Sunday, November 10, 2013

Our Communal Delusion

"A Hive Mind has one thought process that controls each of its composite agents. Thus, there is a strong dictating force, the overmind, that implants an idea into the weaker subminds that enact it."

I've observed this in some families, peers, faith groups, etc. We all grow up with some form of it, dictated by some code, tradition or just seeing how those that dictate to us behave. Some of us manage to outgrow it and others don't. Those who stay usually try to perpetuate the delusion. Is it because it hurts too much to look at the truth and find out that what you've believed in for a big part of your life is a lie? That the dictating force in your life was a liar?

It's admirable to see the lengths we go through to keep up the image. This one particular group may have a lot of in-fighting and drama but put up a strong, united front to their community. They try and lord it over their small pond and feel like the illuminati among people who they believe are less intelligent than they are. 

Who wants to leave that and go out into a bigger world where we might not be treated as such? Who wants to leave that comfort zone and start a new life that has one starting from scratch with no image to bank on, just actual know-how and experience?  Would we fare, as well? We probably don't think so. It's why a lot of us stay.

Fortunately, I was forced out of my own little hive mind due to circumstances. While the circumstance wasn't something I was happy about at that time, I am so grateful that it forced me to a place where I was able to do a little thinking for myself. It didn't change entirely who I was, it just balanced my thinking process a bit more. 

Difficult circumstances may be very unpleasant at the time it's happening, but it can shake us out of our personal and communal delusion and make us the real thing. It can change us to make us the genuine, unique and better version of ourselves each and every time That is, if we let it. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Try not to forget, Philippines.

We started to forget when some of us benefitted from their wealth and patronage. 

We started to forget when the dictator and his cronies' kids and their kids' kids became friends with ours. We started to forget because we try not to judge the kids for the sins of their parents even when they continue to propagate the lies, for their own sanity, that their parents were honorable and innocent when they were really nothing but thugs and bullies who stole from the country's coffers so they can satiate their need for mansions, designer clothes and fancy cars, and got rid of people who got in their way.

We started to forget because we are impressed with those that have great wealth rather than those that live with honor. We started to forget because we value fame more than truth.

On this anniversary of Philippine Martial Law, try to remember

MARTIAL LAW REMEMBERED | Where did Marcos go wrong and when did we start forgetting? 
By: Joel C. Paredes,
September 21, 2013 1:28 PM

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Housebound for a Month

So what does a person do when they're bed-ridden for a month? There is not much one can do, except:

1. Eat

2. Sleep

3. Pray

4. Read

5. Write

6. Surf the Internet

7. Watch TV

8. Watch and re-watch movies, lots of it.

You Again**

The Lamp**

National Geographic: Collapse***

THe Exorcist****

Paranormal Activity 2**

Paranormal Activity***

No Strings Attached**

From Prada to Nada**

Dreamworks Holiday Classics**

The Secret of Moonacre*


Mao's Last Dancer***

UFOs: The Secret History**

National Georgraphic: Amazing Planet: Born of Fire***

Iron Man 2***

Jet Li's Fearless**

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time**


The Expendables***

The Girl Who Played With Fire (Original Swedish version)***

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Original Swedish version)***





Mars Needs Moms**

Aftershock (Chinese: 唐山大地震; pinyin: Tángshān Dàdìzhèn, Tangshan Great Earthquake) )

Let Me In (Remake of Swedish "Let the Right One In)***

National Geographic: China's Lost Girls***

National Geographic: The Photographers***

The Others****

The Encounter**

Then She Found Me***

Girls Just Want to Have Fun*

Peggy Sue Got Married**

Le Femme Nikita***

Gang Related**

Morning Glory***

Sense and Sensibility****

Cinema Paradiso****

Short Circuit***


The African Queen**

Interview with the Vampire****

Breads and Tulips (Pane E Tulipani)****

Nova Science: How Smart Are Animals?***

Kill the Irishman***

Inheritance (Documentary on Amon Goeth's daughter, Monika)***


Night of the Living Dead** (Color Remake)

Star Trek***


Dragon Hunters*

The House of the Spirits***

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark*

These Amazing Shadows****

Eames: The Architect and the Painter**

Good, okay or bad, films make good company. It transports to another time and place, which is pretty cool especially for someone who isn't even allowed to go to the first floor of the house, unless it's on the way to go out to visit the doctor. Even George and Katy enjoyed them, barking and howling in reaction to some scenes, to our amusement, and giving me a sympathetic look, paw, or lick when they thought I needed it.

