What It Means to Be A Sheep In The Midst of Wolves

The corporate world is toxic, especially for people who aren’t built for it.

The pressure on employees around the word has been rapidly increasing and it gets tremendously insane especially for those juggling family time and work time:

-deadlines to meet, 

-expectations to exceed 

-goals to achieve

-projects to deliver  

Surely, the corporate environment will bring out either the best or the worst in people, including me and you.

All of us are vulnerable to other people’s judgment, opinion, and criticism. Handling and overcoming these things is never easy but the first step is knowing that we can.

There are colleagues who see us as enemies, a competition, or a threat to the status quo, so much so that they are driven by a strong compulsion to push us down.

Power is relative. One can wear it to impose terror, humiliate someone, maliciously discredit peers, or in subtle ways, demotivate a person regarded as an “obstacle” or “liability”. 

On one hand, the so-called “victims” posses an inner power too. 

The power to remain kind and compassionate,

The power to focus on “what now” instead of “why me?”,

The power to go the extra mile and say, “How can I help?” instead of “What’s in it for me?”.  

This is what taking the higher road means, much like “being a sheep in the midst of wolves”. Instead of fighting back, you take it in, not because you’re weak, but because you chose to be the bigger person.

A friend of mine had a very mean boss for years and I asked her how she’s handling such situation, and she said,“Well, it’s never easy, but, I sort of kill him with kindness everyday”.  

Behind every “impossible”, “difficult” man or woman, is just a little kid desperately wanting to be loved, to be recognized, or at the very least, to be seen.

It doesn’t justify all the rudeness we experience every day but it does give us a glimpse of what happens in the person’s inner world. 

People are inherently good. You have to believe that. How and why some turn into “monsters” or “dementors” perhaps is caused by a lot of negativity in the world. However, I believe a bigger part is in how they chose to respond to it.

We have so much power in the things we can control. Oftentimes we tend to forget that we too can initiate and influence, can re-learn love and tenderness, and can choose to be a victor or a conqueror.

Being a sheep in the midst of wolves is not easy, it’s not for the faint-hearted, or for anybody who forgot that he’s capable of something good. It takes courage, perseverance, humility and strength.  

In life, you can do it either the easy or the hard way.  If you can’t think or decide about what seeds you want to plant today, just think of what you want to harvest tomorrow.  When you grow old, I bet you want to feel proud of the younger you. Proud of how good a human being you’ve been, how positive an energy you were, how kind and gracious you showed up to the people you’ve met.

You have so much capacity for goodness. Use it.

DARE

It has been a while since I’ve sat down and written a post. If you have been with me throughout this journey you already know that I usually share wisdom from personal experiences and daily musings. It’s not to say that there hasn’t been anything happening lately, there’s a lot taking place that my hands and these keys can ever catch up with.

Tomorrow, one of the biggest decisions I made this year will come into fruition. I wish I could tell you more about the context but I’d rather share it with you in person if I can. Mind you, I’m scared of the outcome. I guess this is normal. With every decision comes uncertainties and unknowns we are risking to take. But as they say, it’s all part of the great adventure we call life. 

I’ve started this year with one guiding word- DARE. And since day 1, it has been a roller coaster of events. Several times I have surprised myself for signing up on something that I haven’t even considered towards the end of last year. As circumstances presented itself I opened myself to it, accepting and never resisting, figuring out how far I can go. Every step terrifies me but I push on. They say,

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”. 

So yes, I’m taking risks and I’m getting out of my comfort zone and telling the universe,

“I am ready”. 

Life will always be unpredictable and we will always have doubts. But then, therein lies the excitement about it. Trials and mistakes give us room to grow. It’s a matter of perspective.

Allowing ourselves to be chained to our desire for certainty immobilizes us.

Tomorrow is not something you and I need to deal with right now, unlike today when we are both called to show up. So why don’t we?

Welcome The Day 

Regardless of what it brings you. 

Any way you put it, it is still a gift. 

There’s no other day like it.

Celebrate it.

Welcome People

Regardless of the race, background culture and embraced beliefs.

