Curating Life

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂 I may be a few days late with my entry on the Year-End essay writing contest, but as they say it is better late than never. 🙂 As most of the people on this planet, I am also one that writes down New Year’s Resolutions every start of each year. But throughout the years, I’ve learned to do away with a long list of to-dos, and instead focus on just one goal. I find that it has much more impact if I try to accomplish one big, meaningful thing within the year instead of trying to complete 5, 10, 20 small, usually shallow items and end up disappointed for not achieving everything.

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They say that the first step in crafting the life you love is to get rid of everything you don’t, and so I am deciding to focus on that goal for this new year.

So this is my 2018 Resolution:

To mindfully curate my life – to edit, edit and edit. To declutter, discard and minimize: From the contents of my closet to the people I decide to have in my life. To only keep the high quality ones and throw away those that are stopping me or slowing me down from being the best version of myself. I want to make sure that the things that will take up my time and attention are only the things that I actually love.

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I’ve already started taking action in pursuit of my 2018 goal. Before December of 2017, ended I made sure to fill my mental planner with activities I truly find enjoyable and meaningful even if that meant dropping a couple (a lot?) of other things I’ve been accustomed to doing.

1. I hurriedly enrolled in a social dance class which I’ve put off for the longest time. I’ve been wanting to dance again since like two years ago but I kept holding back for one too many reasons. Well, I finally did it before 2017 ended! AND DAMN WAS I HAPPY ABOUT IT! Every chance I get to dance is always euphoria.

2. I decided to declutter my house, repaint the bathroom, the kitchen and then my room. I threw away A LOOOOOOT OF STUFF from my bedroom, and WAYYYY LOOOOOTS MOREEEEE from other parts of the house, and to be honest i’m not even done yet with the decluttering until now! We have too muuuuch things at home it is crazy! :O

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3. I gave away five big black plastic bags of clothes, and kept only the ones that make me feel fabulous, expensive, happy, and confident. Emphasis on the ‘AND’,  because if a dress fails to satisfy at least one of the criteria, they automatically go to my “donate” bags.

4. I decided to take a break from Tinder haha. It can get addictive I tell you. I had dedicated considerable amount of time, energy, feelings and money even, as I allow myself to be lost in the craze. I just thank the heavens that I finally reached the saturation point. Really, it was the most meaningless “hobby” I ever got obsessed with.  Now that I am done with it, I am surprised by how much free time I have in my hands!  It’s like i’ve taken this one thing off my list of to-dos and now I actually have time to accomplish and enjoy 10 more things! :O HAHA.

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5. I made a conscious effort to see and reconnect with friends and social groups I onced belonged with (well, I still belong to them but being the loner that I am, I feel like I am not close to them anymore now). I said yes to all invites to christmas parties, christmas dinners, reunions and whatnot. I rarely say no to coffee dates with my girl friends too. Friends – not men – are our real soulmates according to the Sex and the City girls. Hehe. They remain in our lives for a lifetime regardless of place, time and distance. And so, I’ll make more effort to choose them before other temporary people.

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In order to succeed in this life project of CURATING LIFE, we must discard the unnecessary activities or things that fill up our closets and schedules without hesitation. AND SO THAT’S WHAT I DID. AND SO FAR SO GOOD. So for this new year, that is what I still intend to do. I want to carry on this habit of decluttering and curating that I’ve started rather belatedly last year.

white shirt1mint-colored top from Forever 21, white pants from Banana Republic

So I am slowly but surely starting to stylize everything about me, making sure that what I own and keep are all useful to me and my vision. I’ve been guilty of hoarding and obsessing over things which quickly catch my attention for the past yearssss, without evaluating much if these things actually serve me well. Now it is time to ACTUALLY let them go. I still have a lot of work to do, but already it is starting to feel lighter for my spirit to see a lot of gibberish go out the window. 🙂

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Christian Siriano bag

So yea I guess I can label 2018  as my “General Cleaning Year”. I resolve to spend each of my 365 days consciously choosing what to buy, entertain and let in, and also what to throw away, ignore and let go.

I really want a classy life — classy not in the materialistic sense of the word, but in its more practical and philosophical concept. Quality over quantity, so to speak.  I want to master the art of waiting, and saving, and working hard to have something of real value and meaning to me… instead of settling for (and hoarding!) easily accessible and available but useless things.

