D. K. W. 2. E. (Don’t Know What to Express)

I’m having a bit of difficulty in expressing my thoughts after a year and a half of not posting here on my blog. As a beginner and aspiring writer as I am, it is not easy to convey what’s my mind and heart want to tell.

Just like these days, I’m struggling expressing myself whole heartedly because of certain limits. Limitations that hinder me to tell everthing I want to say and express emotions I want to show. Perhaps, I’m too scared that if I do, my disposition will be compromised. Is there something wrong in showing and conveying the messages and emotions of my very own heart without being judged by many? As unfortunate as I feel, again… there are limits.

Ironically, there are right things in life that are better left unsaid and unfelt. Keeping everything to myself,wishing that my unexpressed emotions and thoughts will soon reach the person who meant to hear and feel it.

The Farthest Journey in Life

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A great traveler was asked by a curious young man who also aspires to travel the world, “Sir, you’re such an inspiration for me. You’ve been traveling the different wonderful parts of the world, and I am really amaze every time I read your post on your blog and articles, or watch your documentaries on TV”. “Oh thanks! Nice to hear that. ”, the accomplished man retorted. The curious young man continued, “But is there a place that you haven’t been to?” “Oh a tough question”, the traveler responded with a smile on his face. “You know in my entire escapades, there are two places that is difficult to visit” “What is that sir”, the young man replied. “Its heart and the mind”, the traveler said with a smile. The young man responded, “What do you mean, sir?” The experienced man explained “For almost a decade of travelling around the world, lately I realized that the farthest journey in life is the travel between the heart and the mind. When we look upon our physical build-up the distance between the heart and the mind is just near, right? But when we speak about life and love and when we engage ourselves on its incredible journey it’s really challenging and demanding. I have been to the places people called ‘paradise’, but it never satisfy my soul to see the ‘paradise’ that is intended and planned for my life. However, when I started to engage myself traveling towards my heart and mind, I realized that there’s more to life which it can give than my journey to the beautiful places. From that experience, I saw and become in touch with the greatest fulfillment in my life which I never encounter from seeing the world. Yes, it’s really hard to engage yourself in the travel within the heart and mind because it’s too far, tiring, arduous, tough, and difficult. But that travel satisfies my deepest longings in life, such as LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, HEALING, and ACCEPTANCE about myself.”

Stories from the Heart (True Love is always open arms)

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A young disciple asked his master about true love. Master, what is the best thing to do in order to know and experience true love? The master said; stand up and stretch out your arms. What do you feel? I feel the coolness of soft breeze touching my body, the young disciple exclaimed. Again, the master said; now, embrace yourself. What do you feel?” I feel the heat of my body. I feel myself, the young disciple blurted out. Good, the master said with a smile on his face. The young disciple scratched his head and bewildered on the answer of his master and said; master it seems you didn’t answer my question. You just told me to stretch out my arms wide open and embraced myself, and I found that ridiculous. Then, the master explained with a beautiful smile on his face; what’s ridiculous with what I instructed you to do? Hahaha, you still don’t understand. My dear, love is like knowing and experiencing the soft breeze. By stretching your arms wide open, you will know and experience what a soft breeze is all about. On the contrary, you will not know and experience what a soft breeze is all about if you close your arms around you and feel yourself. Thus, true love is always open arms. With arms open, you allow yourself to know and experience it and to come and go as it will, freely, for it’ll do so anyway. However, if you close your arms for true love, you will not really know and experience it. You’ll find only holding yourself. Remember this my dear; true love is not all about fall ‘in’ or ‘out’ of it. It is your willingness to grow on it that defines what it is all about.

Paralysis

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When you’re paralyzed within, it’s hard to move on.  But wait a minute, what’s ‘paralyzed within’ that I’m talking about?  I’m sure we experienced this.  It’s a feeling of massive compunction that we can’t control.  It’s a sensation of too much pain inflicted in our hearts because of past heart-brokenness and regrets which sometimes haunts and disturbs us whenever we feel alone and lonely in life.  It’s one of the malady within our emotional state that’s hard to deal with because it impedes us to move forward and to go on in life.  Hence, life is sometimes tragic.  It is really inevitable to experience this kind of feeling.

