#33

I just turned 33 last weekend. Like most of my previous birthdays, I skip big celebrations and blowout to friends and colleagues at work.

I’d rather spend my time quietly, without the noise of partying, singing and merry-making. Without funfare and heavy drinking where you don’t know what happen when you wake up the following morning. Not to mention nursing a hangover, in most cases.

But those are when you’re in your twenties. Birthday celebration in your thirties is more simple–because you know better, wiser.

When you disentangle your self from material possessions as definition of happiness, then life becomes enjoyable. That is what I am embracing. In fact, I did not think of anything to gift my self with prior to my birthday. I was just happy and contented with my life.

There’s just so many things to be thankful about, and I have come to that point where I could not ask for more because I’ve been blessed enough.

Thank you for another year of wonderful things. Here’s to more years of expressing happiness.

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The (Inside) Story

On December 29, 2012, a Saturday, the Brain woke up feeling light after a good eight hours of sleep. It sends a nice vibe to all other organs within the body that this will be a fun day. It was cloudy outside, but the Brain is hoping for a nice weather because the Self who owns the Brain has been pre-occupied with this for the whole month.

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The Brain is fed by the Self almost every day by feeding program related thoughts, especially after Christmas. Good thing though, Lungs and Heart has been pumping enough oxygen to Brain for it to relax and not stressed out. It is because, the Self, is practicing daily short kriya. Brain, Heart, Lungs, Stomach and other parts of the body are jumping for joy. The organs are enjoying this daily, but today is a special day because they know that the Self will exert extra effort—physically and mentally—for the feeding program.

Brain warned Hands that it will be used severely for this day. Hands are not complaining, both left and right limbs are honored to be of help in preparing foods for hundreds of kids. It has mastered the skill to chop onions and garlic, slice tomatoes, and mix monggos in a huge pan.

Tongue is also cooperative to use its skill in making sure that the food prepared is something that the kids will enjoy eating.

Brain reminds Lips to smile. “Don’t forget to smile for the kids, okay?” it said to Lips. “Of course, I will include my ever reliable partner, the infamous pearly white Teeth!” replied Lips. Lips and Teeth are partners in making Self exudes positivity to all, wherever it goes.

Around mid-morning of the same day, Brain sends an instruction to the Skin to sweat. Tensions have to be release. The weather is fair, sun is out and the sky is blue. The Self is happy that there is a good weather for kids to eat healthy today. Muscles in the Arms and Legs are also happy because they have been used up more so today. The Self is helping in the preparation and setup of the venue, and it has to lift weights of tables and plastic chairs for the kids to sit on.

Brain sends another memo to all organs that it has to act fast, because the barangay officials said that hordes of kids are on their way to the covered court for the free lunch! Accidentally, Brain emits an acid that makes the Self agitated and tense for a while. Brain told Self that it’s a natural reaction.

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“Take a deep breath, and repeat until the emotion subsides,” Brain told Self. After a few minutes, Self is okay. Emotional breakdown averted! Whew!

The table settings were setup nicely. The plastic monoblock chairs were lined up like in a kindergarten classroom, ready for the incoming kids to use.

One by one they come. Lips and Teeth were so busy smiling. Good thing there’s saliva to fuel them up because, trust us, it’s not easy to smile for hours. Good thing Eyes assists Lips and Teeth, the “Happy Smile troika” as Brain would brand them. Eyes, though simple and silent, connects a bond of mute understanding with the kids to make them feel comfortable and relax while waiting for the program to start. It was not called windows to the soul for nothing.

When Self do not smile and express its eyes, Brain would immediately snap and reminds the troika to do its “special duties” for the day. Brain can be a little bit fascist, you know.

When Eyes saw the kids dutifully sit on the chairs, and notice that some of them are hapless in bearing, the Heart cannot help it but soften its stance and sends an emotional appeal to the Brain for Eyes to well some tears. But the Self can be so killjoy sometimes! It doesn’t want to show emotions in front of people. It just wants to control it and use Lips instead to smile, even if it knows deep within that its Heart is bleeding from what it is seeing. Self can be incomprehensible.

