been searching for all along.

oohhh, no, not wildish in terms of the sensual pleasures.... that is a gift we both have yet to uncover. : )

what i mean with wildish is more in soul terms... someone who lives life by the gut, from the heart, undaunted by the usual limits, confident in their ability to ride the waves or roll with the punches, fueled by passion, like i do; somebody who looks at the world and people almost exactly like i do, too, or complementarily at the very least; someone who knows my heart and thoughts even without my saying nor explaining a lot, who understands when i keep silent and take space without making me feel guilty about it, who is his own person yet still loves me just as fully too; somebody i can "launch my all against" and yet not be too swayed nor shattered by it. someone who is his own man, as i am my own woman.

needless to say, it's not only an interesting combination, it can be explosive even, with two strong minds and spirits holding their ground even as they love each other so.

but, no worries. it takes a wildish nature to ride all that, whole and intact. : )

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Acts of Faith, and Miracles

i remember a line from the film, Under the Tuscan Sun-- "if you build the house, the occupants will come" -- which was similar to another line in the film, Field of Dreams -- "if you build the (baseball) diamond, the players will come"-- or something to that effect, and i marvel at how true they are in my life now.

a year and a half ago, i decided to stop "playing around" with short-term flings and little romances, because even if they were fun adventures, they were not doing any good to my mental, emotional and even physical health in the long run, with the risks i were taking. ive learned what i had to learn, i figured, "sowed my oats", so to speak, and so i thought it was time for me to settle down into my self, and give to me the loving that i sought elsewhere but never seemed to get, just love me and give to me and pamper me as i deserved, at last.

and so it went that as i got used to loving me just as i am, i met friends -- men and women -- who were also more of the giving types, not the taker types i used to be surrounded with before. and their friendships and nurturing further bolstered my sense of value, of feeling more deserving of true and good loving just as i am, without my having to do anything else to earn it or to pay for it.

a little over two months ago, i was introduced by an old college friend to a man whom i connected with so deeply and so soon, it brought that old girlhood dream and mantra... "soulmate"... back to life for me again.

im taking it slow this time, though... making sure i do it right this time. and surprisingly for me (i have been with men before who just pushed and rushed and insisted, never mind what i wanted or how i felt about things), he respects it and abides by it. our friendship's developing beautifully; he is like the amalgamation of all the other friends ive had over the past year and a half. he has introduced me to his mom, and his mom and i hit it off quick too. : ) he told me one time how "bizaare" his feelings for me are-- "i cannot imagine life without you in it, and yet you have just arrived in it!"

what never ceases to amaze me is, in addition to the fact of our quick and deep connection, his life circumstances are in such a way that they fit mine, and mine his, supporting each other's dreams, filling each other's little lacks.... oohhh, almost like a perfect fit. bizaare, indeed. one example is even before i met him, i resolved to my self that i will take a leave of absence from my day job by next schoolyear, to create space for my heart's true desires-- writing and reading and maybe even more travelling through the family business and my burgeoning speaking career. now, here comes a man who is not only very passionate about reading and writing (and his mom and only sister are writers too!) but a world traveler too, who is seeking to settle down at last yet still also wants to introduce me and my little ones to the places he has been! i still secretly glow from his solemn promise-- "someday, we will all travel, including your little treasures." : ) : ) : )

of course, one side of me says maybe it is still too early to know for sure, that time will tell. but so far, things have been growing beautifully, everyday miracles manifesting.

if not for anything else, what i love (we haven't spoken that L word yet...so hush...) most about this man is that he makes me laugh. even when he complains and rants about his day, without his meaning to, they always come out funny, and he just makes me laugh, and feel warm all over. i could live with someone who makes me laugh, no matter what, for the rest of my life!

: D

***

oohh, God, help me be worthy; God help me do it right this time!

Friday, July 07, 2006

soul powers

i have heard a contemplative nun say before that "feelings are the skin of the soul", how they are neither good nor bad but instead a powerful way of telling you what your soul really wants, or not want, if you heed them.

today, i just received a copy of a free newsletter i subscribe to describing how "imagination is the eye of the soul", how through imagination, one can create and recreate present realities, and transform them into the desired realities of one's dreams.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

need to be alone

from Kahlil Gibran:

You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;

And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.