When we are ‘paralyzed within’ it’s really hard to see the brighter side of life.  Everything seems so gloomy and depressing.  We can’t take a good stance when we’re down and troubled.  We are confuse to decide whether to push through fearlessly even though it hurts or to let it be as it is by saying ‘I can’t’.  Life is really full of twists and turns.  When we are ‘paralyzed within’ we cannot but accept the fact that life is not a bed roses; it is going through its thorns.

However, in every paralysis that we encounter in life there are tidbits of hope waiting for us and assure us encouragement to move on albeit hardships and sufferings.  Thus, nothing to be afraid of when are experiencing paralysis within our lives.  There’s always an assurance of hope when we start to handle every paralysis we experience with a steadfast heart and optimism.

A Life of Peace

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Are we really peaceful nowadays?  Are we really living in peace?  In my belief, we truly need peace nowadays.  Amidst the clashing of noises that our world today is encountering, our hearts are still longing and yearning for peace.  It’s so sickening and distressing already to engage ourselves on the different noises the world is offering to us today.  This is my realization; I thought noise is more appealing and engaging in life because it really entertains you and lures you to be get involved on it, but the risk is the more noises that you absorb in life, the more complexities that you will encounter later on.  And so, the essence of peace loses its taste and ardor when we let noise to sway our lives.  Hence, it’s indeed a continuous struggle to long for it.

Do we really know how we may be able to conquer the noise through peace?  This is what I pondered; the ambiance of noise in our lives will only be conquered if we will let it to begin in our hearts.  Peace is not just an absence of conflict or war.  It is a positive reality that all of us must recognize and appropriate. Indeed, the quest for peace of mind and heart cannot be considered as an attainable reality when you’re disturbed, anxious, and depressed with so many preoccupations and agitations in life.  So, give peace a chance to overrule our lives.  Lend our ears to it so that we may be able to appreciate its beautiful music and harmony that it brings to us.  Open our minds and hearts to it because it will only be felt if and only if we welcome it and allow it to penetrate our existence.  A life of peace is truly manifested when man’s beautiful relationship with God, neighbor, environment, and even his/her self is fully realized and being given a real importance.

A Love Letter for Baby Jesus

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Dearest Baby Jesus,

One day to go before your birth. I cannot but feel more excited and cheerful for your coming.  I could say that I do my very best to prepare myself for your coming, but it’s not enough.  Anyway, I truly believe that it’s not on the grandiosity of my preparation what you would like to count on in me, but it’s my heart.  No matter how big or small my preparation for your coming, what matters most for you is the willingness of my heart to be open with the possibility for renewal and conversion.

Within this month I really do my very best to embrace renewal and conversion in my life.  Sometimes I gain and improve, at times I fall short.  To embrace renewal and conversion in life is really a win-or-lose experience.  It takes a lot of enthusiasm, determination, and faith.  It’s challenging, yet gratifying.  Dear Child Jesus, I’m sorry for failing you and also for not doing the good things that I ought to do.  I’m sorry also for my stubbornness and for doubting your graces and blessings.  I’m really so ashamed to welcome you, but you proved to me that I should not be ashamed in welcoming you despite the many failures and shortcomings that I have.  You still love me.  It’s a humbling experience to realize that your love helps me to move on and comforts me whenever I am anxious and preoccupied with so many negative things in my life.  I am so blessed whenever I fall.  You always say to me “Be still…Do not be afraid for I am always with you”.  As you always saying this to me I am always assured of your presence in my life. And, knowing you is one of the greatest gifts that I in my life.

As your coming is almost near, Lord, teach me to love just like the way you show your love on me.  Make me a channel of your love even though I am being rejected because of love.  It’s your love that make me realize who really am I; broken and unworthy, yet consoled and redeemed.  Clothe me with the mantle of your love that I may be strengthen and motivated by it to face life’s challenges with a positive outlook in life.  Although uncontrollable sadness sometimes distresses me as I wait for your nearing natal day, make me happy and have an eager and a joyful trust in you.  May I also learn to lean and to count on you as I really struggle for peace and serenity of my mind and heart.

Lovingly yours,

Alex.

