Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Connecting the Dots

Today a friend asked me how my vacation was and all I could answer was that it was a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Part of me felt guilty and selfish for not having been able to say “oh it was great”, after all, not every one can afford to put their entire lives on pause and just go on hibernate mode, right? But, well, I guess I couldn’t just say it was all great because it wasn’t. But then today, I realized, as my friend pointed out, vacations aren’t always 100% happy all the time anyway. More so, I realized that the reason why I couldn’t say it was perfect was because by taking pause, removing myself from the daily grind and just being by myself to some degree, it was a period of self-discovery, reinvention and, I guess, moving forward, which, I suppose, is never really easy.

Let me back track a bit…for those who have been reading my blogs, I’m sure you’re familiar with the fact that I had just let go of my preschool teaching job, one that I had done and loved oh so dearly for the past twelve years. In many ways, giving that up (although I was indeed looking forward to it because I was tired already) kind of made me lose a big chunk of who I have become. And so since I finished everything I needed to have done in the preschool on the 30th of April, and it was term break in the university I teach in, I decided to declare the first 15 days of May as my Eat, Pray, Love vacation. I may not be as lucky as Elizabeth Gilbert to have the chance to do it for a year, but heck, 15 straight days of no work should be good enough for the time being, right? And so on the eve of the first, I had posted on my Facebook page that for the next fifteen days, I was only to exist for yoga, for friends who matter and the occasional soup day (errr..which is code for, well, lets just say fun lunches or dinners harhar).

Anyway, I was lucky enough to get my break of started on track with an Eat, Pray, Love overnight adventure in Subic Bay with a fellow yogini friend of mine. We took an overnight trip and met up with another yogini friend who teaches a class at the Subic Yacht club where we joined in on the class and got to meet a whole lot of new people. It was so timely, I must say, that the night we got to join in was a night in which they were bidding farewell to one of their family members (I say family because their group is very much like family…it’s more than a club, more than just friends, but more like family :)). They had a little ceremony that evening that brought tears to my eyes because as my personal friends would know, saying goodbye and having people move away is something very, very difficult for me. But as I watched them and allowed myself to be part of that ceremony, I realized that distance between friends is but physical space, but the heart, though ends up longing oh so dearly for the other, remains connected.

Although the trip was quite short, being under the golden sunshine, walking by the bay and feeling sand on my toes allowed me to touch base with my soul.

When I got back to Manila, I continued on my journey by really shutting myself out from most of the outside world. Very few people, save for my yoga teachers and classmates, got to see me or hear from me much, even through text messages (although FB still remained a constant haha…but a far less frequent one!). I barely spoke to anyone and except for when I was in yoga and the three or four lunches/dinners I had out with friends, I barely moved at all. I had planned to clean my room, paint, draw, and so on and so forth but noooo…nothing happened. My blogs have been mostly silent too, except for those posts of brilliant insights that happened from the mat :)

Being in the quiet for so long, however, started to take a bit of a toll on me because, well, because that’s what silence does. It’s confrontative. You’re left with nothing else but yourself in a place that suddenly becomes so foreign and unfamiliar. As my favorite writer, Thomas Moore put it in his book Dark Nights of the Soul, Imagine you awoke one day to find yourself in a strange land. You remember who you were and what you have done, where you used to live, even your dreams and longings, but now it seems so far away. So out of reach it all seems in this strange land. Here it is as if nothing that once was familiar matters any longer, all that matters is that you find yourself where you are right now. You cannot return to what once was, neither do you know where to go from here. Now there are no distractions. You have to look closely at what has been revealed.

In that silent bubble I lived in for 15 day (granted there were moments of distractions…going to yoga class and the occasional meeting up with the few friends who really matter to me), I realized how different I was from the me I had gotten to know in the past year, year and a half. Without the distractions of work, and even television for that matter (because my TV’s been broken haha!) and even the absence of family and friends, I was left  to just let things unfold. Maybe it’s also the weight loss, plus the career change, and even the discovery of yoga, but all these changes were like  diamonds in the rough, waiting to be found and treasured. But for the longest time I wasn’t seeing what was there because I was too busy and too ignorant of the signs. As I was telling another friend a few days ago, I guess I was making it a point to be too busy because I was afraid to admit to many things: feeling lost and confused about who I was, angry and hurt about what might have been, and yes, even displeased and dissatisfied because of things I want but don’t have. Before I could admit that, however, I had to wrestle with the defeaning silence and the frustration of loneliness and solitude.  Worst of all, I had to go head on with my harshest critic:  the voices of insecurity and doubt in my head.

