It's been quite a while since I blogged, mainly because of the tons of things to do. But once a blogger, always a blogger. You may not have the time to put your thoughts into paper, or in your blog, for that matter, the thoughts haunt you until you finally make them alive in your posts.

What I have been thinking lately, in between, hustling and bustling, sending the kids to and from school and juggling two jobs, which are both starting to demand a lot of time from me, is something that we all may have noticed all the time, but just didn't give any importance to it.

If you live in the same place as I do, or even if you don't, these are common sights. But because I saw more and more of them every day, this is a cause for alarm.

I am talking about mentally-ill people roaming our streets. If you are the observant type of person, you would have noticed that there are more than many of them in our streets. I always see one woman near the Leyte Normal University, in Juan Luna St. She would be there mostly in midday all through the evening.

Earlier this morning, I saw one man clad in nothing but transparent plastic crossing the street somewhere near McDonalds. Last week, a woman, obviously wasn't in her right mind was also crossing the street wearing a dirty t-shirt and nothing else underneath.



Seeing them breaks my heart, because at some point in my life, I was on the verge of being a part of that statistic. On the other hand, I feel lucky and blessed not to have fallen as deep as they had. Mental illness has many causes and they may have experienced a different kind of trauma, or even an inherited genes from one of their family members.

But nevertheless, they are victims of circumstances, of something that they may did not want to happen in their life, or was just unlucky to be born to a family with Schizophrenic tendencies. And for this, I believe that they still deserve a portion of  humanity.

I don't want to sound political, because I don't wear any color on my sleeves, except that I really believe that these unfortunate souls should have somewhere to stay, rather than roam the streets, for their safety and ours too.

If we can rehabilitate and empower drug addicts and battered women to reinvent their lives, why can't we apply that to the mentally-ill since most cases of mental illnesses are results from the two mentioned earlier.

There is hope for them. If we know them or their families, please, let us not give up hope on them. Mental illness is a fast rising illness especially in progressive countries. The only difference is that, these countries put an emphasis on the mental conditions of their people.

Photo:indiamike.com
This is a photo of CNN Hero Narayanan Krishnan, founder of Akshaya Trust, who left his
job as a chef in a five-star hotel to feed the homeless mentally-ill persons. He said he doesn't feed beggars
because they can feed themselves. His vision of setting up a home for them came true when Akshaya Home opened
its doors to the homeless mentally ill people in May 2013.


The Philippines do not have a Mental Health Law (there is one submitted by Sen. JPE, but still pending in the committee since 2009), which is the reason why there are less programs in proper handling of mental cases. Obviously, this is not a priority in our country.  Or maybe, it must have been one of the programs of the Napoles' fake NGOs and foundations.

Sometimes, it's difficult to turn your back from someone or something that needs your help. I do not give alms to just any beggar on the street, because that is a choice they made. But these poor souls tormented inside with thoughts of 'God-knows-what's-on-their-minds' are mere victims of circumstances. That or because they have a "weak mind" or because they have no choice.

I wrote a paper on the social context of mental health in the Philippines as a part of my final assessment for the course offered by University of Toronto through Coursera.org. Through this course, my mind was opened to a whole new level of understanding on mental illness, including how families influence the road to recovery for one mentally ill person.

I also came to learn about people's story , women especially who became so successful and influential while battling mental illness, among them are Elyn Saks and Caroline Fei- Yeng Kwok. Two women who are speaking out now, telling the world about their battle with mental illness, their experiences and cooperating with mental health practitioners to understand the other side of Psychiatry, the patient's side, in the hope of creating new and improved methods of diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems.

Here is a video of Elyn Saks, a legal scholar who came forward with her Schizoprenia. As successful as she is now, who would've thought she was battling Schizoprenia. Watch what she has to say and be inspired.





And here is an interview or introduction done by Professor Charmaine Williams of the University of Toronto and the course instructor to author Caroline Fei-yeng Kwok of the book Free to Fly:The Story of a Manic Depressive which was written while she was an in-patient for manic depression.

This video is a property of the University of Toronto

I wish to see one day that we will have less mentally-ill people around our city. They can be medicated and rehabilitated. If only their family members would be educated and counselled. If only each one of us will have the compassion to respect and give them another chance at life.