There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.


When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered
When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

soul call

it's "intentional disarray" time again. like a juggler suddenly deciding to stop juggling, all her multi-colored balls up in midair, suspended in time, or letting them fall where they may, i am going inside for soul call time again.

synchronistically enough, my body follows (or leads?). i woke up today feeling groggy, feverish and fluish, but not in such a bad way that i couldn't enjoy staying in bed the whole morning, after i've done my early morning wet market errands, with the a/c on, and just sleeping the whole morning away.

im supposed to have still another list of To Dos set for today, but when it's soul call time, im letting everything hang, and just go inside my shell, dig deep into my foxhole, and nourish my self, and nurture my self again, in ways ive long since missed, but always in ways i go back to to sustain me.

i had disturbing dreams and dreamlets--- of getting angry at my class (when i haven't really gotten angry in front of my class in my whole 9-year teaching career), and paying a government employee P500 for some documents i was processing with their office, and having the employee deny having received what i paid her later in the day... -- so i woke up further feeling disoriented and groggy and in a gray mood.

eating our favorite steamed crabs for lunch was a pick-me-upper, though, as well as a long-missed mashed squash in coconut milk dish.

i went back to bed after lunch, cocooning my self in a favorite blanket, and picking up where i left off in my readings the night before.

since last night, i started three books all at once-- Christopher Howard's Turning Passions Into Profits, Thomas J. Stanley's The Millionaire Mind, and Ben Yagoda's The Sound on the Page: Style and Voice in Writing.

i guess im suddenly hungry for likeminded company again, after the recent smallminded events of the last few days...

when the soul calls like this, even unfinished To Dos can't get to me, for a change. : ) once i've made the decision to completely stop all my usual work-related activities and projects and meetings and concerns, it's no trouble at all pushing all the remaining To Dos to the back of my mind for a while, no ifs no buts no what ifs even, and just doggedly pursue soul food and nourishing time, this time.

it's furniture-rearranging time again, and--unlike the long-ago days of resisting it-- im now fully and willingly allowing it, participating in the mystic dance in the dark again, knowing and trusting that when i come out, the new furniture arrangement can only be better and whole-r, like it always has been, like it always will be.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

step back

there are times like last night, when i was talking with three different people almost at the same time via text and email, and, from their responses (or non-responses of the other two), i got the feeling that i said something wrong, or said it in a way that made it sound wrong.

i quickly shifted tone and apologized, and it seemed to arrest what i felt was a downward spiralling path. still, it bothers me.

while talking to the first person, i already had the feeling that something was not right, that i should just shut up and step back, listen and observe instead, watchfully feel things out. but no, i kept on talking...

i must've been just tired, or they themselves were tired or not in the right mood, too, or the stars in the heavens are not in a good alignment... certainly, it felt off track, i felt off track last night.

times like these, i should remember to just step back, observe quietly and wait for the right moment to move again, like my cat familiar. : )

there are times to push forward and make a lot of noise; there are times to recede into the shadows and just watch and learn.

Monday, March 20, 2006

gravity pull

'tis true, indeed, it is upon take off that a rocket or a plane feels the most gravity. or so ive heard.

today, a colleague asked me about how the thesis issue worked out. i said it worked out fine, i stood by what was written in the guidelines. my wellmeaning colleague and friend gloated, though, for seeing the dean put in her place. that stopped me.

apparently, most people would tend to see it as a contest of power or egos, and it saddens me. it would be so easy for me, too, to go back and maybe gloat or continue bitching along with them; the dean isn't very much liked for what is perceived as her bulldozing ways.

but today, i stopped. i stopped my self just in time, and ended with saying something like "... uh, maybe she just forgot about what was in our guidelines", but it still bothered me because my friend went back to what she was doing still gloating.

