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: It’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:)
Anyways, 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.
Here 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!
Dress from a thrift shop
Bag gifted by my office mate Becca, Anne Klein watch, gold bangle from Baclaran
Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, any one can start from now and make a brand new ending.
We are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.
shoes from Parisian
2016 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:
Many 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! 🙂
Before 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! 🙂
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!!! LET’S SPREAD LOVE WHOLE YEAR ROUND!!!
My Beloved is the mountains,
And lonely wooded valleys,
And resounding rivers,
The whistling of love-stirring breezes,
The tranquil night
At the time of rising dawn
The supper that refreshes and deepens love.
– St. John of the Cross
One 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.
Needless 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?
This 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
But does not exalt itself
It prefers what is within to what is without
According 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.)
The 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.
This 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”
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.”
I 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.
Wearing a dress i got from my fave thrift shop in Intramuros for only P180.00
Bag that is locally made, which I got for P350.00
“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
A 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. 🙂
As 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.
We were all satisfied with the food that we ordered. The restaurant’s serving size is quite big but we finished everything.
“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? 🙂
That is all for today! Have a wonderful weekend everyone! 🙂 Go see a park or a garden or dine in an alfresco restaurant! hahaha ❤
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