#ChristmaSerye (The Real Christmas Expectation)

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What do you expect this coming Christmas?  New clothes? New gadgets? Overnight parties? New love life?  For sure aside from these we have a lot of expectations as we wait for Christmas excitedly.  Usually, when Christmas comes we really expect to receive something new and pleasing to our senses and expectations.  So, there should be something new when Christmas comes.

However, is this really the real spirit of Christmas?  Looking and pondering upon the Nativity scene, it was just a simple and ordinary Christmas celebration.  They don’t expect for something new, but they expect for the birth of the Son of God; the main reason of our Christmas celebration.  Actually, the stable of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, reminds us that the real spirit of Christmas is not all about expecting for something new, costly, extravagant, and appealing; but it’s all about renewing ourselves to the Son of God born in a manger, i.e. Jesus.  He gave us the gift which greater than what we expect, i.e. His life, His love, and His mercy.

So, what we are still expecting for if He must be the real reason of our waiting and expectations?  Indeed, the most important thing in our expectation is to realize that it’s Jesus whom should be the main reason of our Christmas celebrations.  Without his birth, perhaps it’s worthless and pointless to celebrate Christmas just a celebration itself.

#ChristmaSerye (On Sharing our Blessedness this Christmas)

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Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and it indicates that Christmas is almost near.  Hearing that its four days to go before Christmas, we cannot but feel excited about it.  But, before we feel excited about the nearing natal day of Jesus, let us reflect upon the gospel for today which speaks about the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth.

Pondering the gospel for today, the word ‘blessed’ pops-up in my mind that suggests motivation or encouragement for us to welcome the Word made flesh humbly, joyfully, and wholeheartedly.  Mary gave us an example of how to welcome the Word made flesh with conviction, courage, and trust despite perhaps the hesitations and fears that tempt her to doubt the Lord’s plan for her unveiled through Angel Gabriel’s message in the Annunciation episode.  Filled with joy that in her womb is the Son of God conceived by the Holy Spirit, Mary shared this immense joy to her cousin Elizabeth who is also blessed by the Lord and pregnant at her old age.  What this visitation episode means for our lives? How should this be related to our daily lives?  We should affirm the fact that we are all blessed by the Word made flesh’s mercy and love.  But, we should be aware also that the gospel for today invites us to share our blessedness to others with joy and humility in our hearts.  Hence, the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth reminds and invites us that the real spirit of Christmas is sharing our blessedness to others so that they too may experience their blessedness rooted in Christ’s love.

We pray that the Lord may grant us the grace to share our blessedness to others just like Mary did; she shared her blessedness to Elizabeth humbly, full of joy, and wholeheartedly.  May the Lord bless us all this coming Christmas.      

#ChristmaSerye (Christmas: A Season of Renewal)

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Last December 17, 2015 I went to Oasis of Prayer for my monthly renewal of myself with the help of my counselor who is a priest.  During our conversions, he asked me a question; who is “Alex” for you now?  I suddenly felt the uneasiness within my heart because the question was referring to my understanding about myself despite the many flaws and shortcomings I have.  Indeed, it was a burning question for my present state.  In spite of many preoccupations and activities this coming Christmas, it is really important to find time for yourself and asking that question raised by my counselor to me.  Hence, Christmas is not just only a season of sharing, but also a season of renewing ourselves with the Lord.  As I reflect that question, I realized, there are so many things in my life that I am not aware, I ignored, and I avoided which needs to be consider, to let go, to be forgiven, and to renew.  That’s why I was not able to post a Christmas reflection on my blog last Thursday.

As we wait for Christmas with joy, hope, and expectations; we should not forget that together with our waiting for the coming of the Lord is our renewal.  It’s nice and meaningful to celebrate Christmas with renewed and peaceful mind and heart.  The nearing natal day of our Lord Jesus reminds us that renewal is possible if and only if we allow ourselves to be renewed by the real essence of Christmas, i.e. love.  Allow me to ask this question; do you really spend time to ask yourself ‘how are you today’ or ‘what’s going on to me today’ in moment of silence and recollection?  I admit, it’s really hard to be what we must supposed to be in the merciful and compassionate eyes and heart of God.  I myself can attest on this. I cannot count anymore how many times I fail the Lord.  Many times I allow myself to be overcome by my weaknesses and not by His love and mercy.  So, I always feel guilty, doubtful, and cynical whenever I am being overwhelmed by lapses.  It’s not too easy, but the Lord still kind and forgiving because He still gives opportunities for change.  And, the nearing Christmas season is a great manifestation of it.

