A lot has happened since my last entry April of last year. I stopped writing on a daily basis, both here and on my Notes app. I used to depend on writing random thoughts or poems for clarity, but certain circumstances in my personal and professional life has lead me to find peace in the silence of prayer and meditation.
I can clearly say that I am blessed no matter how tough things have become at some point, that I was able to keep a grateful heart. So I wish to share a short story I read while going through the devotion by Nicky Gumbel this week.
It’s been more than a month since Luzon was placed in Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and modified lockdowns were implemented in other countries, and although we see progress in testings, and recoveries are growing, there are still a lot of uncertainties on what will happen to our societies. What will be the “new normal”? Can we still return to the life we are used to?
The truth is, no one knows. No one prepared for this. There’s no turning back and use for pondering on what we could’ve done better. But just because we all ended up in a situation that we did not prepare for or a situation that we are not used to, doesn’t mean we should settle. We need to adapt, evolve, and grow. Just like any species, when we fail to accept change, we will get left behind.
In order to keep our fire burning, we must continue to do the things we love so we can be productive during this period. But there are moments when we can’t seem to grasp creativity. Hence, we need to do activities that calm our senses, and inspire us to do what we can during this time that we have. Personally, I find it comforting when I meditate, exercise, read, and write. During this ECQ, I’ve been thinking about these 20 things during my meditation:
How are you today? I hope that you are okay, but if you’re not at this very moment, that is fine, too. Remember that you are not alone and I hope that you get through what you need to go through.
We live in a curious time. A lot of uncertainties are rooted from the current global crisis. The isolation gave way to questions, emotions, and thoughts that may already be embedded in our mind. Are we living our lives with a purpose? Are we making the days count or merely counting the days? The state of the world is pushing us to choose what is valuable as well as look towards our realities. Just like any challenge, the struggles we now face can either bring out our true selves or build our character. After all, we choose how we deal with what life has to offer. Though there are circumstances out of our control, we still have the freedom to write our own stories.
Hi! How are you? Happy New Year!
By now, most of us are “back to our realities” - whether at work, in school, or our regular routines at home. I hope you, too, had enough rest and joyful celebrations with your loved ones. I hope the break energised you for what 2020 will bring us.
The blue door
2019 was a whirlwind of events for me. I just left my job at the end of 2018, and was being interviewed by some of the companies I tried to join, as well as trying to win some clients for my own endeavors. At the same time, I was rebuilding my personal life - seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and spending time with the family. I was trying to put a sense of balance to things while our family was undergoing some challenges and major changes. It’s as if issues were piling up, if you prefer to see it that way. Nonetheless, the hope for the new year was there. So with clarity that I will be doing marketing communications either for a hotel or a company that I like, I tried to put aside any other invitation that came. However, a persistent opportunity arrived. Little did I know that it will somehow be my answered prayer.
In 2012, while I was working for a hotel, I was sharing to my friends the story of my thesis. How I pushed to do a non-traditional advertising campaign for an advocacy because I strongly believed in the project. I told them that if given a chance, I’d like to work for an advocacy again. Although I was still growing and having a great time with my employer back then. In fact, the learnings I got from that experience somehow molded my career path today, and I’m grateful to them. The study I did in college left a spark in me.
It was Pentecost Sunday when we went to Singapore this June, and I remembered one of the things I'm thankful for this year - joining a fellowship at work.
My faith has always been a big part of me. Growing up in a religious family, attending a Catholic school up to graduating from a Catholic University. My faith helped me grow through the challenges that life has brought me, and guided me when others, too, needed some help or an advice. The hunger to know more about God, and being marvelled everyday by the fulfilment of His promises to us have been driving forces for me and my family.
Something that keeps me energised in the morning and grateful in the evening is the fact that despite the tests and some setbacks, God never fails to bless us. There is always something to be thankful for. Like the apostles who were tasked to preach the good news, we are all given gifts by the Holy Spirit. Knowledge and wisdom to understand and be certain about life - even simple ideas like what to write on a report or what to say to a customer, to the decisions we are able to make, keeps me grateful.
