Friday, November 26

I Give Thee Thanks

… For life itself. I close my eyes, trying to imagine where else I can, who eIse I can, what else I can possibly be. And all I can see is a blank, black space. Essentially nothing. I open my eyes and … sensory overload! Colors, shapes, texture, life! Life is definitely where and alive is what I would rather be.

… For my life. Mine is not a perfect life. It’s not the best life. But it is mine. And, looking around, it is better compared to some. Thus, I am not complaining.

… For me. I am not the perfect or the best person. I’m rather an average person. But I don’t think I’m the worst person either. For this, I am very grateful.

… For my family. My family’s not perfect either. Neither is it the best. We’ve had our fair share of drama. But through everything, with genuine concern and real love for each other, we've stayed a family. And that love, that’s the kind of love that runs through my veins.

… For my friends. Of which I’ve both good and bad. Whichever they may be, they helped mold me into who I am now.

… For love. I may have lost some. Tragically. But I believe that, “It is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all.” I realize that some go thru life without knowing what true love is. At least I have. Twice.

… For tomorrows that come. For tomorrow is another day, another chance. Tomorrow is hope.

Sunday, November 21

Losing The Right To Complain

People say that I am a patient person; in fact too patient at times, they say. People also say that I am a good listener; that’s why people and problems flock to me, I’m told.

But this weekend, I was neither of these. My friend stayed over the weekend. And what she had to say (not the first, second nor third time for me to hear) triggered a tirade from me. Why? Here’s why.

Your husband cheats on you. Painful. I get it. I got cheated on as well. Twice. So, I get it. Question is, what do you do next?

First time she told me about it, she sounded like she wanted to fight for him. She wanted him back. Fine. So, I supported that. I can understand. They married right out of college, had a baby, immediately migrated to and started a life from scratch in the US, had another kid (a special one) and stayed married for the next 23 years.

But I told her: “You’ve got to drop it. No more mention of the cheating. Forgive and forget. You can’t keep bringing it up.”

She agreed.

Two months later, she called again and ended spending the night over. Turned out, she caught her husband again. With the same woman. I tell you, I’ve never seen such a woman scorned in real life. She talked my ears off till 3 am! The following day, we parted ways with a list of her “things to do” to get her domestic affairs in order.

Several phone calls later, she’s back at my place with the same rants. Then I asked her: “Where are we on the list of ‘things to do’”?

The answer I got: “One.”

All these months, she had done only one item on a list of 12. She’s still working on the 11 others. She’s still “analyzing and planning” how. In the meantime, she allowed her husband to move back in. She’s still scheming. And ranting! Over the same things! We are where we first started. We are going in circles!

And she had the gall to tell me: “You don’t understand. You’re not married and you don’t have kids.”

I wanted so much to blurt out: “Then why are you coming to me? Why don’t you go talk to someone who’s married and has kids?! Go waste somebody else’s time!” Thank God I was able to hold these thoughts in. 

What I did tell her is:  "Look. We've swung from one end of the pendulum to the other.  You wanted to work it out and I supported you.  You wanted to leave him and I supported you.  I feel frustrated because we're neither here nor there.  You've barely made a move and yet here you are complaing about your husband!  What about you?  What are you doing to make things better; if not for the two of you as couple, at least for yourself?"

Geeeez! All these months, all those talks, all those rants! I can only be patient and help so much! The rest must come from the actual person herself. It’s not very motivating to help someone who will not help one’s self. I don’t think anyone who chooses to find reasons – no, excuses – and remain in a miserable situation has the right to continue complaining.

I may be wrong and judgmental, but I believe that one loses the right to complain when one chooses to stay miserable when there is a reasonable opportunity to make things better and be happy.

Friday, November 12

What Goes On In Their Minds

I had my annual physical exam close to 2 months ago. I was given a referral and prescription by my primary doctor to go see a specialist and undergo 2 MRI-like exams. You see, they felt a lump. Not the first time. A “cyst” they called it.

So off I scheduled and went for the “MRIs”. Since I chose the “first thing in the morning” schedule, I finished both in no time. Thought I'd get off early, but that didn’t happen. A nurse came up to me and said, “Sorry we took so long. But, the doctor wants you to get a biopsy. We called your primary physician and she agreed that it’s the best thing to do.”

After having everything explained to me, I signed off on the consent forms and went thru the procedure. For the biopsy, I had to go through 3 steps.

photo @ ADAM*
Fine needle aspiration. Using a needle and syringe, fluid was drained from the cyst.

Core needle biopsy. A bigger needle was used. But instead of a syringe, a stapler look-a-like and sound-a-like was connected to the needle. This is suppose to get a sample of the tissues surrounding the cyst. Three thrusts (remember it looked and sounded like a stapler) they did.

