Tag Archives: self-love

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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7 Things

30 Oct

I turned 27 last October 26. I’m another year older now, and definitely wiser and better than ever! 🙂 The 26 year old me has experienced a lot of new things, has endured a good heartache and yet has managed to still appreciate life all at the same time. Turning 27 marks the end of a super colorful period and the start of a more wonderful and bright one! And I can say that I’m happy of what I’ve become at this point in time.

So, before I blog about the food that I ate and the restos and places i went to during my birthday week, I think it would be really worthwhile to first talk about 7 small victories I’ve achieved in the past year. Sort of a progress check for me so that if I catch myself in the future feeling a little unsure of myself, I have something to look back to and smile about. 🙂

  1. I’ve acquired an interest in reading.

    I’ve never really liked reading. Back when I was still in school I only touched novels because they were required to be read and even then, I barely finished any up to the last page. Often times, I’d resort to the ever helpful internet for synopses/summaries to get by. Even in law school, i hated reading cases and books. Case digests and reviewers did the job for me mostly.

    But I met Tin (office mate and friend in PCW) who sorta influenced me to grab a book by tagging me along at Book Sale (a bookstore that sells second hand books for cheap) every time we go to a mall. She would also bring to the office her books which she thought I’d relate to and would encourage me to read them. I’ve read her “The Alchemist” and her “Boy Meets Girl” and the rest is history, as they say.

     “Everyone is a reader, some just haven’t found their favorite book yet!”, and I can attest that this quote is so true. I’ve recently discovered that I am so  into conspiracy theories, covert ops and adventure novels (i.e. anything that involves controversial spy and intel agencies of the USA and of other countries,  detective stories and scientific discoveries). I was hooked by a Dan Brown book entitled Deception Point and now I couldn’t go out of the house without a novel of the same sort in my bag although I am currently reading Sex and the City now; While this is far from being a spy book, it is nonetheless action-filled hence the fascination haha. (and I loved the 2 Sex and the City films too!).

    So in just a few months, I’ve read a total of six novels which is QUITE A LOT for a girl who used to hate reading!  🙂 And I’m really thankful to Tin for introducing me to this new hobby. I have been learning a lot and enjoying a lot without needing to move from where I am. 🙂

  2. I can smile now (with teeth showing, that is)

    14650503_1855572504678202_3785686293409661077_n Many people have noticed that I never smile in my pictures. I’ve never learned how to because my two front teeth were discolored due to an accident in the past.But I finally had them fixed last month (after a loooong, looooong time! Kung hindi  pa nagka-infection hindi pa ako kikilos! kaloka). And thanks to my dentist, I am now learning how to smile with my teeth showing. It still feels awkward for me but I’m  trying to get used to it. I’m deliberately taking pictures of me recently with my teeth showing so I could get past the “smile showing hesitation” stage. haha. 🙂 And a loooot of my friends noticed this change! Someone even told me I have a beautiful smile and I should do it more often. ^_^

    3.  I don’t mind taking pictures without make-up on anymore.

    It’s been a long time coming… but I’m finally here. I don’t think I need a lot of words to explain this achievement. Just backtrack on this blog and you will understand the journey to being comfortable with my own skin. Been making progress little by little the past years but this time, I’ve reached the peak. 🙂 Just to give you a quick point A to point B comparison,  three years ago I did not join our class picture in law school despite the prodding of my classmates merely because I didn’t have make up on. Three years after, I initiate picture taking regardless of what I have on my face. 🙂

4. I’ve graduated from law school…

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5. And now ready to study for the bar exam.

I had so many things going on in my life the past few months that I forgot to blog about my graduation day, but yes I did graduate from law school last June, 2016! Why is this part of the list of my tiny victories? Because i’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with it but I finally surpassed 6 years of agony. And I’ve wanted to delay my taking of the bar exams because aside from being unprepared, I wanted to enjoy my long-coveted freedom. But now, I am finally ready to face the tough challenge of studying for the bar. And what I like about this turn of events is that this time, I am deciding for myself, without pressure from parents, friends, or whatnot. So I know that I will be taking my review  very seriously.. because it is a goal I am setting for myself. 🙂

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6. I’m managing without a house help.It’s been around 6 months now since we had a house help… but I am still alive… and now doing laundry, ironing clothes, feeding myself, cleaning my room – things i grew up not doing. I will not say I am good at chores now but at least I discovered I can get by without someone else doing these things for me. It’s very hard most of the time and I am honestly going to be very happy if I could employ a new house help soon, but I am grateful for the 6  months of total independence. 🙂

7. I’ve improved in my singing! hahaha! This I dare say to all of you! I can now reach the notes of Whitney Houston’s One Moment in Time and Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me Now. You know, it pays to be singing the karaoke alone all the time! hahaha. And I’m gonna give you a tip now that i’m a singing pro: if the hobby gears you towards any form of self-improvement, then just go for it and try!