I am grateful for the people who took the time to visit, send flowers/gifts, bring food, send a note/message/text and call. It really brightened an otherwise mundane day. It means a lot. I will always remember those who remembered. Always. You know who you are. Thank you so much.

Eternal gratitude goes to my Mother-in-Law who took time out of her life to help take care of me, as well as my two Sisters-in-Law, and of course to my Husband whom I thought couldn't be any more gentle and caring until the circumstances of the past few weeks. I love you.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Prince Of A Man

Today, Paul Coelho asked in a tweet why the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was so important. I think the primary reason was that it was a chance to celebrate a beautiful and joyous occasion amidst the sea of bad news from the Middle East, the natural disasters in Japan and the southern states of the US. Also, we are all predisposed to like stories of prince and princesses because of all the children's fairy tales we've all read as kids. Ergo, all the good feelings those tales brought us then were awakened from slumber today - of hope, of promise, of love.

For us girls, the wedding represented not necessarily a dream to wed a real-life prince but the dream to be the object of the princely love of a man. To a girl, a prince represents gallantry, protection, generosity and everlasting show of affection, loyalty and love. Does it have to come in a body suited up in princely regalia? Not necessarily. Most girls really just want to be loved the way the prince loves the princess in the fairy tale - completely, thoroughly and forever.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stuff On My Wall

In the past six years, I have had these "words to live by" posted by my desk. It was given to me by my boss then. I witnessed him continually apply everything that is written in these two laminated cards - the written and the living example before my very eyes for the three years I worked with him. He taught me a lot of things that I cannot even quantify, but if these were all that he taught and showed me, I already would have learned plenty from him. In the light of how I see people relate to each other every day, I thought it was important to share.

Hope you can get as much use of it as I have.

Stop talking, stop thinking, stop doing, just stop. Take a really deep breath. Now take another one.

Look inside. What are you feeling and why? Tell yourself the truth. Remind yourself that you're great and learning all the time.

Listen to yourself. Ask your heart-mind, "What do I really want to accomplish right now?" "Is this the best way?"

Do the behavior that is right for this situation.

A reaction is when we respond to a situation based solely on our past experiences. They are unconscious. Reactions - bad or good, have certain consequences. They prevent us from achieving our present-day goals and our future vision.

Personal responsibility is the understanding that we are the source of our experience and results. It is the ability to choose behavior in every situation. Without being responsible, our behaviors result from being on "automatic pilot" living from patterns formed from past experiences.

Share your experience of a person or a situation relative to the results produced. Present it in the neutral way with nothing added or withheld. Do your best not to analyze.

Welcome everything, no matter how you feel. Don't defend, justify, or explain. If you are uncertain about what is being said, ask questions to ensure your understanding.

Simple enough to read but tough to follow but reminding ourselves these things at key moments in life will make a world of difference in our relationships and our future.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pieces of Me

While growing up, my brothers called me gaya-gaya (copycat) as a kid. It was because I copied things that everyone did and emulated anything that I saw in others that made an impression on me. Unconsciously, I watched how people acted, listened to what they said and observed how others reacted to it. I took mental notes, instinctively retrieved them and acted accordingly when I found myself in the same situation. I am guessing this was borne from the thought in my mind that I, just by myself, was not that interesting or beautiful enough so I thought being someone else in every situation was a better choice.

Thankfully, my role models improved as the years progressed. I learned more and more to sift and classify who served as an example and who served as a warning. I was surrounded by a very diverse group of people from whom I constantly would learn every day in every way - from church, performing arts, school and work. They taught me what was right or wrong indirectly, when I was being sensitive to the lesson, or directly when I was being dense or arrogant or stubborn.

That's why it grates on me when those people who are in the limelight behave badly and later on give the excuse that they are not role models. We all are, whether we like it or not. And the bigger the spotlight, so is the responsibility to use it for good. Most of everything we do falls under those two categories - example or warning. Whether we like it or not, we are role models to the young people that live around us.

A village - that is really what it took to raise me as the African proverb says. Through the years, all these little pieces of the people I admired became a part of me. I consider myself a jigsaw puzzle of everything I've learned from others - just like we all help raise all the children that are there to observe how we live our lives. May the puzzle piece that we contribute always be a good one.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ham Chili, Anyone?