There is hope, just like the two women above had. We only need to make the change necessary so we can help them.
I have been waiting for an opportunity to publish this post, so that it would be a subtle deviation from my usual posts. This has been sitting in my drafts folder for weeks now and I just could not find a better way to start or finish off this post. Not that I was hoping for situations like this, but I can't find an opportunity as timely as today.

And so, I have been wanting to blog about the causes that I have been supporting. I thought that by blogging about them, this would be my contribution to their cause and hopefully get some people interested in it as well.

I was supposed to feature three of the causes that I support, but then this should be a priority. With all the calamities, acts of God or manmade, the recent calamity that struck our country make me appreciate their cause more.

I am talking about Greenpeace.  




This is the first organization that I supported, mainly by pledging a certain amount as a monthly donation. I've supported Greenpeace since 2003, but have to stop my pledges and started other alternative ways.They actually have a lot of causes you can choose from. You don't have to support everything, but you can pick one cause that fits your ideals and principles in life. 

As you all know it, Greenpeace is an environmental activist, but, they totally abhor violent protests. Their causes are catered to the preservation of our natural environment, Mother Earth. There are many ways you can get involved with Greenpeace. You can work for them (yes, some people get paid and you get the chance to get on board the Greenpeace ship and travel around the world); volunteer, fundraise, or become a cyber activist. If you think you don't have that much time, then the best thing you can do is to donate.  

Or if those things above are overwhelming for you , you can still help by donating 1 Tweet A Day.

Here's one video that the organization allows members to share to create awareness of the cause.



Last week, I renewed my subscription and membership. And I am glad that throughout the years, Greenpeace has continued to fight for what is important that most of us has taken for granted.

And to illustrate or stress my point about caring and loving our environment, I have some photos of the recent floods that is happening in Metro Manila and in some parts of Luzon until today. 








Photos: Yahoo.ph


We all live in this planet called Earth, and it would only be a matter of time that our natural resources would be extinct if we do not do our part to preserve this. We may never know when a planet identical to ours would be available for our descendants to migrate to, should the worst of the effects of climate change happens. And we hope that it does not happen anytime soon.

But the effects of climate change can be felt now. And I strongly suggest that we start being sensitive to the changes our planet is experiencing right now. Let's think about our children and future grandchildren. Will they still have access to the freebies Mother Nature shares to us selflessly right now. Although potable water doesn't come free right, let's hope that the air we breathe still be available to our future generation for free.

We can help in our own little way. Just by being conscious of our environment will help a can go a long way. Unplugging, conserving water, helping protect the ozone layer, the list can go on, and this only require you to act now.

To know more about Greenpeace and their causes, please check the Greenpeace widget in my right sidebar. Or you can visit their site here

Or watch this video.






Photo: khwaja.wordpress.com


For the past three days we've been sitting in the same place inside the school premises where my daughter was studying. We were seated near a piece of land that was supposed to be a garden, but obviously the place has not been visited by the school gardener in a while.

There were a lot of plants and we were lucky, there were some stray chilis that grew and so me and the other moms took the liberty of picking the green young chilis as I prefer this over the red ones because of it's aroma. Another mom pointed out to the calamondin ( Citrofortunella microcarpa , a citrus plant known as calamansi in the local language or lemonsito to some) , and said that picking some of those tiny round fruit is enough for us to make a "sawsawan" or simply sauce in English.

There was a different mood in the air, almost gloomy, but not totally sad. I decided to wait up for my daughter because she might be done with her exams earlier than their dismissal so we can go home earlier. Like any ordinary day, we started talking about how our kids are doing at home and in school, spouses, mother in laws and today we got a bit excited as one mom offered a business opportunity to us.

After she left, we went back to our usual favorite topics, me and their hopes of my involvement in a new relationship. They always encourage me to go out and start dating again.But as always, I say that I am not in a hurry and the right time will come once I am ready. 

As we were talking, we noticed a black butterfly circling around us, closer to me. It wasn't totally black but there were patches of white dots on its wings. It was fluttering from the plants behind us to where we were seated. Of course it would be normal to see butterflies in the area because there were a lot of plants there. Just not a black one.

animal-zone

And then my phone rang.