So there, it was indeed a roller coaster of ups and downs, right? There were moments of brilliant clarity and fulfillment of heart, but there were moments of darkness and feeling lost at sea, with no lifelines to hang on to. But now that I look back, all of those moments, from the loss of the familiar, feeling hurt because of it, opening myself up to new things and people, challenging myself in many, many ways…  were little dots waiting to be connected to form a bigger picture.

Today marks the end of my two week hiatus from life. Tomorrow I must head back to reality and get back on track in all sense of the word. I think it is but fitting that I end it by having cut and colored my hair, gone for a body scrub, deleted messages on my phone and files in my computer, thrown away a lot of stuff I’ve been holding on to for so long. Kinda like a rebirth, yes?

I don’t know if it is just coincidence, but I’d like to believe it is but one of those things I like calling random synchronicity, but just a few days before my break I had said that I have come to learn that many of the most difficult, most painful, most tiring and most excruciatingly frustrating things that come my way always, always pave the way for realizations that are significant, life-changing, and rewarding. Yes, it may not be something extremely drastic or devastating, but all of those moments have led up to something new, as long as I allowed myself to surrender and make some space for it. It’s never fun or easy, mind you, nor pleasurable for that matter, but in the end, I can look back and say, so that’s why it had to happen.

And  so through this roller coaster of a ride I had just found myself in, I take with me, a renewed appreciation for what I have, a more grateful heart, a somewhat darkened self (literally and figuratively haha…As Moore put it, dark luminosity…a black sun at your core…that is less innocent and more interesting than naive sunshine), and perhaps, even a more hopeful spirit for what lies ahead.

As I end today, I found this lying in one of my piles of papers…it was a project I had done for one of my classes before, wherein I gave the students a coloring sheet and asked them to remember that the only road that mattered, no matter where they went, was the one paved with prayer and ended in believing that no matter what, you will find yourself exactly where you’re supposed to be.

‎”Beautiful thoughts build a beautiful soul…There’s always something beautiful to be experienced wherever you are.” — Wayne Dyer



Playing Out the Wave

To say the past two weeks or so have been like treading on rough waters is an understatement. Perhaps caught in the middle of a summer storm in the middle of an angry ocean would be a better way to describe how it has been for me. Yes, that rough. So much so that almost every night, tears stained my pillows as I stuggled to fall into a restful sleep and even my yin yoga class last Wednesday (which is one of the things that gives me the most pleasure lately) was a great struggle for me. It’s been quite difficult to deal with so many things that have been going on, so many things I feel I messed up with and perhaps, yeah, there was some mistaking there, but it just felt so overwhelmingly difficult that it was like being caught in a riptide with barely enough lifelines to hold on to, or strength and desire for that matter, to do so. In a way I guess I should say I was glad I was on holiday break because save for Monday, the only people I had seen were my yoga teachers and so I didn’t really have to explain my goldfish eyes or have to pretend I was happy and okay and that my heart wasn’t so painfully wounded by words said and unsaid. I could just be sungit and quiet and that would be fine.

Although the storm seems to have tapered down a bit, and the faint glow of the sun was slowly returning, I found myself so very tired from treading the waves that were so big and strong. And so with a very tired heart last night, I did the only thing left to do. I prayed. I heeded to a message I was sent not too long ago, that I should pray more. I should pray for strength, I was told.  And for hope. And for love.

And so as I wrote down my prayer (I like notes, so there :)) I prayed oh so very hard for those. I said, Lord, I am trying to find reason in all of this, but I know the more I search the more I won’t find it but that all I need to do is believe there is reason for it. So please, take it from me and give me an answer to what I ask for. I’m tired, I had said, of having to figure out what to do, how to fix things, how to manage, and of doing everything myself. So I asked for the strength physically and mentally to be able to just keep trying, even if I always feel like I’m falling short, to keep going, despite all the bitter disappointments, and yes, to hold on even if I don’t want to anymore. I asked for the strength to keep on giving and caring, without expecting or asking anything in return and to let go of bitterness when disappointments set in. I asked for hope to be able to quiet my spirit and give my heart some rest. But most of all I asked for love in all sense of the word, from myself, from family, from friends. I asked for a love that I could understand and believe in, and one that wouldn’t go away or get mad or push me away when I am hard to understand (which very often admittedly I am).

Um…demanding much? Haha. Maybe, I guess, but as I dried up my tears I felt a stirring in me that said go to the Chapel on the Hill tomorrow and you’ll find the answer there.