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Well, I think I am off to a good start.  🙂 I’m happy, I’m content and I’m busy for the right reasons now.  I feel accomplished everytime I get to finish the tasks I’ve set for the day and for the week. Ah but of course… Fulfillment  comes in easy when the things that we have to do are the same things that we love to do.

That’d be all for now! 🙂 Happy New Year! 😀

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Pensive Adagio

6 Dec

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” 

 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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To live without judgment in this world seems like an arduous, if not impossible task. From childhood, we have been molded to look at other people and compare ourselves to them. Such comparison, however, will never ever do us good — If we find that someone is beneath us, we feed our vanity; If we find someone to be better than us, we feed our insecurity. Either way, we are nurturing our ego which is the real and only enemy that we have as individuals.

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Taoist principle would advise us to live in this world merely as passive observers – watching the world (read: other people) unfold before our eyes with curiosity, but never with question. Accepting things as they are; Understanding motivation behind seemingly odd behaviors; And keeping silent amidst tribulation. No one is better than me. I am better than no one too. I am here to see the creation of God grow and be; I am not God to create the rules by which others should measure up.

IMG_20170518_073122_961 “Kindness is to live to one’s essence.” Taoist teachings would always stress that “not doing” is in fact our natural state of being. Exerting effort is not our predisposition. And yet here we are all, struggling to keep quiet when something or someone’s existence offends us… It is hard… because we’ve grown up and lived our lives detached from God. We’ve befriended pride ever since we were a child. And that is why things have turned upside-down, and inside out.

As the year 2017 prepares to bid us goodbye, I am hoping to start a new year with a conscious effort to be kind — to be kinder than I have been in the past, both to others and to myself.  I’ll try to be quiet…to merely observe… I’ll try, and try and try until I finally come back to my source — I want to work on this goal until I realize that being one is in fact my natural way of being.

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“Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, kindness in giving creates love.”

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The sage releases their own stories, while accepting the stories of others.

The sage is kind to the kind and also kind to the unkind: for virtue is holding to kindness.

Being as a child, within grace, when allowing ourselves to perceive and embrace essence without judgment.

-The Tao Te Ching

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There are so many things in this world deserving of our attention that we oftentimes neglect. We do not realize that the simplest of things are in fact the ones that bring us joy and happiness. We – through the wheeling of our ego – always chase the more difficult and complicated ways of the world.  But I would like to change that now. Hopefully I’d emerge triumphant. 🙂

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photos taken by me at Canyon Woods Resort, Batangas ❤

Life in a Cup

18 Jun

What’s another story to hear
What’s another laugh for two
What’s another tick on the clock
When it’s magic shared by you

What’s another smile to give?
What’s another kiss or two?
What’s another line to say?
When it’s now that’s shared by you

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Thought I’d share something of a sunny and light vibe today 🙂 Here are some snaps of what weekends should be like – an intentional pause, a well-deserved break, a needed recreation.  Weekdays are our hustle days, and most of the time we cannot help but move so quickly – chasing after the elusive time, waking up as early as 5am and going home as late as almost midnight, overdosing on caffeine to keep us running, and beating deadlines after deadlines that in the end leaves us oh so beat ourselves.

received_1378729268832717So what’s a day or two to stop? We all need a moment to immerse ourselves in the now – and make sure that we do it as slowly as we could. Go to a place that is  lovely and inspiring. Let’s treat ourselves to a cup of coffee and enjoy every sip of it this time.

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A cup in hand
You know it’s worth your while
A cup in hand
Let’s sit and stay for a while

Let minutes turn to moments
Let’s mix
Let’s talk
One moment

IMG_20170411_162014_602“Sunday is the perfect day to refuel your soul and be grateful for each and everyone of your blessings”

I’d like to take this time to appreciate all the people who care for me. I do realize how fortunate I am to know that there are lots of friends reaching out to me, offering any kind of help they could extend, and giving me unsolicited-yet-very-welcome pieces of advice and encouragement. I’ve been expressing my self-doubts, fears and frustrations in social media a lot lately but I didn’t really think people would take the time to read them much less offer me whatever they have to lessen my stress.

