I think—no, I believe I haven’t written in a very loooong time. This pandemic has fvcked up my sleeping cycle, my body clock, my little to less routines, and totally drained out whatever is left of the creative ink circulating in my brain. I started this back last year if I’m not mistaken? And I guess stories of certain events and bent up feelings of excitement coupled with a little anxiety finally finished it. Soooo, yeah, here haha.
One full year isolated from friends and loved ones.
One full year out of work, out of school.
One full year of faces hidden behind a collection of masks.
One full year of life as we know it, thrown into complete disarray.
Exactly a year ago when the world went into a standstill, locked down and boarded up as we were thrown into a wave of uncertainty, unprepared and caught off guard, spiraling into a state of disequilibrium, a life characterized by fear and anxiety.
One full year since the day everything changed and away from a reality we will never get back.
Can we ever grasp the new normalcy we struggle to live with?
Will we ever become comfortable in the daily uncertain?
Will we ever see through the shadows of a dream draped with looming obscurity?
Will freedom be less defined?
Endless questions with answers held by a future that remains dimly vague,
With tiny slivers of hope only few seem to recognize, rejected by most as distrust blind their discernment.
Out of this chaos, may we realize that everything can end in an instant so focus on what is important and always be grateful for somehow, we are still surviving.
2020 was life-changing, it was exceptionally challenging that I can’t even put in a good word.
It was unremarkably heavy, a burdened weight unnecessarily shouldered for the past 10 months.
Suddenly, everyone had to forego with comfortable, we did not have a choice and that was frustrating. Life had to hide behind the mask.
Loss was a daily constant. The existential need to be seen, to be heard, to be held, was abruptly stolen by uncertainty and time was not on our side.
Anxiety continue to grow and you find yourself writing down turbulent thoughts on a fleeting lucid moment at 2 am.
I had to deal with so much the last year, I couldn’t cope. Gone was the strong facade I so easily wear, replaced by a throng of vulnerability and unrest. I feel like the chemistry in my brain fucked up.
2020 did not turn out how we hoped it would be, it was a cruel surprise. But somewhere in between the pandemonium was a window of realization that human as we are, we will instinctively survive.
If there was anything that I learned from the longest year of my life, it was gratitude, gratitude from the smallest of things: from keeping a job despite the economic collapse, home-cooked meals, discovering a hobby, appreciating my small circle of family and friends, new-age technology filling in the gap from being socially distant, waking up alive, healthy and somewhat sane.
May we leave the dust of the year that was in the past and may we learn that we could choose to drop these heavy loads and walk towards hope, no matter how small a speck, with empty arms making room to carry much better things.
Smile. It’s a New Year.
I never imagined getting affected by the flimsiest of things but here I am, a chaotic mess of sad, angry and feeling bad. Yes, I felt bad.
It never crossed my mind that I would develop anxiety but the past 10 months of uncontrollable uncertainty has turned me into a silent wreck.
Isolation and confinement has pushed me to reach out to people, recklessly exposing myself to be emotionally vulnerable and I’ve been led on and left out.
I’ve never done any of these things before and it’s overwhelmingly new and suffocating. And as soon as someone paid attention, I easily forget that expectation is paired with disappointment.
I used to be so good at refocusing my thoughts, blocking out bad memories, or just not giving a care but somehow, it’s been getting really hard to hold it all together and not being able to control what runs through my head is taking its toll on me.
U2 | The Joshua Tree Tour 2019
The Joshua tree, which in fiercely adverse conditions, was seen by U2 as a symbol of faith and hope in the midst of aridity. The tree was named, by early Mormon settlers, after the Old Testament prophet Joshua as its branches reminded them of Joshua raising his arms to pray. — Valentina Magli
After four decades, U2 has finally found its way to the PH.
I literally cried when they sold out 2 nights in Singapore. I mean these are legends, and it might be the only time I will ever get to watch them perform live and I missed my chance.
Blessed by the universe, they decided to add a PH leg closing their tour and I was so so so happy. I was like, GOD thank you for listening to me! And what was interesting, their VIP floor tickets sold cheap! It was like the universe was saying okay go on, watch and have fun.