i see now how terribly unkind and unfair that can be, picking on people or tearing them down behind their backs at that, just because we perceive them to be bad, evil, out to get us, deliberately tyrannical and insulting, etc., when in reality they are as human and vulnerable as we are and maybe doing what they do out of good and wellmeaning intentions.

i know now from recent and firsthand experience how our perceptions can be fed by others' incorrect perceptions too, and the way to change our own incorrect perceptions is to expand our realities to accommodate more direct experiences of alternate perceptions...

funny but i am actually feeling protective of my dean now. : )

Sunday, March 19, 2006

conflict transformation 101

it is amazing how very little shifts in perception and ways of behaving can dramatically transform a conflict situation into a life-affirming one. not only does all end well, the participants to the conflict are-- i'm sure of it, basing on my own inner experience alone-- transformed in some deep and life-enriching way.

...

so i wrote that polite but firm letter to the dean.

the next day i received a note saying the dean would like to meet me at 5pm.

my initial (and accustomed) reaction was anxiety, bracing my self for a potentially negative, face-to-face confrontation with her, based on what i know of her communication styles with others and in general.

so all throughout the day, it worried me.

but i remembered, too--actually, i made my self remember-- what i learned in my MA peace studies class--

1. avoid being drawn into two-way extreme polarities;
2. check and re-check your assumptions and perceptions;
3. always look for the third (or fourth, fifth, ...) alternative, creative way;
4. do "The Onion" technique, probe deep and go down to the needs and feelings level, instead of staying stuck in the positions and demands level.

so i fought with my self to treat this coming encounter as something new, not influenced by past perceptions of her and the way she handles conflict. i made myself come into a state of being where i anticipated the communication as a fresh start, a wonderful opportunity to change things for the better...

soon enough, two students came to me, still asking about what to do with their theses; but they shared, too, that the dean went into their class last night, almost in a begging manner, to ask them to submit their bound theses soon...

that quickly changed how i saw her. that she needs this thing to work out well, too, as much as i and the students want it to. that she actually might need my help and cooperation and support, and that maybe, that is the reason why she wants to meet with me privately later (and not to lambast me and put me down for talking back, as i was thinking)!

so for the rest of the afternooon, i felt lighter, actually looking forward to the private meeting with her. i made sure, too, to dress smartly and boldly for the day, looking good in my bright red blouse and tan slacks, to boost my confidence. : )

so when i came into her office, i was feeling and looking upbeat.

she started by saying that she's responding to my letter. i let her talk, but i kept nodding to let her know im hearing what she's saying.

of course, first, she talked about her position and about the university policies, and how the deadline is a collegial decision which the university administration accepts, and how it's in everyone theses guidelines...

then she waited for my response.

i started by saying that i understand her position and was in fact, even surprised to find that in our department's guidelines, there is no mention of the deadline that she says. then, i showed her the thesis handbook with the guidelines, and suggested that maybe it should be changed for next schoolyear, but right now, what can be done to avert a crisis?

it went on and on, our talk, but i took conscious care not to negatively react to her bait of sometimes insinuating that i have not been doing enough for the students, that i should know the APA format as well as she does, too. i let it pass as i was focused on the goal-- a positive resolution to the conflict, and saving the students from the next day's bound thesis deadline.

towards the end, she admitted that on a personal level, my letter struck her as if she was the one to blame for all the delay. i quickly and heartily agreed-- but in a way that i told her that was my and the students' perceptions, and that we may be wrong, but i felt frustrated, that's why i had to write the letter to clarify things officially.

and so, now, this was her opportunity to explain her side, and she said that she didnt see anything wrong in her asking the students to keep revising them as when we first submitted it, it was still in late january and early february anyway, so there was still time...

and i let her answer the unspoken question her self: now that there is very little time left, and given that it is not provided for in our thesis guidelines, what is to be done?

so a mutually acceptable settlement was worked out, that she wouldn't insist on the deadline as it's not in our guidelines, but that she would like to talk to the students to air her side, too, and that i will tell the students to personally come to her office per group to talk to her and renegotiate their deadlines with her.

i went home feeling good. i also appreciated her willingness to see the issue more clearly and to do what she can to solve it. i told her so by texting her, thanking her for her sense of fairness and consideration.

i think it made her feel good, too, because the next day, i heard that her talk with the students went well, and when she saw me briefly when i passed by her office, she smiled brightly.

