Tag Archives: inspiration

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! 🙂

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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. 🙂

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Desiderata

9 Jan

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Yours and Mine :)

1 Jan

It’s 2017! We are given another year for fresh beginnings – a clean slate, a blank paper to write a new chapter of our lives on. All the baggage we have from 2016 are better off left exactly there – in the past. Let’s all start the new year right – filled with joy, fulfillment, gratitude, awe, faith and love. 🙂 And hurray for me! I have a new blog post on the first day of 2017! Setting the momentum for what’s gonna be a good year not only for me, but also for this blog. hehe 🙂

I was going through my piled-up drafts and thought this number right here with the white clean coat dress and well-polished look was the most befitting to welcome the new year:  p_20161225_103725_bfIt’s simple, crisp, clean,  kinda mature, and subtly presidential. Nothing too grand or flamboyant, but still making a statement. 🙂 That’s how I probably would describe what I want for my 2017 – I want it to be a concoction of simple joys, responsible adulting and small wins in life. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to great surprises, such as maybe passing or topping the bar exams but I shouldn’t really get myself caught up with the big deals lest I allow pressure to take over me. That is the last thing I want for 2017:)

p_20161225_103721_bfAnyways, I’ve been trying to recollect the best memories of my 2016 and you know what I realized?  The past year has had too many highlights that I cannot even call them highlights anymore. LOL :)) 2016 has been super awesome. It was a collection of colorful experiences which are not necessarily always happy and good; Indeed, some made me tremble, shed tears, and doubt myself for a bit but in the end, it’s what made things pretty interesting.

p_20161225_103858_bf_1Here are some of the unforgettable moments of my life in 2016:

1. I graduated from law school. I couldn’t believe it myself – I got through 5 and 1/2 years of what I thought was extreme hell. Wheeeeew! It was not heartbreaks that made me cry like a baby so many times – it was law school! bruuuuuh

2. I was sent to Switzerland along with the other members of the Philippine Delegation to defend a State Report before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of (all forms of) Discrimination Against Women (UN CEDAW). First travel abroad. Europe. This one will always be in my heart. 🙂

3. I fell in love with the strangest guy, or should I say, strangest idea of a guy. Kakaibang love story to na hindi naman talaga love story. Ah basta. Kailangan ko ng separate post for this lol.

4. I got my first bouquet of roses on Valentines day 🙂 I know, i know. shallow. But then, this blog is called Shallow Euphoria so I’m justified for cherishing this experience just a bit too much right? 😛

5. I got my heart broken 😦 But it was a test of my self-appreciation and self-respect so all good.

6. I became more spiritual. I was learning a lot about Taoism and it has tremendously helped in my daily life.

7. I was introduced to the habit of reading. This one’s the most unexpected but I love that it happened 🙂

8. I made another milestone (which I  cannot disclose right now) just before the year ends…

9. ….and a lot of food, frappe, cocktails, hotel hopping, family and friends bonding, and alfresco resto exploring in between!!

WHAT AN AMAZING YEAR IT HAS BEEN!

coat-dress1Dress from a thrift shop

recently-updated30Bag gifted by my office mate Becca, Anne Klein watch, gold bangle from Baclaran

p_20161225_103752_bf_1Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, any one can start from now and make a brand new ending.

p_20161225_103740_bfWe are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.

p_20161225_102729shoes from Parisian

p_20161225_103745_bf2016 has taught me so much about myself, about adulthood, and about life in general. I gathered all these important realizations to sort out the things I need to improve on, and while the past year has been nothing short of wonderful, I acknowledge that there are responsibilities I need to take more seriously this year for my own sake. So, after a quick year-end review, this is the set of New Year’s Resolutions I intend to pay attention to:

15740766_1895376467364472_1011165136715892121_nMany of my goals I am already trying/doing, but I feel that I need to improve on the consistency aspect – like reading my novels and devotional/Taoism books, blogging and trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

I also have  one major goal for 2017 and that is to pass TOP the bar exams (libre mangarap, friends! hahaha). But seriously, It’s the one thing from that list I’m kinda nervous about, not because I don’t believe in my own aptitude, but because I know it entails lots lots lots of discipline and hard work. But a new year means infinite possibilities and I intend to try my luck on that ha!  🙂

p_20161225_103934_bf1Before I end this post, allow me to insert one important message:

I know that some people did not have a very pleasant 2016. And I don’t want to dilute the importance of their own experiences just because my year turned out well and fine.  To my friends who breathed a big sigh of relief upon the conclusion of the past year, congratulations for getting through your rough time! 🙂 I am soooo proud of your strength, your endurance and your will to soldier on! I hope that 2017 brings you the blessings that you so deserve. 🙂 This new year can as much be yours as it can be mine. CLAIM IT! 🙂

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HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!!! LET’S SPREAD LOVE WHOLE YEAR ROUND!!!

love,

Janica 🙂

In Awe and Acceptance

10 Dec

My Beloved is the mountains,
And lonely wooded valleys,
Strange islands,
And resounding rivers,
The whistling of love-stirring breezes,

The tranquil night
At the time of rising dawn
Silent music
Sounding solitude,
The supper that refreshes and deepens love.