Clip. This is the cool part, they left a “clip” at the spot where they did the biopsy. The “clip” is the size of a grain of rice and made of titanium. It’s suppose to mark where the biopsy was done should future examinations and treatment be needed. And the first thing they said about the clip was that it will not set off any airport alarms. Nice!

Now, during the 15-minute procedure (I tell you, the pep and prep talks took longer!), aside from straining my neck so that I can watch the procedure from the monitor, the only other thing that went thru my mind was this:

“What goes on in the doctors’ and nurses’ minds when, during the procedure itself, their guts tell them that the cyst is cancerous. Same with the pathologists, who are at attention and at standby during the procedure, waiting for the fluid drained from the cyst and then heading straight to the lab to culture the fluid for cancer cells.”
Do they feel, while waiting for the results, as nervous, anxious, apprehensive, etc. as their patients? Do they feel as sad and devastated as their patients when the lab results scream, “Oh yes, it is cancer!”

I wonder …..

* photo@ADAM

Monday, November 8

Today Is The Day – No More!

Today, I made THE decision. No more being a nice person. No more being civil. No more feeling sorry. That is, to the EX.

She may have her reasons for acting the way she had and is, now I have mine. The irony of it all is that she was the one who showed me the way out. For, after all the rationalizing in my post, it all came down to this.

CONTEXT: The last two episodes of Brothers & Sisters “softened” me, prompting me to initiate a BBM to the EX.
ME:  Have you ever taken scuba diving lessons before?
EX:  Yes intro lesson. Why?
ME: Do you want to get certified?
EX:  No, because scuba diving hurts my ear. There's something wrong with my middle ear. Go ahead and have yourself certified. Exciting!
ME:  Need to think about this. I don’t want to start something that I’m not going to see through and make use of. G’nyt, EX.
EX:  You are too strict with yourself. You have too many rules for yourself. If you want to do it, just go and do it. Do not rationalize too much. You are allowed to change your mind. It’s your life and your time!  :-)
Needless to say, this didn’t hit me well. I asked a simple question and I get this sermon. And, as always, the EX failed to see the “gesture” in my question. Then the thought crossed my mind. I wanted to BBM her:  "Are you using this argument to justify your cheating on me? All of a sudden, I am the one with a lot of rules for myself? Geeez, who between the two of us has so many 'NOs … no to this, no to that'." I wanted to blurt out, but managed to control myself and manage my answer. 
ME:  Wow, what a passionate answer. At least you're right about one thing.  It's not about rules. It's about wanting to do it or not. Actually, I don't. I just thought of asking you if you want to do it. And if you did, I was thinking it might be a fun thing to do together. Sorry I asked.
EX:  Hahaha, why are you saying sorry? And why are you still awake?
Another raised eyebrow. Hello?!!! I was being sarcastic when I said “sorry”! Sigh ... exasperation, exasperation.  Still, I tried to stay as calm and composed, yet wanting to leave a sting.
ME:  Woke up. Had to answer a call. Now, that speech of yours on rules, rationalizing, changing one’s mind, etc, etc, are you convincing me or yourself?  :-/  My unsolicited thoughts on the matter - there are matters that are meant to be just black or white. Mess with them and things will turn a deceiving gray. Hehehe. Before you were a grasshopper. Then a bird. Now, seems like you're a chameleon. You become the crowd you are with. When will you be you? Or is this really you now? Let me know so I can change my mind about letting you in my life. Hehehe.
EX:  Hey, where did that come from?
And this is where I said to myself, “No more.”

As she said, “You are allowed to change your mind. It’s your life and your time!” And that’s what I am going to do!

I’m changing my mind. I do not care if she thinks I'm inconsiderate of her circumstances. I do not care if she thinks I’ve given up on her. I do not care if she thinks less of me. After all, did she care about what I would think or how I would feel if I caught her lying and cheating? Did she care about how I would feel when I asked her to let go and she didn’t?

This is not the same person I fell in love with. The person I fell in love was tough on the outside, but soft on the inside. The person I fell in love with had a heart. I hardly know this person now. She’s too carefree for comfort that I got inspired to coin another SAMism: Knowing that you are marrying a whore is different from finding out that you are married to one.

I'm tired.  It’s all about her. What she wants, when she wants, how she wants things. Funny thing is, she knows how she is. But she refuses to grow up. She lures fans and drops them. She charms her way to having people accept the spoiled brat that she is and gets mad when people don’t. She writes people off when people she feels close to forget her significant life events and yet she doesn’t return the gesture. She gushes over people who kiss ass, but takes for granted the people who truly care for her.

No more. I am changing my mind. Life is short. I don’t have time to waste on a person who doesn’t want to grow up. There are more persons deserving of me. More importantly, I am deserving of better persons.  It is my life, my time.

There!  Got that off my chest.  Now, I hope I don't put my feet where my mouth is ...

Saturday, November 6

Things On My Mind

I did my annual benefits enrolment today. And part of that is a health assessment. Guess what? The assessment says that I am moderately to highly depressed! Now that’s depressing!

