Category Archives: Mind Trips

I have occasional wanderings within my own mind and I figured these help me find myself, too. It may be beneficial for me to read through them every once in a while. And some, here, can be read by you.

Restart.

About 5 years ago, I made a conscious effort to read some books about belief systems I wasn’t immersed in having been molded, like many of us Filipinos, by two Catholic (but, thankfully, relatively liberal) institutions.

It was a lone voyage to the unknown to take from unexplored wisdom and piece together my own Weltanschauung and way of life based on knowledge, logic, and love.

I decided I wanted to be kind and mindful of my means of expression, not take other’s negative words or actions personally, withhold judgment and lean towards understanding and compassion…

Regretfully, I feel I’ve forgotten this, for one reason or another.

But as these values and this way of being leap back from the shadows into the foreground of my mind’s stage, I’m becoming more tolerant, more positive, more content, and on the road to my true self again.

I’m remembering that HOW you are is more meaningful than WHO you are and much more significant than WHAT you are.

This is something I will refuse to forget from hereon.

Love, tolerance, and peace, please.

In reaction to: Muslim Scholars Release Open Letter To Islamic State Meticulously Blasting Its Ideology

I heaved a sigh of relief and breathed in some hope for humanity when I heard of this movement within the Muslim community seeking to clarify and establish, with scholastic authority, their sacred books.
These books wield power from a corresponding god or prophet, so we can only imagine how much influence it has on a person.😐
Ensuring they are interpreted to foster love, tolerance, and peace seems the most practical path, right?
Only their believers can do that. (It’s not like they’d listen to a heathen.) And believers in Catholicism and Christianity have done it pretty successfully. (Not completely, but still an improvement!)
Lasting change comes from within.
Oftentimes, it is external pressures that force transformation. But it won’t happen unless the entity wills it.
This holds true for congregations, nations, organizations, and people like me.☺️
Cheers to constant progression and to a world at peace and in love!❤️

The morning Paris was attacked

One thing I find personally disturbing about the attacks in Paris is that… I’m not shocked.

I’m sad. I’m concerned. I’m outraged. But I’m not shocked.Am I alone in feeling this?

I didn’t expect it to happen… But when I learn of so much injustice and unnecessary loss of life all over the world, then realize that the injustice and murder is perpetrated and perpetuated by the human race, acts of terrorism lose their shock value – at least for people like me who aren’t directly affected by it.

With the global society’s desensitization, there is pressure on ‘terrorists’ to get creative and level up their performance. The escalation of violence and cruelty goes on and on and on…

I’m still hopeful that there is an end to this. That enemies will sit down together and say, “This isn’t working for anyone,” and come to a resolution.

Problem is, it IS working for some people. It’s working out wonderfully for people on top amassing wealth and power at the expense of human lives and human suffering. And they will fight tooth and nail to maintain this status quo.

#ramblings

Cognizance of multipotentialism?

Caught this video at just the right time and sharing it for anyone who was ever freaked out by the question “What do you want to be?” or “What do you do?”.

It can be frustrating not feeling particularly talented at a specific thing. For someone that has jumped from one career to the next, doing pretty well (If I do say so myself) then leaving before diving in too deep, I’ve realized my passion, more than anything else, is learning. And now, I’m guessing, I’m one sort of ‘multipotentialite’!

But even with a label, I’m not completely pacified. I’m thinking there are multi ‘multipotentialites’ doing and accomplishing so much more than me. My utmost respect for experts and specialists may have inhibited me from pushing through with so many ideas, thinking I couldn’t possibly get things done right without the necessary training/knowledge/skills…

I do realize the tidbits of insight I bring to the table, though. Perhaps I just need to find a specialist partner? Or maybe I should throw caution to the wind, embrace every unknown, and just go for it.

Happy World Teachers’ Day!

I was a pretty quiet kid, quite unsure of myself and very much content with fading into the background.
So before this day ends, I would like to thank the teachers that noticed this wallflower and urged me out of my hiding place.

From teachers in Poveda and ADMU to mentors in my many careers, a wave of gratitude goes out to you!

To my friends who have chosen teaching as a vocation, you are neon lights of inspiration.

Many, many thanks to the teachers of the world!

Buhay ay langit sa piling mo

“Buhay ay langit sa piling mo.”
The line gives me chills not because it’s true…

(In reality, inconsiderate motorists, inattentive pedestrians, litterbugs, people rushing into an elevator before letting people out, and other daily frustrations remind me how far we are from Utopia.)

That line hits me because it presents me with a dream that, in moments, I believe to be attainable.

