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!!!
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
‘I don’t much care where -‘ said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”
I’ve always loved the story of Alice in Wonderland. There’s something about Alice and her journey that beckon me. I think it is because I see a whole lot of me in her – she is crazy, clumsy in life, she journeys to the unknown on her own, she doesn’t seem to bow down to anyone – not even the notorious queen, and she is able to connect with the weirdest creatures there are, without ever questioning if they are indeed real. She has her own little world and she drifts off to that despite the disapproving frowns and questions of the people in her reality. Her imagination is so strong it brings Wonderland into life. What a stubborn 7 year old child. 🙂
Right now, I recognize more than ever that I am in this journey to my own wonderland but this time I am in it with more fearlessness, with more appreciation for the trip more than the destination, and with more conscious enjoyment of everything that comes along my way,
including especially of the most unlikely, strange and surprising encounters.
And I love it. I love where I am right now. I may not be the girl that goes on literal adventures, but inside me I am threading on a massive unexplored territory. Ah, adventures of the soul can be just as enriching and fun, you see. And I’m grateful.
top from H&M, pants from a thrift shop, belt from SM
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Looking back, I see a girl so naive and so full of childish dreams and who believes relentlessly in magic. And I see a girl whose stubborn heart gets bruised all the time, yet refuses to quit learning and yearning and hoping to receive what she truly wants. Why, I was quite bonkers then. Well, I still am! with one particular change – I am fully aware that I am this one hella’ crazy lady and I am enjoying being one and definitely not ashamed or apologetic about it anymore. And I resolve to continue on with this journey, and to take more and more unfamiliar paths — knowing in my heart that whichever way I go, I will end up at the same final destination.
Kate Spade bag
“Alice laughed: ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said; ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’ ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how neurotic other people perceive us to be. There is no harm in keeping on believing all the impossible things that inspire us. All the adventures are happening within us, inside us, through our very souls and so it is only us, and not the outside spectators who can really attest to the wonderfulness of our personal experiences. Too much obsession with the destination is a doing of the outside world. It invented the word “impossible” and any one who tries to reject the word and defy the limits are called “crazy”. I’ve been called that so many times, with different versions of the term to boot… but so what? I am actually loving branding myself as bonkers…because as Madhatter told Alice – “all the best people are”.
Melissa shoes gifted by my aunt Blessie
“I wonder if I’ve been changed in the night. Let me think. Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I’m not the same, the next question is ‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!”
In the end, does it even matter who or what we end up being really? Is there not an assurance that if we travel consciously with only beautiful thoughts and intentions and with constant gratitude being the only baggage we carry into the night, then we surely are to arrive to somewhere fantastic the next day? It doesn’t matter where we find ourselves, or how absurdly wild to others we’ve become. It will always be lovely there if we choose to see it as such. 🙂 The only thing we can be certain of is that we will always be a different person tomorrow, hopefully, for the better and hopefully, as a new version of ourselves that we love even more.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
I’m 27 now, but I still love the 7 year old Alice in me. I just have this extreme fascination with the beautiful madness of her world — Ever growing. Ever wondering. Ever learning. Never sane.
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’ve been reading this book by Dr. Wayne Dyer called “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life” . It discusses the principles of Taoism by translating the Tao-Te-Ching into the modern day context. It has so far enlightened me on how to live life in harmony with our nature, our source of creation, our inner God.
I learned that the Tao’s main antithesis is ego. Every unhealthy thing that we are doing is because of ego – our tendency to obsess over something and to strive to the point of exhaustion, our love for worldly possessions, our desire for favors, status, accomplishments and titles, and our inclination to pass judgment on other people are all UNNATURAL and are driven by ego. This book teaches its readers how to live free from pride and vanity — and it goes way deeper than our common understanding of these terms.
Ego, as defined by this book, is not only about our desire to be better than other people or to project an image before them. It actually is more dangerous when what starts taking over us is the ego that we have against ourselves. For example, we chase people that we like even though it is clear that they don’t like us because our ego wants us to prove something to ourselves – that we are capable of achieving something unobtainable, or that being rejected means we are not good enough.
When I read about this, i began double-checking my actions. Now, I am trying my best to distinguish if the pain or sadness I am feeling is really from the heart or if it is actually just pride. If it’s the latter, I dismiss the feeling. I tell myself “Let it go, Janica. It’s just your ego talking.”
The book explains that we are already perfect as we are, without doing anything more, because we are created in the image of God (yes the author seems to be a believer of Christ and it is amazing how he reconciles the Tao-Te-Ching and the Bible). If we start believing that we already are enough, and we already have enough, then it is so much easier to “let go and let God”. The only thing we need to do in this world is to trust our inner calling and do the things that we love just because — without seeking validation from external forces, without obsessing over outcomes, and without trying too hard. We just need to just be… and all the blessings will naturally follow.
Parisian shoes, Unica Hija bag
dress from a Thrift Shop
“Simply Allow” – we only need to allow things to happen to our lives. We only need to welcome the possibilities. We do not need to try so hard all the time to make something work. SIMPLY ALLOW.
