Why

Like. Follow. Trending.

It feels strange that living in today’s world, it is all about volume. Regardless of quality, quantity seemed to be the key to everything and anything. The larger the following, the higher the value certain things are perceived to have.

Are we really that caught up and into trends that we have stopped asking “why”?

Yes, we are bombarded with so many things in the span of a day and we are so busy “keeping up” or chasing what is perceived as of value that we have forgotten to pause, reflects, and to simply ask “why?”.

If we would look at the season of Advent differently, it should be an opportunity for us to “slow down” or even to pause and ask “why?”.

Why are we liking certain trends?

Why are we following certain trends?

Why are we contributing to what’s trending?

Why do we like certain things packaged differently when they function just the same?

We seemed to be going in an unending circle of re-packaging things differently and call them a “face-lift” version with renewed promises of better or bigger advantages.

There are so many questions we need ought to ask ourselves before drifting through life blindly. We need to first take responsibility of our lives and stop depending on others to fulfill our destiny. We must make use of this one brain given to us. We should exercise our brain powers by asking questions and learning new things in the process.

Most pertinently, why be followers when we can be leaders?

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War Between Organic & Digital

My idealism tells me that we are all born to be creative. No matter what, we are all here to build rather than destroy. Somewhere along the way, we have picked up the habit of discarding rather than fixing things.

This weekend I spent some time building yet another Christmas decoration – The Nativity Scene. It took me just 30 minutes turning a box into a crib.

Making a crib

Crib

Instead of using the traditional characters to represent the 3 wise men, shepherd, Mary & Joseph, and baby Jesus, I wondered how a new age Nativity scene would look like. Thus, I used some toys from my collection as a representation of the characters.

Cybertronian Crib

New Age Crib

And that got me thinking about the eventuality of our world being taken over by robots and everything digital, perhaps if robots are still believers, this could well be how a “Cybertronian” Nativity scene looks like.

And that brings me to what seems to me a grave situation for mankind.

Let’s begin with two words – PERCEIVED and ACTUAL.

Call me ignorant, call me old fashioned, or call me dated, call me shallow, call me whatever, I still cannot wrap my head around the fuss of cryptocurrency and here’s why…

I am suppose to be from this generation in between the Gen-Y and Millennial. I work with computer software. I suppose to be all excited about these sort of stuff. But I really don’t dig this sort sh*t.

I simply cannot see substance in it.

This world is mutating in such a way that it appreciates the superficial instead of tangible values.

If you invest in gold, you have a piece of gold. If you invest in currencies, you have bank notes.

You have something physical that counts for something.

But, the hype now is around believing a number (even binary – 0s and 1s) stored in a server which its physical location is unbeknownst to us! Oh yeah, it’s call cloud and it’s another IN thing!

Rightly so, Wikipedia have this to say about the origin of one such cryptocurrency – “…was invented by an unknown person…”

But who cares when the bottom line is someone’s making money right?

It truly is a matter of principles.

The past few days, we spent a lot of time at the hospitals. I observed the nurses working very long shifts. There are genuinely hard working people out there!

Sugar coated and sophisticated technological terms like cryptocurrency and their hype and PERCEIVED value are nothing but insults to hard working people investing their precious time for physical and ACTUAL bank notes!

The point is, there are things digital will never win over the ORGANIC.

We need a different level of connection digital will never ever be able to provide. In terms of nurses at hospitals, we need the emotional connection – empathy, compassion, and love.

For me, cryptocurrency is nothing but a fad and hype. The more the following, the higher its value. Therefore, our support or rejection of such scheme will directly impact its value. Medias can now be manipulated to make anything an IN thing and that helps boost the following that ultimately increase its PERCEIVED value.

I am a true believer of substance and ACTUAL values.

Like MLMs, it feeds on the huge network and only the few at the TOP benefits the most out of all the people at the lower bottom of the food chain.

Surely, the early adopters and those who jump on the bandwagon earliest will benefit the most.

I believe in the hardworking nurses, farmers, and all who bust their ass off but sadly being exploited by those who cut edges just to make a dollar.

I believe in the ORGANIC and I hope you will too!

Paths

I have been thinking of life’s progress and especially the evolution of mass media throughout the 80s, 90s, and into the millennium (and beyond). In terms of movies, I realized that there has been many reboots, remakes, and the realization of the visions that was conceptualized in those eras. We are seeing a lot of cartoons from the 80s being made into movies. Some were made possible only because of the availability of current technologies and that in itself proves how ahead of time the ideas were back then. It is very difficult to find a movie that is made out of an original idea at the present time. In other words, we have not progressed much in terms of creativity and originality.

