Just In Case

I am quite sure most people think about death. Not the suicidal kind but the what if I die prematurely kind. The following will be what I need my young daughters to know if death comes too early for me. I do not know if my family or friends know of the existence of this blog but I sure hope they will find it and pass it on to them when they need it most.

Dear B&B,

Please know that daddy had tried my best to be with you as long as I am able to. I wanted nothing else in this world other than being there with and for you throughout your life. I wanted to be there until you no longer want me to. I know all this is too sudden and unexpected. Because it caught you off guard and unprepared, the more I need you to read this very carefully and understand the best you can.

You Must Love Yourself First

None of this is your fault. It is no one’s fault. Do not take it too hard on yourself. Do not spend too much time overthinking and over analyzing the reason as to why this is happening. My time here on earth was up, that much I can tell you. The least I want you to do for me is to love yourself first. Not the selfish kind of love. I do not want you to hurt yourself or do things that will get you hurt. Protect yourself and all those you hold dear to your heart. Go travel and see the world. Learn something new everyday and invest in your own wellbeing.

You Must Start Fighting

I am not asking you to hurt someone else. What I mean is that you must start fighting for your own life. You must fight to be a better person. Fight for your dreams and do not quit fighting until you achieve your goals in life. Stand up for what is right. Keep doing well in your studies and career. You might not understand why now but you will thank me one day. Do not be afraid to work hard, your hard work will pay off.

Love Your Mom

Take good care of her for me. If she is lonely, make sure she finds a man who loves her and you unconditionally. If he is ever mean to any of you, make sure you whoop his ass real bad and get your mom out of the lousy relationship.

Find The Right Man

I hope that I have in some way planted the seed through example how an ideal man should be and one that you will hold as a standard when the special person come into your life. Make sure he treats you better than I did while I was with you.

I Love You More

Know that your love for me will never surpass the amount of love I have for you. Never. And because my love for you is infinite, I will still be loving you wherever my soul is right now. I am just watching silently.

Turn To God

You must always reach out to God. In despair, look for His counsel and in joy, praise Him. When all else fails, God triumphs!

Save For Rainy Days

As much as you enjoy life, make sure you set aside resources for difficult times. Like good times, bad times do not last forever but you need resources to pull you through.

Scatter My Ashes In The Sea

That way, as you immerse yourself in the beautiful ocean, know that I am with you.

Luv,

Dad Dad

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When God Speaks

In what seemed to be an outburst of my disappointed soul, I ranted out loud on Saturday and explained to my wife how I was feeling regarding my faith. The following was what I told her.

I finally am able to articulate how my faith is at the moment. Let’s use a phone app as an anology. Going to church every Sunday is like receiving a weekly software update. Just like facebook updates with some new features and bug fixes, it nourishes the soul spiritually speaking.

I used to receive very good weekly updates and patches. Now, my brain no longer get good updates and it crashes.

And because I am human, I can choose not to depend on these updates anymore because why should there be a need for something that causes you to crash?

Besides, no one owes me anything and I owe no one anything when it comes to the spiritual realm. Nothing to expect and to be expected, really…

Perhaps, I need to seek for a better server somewhere else or find another app?

I do understand that no app is perfect but at least, I need an app that works…

I also sense that someone is praying hard for me to choose either.

And to that effect, I started thinking about the broader picture and because I was also in the midst of working on a solution for my work assignment, my thoughts were leaning towards how the computer world is.

The Operating System That Is Us.

Are you a Windows or a Linux?
We are all operating systems seeking to achieve interoperability in this world. We need to talk to each other and work together.

Unfortunate, we are all “flashed” differently through the many experiences, indoctrination, and introduction to different interpretation of religious beliefs.

Once a certain operating system has been imprinted, it is difficult to be reprogrammed. The damage has been done. We carry with us the flaws.

The other challenge is how we program the Operating Systems of our future generation today to operate better now and in the future.

So please forgive me for the way my operating system works as I too seek to understand how yours work in order for us to interoperate in this huge web of connected operating systems call the NETWORK…

After having all these thoughts, I finally decided to put the topic to rest and thought nothing of it for the rest of the Saturday. I was having all these thoughts because of how frustrated I was not being able to draw inspiration from the church I was attending and it was getting really mundane and meaningless.

Come Sunday morning, something just prompted me to get ready for church and the idea of visiting church further away came to mind.

As I started driving, a prompt came on my phone for an OS update. I thought nothing of it and proceeded to agree with installing the update. I allowed my phone to be updated while I drove myself to church.

“Why did you come to church this morning?”

