Monday, January 31, 2011

An ordinary day, a beautiful day

When you don't know which way to choose,
When you don't know what decision to take
and the situation doesn't call for it anyway,
Sit back and relax.
Enjoy your coffee,
Enjoy that book you were reading.
Let life perform its role of revealing
and creating magical moments for you.

Have a good day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Magic of Bob Dylan's music

Reading the following lines in Paulo Coelho's blogpost Praha, 1981 made me notice a tune that was still running at the back of my head.  Here's what he wrote:

(...)  I realized that something odd had happened: we had chatted for almost five minutes without being able to speak one another’s language.  (...) We made ourselves understood only by gestures, laughter, facial expressions and the desire to share something.  (...)  The simple desire to share something had enabled us to enter into the world of language without words, where everything is always clear and there is not the slightest risk of being misunderstood.

Music holds the same magic for us -- a language I share with my two daughters since they were kids.

I been listening to several albums for the past few days but whenever I stop playing songs I've stored in my laptop, THAT same song starts playing again at the back of my head.  That's LSS (last song syndrome) for you, if you may care to ask what's happening here.

"Ang galing talaga ni Bob Dylan," my eldest daughter suddenly remarked sometime last week, as she put down the earphones plugged in her ears. I was surprised to hear Bob Dylan's name instead of those other names of artists she and Kim enjoy listening to.  "Post-punk music, Ma," Kim replied to my wondering look when I first heard those unfamiliar names.

Anyway, going back to Bob Dylan, I was really curious what particular song triggered such comment.  I found out it's an old classic that has been covered by several artists ... a song entitled "To Make You Feel My Love".

At first it was plain curiosity that made me listen to this song.  After a few more times of playing it back, I got hooked and been humming it to myself the whole day, just like it did to my eldest daughter...and everyone else here at home.  Although I also like his other songs but I really think this is Bob Dylan's best song he has ever written and composed.

Here's Adele's version of the song.

Music, as I discovered it for the past decades, can touch us in certain ways.  It would be an understatement to simply say I've been touched.  I've been moved by this song!

This afternoon Bam looked surprised when I suddenly remarked, "Tindi nga ni Bob Dylan.  Ang ganda ng kantang ito." 

Uhm..." was all she said even though there was no music playing that can be heard by others.  I guess she knew it's running here at the back of my head.  By the time I opened this computer to write this blog I could hear her play the tune and chords in the piano ... and soon I was singing along with this song playing in the background. 

Yah, sometimes, oftentimes it is difficult to express what's in our hearts with words.  How many times have you experienced this, too?  How were you able to communicate with another person when words do not suffice or they even tend to hold you back?  I hope you could share your thoughts on this, too.  I am now exploring better ways, more effective ways of communicating with others. 

Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Art of Detachment

"Detachment for me doesn’t mean indifference. It means being able to be passionate about something and yet at the same time, having the ability to peacefully accept whatever it is that happens in the end. It’s about having the humility to accept that there are so many variables in the equation, and not everything can be achieved just by working hard on it, or by thinking that you are entitled to it because you are this and that. Life is full of these complex things. Being able to detach one’s self from the fruits of our labor, our pseudo-urgent wants, even from those we feel so much for, is an act of humility." ~ Manila Gay Guy

It's been several months now since I last posted a write-up here in my blog. For the past 3 quarters, there have been several topics floating at the back of my mind, and one of them is about the art of detachment.

While faced with several challenges in my professional and personal life, I have longed for the comfort that writing about them could bring. Looking back now, and after reading this entry from one of my favorite blogsites, I realize that life has given me these challenges as venues to put into practice the art of detachment.

For now, I am trying to savor this moment of being able to break this momentum of silence, and have this entry posted here.

Thank you Sandwich Spy for the inspiration to write again ....

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Growing Up as a Parent

I've long wanted to write about this topic from that moment I first heard a cab driver say "Kala ko magkakabarkada lang kayo ..." referring to me and my two daughters when he probably heard one of them call me "Ma, dito na lang tayo!"

