Wednesday, August 12, 2009

27 Things I Learned Before I Turned 27 Today

I was inspired to make my own list after I recently read the blog post of a friend about the 29 lessons he learned before his 29th birthday. This list is not only a review on the things I have learned – and still learning – but a reminder during the times I forget.

1) Life is beautiful if you allow it to be.

2) Laughter may not always be the best medicine, but it certainly is one of the best.

3) Your mother was right when she said you have to sleep early and long to grow tall.

4) Family and friends are arguably the best gifts – and teachers (witting or unwitting) – the world can give you. =)

5) Vegetables are really good for you.

6) Chocolate can be good for a woman’s heart – especially if it’s dark chocolate. =)

7) Money is not the root of evil. The love of money – and the fear of losing or not having enough money – is.

8) Planning and preparing for the future is good, but don’t exchange the present moment for it.

9) Pleasure and excitement are not synonymous to joy. When choosing between what gives you pleasure and excitement and what gives you joy, choose the latter. Of course, having all would be nice. =)

10) Sometimes you have to choose between being right and being happy. The second choice is always more fun and easy on the mind. =)

11) In learning, give more importance to the principle over the method. Methods may change or become outdated, but principles are timeless.

12) The most dangerous obstacles to your dreams are not other people or circumstances but your own excuses or stories you believe as absolute truth.

13) Sometimes who you are is more important than what you do. Your very presence can touch people more than your actions.

14) Clarity equals power. The clearer you are, the more powerful your words and actions.

15) You can never change another person, well-meaning you may be. You can try anything from the sweetest suggestion to emotional blackmail or outright threat, all to no avail. The best you can do is show the possibilities to that person and then give him/her space and support. Trust in that person’s process.

16) The only person you can really save is yourself. But it’s funny and amazing that when you do, some people realize that they can save themselves too. (I still need to remind myself about this whenever my Messianic complex kicks in ^_^).

17) Suffering is an option. So is happiness.

18) Nothing or no one can truly hurt you unless you allow it. (A lesson I’m still having difficulty with many times).

19) When you stop worrying and controlling and just trust and let go, amazing things happen.

20) The line between opposites can be paper-thin. Be mindful whether you are loving or manipulating, being trusting or ignorant, acting from intuition or delusion.

21) Don’t be so hard on yourself when you find yourself backsliding on something you decided to change. Just keep trying. Sometimes it is more difficult to un-learn than to learn.

22) Actually, sometimes the lessons you need to learn – or un-learn – are a bit “advanced” for your present state of mind that it’s natural you don’t get them immediately. If you’re frustrated, you are like an elementary student frustrated he/she is not in college yet. ^_^ (Something I need to remind myself over and over again. Hehehe.)

23) All paths eventually lead to God / enlightenment / the divine / whatever you feel like calling it. Some paths may take longer, some may appear to lead to “destruction” at first, but they all lead to one destination.

24) Corollary to the above, to insist that your path is the only right or valid path can actually harm your own journey.

25) There can be many voices trying to tell you what to do and messages that look equally true. To know the truth, go into that deep, quiet part of you and listen.

26) Related to the above – ALL principles and wisdom are actually true, even when some appear to be conflicting. The trick is to know which wisdom to apply in a particular situation.

27) You are always being guided by a higher power. Always.

To the people and situations who taught me these sometimes painful and difficult lessons, I am forever grateful. =)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Magic Moment

I was restless. I was on my way to the weekly gathering of my spiritual community but my mind was already on the things I needed to do after and the deadline I needed to meet. Even walking for the past 10 minutes or so did not ease my worry.

The cold and grey afternoon did not help lift my mood. It had been raining throughout the day, though thankfully it had now stopped. I passed by Greenbelt Park as I walked, and the park, normally bustling with activity, looked desolate. No people passed by the bridge over the pond. The white ducks, which are normally a delight to watch in, were absent.

I saw no one except for a man, perhaps in his fifties or sixties, leaning on the bridge's railing and feeding birds. I stopped walking and looked at him for a moment. He was earnestly throwing food at the birds and looked perfectly happy and content amid the dreary afternoon.

I walked to the bridge and leaned beside him on the railing. I really felt no urge to talk – I just asked him what he was feeding the mayas. He gestured to the rice grains on his palm. I looked at the tiny brown birds eagerly pecking at the rice grains and drinking from the pools of rainwater on the rock crevices. A sudden wave of peace and assurance washed over me. At that very moment I felt – yes, I did not look – the man leave. I continued looking at the birds.

After a few minutes, I looked around me, and the park was suddenly alive with activity. People were walking around. I could hear laughter and lively conversation. A few feet away, two smiling women were posing for a photo. A few people joined me to look at the birds. One eager little girl kept pointing at the birds and saying, “Look, o, birds!” She later had her photo taken with them.

I basked in the scenery and energy, marveling at the perfection of it all. At the back of my mind, though, I knew that the moment would be more complete if there were ducks. Whenever I pass by this park, I never tire of staring at the ducks, usually swimming around without a care in the world. Because of the day’s heavy rains I did not really expect to see them, though.

Amazingly, the moment I thought this, I saw two white ducks walking on the path near the bridge. I was even able to get close to one without him – or her – being scared away, which is quite something since the ducks I usually encountered in this park move away when I start getting closer.

I watched them walk around until they finally settled on the rocks by the pond. At that moment, I was struck by a revelation. That man feeding the birds was an angel. Whether he was an earthly angel who is as human as I am, a spirit, or pure energy, it did not matter. I knew with full certainty and clarity that he was an angel.

Feeling lighter and extremely blessed, I continued my walk.

The mayas. I was so in the moment that I did not think of taking a photo until there were a few of them left.

The two ducks that appeared as though by magic

Why do I get the feeling that this duck is as curious about me as I am about him/her?

They have found their place.