I read the name on the screen and I stopped to think whether I should get the call or not. A friend that I don't get to hang out with in years. What can she possibly want?  I took the call. She said hello, asked how I was but I can sense there was something in her voice. I said,"I'm fine, what's wrong?" I knew there was something wrong. There could be something wrong because she won't call me at all if there wasn't anything important. She passed the phone to another friend. Sad, sad, news.

Black butterflies signify a lot of things. Different culture different meanings. In many cultures, a black butterfly is a symbol of transition or a rebirth of something in the person. In Central America and in the Philippines, it is a symbol of death. It can appear when someone has died.




"I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?"

Zhuangzi 




Yes, someone has died, a significant person in my life. My friend left us early this morning. Although we already know that this was what his sickness was leading him to, we just never expected it to be sooner. 

Today I lost one good friend. I never had a real best girl friend,  He was the best friend I never had who has been a part of my triumphs and struggles in life. He saw every tear that fell from my eyes. He knew every happiness, every heartache that I had. He was family. He loved my children. He was the first one I'd call when I have relationship problems, one of the first persons who would always be present during my birthdays.

He was a brother, a shoulder to cry on. 

I missed him before and I miss him more now. It was only when I got alone that I started to cry, to sob. I let go of all the regrets, the what ifs and what nots, the should have been. But it was his decision that prevailed.

Photo: symphonyforlove.blogspot.com

Should I see that black butterfly again, I would try to catch it, hold it in my hand and whisper, " go now, you are free..this is your rebirth, your new life free from pain. Enjoy God's presence as the sun shines on your pretty black wings.And when you finally meet Him, pray for us whom you left here that the pain in our hearts heal with the passing of time..."




Morning light, silken dream to flight
As the darkness gave way to dawn
You've survived, now your moment has arrived
Now your dream has finally been born

Black Butterfly, sailed across the waters
tell your sons and daughters
what the struggle brings
Black Butterfly, set the skies on fire
rise up even higher
so the ageless winds of time can catch your wings...

-verse from a Denice Williams song


♥♥♥



Keeping the faith always,














How do you begin to forgive the people who gave you countless nights of psychological and emotional torture? How can you forgive people who are not even sorry about what they did?

I still choke every time I say the Lord's Prayer and get to the part "as we forgive those who sinned against us.."

I've been listening and summarizing Brian Tracy's Psychology of Achievement audios as part of my work and I feel like this audio seminars were actually made especially for me.

The most significant lesson that really affected me was "The Power of Forgiveness." It struck a chord in me big time. And I realized that although I always thought that I am a person who is always ready to forgive, that I do not harbor any ill-feelings towards another person, I realized that I am actually the opposite of the thought I had of me, in relation to forgiving someone.




I am somebody who isn't afraid to admit I am wrong, and I take responsibility for any action I did and I can apologize easily if I am mistaken, if I want to.  But in as much that I can easily say I am sorry, I find it so difficult to let go of some remnants of the past, the ones that hurt me a lot.

I know that forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to like them, or go back to the kind of relationship you once had. But does forgiving someone means that the memory won't hurt anymore, that the scars would fade?

Two years ago, on this very day, I found myself begging to be allowed to sleep beside my children. That was the worst thing I had to go through, worse than standing up in court convincing the judge that I am capable of performing my duties as a mother. And that very thought will send me in a bad mood and ruin my day altogether.


I was asked by the very person who did this to me how much I hated him. His mere mention of that is an acknowledgement that what he did to me was beyond words and deserves to merit hatred. I told him that God had been so kind to me that He did not allow me to sow the seeds of hatred in my heart. I guess that somehow gave him some kind of a relief. And me, temporarily. Or so I thought.

There are times that I cannot control my emotions. My mood will turn sour by the mere mention of his parents names. It's like I would be transported back to that time and I would immediately be in a state of panic or anxiety.

Sometimes he says things that still rub me the wrong way. I find it irritating when he calls me by my name. I worked hard to put back the value to it after the degrading way I was treated. My name does not deserve to come out of the mouths of the person (s) who emotionally and psychologically tormented me. And for the bucket of tears that I shed every night, my pillow was the only witness to that.

