01 December 2016

Fortitudo et Humilitas

I feel that the most endangered virtue today is true humility. I surely endeavor to possess it, but it shines like a beacon to me when it's manifested (even a semblance of humility) by another person especially while in the midst of a challenging situation (e.g. a Star Wars Republic tribunal). It's a refreshing/ faith-in-humanity-restored experience that's worth a standing ovation.

I was browsing Pinterest and found these insipiring statements. These merit dissemination...

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26 November 2016

Success in Failure


Today, I was inspired by failure. Excuse the Yoda introduction.

This post's theme began yesterday when I noticed someone's eyeglass frames that immediately reminded me of a pair I own which then later made me think of the bespectacled actors who played part of NASA's ground control crew in Apollo 13.  Apollo 13 has been dubbed NASA's successful failure, because despite its 'almost-landed-on-the-moon' drama due to technical mishaps, the crew returned home alive. 

Yesterday afternoon, I attended a talk by a professor who has been cited thousands (maybe millions) of times because of his work. As expected, he was humble, funny, and stated 'I don't know' with a matching shrug followed by valid musings when he was asked something. He lightly ranted that his first paper was rejected a few times (a paper that led to other papers which then resulted to a cascade of other breakthroughs). 

Other famous persons came to mind (see photo image above).  
I'm fervently hoping that one day, I will look back and appreciate all the times I've been in some kind of 'so near yet so far' situation. While it's tempting to enumerate all those moments in my life-- I won't.  Just so I could avoid sounding obnoxious like 'well, I didn't achieve this because of this or that but look at me now' humble-brag. I shiver and cringe at the thought of being that kind of person.

Of course, I don't aim to fail because I'm certain that there's nowhere else to go but up. What I'm trying to say is that there are character-building benefits related to failure. My very first post about the advantages of not being an overachiever is somewhat related...  



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19 November 2016

Post-Truth Politics and Coping Mechanisms


Brexit, Philippine Elections, US Elections, Marcos Burial...all have caused much ado. And the 2016 Oxford word of the year is aptly post-truth.  Whilst on the train, I had a surge of ideas about post-truth politics until I had to remind myself that I'm not a pundit of politics, law, legislation, and everything within that realm. Politicking also appears in everyday life particularly in workplace dynamics. I suppose I'm being slowly and subconsciously sucked into this milieu of suspicion and subterfuge--and I am relieved that there are people in my life who occasionally hit a gong/ throw a pie on my face/ hose me down/ tell me off and put me back into perspective. My father is one of those people. And he has a habit of citing his references--and I think I've imbibed that habit. The citing of references. Not the zen/objective/calm/optimistic disposition. 

To make light of things, I've decided to write about various coping mechanisms that I've developed in order to be resilient and still functional. Let's face it, emotions can make us less productive. Oh, but the desire for our emotions to be provoked is addictive--I think we all want to be immersed in one form of emotion or the other. I will enumerate, in random order, doable coping strategies in order to get by in spite of the hurly-burly of human existence:
  1. Dip regular rippled potato chips in Nutella
  2. Drink alcohol moderately--preferably (reasonably priced) red wine (for the antioxidants)
  3. Put full fat cream on your coffee
  4. Make a chocolate bar sandwich...as in put e.g. Nestle Crunch in between two slices of bread
  5. Take a walk alone and find a spot where you can tunganga (or gawk) at nature
  6. Have imaginary conversations in the shower
  7. Watch a slapstick film or romantic comedy of your choice
  8. Blog (harhar)
  9. Run a bath (whenever applicable)
  10. Do something mechanical: staple, shred paper, do some chores, etc.
Yes, I stuck to the wholesome coping mechanisms, friends. Go forth and do whatever shoots up your happy hormones as long as you "do wrong to none." You can choose to interpret or misinterpret these final statements--I had two glasses of Cabernet because it's a Friday.

Be real, be honest, don't deceive, love everyone, Merry Christmas---on December 25th.
Oh boy, this post felt good.

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I had to edit this post a few times, my clouded brain has made me incoherent.

