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Friday, December 26, 2014

Self-Mastery: Thoughts on Forever part 2

My twin heart wrote me a message after reading the first partAnd so, yes this time, I am reflecting more profoundly on 'forever.'

We often 'buy' its meaning from advertisements ~ ultimately to stay young and beautiful. But a sharp contrast is noticeable when we live in a culture of 'disposability' ~ throwaway living ~ empty promises.

While modern technology aims to streamline operations, we create in ourselves impatience and quick fixes. I remember my mom asking us of the meaning of 'sacrifice' and 'learning to live with the questions.' Even marriage becomes a mockery by demanding a renewable marriage bill.

Forever in love
What is left for those who wish to believe? 
HOPE.

Children look on fairy tales for everafters. 
Novels-turned-into-movies depict forever in the impossible 
~ vampires, witches, magic...

There is a dimension in forever that people cannot fathom. Our mind can only reach the physical plane. All people die ~ life is dynamic ~ people change. Our human desires vary from time to time. 

While contemplating on the Infant Jesus, God made me realize that He touched that human dimension and incarnated the very Word. 

The only 'forever' I know ~ 
True LOVE


Echoing St. John of the Cross' Romance on the Incarnation:
In perfect love
this law holds:
that the lover become
like the one he loves;
for the greater their likeness
the greater their delight.

And what is at stake when we aim for forever? 
"Everything," replied my twin heart, 
"including our own self-knowing 
[We have to let go of the forever we know...]
because forever is God's time
Therefore, He designs what and how forever will be."

PEACE.

Only by loving Him can we embrace 'what is at stake [kenosis].'
He allowed Himself to be that little child to be loved by us. 

-----0-----
JOY.

God has to ENTER into our lives. 
He has to be a part of that forever to make it work... 

that one day, some day...
this day... 
TODAY... 
our brokenness will be REDEEMED
by 
TRUE and EVERLASTING LOVE.


Reading supplements:
Thoughts on Forever by Jim Paredes
Forever ~ is composed of Nows by Emily Dickinson



"Friendship will endure only in the measure that the two friends fall in love,
 not so much with each other, but TOGETHER with a transcendent third."

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Self-Mastery: Thoughts on Forever part 1

Is forever only a question of the heart?

I have always related it to a promise… or to a love relationship… but then I guess, I have to dig deeper into that…


"Sorting through memories means holding painful recollections in a certain way.
But memory never copies the past, 
it brings the past into the potentially healing present."

~an excerpt from Turn My Mourning Into Dancing by Henri J.M. Nouwen

-----0------
I discovered that when my dad had our house rebuilt, it only had four rooms. He didn't have me in my mind because we both thought I'll stay inside the walls 'for all eternity.' After a decade, I landed back home and stayed in my sister's room. She was residing in another country and, like me, the thought of coming back home was not part of her plan. However, months before Christmas, she decided to take a ticket and spend time here for a while. 

I had a self-check and I knew that part of my stress (apart from MRT work travels) was being displaced. I had an excuse for sleeping on the sofa for two months recuperating from surgery, however, the next days, I had to find my new place. I discovered a part of me that needed space away from the noises that occupied the house most of the time. 

I found this room... my mom and dad's museum.

Looking at it, I realized the importance of a ‘rule’ we had inside the walls of changing our rooms annually. I learned the tent spirituality moving from one place to another carrying only the necessary things with me ~ and opening my room to prevent accumulating clothes or books or those little gifts friends gave me ~ and most especially dust.

I've talked about letting go and creating space several times in my blog but I learned another important thing about giving ~ the things that we kept might still be very useful to other people. It was brought to light by my dad's painter when he asked for our toys. He said, "They might be old for you but they are always new for my little girl." 

So we started giving things away ~ and little by little what once was a storage area became a decent place to live in. Thanks God!

While I started the whole process with a heavy heart ~ the pain of the changes I went through made visible God's hand throughout my journey. I was tenacious in some of my decisions because I didn't trust God enough. I began to reflect on how forever becomes an excuse to preserve "homeostasis," when what the Lord truly wishes is a life of adventure. He is, after all, a God of surprises.

So I began to relax and welcome whatever He has in store for me... little by little everyday...

Constant Change by Jose Mari Chan

Reading Supplements:
How long is forever?
Does "Forever" really means forever?

You may also write me at meltandoc919@hotmail.com for comments. Thank you+

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Self-Mastery: Humility




My niece just recently celebrated her sixth birthday…

I remember coming home on the very same year she was born…

All these years 'outside the walls' ...
Ah, life!
~fraught with challenges one after another...

but in all these, 
the Lord has been faithful....
constantly guiding and taking care of me.



-----0-----
September passed by so quickly. I took a leave of absence at the peak of our preparation for an international event. 
I was left with no choice but to endorse my work to my brother and other colleagues.

 "You are important but not indispensable," my head nurse from my mission area once told me several years ago when I had a fracture.
How true for most of us, who couldn't wouldn't want to leave work behind because of insecurity...

