What Lies Ahead

I was never a fan of unpredictability yet here I am typing these words just to sort things out from my head. This is not an attempt to impress or to make a point but I just wanted to lay down series of events that made me realize what I should be focusing on.

They say that when you reach a certain age and you feel like you really haven’t accomplished anything, and all of your friends have already moved on with their lives, going to that one stage. Marriage. I have thought about since last year, even prayed for it. Fervently. And as soon I realized I desired for it, fear consistently seeps in and I can’t help myself running away again. I’ve seen scenarios of my attempts running away when faced with really big responsibilities. Lately, with help of really good friends and some strangers made me decide that I should no longer be afraid even when that day comes. To most of the people I asked about it, they told me they were really never prepared. I guess that’s how life is. You really never know what tomorrow brings. You’re not sure if you will still be alive or not. No matter what you have accomplished in life, once it ends, it ends. But what stays eternal?

I’ve asked myself many times about the things that I want to accomplish at this age. And I realized I’ve only wished one thing: peace of mind. After work, I’m glad that I am able to go home safe, eat something and put myself to sleep. I love that kind of routine. Sometimes I need to go out and meet my friends but on tolerable doses. I think, I may have found what it takes to have peace of mind even is my small little ways.

So, I’ll just leave this here. My emotions are really battling on its own and I tried to find ways to really cope up. I promised to take care of myself more, be more encouraging rather than complaining because life is short. I take every chance to laugh even if it’s just shallow. That’s the only time my body releases neurotransmitters to make me happy. Yes. Life is too short to waste on a minute of rage and anger and to dwell on petty things. Life is too short yet its beautiful if you celebrate it with fullness.

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Thank you, 2018

Another year, another chance. This year has brought me more blessings than challenges and I am truly grateful for that. One, I’ve developed new friendships, real keepers. Two, I’ve been to places I thought I never could. Three, I’ve learned to set boundaries with some people. Four, I’ve learned new skills and hobbies to begin with this year.

Throughout the years, it’s been my pleasure to listen to other people though there might be times I find it draining due to my highly sensitive nature. I care for people so much that I forget to consider my own needs. And I’ve also met people who have the same characteristics like mine. Friendships are meaningful for me, yet, I do give that “door slam” when boundaries are breached. I am the type of friend who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. It’s never my intention to hurt anyone, but I’m here to tell you if there’s something wrong, and correct you so that you will grow. But of course, that’s just my side of the coin.

Traveling has been my go-to decompression mechanisms when I get overwhelmed with things. Some of my close friends say maybe this is part of me escaping but not really. It’s really good to get away from cluttered, disorganized city sometimes. This year I got involved in a volunteer program regarding marine mammals and it was one of the highlights really of my 2018. I’ve met wonderful people with the same advocacy, different personalities and leadership styles. And it never stopped there. These people I’ve met, we’re still in constant communication not just about the advocacy we are concerned of, but more of personal interactions. And I find it really heartwarming to know that there are people out there who go the extra mile even if you just met them within few weeks time. Also, I’ve learned to become more open and vocal about how I really feel. This experience helped me to learn when to say yes and no and I believe that is very important when it comes to dealing with people. Communication is key.

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As I’ve said earlier being a highly sensitive person and an empath, I have the tendency to absorb other people’s energy so I am being careful with who I accompany with. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish your own feelings and others. But I am learning my way to really determine what’s mine or not. It’s really liberating knowing that I am not responsible for others all the time, and no need to rescue everyone. There’s always wisdom in saying “no” to things.

Mountain climbing – it’s Lake Holon this time and boy, I must say, I really need to prepare better next time. The view was wonderful. When I reached the crater, all of my efforts were worth it. Plus, it was spent with good friends.

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Swimming deeper into the ocean was never in my vocabulary. I was just always in my comfort zone, just on the shore. But I’ve got to take this chance to try something. Freediving and Scubadiving. Yes. A non-swimmer like me tried it and it was fun. Thanks to a dear friend that I met from a volunteer before who was into freediving as well and it encouraged me to try it. At first, I still get scared in the water but eventually I had to face my fears. For how many tries, I have successfully duck dived and reached at least 5 meters underwater. It was really exhilarating, scary but fun all at the same time. And I wanted to do it again.

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As I approach the thirties, I’ve also promised to take care of myself more. This goes along with saying “no” to others. Taking decisions with wisdom is crucial at this stage. Deactivating from my social media account helped me a lot as well to properly process my thoughts. This world can be overwhelming at times and being comfortable with yourself can be one of the most liberating things to do. This year, I promise to be careful with my thoughts, and filter what goes in and out of it. Also, surrounding myself with people who will build me up and encourage me more to do far greater things and not settle for anything less.