That time I took this comment lightly given the similarity in our outfits, wearing ‘chucks’ that differ only in colors, and borrowed shirts from each other’s cabinet. But I don’t know if that was really the reason for the cab driver’s remark about us.

In the next few years, hearing this same remark made me more curious than the first time I heard it. Until there was one instance when a saleslady mentioned it again. This time I asked her, ”Uhm miss, pwede magtanong? Madalas ko ngang marinig yan. Pero bakit mo naisip na magkakabarkada nga kami? Dahil ba sa suot namin? Or magkakamukha ba kami?

I was surprised when she replied, “Hindi po. Ano eh, yong pano kayo mag-usap. Yon! Ang sweet niyo sa isa’t isa. Parang hindi kayo mag-iina.


That reply made me wonder how a typical mother-daughter relationship or a parent-child relationship looks like in the eyes of other people. I started wondering whether I was being a 'good' mom or not ... whether being a friend to your children is something to be proud of or something that I should be thinking about.

This made me remember some friends who often asked me how it is to raise two daughters, two teenage daughters, as a single parent. My usual reply was, "It wasn’t easy." These three words spell several chapters and hundreds of pages if I were to write a book about it. Right now, there's a short movie running in my mind-screen showing me images of how it was, how we (me and Bam and Kim) became such good friends throughout these years.

Growing up with Bam and Kim

When they were still kids, I used to be their yaya, cook - paminsan-minsan pag sawa na kami sa nabibili sa labas, cleaner (of their clutter), laundry-mom, school bus (tigahatid-sundo sa school), Santa Claus (to buy those Barbie dolls and Lego and books and comics). Then time came when they started doing some of these things on their own.

In their growing up years, there came a time when I felt like a ‘bank account’ ... but only to withdraw money from (for their allowance, gimik, etc. ) and all those other roles were taken as part of the givens. Sad nong una when I felt my kids remember to approach me only when they need or they want to buy something. And they won’t even let me kiss them anymore, especially in public. And they prefer to be with their friends rather than to stay with me, telling them all the stories about everything-that-happened-for-the-day, when it used to be ME whom they want to be with every time they are back from school.

Only much later did I realize that this was a wonderful stage wherein they are already building their own identities outside of myself, as their parent. It seemed like a power struggle, with them extending their own powers beyond the limits that I set and disassociating with anything that has to do with me.

Giving them the space to search and discover who they are also has its corresponding ‘pain’ of giving up some of the roles I used to enjoy before.

Apart from learning new roles, I also had to fine-tune all my inner senses to discern which role ‘fits’ each particular moment ... and when to say “because I say so”, “yah, that’s great!”, or when to simply say nothing at all and just be there for them whenever they need some ‘peace and quiet’ time by themselves.

Or if you’re lucky enough, they would be there, enjoying your company in silence while they are listening to some emo-gothic music on the background. Or you may be luckier enough when they start to tell you stories ... with a pause and uhm in between ... about their crush or someone who used to be their best-friend ... but not anymore ...

Well, this is just the first part of this movie running at the back of my head. There are times, though, when being a single parent to teenage and young adults feels like a crazy roller-coaster ride, too! These are moments when you feel you're holding on to the end of your rope, and all you can do is sigh and yeah, let things flow.

And that's the only time you realize that your children are simply being themselves. That they don't mean to be mean at all (pun intended, of course). And it's time to just sit back and relax, and learn to be more resilient.

Yes, my two daughters taught me something I've never heard from my own parents before. That resilience is something that parents of this generation really need to learn well.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How do you make the invisible invisible?

The title of my post today just came into my mind while I was sitting in a coffee shop just a block away from where I used to work. I was then trying to figure out how to formulate the guide questions for an interview that will be conducted with fisherfolks concerning gender issues and how these are being addressed by the co-management body (a multi-stakeholder body) that was formed in the area.

