Sunday, March 30, 2008

What is Happiness?

One man said, “I have everything but I feel empty.” The other one said, “I have nothing yet I am happy.”



What is happiness?




I once asked my teacher but she seemed at astray on how to answer. I probed deeper by reading insatiably yet all I have gleaned was its scholarly definition.




I explored further with the same query from my college professors, “What is happiness?” They gave me long incredulous look then immediately proceeded to lengthy lectures about living in gratification, peace and love. Still, I was not convinced.



As I gaze at the stars tonight and while the sweet cold breeze played with my hair, I was reminded of those many times I asked that question. Strangely, as the stars teased me with their simmering sparkles my heart felt like it was about to burst with…happiness.



I then realized that happiness is a journey not a destination. It doesn’t matter how I ended up but how I go through it. The marvels of the stars reminded me of those steps I trekked and I ended up with wisp of smile on my face.



I think back of yesteryears and spectacle sensations filled my heart. All the time I was asking that question the answer was inside me.



It was happiness when I spent time with my family and friends. It was happiness when I saw the dawn of learning on the face of my pupils. It was happiness when I went up on stage to receive the fruit of hard labors. It was happiness when I did good things for my friends and strangers without expecting anything in return…



All along I was having the journey of happiness…



I once lay placid amidst the surge of the ocean of pain and suffering but it was a journey where faith and hope was my anchor- a journey of happiness. 



I think back of the time that I was drinking my favorite coffee and had a good smile. The moment that my niece kissed me and said, “I love you.” and my heart overflowed with incomprehensible feeling. The instant that I looked up at the skies and was greeted with vastness of its beauty, my eyes feasted with happiness.



Happiness is a state of mind…

I could have the world but I couldn't be happy. On the other hand, I might have nothing but I could be the happiest person alive. Happiness is also a matter of perspective.

 We long to be happy but we imprison ourselves to specifications. Thus we say, "I would be happy if only…"

Such could be the cruelest thing we could do to ourselves. It was the kind achieved by secular search and could be gone so fast like a sand castle. The sense of real happiness bubbles from within. The world's a big ship where we are all voyagers of time. Sometimes we feel overwrought and in despondency how to go on. Happiness could be elusive and we could only see the enormity of the sea of grief. The port of victory might be imperceptible but then we just need to wait for “the tide”.

As we dock and feel the tide of happiness, the completeness of our soul became its herald.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

What Makes Man Human?

The man incessantly puffs out wisp of smoke from the cigarette. He seemed to be oblivious to the people around him who were inhaling the big percentage of that deadly cloud. I tried to grab his attention by coughing and sneezing showing to him that I was indubitably suffering with his lack of concern.

But he continued to enjoy his cigarette as if there’s no more tomorrow. I heaved a sigh of surrender then tried to muster deep long breaths to silently endure his torture...


Finding one’s self face to face with rude, inconsiderate and ruthless people is perhaps the most atrocious experience one could ever have.

Whenever I do, I usually try to stretch my patience by having this mind exercise…I would imagine that person fresh from his/ her mother’s womb. Unscathed, untainted, so innocent and human…

When we are seething in anger, we call people with inordinate names enough to summon a howling wind or maybe a tsunami to hit him/ her. But you see I do believe that in every person’s heart (even a murderer) there lays a dormant kindness waiting to be unfurled.

Beneath the flaws we see on the surface are the unique qualities that separate us from other creations…traits that make man human.

The ability to empathize is perhaps top on my list. The short statement “I understand…” denotes a multi-layered meaning. It conveys unspoken words such as… “I feel your pain.” “I love you.” “I’m here.” “I care.” “I want to hug you.”

Iron resolve is sometimes just a mask that hides the pain. I know that there is nobody as numb with the feelings of others as he claims to be. It’s just a fa├žade in the world of pretense.

Apparently as we journeyed through life what we have mastered is the art of hiding…the skill of concealing our real feelings. (Like that man who buried himself in the shade of his cigarette). We normally resort to things that will make us look as strong as Atlas who can carry the burden of the World.

Unbeknownst to us admitting defeat doesn’t make us less human. What’s wrong with saying “I get hurt, can I cry first?” Nothing, it only says we can feel like a normal being does. As long as after we dry the tears we will stand again then continue fighting.

Then, we have the greatest virtue of all- the ability to love. The big word can be seen in small acts of kindness everyday. In our haste to criticize others we often neglect those little humane deeds.

Lastly, man becomes more human by his sensitivity towards others. I want to continue believing that each one of us has the power to unfold the sleeping benevolence in every person’s heart.

It is that belief that makes me persist with my dream in making a difference in my own small way…

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Seven Random Things about Myself

Having been not around for quite some time, I opened the computer only to find out that I have 68 messages in my email inbox. Yeah, that many… I plan to spend the rest of my day answering them back.