As for my heart, it may need some rest for now. It’s been on my sleeve for quite some time and I know, I fully deserve the best.

Dear 2019, I am so ready for you. I am looking forward to more adventures, challenges and new people to meet. I’ll come out stronger, bolder yet calmer in the midst of all these waves. It was never about me this year. DCIM147GOPROThank you God, for always sustaining me and providing for me. All glory to you alone.

Rekindling a lost dream

It’s been more than a year since I rested from “school stress”. Somehow I kind of miss the feeling of cramming for exams, having late night projects and having cakes in random coffee shops. I miss being on the road where I could just pack my bag during weekends and explore what life has to offer. I miss cooking food for myself, all by myself, and when my “introversion” doesn’t kick in, I miss the “noise” of younger classmates in the apartment. I miss those nights where I can jog my stress off the freedom park so I can put myself to sleep afterwards. I miss talking to my other introverted friends who understand if I keep silent for days but still invite me over for a “group” study. I miss the feeling of waking up, sometimes with a wrinkled uniform and unpolished shoes without having any breakfast. I miss the time where I get to explain myself confidently in front of class with just little preparation.

Ah nostalgia.

I miss everything! I miss the opportunities I could have experienced. I miss animals. I’ve loved them. I do love them. Now I am thinking of marine mammals. Whales! Dolphins! They got me excited when I joined this volunteer opportunity. Why haven’t I chased this long time ago? What stopped me? What’s keeping me going out of my comfort zone? I’ve met wonderful people. They were honest and funny. Even smart, too. They have passion to achieve their goals. It was contagious. I know I can do better. I can always do better.

Now, I’m back to singing. It’s always been my first love. It felt wonderful holding music sheets again and reading notes.

I took care of myself. I’ve said “No” many times and it felt liberating. I’ve set boundaries. I slept as long as I wanted to. I cried if necessary. I loved. I wasn’t ready. But it was okay. There’s always that. I tried and tried until I’ve learned that failure has always been molding me all throughout these years. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to take risks. It’s okay to take chances even if you get rejected. Because nothing is certain in this life. You will never be ready. You just have to take that first step. Do something while you are afraid. That will make you brave. And you just keep on going, holding on to that hope that God never left your side.

Listened to good old 80’s songs and the nostalgia intensified. Ah! What good memories it brought!

I cooked something for myself. Bought a new instrument. Learned how to play it. Feeling like a high school student all over again.

I took courage. I became honest. More straightforward actually. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and opened up to people. I acknowledged that I will never be perfect and I will always be a work in progress.

Letting go

With a Type A personality, I have the tendency to do things on my own rather than delegating them to others. For the past month, I noticed my temper getting different and patience seem low. I know I shouldn’t have responded that way but I still said words that I shouldn’t have.

This year, I’ve made decisions and changes that affected me a lot. Apart from what had happened to my father, I’ve been dealing with situations that calls for extension of my patience. And there were really times, I just want to drop everything off and leave. These tendencies of me leaving and fleeing has been tagged like an unfinished business with me and God. Responsibilities here and there, opportunities were loitering in my hands like bearing a child for nine months. Relationships, healthy and toxic ones have been shaping me lately.

Then, I pondered upon this book a friend gave me as a gift entitled “The Emotionally Healthy Woman” by Geri Scazzero. This book has been an amazing reminder for me whenever I feel overwhelmed by circumstances. My spiritual mentor and counsellor suggested this book to me and indeed, it’s a breath of fresh air. I was reading the chapter about “overfunctioning” and it really hit me hard to the core. Geri said in this chapter:

“When we overfunction in service to others, we often underfunction for ourselves. We lose sight of our own values, beliefs, and goals, which precisely happened to Moses. He became preoccupied with the problems of his people that he lost focus of his own life’s goals.”

I made a long, heavy pause.

Overfunctioning. Yes, I am like that.

And little did it occur to me that I have been doing things for others what they can do for themselves. I went back to my Spiritual disciplines. Sabbath-keeping, silence, and solitude – these helped Geri to resist temptation. I am trying to recall when was the last time that I really rested in God, just me and him, no interruptions whatsoever. Today, he is just inviting me to take responsibility of my own life and not be overresponsible for others. Wow. That’s some hard pill to swallow. But I love it. It’s just so real and convicting. And it is up for me to decide how to make certain changes in my life as a response to God’s call for me to obey Him.

A week ago, I met my friend’s mom and it just felt so home having someone to talk to on the same level. I may not be a mother yet, but you know that feeling when someone understands how you feel and think as a woman, daughter and child of God. At that time, I was still processing what had happened during the day, it was after my interview where I got denied. It felt bad at first but I already expected it to happen. Meeting this person was somehow a blessing in disguise and I really felt God’s comfort through her. It’s been a long time since I heard someone, even if the first time I met them, felt so home and safe. God, you just know how to melt my heart in your unpredictable ways.

