Posts Tagged ‘myself and I’

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



Letting Go, Trusting the Freefall, and Believing I’ll Be Okay

When I started doing yoga, I came across two poses that I disliked oh so very, very much: the saddle and the snail.


the saddle 🙂 woot. yes, i can do it now!!!

I hated those poses, not simply because of the challenge they brought and not just because of the weight thing (although, yeah, having all that extra flesh that kinda gets squashed along the way sorta makes it a little bit harder for me haha. At that point it may have helped to go get liposuction or to try out a diet supplement like OxyElite Pro haha. Joke!), but more of the mind games it would play on me as it required one thing that was quite difficult for me to do: to trust a freefall.

For the most part, I have never been the type to readily be comfortable in the unfamiliar, to let go of control and to just trust that things will be okay. That mindset dominated the way I moved, breathed and even did things. To some degree, this also dictated the way I would allow people in and out of my life. Much as many do not believe it, I am a painfully shy person who is sooooo insecure about many things, especially about whether or not I am liked or accepted by people around. Chalk it up to always having been overweight all throughout my life, or perhaps also because I had to grow up so quickly in life, or the simple fact that the dynamics of most my relationships have often been that way. Whatever it is, I always, always operated in that way. And so because I get sooo caught up with those thoughts and ideas, I cannot allow myself to just open myself up and allow people to see me for who I am. The fear of whether or not I will be “caught” (which I realize is what I perhaps mean when I say that there are just a few people who ‘get me’ or understand me for my quirks and all) does not allow me to just welcome possibilities. Also, part of the not wanting to welcome new things, I guess, has always been the fear of losing them in the end anyways, so what was the point, right?

However as my yoga practice has progressed, I have seen myself slowly learning to trust in the unknown, embracing change even though they bring anxiety, letting go of all attachments while still giving a hundred percent, completely, freely and with passion but believing that even if all these happen, I will be okay.

To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go. Mary Oliver

Suffice it to say, this does not only go with the yoga side of me, but in life off the mat as well. As things that have been familiar to me and comforting to me slowly change, from the job that I just left behind, to the movement of people and things around me, and even my decision to finally face up to the one thing I have hidden from the most professionally (aka my danged masteral thesis haha), I am learning to just open up my hands, bend over backwards and just let go, trusting that as I fall, I will be okay. Yes, there’s still a little fear there, but this time, the fear is just a reminder that I am, after all, just human.


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.

When Old Wounds Bleed

"It has been said, "time heals all wounds." I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone." — Rose Kennedy

I have come to the conclusion (or perhaps I should say to the agreement with what Rose Kennedy said about it)  that many times, old wounds never do heal. Yes, they do get better. Yes, the pain subsides. Yes, you do get over it. But despite these all, the scars of those wound remain and no matter how much time has passed, the damage is always going to be there. The thing is, even as you try to heal it or to fix what had been broken, it never completely is the same anymore.

Let me put it this way: There’s this street corner I pass on my way to work that, despite how many years have passed, still cause me so much fear and anxiety. Read the rest of this entry »

Creating Spaces in Mind, Body and Soul

“Just as light brightens darkness, discovering inner fulfillment can eliminate any disorder or discomfort. This is truly the key to creating balance and harmony in everything you do.” - Deepak Chopra

I have fallen in love. Yes, I have fallen truly, madly, so deeply in ♥ with Yin Yoga.

I never would have imagined feeling this way, after all, I have loved other exercises and whatnot in the past, such as hula hooping, but this one feels so different. I think it’s more than the movement and process I have fallen for, but the meanings and metaphors that it conjures up for me. Although yes, the breathing, the emptying of thoughts and just being with the moment are equally wonderful, it is perhaps the timing of all this falling into place that means so much to me.

Let me backtrack a little bit before I continue. I have wanted to try out yoga for the longest time, perhaps since way back in 2007 during that dark night of my soul. However, when things started to clear and I felt no more need to be in the quiet to converse with my soul, and because I thought I had found the answers and defined happiness for me, I let it go. After all, I always said, I barely have enough time to juggle my many jobs, right? Why add on something else that will consume my time “unnecessarily”. Also, while people may still laugh at me when I say this, I still struggle with having to extend myself socially, so calling and inquiring about classes, going to these studios or shalas, was gonna be a stretch right? So….there. I didn’t. 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.

photo by Iris Acosta 🙂

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.

Project Sunshine

A few months before Teacher Alice, our school directress who was more like a mother to us than anything, passed away, she took me and my co-teachers to the warehouse of Booksale. We went crazy picking books. I fell in love with one of those Hallmark-like inspirational book with lots of nice illustrations. It was a bit on the high end, price wise, so I decided to forgo it. Little did I know that when we’d get back to school, she would give it to me 🙂

One of my favorite pages in the book is this one, mainly because it speaks of one of the things I love most: the sunshine.

In many ways, the quote really describes who I am, at least in the way I interact with others. While I may not be a bright-eyed optimist when it comes to myself, I definitely am a bright, sunshiney person for others.   Perhaps this is why people refuse to believe that I am a shy and introverted (yes, and deeply dark) person.  I guess this is partly due to my job as a preschool teacher where I have to really be super happy and pleasant all the time. Also, one thing I do a lot of, both consciously and unconsciously, is bring some sunshine to people who may need it. As my friend T always says, for some reason whenever she is iffy about things, talking to me brightens and cheers her up (and seriously, I don’t know what it is I say but… 🙂 ) and that despite my resistance to take on the task, I would make a good therapist  (um….menolikey!!!). That’s why every now and then she rides home with me from work, even though it’s kinda more hassle for her since she still has to take a jeepney ride from where I drop her off, as compared to a bus ride that goes all the way straight. And like the quote says, the more I am able to share my sunshine, the more I am able to see it for myself. Being able to share my sunshine really means a lot to me. Inwhatever way I am able to do this, on purpose or not, allows me to also feel bright and shiny myself . It makes me feel so fulfilled and content, and that I am living up to what exactly I am here for. I suppose this is also why I make it a point to honor and acknowledge my feelings, both good and bad, because it allows me to tap into that sunshine, even if for myself only and in the same way, this is why blogging and writing means so very much to me. This is why whenever I feel troubled or low, I get even more agitated when I am unable to write because in many ways, writing is my sunshine. Read the rest of this entry »