It snowed from last night to mid-day today. Hubby has just finished shoveling outside and he's drinking a cup of salted hot chocolate as he works on his laptop. The chili is stewing while I sit here in the dining room, munching on some leftover chips dipped in the Chimichurri sauce I made last night. The Chili is an experiment, really. We had so much leftover ham from last weekend's get-together and we were sick of ham sandwiches. I wanted to learn to make chili but I had no ground beef - et voilà, Ham Chili. If it turns out okay, I will write down the recipe and add it to my recipe box.

He did a taste test of the chili and made what I think are positive "mmm-mmm" sounds. The true test is if he'll sit down and eat it. The cold weather will work for me. It's always the perfect time for chili when it's chilly. :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Say That Again?

If I fight for a country but plunder it later on and plunge most everyone to poverty except my family and friends, I can still be declared a hero and be buried in honor?

I'm all for forgiveness and God is the ultimate judge but what message does this send to our children and future generation?

This dictator sought greatness all his life in whatever means possible, and even in death. He made sure he was well provided for in life and now decades later, he lies in state in a manner that few in our impoverished country can afford as his family demands a hero's burial. It is STILL all about them even after death. I cannot comprehend how this man and his family are totally devoid of humility and repentance. I am not his judge, God is. But, I will not set him up as a role model and bury him in a heroes' cemetery - a place where every single grave should tell ONLY the story of the love of God and country above one's self.

It is troubling that the word "Hero" has been so overused and abused these days. Maybe we have to find another word that can represent it because the standards have gone so utterly low.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Creating Memories

The reactions that we have to a circumstance reveal a lot about what we have inside our hearts. How we choose to deal with it reveals even more. We can choose to listen to the superficial voice that justifies us lashing out in anger, or to the still, small voice that usually tells us things about ourselves that we don't want to hear about.

Whatever action we take creates a memory. It is up to us whether we make it a good one or not - good not just for us but for those that are around us, as well. How well remembered it will be is determined by the action itself, the timing and ocassion, and how it reverberates with all those that we choose to involve.

We can make ourselves feel good for that moment by lashing out, dealing with the rebuke that follows later on, and picking up the pieces of all the hearts we have broken. Or, we may listen to the still, small voice, ask God to help us deal with our issues and lead us to a wiser course of action and save ourselves and others grief.

My memories evoke different emotions. There are those that make me happy, those that make me sad and then those that embarrass me. The first two usually involve actions by me and/or by those around me within a circumstance. The third one though, I put solely on me no matter who instigated it and how justified I feel at that moment. These are the actions and reactions I have had that does not make me proud - situations that I know I could have handled better if I thought beyond myself and how it made the others around me feel.

Remembering those times is what makes me more determined to create better memories for myself in the years to come. The other thing that helps me is remembering what my father always used to tell me. "No matter how right you are, you give up being right when the delivery of your message is wrong."

Human as I am, I am hoping that I have created and will continue to create more memories that will not cause me to go cold and hot in shame and dismay, but wrap me in happiness and warmth as I grow old.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Change We Need

I don't mean it in the way of the now famous slogan of Barack Obama. The change I mean is in the way we covet things.

The culture of instant gratification and obscene materialism is the cause of the situation that we find ourselves in right now. Saving and delayed gratification are time-tested values. We do not have to possess the things we want right at this moment. If we do, then what else is there to look forward to? To not get what we want all the time can be a blessing, so we should count it as such.

Why do people who seem to have it all sometimes end their lives? It's because their ability to gratify almost every desire immediately leaves them with less and less to look forward to. Nothing saps the life out of us more than the loss of anticipation.

I find that the happiest people I've known are not necessarily those that accumulate wealth, but those that accumulate the qualities that build their character. If we do not get something that we want, we should consider it a character-building exercise. Good character brings a more lasting kind of happiness than wealth and material things ever will.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bleepin' Blizzard!

Leapin' Lizards! We were slammed this weekend with more than a foot of snow. It didn't stop us from going to Maine on Saturday to do some outlet shopping when it was just the flurries. Today, we opted to stay in even though we still had quite a few errands to run. It was coming down as strong as it did last Friday and it still has not let up.

Since we really did not want to venture out and do errands, we just set up the 4-season porch in preparation for the holiday gatherings. The view from the room actually helped get us into the Christmas spirit. We played Christmas tunes while we worked in the room and did chores around the house. We also finally got around to decorating the tree that we got last Friday right before the start of this blizzard. There's finally a sign of the holidays in our home.

