Sunday, December 22, 2013

alone and loving it

miedo, miedo. . .
de alguna manera, 
era lo que sentia.
para enfrentar 
mis mananas solos.
hoy, como supongo que todos. . .
me parece que,
mi mayor temor,
es en realidad 
mi mayor regalo.
(frightened, terrified. . .
somehow, it was how i felt.
to face my morrows alone.
today, as i take it all in. . .
i find that my biggest fear,
is actually my greatest gift!)
sometimes, perspectives change without consciously knowing it.  as a young girl of 12, i remember being alone the very first time, when my father passed away two days before christmas eve (this very day 37 years ago).  i was not even aware then, how it was with my mother, when she was left with three young kids to tend to.  
 as i grew up (notice up not old. bwahahaha!) and became a woman, the being alone became my biggest fear.  i did not want to live alone.  i did (still do) not want to die alone (still working on that).  and this very christmas that i fear spending alone, lets me know one thing-being alone is a gift! bwahahaha!
i was trying to write my christmas post, but my fb status was eliciting some comments about my being alone and that kinda made me think:  does my being alone on christmas eve, make me lonely?
well, i definitely underwent a mental and emotional process. bwahahaha!  i realized that all my life, i have been longing for love and what i did not understand, is that, longing for love outside of myself was never going to be satisfying.  within me, there is this well of love so deep and so giving and so nurturing, yet, somehow, i do not see this for the self!  it seemed i have built a wall between it and myself, hoping that someone would come along who could tear the wall down. i have looked at that love and thought it was totally inaccessible to me.
through time and experiences, i have, without knowing it, been removing pieces of that wall: healing my sore places, letting go of anger, guilt and shame.
and slowly, i come to grips with the very best gift i have ever been given.  the gift of being alone! bwahahaha!  
merry christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

the beginning of compassion

i do not remember when i started my 100 joy quilts project, all i remember is that i started it when i was not inspired enough to take on and paint.  my goal then was to hold an exhibit to show off when i get to finish the collection.  to date, i have done only eight and have given away six of them.  there goes my exhibit. bwahahaha!  
then came the yolanda tragedy, and i was thinking, if i had finished my project on time, i would have given at least ninety-two persons some blankets. designed, pieced and sewn by me.  but procrastination got the better of me, needless to say, am not waiting for another yolanda, am giving away my quilts as soon as i make them, there simply is no time to waste, in giving a bit of joy.
last week, my friends in the bpmacs and i, went on our annual program. this time, we went to this place called "gift of love", managed by the sisters of the MofC.  i cooked (well, not literally. bwahahaha!) and brought the food to the place, late.  when i got there, mon was already waiting anxiously for me at the gate.  i found rachelle emceeing and the rest of the gang, distributing the gifts.

when i reached the hall where we met the tenants, i could not seem to reach  the front stage, where i was supposed to give a message.  

i was trying to keep off my tears, but failed, i had to wipe them off pretending i got something in my eyes from the wind.  i did not want them to see me cry, well, nobody has seen me cry.  bwahahaha!  i do that in private, i do not look cute when i do, that is why.  bwahahaha!

i thought of a time when i would scoff at people who would do charitable activities.  i always think:  you are just doing it to make yourself feel better.  so that, when it was time for me to bring my group to do this one act of charity, i was consciously asking myself, if indeed, i was just doing it to make myself feel good.  it bugged me, but for some reason, i could not quite shake it.  i took a mental inventory of how i felt.
at first, pretty good.  it was nearing christmas, and people were appreciative of the food we were serving and the gifts we were giving away, especially the kids.  then i came to this corner where i saw two old women, helpless in their wheelchairs, both were blind and were having tremors.  and i did not know how they would enjoy the simple snacks we brought.  my heart sank.  i felt terrible, wishing i had the heart of my sister, T, she being a nurse, would and could easily have taken the job of feeding them, and i could not help feeling bad!  
what we were doing was nowhere enough.  and it was when it hit me.
this is the beginning of compassion: not feeling better, but feeling worse.  because i can always do more; i can always give something extra, always meet another need. and i checked how i was feeling, and i know this for sure:  if my heart does not break each time i go to places full of pain and hardship, then i am probably doing something wrong.  

the reality is that when i expose myself to the deep needs of this world, it feels anything but good. compassion is messy work. it hurts. no one ever says this, i never even read it on billboards.  but it is true.  doing good sometimes feels bad.  there is no other way to say it.  
if you want to get involved in helping other people because you think it will make you feel better, then you had better change career paths. because the last thing you will feel is good!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

the gift of laughter

the women walked in to the farm early in the cold december morning. 
some swapped hugs and shared hellos, their bags were put down the floor. 

most of us brought gifts for the exchange.  we placed all these christmas treats on top of the chest and barrel.  it was drizzling, there was no tree to put the presents under.  bwahahaha!

before we officially began the evening, the party, amy from buhi led the prayer.  through it i was clickin' that i just heard the amen at the end.  i jokingly asked amy what the prayer was about, she did not tell me.  bwahahaha!  

in my mind, tho, i included these words:  please receive the joyful praises of our laughter.
 those words ring in my ears like sweet bells all night as i listen to giggles, chuckles and outright fits of giddiness.  these rural women, my RIC, know how to have a good time.  

and as i reflect on it later, i realize that, yes, our laughter sure sounded a lot like praise.
laughter that says:  thank you for the friends you have given me to share this moment.

so this season of joy and love and hope, i give you the joyful praises of my laughter.  as my friends and i laugh when we tried pounding to bits the pigeon peas before making polvoron, as we laughed when we opened the crazy presents, as we practiced our square dance. . . 

our laughter finds its way into our messy and imperfect and our this-is-not-the-most-wonderful-time-of-the-year moments. . .
as i walked the path to the farm gate, groped actually, as we did not have electricity that night, sounds of chatter trailed out behind me.  i turned back and looked through the foliage to catch final glimpses of those smiling faces - and i thought, joy to the world indeed.

thank you for the gift of laughter. bwahahaha!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

the little things matter, too

the posts reek with despair and grief and of rotting human flesh.  add to that the discontent and dismay!  i cannot keep off my tears.  i cannot avoid the memories that flood my being, bringing back the terror i underwent when my town, baao, was ravaged by a super typhoon, too, back in 2006.  

when i look at the photos of the aftermath, i could only imagine how we looked like then. . . and there are just no words that would dare describe the horror, the misery, the hoplessness.

being spared from this recent devastation, i feel inadequate and i question how i could be of help, i being small (figuratively speaking, i.e., bwahahaha!)and basic.  it led me to thinking that wherever i am today, (i may not be in the next plane of volunteers to tacloban or guian) or you, for that matter, i have done at least one of these simple things:
 gotten out of bed when i could have lingered under my warm sheets. . .
shared a smile, a seat. . .
spoken a kind word, given a pat on the back. . .
offered a little love to someone who needed it, whispered a prayer. . .
and i realize that if i keep doing what i am doing, and do not worry much about what is not done, these little things have big impact, too. 

that i know for sure.  and i am also, already, making a difference.

ps.  as artists here in bicol, we pooled our works together and showed we care, too, however small this act may seem.  fair weather is just that, fair. and life is good!