Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Give That The Other May Become

I am amazed at the special relationship between the orchids and the tree. The tree does not get anything,  in scientific sense, out of this relationship. On the other hand, orchids being epiphytes, need the trees to grow on. The orchid does not gets its nutrients from the tree and does not harm the tree in anyway. The orchid needs a place to anchor its roots and that is precisely what the tree provides. This kind of relationship is called commensalism, a kind of symbiotic relationship where just one species benefits, while the other is unaffected.

There is much that we, as human beings, can learn from this relationship.  Can we see ourselves giving without taking so others can become? In our material word, this seems like asking for the moon. l have spent so many years of my life working with charity to know that most often when we give it is more for "me" rather than for the "other". I try to look back at my own  "giving" experiences and I realize that in almost all instances, my "giving" was prompted more by the need to feel good about myself and less about seeing the other not just feel good at the instant of receiving but that he too may be enabled so he could also enjoy for himself the gift of being able to give.

Giving so others we give to may also be empowered to become givers maybe what is missing in our giving culture. Unlike the tree, we give to others in need, pat ourselves in the back and forget about it. We do it to ease our conscience so we don't live with the guilt of not  having done anything to help. We do not see giving as an act of binding ourselves to those we give to so together we could work at being able to stand beside each other at an equal plane. Surely if we do, like the orchid and the tree, we as the giver and the one we give too, would both look real beautiful.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

When The Beautiful Becomes Ordinary And The Ordinary Becomes Invisible

I know you would say these are beautiful flowers. They are. But soon, I would not be seeing them in my garden. "They have to go" says my friend, John, who does most of the garden work. "They have become so ordinary, they have lost their charm" - those were John's words. I know what he means. These flowers multiply so fast. In the area where we live, they have ceased being regarded as ornamental. They are now considered as weeds.

Last year, we discarded a variety of flowers among them is the purple beauty which you see at the bottom photo. The reason? They have become so common. The flower had the last say. As I took the snapshot, I could almost hear it tell me, "Look! What is so common about giving an otherwise drab piece of land some color?".

I cannot help but reflect on the idea of the beautiful becoming common. I believe it is a major flaw in our human character. How many of us had ceased counting our blessings just because we are so used to having them? They have become to us so common and therefore have become invisible. If you are a mom, you must have lived that invisibility. You spend so much time doing caring work which is given no value and therefore invisible. I remember when one of my kids, who was in his teens then was asked by his friends what the work is of his mom. His reply "She is just an ordinary housewife". Yes, the woman who gave up her career just to be able to give her family the best care possible is just doing something ordinary.

I could go on and on but I love to hear what you got to say.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Walking Through The Storm With Your Head Up High

I stayed cooped inside our mountain cottage as the storm continued to rage outside. When it was finally over, I heard it blasted on the radio it left on its wake hundreds of people dead and thousands of people homeless. De javu! I was there before and I know the pain. It is going to be difficult finding the strength to move on. I could only pray that the victims would somehow find a way to get over it.

I went outside the cottage to survey the damage. Tree branches were strewn all over. It was like some crazy went on indiscriminate felling of trees. But what caught my attention were these plants that seemed like they did not go through the storm. I took some pictures and as I did, I tried to reflect on the storms that we all go through in life.

There are days when everything seems right with our life. We feel beautiful. We are on top of the world and nothing seems to go wrong. We wish it would go on and on but that is not the way it goes with living. We could wake up one day and find that life has taken a cruel turn. Everything seems to be falling apart and nothing makes sense any longer. The once sunny life could suddenly disappear in the face of a storm.

I am often asked how I weather the storm that comes into my life and emerge not withered. I do not feel I have the answer. Often, when sailing on life's rough seas, I feel like it is the end for me. I give up all hope of reaching the shore. The reason for the journey is all lost. I feel like this sojourn in life is all for nothing. Still in the face of all this negativity, some fiber of hope within me keeps on stirring. Somehow, I always manage to make myself believe that all this talk about the light at the end of the tunnel is true. Perhaps, that is how I go through it all. I just dream of the light, believe I will find it and survive the storm, maybe not as well as the plants on the photos, but still looking well.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

You Are How You Color Life

Nature's wonderful play of colors is what makes it astoundingly beautiful. Color is what makes each natural beauty what it is. Would Yellow Bells be Yellow Bells if they weren’t yellow or would a Roman Candle be what it is if it were purple? Surely, without their color, they would cease to be what they are.