Oh how I relate to this part of the book so much. I swear every sentence that I read resonates to my inner core. I have been a witness of both: I have tried the unnatural way of forcing things to transpire (mostly love life related) and I always end up hurting myself. I have also tried the way of the Tao where I just continuously do something because I love doing it (without any expectation of reward), then I stop when the work is done – i let go, so to speak, and just trust that I am in a good place (mostly career related), and I swear to God everything has worked out so well for me! Blessings overflow in this department!
“Stop pushing yourself, and feel gratitude and awe for what is“. Of course this is not to say that we all should be lazy. That is not the way of the Tao. What it is saying is that once the work is done then it is time to stop, relax and do nothing further. Effort and non-effort are both crucial in living harmoniously with our nature. It is one of the many paradoxes of life.
I am not done reading the entire book yet but I’ve gotten so many insights and tips on how to live life well.I don’t know how it hooked me but it did. Of course it is not that easy to apply all the Taoist teachings to my life right away. But I would like to try to minimize my “unnatural” habits.
Good evening! 🙂
pictures taken by my mom in her garden 🙂
Sharing an outfit today under the file name “Coachella-girl-rushes-off-to-a-tea-party look”… just because my hair and somehow my necklace would fit right in at the hippy, trippy event that is Coachella but my mint green sleek dress and my pink shoes would definitely put me in a garden brunch kind of setting. haha.
My hair is a mess! but I like how so properly it complements, or balances out rather, an otherwise too uptown-girl and uptight outfit. hihi. ^_^ Just like life right? there is always that rebellious, careless, clumsy and vulnerable side to us that keeps everything interesting no matter how neat we try to live. 😛
Life is a beautiful mess. And we all just need to embrace the glorious mess that we are. It is supposed to be celebrated and enjoyed. It is a blessing, oftentimes in disguise. 🙂 So I say lets do our own thing! Let’s experiment, explore, wonder, try, fail and let mess unfold out of our young lives. Sooner or later, we will get the hang of the process, and with practice, we will achieve what we’ve always been aiming for.
Handling our mess with grace is handling ourselves with love. Imperfections
leave make a beautiful dent in our lives. 🙂
Dress from SM department store — kids section if i’m not mistaken! hahaha.
Sometimes we find treasure in the most unlikely and unexpected of places. Aaah the joy it brings to my heart is just unquantifiable every time it happens to me! 🙂
“One day, she finally grasped that unexpected things were always going to happen in life. And with that she realized the only control she had was how she chooses to handle them. So she made the decision to survive using courage, humor and grace. She was the queen of her own life and the choice was always hers.”
Necklace from Divisoria
“Because no matter what happens, you are going to get hurt in life. But it’s so much better to have jumped into the ocean and gotten stung by a jellyfish than to never have felt the salt water between your toes at all.” ― T.K. Leigh,
That’s all for today because I have to clean my room pa! haha have a happy Sunday! 🙂
I have a lot of things to be grateful for. Even when stress is starting to creep up on me, I know I shouldn’t worry and I know that I should just hold on to the thought that I am exactly where I wanna be. Happiness is not always about smiling and laughing and feeling lightly of things. Happiness is also about staying strong in a challenging environment because you know that it gives your life meaning and purpose.
I am a bit scared of the big task I was given recently. I do have the tendency to drown over the idea of overwhelming work (read: heavy work quantity or quality wise), mainly because I doubt my own capabilities sometimes. However, I am thankful that I have a boss who trusts me enough and believes that I can rise up to the occasion. I’m thankful for my colleagues who willingly help me anyway they can. They make my life easier. And they make my learning process quick. I’m thankful for my job because it makes me busy and and nervous and afraid to disappoint all at the same time, yet it also makes me want to deliver, to be the best version of myself, to change and improve and to be really, really good at what we do. At the end of a tight day at the office, whenever I feel like beating myself up, I just look back at all the great experiences I’ve had because of work and suddenly I’m okay again. All the stress? Aah nothing that a cake, or a nice leisure time, cannot solve. 😉 (ayaaaannn… se-segue na ako… haha)
Speaking of great experiences and leisure time, let me show you one of my many work-related trips that had so much FUN bundled with it:
These pictures were taken during our office’s Year End Planning and Assessment. We stayed at Timberland Hotel in Rizal. It is also where our Christmas Party was held. We were literally at the top of the mountain. I enjoyed every second that I spent there. 🙂
My office friends and I woke up very early to dip in the pool before the daily grind. We managed to enjoy the facilities of the hotel and the breathtaking view for like an hour before duty called us. 😉
American Breakfast every morning. 🙂 We usually eat at the veranda of the second floor, overlooking the infinity pool. Need I say more? LOL. If you ever wanna try and make y day, just give me a hearty, delicious breakfast and I will forever treasure you as my most thoughtful friend! haha
“In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but it is gratefulness that makes us happy”One wise lady once told me that the key to happiness is to practice gratitude everyday. She told me to write down every night all the things I’m thankful for, no matter how small. It totally makes sense. I’ve been trying to do it but I’d miss a couple of days because I’m usually too tired to do anything else than watch X Files after a day at the office. I think I must commit to doing it more regularly now. It must be really good for the soul. After all, she’s 82 but still so alive and kickin! 🙂
.“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens So, what are you grateful for today? 🙂