Dec. 11 – Concert Day
Woke up at 3am to catch my 5am flight to Manila, it was pouring but I was too full of excitement, it didn’t really bother me. What turbulence? lol.
After lunch, we drove through the almost 2-hour traffic up north to Bulacan, to the Philippine Arena where they will be holding their concert and was greeted by the blaring pipe-in of Where the Streets Have No Name on repeat for the next 4 hours. The crowd was very diverse, from Boomers to Gen Z, it was a picnic at the parking lot with all the collapsible chairs and coolers of beer, while waiting to queue.
Started queuing at 4:30ish to claim our tickets and get into the venue.
We finally got inside after queuing for more than 3 hours and was welcomed by a 200 ft × 45 ft state-of-the-art 8K video screen that flashed a loop of varied poetry from acclaimed poets and novelists from around the world, even featuring poetry from our very own Bino Realuyo, Eric Gamalinda and Dr. Jose Rizal as a prelude to the concert that started a little past 9pm.
After The Whole of the Moon played by the Waterboys, I knew it was cue that the concert was about to start and we made our way through the mosh pit to the front of the stage. Just as the lights went out, Bono, The Edge, Larry and Adam took the stage and kickstarted the show with Sunday, Bloody Sunday and everyone was up on their feet, hands swaying, singing, screaming.
After a couple of songs, Bono paused to greet the more than 45,000 people in the arena “Mabuhay!” And likened to a church service, Bono made known his prayers for an epic night of rock n roll transcendence.
Then they started singing Bad from the 1984 album Unforgettable Fire, and I got so overwhelmed, I started crying. How wonderful that one of my favorite songs was being played live by legends right in front of me.
As the concert progressed into the Joshua Tree album, the ginormous wall morphed into a backdrop of American deserts, endless highways, emblematic mini movies and a play of psychedelic visuals towards the end.
At one point, U2 dedicated the song Ultraviolet (Light My Way) to pay tribute to women game changers, to women who came together to rewrite history. To quote Bono: “When women in the whole world unite to rewrite history as her story that is a “Beautiful Day.”
This included Filipinas Lidy Nacpil, Cory Aquino, Lea Salonga, and Maria Ressa. And so much blah has been thrown at U2 being political and shit. The band’s been playing freakin punk rock since 1976. For those unaware of the genre (and are so called fans up until..), it’s supposed to be political, look it up. They’ve always had a reputation for their strong humanitarian conviction and activism, so get over it.
Playing their encore, some songs were accompanied with Tagalog subtitles, just shows how inclusive this band is.
After thanking everyone who came and stuck with them throughout the show, expressing their admiration of the indoor stadium, making mention that the Philippine leg is their 2,050th show, that not having come sooner, they have no excuse, and Bono saying ”from our single island to your thousand islands, thank you for making us feel so welcome on your islands, you’re making a new history for yourselves but the truth is, none of us are really an island and what happens in one country affects the other side of the world. From typhoons to drought, the way we live in one country affects life in every country. There is no them, there’s only us. We are…,” they closed with One, from their 1991 album Achtung Baby.
The concert ended at almost midnight and up to leaving the arena, I’ve been singing love is a temple, love the higher law, we got to carry each other, carry each other, some serious case of LSS.
And through the grueling exodus exiting from the car park that lasted around 1am to arriving BGC at almost 3am — took a shower, ate a bit of breakfast (dint realize I was starving from the concert) and went to the airport at around 5am to catch my 7am flight home and straight to my seminar.
Literally no sleep for more than 24 hours, but having endured the traffic, long queues at the ticket booth, food stalls, comfort rooms and the arena, and coming down with fever and all, just to experience an impeccably choreographed 2-and-a-half-hour show and hear the uncannily seamless voices of the band performing live and up close, was golden. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
Here is their PH setlist:
Sunday Bloody Sunday
New Year’s Day
Pride (In the Name of Love)
The Joshua Tree:
Where the Streets have no Name
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking for
With or Without you
Bullet the Blue Sky
Running to Stand Still
Red Hill Mining Town
In God’s Country
Trip through Your Wires
One Tree Hill
Mothers of the Disappeared
Even Better than the Real Thing
Every Breaking Wave
Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
Love is Bigger than Anything in its Way
Thank you U2 for the once in a lifetime experience and thank you Poi and Jobelle for sharing this epic night with me! Truly magical.
