Monday, February 05, 2007


Three of my all-time favorite movies are the Back to the Future trilogy. My dad had copies of it and we would always watch them until I grew to love them as well. It is brilliantly written that each movie is interwoven with the other yet even if you watch them separately, you will still enjoy it just the same. The special effects are also superb given the year it was created.

It fascinated me about the movie is how Marty and Doc would travel through time, to different time periods to try to alter the course of events in the future or the past that had unfavorable repercussions. I got so engrossed with the whole talk about the space and time continuum, the DeLorean, and the impossible feats they accomplished that otherwise would just not be possible.

Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to travel through time? And experience for yourself what has transpired before you came to existence. To be able to know your destiny and the events that would happen to you in the future. Great Scott! That is heavy.

Unfortunately, man has yet to invent time machines. The real world would entail one to deal with the consequences of one’s decisions. One can not restore time lost.

Time is a measurable intangible object that runs ceaselessly. It ticks in its usual work-a-day pace. It transcends any physical, cultural or language barriers. Time is universal. It follows a specific set of rules and dimensions that render it standard, fixed, and permanent. There are exactly the same amount of hours yesterday as there are today. 12 hours for day and 12 hours for night. And yet some days seem longer or shorter than the others.

I have been in one-hour classes that seemed like five hours and in two hour long conversations that seems like mere minutes, in instances that were just too long to end, in events that I wished lasted forever and moments when time stood still. These things are a state of mind but it still feels incredibly real.

This reminds me of something that I read from Henry Van Dyke: Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. Hours fly, flowers die, new days, new ways pass by, Love stays.

As things take their course in our own lives, we realize that what we really want is more time. Time to rest. Time to heal. Time to think. Time to learn. Time to remember. Time to give. Time to let go. But when does it suffice?

Time is unwavering and adamant. That is one thing we can not alter. No matter if you are rich or poor, young or old, desperate or content, the indelible truth is that time stops for no man. However what we can change is how we choose to spend it.

That is perhaps why the future is unbeknownst to us. So we can learn from our past to guide our decisions and chart our course however we choose. If we learned what would transpire in the future, we would either be too proud or too disheartened to take risks in our lives which would keep us from truly living it. We would be living our lives in fear and desolation, which to me, is not like living at all.

Not knowing about the future gives us a chance to seize the day, make the most out of every opportunity, make mistakes, and learn from them. Life is in itself is short enough to live in regrets. Mistakes are not as condemnable as they are perceived to be. It just starts off that way, but it is ultimately up to the person what he/she does with it. We commit mistakes; it’s what makes us human. What truly matter is how we rise every time we fall. How we learn from our mistakes and how we become a better person for it.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and too high a spirit to be encumbered in your own nonsense.

That quotation seems like an apt way for starting the New Year. Focus on your life from day to day, for the weeks, months and years will take care of themselves. It is the little pigments of color that comprise a whole picture. Time is the one constant we can never change, what we choose to do with it is what we can change.

We ask God to graciously grant us the serenity to accept the things we can not change; the courage to change the things that we can and the wisdom to know the difference.

If you really think about it, the only thing we truly have is time. As long as we are alive, we have the time. If you knew you didn’t have much time to spend in this world, what would you do? What are you waiting for?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

post halloween rantings

Centuries ago, Greek philosophers searched for the origin of things, which sparked the primordial quest for truth. Various philosophers from Anaximenes to Empedocles to Paramenides had their own theories. Anaximander of Miletus in Asia Minor claimed that the “stuff” that reality is composed of is called apeiron, which in Greek means that which is unlimited or unbounded. It encompasses the paradox of both emptiness and fullness.

Apeiron, is explained to contain the best of all possible worlds, a world where everything exists. It is a dimension where all the pleasant things that could transpire are possible and all the worst things imaginable are also equally possible, however both realities would cancel themselves out of the equation and we are left to live in the middle of that void.

If we were to live a world where all the good things happen, there wouldn’t be much meaning in our lives. A world where all the good things could happen may seem wonderful and ideal but as some people say, perfection can get boring. It’s the little flaws that make things interesting.