I am amazed at how emotions can go to extremes, how too much love can go to hatred or repulsion. I agree that there is a thin fine line between love and hate, and in a blink of an eye, you can go from loving someone to hating that person so much.

Or maybe this is trauma working it's effects on me. My psychiatrist once said that trauma can sometimes manifest months or years after the event. If this is so, can forgiveness make me get past the trauma? So I can concentrate with work and get on with my life without the occasional flashbacks  my mind seem to give me.




Brian Tracy specified that forgiveness is the hallmark of a fully functional human being. So, maybe I will be half-functional or dysfunctional temporarily while on the process of moving on, before I can be a fully functional human being.

But at the end of it all, I believe that this is only temporary. Better days are coming up ahead. Like every painful memory that I have to go through to complete the healing process, this too shall pass.

Today, I decide and resolve that I will take steps to forgive everyone who needs to be forgiven. I will have my freedom. I want to be able to feel the love from anybody who is willing to give it to me. More importantly, I want to give love again even to those undeserving ones.

Should you get lost on how to take the first step to forgiving others,
the above guide may be helpful. I know I'd be referring to this soon.


Keeping the faith,







Define happiness?

Webster define it as "a state of well-being and contentment".

Yesterday, I saw a Facebook post from a cousin, which was about happiness and finding your purpose or finding a meaning to your life.

It was an old post from Emily Esfahani Smith on The Atlantic , an interesting piece of real life story, which was about Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychiatrist who let go of a promising future in America.

He chose to stay with his wife and parents and serve the people in the Nazi concentration camps. Inside the camp, he wrote the book Man's Search for Meaning.

Incidentally, I have started a blog about my journey to finding happiness, love and wisdom and chronicled the steps I take to achieve that certain point of bliss.

As I was reading through the article, I felt ashamed of my worldly aspiration, selfishness and ignorance.

If I were to base that post with my quest for happiness, then I would say that I got it all wrong.
Finding happiness is just the tip of the iceberg. Finding happiness would be superficial , shallow and temporary.

What I should have been seeking for was my life's purpose or meaning which eludes me until today. Maybe, I should start searching for my identity, my own self which I have forgotten for quite some time.

But since I am but human, I admit that I need this shallow or superficial concept of happiness to temporarily fill the emptiness while I am still searching for the real source.

Does it make any sense at all?

Someone told me that life's main goal is to be happy. But to be happy in what sense and to what extent?

Do we really need to measure how much we can be happy? I guess by that, he also meant, getting to the source of happiness.

What Victor Frankl quoted disturbed me: "It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness."

Because it is true. It's honesty hit me like a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. The more I tried to pursue happiness, the more it eluded me, based on my personal observation. 

Because I have been sweating it out trying to find out what happiness is, in this side of the fence, when I should have been enjoying it already on the other side.

Or maybe because each one of us have our very own idea of what happiness is like. Because we have different levels of contentment and satisfaction. No one can really be wrong with regards to his own perception of happiness. 

The true measurement of our happiness is relative to the degree of our contentment and satisfaction level. To some people, that would be finding and living their life's purpose.  While it could be as simple as eating ice cream to some.

But, there have been several known tips or techniques or formulas that claim to bring us happiness. And because of our individuality, we do not respond the same was others would to a certain technique. Altogether, I'd say that it could only be our own self who can say that we are truly happy.




Mere words can't exactly explain it, no one can accurately define it to its truest meaning, because it is felt by the heart and only the heart can identify the feeling as happiness.

How do you rate your happiness level in your life at this very moment?

Keep the faith,




We dream big dreams, but then there are also things that we wanted to do, but never really thought of doing it because it isn't really a dream as big as the rest.

These are things that we wish we could do, but do not really worked so hard for it, but the longing is in our hearts.

 I've been wasting time trying to look for pictures to post as a throwback Thursday post or a Flashback Friday post, and then I saw these pictures and it inspired me to blog.

Good thing though because I'll be swamped with work tomorrow until the end of the week next week.

Anyways, looking at these photos, I realized that although I have not been making my dreamboard in the past, I have these things that I visualize every day.

When I tried listing down these things, I noticed that there are more of the silent dreams I had that came true than that of those which I was vocal about.