While sitting there, my mind was actually reacting to a phrase I read in one of the reference materials before me, which mentioned "... the people's organization accommodated the women ...". I don't know where my reaction was coming from but I felt there was something wrong with how that phrase was stated.

And soon my mind was drifting in reverie ... and realizing how much is revealed when we start focusing on how we think and how we state things like this.

Oh ... where was I? Ah, yah, the guide questions. :-)

That's when I started to get excited with this idea of turning the table around...that instead of trying to figure out and ask what have been the role of women and men in fisheries , in the community, in their homes ... maybe I can try another approach ... like providing an instruction for a group activity, and asking the participants to think and visualize how their situation would look like:

- without women in the picture ... an all-men crowd;

- without men in the picture ... an all-women community;

Why I thought of this title: How to make the invisible invisible? I was thinking that a simple 'sensitivity exercise' like this might help us understand more things about gender relations than any lecture about it can make.

And now I am hoping that maybe through this activity, an interested group who would like to try this exercise might help them realize and begin to recognize the significant roles each gender is taking on in different situations. And hopefully, generate more discussions between men and women about their own situation, the kind of pressure and problems they encounter, the dreams they only keep to themselves, and maybe arrive at some agreements on how they can help each other better in pursuing their desires and goals in life instead of competing against each other.

I'd love to hear your comments and opinions on these thoughts I have just written here. Don't forget to write them down in the space below under COMMENTS.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Creating a Momentum for 2011

I am breaking the momentum of my writer's block here. Oh my, it's been almost 2 years since I last posted an entry here!!! Am so sorry my dear blog, I have been so negligent for the past months. So many things happened within a very short period of one month. And I want to write about them. I guess I should continue typing before my "Editor" (this genius mind) strikes again.

First of all, all of a sudden there were several cousins, nephew, nieces, aunts who started sending text messages, calling me up, after several months of not being in touched with each other. I also suddenly remembered a good friend who used to say, "you'll never know if you're gonna miss something or someone until you get in touch with him or her again." I think he was right in saying that. Talking with my Dad over the phone never felt so good!

Then there came the series of reunions with high school friends and classmates, and with childhood friends who now live on the other side of the globe. There was so much bantering, teasing, reminiscing, and yes, eating and drinking. We felt free to be able to eat and drink without worrying about what our parents are gonna say. :-) But what really surprised me were the stories told and the comparison we made between who we used to be and who we are now.

I, myself, was quite surprised when a good friend suddenly asked me, "what happened to you? Why do you sound so cool and passive? What happened to your dreams? I've been waiting for an invitation for your piano performance on stage but three decades had passed and yet no invitation came?"

I feel so proud to see that our batch in high school has 'produced' several successful individuals in our own chosen career. What motivated them to work hard and become who they are now is going to be another story that I want to write in my future blogs. Oh no, I also made a promise to them a few years back, to write about stories we told each other while reminiscing of our high school years. I think I have to go back to my files and start working on the letters they sent to me on this, soon.

Going back, I want to say that it's so inspiring and amazing indeed to see that despite the global crisis and all the challenges happening around, here and abroad, we managed to make it good. But on the other hand, there were a few of us who were wondering if this is also the reason why some batchmates failed to attend these reunions -- the anticipation that being "successful" will only be measured in terms of money earned. I hope there are others who share my view that this is just one of the many ways to view how we fared in life. Well, okay .... I think that is going to be another topic I can write about later ....

It also felt good to reconnect with other dear ones, individuals we care for but didn't have the chance to relate with again for sometime. This Christmas Season and the New Year gave us a good alibi to get in touch again.

YES. I am on my 8th paragraph here now. This is great! I can feel my insides revving up for my next write-up. I want to do a list of topics on what I wanna write about, to come up with a Blog Calendar, maybe. That's one of my New Year's resolution oohhh... I mean, my wishlist for 2011. To write blogs more regularly, to do it at least once a week.

Okay, stop.

It works!!!! I think this technique of typing continuously, without worrying what's coming out in this article, seems to be a good way to break or end a writer's block.