We wouldn’t be able recognize the happiness that is right in front of us, just like how one would never feel the pleasure of comfort without the agony of pain and vice versa. Like the elation that a mother feels seeing her newborn baby after hours of labor or in a victory of a hard-fought battle. These moments are not without pain and suffering. Perhaps, that is why the concept of heaven is so coveted. It is because in that place, we are able to relieve the struggles and strife in this mundane life.

For those who haven’t watched the succession of Saw movies, John Kramer or Jigsaw, as he was more commonly called, was responsible for the demented games, elaborate contraptions and psychological warfare that he puts his victims in. The objective of the game was simple: stay alive. However, the mechanics to achieving that objective wasn’t that simple. Jigsaw has never killed anyone; he just puts his victims in the imaginative scenarios where they are forced to kill themselves or others.

But behind the blood and the gore, there is a life lesson that is offered. IF you were able to survive the game, you will have a greater appreciation for life although the chances of that happening are extremely slim to none. After coming so close to death, one begins to look at things differently.

Death is a famous topic by this time of the year. This month, we remember our dearly departed, yet it is also a reminder of our mortality. No one is exempt from this fact. It is a reality that everyone has to come to terms with.

With everything that we are given in life, contentment is something that lacks in big doses. Almost everyone wants something more than what they have. No matter how many years we are given in this life, it never seems to suffice, hence the term “life is short.” Most of us often neglect the splendor of it until we come face to face with the possibility of losing it.

Perhaps, that is why the date and hour of our death is unbeknownst to us, to make us more appreciative of the time we have been given. Yet therein lies a paradox, as John Kramer mentioned in Saw 2, “Most people have the luxury of not knowing when that clock's going to go off. And the irony of it is that that keeps them from really living their life. It keeps them drinking that glass of water but never really tasting it.”

Some can smoke several packets of cigarettes a day and not regret it until the day that they are diagnosed with lung cancer while some never really see the worth of a family member or a friend until they are on a hospital bed.

Do we really have to survive a fatal car crash, terminal illness or a life threatening experience for us to truly see the beauty of life? Does it have to be too late to appreciate that we have been bestowed upon?

The only way to overcome death is to become immortal. Immortality can be achieved by living a life worth remembering, creating a legacy. It is through our legacy that we can transcend time. What we are and what we stand for can be passed on with the legacy that we leave behind.

Everyday is a choice. What will yours be?

“Most people are ungrateful to be alive. But not you. Not anymore.” – John Kramer (Saw 2004)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

shiny new blog things part 2

Your Seduction Style: Prized Object

The seduction game you play is tried, true, and still effective: hard to get.You know that the best seducers turn the tables - and get their crush to seduce them.The one running has the power, and you're a challenge that is worth the chase.
You are a master of enticing and pulling back. Giving a little and taking some away.You are controlled enough to know rewards come after a long seduction dance.Even though you want to call, email, or say "I love you" first - you don't!
You're style is the perfect mix of hot and cold - so much so that you have many suitors.Think Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's ... or any of those creepy guys from the Bachelor.You're skilled at inspiring a chase. The real test is picking the person to slow down for.
What Kind of Seducer Are You?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

art of happiness

Why are you in school? What is your purpose for going to school everyday? Whether you go in this school or that school, what do you ultimately intend to achieve from all of this?

For whatever reason you may have, it has something to do with the quest for success. It is in the confidence that getting education in this school will equip us with the necessary skills and know-how to be successful in whatever field we are in. We are not subjecting ourselves to late nights and hectic schedules for nothing. It is for a greater cause, the belief that success is within our grasp if we just reach out and get it.

Some of us may equate success with achievements, riches or fame. One time too many, we confuse success as how other people would define it. We try to reconcile with how other people perceive success and adapt them as our own. That is probably the reason why some people are not happy even with the achievements and the possessions that they have. Beneath the cloud of ambition and power, they have acquired a false sense of what they really want out of life, which is a sad thought but most of us, have fallen prey to this way of thinking.

Anna Quindlen once said that, if your success is not your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all. The meaning of success can be subjective and may vary from one person to the next. How one person would define success should resonate with their principles and values. Oftentimes we get to a point where in we have to compromise our beliefs in order to get along. The more we compromise our principles, the more we lose ourselves in the process until one day, when we look in the mirror; we fail to recognize the person staring back at us. Success should make us feel good about ourselves and what we do. Other than that, is just an empty promise.

