Aug 082015


Weekends. When the rest of the world is out doing, I am home being.

I say a prayer upon rising then amble down to the kitchen to make my coffee concoction. I smile at all the jars of extra nutrition I put into it, amused at the potion it has become. More often than not a wistful memory surfaces around this ritual. I let it come. On other days, I am inclined to discipline myself about certain emotions that sometimes threaten to rule. But on weekends, we have the luxury of sitting together until I can send them gently on their way. Then I throw open the doors and windows, welcome air and light into my home, feeling every part of me finally waking up. I sit on the lanai chair that  gives me the best view of my garden and sip my morning elixir. Already I am in a space of gratitude for this home and life I am so very fortunate to have. I walk barefoot on the grass and stand in the middle of my space on this earth. I take in the ground beneath me, receive the sky above me and feel myself right at the center of their generosity. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:47 am
Jul 262015


My previous post earned a conversation with a concerned friend who thought I might be clinically depressed or suffering from concealed depression (aha, a brand new disease !). Like I said in the post, I am not prone to depression, but this does not mean I have not felt despair, sadness and grief. I have. I am somewhere in that well now, but slowly finding my way back to the surface.

Now, I know myself, but I also like to guard against denial. I went online after we hung up and read several articles on depression, even took a few quizzes, enough to confirm what I already know: I’m just sad, and I know it’s something that comes with my life experiences of late. If I went into detail, you would agree that it is a very sad time, indeed. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:32 pm
Jul 182015

photo from

I have been underwater lately; it has been a year of tough lessons and unexpected reckoning. I am not prone to depression, not one to wallow, but these days levity and laughter are elsewhere. Humor has always been my fall back, reliable beacon, my go-to-light at the end of all of life’s tunnels. But not this time. Still, I refuse to accept it has abandoned me.

On a morning when I could barely keep my head above water, I noticed a family of three walking–sisters and their father. As my car passed them, he flashed a smile at my tinted window. He didn’t mean to, I think; It was already there. It was relaxed, content, full of quiet joy.

A short distance later I saw a boy of about four aiming his face at the breeze just beyond the family car window. On him I saw radiant joy and certainty, as if he knew it would always be his.

Joy. It is everywhere. There will be moments when it will elude you, when you will feel it has left, but on that day I learned the next best thing–to look outside and find it there. For now it is outside you, and it is enough to know it is within reach.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Feb 162015



I recently had a talk with my godson about marriage. His friends seem to be diving in, left and right, and he’s having to fly to different places to attend weddings and christenings. Part of him was feeling a little odd being one of two in his group who is still single, but it was clear he had many questions about the institution. I told him I had as many and feel marriage to be painfully outdated given our present context.

We are different human beings today, evolving towards becoming more and more ourselves (hopefully), so more and more marriages are ending up torn and frayed, if not completely shattered. Religion certainly has not helped in this area. There is much talk about fidelity, forever, sin, morality, God, but not much about the necessary and spiritual evolution of the self, and how this can happen authentically within the same space. Isn’t this what marriage can be–a conscious spiritual endeavour, the nurturing of shared space that allows each individual freedom and self-actualization over time, the recognition and honoring of each other’s essence, learning to love in truth, first ourselves and then another? I move towards these points each time I think about marriage and all its possibilities. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 7:36 pm
Sep 072014



Almost overnight, everything normal is upended, from an innocuous sms exchange suddenly turned vile and venomous, to a meeting about one topic suddenly being manipulated into something more personal and dishonest.  I’m trying not to shoot the messengers. (Insert chortle.) Instead, I’m seeing the unearthing of deep issues that now demand an honest look.

I recognize the signs; I’ve been through this before. I know I’m being violently kicked out of my complacency because I have been ignoring all the calls for attention, hoping they would all disappear on their own. I should have known better. They never do.