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I am only human. I sometimes forget to trust the higher being that guides us all. Lately, mabilis ako ma-stress and ma-rattle However, I am happy to be reminded of the universe’s unbelievable power through a lot of people – Jim, Jam, Phoebe, Mara, Lil, Steph, Mica, Ate Mylene and other law school friends who believe in me, the Bayleaf Gurls, 411 Windsor Housemates (shout out to Ate Cy and Jenny esp!), Tita Josie, Tin, Ago, Ms. Anette, and the people I’ve met only in work-related events and conferences but have been super thoughtful and caring, and I know are praying for me like Ma’am Nelia from NCDA and Ms. Jo from DOH. I also met an Atty. from DOJ  in one forum and she offered her help in my review – she told me to just text her when I have any question. She also gave me tips which I find super helpful. I won’t say na how each one of you has helped me, but you surely did. so Thank you! 🙂

I would also like to use this day to end my week-long self-declared depression. Looking back, I couldn’t believe I got through my Thursday and Friday alive. I was sick for three days starting Monday and had to miss work until Wednesday. I believe that was stress-induced. I had TONS of pending work needed to be turned over to the bosses by the end of the week that I just feared the coming of Thursday. I was so down and helpless. It seemed like everything about my remaining two work days was going awfully wrong. I cried a lot during those times and asked/complained to the Heavens about my impossible ordeal… But somehow, the universe conspired to remind me that life is my ally, not my foe. Come Friday, I magically was able to finish three deliverables/work in a span of 4 hours in the morning. And I find that miraculous because it would usually take me the whole day to finish just one.

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“You’re so hard on yourself. Take a moment. Sit back.

Marvel at your life:

      at the grief that softened you,

     at the heartache that widened you,

     at the suffering that strengthened you.

Despite everything, you still grow.  Be proud of this.”

 

The book on Taoism that I’ve been reading said that everything we need is already being provided to us right here, right now. The universe does not leave anyone behind (yes parang SDG lang! hahaha), and we need only ask and we shall receive. This past week made me a witness to the truthfulness of this teaching. And though I am anticipating another big necessity in the near future, I trust that the universe will provide whatever I need through the people, things and situations around/surrounding me.

I guess this Sunday marks another beginning for me. I will try (yet again) to be more positive even though it can be so difficult at times, and even though I am convinced now that I am genetically predisposed to be melancholic (yes peeps, it is somehow inherent for some people to be more inclined to feel sadness than joy); But this shouldn’t stop me from pursuing happiness I know. After all, nature and nurture coexist in this world to balance each other out, and bring about a perfectly imperfect individual.

IMG_20170412_073419_1742afb9cfcf73103a3e9e517b0d9822558received_1378731118832532 I really have to be consistent in cultivating a happy spirit, and i need to believe MORE in the power of the universe –> things will always work out! And it is always just a matter of perspective – glass half empty vs glass half full; life is either falling apart or falling into place.

And thankgod for beautiful Sundays too – for the downtime, for the chance to reflect, for the chance to begin again, for a clean slate, for the nth square one. I am just grateful to have come to sobriety after a drowning week that was.

I say buckets of coffee keep us awake during hustle-weekdays, but a cup of coffee on a Sunday is what truly keeps us alive. 🙂

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That’s all for today! Quite a long post, but it stops here. 🙂 Have a happy Sunday everyone! 🙂

Evergreen

5 Jun
Sharing with you today a set of beautiful photos care of this rustic resort found at the peak of a mountain somewhere in Batangas. The place is called Canyon Woods and is located in a very far flung part of the said province. It was a long drive to get there but it was worth it for me.

P_20170519_093303_BFLovely, lovely place!

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Being at Canyon Woods for three days was a good break from the hustle and bustle of the city life, especially for me because I’ve been wanting my days to slow down  and my 24 hours to double. Since I have to work and study for the bar exams at the same time, I feel like I don’t have enough time in one day to do everything I need and want to do. Pressure gets to me easily, and this breather right here has somehow calmed me down and stopped me from totally panicking.