So, I spent the better part of the day thinking what things are making me depressed:

TV.  All the TV shows I follow had tearjerker episodes this week! My goodness, they all made me cry! And it all started with last Sunday’s Brothers & Sisters episode.

COFFEE SHOP FORUM.  Have you ever wondered what will become of the youth and what their world will be like in the future? Go visit Blogger's Coffee Shop Forum.

TIME.  There are so many things I want to do, but there is so little time … and money!

WORK.  I’ve fallen out of love with work. Historically, I’ve managed to stay in relationship with my work for an average of 3 years. After 3 years, I tend to get bored and in need of something new to do. Mid next year is my 3rd year in my current role. This early, I am raring to change roles. Why am I falling short of my average? I’m not feeling the leadership. Take note. I am not referring to individuals or personalities here. I am referring to, well, leadership – the people who are supposed to serve as models, to guide, to empower, to motivate, to inspire. It is obvious. My leadership are unhappy too with their own leadership, thus the lack of passion in their work and in the team.

Make no mistake about it though. I am very grateful that I have a job at all. Thus, I know that I owe my job my best. And this I do. It takes twice or even triple the effort though given the blandness I am feeling for it right now.

On the other hand, it’s also a challenge carrying the fear that, tomorrow, even your bland job is gone.

UPCOMING VACATION.  Can’t wait for it, but at the same time I’m dead scared of it. You see, I agreed to spend a weekend with my EX. Why did I agree to? It’s because I am hoping to get answers then. And the answers can go either way. It can mean the end of a long-winded chapter or the beginning of a sweet, new one. I don’t know what to expect and the anticipation is killing me ...

Or maybe, it’s just that period in life when hormones are all crazy and going off-tangent? Now I understand why plates suddenly started flying and breaking into pieces when my mom was in her 50s. LOL!

Friday, October 29

Live In The Moment to Make It Through

I went into the week with a heavy heart. I had too many “challenges” at work. But guess what? It’s Friday already! I made it through the week!

It wasn’t easy. I had to carry the heavy heart every day. But, I tried my best to focus on the moment, to focus on the work at hand. Mind over matter. One challenge at a time. One day at a time. And now, it’s Friday!

Which brings me back to Sam's Ingredients For A Fulfilled Life.

There is nothing wrong with dreaming. Dreaming is good. It’s good to look to the future; to look at a goal, an end state, to get the things that fill us. However, dreams are supposed to inspire us. They are supposed to drive us. They should not be a source of frustration and unhappiness. Dreams become a burden when we spend more time whining for them than working for them. We need to deal with the here and now to get to our dreams in the future.

Dealing with the here and now. Now, that is work. Hard work. Life throws us lemons and curved balls. Deciding whether to catch the lemons and turn them to lemonade or deciding whether to get hit or to dodge curved balls by moving to the right or to the left. Making decisions is work and acting on decisions even harder work. Regardless, making decisions require that we focus on the moment.

Now, how does one survive the moment? For sure, even the moment can bog us down and drown us. Well, the following work (notice, the word is “work” as there is effort involved) for me:
  • I think positive. I look at the glass as being half full and not half empty.
  • I ponder upon and take to heart the "Serenity Prayer". There are just some things I can’t control and that I just have to let go.  That no amount of anger, of sadness, of worry, of dwelling, etc. will correct and make the situation go away.  That the only thing I can do is look at the situation straight in the eye and take the beating if need be.
  • We need to take time out ... yes, a drop-everything-time out to smell the roses.
  • As a result of #2 above, I just have to believe.  Believe that this moment shall pass and that tomorrow, the future, shall come.
  • Part of believing is knowing that what I have to endure at the moment is necessary for me to get to the future. The moment is my investment towards a fulfilled life.  As it has been said, "Nothing beautiful ... (a fulfilled life in this case) ... comes easy."
Monday, then I was a 5 year old not wanting to work. Friday, now I am an adult looking forward to a restful, fun-filled weekend. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, October 24

My Escape

The past week had been "bothersome" (to say the least) for me.

First, there’s that epic panic attack I brought upon myself for the (bleep!) decision to tell my EX that I now have a blog.  Tsk.  Tsk.  Tsk.

Second, I don’t know how I’ll be able to pull 2 business deals through.  With all the company restructuring and other cost cutting initiatives, I simply do not have the same rope to work with in closing deals.  It’s like extracting a tooth out before anything gets approved.  Ouch!

Third, I learned that I need to tell a complainer client that his request for better terms had been disapproved.  Oh, I can imagine him now. My poor ears (sigh)!

Fourth, have you been to the Coffee Shop recently?

Last but not least, at school, it felt like my students were caffeined-up as well.  Dear Lord, were they all hyped up!  I think I’ve gotten them too engaged.  Or was I just cranky?