I realized that sickness, like death, could come to anyone like a “thief in the night.”
 And while we were taught that "prevention is better than cure," most of us would still wait for the last minute hoping that things would get better. 

In my case, it was a bit late ~ my ultrasound showed overgrown ovarian cysts that necessitated immediate operation.
"There is a hiddenness to the wisdom of God that catches fire in hearts and events and places 
and over time ever so gradually consumes the earth in love."

~ Rev. John F. Russell, OCarm, St Therese on Suffering


While others took their illness as a curse, I was counselled by wise friends to embrace mine as a gift. The idea of being 'chosen' was far from my mind. Humility is a virtue I needed to learn everyday. 


It opened my eyes to the minutest things that I should be grateful for. First of all, for that sense of awareness my sickness brought me. I began to see [and listen to] the areas in myself that cried for attention. I started to value myself ~ my body [my reproductive organs], my femininity ~ and others [esp. my family] more.

photo source: Daniel B+
I thanked God for:
... the pain that prompted me to seek medical help;
... the frozen section that confirmed that the cysts were benign;
... successful operation [without complications];
... support of family, colleagues and friends at work;
... my ob-gyne and all those who took care of me while in the hospital;
... friendly visit from a priest 
... Holy Host I received from a nun and a lay minister on those days I wasn't able to go to Mass;
... the power of intercessory prayers [esp. from Twitter and FB friends];
... my Satur-dates who updated themselves of my condition;
and most of all,  the presence of a special friend who saw me through it all especially on the first month when I felt so vulnerable.


I dwelt on TRUST and humility which made itself known through the cross

What a long way to go ~ to completely and sweetly abandon myself to the love of God [through others] ~ who patiently awaits me... 
photo source: Deacon Guy Fortin
... to reach out and touch their hand rather than keep silent, which many times coats "pride."


"The more you open yourself up to being healed, the more you will discover how deep your wounds are." ~ Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

And so to be wounded, in embracing sickness as a gift, as a way to humility ~ I open myself up to facing my different fears, to be more compassionate of others, to lose myself in God's love...

Prayer: Psalm 131

---
Further readings:

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Self-Mastery:100 Voices for Suicide Prevention



10th of September 2014, as I lied on the operating table, my mom’s voice echoed on my mind before the anesthesia took effect, “You have been through your worst.” 

I knew she was referring to the depression I had six years ago.

There was a stark contrast between my attitude towards life.

Back then, I wanted to take my own life. I lost all sense of hope. I found no way out. There was no single soul available to hear my silent pleas for help. Sleeping pills and tranquilizers were temporary relief to my disturbed mind. What I remembered most was this constant replay of negativities in my mind. It irked people to hear the same stories repeated over and over again.

The psychiatrist explained the “chemical imbalances” that occurred in my brain and was immediately repaired by medications.

My mom was there~ she helped release the “anger” I had deep inside…

Now, I held on to dear life, praying that the surgery will proceed without complications. 

Jesus, the Way, the TRUTH, the LIFE



14th of September, as I listened to Fr. Barron’s invitation to allow the light to pervade the ‘darkness’ within… I realized that I had created a ticking bomb inside me that took toll on my health. God taught me humility.

I have been silent for awhile. My journey is known to my intimate friends and those who frequent my blog. 

People would often send me direct messages in Twitter asking for prayers for those contemplating suicide. I have left the front lines to my deacon friend and a psychotherapist who directly communicates with them. And this I say to younger friends who assist in suicide prevention, if you are not equipped, not strong enough ~ then find more creative ways to help. Raising awareness to suicide prevention is one.

And in truth, the key is inside…nobody can open the gateway to LIVE [not merely survive] but you.

Choose life!




-----0-----

I thank Ms. Gabriel Acosta, MSW@USW Community Manager, who invited me to participate in the 100 Voices for Suicide Prevention.

You may also wish to visit Write Tribe to read more posts on #suicideprevention

The 100 Voices Media Kit may be downloaded to raise awareness the whole month of September.

You Matter Campaign is also a very good way to show you care. 
Be a You Matter Ambassador.

Follow these links to see how it works:
Download a Care Card and share.

-----0-----

The Philippines has its own depression and suicide prevention hopelines:

(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917 558 HOPE (4673)
2919 (toll-free number for all GLOBE and TM subscribers)




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Self-Mastery Mystery [part 2: Rekindled Love]


Precious...

I have not fallen in love quite like this before...

I vowed never... but...

It was a gradual transformation from fear of 'relating' to authentic 'loving.'

He took me out for quiet walks...
with a rosary in hand.

We prayed the Liturgy at our different hours.





I found myself celebrating the Eucharist daily to confessing regularly.  He supplemented the day with reflections and spiritual readings...

He brought me back to that 'world' I thought I have already left for good.

What fascinates me most is how God reaches out to us in very unique ways ~ 

He is creative... "Love is creative...
unto INFINITY." ~ St. Vincent de Paul








Worlds apart...

