Personal ‘Life Hacks’ That Kept Me Sane Over The Years…

“There is, I have heard, a little thing called sunrise, in which the sun reverses the process we all viewed the night before. You might assume such a thing as mythical as those beasts that guard the corners of the earth, but I have it on the finest authority, and have, indeed, from time to time, regarded it with my own eyes.” ― Lauren Willig, The Garden Intrigue

“There is, I have heard, a little thing called sunrise, in which the sun reverses the process we all viewed the night before. You might assume such a thing as mythical as those beasts that guard the corners of the earth, but I have it on the finest authority, and have, indeed, from time to time, regarded it with my own eyes.” ― Lauren Willig, The Garden Intrigue

Today, I turn 45.

Looking back at the year I had, I have nary a complaint. Yes, I had my ups and downs — and have done things that I am not proud of — yet, the year-that-was was a good year for me still.

And here, I share with you some ‘philosophies’ that have kept me going through the years…

1. Put some S.A.L.T. (Spend special Attention to the Little Things) in everything you do.

Negativity should have no place in our daily lives. But since we do not live in a utopian society, negativism, almost always, finds its way into our day-to-day routines. So, before negative thoughts and emotions creep its way into our psyche and cripple us emotionally, psychologically, and yes, even physically, we’ve gotta purge ’em out of our system!

A good cure to keep negative vibes away is: SALT WATER — Sweat. Tears. The sea.

Feeling lazy and bored? Try running, jogging, trekking. Sweat it out.

Someone broke your heart? Cry yourself an ocean. Wash the grief away with tears.

Stressed from too much work? Let the salty sea breeze caress your face.

2. Just D.O. I.T. (Dare to do Original Ideas Totally)

We are faced with many uncertainties in life. You’ve been through these things millions of times, I’m sure. But how many of those times have you truly taken that advice, and gave something new and different the old college try? It can be as simple as dyeing your hair blonde or it can be something more daring, like sky diving. Whatever you choose to do, don’t ever let the words “I can’t…” escape your lips without actually trying it out first.

Fear can cripple you and prevent you from living the life you shoulda-coulda-woulda lived. Most of the time, these shoulda, coulda, wouldas are generally followed by still wantas.

“Fear, is every problem’s bottom line, and you can’t be afraid to start at the bottom if you want to solve your problems.” — I Would If I Could and I Can, James H. Hoke

3. Do not be S.A.D. (Spending the day in Abject Disillusionment). L.O.L.! (Live Out Loud!)

Today, I choose NOT to be… S.A.D.; instead, I will be here to… L.O.L.

Finally, some "me" time

Finally, some “me” time

Martha Washington declares, “I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.”

I’m gonna do the same.

Maybe, these lines from The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones will clarify my point further:

Have you ever had the odds stacked up so high
You need a strength most don’t possess?
Or has it ever come down to do or die
You’ve got to rise above the rest?

No? Well…
I never had to knock on wood
But I know someone who has
Which makes me wonder if I could
It makes me wonder if
I never had to knock on wood
And I’m glad I haven’t yet
Because I’m sure it isn’t good
That’s the impression that I get.

4. Don’t talk, just K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple)

brev·i·ty, noun \ˈbre-və-tē\
: the use of few words to say something

Why do we always say that short and simple is good?

Because simplicity is not just about minimalism or the absence of clutter, it is a measure of one’s understanding. Y’see, to be truly simple, you have to go really, really deep into complexity. You have to thoroughly understand the essence of something in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential. Saying “less is more”.

Courtesy of George Orwell, here’s a quick cheat sheet to become more practical as possible:

Always use:

A word instead of phrase
A phrase instead of a sentence
A sentence instead of paragraph
A paragraph instead of a page…

5.  I always W.I.N.G. it (Write Incessantly, Never Giving up)

I seize each day, each opportunity to write. Anything. Everything. The consistency. The monotony. The certainty. All foolish notions and affectations are covered by this daily re-occurrence. After all, you don’t go to a well once but every day, and sleep comes to you each day, so do the muses–Calliope, Euterpe or Erato.

“How do you write? You write, man, you write, that’s how, and you do it the way the old English walnut tree puts forth leaf and fruit every year by the thousands. . . . If you practice an art faithfully, it will make you wise, and most writers can use a little wising up.” — William Saroyan, 1981

… and of course — today, and everyday — I always choose to PRAY:

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

AMEN.

A Fallen Star…

SOS

It’s too… Oh!

Water. H2O. We, city dwellers, don’t put too much importance to it. We just flick a knob, and we get it… but for many, it means walking miles for hours, carrying heavy loads.

The next time you leave the tap running, think of this mother and daughter… and the many like them who have no easy access to clean drinking water.

Location: Campo Siete, Talisay, Cebu

Location: Campo Siete, Talisay, Cebu

Save the ‘butandings’ in Oslob

In May 2012, I was finally able to scratch off my bucket list swimming with the gentle giants of the seas — the whale sharks or butanding. Back then, the water was fresher, cleaner, more refreshing… and the people wanting to ‘interact’ with the whale sharks are a lot more considerate, well-mannered, and truly conscious of how they should conduct themselves alongside the whales.