So, to calm and soothe my nerves, I went to the nearest reservation to my house.  A leisurely 20 to 30 minutes drive.  Camera in tow, I started clicking away.

Yes, when I want to escape reality for little while, I become an amateur than amateur photographer and poet. Thought I’d share some of my works ...

(one I posted in Sam's Ingredients For A Fulfilled Life page, where picture is mine, but prayer written by somebody else).

Incidentally, I will be getting back to my Fulfilled Life series once I am back at my elementMy mind is all blurry now.

Wednesday, October 20

Panic Time!

Stupid, stupid me told my EX that I started a blog.  Teasing?  Probably.  But I was so confident that she, no one I know in fact, will ever find my blog.  That is, until last Sunday.

I had this feeling that my EX was already in search of and that was dangerously near to finding my blog.  I’ve done a google search before and my blogspot user name or my google buzz name did not appear.  Then, from nowhere, I thought of typing my gmail name.  And, to my horror, all blogger buzz entries with my gmail name showed!  Worse, if one clicks on it, it goes to my profile and my blog’s link!

Pitter patter, pitter patter rising to a crescendo of THROB! THROB! THROB!

I nervously posted questions in the help forums asking why my gmail name showed and, more importantly, I how do I correct this.

Sunday.  Monday.  Even Tuesday was drawing to an uneventful close when I heard my gmail alert.  At exactly 11:30 pm EDT, somebody was visiting my blog.  Can it be?  I logged in StatCounter and my heart leaped out of my mouth.  Oh no!!!  My EX is reading my blog!

It was a battle of nerves.  What to do?  What to do?  Do I erase the posts I wrote on her/us?  Or do I leave them there?

I BBMed her to let her know that I know she’s lurking.  And guess what?  She logged out!  Well, what do you know?  And now, we’re both playing innocent.  As if she didn’t see my blog.  As if I believe her

I wonder what will happen next … between me and my EX … this blog?  What will become of my blog?  Think, think, think.  I guess this is a “To Be Continued”…

Monday, October 18

What I Did

I procrastinate.  I vacillate.  I’m simply indecisive; or maybe I am just a moment person.  I believe in feeling the moment out – if the timing is right or not. I believe in “signs”.  I believe in gut.  I believe in that “voice within”.  So, until I have said or acted my decision out, it’s as if no decision has been made.

In other words, I was totally unsure of myself till it was time to leave the church, the very end of school day!

I agree that I needed to inform the “authorities”, whether it meant telling Y’s mom or the Sunday school director.  I have the responsibility to.

But I was also torn with my responsibility to keep my student’s trust and confidence.  Clearly, I needed to tell Y that I need to tell someone of the rape.  Never mind if she did not agree.  Never mind if she did not want me to.  For as long as I talked to her and explained to her why I would do what I will do.  At least I did not lie to her.  At least I did not do it behind her back.  That should be enough for her to give me credit for.  That should be enough for me to be worthy of trust and confidence in the future.  I had to tell Y that I would do what I will do because I believed, at that very moment, that I was doing the right thing.

It was right not just because I was doing what was expected of me.  It was right because by telling “authorities”, she will get more help and support than I can give.  There will be more people looking out for her; and for other kids too.  The “molester” needed to be stopped; and that wouldn’t happen if I kept quiet.

While I was rehearsing all these in my head, my spiel, it dawned on me.  On the way to church, Y asked if she can sit beside me during mass.  Of course I nodded “yes”.  But, as my duties called for it, I ended up sitting beside another student.  So, right after mass, I motioned to Y to come to me.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t sit beside you during mass.  Did you want to tell me something,” I asked.

She just looked at me so I continued. “How are you? Has it stopped?”

Y said, “Yes. He left the country.”

“And that was after your mom talked to him,” I asked.

Y nodded.

“What else did your mom do,” I prodded.

“Mom brought me to the hospital. And the police came.  Then mom brought me to a special doctor and the doctor gave me medicine.  The doctor said I had an infection like a diaper rash.”

At this point, I wanted to hug her but I didn’t.  I didn’t want to break down.  I couldn’t, shouldn’t.  Here in front of me was this strong little girl.  You can see the fear in her face, but you can see that she wasn’t about to cry.  And I didn’t want her to. So, no hug.

Instead, I started walking out of the church with Y beside me.  That’s when I put my arm around her shoulder as if in a casual walk.  And I gently asked, “How did it happen?”

And Y started telling me the details, which I will skip.  And that’s because more important than details of the rape was what Y said at the end of her story; an ending that said a lot about the little girl.  An ending that gave me confidence that Y will be ok.

While in the hospital, Y asked her mom: “Mom am I pregnant?  Because if I’m pregnant, I want to keep the baby.”

Huh?!  Unbelievable!  Here she was, an 11 year old rape victim, and what she’s worried about is keeping her baby!

So, I asked her, not knowing if she’ll understand: “Do you already have your period?”

Thank God Y understood and said, “No.”