The only reason that I can think of is that we live in a highly digitized world with every information we need at our fingertips – accurate and inaccurate information alike. Our generation do not really THINK anymore.

Because of this convenience of having information at our fingertips, we no longer think about how we should live a unique and different life. There seemed to be a “playbook” for every aspect of life. We can almost raise a kid successfully by just searching for a “remedy” or a “guide” for every challenge expected from a child. We have a template or a mold so to speak.

Situations that we are facing are no longer unique because for every issue we face, there are already 10 or more solutions or workarounds available in this great big thing called the Internet.

Life is a Journey, not a destination ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is so instantaneous that we no longer care about “how well” we get something done but instead, we applaud the “it is already done”. Quality is no longer an emphasis but instead, speed of delivery is what matters and important.

But we really are dynamic beings and we are built for the unknown and for the surprises of life – they make living life interesting and unique.

“Fear Is Always In The Future – Not In Past or Present”

As part of his sermon this past weekend, the priest said something very true – “fear is always in the future”. And how enlightening that is!

We are always making our present decisions based on the failures of our past experiences as well as the fear of the unknown future.

As such, we must have faith that the future will take care of itself and always remember to live in the present moment. We must embrace the many surprises and unknown. Perhaps be a little more spontaneous and be comforted that it is alright to take a little time to first internalize a situation before deciding on the best solution moving forward. We do not need to be instantaneous all the time.

Our capabilities and talents will help us in carving our paths in life together with the people we meet will complement us wherever we fall short. But at the least, we must first live a life that is not defined by a blueprint. There simply is no blueprints or templates when it comes to life. We are here for very unique reasons and no two people are the same.

And perhaps by doing so, I hope that one day, this world will once again be teeming with creativity and visions. We have lost many generations of visionaries and creative minds to industrialization, globalization, and the many “tions” that cripples and suppresses creative thinking.

I am not writing this as a self-help solution for anyone facing problems or issues. No one is in the position of solving someone else’ life problems. I do not have a template for you to live your life. And I sure hope that you live a “google-less” life when and where it matters most – at times when integrity and honesty must win the day. There are innate intuitions and conscience that cannot be taught or found in search engines.

Just as every human have unique fingerprints, so must we leave a special imprint on this earth while we are still alive.

May you be led to the path less traveled and enjoy every mile of it!

Mindfulness

The season of Advent starts today and over the past 3 weeks, the theme seemed to be in between “Be Prepared” and “Stay Awake”. Rightly so because we are waiting in anticipation to welcome Jesus once again. Not physically but spiritually.

Just what exactly are we suppose to keep awake and prepare for?

The opportunities to love and be loved.

Since thanksgiving, we started putting up the Christmas decorations – the Christmas tree, made a replica of a fireplace, and listening to various Christmas songs.

And as we setup the place and enjoy the festives vibe, being mindful helps in identifying what the heart yearns most.

In between Pentatonix’s That’s Christmas To Me and NewSong’s The Christmas Shoes lies the true meaning of Christmas to me.

Prince of peace, Wonderful Counselor, Redeemer, and so many titles given to the one who brings so much joy on his “birthday”.

I guess we are all called to be that person who brings joy to others. As much as we like to receive during this festive season, we should think about bringing peace into our homes, community, and perhaps the world.

We should think about how we can bring joy to those around us. Maybe paying it forward or doing something special for someone in need.

The birth of Christ has shown us how it is done.

And it is very simple.

It is to LOVE…

Intentions

Please allow me to first emphasize that it is not the intent of this post to belittle anyone’s occupation or choice of. It is solely what I feel through my own perspective of life.

After reading Gary Zukav’s The Seat Of the Soul, I have rediscovered many thought provoking statements and quotes. The topic of Intention is a chapter of its own and from this chapter, I found many practical quotes that not only explained why certain interactions with people seemed to be awkward and displaced.

  

Over the weekend, I had two very interesting meet ups with friends I have known for many years. It is the usual “life got in the way” kind of meet up after a very long time. One, I have not met since more than 10 years ago and the other more than 20 years.

The first friend I met was another like-minded fellow. We made the appointment a few days prior through WhatsApp and the part I will probably remember for the rest of my life was when he wrote and I quote – “Before you answer, FYI I not doing any MLM or insurance”.

Like seriously, how true is that?

At this time and age, how true it is that most of us who bust our asses with our 9 to 5 jobs dread that out of the blues “let’s catch up over lunch” from someone we have not met for ages?