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By 11am, the program proper started. Ears are feeling the shrieks and shouts from hyperactive kids gathered in the covered court. There is supposed to be games for them to enjoy but they are already shouting for food to be served! Kids are the boss for this day. We have to heed.

There was series of basic exercises that Self introduced to the kids. All parts of the body were instructed by Brain to pay attention so it can be done nicely and smoothly. Division of labor in action.

The Head takes care of its rotation, together with ever supportive partner that puts it in pedestal, Neck. Shoulder and Hands also did their 100% to set an example for the kids to follow. And don’t forget Hips, Knees and Ankles. Brain and Self are very happy!

It has to be announced that Nose plays a big role in this activity. If Nose showed tantrum and stopped breathing, go figure the aftermath. Nose was well-applauded by other organs during the exercises, and bhastrika for an excellent inhalation of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide. Everybody in the system benefited, and has to be thankful for Nose.

Mouth and Throat deserve a standing ovation during the La-La meditation. They provide the voice to settle, calm and center the senses. Oh, and the Eyes closed for pure, blissful feeling. Thank you.

The food/lunch was served around 11.30am. We just let them stay in their seats. They are the boss today, so they don’t move a nerve. We will do all the servings. That is how special they are. A well-deserved pamper, not just in the spirit of Christmas, but in the knowing that these are the faces of the next generation. And we have to take care of them. Appreciate them.

Self is pestering Brain to tell all in the human system to handle this part of the feeding program with grace and clarity. It is hard to commit mistakes in serving food on the plate. Self has to measure how much monggos and rice to serve per plate. It has to depend on how big or small the kid to eat it. That way, the limited food prepared can be stretch and maximize for everyone to enjoy and savor.

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Self has to act in precision and (fast, too) because every minute delay is a minute wait for a grumbling stomach of a kid! Self should know because its own Stomach reacts the same way when it is hungry.

After the last kid was served with meal, Self just wanted to lie down and rest. Legs and Back already feel fatigue and pain from continuous standing for hours. Skin is sweaty and oily from sun and humidity.

But Self don’t complain. “This is not the time to complain and rest. You see, Eyes told me that the children are all happy and enjoying themselves. Their faces are endearing and glowed after eating healthy, vegetarian meal! You all experience this when Self eats non-meat meal daily in the office where it works. It doesn’t take a toll on our system and how we do our work for Self. It feeds us with sufficient nutrients just enough for us to function accordingly. It does not give us toxic wastes” explained Brain to all parts of the body.

At the end of the feeding activity, and when Self returned to the office, all organs from Brain down to Feet, both internal and external, are happily savoring the happy feeling of cortisol which the Brain popped out after all the hard work was done.

Self said it succinctly to the organs, “A simple smile and thank you from the kids that day is reason enough to ease the tired body.” And a loud commanding voice said, “I agree!” It was Spirit.

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Best gift ever!

I have to honestly say that the best gift I have ever receive is Amazon’s Kindle. I had mine several years ago, right after they release an international 3G edition, which is applicable for buyers outside the US. Yes, the white one!

Though I have not used it as much as I want to, lately, it has become very useful especially if there are books that I cannot find locally. Even before 50 Shades of Grey went famous online (and before a US publishing company reserve the right to publish it), it was already a digital e-book sensation. Which makes readers with Kindle or other book readers to read it in advance.

Likewise, buying the Kindle edition of books is cheaper than the actual books. It is also very convenient when travelling so you don’t have to luggage books, which adds up space and weight to your baggage. I am happy that I saw few readers in Manila who reads on their Kindle (the new versions). Two years ago they are non-existent.

But I have to say that I will still buy printed books. Leafing through the pages of a tangible book is something that I cannot do without. And also the smell of ink when you open a recently-purchased book.

But printed and Kindle book editions can co-mingle for me. And I both love them.

