Afterlife

Where we go after death is perhaps the biggest mystery and question that we will never be able to answer with conviction and certainty.

This week has been exceptionally tough having to juggle between the challenges that comes with parenthood and an aunt losing her battle to cancer. And as the title of this post suggests, I am going to write about the latter.

My aunt has been constantly fighting cancer for the last 9 years and her current prognosis does not look good. It is really the end of her life here on earth. I cannot help but to think about the spiritual side of her situation.

I am convinced that heaven and hell are nothing but state of mind. If a person dies without much regret, he or she will probably crossover to something blissful while if a person dies with a lot of ill feelings like anger and regret, he or she will probably go to a “harsher” place. But I must first point out that knowledge plays a pivotal role in the deciding factor which image our state of mind will be the moment one breath his or her last.

In other words, if a person has always been shown beautiful images that are reinforced with what is heavenly throughout his or her life, most likely that will be the destination after death.

At the same time, I thought about the above quote that has been shared on social medias. It is true because we always emphasize on the degree of death as though there is a scale to be rated against. It is as though someone is conducting a survey with the question “Please rate your death experience (1 least enjoyable to 10 very enjoyable). But if we think about it deeper, it is a question we are in fact asking ourselves – the living experiencing the death of people around us. For us, a person who struggles before his or her last breath died a suffering death (rated 1 on the scale) as compared to a person who died in his or her sleep (rated 10 on the scale).

And coming back to the one dying, I realized the importance of a reasonable and practical religion. If I am in the position of advising someone about choosing a religion, I would recommend them to research and take into consideration how the religion in question handles the topic of death and afterlife. Some religion provide the dying with the last rites. This can be very comforting and help the dying to have a better state of mind towards the end of the journey here on earth.

As I prepared myself to visit my aunt this week, I was thinking about how I can provide her with comfort in hopes that her crossover to after life would be filled with a better outlook. So I started researching about her religion and how it gives hope to its followers.

Not mentioning the name, I was shocked to know that their blueprint is built on the beliefs that there is a cap and limit as to the number of souls allowed in Heaven – 144,000 to be exact! My first question was, “SAYS WHO?!”.

In all honesty, if someone told me that heaven has limited space, I am going next door where they tell me that everyone is welcome in heaven.

Just imagine dangling a carrot in front of a rabbit. Naturally, the rabbit sees the motivation to run. Telling someone that heaven has limited space is akin to dangling an invisible or non-existent carrot in front of the rabbit. It is a hopeless situation because knowing that one is not counted or mattered at his or her deathbed is an excruciating painful experience. A feeling of rejection, dejection, and unloved.

Besides, with such a low number being set, it has long been filled up don’t you think?

I take pity on people who have subscribed to such doctrine but take my hats off to those who came up with such an ingenious idea that has brainwashed thousands of unfortunate people to keep such organizations alive till this day.

It is a great disservice for a religion to shortchange its followers in the currency of hope. The most fundamental and reason for the existence of faith is to comfort and console the soul. If a religion does nothing in line of being one’s soul food, it has no reason to exist.

I cannot help but to feel sad how differently people represented the divine. Humans has successfully created so many versions of Jesus that like at the end of His journey at Calvary, He was disfigured beyond recognition.

The good Samaritan only have one thing in him when he helped the victim of the brigands. That is LOVE.

The God that I believe in has insurmountable, immeasurable, and infinite LOVE that cannot be contained or be limited.

The best way to comfort both the living and the dying is through LOVE.

Tell the dying of the beautiful place that they are going to. That their run in the race here on earth is done. That God is waiting on the other side.

A beautiful place filled with LOVE awaits.

What is there to lose just to LOVE a little more?

What have we to lose when someone we love is dying?

At the very end, there will be NOTHING.