As expected, my meeting with Chris went really well as we enjoyed a meal and some stout over very interesting conversations ranging from family to religion. Conversations that fed my intellect and soul to say the least.

The second meet up was scheduled almost the same time as my appointment with Chris. This friend of mine has been asking for a meet up for a few months and I thought that I should reciprocate his good intention out of courtesy.

The conversations started a little awkward and at some point, I felt it was a lot of small talks and the information flow was only one way – he was asking all the questions and I almost mechanically feeding him with a lot of personal information. At some point it felt really uncomfortable and annoying that I am divulging so much about myself to someone I have not met in ages.

Our conversations was not as spontaneously as my conversations with Chris and eventually, I was presented with a “passive income opportunity”.

Here I am telling myself “Not another Multi-Level Marketing Scheme!” and I was annoyed that another valuable Sunday evening wasted.

You see, I have got beef with MLMs. The INTENTION behind MLMs to be exact!

For me, the sole intention of MLMs is nothing other than using and taking advantage of others. The quicker you get to the top of the pyramid, the better regardless of the struggles of those below you. And if people realize the position that they will be on that pyramid when such “opportunity” present itself, I can bet that they will not even think twice about getting out of that conversation immediately.

Probably the next thing that annoys me most about MLMs is how disillusioned people are when they are into it. For one to get a percentage cut of a total revenue, certain amount of sales must be achieved. Most MLM enthusiasts are so disillusioned that they love to convince themselves that the number of members he or she recruits is all that matters – WRONG! I can recruit a million people who does not spend a single cent buying products/services from the MLM company and I will be where I started – ZERO, 0, zilch! To think that recruiting without selling is totally disillusioned, naive, and contradicting! Like everything else, MLM is a numbers game.

They present the opportunity lightly and try to make something mundane interesting by using words like “building foundation”, “passive income”, and “financial freedom”. When these are all achieved at the expense of others!

If you focus on the INTENTION behind MLMs, it is one that is very sinister.

I take offense when people I count as friend present me with an MLM opportunity because it is an insult not only to my intellect but it makes me disappointed¬† and sad that such learned people can fall victim to such schemes with disillusioned intention without realizing it. Worse, some justify that the intention is to “help others” in their quest similar to their own.

I guess we compartmentalize friendships in terms of grading the type of friends in our circle. I observed that there are some friends who we hold close to and will do as much to keep them from harm’s way. We will be careful when it comes to presenting “opportunities”. While there are friends we have no qualms of using, abusing, and take advantage of.

And then, we talk about friendship.

Is it and must it always be a “demand and supply” or “need and needed” relationship?

I have no problem to have a friend who just sat next to me being silent and that is enough to make me feel good knowing we are present for each other.

I always believe that people can bring about spiritual growth in each other. In life, we can have friends who are spiritually draining as well as those who are spiritually nourishing.

“I do not want to be your friend anymore”

How many of us can relate to this statement?

Perhaps it was back in primary school at the age between 7 and 10 that I hear of this statement most among my “friends”. A way children threaten one another in attempt to disempower and make others feel lesser of themselves. It was a BIG deal not having acceptance from others when we were young.

Fast forward to today, social networking sites are amazing and the best tools in helping grown ups follow through with this childish threat. We can finally “get rid of” people we dislike or are not “beneficial” to us. Or perhaps, people we have come to realization are total strangers to us.

I have grown to accept the fact that we can never control what others feel, think. or want/need to do. Ultimately, it is their decision to make themselves happy as we ourselves make decisions to remain sane and happy. De-cluttering friends list virtually is good for clearing up all the noises but I am one who rather have someone I befriended make the first move – unfriend me. That is because when I make a new friend, I hope they are friends for life without any expectations.

That begs the question – do we “friend” someone before we get to know them or do we get to know someone before befriending him or her?

If you think the virtual friendship world can be cut throat, the real world can be scarier. You can have good friends this year and they can walk past you like you do not exist the following year.

Whatever it is, let’s start with INTENTION…

A Spiritual Journey

I started my journey on a trip at the end of September with one thing in mind, that is to “let go”. In other words, I want to take a retreat, to relax, and restart certain aspect of my life especially work and personal life. I somewhat wanted to go on another self discovery and spiritual nourishment journey. I have prioritized my work commitments very carefully up to that point and I made sure that I clear up everything on my to-do list before I packed and got on the plane.

Being a fan of Oprah Winfrey since I was a kid, I have followed O on facebook. A couple of days before the trip, a video or some sort came up on my news feed regarding an upcoming Super Soul Sunday interview with Gary Zukav in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the book entitled “The Seat Of The Soul”.