I guess God hears more the silent prayer of our hearts, rather than what we say out loud with our mouths.

When I got separated from my children, I was able to do the silent dreams I had, more because of the reason that I needed to have activities for me to keep my sanity.

 I thought maybe it was God's way of preparing me to receive whatever I wanted in life. Or , maybe it was God's way of trying to compensate for what was going on in my life at that time.

But then God doesn't work that way.

There must have been reasons why I was able to manifest the smallest, simplest, silent dream I had.

Maybe God wanted me to believe in dreams again because when I was at my darkest hours, everything seemed to have died including my dreams.

And so, I made a list of the things that I visualized that had already manifested before, but didn't see because I was too blinded by the condition I was in.

1. Reuniting with my children.

Nine months after being separated from my babies aged 2 and 3 and five months after i filed for
a Habeas Corpus case against the people who were keeping them, I finally got God's greatest gift to me and a manifestation of His great love for me.



 
I won the case and the Motion for Reconsiderations filed were junked.
And to top it all, I was granted sole custody without any visitation granted to the other party.
My heart was filled with so much joy.
Finally, I got to be with my children after months of seeing them only for a couple of hours at a mall.
I got  to sleep with them beside me.

I never slept so soundly before.

Now, my kids are happy to be with me and although I personally granted visitation rights to the other party without going to court, I am confident that no one can take them away from me again.



2. Bazaarista

I don't know why but I have always loved the idea of selling merchandise.

Maybe that's the entrepreneur blood pulsing in my vein. In school, as early as fourth grade, I was already selling merchandise in my class, mostly school supplies like paper,pencil and some stationery and hair accessories.

I was happy when my classmates bought stuff and I would give all my sales to my mom who mostly made the accessories by hand.

The school supplies and stationery came from our store. I think I might have sold more in school than in our store.

So, until I grow older, I was still enterprising and was fascinated by the idea of buying and selling.

I used to have an online shop, and a mini convenient store.

But businesses like this needs constant supervision and I could not find time to actually be present in the store.

And so, just to satisfy my love for selling , I dreamed of joining bazaars.

In Manila, bazaars would be all over the city especially during the Christmas Season.

I am thankful and blessed that this little silent dream I had  was granted to me.

I was able to join bazaars in Makati in one of those high rise buildings.

As a first timer bazaarista, I think I did sold well because I sold mostly make-up and accessories which, in locations like that, would be best sellers considering the market.

High-rise buildings means young professionals.



My second bazaar was the at the Rockwell Business Center.

I was so hyped up I could not feel any tiredness even though I was alone.

The only problem I had was when I had to go the restroom and I had to ask my co-bazaarista to look after my merchandise.

All in all, it was an awesome experience.

I never really expected that dream to happen.


3. Dream job.

I dreamed of having an online job which will give me the opportunity to watch over my children while I work.

I've applied to so many online sites looking for virtual assistants, spending sleepless nights working on 3-4 articles in a day about some niche markets.

I would end up so drained.There were times that I didn't get paid.

And then after praying for the right job, I was accepted, without any interview so far, but just to answer a series of questions, totally unrelated to what I was applying for.
I got hired by a Swiss company.

On February 14, 2012, I got my first assignment.

And I am so thankful that my co-worker is very lenient with my working hours as long as I produce what's asked of me.

And the most important thing is , we all get along pretty well.


Now, after almost a year and a half working for the same company, I'm still as happy as I was when I started working.

If you also want to try your luck in finding your dream online job, you can go to Onlinejobs.ph, Odesk.com or Freelancer.ph.

4. Become a business partner or an incorporator.

Yes, I prayed to have my own business or to be a business partner with a former boss and friend.

When she started a new company,  TF Events and Resources , a travel consultancy, she offered me the idea to be one of its incorporators.

And I said yes.

Now, although I don't work there, I am glad I am a part of that company.

So, if you're still in doubt that dreams do come true, I hope I change your mind.

With a lot of visualization, you attract the dreams that you long for, be it the biggest dream you ever dared to dream, or the simplest, smallest dream your heart silently longs for.

Keep the dream alive in your hearts and visualize.

May your dreams come true!













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