There Is No Tomorrow

angel

How often have you come across the question, “how would you like your eulogy to be?” whenever people make reference as to how you should live your life now in the present? I have a lot of time to think about this not for myself but for people who have made a huge impact in my life. It is definitely hard to think about it and of course, I do not wish anyone ill. But if given the opportunity to deliver an eulogy, the following will probably be what I have to say about a very dear friend of mine.

There Is No Tomorrow

It was the afternoon of 24th August 2012 when I had a phone interview with F***k for a job back in the company I left 6 months before. We had a good chat and the words that I will remember for the rest of my life were “there is no tomorrow”. That is an indication of the sense of urgency of all the tasks I will be assigned henceforth. I just did all that I was asked to do and constantly reminding myself of those four words to stay focus. I had the best 7 years working under F***k and it was the most successful time throughout my career up to that point. We went through a lot together with the team. We rise above all the challenges and celebrated many accolades.

Today, those same four words – “there is no tomorrow” give me a very different meaning altogether. Like many of us and very often, F***k was a very misunderstood person. He was more than those “numbers” entrusted to him to be achieved in the corporate world. “Praise publicly and criticize privately”,  was his leadership mantra. F***k was a person of passion, empathy, compassion, and not often admitted, a person filled with love.

In fact and in F***k’s term, he showed me that there is no tomorrow to love more, there is no tomorrow to respect more, and there is no tomorrow to be more passionate in everything that I do.

And if you around you today, it is very obvious that there is nothing the world needs more than love. We ought to tell ourselves, there is no tomorrow when it comes to loving others.

Though it is not my intent to see every one here shed tears, the fact is that we both mourn and celebrate his great life. The great life that he has lived to touch each of us in the most special way. For me, F***k is not only my boss, mentor, but a friend who has taught me many life’s lessons. In the most fundamental way, he has taught me how to be a good person.

I thank God for allowing our paths to cross and hope that this eulogy does justice in describing the amazing person F***k was not only to me but for all us gathered here.

If you find yourself needing to release those tears, I can only tell you not to hold back.

Because, the funeral is today and there is no tomorrow.

Rest In Peace my dear friend. We will all miss you dearly.

Women, Please Run The World

Part of the idealistic me is hoping as well as excited to see where this gender equality movement is leading us to. Growing up through the 80s has been nothing less than exciting. We seemed to have seen everything and yet there are more to be seen moving forward.

It has been often said and sang about how “this is a man’s world”. Just look at the news on how the world has turned out in the hands of men, I cannot help but see destruction.

Acting through the nature of man, the world as we know today is filled with the product and outcome of manly traits and behaviors – hunting, dominance, killing, and survival.

Imagine how the world would be if we turn it over to women. I reckon it will be ruled with compassion and love. It will be a world of nurturing and one filled with empathy.

I am sure we address the many entities in our lives by their nurturing characteristics – Mother Nature and Mother Church to name a few. These titles were given because of how caring a mother is to her child.

Pleasing the feminists and those fighting for women’s rights is not the intent of why I am writing all these. I am merely expressing my observation and opinion how I truly believe that we will be in a better place if we have a change of leadership because of how deprived of love the world is today.

The topics that are dominating the news are usually stemmed from sex, money, power, and violence. So much so that the answer to Beyonce’s hit song “Run The World (Girls)” seemed to be none other than “SEX”! I feel that we have indeed became very savage in our approaches and intentions – almost animal like.

There has got to be a better way for all of humanity as a whole. Something’s got to give in order for us to stop the recursive blunders. A change is needed to break out of the loop.

In the words of Ezra Taft Benson in the quote below, if you replace the words Lord and Christ with LOVE, it will sum up what I have written.

ezra-taft-benson-352234

Unseen Not Necessarily Useless

Taking a step back and looking at all the chatters and noises on social media especially in one of those platforms for “professionals”, I cannot help but to realize how the corporate world requires one to be “visible”. This phenomenon is so prevalent that it seems as though someone sitting at his or her cubicle working as hard as anyone else is insignificant.