And thank God, too, that I had the chance to say this before Y’s mom came, “Y, a bad thing happened to you.  And a whole lot more bad things will happen to you. Some better, some worse than this one.  Just remember, just because bad things happen to you it doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a bad life.  It’s up to you.  It’s up to you to make your life a good life.  It’s up to you to turn bad things to good so that you will have a good life.  Do you understand?”

Y smiled.  And the hug came.  Y gave me the hug!  Then she ran and took her mom’s hand.

Well, I guess, that one didn’t turn out bad.  Oh, the things we worry about.  Especially when there are others who have a whole lot more to worry about than us.

P.S. As for B, I thought I had a plan already. But while I was typing it now, it didn’t seem like it was a good plan after all.  I need to re-think this one.  I know.  I’m procrastinating again.  But sometimes, as I've learned, procrastinating can be a good thing, too.  As it is said, "Good things happen to those who wait."

Wednesday, October 13

Just What Do You Do When You Are Told These Things?

Ok, hold on to something. I’m about to say something about myself: I teach Sunday school Yup, I’ve been a volunteer Sunday school teacher for 3 years now. And I teach 6th grade.

Two Sundays ago, I happen to sit beside a current student, Z, who happens to be the brother of a student I had in my first year of teaching. I asked Z, “How’s your brother B?” And Z said, in a matter-of-fact way, “He’s got cancer.”

I don’t know if the weight of my shock showed on my face, but there definitely was a pregnant pause after that. My shock was for two reasons:

  • Shock at learning a kid I actually know (this is the first one for me) has cancer
  • Shock at seeing how stoic Z was when he said that his brother has cancer. I don’t know if he is aware of how bad that illness can be. Or if he was just acting strong. I was trying to see if he was teary-eyed or if he needed a hug. Or maybe, I just wanted to give him a hug. A hug for him and his brother.

Then last Sunday, after the mandatory Sunday school mass, while I and the kids were on our way out of church, my student Y suddenly turned around and told me, “My uncle raped me.” Again, I was shocked and searched my student’s face. Y looks like a very emotionally healthy kid. Always cheerful, always lively. She doesn’t look like the sexually abused little girls I see in Law and Order. So, I was trying to see if she made it up and was just pulling my leg.

“Does your mom know,” I asked.

And Y said, “Yes.”

“Do you want to talk about it,” I mumbled.

“No,” she said.

“You sure,” I followed up.

“Yes,” and she flashed a sweet smile.

“You ok,” I just had to ask.

“Yes.” And she ran away.

Now, I was thinking ...

I want to send a card to B and a card to his parents as well. But then again, doing so feels a little awkward. Some people just don’t want to be reminded of the situation they are in. The cards might, instead of cheering them up, pull them down again. 

And Y? Should I talk to her mom about it? But what if Y was just making it up? If Y wasn’t lying about this, can she be lying about telling her mom? What if Y’s mom doesn’t know? Shouldn’t her mom know? Was Y actually asking me to tell her mom?

Questions, questions. Questions I need to answer before Sunday comes. What do you think?

Monday, October 11

What Fills Your Life?

This is a true story.

A year and a half ago, my friend A had a miscarriage. After listening to her story, I said: “I don’t want to make you feel any worse. But you do know that you lost your baby because you were stressing yourself with anger; anger at your bosses for not supporting your move to and promotion in another division, right?”

And she started crying. In between sobs, she said: “Thank you. For aside from my mom, you’re the only person who recognized the connection between my anger and my miscarriage. You don’t know how good it feels to be understood.”

Fast forward to last week. A surprised me when she asked the trainer: “What’s next? What if I feel so happy and contented now?”


After the miscarriage and the lost promotion opportunity, A once again conceived and, this time, successfully gave birth. She’s still in customer service with the same boss and still wanting to get a more challenging job. So, what changed?

Here’s what. A almost lost her life after giving birth. As she explained, “I am just happy being alive! What they say is true. We tend to appreciate the things we take for granted when they are (almost) taken away from us. I had such a scare at the thought that, in death, I will lose my family!”

Still, something was not quite right to me so I had to ask, “If you’re really so happy and contented, why even ask for what is next? Why not just revel in the moment and wish that the moment never end?”

And she answered, “Because I want to know if I am missing something while I am in this happy and contented state.”

Another "Huh?!"

Moral of the story: “knowing what will fill your life" is probably the trickiest of all the ingredients in having a fulfilled life. Why? As A’s story seem to show, it may be because there is no one thing that will fully fill your life. Maybe it is a combination of things over a continuum of time. Maybe we get to know “what’s missing” after we go through life’s experiences. Maybe it’s trial and error. Maybe Maslow* is head on.

