Choose life

The last post I had was an emotional one. I was feeling that way for a long time that I just want to let it out. I haven’t told anyone yet about my struggles this year. Knowing me well, I start to be in touch with those kinds of emotions when I am alone. At least I have the time to feel sorrow when I could have just feel numb by binge-watching on a television series.

As I have written before, this semester is a busy one. I’m just lucky that this Thursday morning, I have no classes to teach I might as well spend it in writing this post. Once I’m done with this, I’ll be back checking papers to clear out pending tasks. At least I have the time to even focus on checking them though I rush a bit at times.

I read somewhere that we experience certain kinds of “deaths” in life. There’s something in me that’s needs dying so probably that’s what I am experiencing right now. I am blessed to even take a pause in between the busyness. At least I have the time to experience different “deaths”.

I wanted to finish reading a book. I started reading The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien and Sacred Fire by Ronald Rolheiser but I can’t get past Chapter 2. But at least I have time to write about wanting to finish reading them.

I bought those books when I travelled to Marikina twice last June and July. I have a home visit last June 20 to 25 and co-facilitated in the Coaching Module of MAPAC last July 8 to 15. It is good to just spend a while with your family; and, it is good to meet new people who shows passion for sports and education. I am blessed to have the time for family visit and co-facilitate in developing coaching skills every year.

Maybe, when I look back, I will just laugh at myself for acting the way I am reacting now. Like the song of Urbandub’s Soul Searching says, choose life. As for me, I choose to spend time thanking God for all the blessings I received despite the hardships.

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A journey inward

Now, school year 2016-2017 is over. Wohoo!

Since I promised in my previous post that I will talk about my teaching experience, I will try to do it here without any specific topic in mind. That means free-writing.

When I’m not writing, I’m reading the writings of my students. I as their teacher asks my students in class to practice being reflective through writing. I, as their Values Education teacher, encourage my students to touch their introspective side. And for them to do this, they must learn how to be silent. In these times that these teenagers are in (and for us adults sometimes too), it is hard for them to let them sit for hours.

But I know my students are all capable of spending time in silence. I’ve witnessed it during their recollection where they were asked by our campus ministry directress, ma’am Che, to sit down in silence, close their eyes, and imagine themselves walking through nature and encounter people close to their hearts. On the part where they encounter their parents in their imaginative journey, when the students were asked to feel how their parents are struggling in earning a living just for them to study in a good school and be provided with their own needs, it made them weep. It may be pity or guilt that they felt whenever they get mad whenever they request something and their parents refuse to provide them; those times when they fail to appreciate the goodness of their parents towards them. That time, they were able to get in touch with their own experiences and relationship with their family especially their parents. They were able to do it because it was a recollection and they really spent time in silence.

Going back to my students’ reflective writing activities, I discovered that it is not easy for some to spend time for reflection when it comes to writing. But I am happy that at least they are trying. I even encourage students to write in Tagalog if they’re having a hard time writing in English. But there are some who won’t really bother and try to even write essays. Ah, your patience, Allen!

So in the same manner, I as their teacher must practice being reflective. And I will do it through web logging. And here, I did it by just writing about my students. Woo!

Whenever I talk in front of the class, I lecture through story telling. Usually, the subject is my own life experiences and stories of people whom I have known personally. Honestly speaking, I am a such a bore in retelling stories of others when I have just read or heard them somewhere in books, web, magazine articles, or even podcasts I am listening to. Even the jokes that seems funny to me, when I retell them, because too corny.

Now that I have stopped following any television shows or anime series, my watching habit of watching basketball games has gone up because of our access to cable in our convent. I consume more time in doing unproductive things such as watching games or highlights when I really want to do is to be creative like writing, composing poems and stories, polish my handwriting (which my student said was poor), capture more photographs, play basketball or chess, or learn how to draw better.

Maybe sometimes, I will consciously spend time to feel boredom and not seek constant stimulation. But I know it will either be productive or unproductive. I need to choose the former though.

Postscript: I will be spending a week in Malaybalay, Bukidnon for the Annual Lenten Retreat of Marist Brothers here in the Philippines. I am part of the Liturgy Committee and an assistant secretary during the Provincial’s time (meeting). Within the week, we Brothers will discover our Summer assignments and our next community and ministry assignment for the next school year. And during the Easter vigil, I will renew my vows. If you want to ask me to pray for me, just write a comment below or reach me out in the Contact Form. Please pray for me too.