I was once guilty of comparing myself with people I perceive as insignificant in terms of their roles in the larger organization. When I realized that each and every one of us are unique and no matter our roles, adds up and counted for something in the bigger picture. Knowing that life does not only evolve around someone’s job, it was very humbling and has taught me humility.

I now find that people who cannot stop posting stuff about their job really does not have a life outside of their job.

How often do we get so entrenched in our jobs that they define us?

We forget that a job is only a mean to an end. The end being financing our needs as well as the lives of our family members.

Besides patience, I learned that I should place less importance and priority into my job. At least not taking precedence over my family.

Take the hermit crab for example. It does not grow a shell of its own. Instead, it takes over an empty shell each time it outgrows the current shell. Think about how interesting it is to be able to try on different shells in its lifetime.

Likewise, a job is merely a temporary platform for us to share our talents for the greater good of humanity and at the same time earn a living.

Hopefully, we’ll have a little bit of fun learning and growing with each role.

Nothing Instant About Life

There has been many instances where I was guilty of feeling frustrated not getting instantaneous results in life. Often times, I was not willing to enjoy the journey towards the destination. I was in fact too eager to get to my destination.

I recently got a pet cockatiel. He was a handfed baby a few weeks shy of being weaned. Getting them at this age allowed him to build a bond with me. It felt like being a new father to a helpless child again. He followed me to work as he needed three feedings a day.

On the hindsight, I truly enjoyed the process and the two months journey. It was very fulfilling to say the least.

It got me thinking about the instant world. A colleague once used a very funny anology to describe how to speed things up with more resources thrown into a project. He posted the question – Would it be more efficient to have nine women produce a baby in a month or for a woman to take nine months to produce a baby?

Naturally, the entire room erupted into a laughter frenzy.

Having had the last couple of months to reflect on life and do some soul searching, I learned to be patient as well as submit to the fact that it is impossible for life to be instantaneous amidst all the advancements in technology that boast of split second efficiency and speed.

The gestation period for a human life is 9 months and there are no two ways about that.

I am now constantly reminding myself that in all that I do, time is needed. In fact, we are all paid for our time. Even machines will incur some operational costs although they take lesser time. Something got to give at the end of the day.

The last couple of months has been me chasing after life aimlessly. It got me into a very challenging situation. They say everything happens for a reason. I constantly asked myself if I have given my all before calling it quits. In my opinion, I believe I have tried and given my best. I accepted the fact that it is something that is not suitable for me moving forward.

Life’s too short to force oneself to like something he or she does not. Life is too short to be unhappy and be lived regretfully.

Funny how things get clearer when we are forced to stop for a moment to take some time to see things in a different light.

I am still hoping for the best and do not know what the near future will bring.

All I know for sure is that there will be much to learn and look forward to throughout the journey.

Sometimes, getting to the destination is just a bonus in life…

Things We Do For Happiness

I just gave up the 40% raise by quitting and taking a 20% cut by accepting a different role with one of my previous employers.

I totally overlooked that beyond riding on a huge brand name, we individuals are nothing except apart of the statistics.

That does not justify in how I was treated in the first few weeks into the job. Biggest part of the frustration and disappointment lies in the fact that I didn’t expect people in such a huge “reputable” company can behave in such uncivilize manner. Maybe that is exactly the behavior needed to be successful in such companies?

10 out 10 friends that I have shared the scenarios where there was elements of disrespect and bully agreed that I should get out for the sake of my sanity and self confidence.

I can only wish that people start compiling and share real life career horror stories on professional/career social networking sites to help others avoid getting themselves into the wrong jobs. A few good titles include, “red flags to look out for during interviews” and “signs you need to quit your job immediately”. I wish I had all these or at least someone to seek advice from before I made the decision to quit my previous job.

It is too late for me to complain but interestingly, I was given a “welcome” document by my manager on my first day and one particular line caught my attention. When asked, he just answered casually with a grin stating that I will soon find out.

