Photo Credit: Romeo Conilas

 

Imagine this:  You wake up to a beautiful Saturday morning, eager to start your day with a perfectly planned home-cooked breakfast.  After a few stretches, you get on your feet and head to the kitchen. Egg, sausage, pancakes, a bowl of fruit, and a  cup of freshly brewed coffee, one by one perfectly laid on the breakfast table. You grab a bottle of ketchup from the cupboard, and remembered- – Bistro! Oh no! You look over your shoulder and see your fear actually happening! Big Bistro gobbling down a big breakfast!

Joy stealers are like that. They’re cunning. While you get so self-absorbed and unaware, they come out and take something you really value. There’s an army of them, but let’s talk about two that may seem non-threatening, but prove to be strong enemies of your time.

Laziness

– you say you want to get fit, but you don’t get up early in the morning to exercise.

– you say you want more sunshine, but don’t make an effort to go to the beach or just outside your home

– you say you want to be more productive, but you linger for hours on social media

– you say you want more income but don’t find ways to get one

– you say you want stronger, healthier relationships but you end up with just intentions, no effort, no actions.

Indecision

– you want to accomplish a lot of goals but you don’t start working on a single thing

– you want to explore opportunities, but actually, don’t pick one of several choices that come along

– you want to change something in your circumstances, but you get stuck at wishing and not doing

My brother once told me that completing a marathon is more of a mental thing, not a physical one. The strength lies in the mind, not in the body.  I believe this applies to almost everything.  We are stronger, more able and better than we think we are.

When I see old people dancing, running, biking or doing yoga it inspires me and makes me happy.  When I see them accomplish their greatest feat ever in their old age, it drives me crazy!

Philippe Dumas, a 60-year-old man who took the fashion world by storm in 2016 after growing a beard.

80-year-old Deshun Wang, who killed it on the catwalk during the 2015 China fashion week.

Greta Pontarelli who started pole dancing at the age of 59 and at 61 won first place in 2014 pole sports world championship.

And who can ever forget Paddy Jones who wowed the world and the audience of  Britain’s Got Talent in 2014  with a salsa dance when at that time she was turning 80!

If older people can do it, surely the young can do better!

Laziness. Indecision.  Nip the problem in the bud. Both can kill your dreams. Both can waste your time. Both can stop you from discovering an ocean of possibilities laid down your path.  Both will hinder you in accomplishing something more than what you’ve hoped for in this life.

Why did we call them joy stealers?  Because they stop you from becoming the best version of yourself.  Embrace them and you end up being unable to give your best gift to the world. You retire with a wealth of regrets. You’d fail to finish strong.  You take your dreams to your grave.

Let me leave you with this quote:

The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”-  Les Brown

You don’t want your dreams to end up there, do you? So move and win this life.

Question:

Have you identified your own joy-stealers? How is your battle against them? Are you winning or are you losing? What steps are you taking from here today to move you closer to your dreams?

Comment here.

With a cup of coffee in hand, I reviewed how my days have been. What have I invested my time for? My energy? And like a subtle cold wind touching my skin, I heard this gentle voice bringing me up to my senses,  a question I haven’t pondered on for quite some time. #sundaewrites

 

 

Be present. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you’re feeling.  Reward yourself with the very gift of this moment. Feel every breath, wake up your senses and savor every minute.

It’s easy to go through our days distracted by seemingly urgent matters. We react to things and fail to exercise our ability to initiate, to begin, to design our lives that way we want it to. Now more than ever is the best time we take responsibility. It’s time to get a grip, to make a stand and resolve how our day will be before it even starts, regardless of what’s going to transpire. 

I realized I have unconsciously allowed the victim mentality to rule my mind these past few weeks.  I don’t know how it even managed to creep in.  I found a lot of reasons to blame something or someone for what I’m feeling, so days have been long, hours have been a drag.  I pushed and pushed harder that I forgot how it feels to walk and just enjoy the sunshine.  My head is flooded with unimportant thoughts.  I miss home, I miss my family, I miss the beauty and simplicity of the olden days, of my childhood, all those years before adulthood.