Remember our analogy on how a "fulfilled life is like a full stomach"? How the need to fill our hungry stomachs is just like the need to fill our hungry lives? Maslow said that we will experience perfect moments; moments when a need is filled. However, needs change. And, being the intelligent and full-of-possibility human beings that we are, there is a need that we will never fill. And this is the need to fully satisfy our potential – you know, the “I can be this … I can be that … I must be this … I must be that … I will be this … I will be that,” kind of thing. Yes, man is such an insatiable being!

Wait a sec though. Does this mean then that we are just wasting time, me writing and you reading this blog since it seems impossible that we will ever experience having a fulfilled life at all?

On the contrary, this is the reason why I will continue to write and, hopefully, you will continue to read. For Sam’s second ingredient for a fulfilled life is: knowing when to stop!

* Want to know more about Maslow?

Saturday, October 9

A Fulfilled Life Is Like Having A Full Stomach

Funny, but I was having a hard time writing up the answer to the question, “What is a fulfilled life?” Too many answers racing thru my mind that I was unable to pin down what it is that I really wanted to say.

So, to put structure to my thoughts, I decided to google the subject. And this is what Google showed:  About 19,400,000 results (0.21 seconds). Even Google had too many answers.  Encouraged by all the jumble I saw, l think this is the best way to go about it …

A fulfilled life is literally a life that is fully filled. Questions are:

• What is it that will fully fill life?
And knowing the “what”, how does one fully fill life with it?
• In the first place, what does “fully fill” mean?

Again, we begin at the end. To fill is to saturate, pack, make something full.

Imagine your stomach as your life. Remember how an empty stomach feels or, on the other hand, how a full stomach feels?  Hunger can cause you to feel some discomfort, to lose concentration and, at times, to even get sick.  A full stomach generally gives a good feeling.  It gives you energy to continue on.  A fulfilled life doesn’t feel like an empty stomach. A fulfilled life feels like a full stomach. 

Extending this analogy further. Ever experienced overeating and all you can think about is throwing up and getting whatever you ate out of your body? Or, worse, ever experienced eating something that just didn’t go well with your body, you get this stomach ache for hours and you find yourself ending up in the hospital? 

Same with life. We may be filling our lives with things that we thought we want or need, only to realize that we should be filling our lives with something else. 

I won’t drag this first point any further. Without further ado, here it is. Sam’s first ingredient for a fulfilled life: Know what it is that will make you feel fulfilled.

Thursday, October 7

My Fervent Prayer

Have you ...

... ever been in a love-hate relationship with someone who is a fixture in your life?

... ever "hated" the person enough that you knew growing up what you DO NOT want to be?

... ever "hated" the person enough that you started rebelling inside and out, and started becoming cold and withdrawn?

"Hate" is such a strong word, but I can not think of any other word which best describes that strong feeling of utter disgust. Yes, I had this repulsive feeling in me while growing up.

And did you ever ...

... just literally wake up one day and find this "hate" feeling gone and in its place instead is the feeling of warmth, tenderness, and protectiveness; of love and gratitude, because you realize that the person you "hated" is but a product of so much anger, hurt and pain?  And that all the person really did was to love you fiercely, thinking that her way of caring will protect you from the people and the things that crushed and calloused her? 

I have.

And as I lulled myself to sleep last, I couldn't help but cry. Why? Because this person, my Mama, in her old age is living alone!

She says she misses us all. But when she hears of all the crime and suffering in our country, she's only too glad that we have all left. She says that knowing we are in safer countries with far better opportunities makes the loneliness all worth it. 

I know this sounds morose, but I fervently pray that she will not pass on alone. She deserves much, much more than that! She is the ultimate mother hen – always there for everyone, sheltering everyone under her wings, making everyone’s problems her own. I BEG, BEG to be there for her, with her when her time to rest comes.

Sunday, October 3

A Note Of Thanks

Dear T and BM,

Thank you for your words of support and encouragement! And yes, I will continue to blog.

I believe that everything happens for a reason; that nothing comes out of a vacuum. Although I started blogging just to vent – to express thoughts and feelings that I am unable to say out loud – somehow blogging has began to feel like a “calling”. As BM said, “… there might be someone out there that your blog inspires or even helps …”

I can’t say that it is my dream, as “dreaming” for me is like "winning the lotto", but the thought did cross my mind that my life is worthy of a book. I have a story to tell – a story of hope, faith, and victory. My life is a life of ironies and paradoxes. It is so twisted when gauged against conventional beliefs (religious or even scientific) that it is hard to believe (even I am amazed sometimes), how “well” I and my life turned out to be (knock on wood lest the rug be pulled out from under my feet after this!).

Please note though: my life had never been, still isn’t and I don’t expect it to be perfect. But that is the point. Despite my life’s lack and imperfections, despite the current professional and personal grayness in my life, at this very moment, I genuinely feel like I’ve lived a full life (not to say that there’s nothing for me to live for anymore). I feel like if I was money invested in the stock market just yesterday, whoever invested me already doubled the investment and more!

Another note, another point: if twisted me can feel fulfilled, everyone else can!