...

my most significant learning from this experience, though, is my own self growth and change of perception-- that there is, indeed, more than just two polarized sides to any conflict; that our assumptions and perceptions do strongly dictate the way we approach a conflict; that there is always a third or fourth or more alternative and creative way; and that when you go down to the feeling level with another, you are just left with your barenaked human selves, and that is the ground for positive transformation to quickly take root and sprout more peaceful and happier ways of addressing a conflict.

heck, i feel so good even my previous growing angst and bitterness over administrative smallmindedness is completely gone! : O

even as im still intent on my decision to leave when it's time, i look on things here now with an affectionate, tolerant humor, even if outwardly, nothing much has changed.

and, most importantly, i think i might have even gained a staunch ally and friend in her now, too.

living, breathing, hard-earned inner-struggled peace in the truest sense of the word...

i feel so blessed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

patience pays

today, all of us thesis advisers received a memo from her saying the students have to submit their hardbound copies by friday, the 17th, or else their names will be included in the list of failures, and stricken off the graduation list, "as per thesis guidelines".

ive long wanted to write her a telling-her-off letter ever since she first acted up on the students' theses by making it difficult for them to get the approval sheet signed, and thus, bookbound. but i kept my silence, recognizing that it wasn't timely to do that.

with the memo today, though, i felt it was time.

with the time elapsed since then, too (plus my recent other post), my head is cooler and my emotions calmer now.

so i wrote her a long official respectful letter clarifying that--

1. her stated sanctions are not in the thesis guidelines at all;
2. she has not signed the students' approval sheet, so how could they be bound? ... as per thesis guidelines;
3. their grades have already been given, how can she still strike them off the graduation list and include them in the list of failures?

seeing it all in print now, i am even more amazed at the illogic of it all! it boggles me how a person in her position and with her qualifications can blunder along like this, entirely clueless about the senselessness of her directives.

there must be more mix-up at work deep inside, for things to come out this convoluted.

i feel sorry, even compassion, for her now.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dean

now she insists that this class has to have a Best Thesis, when she hasn't signed one with her approval. the students have stopped revising out of discouragement. good thing ive given them their grades already as soon as their defense panelists signed, so that won't affect their graduation.

i tell my Chair, through whom she coursed the message through-- how can there be Best, when the students haven't finalized their revisions for her and she hasn't signed but kept returning them back?

the Chair's lame excuse is that it wouldn't look good for the Department and the College not to have a Best Thesis, when it always had one for the past many years (under my tutelage, too, mind you.)

go figure how convoluted PhD minds work.

form over substance again.

i am soooo tired of this shit.

Friday, March 03, 2006

divine courage (a.k.a. venting with a will)

it's a friday afternoon, and i should be looking forward to a relaxing weekend to do with as i please.

but no, we have MA classes tomorrow, and i plan on doing the 3- or 4-part online assignment tonight and submit it before classes start tomorrow.

then, too, while driving home, the kids were asking me about my schedule tomorrow, as paolo has his taekwondo classes at 10am, while thea needs to go to school at 2pm for her club rehearsals. that means my going in and out of class to bring them to their activities and fetching them again, the usual multi-tasking routine. sigh. but thinking about it right now makes me feel tired already. so i'll think about it tomorrow, as Scarlett O'Hara would say.

or i wouldnt even think about it at all, and just do it, like Nike advises.

sigh.

im mostly feeling down going home because of a recent development at work. my thesis students keep coming to me complaining that our Dean is making it hard for them to get their theses signed for bookbinding, when their defense panelists and Department Chair have signed already. the Dean keeps telling them that she's not satisfied yet with their work so she won't sign, but she doesn't say specifically, too, which part she wants improved or changed, and how.

yes, this is the same Dean who made my administrative life hell before as a Department Chair, too, with her policies in progress which change according to whim, and her overly conscientious stickling for form over substance.

