Monthly Archives: May 2011

Is There a Shortcut to Happiness?

We have all been a victim of bullying once, twice, or more in our lives. Face it, not everyone in this planet has been born with perfect features. Just imagine how boring it will be if everyone looks model-perfect with no personality quirks to differentiate one from another.
Being bullied is part of our lives. It’s what builds our character and makes us who we are today. So to let a 7-year old girl go through plastic surgery just to hide her pointy ears was not only too pretentious, but completely unnecessary.
Has our world really become too open-minded about these things and too shallow at the same time? Have we been completely duped by the media to believe that we have to look good, look normal just to be accepted? That the moment we let our hair too oily, dress too lousy, teeth yellow-y – we are going to be rejected?
I think we have become too comfortable to shortcuts. Separation and divorce are being filed here and there just because of “irreconcilable differences” (e.g., sexual, mental incompatibility, inability to resolve conflict, lifestyle or religious differences) when it could have been worked out had both parties compromised and worked out their relationships.
We buy instant whatnots, quick-fixes, cellulite massagers, treatments among other hundreds of “instant” programs just so we could fool others into seeing that we look “good,” because the only way to truly achieve that “fit and healthy” look is by sticking to a diet plan strictly and doing tedious fitness routines regularly. And that doesn’t work for us because well, it isn’t instant.
We live in a world today where instant gratification and instant relief have become too common. We run away from our emotions when “instant fix” is not available to correct our situations. We then experience depression when these emotions are starting to become too hard to handle. And when the “instant fix” that could alleviate our problems is not attainable, we turn to the next best “instant fix” – addiction.
Truth is, whether or not happiness is easy to achieve will depend on how we look at happiness. If happiness to us is when we surround ourselves with material possessions and achievements, happiness to us may be hard to attain. We may be tempted to buy in to the “shortcuts.” Be warned though that this kind of happiness is fleeting. It won’t be long before you find yourself slump in the mud, looking for another thing to acquire to achieve that kind happiness.
But if happiness to us is intangible like inner peace, then we only need to learn about self-mastery and we shall be genuinely happy – without even changing anything on our external situation.
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The Other Road

I know no one who dared enough to travel the path I’m going. It’s foolish and impractical. Truth is, most dreams are impractical, at least those that mattered; that’s why it’s called dreams. It is so we could stretch ourselves into doing things we never thought of doing, propelling and shaping us to be the person we thought we could never be.

Had I known that the road to finding my castle would be difficult and uncomfortable, I might have made more preparations; but just the same, I would still tread the same road.

In life, we probably get one chance, more if we’re lucky, to follow our dreams. And then it gets buried and forgotten by fears and responsibilities. But those chances are always there to open our hearts and pursue those dreams, if only we are strong enough to try and let go of the need to control. Oftentimes, we toss aside our dreams for the promise of temporal goals. Hence, the road to security emerged; the road that’s often being walked.

I had walked the same road for years because it was expected of me. I tried to deviate a little by going to a little less common to the standards of the “walkers.” Nevertheless, I was still considered a “walker.” 

A “walker” is whom I call a person that walks for the sake of going somewhere, never minding that the view is dreary and old. It’s a person who walks automatically to the default road. The person walks the same old road for his entire existence because it’s safe and tested and everyone else seems to walk the same path. He cares and wonders not what his life would have turned out to be had he chosen the other road, because as long as he surrounds himself with material possessions,  great or not, there’s not a need to do anything else but continue walking.

Dreamer on the other hand, risks everything else – security, power, comfort, routine, recognition – all for the search of something more grandeur; for what can be loftier than leading a life in search for the castle of his dreams?

The dreamers are becoming quite extinct because everyone in this world is obsessed in getting ahead and acquiring more and if that means abandoning the dreams, so be it. People are dying of acceptance and recognition and so they let their dreams die along.

I could have stayed where I was and programmed my thoughts to liking it. I could fool my mind by buying me toys to justify my stay but I knew, I  could never fool  my dream nor my heart. I deserve to give my dream a try.

So I have resurrected my long buried dream. I have awakened from sleepwalking and have begun traveling to a road less traveled. The problem with this road is, there are no signs to help me where to go next or how to go about doing it. There aren’t even much people around to ask directions from, much less, find someone who will deign enough to look at weary, lost kindred. But still, I travel forward, in search for the castle I see in my head, even if it rains or snows and I’ve no shelter to dwell and no one to comfort me but my voice. My voice is my compass and my heart is the road map. I could only rely on myself. How can I expect anyone to understand what I’m doing when most of them have forsaken their own dreams?  I just need to have faith that I am going to find it.  I know that when I see it, none of these will matter. 

 

I dared enough to dream and I know that in this world, that is rare for there are very few people who believe enough to dream. If for instance that I’ve reached the end of the road and no castle can still be seen, I know without a doubt that only the worldly goods would be the ones destroyed and depleted because as long as my heart beats, so does my dream.