Mr Tambourine Boy

There really are times where you just want to shut yourself from the rest of the world. That moment when you are angry but you don’t know why or what cause it? It just happens. I have an idea. Why don’t we follow what the boy in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close do? He brings a tambourine wherever he goes because its sound makes him calm.

Let’s buy tambourine and bring it (in backpack or bag) and use during stressful moments. What do you think? Regardless if we will be labeled as somebody with Asperger’s syndrome.

Black Wednesday

Today, November 2, 2011, a humpday is personally declared Black Wednesday. After going back for work from a long break, I was thrown with a bad news. My books were soak with dripping aircon water! And mind you, not one, or two, or three even. Ten books for crying out loud!

These are not your so-so books, but most of them are my all-time favorites including To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone Baby Gone, Never Let Me Go, Water For Elephants. Because there is no warm area near my office (the whole room is airconditioned), I immediately look for a place where it can get dry the soonest. The weather outside is not even cooperating. The sun is not out!

I put the soaked books in an un-occupied place where the air con is shut off, so its warm there. Besides, it is near the glass window so the heat outside seeps into the area. A dear friend suggests putting the books in a microwave. I’m in the office and we don’t have it here, so the idea is scrap. A nearby “pugon” is also ideal, but its dyahe. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the pages won’t stick, and that they only get crumpled.

Once they dry up, I might send them all to the province (home) so my mother can put them on display in her glass cabinet. Just display cause they are un-readable already. I’m also thinking of downloading their e-book edition to my Kindle so at least I have them on soft file.

The titles that were not affected.

This is ironic because just this morning, I read from the news that DepEd has declared November as the National Reading Month. Perfect, just perfect. Lesson learned. But I still can’t get over the fact that some of them are hardbound! 😦

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By the way, even if I know that the books got wet, I did not get cranky or agitated from the whole situation. It did not even piss me off, to think that I have the right to (because these are expensive books, and some are even hard bound). This might be the subtle effect of daily breathing exercises that we do at work. It is called SKY (Sudarshan Kriya Yoga).

It’s hard to win a game with an imaginary opponent.

Last Sunday was my first time to watch a UAAP game, live, in Araneta Coliseum. I studied at the premier state university, but in their Iloilo campus, so watching and rooting for your school’s basketball team is not possible. I only got the chance to watch it on TV then; but it’s depressing because UP almost always lose to its opponents. In short, basketball is not our strongest suit (Oblation run is, just kidding).

But last Friday, July 15, UP won versus UE. It ended its 18th consecutive losing streak. The last time they won was 2009! So, with some office mates from UP also, we decided to watch their next game last July 17 versus National University (NU). The scheduled game is 1pm so we meet up around 11.30am within the Gateway Mall area. We ate lunch at Café Adriatico. Crispy pata, because we need all the energy to shout and all. But apparently, two of my companions are too thin to eat crispy pork suckling! Both complained from dizziness. Hahaha!

When we enter the arena, the game is already starting, for a few minutes. The score? 10-1, in favor of NU. Uh-oh, too early to be branded a jinx, right? So we root for every shooting scores that UP gathered. Effective, because we lead the score 43-40 at the end of the first half, courtesy of a three-pointer buzzer beater. The second half, unfortunately, is another matter. NU rains on our parade, as they shoot three-pointers left and right. Not to mention, errors from UP team that lead to miss opportunity to score. To cut the long story short, UP lost.

This being my first time to watch it live, my office mates told me that I might be the jinx. Well, well, well. Jinx me not. Blame the basketball team for they’re a bunch of lemons. They are a lot of room for improvement there. [By the way, is the team underfunded?]

Promise that this will not be the last. We will see if I am really the jinx if UP loses again on future Sunday games that I am in the live audience.

Where art thou, SSS ID?

I happly for an SSS ID since last year. It will be a year in a few months. The last time I check, it is being processed. Damn, months? Others before mine had it in 60days!

Until this news came that SSS is going to release a “unified” ID that can be used for PhilHealth, GSIS and Pag-Ibig. Am I included to this new ID since I didn’t receive mine?

Crossing fingers.