i am tempted to tell her off and get on with it, yet still, she is the Dean, because she is the one with the PhD.

so im feeling helpless and frustrated and mad.

her signing is really just for bookbinding; the students have earned their grades already since their panelists have signed their theses, so they're still candidates for graduation. i checked the thesis guidelines too; there's nothing there that says they can't graduate if their theses aren't signed by the Dean.

so maybe the wiser option is just to let her get entangled on her own web of confusion that she has created.

sigh.

this just strengthens my resolve all the more to get away from the university as soon as i can.

meanwhile, before writing this blog, i was spiralling towards the depth of another mini-depression again. but while writing this, realizing that even if i presently cant even muster my usual good cheer and faith in things turning out for good in the end, i still have my stubbornness, my steel will, to summon, in times like this.

ive read somewhere long ago that stubbornness is divine courage in so many ways. when all things point to giving up, when even your very cells say you can't go on with all the BS around you, you can still muster your last recourse and resource, your will, to push on ahead anyway despite of and inspite of what's going on. and when you do, divine grace comes to aid you in your resolve.

so that's what im feeling now, as i end this post. i will still go ahead with my plans for tonight and tomorrow and the weeks and the months to come anyway, and not let flies in the ointment like this, which are basically caused by the pettiness and smallmindedness of other people, to get me down, or to distract me from what i am about.

Friday, February 17, 2006

tired uterus

why am i suddenly so tired these days?

my body seems to be transforming-- i notice a change in taste to more vegetables and fruits, and lots and lots of water. then, too, there's the deep craving for sleep.

the things and tasks which used to consume me with passion and intense concentration-- my readings, studies, teaching, even my freelance non-creative writing, all seem like a burden and a chore to me now. i can only work in two to three-hour spurts now, and then i stop for a long time, and then work again... and i have to drag my self to work on them again...

all i want to do is sleep, and stay at home, and eat vegetables and fruits and drink lots of water, and blog or write in my journal, and then sleep some more.

if i had an active sex life i would think im pregnant!!!

(but then again, maybe i am indeed pregnant in other levels, gestating other possibilities, and my body is reacting as if i were indeed physically pregnant.. hmmmm...)

*****

i'm fighting and struggling so hard from bashing my self these days, for slacking off, for so many things still left undone.

i have to keep reminding my self my New Year's Resolutions for 2006:

1. to take extremely good and loving care of my self in all ways;
2. to discipline my mind and will to focus only on what i want to manifest in my life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

last night's dream

i have to write this down before it slips away into the mists (fog?) of my busy day. ive just come back home for breakfast, after trying to take my youngest to school in my car, but having the car stall in the middle of the road, then taking a taxi to continue and finish the trip, then asking the taxi to wait for me and take me to an atm machine because i just found out i only had 20 pesos in my wallet, then treating my self to an airconditioned taxi ride back home, so i could try starting the car again (it stalled near our home)... and thankfully, the car did start this time, that's why im able to get home for breakfast. whew!

okay, here was the dream that suddenly woke me up at 4am and left me feeling bothered... i know what it means but i don't understand why it has me feeling bothered--

the kids and i were in cebu to visit Aunt Bea. we had a wonderful time there. on the day of our flight back home, she took out all her old clothes, shoes and bags to give to me; but knowing Aunt Bea, her "old" things aren't really old, as they're only worn once or twice and kept and maintained very well. i enjoyed sorting through all her womanly stuff, and taking out the ones for the kids too (there were "old" girls' things outgrown by her own daughters)-- perfumes, bags, silk scarves, feminine dresses that showed off one's sensuality at the same time...

but then i remembered we had a flight to take back home. she told me not to worry. i thought it was to be at 9 in the morning. she said she had it moved to 245pm; and when i checked our tickets, indeed it was to be at 245pm.

but it was already 1pm and i wasnt done sorting and packing yet. then she told me there were still more downstairs.

i came down a loong and elegant flight of stairs wearing one of her dresses which i had been trying on, but unzipped at the back, and all these many people were watching me appreciatively. it was like a church congregation and me coming down from some altar like a goddess.