Subscribed to this devotional recently and I’m just gonna leave Day 2 here. Just in case you stumble across this, read up.
Andy Stanley: Enemies of the Heart
Devotional Day 2
Scripture: 1 John 1:5-10
The first enemy of the heart is guilt. Guilt is the result of having done something we perceive as wrong. The message from a heart laden with guilt is, “I owe!”
Consider the man who runs off with another woman and abandons his family. Without realizing it at the time, he has stolen something from every member of his family. He has robbed his wife of her future, her financial security, and her reputation as a wife. From his children’s perspective, this man has stolen their Christmas, traditions, emotional and financial security, dinners with the family, and so on.
Now, the man who did all this doesn’t think in terms of what he has taken. Initially, he thinks in terms of what he has gained. But the first time his little girl asks him why he doesn’t love Mommy anymore, his heart is stirred. He now feels guilty. Dad owes.
Nothing less than paying that debt will relieve a guilty heart of its burden of guilt. People try to work it off, serve it off, give it off, and even pray it off. But no amount of good deeds, community service, charitable giving, or Sundays in a pew can relieve the guilt. It’s a debt. And it must be paid or canceled for a guilty heart to experience relief.
How do you get your guilt canceled? The answer comes in one of the first Bible verses I memorized as a child: 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (kjv).
Confession has the power to break the cycle of sin. And like most medicinal remedies, it works when applied properly. Proper application happens when we confess our sins, not just to God, but also to the people we’ve sinned against.
Guilty people are usually repeat offenders. And as long as you’re carrying a secret, as long as you’re trying to ease your conscience by telling God how sorry you are, you’re setting yourself up to repeat the past. However, if you start confessing your sins to the people you’ve sinned against, odds are that you’re not going to go back and commit those sins again.
Confess both to God and others, and you will slay this enemy of your heart.
What are you feeling guilty for? Confess your sin to God and to whomever you have hurt. Do it today.
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”
1 John 1:5-10 NLT
A likely reunion on a rainy day.
For Maika and JP (March 27, 2005, October 6, 2016)
Have an awesome trip to paradise you two!
We live in such a technology driven age that our lives are determined by likes and follows and views and re-tweets. Social media has taken over our dailies and the advanced technology makes it so convenient, it’s somehow become a “something we can’t do without.” Telcos provide you with the latest smartphones and gadgets and data plans on a minimal monthly cost. You get real time, first hand, whatever information. Almost everything is up and live.
And the more advanced technology becomes, the more dissatisfied people get. We carry technology everywhere, it is conveniently shaped and sized to fit our pockets, collapsed into tiny media powerhouses we could just grab and go.
Our feeds enable us to see what goes on in the lives of others in real time and when we find that it looks good or so much better than our perceived dull ones, we feel like we are missing out or is getting left behind and we’ve to do something about not being in “the trend” because we compare. So here comes in the filters and the slimming apps, editing our realities into what we want others to envy. What we fail to realize is that what is shown on these media platforms are only pieces of people’s lives they want to show. Reality is a far cry.
Why then are people struggling to be a “somebody“? What is so intoxicating about being talked about or being “in” or feeling so important? It seems like everyone is so obsessed with attention. I will never fully understand. Discontentment is synonymous to unhappiness. Every time you compare your life to someone else’s, you only frustrate yourself.
Your life is not measured by how many signature brands of bags and clothes and shoes are in your walk-in closet or how many miles you’ve accumulated in your frequent flyer rewards card or how many sets of diamonds are in your jewelry box. Nobody cares.
Your life is not measured by having the latest, most expensive car in the market or the latest most advanced smartphone and gadget or the likes on your Instagram post or how many views your video has on YouTube or how many friends you have on Facebook. Nobody cares.
Life happens in seasons. Sometimes you have none, sometimes you have plenty. During lean times, pray and make do with what you have. During abundant times, be grateful, be humble and share.
Don’t let technology overpower you and dictate your life’s purpose. Put that cellphone down, stop scrolling and focus on what is important. Stop being a digital slave. We’ve to quit #hashtagging our lives and actually try living it.