If that didn’t sound the alarms, I don’t know what will.

On my fourth day, someone whom I was suppose to work closely with pop the most unusual question in the most awkward manner without first stating the context.

“Who are you close with?”

Just before I could answer, he follow up the question by saying, “if you have been in the workforce for so long and didn’t have anyone close to you, then you are a failure”.

Like what the flying f***?

This same guy also asked me to clean tables and throw trash at a particular event. He rather walk 10 steps with trash in his hands just to make me throw them than to dump them into the bin next to the table where he was sitting. If it wasn’t deliberate, he will not do it 3 times.

How many of you out there has experience such blatant and unprofessional treatment from a fellow co-worker?

Not for me in the longest time for sure.

That and among other incidences was enough for me to realize that a 40% raise was not worth to put up with such unacceptable behavior. Before we talk about leadership, let’s talk about how we treat others as individuals.

With all that behind me, I am in a much happier place.

The job wasn’t a good fit and there is definitely no senergy with the team. I am opined that as individuals we must ensure that our team mates are successful. We need to provide a conducive and wholesome platform to ensure each and every one is headed in the right direction. Every individual’s success contributes to the success of the team as a whole.

At the end of the day, I have to admit that a life without purpose and bringing about value for others is a life wasted regardless of how much we are paid.

The battle with the competition without is already half lost when we kill ourselves within.

It is already a challenge with the task at hand and it does not help having people around you who not only make things more difficult but are thrilled to see you fail.

This is not an environment made for growth surely.

It is unfortunately that my resume should be tainted by such a blip but not all is lost. Plenty of lessons learned for all that lies ahead of me in life.

Afterall, mistakes are proof that I tried and there has got to be some brownie points for that!

As long as we are happy, who cares?

I Surrender!

I am once again at this juncture in life.

In a short 2 months, I have come back to square one. My new job did not work out.

What I have not practiced religiously in terms of all the rituals in church during Lent, I lived it out spiritually in real life.

It was one of the most challenging Lent I have had in years.

I was frustrated. Frustrated mostly with myself for making the wrong decisions. I could have avoided all these predicaments and precious time wasted being unproductive for months. As my former colleague pointed out that it seemed to be the best option at that point in time, I can only concede and agree.

There is no time to look back in regret but instead I need to push myself moving forward in rebuilding my career.

And as Easter drew near, I felt especially hopeful attending the Good Friday and Easter masses.

The message in Fr. Simon’s homily gave me clarity – “Life is not about ME, I am about LIFE”. It is hard to love in this world without getting pushed back by skepticism. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know [that they were loved]”.

Thus, I have made the decision once again to choose life. All the money in the world cannot give me joy and happiness if purpose and passion is not present.

I figured that being paid well does not compensate for how disrespectful people treat me. The constant sense of insecurity and reminder of being dispensable cannot be justified by all the compensations promised.

I do not ask for much. I only asked to be allowed to work in an environment where those around me wants to play apart in ensuring my success and as do I for them. That is how a team suppose to be because my success contributes to the overall success of the team.

Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday interview with Elizabeth Lesser inspired me greatly.

We all do learn about ourselves constantly and during the interview, the famous quote by Hazrat Inayat Khan was mentioned. It made me realized that we are indeed uncovering the veils to reveal that original soul of ours.

Elizabeth’s definition of religion and spirituality was spot on – “Spirituality is the questions and Religion is the attempt to answer them”.

Like everyone else, I am searching for the “best fit” in life. But we’ll never know unless we try. Indeed, mistakes are the proof that we are all trying. It is not promised that everything will work out but if they don’t, I am sure there are valuable lessons in them.

Aren’t we all looking for a brighter tomorrow?

As the break of dawn brings new light, so does hope begins…

May you reign victorious just as Jesus reign victorious over death.

Blessed & Happy Easter!