And this is why I will continue to blog. I am no writer. I do not have the skill or the discipline to be a real writer. My thoughts are all over the place (now you know why my blog title and header are what they are). Now, since I am writing-challenged and, thus, I am unable to write a book on life, I will do what it is I can do. I will do the next best thing (not to mean I am great at it either), which is to blog.

P.S. Just had a lightbulb. I will work on adding another page in my blog. A page that I will be updating every time I have a eureka. I will entitle the page: Sam’s Ingredients For A Fulfilled Life. I will cue you in, via an introductory post, when the page is added.

(I can see you both now saying, while shaking your heads and rolling your eyes: "Why couldn't we have just kept our mouths shut. We've created a monster!")

Saturday, October 2

Should I?

After 3 months of blogging, I am still undecided.  Do I want to change my profile and, someone asked, reveal my gender?

Two reasons why I didn't and haven't:
  • Gender is a big part of my blog being.  It will reveal itself in time, if it hasn't still.  Isn't it obvious from my posts?
  • I want people to read my blog for its merits.  Because there is something in it that they can relate to and appreciate, not because it/I fit in nicely into one of the buckets.

My interest in blogging has branched out from writing to reading.  And since reading is way easier to do than writing, I find myself reading much more than writing (lazy and nosy me!)  As I read more and more blogs, it is clear that flocking is very much alive in blogworld.  Interesting. 

I'm not mad.  I'm not sad.  I'm just sayin'.  Interesting, really.

Friday, October 1

The Good Side of Profiling

I have always been fascinated by psychological tests, or psychological assessments as they now call it. The objective of such assessments is to know an applicant’s personal qualities –- knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors, aptitude –- and see whether the applicant will “fit” the job, the team, the company. One can say that a psychological assessment “profiles” a person to predict future performance.

Just this past week, I had the pleasure of being assessed using 3 different tools:
  • DISC describes me as a DC (dominant-conscientious), task-oriented person
  • STRENGTHSFINDER  listed my top 5 strengths to be:  strategic, learner, responsibility, connectedness, and futuristic
  • EMERGENETICS  profiled me as a strong “quad” – a person most likely to succeed in any situation!  Yay! 

Why do psychological assessments move me? Three reasons. 

1st -- just like with psychics and zodiacs, it tickles me when somebody (or something) is able to tell me what I am like without having the benefit of really knowing me.
2nd -- it is nice to hear good things about myself as it is nice to get a gentle nudge for me to work on the chinks in my armor. And knowing that I have areas for improvement, it is reassuring to know that I am actually a WIP (work in progress)!  That I change and with change comes hope.
3rd -- assessments are humbling reminders that this corporation called Life has expectations. And for us to fit in this world and have meaningful lives, we need to work at it. We need to know what the expectations are and we need to know if we can continue as we are, or if there is a need to change and reinvent ourselves.
Looking around, I see corporations and their markets evolve. I see life on earth and earth itself evolve. I guess this only means that so should we.

Wednesday, September 29

My Measures of Success

I don't know why, but I had the sudden urge to jot this down. Could I be backsliding and needed the reminder?

1. Success is being able to control and overcome my so-called animal instincts: lust, greed, dominance, anger, vindictiveness.

2. Success is knowing what I want and not settling for anything else.

3. Success is knowing what truly matters.

4. Success is not hinging on anything or anybody else to make myself feel whole.

5. Success is being able to look back and honestly say to myself: "I did my darnest best to do what was good and right."

6. Success is knowing that I make mistakes; that I do tumble and fall.

7. Success is knowing when to stop and prevent myself from making and falling over the same mistake over and over again.

8. Success is picking myself up after every fall.

9. Success is being able to say: "I didn't take advantage of anything or anyone to be who I am, to get where I am, to have what I have."

These are it, so far.  WHAT ARE YOUR MEASURES OF SUCCESS? 

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Saturday, September 25

Episode One: CHANGE (If We Will To Try)

Almost didn’t get to watch the season’s premiere episode. I was an hour away from home when I heard, “… watch tonight’s premiere episode of Grey’s Anatomy …..”

Yes, you heard right! This middle-ager is a Grey’s Anatomy fan! I must admit, there were times when the storylines flatlined. When the lives of its stars outside the show were more interesting than their screen lives. But hey, the show must be given credit for bouncing back with crisp dialogues every now and then and, of course, the cliffhangers! Hands down, Grey’s season finales had been TV land's best these past 6 years since the show started. At least as far as my bias is concerned :-D

So, why am I writing about Grey’s Anatomy’s premiere episode now when I am gaga over the show’s season finales? Because the premiere is worthy of a finale's accolade! I certainly did not expect guesswork in a first episode. All the characters seem to be taking a turn and I don’t know what will become of them. Will they be taking a turn for the good or for the bad? And will the turns make the show better?