 But so are we. We are how we color ourselves. 

One woman donned with courage the mantle of leadership of a revolution that saw the end of one of the world’s most entrenched dictatorship.  She colored the revolution yellow. This lady took the  color yellow which used to signify cowardice and  turned it into a symbol of courage. Yellow became the rallying color that united her people to face the tanks that would have sent the revolution to a river of red, of blood spilled and lives lost. 

Yellow is every Filipino who took the courage to say “enough is enough” and put their lives on the line to reclaim their freedom. Yellow is Corazon Aquino who dared to take an almost impossible task and finished it together with the Filipino people with the rain of yellow confetti pouring on their victory parade.  Yellow is a proud era in Philippine history. Speak of yellow to any Filipino and that is what they would remember.
I would not be remembered in such grandeur but as I reflect on my life I wonder about how I colored myself and what others would think each time I register on their memory waves. I know that to some, I colored myself as one who is kind and giving to a fault. To  those who know of my political beliefs, I am definitely red. Someone who had fiercely fought for what she believes no matter what the price. To my friends and loved ones, my color speaks of one who gave it all without taking.  Looking back,  I could see colors I wish were either in darker or lighter shade or were another color instead. But such is life. Every color you apply would be there for good. Still, the fabric of my life as I have woven it looks lovely in my eyes. I am sure the people around me who helped provide the thread would agree.           

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Wonder If I Ever Lived My Life For Me.

The town finally emerges from the cover of the clouds. Nothing on the previous photographs betrayed some signs that behind the clouds there are people going on with their own business of living. Perhaps there is no need to know. We look at the photographs and are amazed at nature's wonderful show. We just let the beauty fill up our senses. There are experiences that are meant to be enjoyed in silence. No questions asked.

There are times though that I ponder at my own life and wonder whether I have not strayed in the "no questions ask" zone more times than I should have been. I have relied so much on my senses to guide me in my life journey. Most of the things I did, I did it because I loved, because I cared and sometimes because I hated. I seldom let my reason come into play. I guess I believed in what one often reads in those Hallmark cards about needing no reason to love and letting love be the reason.

Sometimes, I ask myself whether I had been living my life for others or had I lived it for me. I got no clear answer. Perhaps,  there is really  no contradiction. Perhaps that is really how life ought to be lived. Maybe, it is only in living it for others that one could give meaning to his own life.

Whatever the answer, I still wished I had gotten myself  interested in what lay hidden behind the clouds. I wished I  had not only let myself  just feel the beautiful "panoramas" that came along my life but also "think" them.

If had let reason play a more vital role in my decisions on what turns to take as I drove through life's highway, would my life had been more fulfilling? I do not know. Perhaps, there would have been less hurting and being hurt. Less "downs"  and more "ups". Less distractions. More focus.But then again well thought off or not, life is unpredictable. I would just have to go ahead and  live it the best way I know how.  

(Note: These photos were taken with a 4MP camera and so are not as sharp as I wanted them to be. I have to get you better shots next time. Promise. :))

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Time To Stay And A Time To Go


Morning has finally broken. The sun has declared its presence. The clouds remains unperturbed. It seems to  be telling the sun,  I know you must warm the earth and so I should not be on the way and leave but I know that you know I have to take my turn after you to cool the earth back. We do what we have to do. There is time for everything, a time to stay and time to go. Such is how the universe flow. The sun just radiates its rays of smile. It understands.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Life Isn't A Race

The dawn begins its ritual but still the town is in no hurry to emerge out of the blanket of clouds of which it is enveloped. Life should be no different. Life is not a race. Every minute of it should be lived. What is a hurried life if in the end you wish you did not sprint through it but instead took sometime to take off your shoes and experience the feel of the earth under your feet.

Note: To gain a better appreciation of this photo essay, you have to refer to the preceding post. The photos by themselves have stories to tell.