Is growing up a bad thing? Not at all. It’s just that we tend to forget how it is to be a kid- to laugh often, to play, to not hold grudges, to desire big dreams, to dare, to be fearless, to stand up for what’s right, to be honest about our feelings and our thoughts and not be ashamed of it. 

photo credit: Ben White
photo credit: Ben White

When we were kids, we were bolder, we were free-spirited. Why? Because we knew we are loved. We knew that we matter. We believed that we have nothing to lose. We stumble and fall, yes, but we knew that we can stand up again and run-  such courage, such faith, such willpower.

I woke up to a quiet morning today, to the sound of the birds chirping away and enjoying the warmth of the sun. With a cup of coffee in hand, I reviewed how my days have been. What have I invested my time for? My energy? And like a subtle cold wind touching my skin, I heard this gentle voice bringing me up to my senses,  a question I haven’t pondered on for quite some time. What is this all about?”

More than just fulfilling my life’s purpose, I want to leave a legacy. The day’s reflection delivered these words, “Great sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived.”  So if I am to teach someone, I may do so with fewer words.  

You and I both know it’s never easy. We all start with good intentions but some days some things get the better of us.  When life pulls you in different directions, when you feel overwhelmed, and can’t seem to take one more step, it’s good to remind ourselves of this question, “What is this all about?”  And I hope your answer would give you:

  • comfort when there’s pain,
  • joy when there’s a lot to complain,
  • peace when everything around is in chaos,
  • hope in despair,
  • gentleness in the midst of noise,
  • forgiveness when there’s lack of it.
photo credit: Mehmet Kursat Deger
photo credit: Mehmet Kursat Deger

Then maybe you can strip away all that is not important, simplify things again, and start from there.  That way you narrow down your focus to just a few, the ones that really matter.

Question:

Have you pondered about this question-  “What is this all about”? What answers did you get? Did it change the next days of your life? Share your thoughts here. There’s always a lot we can learn from each other.

A mentor once said, “Focus on this. One life, one person at a time. If you can create an impact, a change like that, that’s all that matters”.  #sundaewrites

 

 

Bored.

Burdened.

If you have felt these lately, you are not alone. A  million of us share the same road.

In my small circle of friends, at least half of us feel like life is a drag- a heavy load you need to carry with you wherever you want to go. Each step lands your foot in a mud.  You’ve got to pull your leg a little harder every time so you get to move.  If at all, you get to move.

Why do we have days like these? Why can’t we always feel happy and stay like that all year long?

While we all know that happiness is a decision you make for yourself, it’s easier said than done, or perhaps we don’t really know what that means or what it really takes.

All the successful people you’ve known were once upon a time nobodies. They started small. They struggled but kept on because they were driven by something that’s far greater than themselves. Something noble and beautiful. Something they desire to create not only for themselves but for the world, even if that world only meant a handful of people that they deeply care about. So in time, they’ve overcome the hurdles and eventually became great- famous, wealthy, powerful.

Then it happens. Success made these same people get so engrossed on fame, wealth, and power. The drive is now to maintain the status quo or exceed the same. So, they get to work to produce more success-  toil day in and day out that it becomes an obligation they believe they owe to themselves.

Is that bad? Not necessarily. But weak motivations won’t hold you up forever.  You see, the moment our focus change, we forget about why we do what we do in the first place. Our great WHY vanishes into thin air.

 

photo credits: Jon Tyson
photo credit: Jon Tyson

 

Take for example this writing.  I don’t know how many people will get to read this and how many of those who read it actually cares.  Despite the nagging desire to know, I choose to resist it. One of my mentors actually said, even the greatest writers still have that fear of rejection- you just have to deal with it. Then she spilled out this nugget of wisdom that up to now continues to motivate me. “Focus on this. One life, one person at a time. If you can create an impact, a change like that, that’s all that matters”.  So whenever I scribble something on a notepad or strike letters on my keyboard, I think about that one person that might find these words useful. Then the writing stops being an obligation. It now becomes an opportunity. No longer a drag rather, a source of delight.

