The whys of it all

A lot of times I wonder why I do this. Why I practice. It’s tiring, it’s frustrating, it takes you to the edge of your patience. Yet I continue to do it. I continue to practice the primary series. I continue to do back bends no matter how deathly afraid I am of them. I continue to jump back and jump through in my chunky, struggling way. I continue to negotiate with my hamstrings and my lower back to cooperate in the poses. Why do I keep doing this to myself? I asked my husband one night. Why do we do anything? He asked in return.

Why indeed?

This is always on my mind every time I step on my mat. And every time, I also ask myself, if I didn’t spend these 90 minutes practicing, what would I be doing instead? Puttering about on social media is the honest answer to that. Not exactly the best way to spend those 90 minutes, so might as well work on myself. The practice is incredibly humbling. It exposes your physical weaknesses first, and then the mental struggles. When I’m faced with a challenging pose (all of them, really), I’m always faced with the choice to stand up and walk away from my mat. Why bother? Why go through it? I could be lying down instead of working on catching my wrist in Marichasana D. But I choose not to. I choose to continue to breathe, and then I get through it in whatever capacity I can on that day, never mind if I catch my wrist or not. And I guess it reflects life off the mat a lot. When faced with a challenge at work, I panic and bitch about it for a few seconds, but eventually I catch my breath and start working on it. No way around but through it, is what they say. And it’s been the same, on and off the mat.

Practicing also restored a sense of wonder in me. Don’t get me wrong, majority of the time, it’s a struggle, but when I do have breakthroughs, when my teacher gives me the confidence to prove my fears wrong, there’s no other feeling like it. What’s even better is it’s from within me, not an external factor or thing, but because of something I did for myself, something I conquered in me. And while non-attachment is essential, I believe it’s those little bursts of joy and wonder that keep me going in an otherwise crazy world (my mind included).

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One small step

Let your journey to strength be journey in humility. – Kino MacGregor

For the first time in a long time, I have found something that I could truly believe in, that makes life more meaningful and more whole. I have only been practicing for 4 months, my movements are still unrefined, though steadily improving. There are incredibly frustrating days during which I have to make myself take a step back and trust that things will unfold in time. More importantly, I can already feel subtle changes in my spirit. On my mat, I’ve experienced true stillness of the mind, one that I’ve never experienced anywhere, even during the countless times I am alone with nothing but my thoughts.

Oh, and my mom noticed an improvement in my posture – something she’s been trying to get me to work on since high school.

I know this is but one small step in a life long journey, but I have a feeling this will be one journey I won’t ever regret embarking on.

Mani(l)a

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Manila, with its unreasonable enthusiasm for organized chaos, never ceases to amaze and appall me all at once. I’ve lived here for more than half my life and it somehow manages to continue moving towards disorganization. A quick downpour can transform the city into a murky, infectious waterpark. The most wonderful time of the year can turn the streets into a nightmare of stationary headlights and raucous honking. One can rely on the unreliability of public transport, both in system and technicalities.

Yet I continue to wonder why, despite the ugliness and seeming hopelessness of it all, I still unwillingly – curiously – miss it when I am away. Ah, the mystery.

Unconditional love

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An apt reminder. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that if it truly is love, it is supposed to be easy. It’s not. It takes a tremendous amount of work, and while nobody is ever prepared for it, we take it on anyway and stumble and get back up and stumble over and over again. And that’s okay because love is all the good bits and the bad bits, the little heartbreaks and little triumphs in between that remind us that yes, we are human, but we are capable of loving and being loved in all our messy and glorious ways.

A speck in the sky

Most of you may have already seen this – I know I’m four years late – but I’m still going to share it anyway in case you haven’t seen The Most Important Image Ever Captured by The Hubble telescope.

I was incredibly amazed and humbled after watching this. It’s true, I cannot fathom the immensity of the universe, but it has cemented my belief that we are not alone. That we are not the center of the universe. Who are we, what our worries, our anxieties, our fears, our arrogance in all of this? Nothing but specks of dust in a space that is continuously expanding. We hem and haw about the most infinitesimal of things, believe ourselves the victims, demand for something we think we deserve, all the while forgetting to realize that there is something greater than ourselves, something other than ourselves that we cannot comprehend as of yet.