Whatever it is, following are closing lines from Episode One that gave me dog ears:

“When we say things like ‘people don’t change,’ it drives scientists crazy. Because change is literally the only constant in all of science -- energy, matter. It’s always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting to be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones . The way we insist on believing despite every scientific indication that anything in this lifetime is permanent.
Change is constant. How we experience change, that’s up to us. It can feel like death or it can be like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, and go with it. It can feel like pure adrenaline. Like in any moment we can have another chance at life. Like in any moment, we can be born all over again.”
The lines speak for themselves. People can change. WE CAN.  IF WE WILL TO TRY.

Monday, September 20

"No One Knows My Sadness"

I've become a blogaholic! Not good as it is getting in the way of work, of which I've tons of!

Anyway, as I indulged in my newfound addiction, I gained real appreciation for blogging: blogging is literally and figuratively good for the soul! There's a lot of us out there who are able to get things off our chests -- happy things, sad things, annoying things ... small things, big things ... real things, imagined things.

For the happy and content bloggers, I envy you. I, too, have and will blog about happy things. Believe it or not, for all my aches and pains, I am lucky to be a positive, happy, and even crazy person deep down.

For all the bloggers that are currently facing stormy weather, I have been thinking of what to write to ease your hurt; to help you get to stand up and walking on your own two feet again, chin up!

And then I remembered this song. A song that helped me through the time when I gave up everything I had to go follow a forbidden love in a foreign country, only to find out when I arrived that my love had opted to be with another. Yes, this was six years before my current EX, when I was still in my 20s (yes, I've been stung really hard twice!). Hope this song gives you the drive to move on as it did to me.

Oh, by the way, the title of this post are words from my forbidden love's then 4-year old son; when his grandma passed away.

(Mariah Carey)

There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

It's a long road
When you face your world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold
You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear


Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don't let anyone
Tear them away
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time
You'll find the way


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Thursday, September 16

How To Handle A Woman

Once upon a time, I watched a TV movie on the life of John F. Kennedy.  At the end of the film, Jackie Kennedy was shown being interviewed about her husband’s death. And from her lips came the words, “… his dream was to have a kingdom like Camelot.” Or something to that effect (I forget!).  All I can remember clearly is the music in the background, building to a crescendo as the camera panned away from Jackie K.

I made an instant association between the word Camelot and the background music. I researched and read that Camelot is the famous castle in the legend of King Arthur. I delightfully discovered too that King Arthur's legend was so popular that Broadway and movie musicals were made on it (need you ask what their titles were?).  I promptly bought a half gallon of ice cream and a Camelot laser disc (yikes! yes those were the days … LOL!).

Ice cream in hand, I watched the movie without interruption.  I had the chills and goose bumps when the Camelot theme song was played at the end of the movie ...

And I don’t know how they would come across to you, but I wasn’t particularly feeling Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere.  I was all-oh-so-for King Arthur, especially when he sang "How to Handle a Woman" ...

"How to handle a woman?
There's a way," said the wise old man,
"A way known by ev'ry woman
Since the whole rigmarole began."
"Do I flatter her?" I begged him answer.
"Do I threaten or cajole or plead?
Do I brood or play the gay romancer?"
Said he, smiling: "No indeed.
How to handle a woman?
Mark me well, I will tell you, sir:
The way to handle a woman
Is to love her...simply love her...
Merely love her."

.... before the heartwrenching monologue* (would you believe a Richard Harris version of the monologue is not available online?! sorry):

Proposition: If I could choose from every woman who breathes on this earth; the face I would most love -- the smile, the touch, the heart, the voice, the laugh, the very soul itself, every detail and feature to the last strand of the hair--it would all be Jenny's.
(in a darker mood now)

Proposition: If I could choose from every man who breathes on this earth -- a man for my brother, a man for my son, and a man for my friend (anguished) it would all be Lance!

I love them -- I love them and they answer me with pain! And torment! Be it sin, or not sin: they have betrayed me in their HEARTS, and that's far sin enough! I can see it in their eyes! I can feel it when they speak! And they must pay for it and be punished! I shall NOT be wounded and not return it in kind! I DEMAND A MAN'S VENGEANCE!

(raises his sword, Excalibur, in a battle-ready stance) (He suddenly changes gears)

Proposition: I am a king -- not a "man." And a very civilized king. Could it possibly be civilized to destroy the thing I love? Could it possibly be civilized to love myself above all? What about their pain? And their torment? Did they ask for this calamity? Can passion be selected? Is there any doubt of their devotion to me, and to our Table?


By God! I shall be a king! This is the time of King Arthur, when we shall reach for the stars! This is the time of King Arthur, when violence is NOT strength, and compassion is NOT weakness! WE ARE CIVILIZED!

It was as if King Arthur's pain was mine.  I simply cried my eyes out.  And mind you, this was way before I ever had my heart broken.  I guess I am just too much of a hopeless romantic.  Sigh!