I may be wrong. But when watching the sunset from a clean beach, sitting atop a mountain, zooming past rice fields, swimming under waterfalls, floating on crystalline seas, slipping through majestic caves, or eating extra asim Sinigang with heaps of soft rice, I imagine this could be paradise.

Might we build heaven – with no poverty, suffering, or oppression, and with justice, peace, and prosperity – in these islands?

Can we build a country no Filipino would wish to escape from?

Equality and Constant Questioning

When I explain the meaning of my tat, I get reactions like, “Wow naman.” or “Nosebleed.” or “Deeeeeeeep!”, which is perfectly fine. Deep naman talaga. Haha.

But seeing people’s exaltation over the legalization of gay marriage across the United States validates my adoration for the symbols I permanently imprinted on my body.

There is tremendous and blatant inequality everywhere, whether it’s between sexes, sexual orientations, races, economic status, religions and beliefs… We are far from a world of equal opportunity for all – and humanity may never even get there.

Thank goodness for the people that never stop moving toward that aspiration.

2015-06-27 15.50.01I salute you. I stand with you. And today, I celebrate with you in this major milestone!

Then, when the rainbow is no longer in the foreground, I will look at my wrist and remember our personal and collective struggle to question existing norms and break the tricky barriers of inequality.

My Beef with Beef

I stopped eating beef in November 2014. So far, I don’t miss it… that much. I got through the holidays and said, “No thank you,” to a number of steaks and roast beefs. So any other season should be a breeze without the number one source of protein. Hehe! Beef ArticleI decided to stop eating cows when I read this article that had an expert state, “The biggest intervention people could make towards reducing their carbon footprints would not be to abandon cars, but to eat significantly less red meat.” (For details on WHY, read the article.) Since I want to be kinder to the world humanity has been abusing from time immemorial, I figured it’s the least I can do as a member of the species. Going vegetarian (possibly even vegan) was always an option locked up in my mind. Assuming I wasn’t ready to give up meat yet, I made a conscious effort not to read books or watch videos that’ll make me feel terrible for eating meat. Ignorance is bliss, right? Also, I didn’t want to stop eating a specific type of meat versus another. I felt that would be discriminatory… But then the article about beef gave me a reason to target cows and the cattle industry before any other animal. It seemed the perfect way to start that road to a more sustainable and less cruel diet. This year, I’ve decided to limit my meat intake to one meal a day. It has been a month and a half and I’m getting along quite fine. I’m not certain what type of impact I’m making on the environment. But to get a better idea, check this link out! It shows the impact of going vegetarian one day every week. The numbers are pretty impressive – saving 2,400 gallons of water and 7 pounds of grain per pound of beef! The fact that I’m just one person may make the impact negligible. But, I figure, it’s just like voting. Choosing to purchase beef is giving my vote to the cattle industry and the impact it has on the environment. They can win votes by a landslide, but that shouldn’t stop me from passing my honest vote against them. If they keep on keeping on, it won’t be thanks to my hard-earned cash! :p That’s how it is, I suppose. Purchasing power really is “power” in the sense that you have more votes to give to more businesses and industries. Your purchase is a contribution to the success of a business. It took me a while to realize that and accept it. Even consumption comes with a responsibility to society and the world as a whole. Hassle noh? Ang daming kailangan isipin. Hahaha! But that’s the way the cookie crumbles. (Apologies if any bliss was shattered with the ignorance bubble. But you can always shrug it off as you dream of your next juicy burger. Haha.) I hope to learn more about my purchases. It should extend to more than just food (although food really is a huge chunk of the budget) and more than just sustainability. At the end of the day, I just want to be a responsible consumer and a conscientious humanoid. 🙂

Charlie Hebdo & Our Right to Speak – Breaking Down My Stance

The Charlie Hebdo massacre has gotten people talking about a whole bunch of different things all at the same time…

So after reading a bunch of opinion pieces, I leaned back and shook my brain around to break things down and figure out where I stand on these issues. (Writing helps.)

#IAmAhmed fo sho.

Freedom of Speech gives people the right to offend. And I’m guessing that’s where people start feeling iffy. It is when statements are extremely vile and completely opposed to the norm that we start seeing where people really stand in terms of respecting people’s right to express themselves. So, are you for it or not?

I am. 100%. Which is why #IAmAhmed for sure; I can be absolutely offended, rattled, even disgusted by someone’s statement and I will still stand by everyone’s right to speak – maybe even die for it.

Let’s keep in mind that the debate on our right to speak is apart and separate from the debate on what are socially acceptable and polite things to say.

Standing by the right to speak doesn’t mean you agree with all statements or condone rude behavior. And it doesn’t mean people should not be held accountable for what they say, which is why you can be fined for libel or get fired for making racist remarks at work. There is also such a thing as verbal abuse and shouting, “Bomb!” on an airplane, which, people have to realize, is
separate and different from the ridiculing and challenging of ideas – including strongly held beliefs.