although i felt flattered, i felt embarassed and shy, too, and unready. and i was worried about the kids and i missing our flight.

as i went to one of the pews with open boxes of more womanly stuff in it, some women assisted me in sorting through them and oohing and ahhhing over the beautiful trinkets and fabrics. a man with a mustache tried to introduce himself to me by saying, "And who's this new chick? i haven't seen her before."

i extended my hand in a dignified way, smiled at him and said, "i am not a 'chick', sir. i am Jeanette.'" and he felt embarassed by my ladylike rebuke.

i looked down to see some Barbie dresses for my youngest daughter and scooped them up, even while i tried maintaining my hold on all the dresses and stuff i had already in my arms.

we should be going home now, although i didnt want to go home.

it was at this point that i woke up.

*****

what the dream means?

well, it's quite obvious and it resonates with me-- im changing, not so much changing to be somebody not me, but changing into somebody more me. thus, the new clothes and stuff, etc. to reflect the new me.

the aunt in the dream is the Wise Old Woman or the cronish wildish feminine spirit in me, guiding me in my transformation intro true goddessness (coming down from the altar : > ), although im still feeling shy and embarassed about it even as i delight in it.

i don't understand, though, my preoccupation with going home.

maybe my need to also go back to my comfort zone, who i was before? hmmmm....

hmmmm.


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

the death knell

(for those who read the previous post of the same title above and wonder where it is now.)

some things are better left unshared. speaking about them accords them attention and energies they don't deserve.

"what you give attention to, grows; what you neglect, dies." i'd rather it die its own natural death, without me revivifying it by talking about it.

thank you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

interesting horoscope

January 24, 2006

Today's Outlook: The shift of energies from watery emotional Scorpio to fiery inspirational Sagittarius at 1:38 pm EST lifts our spirits as we aim the arrows of thought into the distant future. But all is not as light and easy, for mental Mercury conjuncts melancholy Chiron. We remember our old wounds now and need to talk about what hurts in order to move beyond it. Even if we've been mired down in a difficult situation, the potential for healing is great today as long as we are willing to speak the truth.


it doesn't say anything about my very painful stiff neck, though.

my Google searches say stiff necks are basically caused by stress--own thoughts and actions, people and circumstances who are literally a "pain in the neck".

ouch.

(at least i am getting my humor back.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

my grief, my anger

j thinks my grief is over the fact that my marriage has legally and is sacramentally ending, and that i still harbor some love lost over the past.

j thinks that i am jealous because the ex is publicly announcing that he is getting married soon.

it is taking many explanations and many assurances that it is not so, but in the course of the many explanations and many assurances, i am seeing it more clearly now too, thanks to j--

my grief is over a grave injustice not yet righted.

i endured the horrors of a ten-year loveless marriage, mustered the courage enough to leave it and speak my truth. and yet, when it came to the civil annulment proceedings, because the ex filed it, of course it was to be my fault. i couldn't afford an attorney then to represent me through the costly proceedings, especially as the ex has been mean with his sporadic child support; but neither could i qualify for public aid, as my official income goes beyond the "official poverty line". so legally speaking, although i was the one victimized, i had to swallow sh_t just to set my self free, too.

now here comes the church annulment petition, and it is the same sh_t all over again.

***

still, i did not and do not take sh_t anymore, too bad for them.

during the psychiatric investigations, i was able to convince the psychiatrist, who openly admitted his dilemma on who to cite as "psychologically incapacitated" (the only loophole grounds for civil annulment here in my country; and the law is funny-- you're psychologically incapacitated only in terms of how you relate to the ex-spouse, not in terms of how you relate to other people!), to consider citing us BOTH instead. i did my research and studied my annulment law before i visited the psychiatrist. so i knew i was on solid ground in my sales pitch to him.

thankfully, the psychiatrist followed my request. he happens to be the husband of my former classmate and group-mate in MBA class, too.

the ex's family might have the money and legal connections, but i still have the charm. : )