I’ve had this book since I was about 17 years old and thought it will be nice to read it again after so many years.

As I continued reading the book, I cannot help but to realized how ahead of time this thought provoking book was back then and it is still relevant today.

And as I embarked on my journey, I held onto the quote above close to mind just to be a little more mindful of my thoughts and actions hoping that I can achieve a degree of authentic empowerment during this vacation time.

I was not going anywhere new and it was a revisit of a place I have grown very fond of because of all the people I have met during my travels many years ago. Through the years we have not only kept in touch but have grown to be an extended family.

And so, my search for the seat of my soul begins…

After years of being preoccupied with what seemed to be endless of expectations in both career and life, there were so much I would like to reflect on and seek out new directions in life moving forward.

Prior to arriving at my first destination, I had much time to think about the approach I would take so that I can make the best out of this trip. Including layovers, my travels took approximately 33 hours and 14,991 km (9,314 miles). I have decided to be mindful throughout my holidays and emphasize more on the spiritual aspects of things. I told myself to look out for “signs” that are obviously telling me that I am on the right track in helping me grow mentally and spiritually.

Initially, I encountered a minor problem during the trip but it was eventually solved and things started to turn around for the better.

My first few days were spent with a group of amazing friends and I truly enjoyed myself being with like-minded people. I realized how much our similar interest brought joy and happiness to me. I continued feeding myself with the wonderful vibe being among them.

I came to realization that at every point of our lives, we ought to give ourselves the opportunity to pause and to seek out what we enjoy most in life. That helps in breaking the mundane routine.

As the days went by, I spent more time in the laid back environment surrounded by farm lands and in the country. It was the quiet that I really needed to rejuvenate. My thoughts are that should I need a place of refuge, this would be it. For the longest time, I felt at eased and relaxed. I really like the smell of fresh grass and cornfields.

The beautiful barns surrounded by the vast cornfields coupled with the cool weather has a way of putting me into tranquility.

I also had the opportunity to dine in many mom and pop restaurants as well as some that are well decorated with anything and everything Americana. It is like I am living a life inside the big screen. I was sure that these images has somehow passed through my eyes and had been imprinted into my mind.

BELIEVE – OUTWARD SIGN, INWARD GRACE

Prior to the trip, I had made a pact with a friend to obtain a tattoo. We went back and forth deciding on designs for a few days and was excited when we finally found one we both agreed upon.

To recognize the blessings in my life thus far, I wanted the word “believe” as part of the tattoo. Over the past 6 years, so much good has happened in my life and I can only attribute all of them to faith in God.

 

The above is exactly what was included as part of the tattoo with an image of the white rabbit holding a clock and mad hatter standing next to each other in Wonderland.

The white rabbit represented intuitions and promptings. At the same time it is a symbol to remind me to believe and take the leap of faith whenever faced with opportunities.

The mad hatter is a reminder for me to always find time to let loose, be myself, be a little crazy, and have some fun along the way.

The tattoo came out really awesome and I am glad that I had it done.

It is now sitting nicely on one of my shoulders and serves as a reminder as stated above and most importantly, of the place and people I love.

And then, came the light…

On a few occasions, I could feel the sun ray touching my face as we drove past the corn fields and farm lands. Each sunset paved the way for a new day’s dawning and it also denotes the end of a day – be it good or bad. When the day is done, there is no point to lament or regret what has passed. We should all look forward to a better tomorrow.

Though I sometimes am sad that the days went by too quickly, I count my blessings for all the experiences that came my way.

In the quiet of my heart, there was always a prayer and a conversation that I would like to have with the divine.

The sun seemed to be telling me to be grateful for all the little things that I so often take for granted.

Every once in a while, when time was spent admiring nature, I feel energized and happy.

I AM IN TROUBLE

“I am in trouble”, the priest said after the harsh Gospel reading regarding the parable of the King and the wedding feast.

“I do not go for wedding receptions. I wonder what the King will do to me”, he continued.

“Please do not equate our merciful God/Father to the King. Instead, emphasize on His mercy and love on the 1st and 2nd readings”, said the priest.

“We like to see things through images (that’s when I held up my phone and took his photo). I hope that is the image of God for you. One that is merciful and of love”, he ended his sermon.

I am not a holy man. Far from that. I go to church because I am work in progress. I hope I have done well for the week and I pray that I will be strengthen for the coming week to do better. There is no coincidence in this life. The signs are all around me and I thank God for the intuitions. The promptings to search for Him in foreign lands.

