DARE

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.

Letting go is obviously one of the hardest things that we can do, but at times, stepping into that new kind of freedom is very much worth it.

sundaewrites

The year came like anything normal and in so many ways I have underestimated it. Certainly, you’ll never really know where life would take you. 

During the first few months, inspiration struck. It triggered me to make small decisions and subtle changes affecting very important aspects of my life.

Letting Go of Stuff

    It started with a few clothes, some old, some new, that I’ve never really worn for months. Like most, I’ve held on to those pieces of clothing because I’ve paid for them and I already own them. 

I realized later on that possessing or not possessing them didn’t really affect the quality of my life. Nor has it affected the level of my happiness in the long term. Maybe that’s why you and I call this and similar things as stuff because literally, they’re just that. Most things we can live without and some we can only need enough of. 

On the other hand though, our stuff can be a piece of gold to someone who really needs them. With that, I gave away clothes to friends, neighbors, relatives and some more things to charity.

I was able to sell some of the stuff too and more will be sold in the comings months. I remember meeting this buyer and our conversation went like this.

Buyer:  So how long have you had this?

Me: 6 months

Buyer: how many times did you use it?

Me: thrice

Buyer: It’s in superb condition and you’re selling it for half the price. Why did you buy it in the first place?

Me: Well, I thought I needed it and would do me good. Later on, I realized, it’s bulky and cumbersome. I can actually get rid of it and make do of what I already have.

Buyer: Well, this is a gem for me. Sorry, you had to sell it.

Me: Oh no, I’m glad I did! (“and I met you”! – bonus point that I felt he didn’t need to know – insert “grin”).


Letting Go of biases

    I think you would agree that we all have our biases when it comes to culture, people of a different race or sometimes people from our own race. I for one am guilty about this. In the past, my generalizations about people have hindered the possibility of me knowing them at a deeper level and understand how they see things. 

I’ve come to realize that it was a mistake and a loss on my part. I mean, some of them could have been my close friends. They could have contributed to my growth. Most could have been helpful mentors, teachers, coaches or perhaps role models. I remember a colleague of mine said to me one time. “It’s not you. We’re just not used to saying please and thank you as often as you do. We don’t even say please or thank you to people from our own country”.  Another shared, “We look like we’re fighting because we seem to be shouting at each other, but we’re not. This is just a normal conversation”.

When I decided to finally open myself to other cultures and other communities, I felt like my heart expanded and my understanding broadened. I began to see these people the way I see myself and my friends- just human beings with imperfections like we all have, and trying their very best in life as we all do.  

Letting Go of Who I thought I was

We are who we are. This belief also limited my success as a person. 

I always thought that I’m an introvert and therefore, don’t have the ability to connect with people and actually be energized in the process. I always thought, I could never write, just because I barely passed my first essay in college. My English teacher would always ask me to explain what I’m trying to say. That time I have a knack for tying two words together, not because they mean anything but because they just sounded good. Well, it’s hard when English is not your first language. These are just two of several beliefs which crafted my idea of Me. This same idea pushed me to stay in my comfort zone because venturing out, I assumed,  would lead me to failure.  

After years, a breakthrough came.  I decided I will no longer fear failure. So I started a journey of self-discovery and that meant trying new things and doing things that actually scared me or made me nervous and uneasy. I tell you, when I look at myself now, I like what I’m seeing. Frankly, I still make mistakes but I’m growing and continuously learning.

The good thing about letting go of who I thought I was is that every day I am embracing the opportunity to reinvent myself and expand my horizons. It opens a whole new door of possibilities of what I can still be, and the results usually astound me. What you can or cannot do, is indeed entirely up to you. Henry Ford puts it this way “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right”.

My friend, is there something in your life that you need to let go and why, or, why not?

So today, I decided to clean up. Owning a few things since going solo, I wanted to retain even less.  That means, just enough of everything.