Hence, let’s always remember that Christmas is not just only a season for gifts and celebrations.  It is also a season for forgiveness, mercy, and renewal.  The Lord in the person of the Baby Jesus born in a manger invites us to renew ourselves to Him.  He knows is not too easy to renew ourselves because we are finite-capable of committing mistakes and lapses in life.  But still, He encourages us to move on, to love ourselves more, and to forgive ourselves with mercy and compassion simply because He wants us to really feel that Christmas is all about loving and forgiving ourselves as He also loves and forgives us with His gentle mercy and compassion.       

The Real True Happiness

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As Christmas is near we cannot but feel excited and happy about it.  I think, we are all busy in thinking of so many things this coming Christmas like parties, gifts, new clothes to wear, new motif for our decorations, Christmas gimmicks, out of town Christmas vacations, etc. etc.  We are so preoccupied with all of these things having in mind that doing these kind of preparations will make us become happier and blessed this Christmas.  But, let me ask you, how do we regard the importance of the real true happiness in our lives?  How badly do we need it?  But before asking this questions, let us ask ourselves first with this question; do we really experiencing the real true happiness in our lives?  Do we really know what it is?  If not, yesterday’s Third Sunday of Advent also known as the Gaudete Sunday offers us what’s real true happiness is all about.

The readings and the gospel for yesterday gives us three important things that we should consider in pondering and recognizing the worth of true happiness on our lives.  (1) True Happiness cast out discouragements and fears.   In the first reading, Prophet Zephaniah encourages us by saying this words; “Do not fear, Zion, do not be discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior, who will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, who will sing joyfully because of you, as on festival days. (Zeph. 3: 16b-17)   Indeed, a person who is truly happy recognizes that the Lord will never abandon him/her in discouragements and fears if and only if he/she believes in Him, through Him, and with Him.  For instance, if you’re feel so down and troubled with so many trials and challenges that you encounter in life; rejoice and be glad for today the Lord is telling you “I will not abandon you, I will not let you down.  Do not be afraid for I am with you, your True Happiness that will lead you through your prosperity in life.  Have faith and hope in me and I will be your crying shoulder whenever you’re in great difficulty”. (2) True Happiness leads us to real conversion.  The letter of Paul to the Philippians gives us an idea what’s real conversion is all about; i.e. having no anxiety at all, but in everything fortified through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving as the Lord’s coming is near (Phil. 4:6).  Hence, a person who is truly happy gives importance to the invitation of the Advent Season, i.e. real conversion.  Real Conversion should be our reason why we should rejoice for the coming of the Lord.  If today we are not still being attuned with the invitation of this season and still doing your old bad habits and vices, let’s do our best to say our yeses to the invitation by doing it with conviction.  Remember; our best gift for the Lord’s coming is no other than our new self.  (3) True Happiness motivate us to live life in the fullest.  Yesterday’s gospel invites us that true happiness which motivate us to live life in the fullest will only be realized if and only if we have the capacity to share our new self to others.  Indeed, True Happiness, which motivate us to live life in the fullest, is all about real sharing.  The gospel yesterday gives us a concrete scenario how real sharing creates true and authentic happiness, and that scenario is when the crowd and the task collectors asked John the Baptist what then should they do as they expect for the coming of the Messiah.  John the Baptist told them the basic forms of act of random kindness to those who are in need as they prepare their selves for the coming of the Messiah.  John the Baptist believes that true happiness is all about charity and it is meant for sharing.

So, we have just realized and recognized what True Happiness is all about this coming Christmas.  Going back to the three things that I mentioned, let me ask again some questions as our guide for reflection; do I really consider True Happiness as my inspiration to cast out all discouragements and fears that affects my life today?  Am I really convinced about it despite the many preoccupations that I have in mind?  Am I really convinced that True Happiness leads me to real conversion in spite of my shortcomings in life?  Do I really being motivated by True Happiness to live life in the fullest despite the many complexities that I always encounter in my life every day?  Let us pray that the compassionate Lord may grant us the courage and enthusiasm to find the True Happiness in our lives as we prepare ourselves this coming Christmas.