Each of us has a story to tell.

Each of us is doing their best.

Each of us knows pain.

Each of us needs love.

Welcome Your Self

Regardless of your past mistakes and failures.

You can begin again.

You can do better than yesterday.

You can learn something new.

You can grow.

You can contribute.

You can experience.

You can help.

You can give.

You can serve.

You can be gentle with you.

Welcome Life

And everything that makes it.

Every breathing, living creature is here for a reason.

Symbiosis is a fact.

Nature is part of the planet, so take care of it. Commune with it.

Welcome Love

It’s one thing that’s eternal.

It gave the human race a second chance.

It’s real, and you are made for it.

From my heart to yours…

Forward

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward”.  

– Martin Luther King

Inch by inch we need to pull ourselves forward. 

Perfection is never the aim, it’s progress.

You say, your progress is nothing compared to that of others.

That’s the thing. You can’t and should never compare. 

Focus on your pace, your own run

If you look at your life, you’ll see you’re not the same man or woman as you were twenty years ago.

We’re capable of changing, growing and evolving.

Don’t ever underestimate that.

If you stumble, there may be nobody there to pick you up.

But there will always be YOU.

So dust yourself off, and get back up.

Help that’s available will come. Be grateful if it does.

But always, and I say always, count on you!

YOU are the one who can HELP yourself the MOST.

Subtract

Subtract anything that doesn’t add value to your life.

It could be temporary or permanent.

More is not always better.

You can only keep enough,

consume enough,

use enough,

do enough,

And every season in your life

demands something different 

You cannot hold on to anything earthbound.

To Start With

Define what value means to you.

is it family, time,

health, spirituality,

experience, growth,

or your contribution to the world?

Analogy

Imagine clearing the table you’re working in now.

Slowly, place everything on the floor.

Then whatever it is you need at this moment,

pick it up and use it.

You can discard everything else.

The Challenge

Look at your current responsibilities, 

commitments, possessions, 

consumptions, and yes connections.

What doesn’t add value to your life right now?

Discern and decide what you need to let go 

So you can make room for something that does.

Change and Humanity

Change  

We cringe about this word most of the time. But the thing is, the more we resist it, the more life becomes difficult. So embracing change seems to be a logical thing to do if we want to survive.

As a kid, I loved my sunny afternoons. I still recall sitting on a wooden bench under a tree, at 2 p.m. on a Saturday just listening to the sound of the birds with the wind rustling through my hair.

Back then, I wondered what’s out there in the universe. At that time, I only knew of “my world” that little space in a decent-size house my father had worked so hard to build. I have always been fascinated by the skies, the stars, how people live in some parts of the planet. I know for sure they don’t look like me or speak like me. I felt an ache to reach out and communicate.

Fast forward 30 years, I have met a lot of people from different nationalities and worked with them, not to mention people from my own country who spoke a language different from my own. I’m halfway through life and realize that regardless of speech, color, race, profession or, status, people go through the same things – – love, loss, triumph, defeat, and yes, change.

Yet change scares us.

More than loss or failure, I think what we fear more is what we’ll find or who will we find in the aftermath of change. The version of us who’s more capable, free, and courageous. A person who can rebuild, recreate, rediscover, and navigate his or her way through this journey we call LIFE.

sundaewrites

We might have heard people say, “But I’ve built my life around this. I can’t let it crumble down”.

If it’s no longer serving you or the people you’ve built it for or with, change is imminent.

Humanity

Past our conceived limitations is a world of possibilities. It is a world where we find people like you and me who do their best every single day. When we realize that, we will find comfort in knowing that we all share this journey regardless of where we are at this moment in time.

We can choose to either figure things out on our own or ask for help from those who have gone before us. That is the beauty of being human. We can be there for each other, and be a beacon of light. Believe that there is more than enough goodness in the world.

Thoughts

If you are keen to find out how other people made it through or let them know how you did, communicate. That always bridges the gap between the two worlds.

I have not been to every country around the globe and have not met a person in every race, but I have been and met enough to tell you that you are not alone.