HAHAHA OKAY THE SINGING PRO PART IS CLEARLY A JOKE. But the improving at singing part is attested by a few friends who had spent some time with me in the karaoke recently. 😉 But of course, this is only in comparison with my old self. I don’t think I stand a chance with other people. hahaha. :DOKAY, that’s all for today! 🙂 Have a nice Sunday everyone! 🙂

In Harmony

6 Jun

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.

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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.

blog26Ego, 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.

P_20160326_090931_BFWhen 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.”

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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. 

blog33Parisian shoes, Unica Hija bag

P_20160326_090832_BFdress from a Thrift Shop

blog24“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!

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“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.

P_20160326_091058_BFI 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 🙂

Lavender Fields

9 Apr

I finally love myself. 🙂 That I am sure now. I used to just think that I should start loving myself more. Now I am certain that I already do. I know because I was able to let go of something I’ve always been addicted to but was never healthy for me. For the first time in my life, I genuinely believed that I do deserve better.  Last night, I accepted what is and disillusioned myself from what it could be. It used to be just in my mind you see -being strong and making my own good a priority. Well, I finally can say that I have conclusively made it happen – to choose “me”, to stop settling, to stand my ground when the biting reality comes. That is how I know I have already achieved an important life goal: I now love myself more. 🙂

They said that right decisions are usually the toughest to make. For all the bad and stupid decisions that I made in the recent and not-so-recent past (and trust me, there are so many), I know that the one I made last night was something I’m gonna be most proud of. It was not an easy feat but I did it. It was the culmination of all my efforts to grow and improve myself. And for that I am happy.

bigstock-Stunning-Lavender-Field-Landsc-41183260.jpgNow it is time for a fresh start. Equipped with the right perspective, a smarter mind, and a more dignified heart, I know that I am in for a journey that will finally take me to where I wanna be – a place as opulent and charming as… lavender fields. 🙂  A place to run around free from all ropes of negativity, a paradise where everything is just beautiful and happy and truly meaningful.

Speaking of lavender fields, here is an outfit that is inspired by it:

(ang galing ng segue ko, aminin nyo hahaha)

P_20160324_180944A breezy, summer look that speaks of  quiet glee and pristine calmness. I hope you feel the softness in it, the delicate simplicity of it. Because I do, and I love it 🙂

P_20160324_181001“Life is a paradise for those who love many things with passion”. And out of these many things, the most important of all is ourselves. Loving ourselves with passion is the pinnacle of happiness because while loving other people or things bring enormous joy in our lives,  it is only when we truly love ourselves first can we genuinely love others too. 🙂

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blog29Top and necklace from Landmark, Korean-brand shoes, white shorts gifted by a relative

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I made a personalized journal to remind me of the things that I consider important. I named it my “Dreams and Schemes” notebook because it is where I write down all my hopes and goals and graces in life. The Law of Attraction encourages this kind of hobby. It says that writing down one’s aspirations helps shape one’s frame of mind and way of thinking , which then fuels the reality of one’s life. I think doing this has helped me a lot on this journey. Allow me to give you a preview (don’t judge! hahaha):
blog32Because I remind myself of what’s written on this notebook every single night, I was able to get myself out of a less than ideal situation. Because I wrote down what I truly want, my standards for the kind of treatment by others I will accept  became crystal clear to me. It became easier to stick to what I genuinely want and to do away with things that don’t serve that purpose.

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Next time I will share another entry from my old journal that is a testament of the truth of what I am advocating here. (mejo out of place lang sya ngayon dito haha)

That is all for today!

I hope you get something from my blog entry. 🙂 Have a fun and fulfilling weekend! 🙂

Hello, Summer :)

19 Mar

Summer… I can almost feel you! And I’m really excited for the weeks to come.  🙂 Summer is my favorite season of the year and this year, it starts in a really, really good tone. Just last year, my summer was so miserable because of law school – there were lots of tears, breakdowns, pressure and negativity in my head (it was when I failed my Civil Law Review class and struggled so terribly in Political Law Review). But now, now… everything is just working so perfectly! 🙂

Why? 🙂

A few days ago, I gave a presentation of the document I’ve been working on the past months before the (tentative) core group members of the Philippine Delegation to the UN CEDAW. It was my first time to do that in PCW so I was really nervous, but everything turned out great and my bosses congratulated me for doing a fantastic job. 🙂  I am happy that they were happy with my performance.. But I’m even happier because all my hard work for the past months paid off. 🙂 The sleepless nights, the countless overtime at the office, working on weekends… all worth it.. All I ever  wanted was to get things over with decently that day. It feels so good to the heart to know that I have exceeded expectations.