Jail time or, geez, DEATH should NOT be a consequence of telling people what you think of a religion. Which is why, even though I probably wouldn’t agree with all of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, I would still say #JeSuisCharlie .

Am I or am I not Charlie?

I’ve seen people expressing their condemnation of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons saying #IAmNotCharlie . I respect their opinion, naturally. Their cartoons are blatantly offensive. There are people that have called Charlie Hebdo racist and bigoted. I’m not sure where I stand on that yet. What I am certain of, though, is that the statement “Charlie Hebdo is a racist and bigoted publication” is up for debate. People can agree or disagree, then exercise their right to freely discuss.
Again, sadly, it has to be stated that whether or not Charlie Hebdo is guilty of bigotry, physical attacks, with murder as its pinnacle, is  never acceptable.

With what I’ve seen thus far, I am still on the #IAmCharlie side of the fence. Why? Because humanity seems light years away from accepting and respecting basic human rights, like the right to life, to speak, to be educated, etc.

And if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Charlie Hebdo has brought forth a massive debate on our freedom to speak – what it means and where the limit lies, if there are any limits at all.

The Charlie Hebdo publication was a reminder that, to this day, there is a need to understand further, as well as promote, our basic right to speak. We, as a community of people, haven’t agreed on a Magna Carta… Which is sad and quite pathetic when you think about it. The UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. It’s 2015!

I won’t go into other rights, because that would be a whole ‘nother lengthy post. I’ll stick with our right, as humans, to speak. So…

Before we debate what are impolite, racist, insensitive, hateful, or rude things to say… Can’t we all agree that we have a right to say them in the first place?

Apparently not. The debate lives on.

Curtailing people's right to speak based on what is disrespectful or offensive is a very slippery slope. Take Raif Badawi's current case in Saudi Arabia, for example.

Here's a video narrating, quite beautifully, the story of human rights.

On stepping out, doing good, & getting dirty

I did it!

I submitted an entry to the Do Good Get Dirty Campaign. Now, I’ll just have to wait and see if I win a trip! There are 2 days left to join so if you want to get your hands dirty for a cause in Puerto Prinsesa, Dumaguete, or Mt. Matutum in Mindanao, visit www.dogoodgetdirty.com and submit an entry!

It’s more than just a travel opportunity.

It’s the first time I’m seeing a promo and giveaway where the prize includes immersion and volunteering. I’m interested to know how many people join in to travel for a cause.

Whenever our country goes through a disaster like Ondoy or Haiyan, we find loads of people donating relief goods, packing them, and sending them via volunteered trucks to relief areas. We can pat ourselves on the back for that.

After the Haiyan disaster, my high school batch mates and I decided we wanted to pool money, time, and effort together to pack goods and buy medicine to send over to Leyte and other affected areas.
After the Haiyan disaster, my high school batch mates and I decided we wanted to pool money, time, and effort together to pack goods and buy medicine to send over to Leyte and other affected areas.

But I wonder about the rest of the year.

If you think about it… suffering, poverty, and environmental degradation doesn’t end a week, months, even years after a calamity. Every day, there are people and places that need helping hands. Will suffering ever end?

What is it that will get us to step out of our bubble, speak out, and help out? This is a question I ask myself constantly.  (And if you have an answer, I’d be happy to read it on the comment box.)

It’s so easy to get trapped in a daily routine and our never-ending to-do list.

But the world needs us to look up and see if what we do is making a positive or a negative impact. It really is just one or the other.

After the 2013 earthquake that hit Bohol, I found myself there for a wedding. An awesome dude - Koi - was coordinating relief efforts and getting much needed help to different islands. Thinking about that experience still brings up indescribably emotions. The water receded and boats couldn't dock close to shore. From the boat, you'd see long lines of people in different islands passing on goods to each other until it reached shore. People helping people out. That's how it should be, right?
(That’s me in the yellow shorts!) After the 2013 earthquake that hit Bohol, I found myself there for a wedding. An awesome dude – Koi – was coordinating relief efforts and getting much needed help to different islands. Thinking about that experience still brings up indescribably emotions. The water receded and boats couldn’t dock close to shore. From the boat, you’d see long lines of people in different islands passing on goods to each other until it reached shore. People helping people out. That’s how it should be, right?

My goal is for the tasks on my to-do list to be things that will improve the world and people’s lives. I don’t want to live any other way.

I’d be interested to see how many others feel the same. How many would see volunteering as an opportunity – a prize and not a hassle? How many others would join a contest for the chance to do good and get dirty?