 

There are just some things that are out of your control and God asks you to let go of these certain things. I may not know what He really planned for me this year, but I am excited on how he will make things go about. A friend told me, there’s always a silver lining in every storm and I cannot forget that. There’s always something to be thankful for and be joyful for.

 

 

Your way, not mine

After months of praying and planning out how I would want my life to turn out, never it crossed my mind how God made his move this way. To be honest, I was really excited about these plans knowing that finally, I can make something worth remembering. But things were not the same when I heard the news.

I was attending a seminar about womanhood in our local church after doing some errands for the family. My mom, sent me a message so I immediately opened up my facebook messenger. It was quite long and I know when she sends me messages, it’s really urgent or somehow, I have to reply ASAP. I couldn’t believe what she wrote because as I’ve said, this couldn’t be happening. It’s about my Dad, whom I know has been hospitalized for some reason. My sister really didn’t mention any diagnosis but all we know is that he is going through a general check-up. My Dad is very fun-loving and he never misses a day that he will send me a “good morning” message. He’s been always thoughtful, kind and understanding and sometimes he felt hurt when nobody cares about his opinion. He would often chat me in the middle of the day, telling me random things regarding health. Papa always wants us to be in good shape, informing us what kind of food to eat and what to avoid. Remembering all this, I was really shaken, for the first time when I received that message from my Mom. I was in denial at first and I wanted to make sure that what she said was true. So I prayed and prayed and even talked to one of my Spiritual mentors. 

The next morning, I received an email from my sister regarding my father’s diagnosis. As I opened the document, to be honest, I really don’t know what to feel. I didn’t cry. I was still processing every detail of the medical release. With a medical background, I knew what “poorly differentiated” means and then, the whole information sinked in. As I swiped through the screen of my phone, I saw other medical problems associated with my father. My heart sank. No. It was broken into pieces. I thought I would never ask God again “Why?” As a typical reaction, I messaged all of my friends to pray for our family during this time. All I wanted to do was to fly where my Dad is and see him personally. It’s not enough that we just chat and send photos or selfies. I just want to see him and hug him and tell him how much I love him. Of course, I believe that with technology and treatment today are advanced, but there is still that point where “What if…” crossed my mind. Then I just prayed and read my Bible in Psalm 46. “Be still and know that I am God.” 

Apart from what had happened before I knew my about my father’s condition, I know there was a reason I had to drop everything so I can properly think and discern which steps to take. I had to stop my training as a nurse because at that time, Mom also got sick and I can’t leave her alone at home. It’s really true that when you experience a family member with a Stage 4 Cancer, it’s a different story. I messaged a friend who experienced the same. I actually don’t know what to feel. But I already cried it all out to God, comforted by His Word. 

Lord, you are sovereign above all this and I let you take control of our situation as a family. 

Hello Emerald

After all that I went through last year, deciding on having another pet was on my bucket list. This time, a cat. I already have two dogs, so why have another one? It was an inspiration from a friend who also owns cats and it brought me “calming” effect. At home, I was never allowed to bring my dog inside my room but I still do it anyway because sometimes I am left alone and I have no company.

Cats, in any sense, were misinterpreted by many. Some say that they like to be served unlike dogs who have unwavering loyalty. As per experience, cats brought a different meaning in my life. They taught me about patience and healing.

According to Jordan Bartel of North Carolina State Veterinary Medicine, cats are special in so many ways.

  • They don’t fight like cats and dogs. A 2008 study featured in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that if a cat is adopted before a dog and if they’re introduced when still young, there’s a strong chance they’ll get along fine.
  • Cats can move the front and rear halves of their bodies in opposite directions, thanks to having 517 muscles.
  • A reason to be jealous: A healthy mature cats spends about 15 percent of its life in deep sleep and 50 percent in light sleep. Another reason to be jealous: Cats become fully alert faster than any other animal.
  • A reason not to be jealous: Cats lack the taste receptor that recognizes “sweet.”
  • Cats can vocalize 100 sounds. Dogs? Just 10.
  • They could be older than you think. Cats were once thought to have been originally domesticated in Egypt about 4,000 years ago, but recent research suggests that semi-wild cats lived close to farmers in China around 5,300 years ago.
  • So emo: Cats and humans have almost identical parts of the brain that control emotion. Cats also have more nerve cells in the visual parts of the brain than humans and most other mammals.
  • A cat can jump about six times its length — more than 8 feet in a single bound. Tails help with balance.