Whenever you feel battered in life, one of the ways that can heal you is through your ability to receive love. Most “strong” people forget about that. Does it come from ego or pride? Maybe.

Regardless, you need to break that wall and let love seep through. You’ll always be a child. Even strong muscles or gray hairs cannot change that.  You need love. Don’t be too proud to receive it.

Boredom. Burden. These are real, but you deserve better.

Embrace your great WHY and open up your heart for Love.

 

photo credit: ben white
photo credit: ben white

 

Question:

Have you taken a step back at one point in life to just reevaluate things? To remind yourself again why you do what you do? What did this “pause” reveal about yourself and the life you pursue? I care about your thoughts. Share them here.

 

Stop beating yourself up, because the people to whom you really matter, would still want to see you alright and truly happy. And it makes sense to want it for yourself too.

 

Frustration washed over me. I was in that awful state a few weeks back.  It lingered for quite some time and I nearly quit.  I remember one night before closing my eyes to sleep, I said, “I’m done”.  I was determined to quit. I felt helpless and I was ready to let go.  I can’t seem to win over it anyway.

Days after, I went to confront my issues face to face.  The problem was, I knew I was supposed to be doing something about things that I really cared about but lately, I was failing.  Work takes a lot of my time.  I don’t blame my job for it. I don’t curse it because, well, it brings food to the table, allows me to pursue my passion and equips me to give more. The truth of the matter is, I failed to recognize that I was going through a rough season, and like everything else, this season will also come to pass.

When you’ve sucked up to gloomy days for a while it pays to have pillars around.  These are the people who actually help you look at the problem fair and square and present options you failed to notice or even think of. At best,  they would remind you to be gentle and forgiving to your own self, more so because you cannot expect it from the world.

We should allow ourselves some white space, a soft place to land, a breather, a room to fail and make mistakes.  After all, that’s what being human is. We have limits. The sooner we recognize this, the sooner we’d free ourselves from the worthless feeling of inadequacy and frustration.

I must admit that even in the past I had this superhero complex.  Most days I’m able to tame it, but sometimes, it manages to escape and that’s when it takes a toll on me. We can’t really be everything to everyone, no matter how hard we try, and we cannot be in every place at the same time.  If you’re like that too, control that tendency now.  Stop beating yourself up because today and tomorrow, the people to whom you really matter, would still want to see you alright and truly happy. And it makes sense to want it for yourself too.

The conversations I had with my pillars simplified things and gave me clarity.  Believe me, to the world they may just be a bunch of regular people, but they are my bunch. If you have them in your own life, realize that you are very fortunate.

This season also reminded me to take the time to honor my pillars and recognize that no matter how high I soar, I could always count on them whenever my wings break and in need of healing, or whenever the storm gets too strong and I need a shelter for the night.  

A wise man was asked one time, “How come you are able to see far ahead?” , He quipped, “Simple. Because my feet are resting on the shoulders of God. Far and wide He can see,  that’s why I can.”

There’s no need for love to be profound.  It is what it is even in the mundane of things.

 

Words are cheap. It’s easy to say I love yous’ and not really stand by every word you express. It’s easy to feel love for other people especially when they’re miles away and you don’t need to put up with their daily dramas and annoyances. So I believe, we love best when we do so even if,

it’s uncomfortable,

even when it’s hard,

even when it takes up your time, your energy and your resources.

So, are we really ready for this? Do we have the strength of will to carry on?