All things in life are in pursuit of happiness. I don’t know of anyone out there whose goal in life is to become the most pathetic person on the planet or the world’s biggest loser. It is human nature to yearn to be something better than what we are.

Some people would say that they want to be rich because they believe that when they are rich they will have everything they want therefore they will attain happiness. Some attribute success on material acquisitions, the sums of money they have in their bank accounts or how famous they have grown to be. These kinds of definitions are unstable and unfounded because these things are temporary. It may be here one day and gone the next.

I attribute success to happiness. When you are doing the thing what you are passionate about, everything that comes along with it, the money, fame and fortune are just a bonus. Genuine and lasting happiness is something that connects with your mind and heart. The concepts of success and happiness are two analogous goals, both lofty but worthwhile.

I have been reading The Art of Happiness by the His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. The book shares how happiness is our birthright as human beings. Happiness is not as elusive as it is perceived to be, like success, it is ours for the taking if we just dedicate our time to attain it. Happiness can be achieved by the training of the mind, filtering positive thoughts and negative thoughts. Each one of us has an innate sense of what is good and bad, no matter what your religion is or what your personal philosophy is and it is in the conscious decision to seek happiness that will have a profound effect in our lives. It is actually a basic concept but the challenge comes in when it is time to implement them. The Dalai Lama presents these concepts in such a way that is enlightening and relates to pragmatic reasons and logic. It’s about time that we reassess the direction we are taking in our lives. Are we who we wanted to be? Or are we an embodiment of somebody else?

As I end this, I leave you with the words of wisdom of the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama:

“So let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that. The purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren’t born with the purpose of causing trouble, harming others. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities – warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful and more peaceful – happier.”

Saturday, August 12, 2006

why the world does not need superman

“You know what’s weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change. But pretty soon, everything’s different.” – Calvin and Hobbes

We wake up to the same old boring routine. Every day seems like just any other. Yet little do we realize the impact of little matters in the great scheme of things. There are approximately six billion people in the world right now. It is easily understandable how one would feel tiny and powerless in a world so immense. You’d be surprised how one small grain of rice can tip the scale.

Oftentimes, we feel helpless in solving the dilemmas that plague our society. Environmental pollution, increasing crime rates, corruption, and the lack of unity are merely some of the problems that our country is currently facing. Looking at the world around us, it seems so resolute and unyielding that we feel that someone else or something bigger than we are, is responsible to generate the change that is needed to make this world a better place.

We depend on someone else to alleviate us from these problems. We find a savior in someone, a friend, a family member, a teacher, the Mayor or the President, who would make our problems vanish into thin air, like how it is often depicted in movies. But reality is far more different and complex than those made up lines and choreographed scenes. It entails us to face it head on and deal with the consequences of our decisions

We often concentrate on the big picture that we fail to see that it is the little pigments of color that comprise that big picture. As the Indian spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi puts it, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” We can not expect the world to change instantly when we are guilty of the same misdemeanors. Change should begin from within. Little things can go a long way. Like how a ripple expands, it takes one catalyst to emanate the upturn we wish to see in our communities.

Before we can expect to have a better government, we should be better citizens. Rather than pointing fingers and playing the blame game, take an introspective look at what you can do to solve the problem and not contribute to it. Bickering and nonsensical matters sidetrack us from the issues that need to be addressed. We can not solely hold the government responsible for all the problems the country is facing. The fate of this country rests on the hands of its citizens and not just some selected people in the government.

Small things can ultimately create a big difference. In Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, he explores the phenomena of epidemics. Gladwell shares how something as small like a child with a virus can get an epidemic started. How teenagers, despite health warnings and hazards increasingly smoke cigarettes or how a novel written by an unknown author catapults into the best seller’s list. The tipping point or angle of repose is a sociological term coined by Morton Grodzins, which refers to that dramatic moment where something unique becomes common.

An excerpt from Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point:

“Have you ever thought about yawning, for instance? Yawning is a surprisingly powerful act. Just because you read the word “yawning” in the previous sentences – and two additional “yawns” in this sentence - a good number of you will probably yawn within the next few minutes. Even as I’m writing this, I’ve yawned twice. If you are reading this in a public place, and you’ve just yawned, chances are that a good proportion of everyone who saw you yawn is now yawning too, and a good proportion of the people who watched them yawn are now yawning as well, and on and on, in an ever-widening yawning circle.”