My emotions are tumultuous at best. One minute I feel so insignificant, that no matter what I do, in the grand scheme of things, it will be lost. And the people who will remember will also be lost, inevitably destined to be one with the cosmos, like I am. Yet at the same time I am awed because human beings have managed to get this far and put things in perspective. We may be leagues behind other intelligences, but we have managed to take the first step in wrapping our heads around the incredible universe. We have managed albeit bloody and bruised and imperfect beyond belief, we have managed. I am proud of this feat that others have pulled off and I look forward to gaining more knowledge from them, and in turn am hopeful that people will learn to be more open-minded and selfless from the knowledge gained, in the same way that I strive to become that way, too.

I truly am in awe of the vastness and grandness and utter majesty of it all. I saw the video yesterday and until today, I cannot shake the feeling of wonder and helplessness off.

Old soul?

See, I have this dilemma.

Sometimes I’m convinced that I was born 50, 60, maybe even 70 years too late. I’m always drawn to vintage styles (photos, accessories, turn tables, what-have-yous). I genuinely enjoy listening to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and even extending a bit later (thanks to my parents) to The Temptations, Bee Gees, Smokey Robinson, Three Degrees, etc. I dream of having a custom-built (or restored) ’67 Chevy Impala someday. I know, that’s mostly because of Supernatural, but had I seen it in any other film, or even in the flesh (not that cars have flesh??), I’d still feel the same way about it. Which is probably why I also have a thing for Mini Coopers, because they have that vintage look, too. Or a classic Cadillac. I’ve always, always wanted a Cadillac since I first read about it in Archie comics, if I remember correctly. Anyway, the point is, I’ve always been intrigued with how life was during those times and I’m very keen on reading and seeing more about it, and have thought, more than once, of wanting to have lived during those decades.

Then again, I am sometimes appalled at how archaic some people still think these days. How stubbornly they view religion (or spirituality), how utterly backwards they think of the wonderful LGBT community, women, politics and life in general. I imagine it would have been even more restrictive back then, so you see the dilemma I’m in??? I don’t know how to reconcile these two parts of me, because really, there are times when I see or hear something and simply want to jump out of my skin and into another timezone altogether, but I’m not entirely sure if I would like living in the past. Back when we didn’t know better and our ignorance was more pronounced (slavery, racism, etc.), which is still around today albeit at a lesser degree, I hope. Perhaps if I had the same thinking as the others in those times, I would be fine, but given the way I think now (I consider myself more open-minded on certain things – maybe even more liberal – than most, at least in our country), I’m not sure if I’d survive back then. I suppose those decades speak to my senses more than these modern times, but intellectually, we may not be as compatible.

I don’t know why I think about these things. HAHA. But there you go, my weird, random thought of the day.

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

Last night, I saw this post: The Most Important Life Lesson Older People Want Younger Ones To Know.

How timely. I spent the past week with relatives from Canada, and it has made me question (not for the first time) what it is I really want to do with my life. One of my cousins, who we’d known all along would go into the food and beverage industry, is now a sous chef and is gearing towards becoming an executive chef soon. Had they stayed here, he might not have made his dream into a reality – or at least not as easily as how it actually happened. As I listened to him talk about the hard work and discipline that went into the past seven years, I also sensed the passion and happiness he got out of it despite the pressure and the long hours. I was genuinely happy for him because he was doing what he’d always wanted to do. Not a lot of people can say the same.

Like me, for instance. I was once again I was reminded of the fact that I am not exactly where I want to be (not that I know where that is). Well, okay, it’s not that I have no idea. I’ve eventually come to terms with the fact that my interests lean towards literature, languages and history. But this realization only became concrete in the past year or so. Come to think of it, those have always been my interests, even back in high school. I just never thought of them as options to shape a career out of.

Also, I want to be rich, and I sure as hell am not getting there in my current job, nor through my interests alone. So, business has to be thrown somewhere in the mix. When the money starts rolling in, then I can finally start pursuing my true interests. For now, I’ll just have to suck it up and roll with the punches. It’s not easy having to convince yourself to like what you do, and it gets sad at times. But I’m still luckier than most, and for that I am thankful.

I do hope you all are having better luck pursuing your dreams than I am. 😉

Title of the post is the song by U2 and, incidentally, the theme song of my life.