I didn’t realize until mid way through mass that I thought about how my faith needed an “application update” and how we are all flawed operating systems. Turned out, God did not just wanted to update an app which can be piecemeal, He wanted to update my Operating System like my phone this morning.

The message cannot be any louder and it cannot be a coincidence. It is deafening throughout the mass.

The priest made the mass so beautiful and amazing as he took time explaining every part of the mass. I learned something new and I only wished my daughters and wife were here.

He started off his homily asking “Why did you come to church this morning? Is it obligation, guilt, or just to seek God?”

It was like God knocking on my heart.

Glad to receive this OS update.

For the few who knew about my struggle in the faith, I don’t know what you all did but I know for sure it was your prayers. I know you are all praying very hard for me and for that, thank you.

It was the best mass I’ve attended in my entire life so far.

In conclusion, I felt blessed to be able to recognize when the divine is reaching out to me by observing mindfulness. Also, when God speaks, He say it loud and clear. Literally…

Lost Boy

Important note: TRIGGER WARNING

I am not sure how long YouTube will allow the following video to be on their server, but please thread forward cautiously. It is Robin Williams’ documentary entitled “Come Inside My Mind”.

At some point, this documentary brought me back to a particular moment in my childhood. It must have been the darkest moment of my life as a kid. It was such an awful experience that I could actually hear that voice telling myself that “you do not matter, you are nothing”. From that moment, I actually gave up and lost myself.

As a result of that and since then, my mind has been conditioned that pleasing others and seeing them happy is my life’s top priority. I kept yearning that acceptance and always ensuring that I did my best to please those around me. On the flip side, it was very hard for me to trust people and I was always suspicious of people’s intention. I started to not only keeping scores with myself but with others as well. There seemed to be a built-in gauging system and I beat myself up for someone else’ unhappiness.

When it comes to people who made positive impact on me as a person, I have found myself to be dependent on their thought process and ideals. I also yearn for their affirmation and acceptance all the time. Thus, I often find myself motivated to appease them by acceding to their demands, delivering my best, and be the best that I can be for them.

But it gets tired sometimes and I’ll be lying to myself if I say that I didn’t feel like giving up.

I have been trying to figure out the sadness that I have been experiencing every now and then for the past few months. It wasn’t until I heard the words of Robin’s son Zak in the documentary that it began to hit home.

He said and I quote:

“His pathos was seeking to entertain and please. And he felt when he wasn’t doing that, he was not succeeding as a person. And that was always hard to see because in so many senses, he is the most successful person I know. And yet he didn’t always feel that.”

What he said applies to most of us who have become too dependent on the approval of others that we have totally lost ourselves. In the fast paced world, I felt it most when I immersed and poured myself entirely and completely into my job. I found it hard to adjust whenever there were some downtime. I felt that I wasn’t valuable, contributing or being productive.

Through that, I have learned to be generous with my praises when people do well and always make it a point to acknowledge people so that they know that at least someone took notice and they matter.

I am slowly learning to come to terms and forgive myself. It is not easy and I am definitely a work in progress like everyone else. The best place to start is knowing that we are not alone.

Even though people do not usually say it out loud, each and every one of us matters to at least someone out there.

It is like looking out the window to see the moon thinking that we are all living under the same stars, moon, and sun. And if you grew up in the 80s, you will be reminded of the song that goes…

Somewhere out there beneath the pale moonlight,
Someone’s thinking of me and loving me tonight,
Somewhere out there someone’s saying a prayer,
That we’ll find one another in that dream somewhere out there…

~Somewhere Out There (An American Tail, 1986)~

Unlearn and Relearn

At this juncture of my life, I cannot help but to feel that I had allowed others to shape how I think – adults in my life as I grew up, religion and religious leaders, and people and organizations I look up to. Each time I wanted to be myself, my mind has been conditioned to accuse myself of being arrogant and I get back into a reclusive depression. I feel like for way too long, I have not taken responsibility for myself because it is easier for people to fail and as long it is not me, it is alright. That is not taking responsibility. I have allowed others to mess with my mind. I have allowed myself to depend upon others to mess up my mind and each time I had doubt, I go back to that dependency. The vicious cycle continues and my life becomes so mundane and meaningless.

It happened so much that it is almost like an addiction to this dependency and each time I deviate from the “conditioned path”, I allowed myself to be brainwashed over and over again. The vicious cycle repeats and continues day after day, month after month, and year after year.

I realized that my mind has been conditioned to conform to certain standards and my soul yearned to break free. Each time that I tried breaking free, I had been told both subtly and directly to get in line and stay in line. Even to have such thoughts is interpreted as being influenced by the devil. I believe now that organized religion does that to people.