10 Reasons Why You Should Love Reading

I can still vividly recall back when I was in grade school when I would use my chance to buy new pocketbooks as incentive to take piano lessons. I cannot recall how my passion for reading started. I just know that I love books – the smell, the texture, the characters, the words.

I rarely meet someone who’s as passionate as I am in reading that’s why when I meet a kindred soul, I feel an instant connection.

I didn’t know then that to be a great writer, you need to be a great reader. And even if you don’t intend to be a writer, I still cannot understand why anyone wouldn’t want to sit back and curl up with a good book.

It is not my intention to persuade you to start heading to a bookstore to get a book or to start buying e-readers but here are just some things to let you know what books and reading materials have done for me over the years:

1. Reading broadens my perspective in life. I cannot hope to experience everything and the best I can do is to listen to the writers’ wisdom and reflect on those to mine.

2. Reading sweeps me away from my world temporarily and brings me to places that only existed in the writer’s creative mind. 

3. It introduces me to new concepts. I don’t expect people to teach me new things through their stories, words and actions. Not many of them will want to or will be able to.There are far too many things that can be learned from books and it is best to learn them on your own.

4. Reading makes me experience things I otherwise could not have felt or experienced.

5. It calms down my agitated nerves. When I’m all stressed out and the voice inside my head won’t shut up, I turn to books.

6. It teaches me to visualize. Visualization is something I can do as soon as close my eyes. I visualize the characters I want to write; I visualize the things I want to achieve. At an early stage, parents who read to their children are prepping their children for their future. Visualization is a must in success (not necessarily be financial success).

7. It has made me love words and writing. It not only expands my vocabulary but it greatly improves my writing as well as I take in new concepts and writing styles in each blog, book, newspaper articles or magazines I read.

8. Books connect people who are in two different sides of the world. Books unite people of different cultures, different world, different personalities.

9. It keeps me preoccupied. Sure video games, TV, sports can occupy my mind as well but nothing is as satisfying as reading.

10. It challenges my thinking.

Just like your body, you have to keep your brain healthy by supplying the right kind of food. Reading is the brain food. Sometimes, I can tell if the person I’m talking to reads books or not. So reading not only changes your perception in life but your words as well.

What about you? What does reading do to you and how has reading changed your life?

For Further Reading
Why You Should Read Books
Why Reading is Important


Why Are We So Obsessed About Our Future?

 I woke up around 2 in the morning today with a question in my mind: Why are we obsessed about our future?

We are hardly at home with our family because we are out working our butts off for their future. We miss out so much social gatherings that we are feeling so left out when we get the chance to meet our friends again. We only get 4 hours of sleep everyday and tell ourselves it’s for the future. We find ourselves on the brink of physically breaking down but we tell ourselves “it’s okay, it’s for the future.”

We are living for the future that we forget we live in the present. Why are we so obsessed about our future that in times of desperation, we are willing to seek out those gifted people who can see –  just to have a glimpse of our future? We are even quick to believe in what they say they see even if it’s not real.

Is it so we can control our lives, control our future?
Could it be that we want to be seen by our friends and other people as accomplished, happy and wealthy?
Why are we stressing ourselves about the kind of lives we do not have?
Why are we in a habit of comparing ourselves to others who seem “happy?”
An even better question to ask ourselves is – how do we truly live today?

We can’t control our future. We are not even sure if we will live to see our future. We should only be concerned about controlling today with a dream of tomorrow. We cannot help thinking about the future, but too much worry and too long of a stay in that state leaves our soul in the future. We end up with our physical selves walking today without souls. Hence, we become zombies, following those with their souls intact, who clearly live for the present.

We find ourselves comparing the lives of our “happy” friends – and what happens then? We develop a mind frame to work harder for our future so that when that “day” comes, it will be our turn to post our “happy” faces on Facebook and tweet our major accomplishments. This is a major depression and just gets us so obsessed about our future all the more.

So how do we embrace the present and live today?

1. Thanking for the gift of today. When we think about what we want our future to be, we can’t see what we have today. We forget to be grateful.

2. Don’t attempt to multi-task. We cannot savor and do what we have to do well in the present when our thoughts and soul are in for the future things.This is also about being mindful in everything we do today.

3. Live responsibly today and leave our future to Him. He never intended us to worry about the future, if so, he would have given us the gift seeing the future. We just worry how we are going to make it tomorrow with our souls fully intact. We may not have the given us the gift of seeing the future, but He has given us the gift of foresight

4. Stop comparing our lives with others. It can eat our hopes and dreams alive and we end up being depressed.

Do you have any other suggestions on how to stop obsessing out the future?



For Further Reading
Live in the Present
Tips on how to live in the Present