A friend of mine traveled to Sweden months ago and fell in love with the term “lagom” which means “just the right amount”.  She was saying the Swedish don’t brag about the things they own nor overindulge in something like food, cars or houses.  They like to live as regular, ordinary people,  and give preference to giving back, contributing, and helping.  They don’t care about status or how much they earn. All of that and yet Sweden is one of the richest countries in the world.

Thinking about it makes me fall in love with Sweden too! “What I wouldn’t give to be there”- Me, daydreaming.  But Sweden or not Sweden, we can actually embrace “lagom” as a lifestyle, isn’t it? In some parts of the world, they call it, minimalism, simplicity, or essentialism (there might be other terms that you know, drop a comment here).

I grew up in a culture pretty much influenced by the Spaniards. With our concept of “fiestas” and “piazza” (in my hometown, we call it plaza), our culture has taken it further to mean:

– huge houses, 

– large “haciendas”, 

– more food on the table (than what’s necessary), 

– (boisterous) laughter, 

– plenty of stories, and 

– overflowing drinks.

While fiestas and plazas are essentially part of the Spanish culture, I believe these concepts stemmed from their inherent quality of being warm, affectionate and family-oriented. Our culture, however, took it to a different level- more like Spanish-with-a-twist.

I’m not against people who own huge properties or love to have fun with beers, food and loud music. I’m just a bit disheartened to see:

– folks with large but empty houses

– yuppies with an expensive lifestyle, and mounting debts

– people who hoard

– people having too much of something (too much alcohol, food, shoes, Netflix, etc)

– people who overwork (yes, included)

– people who overcommit (yes, this too)

– people who are having too much rest (you’ve got to get on your feet too, you know, like literally).

Overindulgence is a bad thing.  You’ve got to save something for tomorrow or share some to someone in need.  We’re not here just for ourselves.  I hope we realize that and become more mindful of the rest of the world and its needs.

Wherever we are or what our status be in society, each of us has the capacity to give.  It may not always be in the form of material things. It could be our time, our skills, wisdom, strength, or we could just lend a hand, or lend an ear.  

If there’s one thing that this weekend clean up reminded me, it’s this:

I can live with just enough, and that’s not depriving myself of anything good in the world. That actually means, giving myself space, room to breathe, more room for what’s important, and to me, that translates to not only freedom but power!  It’s kind of saying, “I can have that, but I won’t”.  

– sundaewrites

Now imagine repeating that when you’re faced with a decision:

“I can buy that luxury car, but I won’t”.

“I can book myself in a 5-star hotel, but I won’t”.

“I can consume the entire chocolate ice cream cake, but I won’t”.

“I can party all night, but I won’t”.

“I can work till daybreak, but I won’t”.

Does it make sense?  Well, I’ll leave you with this word to think about.

“Lagom”.


“What’s the point of all this? Maybe, there’s no grand plan, after all, no essential meaning or worthwhile reason that can really affect the world.”

I planted myself in one corner of the room, a tiny space, with a small plastic chair and an unused, sturdy, air cooler supporting my back.

This has always been my favorite spot. Sitting on a blue chair, my thoughts would take me someplace far away, where I can listen to them like a couple of old friends dropping by to say hello. Often times though, they’d stay a while for a cup of coffee or two.

This is what happens when you get time in your hands. You can revel in the moments that you’re alone, pondering about life, thinking about your very existence.  

Sometimes I think people get themselves busy for one reason-to escape these little moments, and come face to face with themselves, confronting deep questions, unconsciously buried in their minds. 

They don’t dare to wake up the sleeping giant.

But I love these little moments. 

I love having conversations with myself. Kind of weird, but these interactions actually reveal a lot about my deepest fears and desires.  The experience keeps me grounded.  It helps me get the worldly stuff beneath my feet, as a reminder of their fleeting existence.  

In this time when everything is mechanical and automated, we rarely get the chance to look at the bigger picture, or confront our doubts and deepen our understanding of profound truths. Most days we run on autopilot and drift.