The soul doesn’t like complacency. It doesn’t thrive in half-truths and untruths, so if you choose to coast along, ignoring its need for light and clarity, life will assert itself and create uncomfortable and painful situations that require you to pay greater attention. This may be through illness, the demise of a relationship, or a series of difficult events that, when examined objectively, may carry a theme–a message for your next evolution. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Apr 032014


I’ve been very quiet since Yolanda and going through a sort of crisis.  There was so much to do and such incredible noise around it.  All of a sudden volunteerism became all about selfies and narcissistic posts.  I just couldn’t get into the culture.  And that made me look twice at the stuff I write and wonder if there was still space for it in today’s obsession with lists, quizzes, travel posts, witty one-liners and other “look how clever I am” entries.  I rebel at the thought of having to post and promote my own writing.  Then D. said just this morning, “But how else will you do it today ?”.

I honestly don’t know. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:59 pm
Aug 242012

I didn’t know Jesse Robredo. I may have met him once and that was that. But I first heard his name in 2005 as we worked on the Karangalan Festival. We were looking for people in the different sectors of society who were serving honorably, effectively and with integrity. His was pretty much the only name we considered for government.  Since then I have been a fan in the sidelines and so I was surprised at the depth of my pain when I first heard of the plane crash. I had hoped against hope that he had been quietly making his way back home on a bangka, perhaps a bit battered and bruised, but none the worse for wear.

The depth of grief that continues to dwell in my heart and the heart of most every Filipino is almost inexplicable.  I realize so many of us felt comfort that he was here, in our corner of the world, and where he was there was good.  In him, we saw who we could be. Like many, I also held hope he would one day run our country and finally be the force that would inspire us to be our best. Always.

As I watched his wife Atty. Leni Robredo speak yesterday, I realized that we lose good people also so that we may know their full story. There was so much more good in Jesse Robredo that would have remained private, had he not passed on.  He was a good family man and husband.  You could tell his marriage was authentic, living and true.  Theirs was a marriage that was not about them. Service was at the center of it. I know no other formula for the longevity of a male-female bond than that. They had it and they lived it. They lived simply and with integrity. They both did such good work that was so apparent they didn’t have to spend to put their initials, names and faces on tarpaulins, sidewalks, benches and billboards. His work was on the ground. Everyone knew him and they could feel and see his deeds at work.

Why do the best ones go first? This is a question so many have asked in the last few days. I think it is so their light can inspire us to rise higher and do our share.  Through his passing we see so much goodness. I am in awe of his wife, Leni.  She is the epitome of dignity and grace.  She also shows us that there is no need for drama, hysteria, bitterness, but how grace and acceptance can heal and unite.  There is so much inspiration to draw from now and I believe that sometimes that is what death brings–a quality of light that allows us to see with more than our eyes.

Jesse Robredo’s life and death show us that service, honor, integrity simplicity–a life of good–crosses borders and goes straight to the hearts of people far and wide.

Last night, my son brought in the blank book he bought at a recent yard sale.  He was treating it as a most priced treasure that he didn’t want to use.  He finally found something worthy to put on its first page.


Even children feel the need to honor Jesse Robredo.


Salamat, Jesse, for showing my children that good Filipinos continue to dwell and serve among us. In life and in death.

 Posted by at 9:29 am
Apr 302012


I have never written about my religion because the topic tends to drive people–including myself– away. I was in limbo for the longest time because I just could not be part of any religion that went against any of my beliefs. I wanted a living, conscious, religion that would help co-create my spiritual life. I didn’t want a religion that had aspects I didn’t agree with. I believed there was spiritual substance in the Sacraments, but not the way they were being celebrated in my church of old. So I dropped out, choosing to find religion in the everyday.

For many years, I was without any kind of organized religion in my life, and I thought that was how it would be until my last day, but during a most difficult time in my biography, I started reading up on the spiritual aspects of marriage and relationships. I wanted to understand the spiritual substance of it, because I felt — and still do — that it is one of the many social institutions that so badly needs renewal. I was serendipitously led to specific books and each time I looked at the back page to take a peek at the author, he always turned out to be a priest of The Christian Communtiy.