***

writing about this this way now, it doesn't seem so grievous anymore.

the anger is back, but it is the righteous, holy kind of anger now-- clean and pure.

today

it is soo easy to despair, when one finally musters the courage to look at the blood-and-gore destruction in one's life, and finally see-- promises unfulfilled, hopes dashed, dreams killed, illusions broken.

today has not been easy.

ive re-started my Silva meditations, just to feel better... but going so deep within opens up a lot of hitherto closed and secret chambers of your heart and soul. letting the light in, yes, but also letting the darkness out.

i started out well enough with good intentions, to be extra gentle with my self today even as i go about my life and work, but the kids and i overslept. i woke up to the sound of the ex's car horn impatiently honking outside. i told the maid to just get the kids' allowances from him, as i will be the one to take the two older ones to school, as well as the youngest one too.

it was a dark and cold rainy morning earlier today, and waking the reluctant kids up was a struggle. they wanted to continue cuddling up together and sleep. i decided i will not unduly stress my self out even more by going against the tide. so we all self-declared a holiday for ourselves today, and just stay cocooned at home.

since they were all still asleep, i figured id do my Silva meditations then. it was good, it was wonderful, calming and relaxing, as it always is. but when i went out of the meditative state and stretched to "fully wake up", i felt a painful twitch at the back of my neck when i raised my head to stretch it back.

it was so painful that for twenty seconds or so, i couldn't move as i just let the wave of pain crest and subside.

when the pain subsided, i decided id go back to bed and rest instead, after informing my students that we won't be meeting today.

sleep didn't bring much rest, as snippets of conversations and snatches of images from the past haunted me even as i moved this way and that to shoo them away. i kept waking up in a half-dreaming, half-awake state, and then id find my self tearing up and crying silent tears. it didnt help that the kids decided to camp out in our bedroom where i was trying to get some rest; i asked them many times to move to the other airconditioned bedroom but they said they wanted to be near me.

do kids sense when you need comforting, too?

still, their prattle and little noisy arguments were more an irritant than a comfort this time.

***

it is 2pm now, and i just woke up again. this time from a stab of pain slicing through the back of my neck. at the same time, i was jarred by the image of when i last felt such pain, in the same place.

it was may 1998, two weeks after i gave birth to our second child and only son.

i had a high fever then, but it was to be the last day of the grace period for paying my insurance premium. i asked him to make the payment for me on his way to work, but he said he was too busy, that i should just pay it my self, or let the insurance lapse. : (

so despite my burning fever, i dressed and went out to pay. i was feeling groggy and headachy and feverish by the time i hailed a taxi to take me home, as the car stalled earlier in the garage that morning and wouldn't budge. my breasts were full with milk too, and were as feverish from the engorgement. there was pain everywhere in my body.

i remember thinking how the black taxi i hailed looked almost like a hearse, just before i got in. but oh well, i wanted to go home more than i wanted to wait for another nicer-looking taxi.

it happened at the intersection leading to the entrance of our subdivision gate. the taxi paused at the intersection to let cars coming from the opposite side to pass before it turned left to enter the subdivision gate.

as it turned left, i suddenly saw this big pick-up truck rushing towards us, honking hard. my last thought was, ohh it can't stop.

i don't remember much after that except that people told me later the taxi was crushed so bad as the pick-up rammed into its entire side, the side i was sitting on. luckily for me, i must have instinctively bent down, with my head pushing into the cushiony back of the driver's seat, as that's how they found me, thrown onto the other side of the taxi.

i vaguely remember people putting me into another taxi to take me to the hospital, and i also remember telling the taxi driver to take me home instead.

the maid and my eldest daughter, who was only five then, told me that i walked like a zombie when they opened the gate for me. i stared glassily and walked straight to the bedroom to lie down and curl up and sleep.

the maid told me how my eldest daughter followed me and climbed into bed with me, and that's when she saw the scratches on my arms and body and legs, and even tried to put a band aid on one really ugly scratch on my ankle. then she remembered to dial the only numbers she memorized, my parents-in-laws' house, and talked to her grandmother then, who confirmed what happened from the maid (the maid is illiterate, doesn't even know how to dial).