After some time, you wake up and your kids are all grown up, your parents are much older, your gray hairs are starting to show, not to mention, a few more wrinkles adorning your face.  Yes, time slips away, and who knows when it runs out.

 

Is this all there is to it? 

I think about Oprah, Mark Zuckerberg, Hillsong United, JK Rowling, Mother Theresa, and their path seems to be very clear and very significant, affecting many.  

Where does that leave you and me- the ordinary boy or girl in this small part of the world? Will our voices be ever heard? Will our actions breed fire that can ignite the soul of a sleepy world? What difference can we make? Does our breath find it’s way someplace where it actually gives life? I wonder.

Maybe there’s no spectacular scheme, no fireworks, no rainfall of stars bound to fall down our path. But this I know. We are meant to be here. 

Out of a thousand possibilities in the whole biology and mystery surrounding birth and procreation, we are the ones who made it through. The ones who have seen the light.  

Maybe our WHYs may never get answered. Maybe we can never find it. But what if we create it by forging meaning into our circumstances, or the experiences we’ve been given?  What if the WHY lies in the little things we do every day, the things we were called to accomplish on simple occasions, the things that are normal, and ordinary? What if these little things are leading us to that one big thing, or maybe that big thing is actually the sum of these little things? 

We are no Michelangelo, Anne Frank or St. Paul, but we’re given the same opportunity to walk this earth just like they did.  Will our trail leave behind colorful dust so people can see the way too? I hope so. It doesn’t matter if we could light the path for one person or two. What matters is, we do.  

The light is always more beautiful when it shines through the darkness.- Unknown.

Question: 

Are you casting your light so others may see the path? What are the little things you’ve done to bless the people around you?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It was 2011 when I made the decision to leave the work that I love, with all the people in it.
I don’t have any job offer from another company, and I wasn’t ready to go back home and settle. While everyone thought of it as a careless move, I actually believed it was bold. I was following my heart, and I was aiming to realize my vision.

The old job wasn’t all rosy. It had some challenges but nothing that I couldn’t handle. It wasn’t perfect but was way better than prior ones.

I had six weeks to find myself a new company to join, else I’d have to start something back home. Ads were applied for, contacts have been tapped, the search expanded. And then, there’s one. An interview invitation with the owner of a big group of companies.

I turned out overqualified in a way, but here’s the catch. The offer was almost half of what I was earning at that time. Knowing the extent of the expected workload made it obvious that I’m being dealt with a bad hand, so I knew I had to decline. Quite upset, the owner asked me, what do I want and heartily, I shared my top 3.

I want to do a job that I love.
I want to work in a team.
I want to get a salary equal to or more than I currently do.

The owner believed he could offer me the 1st two, but not the third. His words, “You’re not going to find a job that could offer you that pay. Not during these times”. I confidently quipped, “ I believe, I can”. We parted with him giving me a challenge. “If you do find that job, let me know, I’d gladly apply for it too”.

To cut the long story short, I did get that job. I got what I desired for, and more. My last day with the old company fell on the 31st, and my 1st day with the new one starts the day after. Amazing, right?

Aside from being told careless, most people around me thought that I was too confident or proud. I wasn’t. For some reason, I just knew it in my heart that I can find that job. I didn’t know how, but I knew.

Some call it gut-feel, but I’d like to call it, Faith.

I’ve got no words to explain it but the intensity and power of that faith were undeniable and it drove off all fears and doubts, insecurities and second-guesses. I knew the opportunity was out there, and I knew it was waiting for me. Outside noise couldn’t drown it. Others couldn’t see it. But I could. To me it was real.

I don’t know how the power of Faith has worked in your life, but I believe that when it did, the confidence you had, has been unshakeable. You know you’re treading on the right path. You never looked back. You didn’t even pause. You just went out there and got hold of that promise, that prize, that precious piece glowing in the distant. To the world, it was hard to notice, but to you, that glow shined the brightest.


Question:
Have you experienced this much faith? What gift did it reward you? Share your faith experience here and bless someone.