I didn’t know what to do about this at first, because I had a few encounters with priests and I always felt they spoke to me from concepts, ideas and ideals, but so very rarely from living experience, especially in the area of marriage and relationships. Yet the books that were helping me now, in this time of extreme crisis, showed me a side to priests that made me very curious, hopeful and strangely excited. I was resonating, very deeply, with what they were saying, and the idea of a mature, upright, truly spiritual religion that supported my way of thinking and being was pretty amazing.

Around this time, a handful of acquaintances from our Waldorf school were already asking about The Christian Community and before long we were meeting weekly to get the initiative started. We met unstintingly, every Sunday for 3 years, and slowly all the individuals from all over the world who needed to come and help us begin the services here, came.

It has been 7 years since the first service and my life has been made so rich, not just because of the services, but because of the work that goes behind it. For the first 5 years, my home was home to visiting priests and my children and I learned so much from them. Every visit remains a true exchange and my children and I continue to look forward to them. To this day, every visit triggers a brief walk down memory lane, each child fishing out a memory of a gift, a game, a story that made them laugh.

The members of the community work very hard to make sure the priest visits happen. We look forward to finally having a Filipino priest and regular services, but until those individuals step up and do the training, we are fortunate to have priests from other communities in the world come to do the work. When they come, lectures and workshops are arranged to help us raise funds for the initiative. The work is true community-building. It is never easy but we all feel the work must continue so that people who are searching for spiritual substance in the context of an organized religion can find it.

I don’t know how I would have survived that particular phase of my biography without The Christian Community. Our priests helped without imposition. I was never told what I ought to do. There was no judgment, fear or guilt, only true understanding and compassion. There were pictures given to help and crevices carved on which I could temporarily rest my fingers on the climb out. There is no hypocrisy. Priests marry. They can be male or female. There is no dogma. The idea of sin is separation from the Divine that can be made whole when we truly understand who we are and find our path again.

This year my oldest son was confirmed. He began preparing for this milestone a year before through many conversations with priests and a lot of interesting activities with his fellow confirmands. It warms my heart to know that he is spiritually supported through this time in his life and he knows that he can speak freely with our priests anytime about anything and he won’t be subjected to moralizing of the worst kind. He will never be told what to do, but be given help to see more clearly so he can carve his own path and make his own life decisions, not from fear, but hopefully from an understanding of who he is and where he needs to go. Here, everyone is a free individual with his own special destiny and my son sees that organized religion requires the participation of everyone–priests and individuals working together to build human community.

 Posted by at 12:25 am
Dec 082011



A well-organized space is a sight to behold. It makes me want to dance. This is true of our internal spaces as well. How often have we foisted our emotions on the wrong people, at the wrong time and for all the wrong reasons?

Just like our outer spaces, our emotions need organizing. There are times when our emotions become bigger than us, because we fail to see them objectively. I suppose it’s normal. It is difficult to see ourselves objectively and emotions do tend to run away from us, but that’s why it’s so important to make an effort to put them where they belong.

Recently, a parent nearly traumatized his child over schoolwork, when his frustration was really directed at the child’s school and what he felt was their negligence in providing him with the proper foundational skills. He was angry at the school, but he let his anger leak out towards his child.  Did that solve anything? No, it created more pain. That’s what happens when we are not conscious of our emotions and WHERE they belong.

We can live with our emotions for years until they become habit. We are angry, very angry, but we don’t really know why anymore, or where we ought to put it, so it leaks out everywhere until we bubble up and burst, causing irreparable damage everywhere.  What a mess we make when we let our emotions rule us.

If we are aware of our points of anger, rage, frustration and pain, we can make an effort to examine them–with the goal of seeing them objectively. Where does it belong? What was the source? Am I taking it too far now? Have I let it become bigger than it is? Is it time to put it to rest, or do I need to dust it off and re-shape it? Where does it belong today?

It’s easier said than done, I know, but it’s a useful practice and one that allows us to manage our emotions, rather than the other way around.

I grew up with very volatile, emotional people and that taught me to be the opposite:  organized, methodical, cool, calm, because I know that big, obtrusive emotions can wreak indescribable havoc. As an adult, I had to adjust by telling myself it’s okay to be angry and hurt, as long as I don’t inflict it on others.  I am still working on that and it helps me to have a picture just like the one I posted above. I tell myself that as long as I can put my feelings and emotions in context, I will not behave abhorrently towards others.