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11 November 2016

Almost synesthetic


The earlier part of this week was emotionally charged for everyone (whether or not you follow global politics) and the weather did not help either. Fortunately, I have been preoccupied with mundane, almost-mechanical tasks this week and I'm glad. Midweek up until today, the weather was absolutely beautiful. I had to take frequent short walks outside (otherwise, sitting for prolonged periods would cause my joints to creak) so that I could let my senses feast on everything. They say that reds, oranges, and yellows are stimulating colors (it's fall) which is why most eating establishments incorporate those in their design whether in terms of the logo, decor, or food containers (even condiments).  

I remember last year when I thought I was going through a sort of burn out or withdrawal complex because of a drastic shift in circumstances. I would go to this bench (donated in honor of this dead obstetrician) facing the facade of where I'm currently enrolled in grad school and stared at what was in front of me for as long as I possibly could--I would attempt to shift my entire consciousness through my eyes. It helped. It really did. I still go there. I might go there later; it's a beautiful day. 

Sanity via ocular gluttony. May be gluttony isn't a good word--basking? Ocular basking. Ocular indulgence. Visual indulgence--that sounds less pathological.

Visual indulgence. It's free. Just don't accidentally ogle a human being.

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07 November 2016

Afterlife


My recent posts may appeal to the secular clique with the endorsement of the "here and now," but I must emphasize that those are not in accordance with the "drink and be merry for tomorrow we die" philosophy.  When I say I'd like to make it a point to make the most out of the present--which just became the past a few seconds ago--I still prefer to maximize each "here and now" moment in a manner that will not cause me to dwell on the past or become anxious of what is to come. 

After that pivotal event of my mother's illness and passing, instead of rebelling against all faith and divinity-related aspects in my life, I've become even more drawn and curious about the spiritual and metaphysical. Clearly, I never really thought that all this effort to live right now and pursue the moral good is for naught. In my gut there is something after all this. Yes, you can say it's heaven, eternal life, the resurrection. 
I was convent school-trained. My family and extended family are religious--in spite of differences in organized religion membership.  
There is something after all this.

I remember a poem that we were required to read in university that mentioned something about how God reveals the Truth little by little like salt (to taste). It wasn't because God is playing some kind of twisted game with a definite ending much like that movie Adjustment Bureau (but Matt Damon and Emily Blunt did control their own fate at the end of that movie), but that we humans are not ready to understand the Truth. Like when St. Augustine admitted that complete human comprehension of the Holy Trinity is like putting the entire ocean in a hole you dug from the sand.  

I was at mass at St. Michael's Cathedral this morning and the homily was fantastic. Before you click that "x" button on the upper right corner of your browser---indulge me. It was about how leaders during the time of Christ, wanted to clarify the resurrection (more of test and trap Our Lord, as was the theme)... how a woman lost a husband and that 6 of her late husband's brothers married her after each died one after the other. She never had children. And so the question was that in heaven, whose wife would she be? And Christ says that in the resurrection, we attain the pinnacle of our existence and that the earthly relations no longer apply--we are all children of God. The intimacy we experience in our mortal lives is superseded by a divine intimacy. The happiest state imaginable. 
It is unimaginable right? What is proof if this afterlife, after all? The priest simply uses Christ as proof.

I'm not convincing non-believers to believe. Belief, in my opinion, is a choice. One chooses to believe. When one has made a choice, no amount of convincing will change that belief.  Now I'm very critical of myself. I have always wanted to believe--and that is why I've been trying my best to educate myself. I have once stated (and perhaps I may have read/heard this someplace) that doubt is not the opposite of faith---it is essential to faith. 

Going back to Christ--I've often wondered why Christ had to be both man and God. Why not implement His divine abilities during the times He was being put down. It's like you want to root for Him, but why is the story line's script written that way? Simply put, we are the audience. Everything is about educating us. The basic question of "how do I live?" ---> Imitate Christ. Metaphorically of course; not in the rabid fanatical flog yourself or make people crucify you on a cross. Before I elaborate on the imitation of Christ...again, why did He have to be both man and God?

I remember one doctrine class I attended and the very charismatic and funny priest said that he would answer the question of Christ's dual nature by saying "I don't know, I'm not God." After which the priest said something like "well, man committed the greatest disobedience (Adam and Eve + ate the fruit of knowledge because the serpent convinced them that it would make them all knowing as in God) and this credit can only be settled by another man = Christ.  However, debt with  God as the creditor can never be settled fully by just a man so Christ had to be divine as well. I suppose it's oversimplified, but it did make me nod my head and scratch my chin.