There’s one race we all share, the human race. There’s one language we all need to learn for us to communicate, and we call it love.

sundaewrites

So take heart. Be hopeful and be courageous because you and I, we can do this!

Alter Ego

An alter ego (Latin for “other I”) means alternative self, which is believed to be distinct from a person’s normal or true original personality. Finding one’s alter ego will require finding one’s other self, one with different personality.

Wikipedia

The Story

Recently I published an article that was written in a way that is reflective of how I used to write. That’s when the concept of the alter ego came to mind. I think I have lived mine for quite a bit and forgot to return to my old self. I don’t mean to freak you out but allow me to process this for a bit. Let’s call the old self Mist and the alter ego, Star.

Mist is shy, quiet, dreamy, innocent, sentimental, someone who likes to be alone and feels a very deep connection with everyone and the universe.  Of course, Mist isn’t perfect. She’s not confident, not a leader, not outspoken and not making decisions based on what she thinks but how she feels.  This is where Star comes in- vibrant, goofy, extrovert. She knows what she needs to be to succeed in the real world, though like Mist, she has flaws too.

The Realizations

I confided with a friend about these two characters and what came to me were these realizations.

1. I must embrace the fact that I have these two personalities.  That I don’t need to prefer one over the other because both together make up the same Me.

2. Mist and Star do complement each other. It’s not a competition. One takes the lead when the other feels weak or seemingly out of place.

3. They are born to thrive in either of two worlds, the Dream world and the Practical-realist world.

When I look in the mirror now, I am not seeing Mist anymore and I miss her. I must have abandoned her totally and I think that was a mistake because there are things about Mist that I loved and still do.

Having lived my alter ego for years made me feel disconnected. It’s like looking at an old photo and wondering “where did all those years go” and “who’s that little girl and what was she like”?  

Somebody once said, “Read the entire book and pick up only those things that work for you”. 

Going Forward

When it comes to Mist and Star, I think I can embrace and play their own unique strengths, whenever the circumstances call for it. As to their weakness, it’s also part of the package, so I will have to embrace these “flaws” too and work on improving the things I can.

Making peace with this means that Mist and Star can show up whenever they think it’s best for Me. They’d be best friends now, knowing they belong to the same team. 

I am no Psychologist and call me crazy but there are real people who have adopted alter egos too just like our superheroes. Think of Batman, Superman, Spiderman and then think of Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Beyonce. Even writers have done it too, take Charles Bukowski, Ernest Hemingway and Philip Roth to name a few.

Now that I mentioned that, I’m wondering if there’s any alter ego reading or writing in this platform. If there are, well, this is Mist saying “Hi”.

Uprooting

Earlier today I listened to somebody talking about the idea of Uprooting.

It happens when you decide to pluck the bud off a seed you’ve planted, that it loses the chance to grow and blossom.

I was hit hard.

You see, I’m the kind of person who would have these brilliant, inspiring ideas, enroll people to embrace the same, start working on those, and then just not follow through.

Courses I’ve never finished.

Hobbies I’ve never picked up again.

Skills not really mastered.

Good rituals that have never lasted two months.

Relationships never cultivated.

I hope I am most people, but I could see a lot around me nailing it.

Why can’t I?

At this point in my life, I think I still haven’t decided who I want to be.

I’ve been drawn to that shiny object syndrome which I heard about a few months ago and never thought it could be real, at least to me.  I was wrong to say I had it all figured out.

Looking back, I’ve been chasing a lot of things. Even now I can say I am all over the place and I have to do something about it.

This writing is hopefully a start. I want to go back to the way I used to write— unfiltered, insightful, vulnerable.

You’re probably asking why I stopped or why I changed.

Simple.  I thought then I’d be better off if I was somebody else.

Somebody that people like.  Somebody who could write something people will rave about.

Yet that failed me too. 

No matter how I try to “buy” love, appreciation, admiration from other people, even if I get those, it would never be enough until I decide I am enough.

PIT STOP

Right this moment I am writing for me. If the state I’m in resonates with you, then that makes two of us and perhaps this writing is for you too. 

