How I take responsibility for my actions

In the film The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, there was a dialogue that stuck in me when Bilbo Baggins saw Smaug about to fly off to Laketown. He said, “What have we done?

I remembered this line because it talks about accepting one’s fault even though a one did not intended the consequences of one’s actions. For example, acting in good faith. I may have the best-est of all intentions but if I end up messing up, as a cliché says, the end does not justify the means.

While I was playing a video game, I remembered my recent interactions with some subordinates. I think I’ve done something wrong and they hinted it through a passive-aggresive remark and until now I am still wondering what exactly I did wrong. When I assume leadership, I admit I sometimes tend to overlook some people in the group particularly those who seem to be so sensitive. I never intend to do so but whenever I do overlook some people, I see now the pattern how these people react. And four out of four of them happened to have some father issues.

Maybe a family problem? Probably transference? Seeing me as their father figure? Am I too intimidating? Or maybe I’m just overthinking or rationalizing. I have to stop seeking the fault outside myself now.

I have to remind myself again that what’s done is done; I can’t bring back the time; I am not fail-proof; I am failure-prone; I cannot do it all; I cannot control the results. And sometimes even if it’s not my fault, I cannot make everything feel alright. It’s out of my reach. Or maybe it’s because I’m just a people pleaser. But I’m bound to fail because I can’t please everybody. And as the lyrics of a song goes, I did my best but I guess my best wasn’t good enough.

This is were humility comes. I now let St. Catherine of Siena to remind me that I am not who I think I am. I may have done something wrong, so mea culpa. So I now let it go and let the Lord do His work. I’ll try again next time and let tomorrow worry about itself.

And this is how an introverted and intuitive thinker perceives his interactions with others when he sees something’s wrong and he thinks he’s the problem though he’s not (or maybe he really is the problem).

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When the inner child throws a tantrum

Today, I did some detaching from myself a bit. I mean pondering on some of my actions that I unconsciously do and their stimuli. It started after I took a break from officiating in the Table Tennis singles event for Juniors, Seniors, and Girls Division this morning. I took a break by eating an ice cream and playing with a new laptop. I’m still feeling a bit of thrill from receiving a new laptop last Monday. And I caught myself being irritable when I felt stupid for not knowing how an unfamiliar program works. I caught myself too of raising my voice not just because of frustration but because I am feeling a bit of proud. 

I felt like a young kid throwing tantrums because he can’t win in a video game or because his mother didn’t buy him an ice cream. 

I can’t understand myself these days. I feel like I am not myself today (in some moments like this morning break).

Is it because of my lack of sleep? Tired? Suppressed anger? Depressed? It seems like I am depressed but no. Denial? Maybe. But this simple insight is like a little epiphany. 

I initially planned to write a post about this “pattern” or tendency but it ended up as an extended musing. That’s the insight.

Oh how Rico Blanco’s Dating Gawi and Clara Benin’s Human Eyes inspired me to capture these mundane thoughts no matter how embarrassing they are.

Review of the day

Though I am not a Jesuit or well versed in Ignatian Spirituality, I practice the examen. I learned about it when I entered Marist novitiate. We call it as the review of the day. Done every evening, we spend at least 15 minutes to think about the graces we received throughout the day. We thank about the people we encountered, the events that had transpired, new learnings, and other things worth recalling. After the end of our examen, sometimes we recite the confiteor where we pray about our shortcomings, what we have done and have failed to do. In active school ministry, five to ten minutes of the review is already a luxury.

This evening, I was late in our prayers because I talked to one student and I supervised the students in cleaning our classroom. Wednesday evening is dedicated to a Marian prayer. We prayed thr rosary. During the pause after the Salve, I brought to my prayer the one student I scolded because she had incurred nineteen absences, most of them unexcused and spent just cutting classes. I prayed and I hoped that my scolding was an expression of an honest anger because I care for this student.

After our evening community prayer, I picked up a guitar I borrowed and I remembered the “storm” last Monday even while plucking and strumming fledgingly. Actually, I dreamnt of Agnus sitting inside a chapel and I sat beside Agnus. Afterwards, I read again the “storm” conversation that talked about me in a public post somewhere in social media and I viewed it in a different perspective; detached and unaffected. I actually didn’t exert effort. It just “flowed”. As one Sri Lankan Brother told me last year, the better word is equanimity. I imagined talking to Agnus privately; listening to each other. Not trying to convince or win over Agnus but to understand and be compassionate with this person. How does it feel to spread hatred against others? How lonely it is to live a life full of hate in one’s heart?

I somehow get now what Bishop Barron was talking about in one of his podcast episode in Word On Fire. The true test of love for others really is to love our enemies. To love them as the “other” and not just an extension of oneself.

To have an idea what is an examen, you may download the Daily Examen application in Google Play.

