04 December 2017

Pause button, please


If I could stop time for a couple of hours just to sleep. To romanticize sleep, here's Pablo Neruda's Sonnet 81, read by Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts for the soundtrack of the film Il Postino (The Postman). This is my ode to sleep--replace "You" with sleep. Anthropomorphizing sleep is something odd people like yours truly would do. Cheers.

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26 November 2017

Trust your innate wisdom


I was prompted to write this entry due to current events encompassing harassment, normalization of hate and bigotry, violence, false news, divisiveness, and an article shared on Twitter about how harassers use "gas lighting" to sow seeds of self-doubt on their prey.  The term gas lighting was also used a few hours ago by a writer (who identifies as a person of color) who decided to leave the online newsletter she used to work for due to the "hipster racism" that one of its creators represented.  

Gas lighting is a manipulative tactic employed by person that begins with provocation (e.g. a racist remark) and then when called out on it will divert his/her action by stating that the provocation was not intentional or that the other person is over-reacting or making things up.  This strategy effectively causes anxiety and oftentimes (a sort of) submission by the manipulated person.  I have witnessed this and even experienced this through the years.  What my parents taught me was to trust my gut. 

My mother had excellent intuition--a lot of us think she may be of the supernatural kind, actually (haha).  My visceral reaction is what I (up to this day) trust.  If I feel I am being manipulated, there's a twitch that happens inside my head. I blink. Red light bulb flashes. It is not something you can read on, unfortunately, but really only develop after years of various interactions.  My simplistic course of action is to disengage cordially.  No volcanic eruption-type confrontation or pyromantics.  Honest words. The low-syllable count kind, if possible.  I often pride myself as being able to handle many difficult situations, negotiations, and confrontations in a sophisticated manner without being sly or dishonest. 

Dishonesty and sesquipedalian rhetoric--just not classy. Hah, I used sesquipedalian. Anyway, I do not mingle with the low integrity, insecure types. I would rather befriend an uneducated street sweeper (who, based on experience, tend to be the wisest kind of people you would meet) than a multi-hyphenate, multi-trillionaire, who owns multinational companies with the business acumen of Mojo Jojo....you understand my drift. I also detest witnessing a gas lighter gas lighting a gas lightee.  Ew.

Thought cloud filler: You can cover the smell of excrement with bottles of lysol, but really, excrement is excrement. Correct? High five.      

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24 November 2017

sine qua non


So much fatigue that has manifested into a full blown flu-like situation.
Went to PoemHunter for a mental respite and Lucy Maud Montgomery's "Come Rest Awhile" stated You have forgotten what it is to smile, in your too busy lifecome, rest awhile.

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19 November 2017

"If music be the food of love."


Quite happy to be playing the keyboard and guitar on a non-hobby basis this year.  I had accompanied a holiday choir in my institution last year and I've been asked to do it again. What I particularly enjoy about playing for singers is the need to fill-in the tonal gaps.  For instance, the singers are all female so there's a lack of the bass and tenor voices and so I tend to focus the accompaniment on the lower keys. Also, the person who leads the group chose either sheet music or chords and I enjoy reading both--I also like having to transpose the key to accommodate everyone's voices.  It's a good way to exercise the brain and recall key signatures. It's fun to wing it when it comes to these laid back venues. There is something preternatural about making music--music in general; that music can express whatever cannot be communicated via some vernacular.  I suddenly remembered a sonnet read by Tom Hiddleston (Loki himself hah)...

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06 November 2017

Snarky


I felt uncharitable today. In fact, I wanted to throw imaginary snide darts onto an imaginary dartboard. Why, what happened? A spontaneous conversation that unleashed specific memories which I have buried deep in my mind as molecules of the recent past. It was as if Pandora's box was unlocked inside my head and all these unpleasant emotions emanated like noxious miasma. All the while struggling to maintain the most socially acceptable facial expressions and mannerisms--a la Victorian restraint.  Yes, friends, despite the apparent desire to possess every virtue--I can be capricious. As in "argh#&@*%^ *insert expletive*" levels in my head but looking like Wednesday Addams on a good day.  People who are very close to me are familiar with the unmistakable deaf-mute state I enter when I'm pissed. I try to veil, of course, just so it does not become too much of a big deal especially when there's really no point communicating that I'm pissed. But in times like these, we must go the Elsa route and "conceal don't feel, don't let them know--let it go." Let blogger absorb the cyber-soliloquy where self-preoccupation is masking as self-deprecation. Hopeless. Wretched self-examination. Ayayay.


Note to self: disengage from negative emotions. Think happy thoughts: unicorns, narwhals, rainbows, chocolates, potato chips, refillable coffee...etc etc. Oh, brownies, pasta, cream cheese, picturesque rural places, etc etc. 

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03 November 2017

Venturing into the trenches of thought


To refer to philosophical works as a means to design one's life is similar to following religious doctrine. There are philosophical theologians who have endeavored to reconcile philosophy and the divine.  I had been gravitating towards the practicality of stoicism, primarily because most of my ideas and perceptions about life and existence conform to stoic ideas. Also, I have been reading Meditations by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and about the stoic school of thought until I had to draw in the reins after listening to a BBC Radio 4 episode on Stoicism.  Mainly due to the fact that I am not trying to justify a pagan, self-sufficient life.  I must agree with the stoic conviction of pursuing a virtuous life by investing in the present, since (as classical Greek stoicism exhorts) nature has already designed our destiny.  However, I believe that it is not enough to think that just because the future is uncertain, we have incomplete control over what is to come. We still need to live a virtuous present with the future in mind; that our present actions ultimately affect the future. And that the uncertainty levels of the future can be dampened based on the conscious efforts we exert in the present.