But first thing first. I would like to thank my sister, Angel and her friend Kate for letting me hibernate in their place in Manila. It felt good to be reminded of the meaning of solitude. You know, when you live with a 15-year-old and six-year-old girls all you can hear is, “Ewwww…” solitude is alien when I’m with them.


I got to meet wonderful people too during that brief visit. Ate Letty, Fr. Lito and Helma were really great. We spent time shopping and eating courtesy of Ate Letty.

Now, I’m home. I was touched when I found out that I’ve been tagged twice courtesy of Pinayjade and Zunnur. My first ever tag came from Pinayjade. So, what’s this tagging thing?

First, I've got to write seven random/ weird things about myself. So here they are...

Weird / Random things about ME

1. I am a literature addict. I read everything printed no matter where I find them and no matter how gross looking. I read in the car, in the washroom, while listening to the speaker in the seminar, during programs, under the bedspread -virtually everywhere possible and everything I could hold on to. I consider a book classic when it gives me goosebumps.

2. I’m a Gemini. Yeah, no wonder I’m so moody and temperamental yet can be totally in control. The occasional bout of loneliness can only be cured by stargazing or staring at the ceiling the whole night.

3. I write in my mind while shopping or buying grocery. By the time I’m paying in the cash register I have organized already in my mind the paragraphs and ready to be encoded in the computer. Interesting ideas swirl in my mind too when I am traveling. I don’t scribble notes. I prefer to arrange everything in my mind. But when the idea is so important I write in the receipts from my purse.

4. I can text with eyes closed without wrong spelling. I don’t normally shorten the words when texting like majority do. For me, it’s simply murdering Mr. Grammar.

5. I have a fragile heart but when betrayed it becomes metal clad. I can be as hot as the sun in sweetness and can turn into an iceberg in a matter of seconds.

6. I am the kind of person who will love only one man for the rest of my life- meaning HE or none at all.

7. I talk and play with dogs- fierce dogs. My best friend is Bogart. He’s a dog always set to jump and bite all living things. I tamed him and we’re best friends for seven years now. How did I tame him? I pampered him with chocolates. Yes, he’s still alive and very sweet, don’t worry. It was after several years when I discovered that chocolates are not good for dogs.

So which one is the weirdest or the most interesting of all? Let me know…

(I don't even know if they're weird at all. Nobody has told me yet that I'm weird. Maybe a bit crazy...:)

I'm tagging you the following wonderful people.


Joy, Piebuko, Jollyjo, Elaine, Sue, Timothy, Rennyba

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
2. Share seven facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.


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A Teacher's Letter (My Dear NPS Graduates of 2008)

A few hours from now, your life in Naga Parochial School will be over. Another facet of your existence will be unwrapped.

As you leave the portals of dear NPS, you will find yourself amidst the valley of limitless pathways. In making decisions what road to trek, bear in mind the lessons imparted by your teachers. Use not only your mind but also your heart in weathering the complexities of life.

Amidst the trials that will definitely beseech your ways it is with hope that you’ll go through it the way you were molded by Naga Parochial School. You are already there in the threshold of becoming great men someday, don’t waste your opportunity.

I may be far on your special day but you are all in my heart. As your graduation song plays tomorrow, my heart utters a silent prayer of gratitude that I became part of the lives of young gentlemen destined to become great someday.


You made my last year of stay in NPS very memorable. You will always be the most unforgettable batch for me.

Enjoy your graduation and cherish the last days of your stay in your alma mater. Be like a shooting star that teases mortals to the ground- shine with your innate power.

I wish each one of you a brilliant future. Congratulations!!!

Love,
Teacher Nins

(NPS Batch 2008 was the last classes I have handled in Naga Parochial School. They play a vital part in my life as a teacher because it was in their batch that I came into realization that indeed I made a difference. I'd like to make special mention to my advisory class the St. Dominic section. Thanks for many recognitions you have given to me. You were great!) 



NOTE: SPECIAL CONGRATULATIONS TO KENNETH ISAIAH I. ABANTE WHO GRADUATED VALEDICTORIAN AND RECEIVED 15 MEDALS FROM THE BIGGEST UNIVERSITY IN THE BICOL REGION, ATENEO DE NAGA UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL. HE WAS ALSO THE VALEDICTORIAN OF NPS BATCH 2004.




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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Conversation with a Six- Year Old



The best wisdom can only be gleaned from an ingenuous mind. This is what I have realized from an hour of talking with Trisha, my six-year-old niece. In between her giggles showing tooth-gap mouth, she aired her opinions about different matters as wittingly as she can.

On President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
“Sya ang presidente natin. Mabait sya kasi kapag pangulo dapat hindi masungit. Kumukuha sya ng pera sa Pilipinas para ibigay sa mga pulis. Di yong mga pulis hindi na magagalit sa kanya.”
 