You can chase after everything you’ve ever wanted and get it all. It won’t be enough. At the end of the day, every day, you’ll still feel empty. – Craig Groeschel
When I opened my Facebook account today, feeds about a drowned boy kept popping up. I know it’s click bait, but I clicked on the bait.
And I’ve been ugly crying here.
“A 3-year-old boy named Aylan Kurdi and his 5-year-old brother, Galip, were photographed face down in the surf Wednesday morning. They both reportedly died on a boat that capsized while carrying them to the Greek island of Kos. The brothers were attempting to reach Canada, where their aunt lives.” – BuzzFeed
The images are so heartbreaking. I cannot even begin to think about my almost 2 year old boy experiencing the struggle from the violence this little Aylan must have faced in a place he supposedly called home, escaping and fleeing in terror, hopeless and cold in a tiny boat until it tragically capsized and he and his brother washed ashore to a foreign land, lifeless.
3 years old. It’s so unfair.
How privileged are my children for they do not know war or terror or starvation or death and they have the opportunity to laugh and play and learn. How fortunate are they to be sleeping in a warm bed at night and to wake in the morning and embrace another day of their young lives.
This too was little Aylan’s universal right. To wake up in the morning and greet the face of his family. To help himself to a sumptuous meal. To bask in the sun, play and get his hands dirty. To read nursery rhymes and fairytales. To learn how things work, how plants grow. To go to school and have friends. To grow up. To experience love and pain. To live.
All these taken away too soon because of selfish and heartless government and laws. We live in such a cruel world and at the expense of the innocent.
So tonight, after an eventful day at work or from wherever you are coming from, do a little extra. Shower your little one with kisses and hug him a little tighter. Appreciate that you have the TIME to watch their chests rise and fall when they sleep, to read to them, to sing to them. To see them learn to crawl and walk and jump and utter their first words, to call you Mama. To hear them cry and laugh. To look into their eyes, to hold their tiny hands. Express your love and be thankful.
How his story should have ended…
Photo source: Steve Dennis
And to the rest of the world, there’s something that needs to be done
soon NOW. The urgency is palpable.
We don’t have to live in hate.
In attaining peace, the first step is acceptance. Human as we are, we find fault in other people, things or situations when something goes wrong. What we fail to see is that we are given the choice to make happen what we want to happen; our misery and our joy depends on the decisions we make. Our tainted past or blurry present all have an impact on how we choose to live out the rest of our lives but it doesn’t define us, it is not reason to stop pursuing dreams or do good, it is not a hindrance but instead an opportunity to discover ourselves, our weaknesses and capabilities and what we can do about it. We have to accept that we are not perfect, the world is not perfect, but there is hope for all of us if we learn, let go and move forward. Things always happen for a reason and if it doesn’t work out like we expected it should, believe that you are called to a better purpose. Choose to accept these obstacles, these challenges, and peace will be in your heart.
Sharing Day 137 of the reading plan I am currently on from http://www.joycemeyer.org/ Joyce Meyer: Promises for Your Everyday Life – a Daily Devotional
Face the Truth About Yourself
Someone once asked how I live free from my oppressive past. My answer is very simple: God has given me the grace and the willingness to face the truth about myself.
I grew up in a war zone. Because of my quick temper, I was upset most of the time. Because of being upset, I grew up depressed, disappointed and discouraged. I wished I could have a better life, but my wishing didn’t solve anything. It wasted my time as I kept blaming my problems on my bad family background.
Finally, God helped me realize that I had to stop wishing and start taking responsibility, to quit blaming other people and my circumstances, and quit making excuses for myself.
You might be in a similar situation. Facing the truth about yourself is scary, but you don’t have to do it alone. All your flaws are exposed to God, and if you ask Him for His perspective, He will help you pick yourself up, take responsibility, and live a peaceful life. Today, don’t be scared to face the truth about yourself, but let God guide you into a new tomorrow.
Prayer Starter: Holy Spirit, I need Your help to face the truth about myself. It’s time to stop blaming my problems on my past and on other people, and to meet them head-on with the power of Your Word. Empower me to take responsibility and to change for the better.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. (Hebrews 4:13 NLT)
Photo courtesy: SDL