Love is a verb.  It’s a call to action. The most beautiful of roses have thorns. So it is with love- the sweetest of it requires the greatest sacrifice.  A call for a noble deed or dying for a friend may be uncommon these days, but that call exists even in the simplest of circumstances:

-to lose sleep for a loved one who needs to talk his heart out through the night

-to save a sandwich for a coworker who missed lunch because of deadlines

-to trash your well-laid plans for the day and drop by to check on a friend

-to laugh at your dad’s joke no matter how silly it is ‘coz you’re happy that he is

-to remember someone’s need in prayer, even if you have much of your own

-to put up with a kids tantrum, knowing he’s just scared and maybe needs attention as grown-ups still do

There are a lot of different ways to act on love, but often times we neglect these opportunities because we’re so focused on ourselves and our needs. So we end up loving in our own terms. Conditional. But maybe if we give it a little more effort, and speak the kind of language the other person has, we can brighten someone else’s day and there’ll be one less lonely or sad person in the world. One person at a time. One effort at a time. That wouldn’t be so overwhelming.

If a person feels loved when somebody listens to his stories- lend an ear. If a person feels loved when she gets an encouragement- say something. If a person feels loved by receiving some help- extend a hand. There’s no need for love to be profound.  It is what it is even in the mundane of things.

And for us who expects love in a big way- like a strong wind that sweeps us off our feet, my challenge is this:  Wake up, and see love in the ordinary.  A kind smile. A sunny day, even a rainy one. A warm home-cooked meal. A hand to hold. A glimpse of nature. A gentle word.

Love is everywhere and it is in you too.  Don’t just show up to receive it. Show up to give it. Your own little way makes it special, makes it count.  A friend, a husband,  wife, a father, a son, a mom a daughter, a colleague, a stranger, we are no different from one another.  Everybody needs love. And everybody is capable of giving it. Be it simple or grand- act on it, and on the flipside, learn to recognize it too.

 

Photo Credits: Kristina Litvjak

 

What keeps you going every single day? You know, that thing that fires you up, tickles your toes, and pokes your heels to leap, or even run with a penguin-like pair of happy feet?  That one good thing that gives you a merry heart?

Dreams. They give me wings.  They make my heart flutter, and wildly take my imagination to a place, full of vivid colors and exciting possibilities.  It scares me sometimes, the great unknown. But it pays to set your sights on to what could possibly be good, rather than what could go wrong.

If you wake up to mornings dragging yourself to the shower with arc-shaped lips and folded eyebrows like you’re about to drop onto the floor and cry – – friend, you’re in danger zone and you’ve got to pull yourself out of it!

“Why me?”, you asked.  Well, of course. Because you are your own best friend. Let me break it to you. The people around you, they can only do so much. You have to accept that.  If you don’t see yourself worthy of a meaningful existence, a higher calling, or up for a bigger purpose, then right there, you’ve already lost the battle. Why? Because the last person who could ever have that faith in you has just given up. And that’s you. You have lost your faith, in you.

People will find it hard to fight for someone who won’t even fight for themselves. Even if they do, they can only get very far. If you’re that someone, please don’t neglect your own self. You’re too precious for that. The sooner you’ll realize this truth the sooner you’ll get out of the hollow you’re in.

We often forget that the life we have is not some sort of entitlement.  Rather, it’s a gift, an opportunity. No wonder we take it for granted many times. We complain a lot, we get frustrated and sad for too long that it shortens our breath and aches our bodies.  Oftentimes, we get too focused on our own hurts and forget about the rest of the world who’s hurting too.  We don’t look far and wide enough.  Our “own world” is too small just like a hole that we dig into. So what happens? We let our brilliance slip from memory.  We lose the spark.  We become immobile, useless according to our own terms.

Friend, can you come back to the land of the living?  We need you here. The years you’ve lived with all the battles you’ve fought hard and may have lost- is not everything. That is not all there is to it. You became more because of those struggles. And there is more to life, more good things yet to come. And you’ve got to focus on these.  You and I already know that we have a limited time. So let’s fill what we have with memories we can be proud of, and leave a legacy that we have lived our lives to the full and lived it well- well enough to touch others.

When you add life to life, it just gets better. When you add life to where there’s a lack of it, then you’re standing on higher ground.  With your scars and all, you can still help people.  If you’re that someone who needs help, receive it.  There may be times when you’d feel the need to ask for it, go ahead because that’s okay.  But remember, while you ask others for help, help yourself too.  Start with you.