As I did last October when I felt that need to go on a road trip to converse with my soul, I fought and rationalized at first. It’s a waste of time, you have lots of other things to do, it’s a waste of gas and money yadiyadiya. I even went to yoga class this morning and told my teacher I had planned to go to Caleruega but opted not to because I’d rather go to her class instead.

But no…the Universe, nay —God, had better plans for me.

My teacher often has a theme in her yoga classes and today was all about waves and how we everything is like the wave of an ocean, it comes and it goes, like the tides. So you just have to play out the wave, she says, go with it and allow it to take you where it needs to take you. Talk about being toinked while doing your asana, right?

So I was in the snail pose today, one that I struggled with for a long time prior to today, and for the first time, I find comfort in it, feeling the pleasurable surge of energy and chi flowing in my body. And it hit me: ride the current and breathe, Ria. Play out the wave, don’t flail too much and soon you will make it back to still waters. Thus I decided to play out that wave and listen to the voice that told me to go drive to that chapel.

And so after class, I came home to change, threw in my camera, my iPad and a blank craft box with some pencils and coloring materials into my and drove away.

When I got to the chapel, I entered through (as would be expected of me) one of the side doors and as soon as I did, the answer I had asked for last night was right there:

Caleruega Chapel on the Hill

remain in my love that your joy may be complete...

I asked for love, and I got it.

Or should I say, I was reminded that I had it all along.

Wishing on A Night Sky

Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A few months back, when my soul was weary and troubled, I went back to something I knew would quiet the voices in my head and give my heart the rest it sorely needed: my art.

Back then I clung on tightly to the bright sunshine that always brought me comfort, hence the beginnings of my Project Sunshine. Then, I felt the urgent need to create my own sunshine and hold tightly to lifelines thrown my way, sometimes a wee bit too much.

In the past few months, however, I have grown stronger and better, made so by necessary pains and conversations with my soul where I got to know myself better and explore other sides of me that I never once allowed to exist. Coupled with my yoga practice, where I have allowed myself to create spaces in my mind, body and soul, I have begun to learn what balance really means, how to have faith and to trust, and how love really works. I have likewise welcomed the darkness back to my life, knowing full well that in that in the dark, cold silence of night time I can thrive, too, albeit differently than I do under the warm golden sunshine, but that both are essential for the fullness of my soul.

Yes, I have learned to stop chasing rainbows and to let things go and let them be as I am learning to sit and wait in patience, just believing in myself, in people around me and in fate, love and in the certainty that though they may not be in sight, they do indeed exist.

And now I have returned to the heart of my art, no longer in troubled waters, but in still ones, now honoring the polar opposites that exist in my life, the yin and the yang so I’ve been told…and so side by side my Project Sunshine now comes the beginnings of my Night Sky :) And so tonight I whisper a little wish up into the night sky, and think of it with light an love, then dropping it knowing that in time, when it is right, I will be able to connect the dots and see how all the twists and turns, stops and starts and everything else make complete and perfect sense.

In Silence, There’s So Much More Said

“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.” - Deepak Chopra

There’s a saying that goes, shallow brooks are noisy. I never really appreciated that saying until lately. For the most part, I have never been one to be comfortable in silence. What’s funny, however, is that while I may appear highly extroverted and exuberant all the time, deep down inside I am a very quiet and shy person who actually likes to be in the silence and quiet.

However, in as much as I love the quiet, I fear it just as much, maybe because in the silence there’s so much more said and that there are no distractions to keep you away from introspection. When I’m with others, I feel this urge to fill the space with noise because I fear what they might be thinking about me if there was no interaction between us.

Yes, that is one of the many polar opposites about me.

Lately, however, I have been discovering the joy and beauty of silence and solitude. I used to think that it was very lonely and painful being in silence, but now I find that it is actually a pleasurable thing. Before, in times that needed silence, I always made it a point to be extra busy or to go out of my way to avoid it, but now, I may resist a bit in the beginning, but the struggle is not so great anymore. I was just telling my friends from work the other day over lunch that lately, I really just want to be in the quiet bubble of my room…no TV, no music, just me in my bed and the silence.

Of course at times it can get very uncomfortable, especially when things are not going too well, but for the most part…bliss :)

When I was first told by my wise sage to welcome sadness (or periods of difficulty for that matter) and sit in silence with it, I couldn’t get it. I struggled quite a bit with her and with it, but now that I have grown leaps and bounds, when I find myself in moments of pain and sadness, I have learned to sit with it and listen to what it is telling me. And because of that, I have learned so much.