Almost three years later, things have drastically changed — in my opinion — for the worse. The water now stinks of rotten ‘alamang’, the small shrimps local fishermen feed the whale sharks… and the ‘tourists’ more unruly.

Many do not really care about the animals — the people I was unfortunate to share a boat with, anyway… They ignored EVERY rule there was! They simply did not care whether they’re getting too close to the ‘butandings’ nor if they were creating too much splashes in the water. All they cared about was that they get underwater pictures with the whale sharks. ‘Twas a sad sight…

Oh, by the way, INTERACTION is a misnomer with regards to the activity in Oslob. There was no interaction. It was chaos. Pandemonium. Cam-whoring at its worst!

The saddest part? Most of the guilty ones are Filipinos. I can see some foreign tourists just shaking their heads.

I myself was so disgusted by what I witnessed that I didn’t even wait for the allocated 30-minute ‘interaction’ time to end. I just swam towards the shore to get away from it all.

If you want a better experience, prepare to shell out some serious money (@2100php) and go SCUBA diving instead to get a good view of the whale sharks from below.

However, seeing what I saw in Oslob gave me a fresher perspective on the debate whether or not to discontinue the practice of “domesticating” these wild but gentle giants of the seas… and I am convinced that it should stop.

When is a ‘selfie’ A ‘selfie’?

Let us all not get carried away by what we read in the newspapers and what is being propagated in social media. Let us not be quick to jump on the bandwagon. Take pause. Scrutinize the issue.

News articles label House Bill 4807 as “Anti-Selfie” Bill. This is a misnomer. Inaccurate.

The proposed bill in its current form DOES NOT PROHIBIT SELFIEs per se. What it declares illegal is the act of taking photos–among others–of OTHER people for commercial purposes. If you are taking photos of people OTHER than yourself, that is not a selfie, is it?

House Bill 4807, also known as The Protection Against Personal Intrusion Act, which seeks to “promote and protect the personal privacy of every person by preventing intrusion for commercial purposes, and enjoining everyone to respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of every person.” In a nutshell, as summarized by a House press release, “under the measure, it is unlawful to capture, or to trespass on private property in order to capture, any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of any individual, personal or family activity for commercial purposes and even if no physical trespass has occurred. The measure also allows the person whose visual image or auditory impression has been captured to file a civil action or proceeding to obtain any appropriate relief including compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive of declaratory relief.”

No text of HB 4807 has been uploaded yet, so it is very difficult to truly gauge its impact. But I must admit, that in its current form, the proposed legislation can encroach on the rights of emerging sectors such as blogging and online social media, especially citizen journalism. Would-be criminals caught on tapes (or films) can use this bill to declare photographic/videographic evidences as illegally acquired if taken in private premises.

I know this is a complex issue…. but there is one thing I’m sure: whether or not this bill becomes a law, no one’s going to arrest you for taking a photo of yourself while shopping inside a mall or drinking yourself silly inside a bar.

So, here’s an appeal to the media and those opposing this bill, please stop calling it “anti-selfie” bill. It is NOT!

Tuloy ang ligaya!

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Photo by: Ronie Santiago Photography, Cabacungan Cove, Tambobong, Dasol, Pangasinan

Watch Robin Williams recap ten years of U.S. politics

Thanks for the laughter… and lessons.

Renewal

This essay was written by a dear friend. Her commentary on humanity’s moral decline is very insightful…

DSC_1499The clouds hang low on the horizon. Reddish-black smog enveloped the place in a blood-smeared haze. Blocks of concrete devoured the vegetation. Monitor lizards, wild boars, bear cats, squirrels and pheasant peacocks roaming the once pristine forests will soon be just stuff of legends and myths we read in books. The rumbling thunder cannot be distinguished from the roar of trucks that are laden with minerals extracted from the mountains. The deserted mountains will then be left with deep wounds. Wounds caused by men. Wounds that will never heal. There is no cure because men do not recognize it as an ailment.

The stench of decaying values of men pervades the air.

Unwanted children and adults alike littered the earth, and nobody seemed to care. Pseudo-wars played by children are no longer pseudo but real in the world of men bent on destroying each other–for what? We do not understand… People kill each other over petty things.

It’s all greed. People become greedy because of a hunger that cannot be satisfied. We crave for more luxurious things, destroying what we already have for free, in exchange for those that would make us seem wealthy.

But what we do not want is taken away from us… The sea swallowed back beaches into its bowels, as waves surged to claim what man has wasted. The howling wind unleashed its fury on the hapless people who can only wail in anguish. But nothing can dissuade the wind from revealing its tremendous power to man who is in fact so minute, so helpless, so unfortunate… Man in his uncaring way forgets that something is inherently more powerful. So the great wind needs to remind him to acknowledge mother nature’s might!

Man rose from among the debris, and searched for the monuments he has built for himself, but nothing remained. Then man remembered… this isn’t what he really wanted. He has sold his soul for flashy things that are irrelevant to man’s existence, yet, he didn’t find fulfillment in what he has chosen. Now, there is only the scorching heat of the sun and dry land before him.
He looked up to the heavens and asked for forgiveness.

Then he felt a drop on his face, a light drizzle mingling with his tears… rain fell piercing the heart of the earth, letting go of the strangled seeds, which man finally learned to nourish with his blood and sweat.

IANTHE MARIE BENLIRO
10 February 2011

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