It will be good to know there’s somebody out there who walks on a road with you, no judgment, no expectations, just walk with you. Human being feeling another in the highest pure sense.  Regardless of the distance, the gap, the space in between, hearts entwined even for a brief moment. 

So yes my friend, you have the liberty to break out further up the road and follow your own path. No strings need to be attached here.  After all, the road is never a straight line. There are curves, junction, crossings and before we know it, we’ll be bumping into each other again.

As for me, I still need to figure this one out. 

Who do I want to be, and what things do I need to go back doing just because it made me real?  

It’s not for any selfish reasons. I want to help people, touch the hearts of a few if not many. But I think all the cracks and flaws that we have, are the same things that make us human. The more we get real about that the more can people relate to us, and we’ll be more connected to each other on a deeper level.

So this is where I am right now. This is where I stand and I hope I’d be able to navigate this road well. Wish me luck!

My Rearview Mirror

Regrets.  I had my fair share of these and the last is not far from memory.

A friend of mine decided one day to stop talking to me. I believe she’s made up her mind for a good reason, though I never got to find out what it was. I waited for a conversation to take place to have some understanding, a sense of clarity, but my hopes ended in vain.

When somebody you talk to every day suddenly ignores you, it hurts. You get these questions in mind, questions I myself didn’t know how to handle at that particular time.

A confrontation could have helped, but I took a more cowardly approach, that was,  to ignore her too.  At one point I just gave up and turned my back on something I could have saved.

Weeks passed and my frustration slowly healed. I intended to pick up where I left off, but I figured it was too late. I knew then that my friend and I were definitely going to part ways.

My few attempts to win back what I’ve lost felt more like sowing a seed and never seeing it grow. It was a fruitless exercise.  I look at myself and sighed, “Guess, you’re trying too hard on this one.”

For the second time, I gave up. Maybe it’s water under the bridge. It’s over. It’s done and I just had to deal with it.

I came to terms with my limitations and confided to another friend.  I asked for a bit of advice on what to do.  She said, try acceptance, and try forgiveness.  All I can muster was, “Oh. Alright.” – my thoughts still quite disorderly.  Obviously, these aren’t medications you can buy from a local pharmacy. It.took.me.time.—to process, to understand, and to appreciate the beauty embedded in these two words:  acceptance and forgiveness.

Acceptance means to embrace something for what it is now.  Forgiveness is to let go of the hurt and surrender the guilt.

Oftentimes we want to go back to how things were.   That’s what I wished for my case.  I know I too have made a mistake, and it cannot be undone. But the more I thought about the actions I took, I realized I must have done both myself and my friend a favor.  We talk now but not as much as before. Since the interaction’s quite limited, we have done away with one thing:  the negative talk about our common “enemy”.

We were once united by a common dislike against one person. The negative talk has taken a toll on me and it affected my work and the quality of my thoughts. Now that we don’t have the luxury to justify each other’s complaint, we’re both forced to be quiet about our grudges.  It’s something that, for me, has turned into a blessing.  Less focus on the bad meant more focus on the good.

Mistakes can be repeated until the lesson has been learned.  I will strive to do better next time around. But for now, I need to forgive myself for the immaturity, the cowardice, the ego and the pride I had held dear. To my friend, I hope she finds it in her heart to forgive me too, as I have resolved for the same forgiveness in mine.

Today, I’m deserting the hurt, the guilt, the regrets and the lame efforts to revive something that has died. What was broken can no longer be fixed.  It can only be made new. So this is me giving a new beginning to my friend, releasing her from my clutch, so she could blossom into a wonderful and strong woman she’s always meant to be. Let bygones be bygones.

As I glance into my car’s rearview mirror, I noticed the things that looked so huge just moments ago have now become so small, ‘till slowly, it faded away.  As I drove further up the road new things came in sight.  Some pretty, some not.  But I thought to myself:  “Well, this is “Now”, and I will cherish every minute of it.”

Drifting

I don’t want to wander aimlessly through life, not knowing where I wanna go, not doing what I need to do. I don’t want to waste a lot of years trying to get by an ordinary existence.