– St. John of the Cross

15073449_1874143209487798_6838534828767081427_nOne fine weekend, my family and I went to Tagaytay for lunch in celebration of my brother’s birthday. We went to see the only branch of Bag of Beans in the said city (there are 4, i think) that we haven’t been to yet. The resto was lovely just like the other branches, but this one is  the most in touch with nature. The alfresco area was much bigger than the air-conditioned part, and it consisted of two levels/stories, extending even farther from the main premises and near a sort of cliff.

15179232_1874142702821182_2494052493202345696_nNeedless to say, I liked it. Nature evokes a certain feeling of awe and gratitude in me. Indeed, in it i see a form of divinity. Does it ever happen to you — where passively observing the earth gives you a sense of humility in that you are suddenly reminded that in the grand scheme of things, we  and (what we perceive as) our problems OR our so-called status and accomplishments in life, are mere specks of dust?

15171259_1874142826154503_2027985949918804858_nThis morning I had the chance to read about and reflect on another Taoist teaching. The 72nd verse of the Tao Te Ching speaks of “Living with Awe and Acceptance”. The translated version goes like this:

When people lack sense of awe,
There will be disaster.
When people do not fear worldly power,
A greater power will arrive.

Do not limit the view of yourself.
Do not despise the conditions of your birth.
Do not resist the natural course of your life.
In this way you will never weary of this world.

 Therefore, the sage knows itself
But makes no show of itself
Loves itself
But does not exalt itself
It prefers what is within to what is without

15179158_1874142792821173_5779028431834192975_nAccording to the annotations, there are two components that work together for a harmonious life: a sense of awe and total acceptance – without the combined forces of which we will be unlikely to see the presence of the Tao (or of God, of the universe, of the Source, of a supreme being, of an energy that animates us all– no matter what you wanna call it, it pertains to the same thing.)

bag-of-beansThe first part of the verse encourages us to notice and feel the power in our beautiful surroundings: The vibrant colors of the flowers in the park, the relaxing chirping of the birds, the soothing flow of water, the blue skies, the intricate design of a wood grain of a table, the misty air, the smell of a freshly cut grass. According to Lao Tzu, nature is where we connect with the Tao, or with divinity.

recently-updated27This is especially apt given our current political situation in the Philippines. When our facebook newsfeed is drowning us with unending battles of virtues and ideals, as well as the resulting civil divide, perhaps it is better to retreat to something that will remind us of how beautiful and majestic the world is supposed to be, and still is.

“The earth has music for those who listen”

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I guess it is also important to emphasize that we, humans, are part of nature. We are natural beings just like the trees and the animals. This is where the part of acceptance becomes very crucial. The second part of the  TaoTeChing verse tells us to accept ourselves for who we are, totally abandoning the labels we’ve created in our heads (I am not as rich as him/her, I am not as educated, I don’t have a perfect body, etc). It tells us not to despise our circumstances because in the end, every human being is a natural creation and every natural creation is in itself divine. We are all equal. We all have God in us.  It is only upon acceptance of ourselves that we will able to be in awe of it. Self-love.

Ultimately, the Taoist verse urges us to shift from looking for miracles to seeing everything as miraculous, and to change our view of the world (ourselves being part thereof) to one of awe and bewilderment. It says that by being in a state of awe, we won’t be able to mentally experience boredom or disappointment. And then,“We can live the mystery and in divinity by beginning to perceive what average eyes fail to notice.”

bag-of-beans5I couldn’t agree more with what I just read. I knew there was a reason I gravitate towards nature. All of us do, as a matter of fact. Some just get caught up with the hustle and bustle of the “modern world” that we’ve come to think of as comfortable but is in truth, very limiting.

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bag-of-beans3Wearing a dress i got from my fave thrift shop in Intramuros for only P180.00

15171025_1874143386154447_3110809273984522946_nBag that is locally made, which I got for P350.00

15095698_1874142852821167_6078186447094595535_n“The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields, and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.”Michael Josephs

bag-of-beans2A bit off-topic, but I just have to mention: Bag of Bean’s chocolate banana latte was to die for. Best version i’ve ever tasted. Make sure to try it when you visit the restaurant. 🙂

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bag-of-beans1As I’ve said time and time again, Tagaytay restaurants are special because the food that they serve are much tastier (unlike those in Manila). Why? because their ingredients are almost always grown/produced naturally, sans chemical fertilizers (for vegetables and fruits) and preservatives (for meat). They don’t need this kind of harmful stuff because most ingredients are locally sourced. For example, you can actually taste the freshness of the salad’s pineapple vinaigrette.You could tell it did not come from a bottle sold at the supermarket. This basic example of well-tasting food affirms the idea that by keeping our ways as in touch with nature as possible, the best of things are created.