Epidemics are oftentimes associated with contagiousness of diseases and viruses like the breakout of SARS, bird flu and AIDS. As notorious and widespread as they are right now, it all started from someone somewhere. The details may not matter but the outcome is prevalent. The same concept could be applied and used in a more positive light. The notion of being the change we wish to see in the world could be our starting point to an epidemic. We can change the world by changing ourselves.

We may not be influential political leaders, powerful tycoons or famous celebrities that could reach out to countless people. Or Superman, who can save the world, but in ourselves, we can be the catalysts of change. One person can make all the difference.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

shiny blog things

Your Power Color Is Magenta

At Your Highest:

You energize yourself and push others to suceed.

At Your Lowest:

You feel frustrated and totally overwhelmed.

In Love:

You are suprised by who you attract. You're a love magnet.

How You're Attractive:

Open and free spirited, people want to explore the world with you.

Your Eternal Question:
"What is my next source of inspiration?"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

beneath the controversy

Ever since its release in 2003, Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code has stirred up public attention. The book garnered a myriad of reactions from different people but mostly negative reviews from the Catholic and Christian communities, as well as academic scholars and historians which catapulted this book not only to the New York Times best seller list but also to world wide fame resulting to 60.5 million copies and translated into 44 languages as of May 2006. It has even inspired a movie adaptation (garnering $200 million at the box office and counting) that has sensationalized this controversial topic more than ever before.
Undeniably, The Da Vinci Code is a hot topic nowadays. I recall a time when every ten minutes, someone would bring upon something directly or indirectly related to the book or its characters. Everyone talks about it, to the point where some are talking about being burnt out on talking about it. In my twenty years of existence, I haven’t seen this much media hype over a work of fiction. Dan Brown’s claims that “all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate,” makes the book more intriguing and enticing to read. I must admit that I am one of those people whose interests have been piqued by these controversial claims.
As much as I found myself curious and fascinated with these “truths” he presented, I personally didn’t find any reason to be upset or threatened with these allegations. Ironically, there are some who thought that this could be Dan Brown’s gift to the Church and I am one of them. With this, I am by no means undermining the “blasphemous” contentions that this book suggests. It is just that I do not see this controversy as a threat but more of a challenge.
May it be good or bad, publicity is still publicity. It gets people to be aware of things they otherwise wouldn’t be aware of. The attention that this controversial subject has generated is tremendously overwhelming. Some have even taken extreme measures, I know of some instances where a school would expel a student if they were caught in possession of the Da Vinci Code or any of Dan Brown’s novels as if the book was now equated to grounds for expulsion while some cinemas are refusing to show Da Vinci Code movie. I acknowledge their reasons, but to me it seems a tad extreme. I do not see the logic behind sheltering people from these controversies. The more curiosity is repressed, the more it grows. With this I say, let them read the book and watch the movie! Besides, if books and movies suffice to shake the foundations of your personal beliefs, then you should ask yourself: how firmly rooted are my beliefs? Sadly, not so much.
As Matthew 7:7 would tell you, “ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” It’s high time for those who are doubtful to seek the answers. Most of us, are born Catholics. It is the religion that our parents chose for us, the religion that we grew into. We reach a point when we begin to question things and also struggle to find ourselves in the process. This is the great transition from the so-called “blind” faith to a personal conviction, when we have discovered the verities of our beliefs and discerned it for ourselves; it gradually develops and becomes more profound and meaningful.
I do not wish to seem sanctimonious here. Just like you, I do not know everything, I don’t have all the answers…I don’t even hear mass regularly nor am I religious. I just know that whether Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene or not has no bearing on my personal beliefs. I am a Catholic because I believe that Jesus is my Savior and not because He was single. The minor details do not matter anymore when you can already see the big picture.
How we choose to view this issue is our own prerogative, hence the freewill. How we will come out of this spiritual quest is our own choice. Dan Brown gives us the chance to know ourselves better and an opportunity to confirm our beliefs whatever that maybe. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if this fictional book’s “facts” are true or not. The real question is, as Da Vinci Code’s Robert Langdon puts it, “What do we really believe in?”