In the same manner, when I am with friends, I can now just sit and be quiet. My friend, who I go out with quite a lot lately, called this comfortable silence. I chalked up our comfortable silence to the fact that we had been friends for almost 14 years now, but I realized just lately, it is not just with her I have started appreciating comfortable silence with. I guess  it’s part of growing up and growing together in relationships that allow this, right? For whatever it’s worth, not talking about too many things, but just focusing on what is important, has been such a great blessing to me.

And so tonight I have finally appreciated what the cliché shallow brooks are noisy means….its when you take in too much from the outside so as to distract you from what is important, it’s flailing around too much acting like you know things, and it’s filling up space with the non-essentials, and when you do, you miss out on so much.  And more so, the “noisier” I am, be it externally or internally, the more I stay on shallow waters, trying to ignore the deeper meaning and value of the moments I am living. Like they say, still waters run deep right? So being still, listening, and just breathing, like I’ve been writing about since October, lets me go to the innermost core of myself and just be where I am suppose to be and in that silent solitude, the answers to the questions that weigh me down and the burdens that threaten to swallow me whole all of a sudden become so miniscule and insignificant, and in return, I become a better me :)

Turning a New Leaf

The noblest thing a human being can experience is acceptance of the mystery. - Paulo Coelho

I had set off for 2011 with a lot of positive hopes and aspirations. After all, 2010 ended on a good note, despite it being somewhat of a rocky start. However, barely two weeks in to the new year, I got “toinked” (err…toinked meaning stumbling on something unexpected or slipping down a path I wouldn’t normally wish on anyone) really badly. So much so that it threw me off for a good week. Literally.

I hate how these things happen. Being the type of person I am, I thrive on certainty…on routine…regularity. Things that are random and unexpected throw me in a loop and make it so difficult for m. As I’ve said so many times in the past, change was (and often times still is) never really something I dealt with easily. I like structure…I like knowing…I like being sure.

However every time I think I’ve gotten things down pat, some force comes and toinks me. Read the rest of this entry »

Life, Love and Laughter through the Eyes of my Bugoy

In one of my other blogs, I once wrote a post about how Bubba has been my teacher of life’s most important lessons. Today, I am reminded of it. I’ve been struggling these past few days with so many overwhelming tasks and things to do which have left me overtired and stressed beyond imagination. Add to that the fact that I am missing people and things around me a little too much. One of the few things that have kept me afloat is Bubba and for that, I’m truly grateful. He is truly a bright ray of sunshine no matter how dismal my day may be.

I really have learned so much from him, as I stated in my post before, but today I am reminded of this note from my Facebook page that I was tagged in by my friends at Project Lightning Kennel :)

A dog teaches us a lot of things, but we never seem to take notice.

These are some of the lessons you might learn… Read the rest of this entry »

Today’s Thought Bubble: Secret Wishes

On the way home, I found myself wallowing (yes, melodramatic much) in that old familiar pit of self-pity and sadness. On one hand, I do know these are but necessary pains that serve some sort of purpose in my life, even though it can be so damned hard to see at the moment in which it happens. On the other, I truly hate how it takes away my bright sunshine and leaves me caught in the midst of darkness.

As is customary when I find myself caught in the midst of internal chaos, I found myself holding my breath in discomfort, fighting back tears that cognitively, I knew were illogical. But as always, emotions got the better of me. So I did what I always do when I feel overwhelmed by emotions: I began to write and acknowledge those thoughts and feelings that were around.

Every once in a while, just like tonight,  I find myself wishing for a myriad of things, many of them contradicting each other, often times these are irrational and in my head, I know they are illogical, but they’re there but bottom line, they all stemmed from one thing: that I was just so tired of  feeling like I give too much of myself…to people who don’t matter, to my work,  to tasks or things around me that demand too much of my time and energy….and what I was getting in return was either not what I expected, or enough to reciprocate what I had spent, especially on those who don’t deserve it in the first place.

And so in the secret recesses of my heart, I had wished…

…thatI lived in a bubble where I had nothing to care about, or care for for that matter. In that bubble, albeit alone, I would know no loneliness because I wouldn’t know any better….

…On the other hand, I wished that if I wasn’t in that bubble, I had someone to watch over me and to take my hand and walk with me so I didn’t have to go through life’s journey all alone, even though I can do it myself…

…that I didnt care so much and that it didnt hurt so much to actually care because I really do…

…that I had someone to wake up next to, whether I wake up to bright golden sunshiny days or dark gloomy ones…

…better yet, I wished I didn’t have to wake up to another day that was bound to be the same….