Source: https://cvm.ncsu.edu/15-facts-for-national-cat-day/

So, I searched an Animal Shelter in the city and found out that they have cats for adoption. While scanning, I was captivated by a white cat with big greenish eyes. She looks so timid yet sweet and lovely. So I contacted the Shelter and confirmed if she is still up for adoption. The owner said she is pretty much available. I felt so elated knowing this. I’ve done all the calculations, for the food, cat litter, adoption fee and vaccinations. What I appreciate about the shelter is that they will really interview you and do house inspection to make sure that the animals for adoption will be in good hands. As a Veterinary Medicine student, it has been my desire to really have a cat of own, apart from my two dogs. I asked permission from my Dad, and he encouraged me to get one. He suggested what stuff to prepare and all that. At that time, Emerald has an eye infection, so I had to wait like for a week for it to subside. Patience is really a virtue. Emerald wasn’t that friendly when I met her. She was very evasive and I thought to myself, “This will be a challenge.” But I know, I can do it. She just needs love and care.

The day came when I had to fetch her from the Shelter. The owner was kind enough to let me borrow a cat carrier and drove us towards the street where we can get a taxi going home. Emerald was crying inside the carrier and I was trying to calm her down. When we arrived, she was ambivalent on coming out of the carrier. Few minutes later, she did but she ran towards my room and hid under the bed. I let her for a couple of minutes to let her feel the new environment first. And when I had enough rest as well, I checked her out, crawled my way under the bed and tried petting her. She was scared, especially when I pat her head. She hissed as well but I didn’t mind. I just continued petting her until I got her in my arms and laid her on the bed. She tried to escape many times so I just let her be.

After 12 hours, of pursuing and “luring” her into my arms, she finally gave in. As I continued petting her, rubbing her back and stomach, she purred. That long-awaited purr! And I knew that she is comfortable now. Her muscles are relaxed, arms stretched and still purring. Oh how happy I am! I can also cradle her now in my arms. But from time to time, she wants her me time and I just let her go. I will know if she needs some loving 🙂

Decide to Decide

To start off the year right, I happen to look back on how God was so faithful in my life for the past years, particularly last year. Despite the difficulties I faced especially in the last quarter of the year 2017, God never left me. Though how many times I’ve left His presence, he made sure that He will always be there for me by speaking thru His Word. And one thing that struck me most is when He placed a desire in my heart about using the gifts He entrusted me. I happen to talk to our Pastor in the local church and he revealed these specific gifts. My face lit up when he mentioned that specific area which I am really passionate about and that’s where the fire started.

I’ve been trying to reorganize my bucket list and praying that most of the things I’ve listed here will happen this year. As what I have promised to myself, one of these is to really sleep well. I am not getting any younger and body starts to feel certain symptoms so I am trying my best not to overwhelm myself with unnecessary stimulation. I guess this is one of the perks of being an HSP and an introvert since any cancelled plans will be my happy pill.

Another area that I would want to give emphasis on is mentoring women. It has been my desire to really be able to impart my experiences and insights during my journey away from family. Since I have been traveling from one place to another, I really have learned to be dependent on God with my decisions and to own up my responsibilities. It wasn’t easy, I tell you. There were times that I wished I did not decide on things that will not matter five years from now. I remembered a quote that says 5 by 5, “If it will not matter five years from now, then do not spend more than five minutes wallowing over it.” Sometimes, I just love to dwell on the pain. I am not saying you are not to feel emotional but it’s a matter of discipline to be able to control your emotions rather than your emotions take control of you. Women as we are, I cannot debate on the fact that we are primarily driven by enraging hormones especially every month. But I believe that we are designed this way by God and I am loving it.

Gratefully, I am so blessed that God granted this desire in my heart to really mentor women younger than me and that we are now starting to meet at least once a week. There’s so much to tell the young women these days regarding making the best decisions in life. Pam Farrel, the author of Becoming A Brave New Woman and The 10 Best Decisions A Woman Can Make, said:

When you don’t know what to do, go back to the places, the people and the promises where you know you last heard God.”

I was reminded by this every time I face an obstacle in my life. Whenever I start to doubt His faithfulness, God uses people, experiences and even places to remind us of His faithfulness. When we had our first meeting, I was reminded how God can be funny at times. How having a faith as small as a mustard seed can go a long way if we don’t give up.

I’ve always wanted to write my thoughts on a tangible piece of paper or a notebook perhaps. But I’ll make use of the digital age and use this as an instrument to share His faithfulness in my life and how blessed I am even with nothing but Him alone. Sometimes I wonder, “God, is this for real?” It seemed overwhelming at first but, hey, who am I to question God’s sovereignty? He is immutable, unchanging and always in control. We may have plans of our own, but it is He who will establish these plans for us and He knows what is BEST. Surrender to God all of your plans and He will do the rest.