You are "there"... I am "here," yet we are 'two-gether.'

born with different charisms...

itinerancy vs. stability

following Jesus in our chosen vocations...

lay and contemplative





This is the "mystery" we share in this love --  without boundary, love transcending time, space, distance, moments.... it's the love that we both are privilege to have found...
If you wish to know what truly makes me happy... 
It's the knowledge of your rekindled love for Jesus, your first love.
Fall  in love with Jesus till the end, never let go of Him again. 
He loves us both and gives us this time to feast in His presence.... 

-----0-----

in Him and in each other.
So be it+

*in blue ink, excerpts from emails of my special love [I am grateful and very blessed to have you]*

Monday, September 8, 2014

Self-Mastery Mystery [part 1: AI NO UTA]

Light’s out... power lines were cut. There wasn't a single soul in the street... 
the wind howled like a hungry child in need of its mother...

and there, without the daily hustle and bustle of life, 

the Lord patiently waited for me...


-----0-----


Everyday is a practice to greet each morning with a smile… 

I’m learning to receive whatever comes my way. 

With my hands cupped, I reached out for God’s graces…





What we had in Mongolia for the Medical Editors’ Meet was entirely unique. It was a quiet experience that will remain in my heart forever.





I had a blessed time with my brother ...

... and with the rest of the doctors who participated.

It was there, that the Lord established Himself as my rock...

He was preparing me for something...
-----0-----

25th of August, I felt a stabbing pain on my abdomen... 

After three days of consecutive vomiting, I decided to see a gastroenterologist. I had my urinalysis, CBC and ultrasound done.

29th of August, my gastroenterologist referred me to an ob-gynecologist who immediately decided I needed an operation. The urgency of which came from an enlarged ovary that might rupture anytime ... like a ticking bomb waiting to explode...


-----0-----



The little pieces of the puzzle suddenly fell in place [my low blood pressure, low hemoglobin levels, dysmenorrhea].

I knew someday it would happen but it still came in as a surprise... I received the news with calm. My family, bosses and colleagues were very supportive. 

I have always asked the Lord for a stigmata ~ that was too great a favor to ask for one who is unworthy to carry His wounds...

He gave me a tiny cross instead to carry with Him...

I thought of the people who bore constant pains in their bodies... those whose illnesses were incurable... the dying...

and at the same time, those who are inflicted with suffering because of war and famine...








People ask how I felt about the abrupt change in my schedules...
Surprised but grateful...

I embraced His cross... He embraced me in His cross.


How exactly do I feel?

Remember how our power lines were cut off because of Glenda [16th July 2014]?
It was sudden and unplanned...

Sans the things that gave comfort ~ silence without the distractions [tv, radio, laptop, electric fans/aircons, etc]... that's how I felt inside. 

The Lord before me ~ with me ~ in me...

versus, the howling wind outside ... 

amidst the many voices that kept us out of focus...
I just heard one distinct voice...

Ai No Uta
Song and Lyrics by Kameda Seiji (ex-Tokyo Jihen & Musc Producer)
sung by Ohara Sakurako

I heard His love song in an unfamiliar language...
-----0-----

a preview to the next part...
~a gift from my precious love~

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Love is

“Everyone loves a great lovestory and a happy ending.”
~ book description, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Happily Ever After



photo credit: May Christine Tandoc; twitted by melissa
How do love stories even begin?
Love by John Lennon
 
Some say, love starts at the womb with the 'encounter' and eventual 'union' of the sperm and egg cell.

Others say, it's destiny 
~ it's written in the stars...

Still most of us believe that it simply happens...

photo credit: Google

 
It comes at the most unexpected moment...

Like a gift that needs unwrapping...

and with the gift comes the elements of surprise and humor of the Giver...



"Just when I thought I was becoming invisible, 
you came along." ~ quote 


melissa's photo
  
Love came knocking at the door of our hearts 
after the decision to become invisible...

He opted to pursue a deeper calling as a contemplative and 
I, as a single blessed...



When love arrives, we could either
welcome it with openness
or
dismiss it...

photo credit: Daniel B+

Can you imagine ALL the ifs that came into my mind?

and don't forget the whys...

I do not question God's wisdom...

I promised that I will allow it to grow in time and experience the fullness of what we have given up on earth ...

He came not at the time of want but when the time was ripe...

 
 
  
-----------
After harsh winter and fall,
 I opened the windows of my heart and rays of sunshine rushed in and
playfully bathed me with its Divine light...

I was to him, as he was to me
~a breath of Heaven.~
-------------
Richard Bach says, "To bring anything into [our] life, 
imagine that it's already there...

I know I have dreamt of him all my life ...

Love, like songs, poetry and movies, moves and breathes on "forever"....
so was mine.
and God is faithful...

one day... maybe not here,
maybe not now...

 
someday soon+
 
 
Sources of reflection:
Consecration http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/murray/deeper/deeper_8.htm
Three Kinds of Love by Bishop Fulton Sheen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MU1ns6fIHFg
Your Vocation is Not About You by Benjamin Mann http://catholicexchange.com/vocation


*If you wish to leave comments via email, write me at meltandoc919@hotmail.com. Thank you. 

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