…that I didnt feel so lonely way too often, because in the depths of my heart, I do know I am not alone and that yes, people actually do care about me even if I have difficulty believing that…

But at the end, as I held back bitter tears, I wished most that I didn’t wish for any of those at all.

When I finally  made it home, I was greeted by a welcome sight: my Bubba running to meet me, tail wagging like mad, reminding me that there is so much I keep missing out on whenever I get stuck in that little rut that I keep falling in to. Before I got home, I was feeling very tired and I had thought to myself, how can I manage to walk Bubba if I feel this way? However, seeing him I was reminded that if I keep wasting my energy worrying about, caring for and reacting to things that are unnecessary and pointless, I will have nothing left not just for myself, but for the people and things that truly matter. While I would wholeheartedly go out on a limb for those who are worth it, I had to remind myself (or should I say I had to be reminded :-)) that not everyone deserved what I was giving them. And just because I don’t give equally of myself to all, or perhaps give any to some, this doesn’t make me selfish or mean or insensitive. It just makes me better for myself and for those that really count.

And so I took a time out to be still and to listen to my soul. And of course, to breathe through it all.  I turned off my phone, stayed offline, walked with Bubba, hooped a bit, and worked on Project Sunshine. When I was feeling a bit more settled, I went online met up with the Sheriff, and found a couple of  pleasant surprises in the form of random messages and comments or affirmations that I was not expecting. Yes, I found little reminders that somewhere out there, even without me knowing it, even without me asking for it, and even without me having to create it for myself, there are people out there sending me bright bits of sunshine.  All I have to do is to spread my arms out wide, receive it and believe it’s there.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas


one on hand, it's the most wonderful time of the year.....on the other, bah-humbug!

I’m going to go all Scrooge-y for a moment and take a moments pause from all the overwhelmingly inspirational posts I’ve been sharing lately to acknowledge a wee bit of not-so-happiness I am feeling right about now. Today I spent roughly four hours in my car sitting stuck in traffic. It seemed that there was no escape from it, no matter where I went. One thought that popped into my head (well, one of the so, so, so many thoughts that popped in!) was this:

Yes…it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Christmas traffic that is…

Notice how every time we cross the mid-October threshold traffic increases like ten-fold??? It didn’t help much that today was also the start of a long weekend, plus it’s been raining like crazy so traffic was virtually at a standstill for so long. Oh, and of course, let’s not forget that since it’s the weekend, sales and bazaars were aplenty again today. I was amazed that not only store windows are lined with Christmas-y stuff like trimmings and ProFlowers Christmas decorations, even a street vendor I came across today carried those little plastic Christmas trees.

Well…like I said, I’m a bit Scrooge-y when it comes to Christmas, so all that was kinda challenging for me.

This is the one holiday, well the whole season all the way till New Years to be exact, that always manages to tap into a somewhat sad part of me. Don’t get me wrong…it’s not that I don’t see and find pleasure in the festivities of the season, because I still do. It’s just that the Christmas season brings back a lot of memories of people and things now gone that I miss to bits. Sometimes, I miss it so much I feel my heart breaking over and over again. It is the one time in the year that I miss these people and things the most. During the rest of the year, I do think of them, and smile fondly when I do, but during the holidays, it becomes a tugging ache in my heart.

This song says it all for me:

I guess the best word for how I feel about the holidays is bittersweet. On one hand, it reminds me of how blessed I am and how many wonderful things there are for me to be grateful for, but on the other, it also reminds me of what I don’t have and still long for. Okay, okay, I do recognize that that whole statement is kinda…self-indulgent and melodramatic, but isn’t that what emotions are after all? ;-) Seriously though, what I do like about the holidays is how it brings people together and fosters the happy spirit of giving (not necessarily material things but giving of one’s self). It is also a time when you really can appreciate the wonder of friendship, the joy of love, and the enduring strength of family. There is so much togetherness that is fostered in the holidays and to some degree, I do like that. However, because I am more of the introverted type of person (as unbelievable as that may seem), I thrive in just being by myself and with a select few. So all the togetherness and joy the holidays bring tend to take it’s toll on me. Again, it’s not that I don’t like it…I just can’t deal with too much of it. I guess in many ways, I feel overwhelmed by all the movement and energy, as well as the colors and the noise that the holidays bring.

See, told you it’s bittersweet.

Scrooge mode still on. At least for the moment.

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