This, is my ideal stance. Reality however was a bit different.

I enjoyed myself too much in the past. Most days were spent reacting to things instead of taking charge. This went on and on through my late twenties. I thought I would grow old just like that- a byproduct of luck. Then circumstances changed – –

loved ones lost,

career took place,

people moved on and chased their own big dreams,

while I got stuck in my own little world trying to hold it together.

I loved the idea of things being constant, unchanging and predictable. I resisted everything that atttempted to disturb my familiar state. I guess we all did at one point in time. We built our own walls and thought it will never crumble only to realize we’re actually disrupting our own growth.

When you stay too long in what’s comfortable, you start to feel just like that, comfortable-

too afraid to see the outside world,

too afraid to try anything new,

too afraid to start again,

to afraid to rebuild something from scratch.

Is this really all? Aren’t we made for something more?

Divine discontent is experienced by most of us. It’s that subtle sense of unrest that’s aching for something true and real to a person and his very existence. When it hits you, don’t ignore. Know what it wants to communicate and act on it. Ultimately, it will connect you to a divine purpose. And that purpose can only be served by no one else, but you!

Today, don’t be afraid to say yes!

Don’t be afraid to fail.

Don’t be afraid to open yourself to the countless possibilities around you.

Don’t be afraid to tread on unfamiliar waters.

Don’t be afraid to discover what you’re really made of!

Live life and fulfill your dreams with the intensity of a visionary,

the passion of an artist,

the joyfulness of a kid,

the gentleness of a child,

and the love of your Maker.

You have been set apart.

Fulfill your destiny.

Make yourself proud.

Make your creator proud!

Rescue Me…

Do you need a rescue? I’m sure we all do. Some may need it once in a while, some very often.

Not all rescues are healthy. Doing it every time to the same people creates a dependency. It cripples the growth of the person being rescued. It can be exhausting to the one rescuing.  A wise man once said, ”When you’re helping, keep in mind that you’re teaching them how to fish, not training them to be beggars.

To The One Being Rescued

You see, everyone has a load to carry and if everyone helps himself, we  become less of a burden to somebody else.  Of course, we have our down moments, bouts of loneliness, the taste of failures, and it’s a relief to have a shoulder to lean on, a hand to hold, a reassuring look from somebody we love to say, “Don’t worry, I got your back”.  

Our support system can only do so much for us. The answers that we are looking for and the ability to make it happen lies with us.

It all starts with YOU.

Our joy, peace, freedom, success, however that translates to us, is not up to anyone. We are on the driving seat here, playing  the main role in the story of our life. The challenge is, we like watching other people run their life including our own.  Life slips through our hands simply because we choose to let it go. 

If things are within our control, taking action is the key, nothing else.

On to the Rescuer

You don’t always have to be the solution to everyone’s problems.  If you’re stretching yourself too thin, you’re not giving 100% to everything that comes up, rather a percentage of you to everything that comes up.

Prioritize. Even the richest, wisest people in the world cannot save the world. It’s not up to one mortal man. 

“Our job is not to fix people, but to love them, as best we could.”

Bo Sanchez

Loving can sometimes be tough.  It’s allowing the person you care about, make their own mistakes because some things are just meant to be learned the hard way. Mistakes help us do that.  We fail, we learn, we know better, we do better.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

St Paul.

I believe we’re not here to be each other’s burden or even so, to be somebody’s crutch, at least not permanently.  Thinking otherwise will only disempower us and discourage us.

When you see an old man collecting garbage for a fee just to feed his disabled wife, your heart breaks and you want to help.  Seeing a fit, healthy 40-year-old man sitting all day watching television and getting drunk while waiting for his son to feed him, I think there’s something wrong about that. I pity the son.

Last Words

Every situation is different and it’s not my place to judge. 

I just believe that we can do better by helping ourselves.

I believe we can be each other’s partner, encourager, cheerleader.

I believe we can empower and inspire one another.

You don’t have to be a teacher, an author, or an actor to do that.

You can be someone who lives his life, not merely surviving, but thriving in it.