“She’s the president of the Philippines. She’s kind because if you are a leader you should not be ill-tempered. She gets money from the Philippines to be given to the police. Then, they don’t get mad at her anymore.”

On former President Joseph Ejercito- Estrada
“President din natin sya pero di sya mabait. Kasi pag lalaki hindi mabait. Si Gloria nagtatrabaho pero sya hindi. Kasi tingnan mo ang tyan nya ang laki. (giggles). Laro lang sya ng laro tapos ang dami pa nyang bahay hindi nangbibigay. Ang bad nya sobra. Buti nga nakulong sya.”


“He’s also our president but he’s not kind. Because if you are a male you are not kind. (She didn't learn this from me. She's being bullied by her male classmates in school, that's why.) Gloria is working but he doesn’t. Look at his stomach it’s very big. He just keeps on playing and he has many houses but he doesn’t give it to others. He’s very bad. It’s a good thing he was imprisoned.”

On Jun Lozada
“Ang arte arte nya. Umiiyak pa sya pero hindi ako naniniwala sa kanya. Ang bad nya din pareho ni Estrada. Ayaw ko sa kanila. Hindi naman bad ang presidente eh.”


“He’s very dramatic. He even cried but I don’t believe him. He’s so bad just like Estrada. I don’t like them. The president is not bad”.

On Jesus Christ
“Sa heaven sya nakatira. Pag andito sya sa bahay hindi sya gumagalaw. Tingnan mo oh. (Points to the statue of Jesus on the altar). Pag nasa heaven sya gumagalaw na sya. Naglalakad sya. Yong makukulit na bata ay pinaparusahan nya. Pinapalo nya sa puwet. Dapat lang naman na pinapalo ang makukulit na bata. Buti nga sa kanila”


“He lives in heaven. When he’s here in the house he doesn’t move. Look at Him. When He’s in heaven, He moves. He walks. He punishes the naughty kids. He spanks them on their butts. The naughty kids should really be spanked. Serves them right.”

On her future
“Gusto ko maging God para ako na ang papalo sa makukulit na bata. Gusto ko din maging doktor para yong mamamatay na pasyente sa sasakyan na tumutunog (ambulansya) ay matulungan ko. Takot ako sa dugo pero okay lang yon. Minsan gusto ko din maging teacher para tuturuan kong magbasa yong mga bata katulad ng ginawa ng teacher ko sakin.”


“I want to be God so that I will just be the one to spank the naughty kids. I also want to be a doctor so that I can help those patients who are about to die in the car with siren (ambulance). I am afraid with blood but it is okay. Sometimes I want also to be a teacher so that I can teach the other kids how to read just like what my teacher did to me.”

On becoming president of the Philippines
“Pag naging presidente ako ng Pilipinas ay papahuli ko sa mga pulis ang masasama. Tutulungan ko yong mahihirap. Papabilhan ko sila ng mga damit sa mga pulis. Yong pera ay galing sa Pilipinas katulad ni Gloria na kumukuha ng pera sa atin. Papakainin ko sila sa Jollibee para wag na silang magutom. Meron don chicken saka spaghetti. Pag presidente na ako at naging mayaman ako tulad ni Gloria ay bibili ako ng playstation, Dora doll saka yong Bratz sa Jollibee.”


“If I become president of the Philippines I will command the police to arrest bad people. I will help the poor. I will ask the police to buy them clothes. The money will come from the Philippines just like Goria who get her money from us. I will feed the poor in Jollibee so that they will not be hungry anymore. There are chicken and spaghetti there. If I’m already a president and I am already rich just like Gloria I will buy playstation, Dora doll and Bratz collection in Jollibee.”

On learning English
“Dapat matuto tayo ng English para pag nanonood tayo ng news ay maintindihan natin. Makikita natin yong mga bad na lalaki. ”

“We should learn English so that whenever we watch news we can understand it. We will also see the bad men.”

On her lovelife
“Pag 25 years old na ako saka na ako magbo-boyfriend. Pero habang bata pa ako si Razzel na ang boyfriend ko. Okay lang yon kasi bata pa naman ako. Dapat meron tayong boyfriend para may kasama tayo. Halimbawa pag naging doctor ako ay kasama ko sya habang gumagamot ako. Pero dapat wag mo akong isumbong kay mommy na may boyfriend na ako habang bata pa ako”.

“When I turn 25 that’s the time that I will have my boyfriend. But since I’m still a kid, Razzel is my boyfriend. It’s okay coz I am still a kid. We should have a boyfriend so that we will have companion. For example, if I become a doctor he should be with me while I take care of my patients. But, you should not tell mommy that I already have a boyfriend.”

(Trisha is 1st in the class achievers of their class (Senior Kinder) this school year)

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