my parents-in-law quickly came to pick me up and bring me to the hospital for tests.

it was not a very good day. on the way to the hospital, there was a car accident, and some man's body was hauled out and put on the back of a passing motored-tricycle. i remembered how my very sensitive mother-in-law cried out and covered her face from the bloodied man whose arms and legs were hanging out of the tricycle we were following.

anyway, the tests proved okay, i was just a little shocked, the doctors said, but physically okay, except for the few scratches and my painful neck, for which i was given some medicines to take. my parents-in-law brought me home, and i climbed back to bed to finally get some sleep.

he arrived home from his out-of-town work late in the afternoon, and i could hear the maid and our daughter greeting him and beginning to tell him what happened to me earlier that day.

he burst into our room, but his first words were-- our budget is ruined! how much did the hospital bill cost?


beyond rage

when rage has outlived
its purpose
to protect
and
to empower

then
you have to
sit down with your self
and peel off
gently
what lies underneath:

the harrowing pain
of seething,
gnashing,
howling
ghosts
which must be
laid to rest.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Descansos

i just mailed out my answers to the church's questionnaire on the ex's petition for church annulment, this morning. basically, i wrote them that i've said all i've needed to say, wish to be informed of the progress of the case, but don't wish to participate in the proceedings anymore.

on one level, i feel relieved that the last of the vestiges of an unhappy past is done and over with.

on another level, i am bleeding all over.

even if i did not answer the questionnaire in detail anymore, but just attached my personal response to the Court that i sent the Court in february last year, for the civil annulment proceedings, the researcher and writer in me still had to re-read the response to the Court one last time, to check for typos, etc.

sigh.

re-reading all those sordid details from the past got me down.

i am feeling more than sad. i am beyond rage and fury even.

maybe the time has come to fully grieve, all those little deaths, all those little blows that almost spelled the final death of my own spirit.

ive been weepy the whole day.

i come home now and look for comfort, but my usual sources of comfort cannot do enough to bring me out of this darkness again.

i am reminded, though, of my woman's bible, the one that got me through all those horrendous last years, Clarissa Pinkola-Estes' Women Who Run With the Wolves, that well-loved, many times-read and reread book occupying a special place in my bookshelf now.

i turn to the only chapter i hastily read through before, as it was the only chapter that i couldn't really get in sync with before-- Chapter 12: "Marking Territory, The Boundaries of Rage and Forgiveness".

i am rereading it again now, and am reminded of descansos, an old Mexican ritual for marking deaths along the road or highway with small white crosses.

i weep as i read, as the words resonate to the core --

Descansos are symbols that mark a death. Right there, right on that spot, someone's journey in life halted unexpectedly. There has been a car accident, or someone was walking along the road and died of heat exhaustion, or a fight took place there. Something happened there that altered that person's life and the lives of other people forever.

Women have died a thousand deaths before they are twenty years old. They've gone in this direction or that, and have been cut off. They have hopes and dreams that have been cut off also.

To make descansos means taking a look at your life and marking where the small deaths, las muertes chiquitas, and the big deaths, las muertes grandotas, have taken place. We mark where there were roads not taken, paths that were cut off, ambushes, betrayals, and deaths.

I encourage you to make descansos, to sit down with a time-line of your life and say, "Where are the crosses? Where are the places that must be remembered, must be blessed?" In all are meanings that you've brought forward into your life today. They must be remembered, but they must be forgotten at the same time. It takes time. And patience.

Descansos is a conscious practice that takes pity on and gives honor to the orphaned dead of your psyche, laying them to rest at last.

Be gentle with your self and make the descansos, the resting places for the aspects of yourself that were on their way to somewhere, but never arrived. Descansos mark the death sites, the dark times, but they are also love notes to your suffering. They are transformative. There is a lot to be said for pinning things to the earth so they don't follow us around. There is a lot to be said for laying them to rest.

***

i guess it is time for my own descansos now.

wish me healing. wish me wholeness.