So. Having said that, Let me just repeat it: A PERFECT SUMMER IS ABOUT TO START FOR ME! 🙂 And for that I will celebrate, and I will embrace the next few months with so much zest!

Let me start radiating SUMMER-Y VIBES by sharing with you this look I wore to work yesterday:
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My love for flowers never dies and this dress just perfectly imbibes that pretty-sweet-and-inspired-kind of summer for me. My summer this year is different: it is more than the hot weather,the brightly shining sun, the beckoning beach and the plenty cold treats around. It is actually about that warmth and lightness I feel inside. I am really inspired and fulfilled.  🙂

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So this is what they say about having a job that you really love and you really are passionate about. It makes you appreciate your own life even more – a life that is defined by you alone, by your own efforts, own hard work, own character, own decisions. While there is some emptiness in me because of my yearning for a mad, passionate, extraordinary kind of (romantic) love,  i can remind myself that this constitutes only a small slice of the pie. The other portions of my life are all well-functioning so I really have nothing to complain about. 🙂

Recently Updated20dress from my favorite thrift shop in Intramuros 😉

Oh and did I mention that this blog is starting to pick up more readers? I’ve managed to commit on posting at least once a week consistently and people are getting my posting pattern. So I’m really happy 🙂 I’m happy that I’ve kept this hobby of mine for a very, very long time now. 🙂 I’m happy that people appreciate my eye for fashion, and they tolerate my silly introspection haha. I may not have millions of followers unlike other bloggers out there, but I am grateful just knowing that there are a few who support this blog. 🙂

P_20160318_080003_BFParisian shoes

If this pair of yellow shoes is not summer enough for you, I don’t know what is. LOL

P_20160318_075715_BFForever 21 earrings

Peach and navy blue is not your ordinary summer color combo, but it does work right? 🙂

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I created this blog with the goal of helping me love myself more. And I am loving myself more, my life more. I don’t travel a lot.. but I am quite into this journey inside of me. It isn’t easy rising above your own demons (see my very first post for context, and also this: Type Four ) but I am slowly but surely on my way up. 🙂

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Together with my pretty summer dress, I am determined to make my March and April the best summer of my life thus far (and it will not be because of expensive travels or any leisurely outward experience) ! 🙂

Happy weekend! 🙂

Gracefully

5 Mar

“There’s a trick to a graceful exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over – and then to let go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its value.” – Ellen Goodman

Recently Updated7I’ve always had trouble letting go gracefully. This is because when I love, I love hard. I give it my all before I decide to retreat. I exhaust everything that I have until there is no more I could give, and this usually makes letting go so much harder because it feels like I’ve given up so much of myself for a love that was, after all, not meant to be…

P_20160214_082635_BFSabrina-cut beige top handed down by Tita Baby, loose brown pants from Landmark, brown bag gifted by Tita Lorna

I realized the past two weeks that this is a wrong and unwise way of loving. Heck, it is not what love is supposed to be. By doing too much, we open up ourselves to unnecessary hurt. But love should not make us suffer. Love shouldn’t feel contrived. It shouldn’t feel forced. It shouldn’t require too much energy. In the end, I realized that love is only true when it comes naturally to both parties, at the same right time.

Recently Updated6Necklace and bracelet from Landmark, watch gifted by my mom.

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This is the outfit I wore last Valentines Day – an outfit that made me trip 5 times while touring Intramuros, which he found too cute. lol. While my love story with the guy I was with last Valentines Day ended in a very magulo way shortly after, this nude number, I must say, will always remind me of that moment when February 14 finally felt so special. I’ve always longed for that year when Valentines Day would mean something to me. Never was I treated so well and dearly before but because of him, I got to experience being a princess on this day. He took very good care of me and made the day all about me – just the way I’ve always dreamed it should be. he has impressed the seven year old in me who was enamored by fairy tales and hopeless romantic movies.

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While what we have did not last for very long, I know that there was a reason  God sent me him. Maybe, aside from giving me the Valentines Day experience i’ve always longed for once and for all, it’s also so that I could cross out my Bucket List item number 3? 😛 haha

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Someday, the love that I’m praying for will come. I know it will. Maybe, all the heartache and disappointment are just God’s way of preparing me for that big day. Maybe, He is teaching me to let go gracefully not for the benefit of others, but for the good of myself. He wants me to not self-destruct for love. He wants me to be sure of my love for myself before He gives me another person to take care of. Letting go is an act of kindness to ourselves. Doing it with ease means that we see how on our own we are enough.

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“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.”

 I understand now. and I promise to deal with it better and to love myself even more every single time.

That is all for today, have a wonderful Saturday! 🙂