Yup, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We pray for a joyous Christmas season for everyone.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Eat Turkey Like A Pig

That's what I did during the Thanksgiving holiday. I ate like a p-i-g. For us, the holiday stretched out for the entire long weekend because we prepared too much food, as usual. Ergo, we spent the weekend trying to finish it all off.

I prepared a 21-lb. turkey for Thanksgiving dinner of 12 people. Sounds just about right if everyone had a pound and a half, right? But who was I kidding? How many people really eat a pound and a half of meat in one sitting? That, aside from the other yummy dishes that were served - among them, carrot & clementine soup, roasted ham, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, wild rice & crouton stuffing, arroz con gandules, cranberry salad, flan de queso, etc. with Pinot Noir and Reisling to wash it all down. Just thinking about sampling all that is enough to give anyone a heartburn. But the next day, we rallied on. I asked most everyone back for dinner and we again sat and ate with gusto like the first evening. The celebration stretched through the weekend finishing everything off, as well as eating another turkey that my sister-in-law didn't make on Thursday night just because we already had too much food.

Thanksgiving is a pretty new holiday for me as I've only been in the US for about a decade, but it has grown to be my favorite holiday of all. I love its thoughtful and no-frills quality. It's just good food, great company, enjoyable fellowship with family and friends and a reminder to be thankful for every single thing that we have been blessed with in life - the things that really matter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Just Thankful

These days, I notice that people are complaining less. The usual whiners at work are now mostly silent...pensive. I guess it's because everyone's sobering up from the material high that we were all on before the economy tanked. The things that we used to whine about now seem trivial in the face of what is going on around the country.

Right now, those who still have it are just thankful to have a paycheck, and those that don't are just thankful to have their loved ones around them. I think it's sad, yet beautiful, to witness people realizing what really matters to them when all the glitters that blinded them before are gone. They become humbler, kinder and gentler in the face of uncertainty - more human. Most instinctively know that when everything else is gone, the only thing left are the relationships that they have built.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and I believe it is going to be a more poignant occasion now than it has ever been in the last several years. This year, more are going to be thankful for the truly valuable things in life - our family, friends, health, life, faith, hope and love. The feast may not be as plentiful but the moment will be more heartfelt.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tomorrow, the world changes...

I'm excited...hopeful...optimistic, and judging from the mood all around, I'm not alone. Tomorrow is going to be a brand new day with as many possibilities as we are willing to explore. It is a great feeling to be a small part of this whole process and I am grateful for the chance to be here for this historic moment.

I'm also glad that all the election mudslinging and story-spinning will be over - definitely not my favorite part of any election. However, I will definitely miss Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin regularly on SNL, unless of course, she becomes VP-elect. Now some people won't find that too funny. Hahah!

Voice your choice!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Blackout and Baby Boom

Time and again, couples who have a lot of children have been poked and teased about not having a television during their child-bearing years. Well, I stumbled upon an amusing newspiece, among all the tiring political and other grim news here and around the world, that seems to enforce this thought.

We all know through experience that electricity, while a good thing, can be quite a distraction. A blackout forces us to spend time with the people around us because there is nothing else to do. I have fond memories of blackouts during my childhood - like playing with other kids in the neighborhood or swapping ghost stories with friends and family in the dark by candlelight. So whether it is engaging in great and memorable conversations or other more interesting activities, a blackout can be a good thing. :)

Winter blackout results in Dutch baby boom

By Saeed Ahmed,CNN

A small cluster of villages in eastern Netherlands has found itself in the midst of a mini-baby boom -- nine months after a power outage plunged its residents in darkness for two chilly days.

"It was cold in the houses," said Anneleas van Eijkeren, spokeswoman for the municipality of Maasdriel. "They went to bed early to keep warm. And nine months later, we have this -- a little bit more babies."

Forty-four percent more, to be exact. Residents gave birth to 26 babies in September, compared with 18 in September 2007.

Maasdriel is a collection of 11 villages with a population of 24,000. Ten of the 11 villages lost power for 50 hours in December after the blades of a helicopter accidentally sheared the cables providing electricity to the area.

"Some people went to other cities, but a lot of people stayed in their house with low temperature," Van Eijkeren said.

The community is battling a declining birth rate, like the rest of the Netherlands -- which ranks among the lowest in the world.

And while the power cut method worked well, Maasdriel doesn't plan on a deliberate repeat.

"Don't even joke," Van Eijkeren said, laughing. "In Holland, we would like to have more inhabitants -- but not in this way."