That’s the goal, really, to make sure we do not impose our emotions on others. Emotions can be so powerful that we tend to think they are RIGHT, and sometimes this leads to misplaced indignation. But, emotions are only arrows that give direction. There is no right or wrong there. I believe they are indicators of what we need to look at and work on in our biography. And it would do us well to pay attention, take a step back, breathe, and later on see where everything belongs.

Wouldn’t it be great if our inner spaces could look organized, yet creative, orderly yet unfixed?

I think so.

 Posted by at 1:35 pm
Nov 202011

Okay, so the words above are extreme, but we know (especially if you snickered) that there’s some truth there.

BE CONSEQUENT. These two words sparked a flame in me last week.  When I heard it, I knew it to be the very phrase I’ve been looking for. It was spoken in the context of religion.  Our priest was speaking to some parents who were considering having their children receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in our church and he was trying to give them a picture of what that meant. There is no dogma in my church–perhaps the only dogma is freedom of thought–so, we would certainly not prohibit people from other religions to participate in the Sacraments, but certainly it is only right that anyone who wants that would have to be awake to what he was doing. At the very least, one should be clear about the consequences of their choices.

The words were spoken again by a mentor of our school, in the context of teaching. As a teacher, one must be consequent. If you say something, mean it and  follow through on it. This is major for me, because it presupposes an active inner education. To be consequent, one must be clear in thought and  intention–in whatever you do or say, you are clear about why–and then you release it in the classroom and because you were clear about your intentions and were purposeful, you can be active and consequent.

Today I said it to someone because I spent a big chunk of my morning trading texts. One party said she had been approached and asked to support an initiative. The other party said it was jokingly said. Well, clearly, the joke was not taken as such. So I wanted to point out that it’s so very important to be consequent about what we say!  Were you joking or were you hoping? If what you sincerely wanted was help and support, why would you joke about it? Consequently, how can you expect full support if the energy you used to seek it was cloaked in a joke?

Part of this, I know, is cultural. We are the kings and queens of passive-aggressive behavior. We love to make “parinig”, asking questions we don’t really need answers to when what we really want is to show people how knowledgeable we are, for example. Or we’ll not look at a person but talk about them anyway, cloaking the discussion in something or other, when what we really want to do is point out their weakness or fault. The truth is it’s so much healthier and more respectful (though, admittedly, not easier), to address the person and lay it out, preferably with warmth and empathy, so that the person on the receiving end can feel safe, especially in a situation of conflict.

I find that people are reluctant to step forward with their requests, wishes and intentions as well. They don’t want to be responsible for them. So they like to say they just “jokingly” mentioned something, but in truth they were asking for something. Their true  hope was for the other party to read the request and fulfill it.  I find that unfair to the person from whom they are soliciting help. Instead of taking full responsibility for your actions, you are transferring the burden to him. There’s nothing wrong with soliciting or asking for help, but one must be clear and able to really ask for it with full conviction, responsibility, transparency, honesty, uprightness and intention.  Yes, all that. If you want something, ask for it and be fully behind what you ask for. It shows the person you are addressing that you value his help enough that you would stand before him forthrightly. That’s how much you believe in what you’re asking for. So show it.

There is so much murkiness in social relations today because of this. We are not clear when we say things. We might say we are just joking, but really we are not. We ask a question when what we want is to point a finger at someone. And this begins a chain of murkiness, at the end of which blooms cold conflict, because the premises are tangled up in unclear agenda. If we are consequent, or try to be, then we start from a place of clarity. We can only be consequent if, at first, we are clear.

Be clear. This is a lifelong task, I know, but if we remind ourselves and work on it, we can always be clearer than the last time and that is progress!! It takes a lot of inner listening and mirroring, and being honest with oneself about what our true purpose is for any undertaking. When we are clear, it is so much easier to be consequent.

Be clear. Be consequent. I just know this will change our lives and the world for the better.

 Posted by at 6:45 pm