The rain and my childhood

When I was younger, I love the summer season because I can play all day with my friends and cousins except during meals and sleeping time. And now that I am already in my late twenties, I love rainy season better. Besides, I don’t have playmates anymore like I used to have as a kid. The ambience just lets me rest in my bed and sleep longer. Because there’s no much activity in the house except household chores, I will go out and play as a child. Since there’s just lots of tasks to do as a teacher when I’m at home, the rain reminds me to relax and spend some time for rest, reflect, and remember the good old days of my childhood. 

What am I blogging for?

Five years ago, I started blogging in WordPress because my friends and I are into blogging and they chose WordPress as their blogging platform. Now that my friends are inactive and transferred their writing energies in Twitter and Facebook, I’m left alone (well, not really). And because I was not regularly checking my E-mail, even my blog posts in Friendster and Multiply left me without a back up. That’s hard for me because I posted there some lyrics of self-composed songs, reflections on women and infatuation, hardships in studying and thesis writing, and other incoherent stuffs. But since I lost them when I entered consecrated life, it’s just a simple practice of detachment for me. I just have to let them go.

I started blogging in WordPress with a tagline: for blogging purposes only. I was just posting any topics like Social Media, Psychology, or Weird Al Yankovic’s parodies. And as I look back, there’s a deeper meaning into that. Blogging is a way for me to dig deeper into my inner self. Now, I blog to pause, reflect, and share. Yes, my journal writing does that but here in a blog, I can touch others (almost all strangers) by sharing in the open a glimpse in my life where I shared my struggles, joys, and inspirations. Maybe that’s why I unconsciously write in English.

And what do I share now? This blog now has a specific purpose of chronicling my life as a Marist Brother.

Just as this blog has re-invited itself a lot, as I grow up (I just turned 27), I’ll just keep on blogging here at least once a month. I’ve met a lot of strangers whom I haven’t met personally and I’m thankful to them because having a “voice” here made me motivated to write more and interact more.

To all of you who have been my companions in this blogging journey, thank you very much. I hope you’ll keep on coming back here in this humble space in the web.

Writing Prompt:
Raison D’être by Krista of The Daily Post

How to cure loneliness?

There is one Scripture passage that I really like which quotes Jesus as saying, “foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt. 8:20). Since I was in high school, I really feel unique and different from my classmates and friends due to my temperament, intellect, social status, and choice of hobbies. It bothered me even in college. When I entered novitiate, I just realized that one of my motivations in joining religious life is to belong to a community. Aside from prayer and ministry with young people, community life is one of our pillars as Marist Brothers and as religious. When it comes to these three, though I have been a Marist for five years (from Pre-Novitiate and not counting my school years), I am still inexperienced particularly when it comes to community living.

Last Saturday, I flew from Marikina to Mindanao for the annual retreat of the Marist Brothers in Malaybalay. As of the moment, though I know already my next assignment, I feel like I will just pass by the places I will go into. Like the comment of my former swimming teacher, I am like a soldier whose assignment changes a lot. After the structures of novitiate and scholasticate, I am beginning to feel again what it’s like to be a “nowhere boy”, a pilgrim, or an itinerant.

When I was in high school and in college, I feel often being “out of place”. Before, it has been a cause of stress and depression for me. Now, it doesn’t bother me anymore. Yes, I’m feeling a bit lonely now. But when you have these Brothers at your side (well, they are in their respective rooms now), who also feel lonely at times as a result of being religious, I feel that there’s somebody who is in solidarity with me; there is someone who, like me, struggles. Before, I don’t even acknowledge that I am lonely maybe because I am not aware of it. Now, I am not ashamed of acknowledging it. I must be aware of it or else it will manifest in many ways (e.g. how I relate, attachment to pets, tardiness, etc.).

I don’t really know how to cure loneliness. But I believe that contact with reality is a step towards getting out of it. I can be somewhere but I choose to be here.

Now I know why I was too drawn to anime when I was in college. Anime has been my escape from reality; it is my escape from my loneliness. I don’t discourage myself watching anime but I have to catch myself whether I’m just  escaping.

To be alone can be frightening. But aloneness can also be a source of peace. And if that happens, that means solitude. When I realize that my happiness does not depend on someone or something (or somewhere), then that’s when I choose to be happy.

I felt lonely because I depend on the approval of others. Let me be true to myself. And for me, this is what it means not to lay my head elsewhere.

What running means for an INTP like me

I don’t know how running really started. Out of impulse, I downloaded Nike Running app on my Lenovo A7000+. I am always walking long distances that I wanted to keep track of it. I have this habit of keeping track of any statistics such as:

  • number of books read
  • hours of silence spent
  • anime episodes watched
  • basketball shots made.

The latest fascination? Distance walked.

But when I tapped “Coach”, I discovered that I can choose what race distance I want to train running. So I created a new goal with modest goal of 5K. I first tried and I got 35:17 minutes which is the average time. I am now training for 3 weeks and it’s my rest day today.

I am running not because I am health conscious; I am running to test myself. The only benefit that I want to get from it is the stamina for basketball so I can run on the transition. Not even trying to join any race.

Maybe this fascination will fade in the future but thanks to this app I can keep track of my walking.