So how to imitate Christ, eh? It's the proverbial (and book title) "the road less traveled." Golden Rule. Love. Do wrong to none. Do ordinary things extraordinarily well. Arm yourself with the sacraments. Acts of piety. Pray. Be inclusive. Be like Christ...He hung out with the tax collectors, prostitutes, beggars, fishermen, sinners. The road to holiness is to live a life that will make people wonder...what is it with this person? Why is this person still happy in spite of *insert whatever applicable predicament*? Why is this person motivated? 

We don't have to proselytize like those gifted people who can do that. We aren't all called to the religious life right? Some of us--most of us are ordinary. St. Josemaria Escriva (the saint of ordinary life) espoused using our work as our way to holiness. Be punctual, be diligent, be respectful, do not be judgmental, aspire for humility, have self-mastery...doable little things. No bells and whistles or overt acts of self-righteousness. 

And that is how I aim to maximize the "here and now." 

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*Postscript: St. Josemaria's emphasis on work isn't just referring to the common job but actually one's vocation: parent, spouse, student, politician, volunteer, etc. 

   

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03 November 2016

To be



I'm currently trying to kill 15 minutes at this cafĂ© before I execute all my domestic duties and could unavoidably hear a conversation between an author and a student. The student is possibly interviewing the author who jokingly ranted that her children haven't read any of her books. They're jumping from one topic to another ranging from the Book of Genesis to stress and physiology. I think the student is immensely lucky to be having a discussion with this author at this very moment. It's amusing how they're completely oblivious to the fact that here I am looking like I'm immersed in mobile social networking but really I'm immortalizing their current state....now they're talking about Shakespeare...I feel like a guilty criminal for trigger happily blogging. 
I sometimes feel that our lives are composed of conversations--with ourselves and with others. 
The end is that there is no end. 
The process is the real end...to live, to converse, to be.


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31 October 2016

Double exhumation

I was contemplating about the maximization of the ephemeral present--I might as well be given an Academy award for best actress in a delusional dramatic role--I 'back read' and saw my post on Hume's Concerning Human Understanding which I do not, for the life of me, remember reading: http://annaswhatnots.blogspot.ca/2010/03/to-ex-hume.html Isn't it surreal to be reading what actually came out of my head and not have a recollection about it? What I miss right now is my father's collection of great books. I learned a lot from those. That passage I quoted from Hume is still relevant. It's almost creepy how classic books are still timely.

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29 October 2016

the scarcity of synchronicity

The statement above was lifted from a statistics reference (accessible online--maybe I don't need to cite...no intention to infringe). Whereas it is difficult to fully communicate personal realities that start out as constructs inside one's mind, it is far more challenging to encounter a recipient who can grasp those constructs precisely. It's a rare feat--do not trivialize that. 

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24 October 2016

acceptance

It was in high school when I learned the prayer: "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." 
It is a timely thing to meditate on right now.

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23 October 2016

Tune Out


I retweeted the screenshot above about a somewhat mundane statement about Bill Gates and PM Justin Trudeau. I wonder why it had to be published unless the Telegraph would like to subliminally communicate that interactions with the PM have a tendency to be non-stimulating. 

Such a sad reality about human interaction. I try my best to make the most out of each interaction--I magnify each detail to maximize the moment. Of course, there's a tendency for me to tune out of the superficial (e.g. topic of conversation) and laser focus on a person's voice, smell, mannerisms, even whatever curious sensation I'm experiencing during the interaction. I wish I could record everything; as in capture each moment--everything about the moment/memory. Alas, every present moment immediately becomes the past in a second. 

There are occasions when I seem tuned out and that's been pointed out to me often. I'm still in the moment but maybe I felt a piece of whatnot stuck on my teeth and I felt the urge to look at the Apple sign (mirror) at the back of my phone to confirm--or maybe my attempt to focus on the person I'm talking to isn't translated well by my face. My expression could range from expressionless to wincing in pain. 

I wish I had eidetic memory and the capability to rewind each interaction. 

I also wish that the reason why Bill Gates would lug a microbiology book is because he's simply fascinated by the topic and not to blatantly insult a nation's leader. I like Bill Gates, he's cool. I don't think he's a rude snobby billionaire.

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