I recently watched a video of a guy ranting how a self-righteous person told him how she did not want to be associated with him just because she thought his tattoos made him look trashy. Followers of religions have a way of thinking that they are better than anyone else and miss the point of living out their religious teaching through empathy, kindness, and love.

Like it or not, we are in some sort of religion even if we are not aware of it. When we are into something and when it consumes us entirely, our passion goes overboard and get the better of us.

I appreciate the fact that I am “work in progress” and have the opportunities to be a better person for myself and the people around me. Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday with Mark Nepo this week hits home for me. The amount of inspirational and thought provoking contents in just a short 1 hour session was what I needed this week spiritually!

Patterns

Patterns

I am not sure about you but I feel that very often we go through life in repetition of patterns.

In the field of software engineering, a software design pattern is defined as a general and reusable solution to a specific reoccurring problem.

In life, once we get into a particular pattern that we sometimes call the “comfort zone”, our thought process is pretty much set until a disruption breaks the repetition of the pattern.

The buzz word in the business world today is IoT, short for Internet of Things. After a few decades, the internet still remains as the biggest disruption to our lives. At this juncture, we want everything “cloud”.

We need to recognize the fact that people born into every level of society are stuck in a certain pattern. A poor child born in the projects will repeat living in the patterns he or she knows best emulated through growing up in the patterns of his or her parents. The vicious cycle repeats until a disruption takes place.

The one most important disruption anyone should be given is EDUCATION. Education brings about change in people’s lives. That’s because it is one tool that can help equip a person with knowledge that changes the thought process and thus, breaking the repetitions of patterns.

For those of us who are aware of such situations, we must recognize those disruptions. I like calling them the “blips” of life. If we are in positions to action on these blips, we will be able to bring about change for the greater good of humanity.

So what’s your blip today?

Charity Is Not Free

It used to be when people are genuinely kind and generous. I guess education got in the way. We are the product of the subtle oppressive written laws and practices of the church. What is written and practiced has instilled in us and caused us to have a sense of fear, guilt, indebtedness, and obligated.

The worse part is, we become conditioned to go back for more and somehow addicted to the sort of treatments dished out to us. That is perhaps the success of organized religion where we are shaped to conform.

But things are starting to change now that reality is setting in for what is thought to be free and charitable. It needs money to operate and stay relevant in a changing world. And when money is involved, people want their dollar worth and when that does not happen, the number drops.

Ultimately, it is up to us individuals to discern what is right for us spiritually.

Being unique individuals, we all have purposes in life. We are all capable of bringing blips of disruptions to an otherwise mundane world.

But those in position of power does not like disruptions so they have resorted to using various means to manipulate the majority by feeding our minds what is good or bad for us.

I believe that we ought to constantly remind ourselves to be unique and live out our purpose even if it means that we need to bring about blips of disruptions and cause discomforts that challenges the norm and widely acceptable but not necessarily best approaches to life.

So what’s youe blip?

Faith As A Service

Whether if you are aware or not, chances are you are part of cloud computing. If you have an email account with the likes of yahoo! or gmail, you are already using a service on the cloud. Google Apps are good example of the Software As A Service (SAAS) model.

Over the weekend, a short documentary was shown in church and it ended with a short web store advertisement selling religious articles. The advertisement’s closing statement was something along the lines of “click on the link below…for one of a kind shopping experience..”

Having had thought about the different styles of preaching between priests earlier, I coined the idea of “Faith As A Service” where the practice of faith move with the times, technologically speaking. Perhaps believers will soon be able to “subscribe” and “follow” whichever ideology or theology preferred.

It is undeniable that there is no one size fits all model when it comes to personal choices like religion especially when its core objective in my opinion is to help its followers learn the good ways of cultivating a fulfilling and healthy spiritual life.

Moving forward, I reckon that people would like to have access to instant quick fixes for their spiritual needs. Perhaps churches will move towards embracing technology to administer the sacraments as well.

Imagine an on-line penitential service portal where parishioners can receive the sacrament of reconciliation anonymously through various mediums like “live-chat”, “private message, or even a voice call. Why not?

I always believe that confession is an outlet for people to heal psychologically. The beliefs that one has “released” all of his or her sins through confessing them and to receive absolution is a way the church ease the guilt a person is holding onto. To a certain extent, keeping the confessors’ anonymity will help encourage more people coming forward to receive the sacrament.

These are probably unacceptable ideas in the eyes of the rigid laws of the church but if it works and if the church is genuine in helping to save souls, every idea is worth exploring, no?

Like all things new, are we ready to take the leap of faith and bring church onto the cloud as Faith As A Service?