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 overcome the feeling of being out of your comfort zone?

I feel like the Easter joy hasn’t really sink in me. Or maybe it rubbed off me but it just subsided. If you feel so down, feel free to join me in my activity.

Review of the past: A writing activity
This is very simple. I’ll just do an activity that will help me situate my feelings. Just jot down what happened for the past two years, all the good and the bad. Borrowing Ignatian Discernment, let’s write down all consolations and desolations. And this is my entry:

Before (past two years)
Studies, LET, one year teaching, contact with the youth, catechism classes, more theological studies, international community living, and stay in my hometown, over exposure to technology, cooking practice, watering plants, washing my clothes, practicing of using iron, visit to my family, contact with parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, visit to my relatives, grandparents, cousins, outings, recollection, Retreats, spiritual direction, fraternal accompaniment, basketball, soccer, running, reading books, and blogging. I have a lot to thank for.

Now (this past three weeks)
No daily Mass, no exercise, bumming, more time in silence, different language, rural living, fireflies in my room, crickets and frogs singing, adorable cats, frightening dogs, strong cellular signal, drinking Lipton tea almost every meal, two to three hours conversation while eating, all male in the community, and a vacation ministry. 

Reflection
I think I’m still in the transition period. I might be still adjusting from being removed from my comfort zone. I’m thankful I wrote this so I can be grateful for all the blessings I got and not just focus on what I lack.

How two years had gone so fast

“I’m now cleaning up my bed room; transferring my files from my desktop computer to my USB; piling up books stacked within the past year; compiling my essays printed or handwritten; and planning how am I going to pack my things and have them fit inside the bags. I’m leaving in five days and I’m preparing myself from this transition period.”
March 14 journal entry

BUDA, DAVAO CITY — I planned to post this entry above while I was still in MAPAC. While I am writing this, all my companions in the scholasticate are now in their respective communities in their immersion in Luzon with groups in the Bulakeños and the rest with the Dumagats in Rizal Province. Now I am in Buda for three days already, I have the luxury of time which I had in MAPAC but didn’t spent the time well because of different distractions such as computers with high speed internet. When I flew to Mindanao, I went straight to Cotabato for a detour in Tamontaka novitiate for two days. I just had with me my clothes, money, and some necessities (is smartphone considered?).

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Readers and WordPress, Salamat (Thanks)

4 years of blogging now. I still remember January 2011 when I am…

  1. Struggling what to write
  2. Posting about anything
  3. Writing “for practice blogging purposes only”

Now that I am a 4 year-old WordPress-er, I would like to thank the readers whom I don’t know personally… yet.

I know it might sound creepy but I would like to meet you guys in person. I’m not a native English speaker but I will try to (struggle) understanding you talk when we finally meet. I want to know your stories offline.

Where? I don’t know. Meet me here in the Philippines or when I go to your country, send me a PM in the Contact form and I’ll try to ask Google on what place where we’ll meet.

It might happen or not and I’m just wishfully thinking it will.

And finally, thank you WordPress and I hope you’ll stay online a hundred more years or more!

Maraming salamat po!

I haven’t finished my work yet I’m already rejoicing

Today, exactly one month since I started the lay-out, I’m almost done with the draft of our MAPAC newsletter.Initially, my goal is to finish the draft last November 7. But because I lack articles, I was not able to achieve the set date. But I’m happy my announce that last night, I was able to put up most of the articles in the lay-out. I initially planned to join the NaNoWrimo this November but priorities comes first. Nevertheless, I still think of some plot and scenes and all that stuff once in a while (usually during my stay in the comfort room). So my target date now is to finish the draft next week, November 21 and print copies on the final Sunday of the Liturgical Year, Christ the King (on November 23). If I waited until Advent, the theme of our newsletter will change.

Thank God I have Brothers who are helping me to get the articles done nicely. Since I suck in writing English, I’m blessed to get a helping hand from a proofreader Brother who is a native speaker of English. Thanks to our liaison in the Communications Committee for pushing me to work consistently in my own pace. I’m sorry, I’m taking too much time in planning and designing the lay-out. I know I’m still an amateur when it comes to these things.

Though I’m not yet done, I already feel elated. It’s like I’m playing basketball with a 20 point-lead on the final two minutes of the last quarter.