We are also blessed with so much strength. Being able to open our eyes each day is already a gift. More so to actually carry out tasks, travel, and discover things.
God also ensures that we are never alone. The right people are always there at the right time to support and guide us. In those environments we continue to develop as individuals and as His children.
Truly, He never fails to provide and to envelope us with so much love. John 14:26
For someone who’s usually on the front line, waiting on the sideline is one of the hardest things you think you could be in.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-doubt, to wallow in misery and self-pity, feel irrelevant and stuck. But remember that waiting is also part of the journey. There are other things that can be found in it, not just struggle. There’s beauty and tons of opportunity.
So instead of locking yourself up in your dark bedroom when life is taking its time, here are some things to remember and do to win the waiting game:
1. Organise and clean your space.
It’s actually therapeutic. Move some furniture, rearrange your closet, give away things you’re no longer using. A change in the environment can soothe the soul, and allow new ideas to come in. You can even check my Tidying Up post, and discover some things for yourself.
2. You are never alone.
It’s getting redundant. Everyone’s saying it, but fact of the matter is that although your friends and idols may seem to have unlocked the secrets of life, everyone is still figuring things out - asking the same questions, and trying to conquer challenges that do not get posted on social media. Everyone is waiting for something. What makes the difference is what you do with the time you’re given.
Every year I try my best to declutter my spaces, may it be at home or in the office. I see to it that I have enough area for “new things” and energy to come in. This year I feel I’m doing it differently. I’ve mentioned previously that I’m hooked on the KonMari method of tidying up, for the most part because of the now-popular Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.
A friend of mine argues that the show is getting popularity, but does not necessarily answer as to what will happen to collectors and people who are obsessed with history. However, I can argue that the show, or the KonMari method for that matter, does not impose the habit of throwing things away, of giving up history. On the contrary, it talks about saving things that “spark joy” for us - things that still have meaning that we want to bring them with us moving forward. Things that we actually use and are essential for us to live our lives the way we want to.
It has been a while. I started a few drafts in 2018, writing on notebooks, scratch papers, here, and anywhere I can put my thoughts on. But as an excuse, last year was crazy which then made me opt for channels that can be accessed easily. Though there is an obvious lack of updates here, I am glad we were able to survive 2018. It is a definite proud moment for us all.
In light of the new year, new you theme, I wanted to write something personal, my skin. I am well aware that I do not have an ideal skin, considering that I work in Marketing. Although over the years of being in the industry, I managed to get the confidence boost needed to not shy away because of my skin imperfections, I still want to take care of it. Not for anyone's approval, but for my own. After all, we only have one body, might as well take care of it, right?
June came in a hurry, and now we are almost done with half of 2018. At times, busy feels like an understatement, and if I am to become completely honest with myself, I am getting tired. They say there are two kinds of tired: one can easily be satisfied with sleep, while the other with peace. These past few days, however, I find myself thinking whether I am just experiencing a physical need or longing for something deeper.
Feeling the second kind of tiredness is not necessarily work-related. It can be the effect of change or growth, a relationship, studies, dreams, or even life in general. But in the hope of salvaging myself from the brim of exhaustion, I revert to some practices that I have learned over time. My hope is this list helps kick our blues away.
I was checking some emails and social media notifications when I saw a memory that coincides with my Headspace reflection this morning. It was from 2010 - a high school friend quoted our conversation when I told him that he doesn't have to be "cool" to be in. Something that I still believe in. I think we all deserve to be in places and be surrounded by people who accept and appreciate our individuality. There is no need to pretend to like something or engage in an activity that you do not really value just for the sake of feeling a sense of belongingness. I think the right crowd will love you for who you are and for what you love or who you choose to love.
On a different note, I think that the diversity of interests in a group keeps it alive. Although commonalities attract us, learning something from someone you care about is a great step to discover yourself even more and deepen the relationship.
Niguel is an experienced creative and marketing professional pursuing his dreams while growing with infinite possibilities.