As Josemaria Escriva once wrote on his chapter on supernatural life: If you lose the supernatural meaning of life, your charity will be philanthropy; your purity, decency; your mortification, stupidity; your discipline, a lash; and all your works, fruitless. (The Way, 280)     

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24 October 2017

Perfectio omnium perfectionum


Actus essendi (act of being) is the perfectio omnium perfectionum(perfection of all perfections). 
~ Thomas Aquinas

Since last Sunday, I entertained ideas about the contradiction in man's desire for the infinite despite a finite existence. The sermon I heard precipitated fireworks in my consciousness about the innate human awareness of forever, everlasting, hereafter...and the mathematical abstraction of infinity. Ad infinitum. I must agree with what was implied during the homily when father mentioned that it is the inescapable truth that our existence is finite that thus stirs our longing for the infinite. The forever and ever. 

Indeed, there is much that is beyond human understanding. 


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11 October 2017

the distinction of distinction


My husband's dinner time wisdom illuminated my somewhat dreary (on the average) disposition.  I'm usually (average of the average) cheerful (link to Exhibit A), but I suppose...imagine a high magnitude earthquake followed by a series of aftershocks. Or a stone thrown on a pond proceeded by ripples of water.  Or the opposite: a seemingly harmless stick that's patted on your arm in increasing frequency and intensity resulting to marred skin. Alright, that's enough of glamorized pain...

Wisdom. Husband. Right.
Our conversation was a mixture of daily events, achievements of our children, and my usual "what is your opinion about___" and "how do you interpret how I felt when___" and "what should I do/think about___."  What resonated with all that he had told me was to not immerse too much on thoughts about the future.  It was brilliant. Simple and brilliant.

On molding our children to be inclusive
I had suggested that perhaps we could educate our children about the difference between those who are vegetarian and those who are like us.  I thought that it would be a good exercise to emphasize that people differ in certain ways; perhaps through books or educational materials.  My husband didn't want to overemphasize that concept too much, because he didn't like the idea of teaching about "us" and "them." I thought, yes, it's "we." I like the thought. Expose but do not exaggerate.

On bracing myself for what is to come
On the subject of my verbal diarrhea concerning my thoughts, my husband (understandably exasperated) advised that I try to reduce the amount of thinking I allot for potential future scenarios. I had been introspecting about living in the present for years and I realized that I had deliberately bumped my head on an imaginary wall, developed amnesia, and stepped on the quicksand of "woe is my future." He also reminded me of my worth, because he thinks I undervalue myself.

"Adulting" and Self-Worth
We all, to a certain degree, have internal tussles about pride and humility.  Some people are overly proud and their entitlement levels are off the charts. Then there are those who consider themselves worthless and allow people to treat them like doormats.  Today's moral lesson is balance.  It can be a healthy practice to look in the mirror and have an imaginary conversation with the world by stating "I am valuable and I need to be convinced that you deserve me."  Or if you don't have time, just wink at yourself and say "You da man--Woman!"

09 October 2017

on awakenings, prudence, and vulnerability

Today is Canadian thanksgiving day and this long weekend was filled with memorable moments spent with family and extended families. Truly, there is much to be thankful for--and to share.

 I had been fixated on self-development and self-discovery for the past few days. After numerous inspirational videos and podcasts, I encountered this old Oprah episode:
 

My favorite statement from the video stated by Dr. Brene Brown, a social science researcher at the University of Houston, goes: "you share with people who earn the right to hear your story." I tend to be stingy about my stories--primarily because it's exhausting to recollect and share them with people. Also, I have to agree with Dr. Brown about being careful about what we share with people. But, it's a trial-and-error process isn't it? People aren't labeled with "10% share-worthy" or "half-and-half share-worthy." The episode above is a useful guideline, but based on experience what I find helpful is to give a sneak preview. Like a trailer. As time goes by, I become enlightened and realize that my stories are either being used as a stratagem to capitalize at my expense or become the basis for strengthening a connection.

 On a related note, when we are fully aware of our imperfections and accept them or improve when applicable (if it's a physical issue, then acceptance would be the best route), only then can we become compassionate with ourselves. When we are kind to ourselves, then we can be kind to other people. Our empathy can then be a magnet for fellow empathetic persons and the chances of getting a win-win situation when sharing our stories are high.

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08 October 2017

The ties that bind


 This post was prompted by a series of ordinary conversations both in person and through social media about loyalty. I hold persons who manifest honor, integrity, and (most of all) loyalty consistently in high regard--much like soldiers in battle. In this present day of heavy politicizing where there are "no permanent allies only permanent motives", it is a breath of fresh air to find people who have other people's backs. I venture to say that I aspire to possess the kind of honor, integrity, and loyalty that I hold in high esteem. And you might agree that this is a difficult and almost futile task especially when one's social environment reeks with deceit and hate. At least the movies continue to inspire us...

 

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