15056382_1874144049487714_7064675006302812311_nWe were all satisfied with the food that we ordered. The restaurant’s serving size is quite big but we finished everything.

15095526_1874144499487669_2843450279392771011_n“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, a society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not [Hu]man the less, but Nature more” – Lord Byron

(ugh. mejo nakakainis ang mga quotes na hindi gender sensitive! haha)

We can learn the Tao by being in perfect harmony with the environment, and by loving ourselves yet not making any show of ourselves. By quietly remaining in awe and acceptance, we transcend our ego’s prodding us to become insecure or entitled, bored and disappointed. Now, doesn’t that make perfect sense? 🙂

15178994_1876825062552946_7929293834481757644_nThat is all for today! Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 🙂 Go see a park or a garden or dine in an alfresco restaurant! hahaha ❤

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Dream Catcher

20 Jul

I am a shameless subscriber of the Law of Attraction, of the power of thoughts, of the universe conspiring to make things work for the relentless believers.

One prominent teaching of the said law is to have faith in our dreams even though the road ahead is blurry and even though we have no idea how to get to where we want to be. The key is to have our end goal very clear in our heads. That’s the only thing we need to do and the universe will do the rest.

source: masswallpaper.mobi

I remember writing down in my journal a few months back that I want to have a job that I am passionate about, a job that is meaningful, and a job that I will love forever.  I specifically jotted down that I want a job that would allow me to champion women’s rights and empowerment and that would make people respect me not out of compulsion or fear but out of inspiration.

Even though I had no idea how to get there, I held on to the thought so tightly.

During that time, I was still working in the law firm of my father as a paralegal while studying law. Given my situation back then, I had no clue how and when that dream job of mine is gonna come. A few years back, I was a heavy whiner.  I’d curse law school and my law firm job every single day. I’d question myself for contradicting my own dreams: I’d question why I even accepted my dad’s offer to work for his firm, I’d question why I am in law school in the first place, not knowing that all of these are preparing me for that ultimate moment.

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During that time, I was feeling so lost and I thought I was making a big waste of my years. I think I was very unfair to my dad too. Because I had this internal chaos and conflict going on inside me, I never fully appreciated what my parents have done and are doing for me. Especially my dad – my dad who gave me every opportunity to grow and learn.

Now, I am working at the Philippine Commission on Women. A week has passed after I officially started, yet I still am on a high.

My application process has been very swift. I submitted my resume Tuesday, I got called for a written examination Thursday, and I am assuming I passed the test because I got a schedule for Interview the following Monday. I was almost hired by one of the panel interviewers during the interview proper. And it was formalized in a week. It happened all so quickly. At the timing I didn’t even expect. PCW was the first agency I applied for. Because it was the job that I was coveting so badly. And I got the job in a snap.

Now before you misinterpret my point, I am not saying that I am so great and invincible that’s why I got my dream job so easily. NO. not the case at all. What I’m trying to say is that everything fell into place and the UNIVERSE played a big role in this. It helped me land the job i’ve been wishing for for the longest time in a way that is oh so unpredictable!

Firstly, I owe this accomplishment to my dad. The main reason I got hired was because of my training and work experience which would not have been there if not for him. During my interview, most of the deciding questions asked from me was about our existing laws that are discriminatory to women and about my knowledge in policy making – both subject matters I am very familiar with because of the very two things I hated the most: LAW SCHOOL and LAW FIRM JOB. 

source: favim.com

I never would have thought that the things I’ve been complaining about the past years would turn out to be my stepping stone to my dream job. After all the ranting and the cursing, I never imagined that there would come a time that I would have to attribute the realization of one of my dreams to the very things that I thought were holding me back from it.

After my interview, I immediately thought of my father. I was so full of gratitude for him. I couldn’t explain my joy.

Had my dad not convinced me to go to law school, had he and mom not tirelessly persuaded me to continue continue continue and finish the course, I would not have answered the questions thrown upon me by my interviewers regarding legal provisions.

Had my dad not offered me a job in his firm, Had he not exposed me to all the facets of the legal profession, had he not asked me to work on this, on that, to draft this and that, I would not have a f*cking clue about policy making and bill drafting and whatnot.

My application process was fast because it was bit by bit a match between what PCW needs and what I can provide. If this isn’t magic I don’t know what is.

source: itsmaggiesworld.com

My dad gave me all the brain tools that I needed to ace my application process – from my resume down to the interview. The training I got from him plus my burning passion for feminism resulted in a perfect, almost easy combination for this ‘success’.

So in retrospect, things did fall into their place after all.  I held on to my dream, wrote it down and read it every night even though I could not see the road ahead from my vantage point that time. If there’s one thing  I’ve learned from this beautifully ironic experience, it’s that FAITH really works.

As I worked hard to improve my disposition in life, the universe did not fall short on its promise to repay my efforts. It was no easy feat. I had to fight a lot of negativity. But I was determined to make my life work. And accordingly so, the universe – through my father’s wisdom, and law school and my past job – did conspire to bring me to my happy place… finally. 🙂

source: play.google.com