“I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (2nd reading).

Truly, none of these will be possible without Him.

Just when I least expect it, the choir started singing “You Are Mine” by David Haas. That almost got me in tears. Not only it felt like He is affirming the fact that I am His child, I first heard this song back in the church I attended where I found a sense of belonging in a group of wonderful friends and two amazing priests.

This is my relationship with God. Yours may be different.

Such a beautiful mass.

Many thinks that the churches in this part of the world are usually empty. That is NOT TRUE.

The church was full that beautiful morning – Praise God…

The churches back home are so blessed because we no longer need to flip through hymn books. Our readings and songs are projected unlike here.

The only difference I like is the priests here read less and usually walk down from the altar to engage with the parishioners after the Gospel reading.

PICK YOUR BATTLES WISELY

I am overwhelmed by how profound it is the manner in which people come into my life. It really is no coincident that our paths crossed. Each person that came into my life has left an imprint so deep that each lesson has shaped me into the person I am today.

During this trip, there is no shortage of lessons learned.

In terms of spending time and energy in situations, this is a great lesson I have learned. The question to ask is whether it will matter or be remembered a year from when such decision was made.

By asking this question often, most of what we perceived as a big deal can be quite miniscule and irrelevant. Thus, we should pick our battle wisely.

I am glad I took time admiring the beautiful nature. And by slowing down, I was able to be mindful and prioritize what matter most in life.

THE COVERED BRIDGE
This is the place I am drawn to. Each time I am here, there is a great sense of calm. It is indescribable. I just cannot pin point what it is that makes this such a magnet for me but it feels good.

I did not realize this until I read the descriptions for the very first time yesterday. Not going into details but the year stated brought a very special meaning for me personally.

This may well be The Seat Of My Soul.

In conclusion, the signs are all around me and it is a matter if I am intuned to the intuitions and promptings.

Most importantly, will I be strong to take the leap of FAITH!

The Extinction of I

“Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why should you be envious because I am generous?” ~ Matthew 20:15

I guess it is only human nature that the laborers expected more for the hours they have put into working the vineyard and very often, the measurement of our worth is quantitative in nature. We do keep scores in most aspects of our lives – career and relationships.

When push comes to shove, it’s every man for himself and it then becomes me, myself, and I.

With the dawn of the internet and social medias, the world seemed to have taken a more narcissistic approach to life. We seek to impress upon others how well to do we are and in some cases, wish to become the reason for others to be envious of us. And for some of us, we become depress when comparing ourselves to what we perceive of others as successful and happy.

There are times when I asked myself if the world will be interested in me and what I “post” online. And if not, why? And do people around me really am interested in me, my thoughts/opinions, and my actions.

Often times, microblogging (on social networking sites) took the role of sounding board for my thoughts and ideas. There are of course hits and misses and the reason why I continue doing it is because expressing myself through writing, I have learned and discovered myself. I usually throw my thoughts out into the open through status updates that can sometimes be offensive to certain group of audiences.

I wonder if being vocal and passionate about certain subjects can be a good thing or otherwise. Should I or should I not click the “post” button? And what are the implications for thinking out loud?

At some point, I too wonder what good would it be if we live in the confines of what others expect of us – what individuality and uniqueness will we possess? I do not think we ought to live life confined by a standard mold when even our fingerprints are different.

It does not really matter if the world is interested in us or we try too hard to live in such a way that we need to make ourselves interesting to others. We need not make ourselves an exotic exhibit in a zoo to seek attention but we really should live our lives as unique individuals by being ourselves. And in order to do that, we need to let our inner self speak up.

The reality is, unlike the animal kingdom where a species gets wiped out, each and every one of us is endangered and we are threatened by extinction. And in fact, when we die, we become extinct because there really is one of us alive.

This is by no means that we should be selfish people. Contrary to that, we must strive to be better not only for ourselves but also for others. But first, we need to discover ourselves and in order to do that, we first need to know ourselves better – by knowing our likes and dislikes.

Therefore, if you look from a different perspective, instead of being envious of a friend who seemed to be globetrotting around the world, just pause for a moment and understand that sometimes, these posts on his or her social networking account really is not to impress but to discover him or herself.

And as for the wage you earn compared to those you perceived as higher, that is just your mind playing tricks on you. Everything in this world comes with a price and there is a reason for everything.

Just accept the fact that somewhere along the way, someone is being very generous in sharing their blessings.

And will you be generous enough to share your good and unique ideas, thoughts, talents, and other forms of blessings just so that someone can feel loved, appreciated, and life is worth living!

Have a good blessed day!