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P_20170519_085552I particularly liked the rustic ambience of this place. I’ve always loved nature – I think that is quite evident in this blog – so imagine my delight when I found this glass-housed pool that boasts of this spectacular view of the  pine trees outside, and is surrounded with even more flowers and plants inside. 🙂

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IMG_20170520_073441_151I just had to instantly do a pictorial, you see. With the help of my phone camera that times itself, my considerate audience (kids that refrained from coming to this Jacuzzi and stayed at the bigger pool instead, to indulge the crazy me), and my very cooperative tummy which all of a sudden hid its bulge and made some non-existent abs magically appear  instead, I was able to take  some pretty good shots – one for the blog! yeah! haha

IMG_20170519_091858_262Can we all take a minute to appreciate the natural beauty that is so present here? And how the sun easily illuminates the place? And how those giant vines spreading at the ceiling just makes it all feel more whimsical? 🙂 Whoever thought about this whole architectural design gets hundred thumbs up from me!

P_20170519_090650This building is actually pretty massive. As i’ve said it has a very wide swimming pool aside from that Jacuzzi in the corner. I was only interested in the Jacuzzi area though. Haha. It was a little piece of paradise, within a paradise. 🙂

IMG_20170522_094550_796Did you know that pine trees stay alive and green even during winter? Yeah, I never really thought about it too! Didn’t realize it but sure in the movies they do cut pine trees to turn into Christmas trees and they stay green for a while even after having cut it right?

Pine trees withstand the harshest season, just when all other deciduous trees wither away.  That’s why they’re usually taken as a symbol of wisdom during hardships, of longevity and patience, and of life and hope amidst a wave of death. I just learned today that the pine trees are classified as Evergreens. Well, now we all know why. 🙂

This quick lesson on pine trees is quite timely for me.  Reviewing for the bar exams is giving me a hard time, not because reading per se is hard, but because I keep on questioning whether what I’m doing is enough. Indeed, the Bar Exams is more a test of character  than a test of one’s legal knowledge. Success in the Bar Exams relies on one’s discipline and optimism which I unfortunately think I don’t have enough of. I always make the mistake of comparing myself to other bar reviewees and ending up feeling so inadequate. I’ve always considered myself a smart woman but every time we talk about law school, my confidence shrinks into a tiny useless bud.

P_20170519_092020canyon woods“In the midst of winter, I found there is within me an inevitable summer.” – Albert Camus

It’s been a month of dark days for me but I hope to find that inevitable summer within me. I know I need to keep on living my life despite the less ideal weather, and I have to keep on reminding myself that I am enough regardless of the outcome of this bar exams. I’m scared to fail this one – but if it so happens, should that mean the end of my life? and the death of my worth as a human?

IMG_20170520_215031_551Pine trees remain boastfully tall, and thus alive despite the worst of conditions – And I think I can do that too. If I only succeed in believing that life will remain the same regardless, then maybe I could put some of the pressure off my shoulders, and maybe I could relax more and study better.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

P_20170519_093437_BFI know that in this tough journey that I somehow allowed myself to be in, I must not lose sight of what’s important. Maybe this whole ordeal is not so much about me passing the bar and becoming a lawyer, but rather about teaching me to never abandon myself even at the most impossible times. I have to keep on pushing myself up, and to keep on believing in my own worth. I have to understand that failure does not and will  not define me, so it must not scare me so.

“God took pattern after a pine tree and built you noble.”

That’s all for today! Have a lovely Saturday afternoon and enjoy the rains. 🙂

Stop Chasing Your Dreams

26 Apr

Stop chasing your dreams.

Allow them to come to you in perfect order with unquestioned timing. Slow down your frantic pace and practice being hollow like the cave and open to all possibilities like the uncarved wood. Make stillness a regular part of your daily practice. Imagine all that you’d like to experience in life and then LET GO. Trust the Tao to work in Divine perfection, as it does with everything on the planet. You don’t really need to rush or force anything. Be an observer and receiver rather than the pushy director of your life. It is through this unhurried unfolding that you master your existence in the way of the Tao.

Give up struggling and start trusting in the wisdom of the Tao. What is yours will come to you when you aren’t trying to push the river. You’ve probably been encouraged to actively direct and go after your desires all of your life… now it’s time to trust in the eternal wisdom that flows through you.

How can a man’s life keep its course

If he will not let it flow?

Those who flow as life flows know

They need no other force:

They feel no wear, they feel no tear,

They need no mending, no repair.

-Excerpt from the book of Dr. Wayne Dyer entitled “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao”

Palm Trees

12 Apr

Oh my god it’s super hot in Manila! Summer na talaga! 🙂 I love love this season in the Philippines, plus i usually have lots of goings-on in my life during summer thereby making it so much more memorable! haha.

Last summer around this time of the month, I fell head over heels in love with a spook who (altho not necessarily his fault) broke my heart like crazy. (Until now, I’m not exactly sure if what he told me about his life and his work were all true but I’ve decided long ago that I’d take them all as facts, because benefit of the doubt. ha!) And although in retrospect that episode in my summer of 2016 was what made it colorful, I think I am done with sacrificing myself and my sanity in exchange of an interesting love-related story.

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Now, a year later, I am once again in love… but not anymore to a particular person! is it too cheesy  too say that I am in love with my life more than ever now? yeah sounds like it. But well, it’s the honest truth. I’ve been dating here and there but this time I am doing this with ease and a light heart, I take it mostly for the fun of it by enjoying the process instead of obsessing over where it will lead… and i make sure I keep it on the sidelines of my beautiful, crazy, kick-ass life. 😉

And I know that summer of 2017 is just about to get betterrrr….. I am determined to make it the best summer of my life (I always target this!), even though until now i’ve got no solid summer vacay plans yet! pfff who cares…. we don’t need elaborate trips to make our summer great! I’ll show you guys how it is done! altho I would really wanna have a good summer me-time! 😉

13466370_1799410090294444_326179549715844660_nAnyways, the pics you are seeing now are not really recent. These were from last year when the Brigola Family went to a rather spontaneous outing. haha. I would love to have new sets of  beach photos from this year but I am yet to figure out how to do that if I am not really scheduled to go to any beach soon. hahaha

13407284_1799410506961069_8628426931764919820_nHello to my wild long afro.. and to my relatively flat tummy here. Where have you both gone??? Come back to me naaaaaaa. 😦 hahaha

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“A life without love is like a year without summer”

Do not ever let love go out of your life… and I’m not even talking about romantic love alone… it can be love for your friends, family, one’s self of course, life, work, whatever! Lets surround ourselves with people full of love.. so full it’s spilling out and radiating and contaminating and just exploding right in other people’s faces! 🙂 Better yet, let us be that! 😉

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“Summer is filled with breaking the rules, standing apart, ignoring your head and following your heart”

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I say, let’s live our lives like it’s always summertime. 😉

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there is always a great grand blue sky waiting behind the clouds.

13450703_1799410963627690_7844167479453703707_nSummer I love you! I can’t wait for you to unfold slowly and amaze me! ^_^

13434925_1799411123627674_8024997339189221981_nThat’s all for now! 🙂 happy summer! 🙂

I’M GOING TO FAIL THE BAR EXAMS

4 Apr

…if i don’t start studying seriously. I can feel it. I just can. I’m stuck in a book that I was supposed to finish last January. It’s April now. I’m not even halfway through it. I don’t know how to find my focus. I am such a stubborn little bitch who keeps on going out, keeps on eating out, reading other books and doing everything else except focus.

I honestly don’t know how to start, where to pick up. I spent last night crying and panicking about my snail-paced progress in this goddamn review. I’m not gonna lie now. I feel like after all the academic and professional exams i passed with flying colors in my 27 years of existence, the bar exams will be the death of me.

I don’t know what to do, and who else to talk to. I’ve asked everything I could ask all my -already-lawyer friends now. I’ve drained the hell out of my close office mates and relatives. In the end it is just myself that I failed to have a serious one-on-one talk about this. Everybody has offered me all the help they can give. I just am not asking for any because I’m honestly not even helping myself out.

I feel so helpless yet I know that nobody can really help myself but me. I’m waiting for something to strike me to get me into the momentum. Im afraid I might just be waiting for forever of nothing. HOW THE HELL DID THESE PEOPLE PREPARE FOR THE BAR EXAMS??? WHERE DID THEY GET THE CONSISTENCY IN THEIR DRIVE TO STUDY???? LIKE HOW DOES THIS GO???

I’m stressed out, and i haven’t even studied substantially. I’m stressed out because of the pressure I’ve put on myself.

I’m going to fail the bar exams. Unless I start doing something about it.