Hale Manna and Novembers

These are photos from November 2015 when I hopped on a bus, alone, to seek refuge at Hale Manna, for the second year. Life in the city gets harsh, and although ours is a time when we are learning that we can stay in one place to be still and rest from the constant motion of things—or events—the process of leaving and arriving from one place to another facilitates the same process of leaving and arriving from one state to another. The feeling of getting used to some things, or getting comfortable with situations we’re in, needs to be shaken lest we fall deeper into our complacencies and familiarities. Because feelings like this do atrophy and we hardly notice when we are no longer moving towards the direction of our dreams—or our truths.

This particular time I went to Hale Manna was different from the usual times we go to the beach where the sun is high and burning bright and the water sparkles at its reflection. Clouds hovered above, the sea was blue gray, not a tinge of the pink and orange glory at sunrise and at sunset. But, see, the charm of Hale Manna never ceases when the sun is gone. The lush gardens, the stillness of the sea, the palpable dew that is in the air, the calm in colors and the energy that wrapped around me were reassuring of a presence in the absence of shine, of sparkle, of glitter.

November has been associated with darkness and the dead. Or with grief and anguish, cold and chilling like the proverbial Guns N’ Roses’ November Rain.

But  isn’t it that it is in the darkest that we find our most enduring light? And isn’t it that we feel most alive when we have gone through dying? November for me is a time of rebirth, and so I welcome tomorrow with a boldness of the heart.







Into the Heart of Mexico – May 2016

I wanted to start with the trees in León. Because I fall in love with cities of lush trees, and decent sidewalks, and bike lanes, and wide, open spaces to add to that. Somebody tells me that Guadalajara actually has more trees, but I still love the fact that even non-major roads in León have trees. It tells me that the vision to have preserved them goes beyond superficial beautification and a main thoroughfare showoff. Being from a city—and a country—where it’s mostly bad sidewalks and dangerous roads for bikers, I get fascinated with places that offer the opposite. I like bringing home the good news that it can be done.

There is also something about a church next to a church, that is next to another, and plazas next to them, that feel very much like home. Although gatherings at plazas, in some cultures like ours, have been stereotyped as uncool or “baduy” in the Filipino language, I think that the practice is part of a heritage that societies need not be ashamed of. The plazas represent a central activity for genuine human interaction—conversations, stories, music, dances, crafts, or the arts, in general. It has ties to something of historical significance that has been passed on through generations.

As almost everyone realizes, the culinary heritage of Mexico is one of the best, and it has raised my standards for good food. One doesn’t have to be a connoisseur to know good food, I think. And, yes, appreciation is subjective, but the creative, or intuitive, ways in which Mexicans cook or prepare food and the delightful blend of flavours in most dishes that I have tried is heaven. The combinations of different salsas and guacamole, dishes stuffed with cheese, or with chipotle sauce, the hint of smokey sweetness and the blend of flavours they create together is something I will probably not find outside of Mexico. I hope yes. The variations in the softness or the hardness of the tortilla depending on the dish, I think, is also cunning. I love chilaquiles paired with fajitas de arrachera and fried banana. It’s my kind of perfect gastronomic combo.

I love having seen the city of Guanajuato within the state of the same name. León is also in Guanajuato. While León is more of a commercial center and industrialized, at that, Guanajuato is a colonial city—a picturesque setting of bright-colored houses sitting atop the hill and the valley below, baroque architecture, cobbled pathways, alleyways and underground passages that bring you from one place to another.

I have been told that it was once a mining city, why the tunnels. One thing about being in Guanajuato that takes you on a dreamy experience is the celebration at almost every turn—not material, but rather ethereal, from the singing and dancing, or musings at paintings and monuments and the sight of remembrances of the present past.

Cultural heritage dictates how we live and defines what is important to us and, therefore, what we preserve—or, at least, what our societies try to preserve.

gto church main square

I have seen lovely sights and tasted heavenly good food. I met wonderful and warm people and said I would like to come back. But what I find most intimate and sacred about the time I spent in Mexico is having participated in a Temazcal ceremony. We sit in two concentric circles, around a pit filled with a pile of hot rocks, inside an igloo-shaped mudhouse. It is pitch black darkness inside when the door is closed and only tiny sparks of light are given off when the temazcalero swirls water on the smoldering rocks, infused with different kinds of herbs, that give off different scents—one, pungent, and the other, breezy. The rocks give off hot vapors, or steam, each time the water hits it. And we sweat, moderately, in the beginning; profusely, as the heat intensifies. The temazcalero says a prayer, another tells a story, invoking the spirit of grandmothers from ancient past to allow our healing and purification. They pray, and chant, and sing in a Spanish that I could only barely understand but at the same time understand in a language that speaks to me without words. In the beginning, I feel fear from the fact that the door is closed, and that the lodge is an unfamiliar territory. But as I listen intently, and feel the reverberating sound of the drum, of the singing female voice, and then more voices, my fear subsides, my body sways from left to right, eyes closed, sometimes wide open, feeling home, feeling that I have been here before, grateful that we remember and that we offer our intentions.


They say that the ritual has been passed on from ancient Mayans and that it is performed to do physical, emotional, mental and spiritual cleansing. Out of a few reasons I’d like to go back to Mexico, Temazcal is one.

Back when I used to sing Soul to Squeeze a lot, I would sing my heart out and sing it loud when I say “where I go, I just don’t know, I might end up somewhere in Mexico.” And I did


A Sister’s Birthday Wish

I am not a mother. I am a sister. But my birthday wish for my sister is the wish every mother has for her daughter—or the wish every father has for his son: a better world for her to live in. One that is just, fair, peaceful and full of life. I didn’t know the words sustainable societies five years ago. I didn’t use the word livable back then.

I lamented the apathy of my generation back then. I felt that the youth had been sleeping—or that we have been sedated. When I talked to people my age about issues that I think mattered, they say that is how things are. That it is sad but it is reality. And I used to be hurt. When I talked about injustices, big and small—or is there even such a scale—I could hardly find anyone who felt strongly about them. Some called me idealistic. Others, aggressive.

The journey that my sister is going through is the same journey that I have gone through—except she’s been more courageous.

I want a better world so she doesn’t have to want to take it to the streets anymore. That she may again write songs other than about the struggles of our time. Many of us say it doesn’t work anymore. That we have grown tired of it not being able to make a dent to the system that we’ve been trying to change. And so we learned to create things. Better things—despite of and in spite of businesses, of governments, of a zombified nation. But some of these better things include hundreds of activists taking it to the Arctic to stop Shell’s oil drilling. It includes thousands of protesters occupying Wall Street in the United States so we wake up to the evils of the banking institutions.

In the Philippines, better things include the EDSA Revolution, the fall of Estrada—and of Arroyo—the anti-pork barrel march, the climate pilgrimage, the Lakbayan ng Lumad, and many other protests that took different forms, that had been called different names like prayer rallies or vigils. There was nothing wrong with the EDSA Revolution. It is the things that we did and did not do after EDSA that has been keeping us in the shadows. There was nothing wrong with taking to the streets to topple the governments of Estrada and Arroyo or the anti-pork barrel march. It is the things that we allowed to continue to happen after the march. It is our ningas-kugon and our lack of will to continue to do the work beyond our indignation rallies.

Protests have a role to play in our fight for every cause and they take many forms. The noise we make has a role to play in our collective awakening. There was a Stop Cebu Flyovers Movement protest before the moratorium on flyovers. There were anti-GMO protests before the Philippine Supreme Court banned GMO field trials.

When our children rise up and question what is happening around them, we do not stop them—because we can’t. The world asks of us to be wise enough to lead them and show them that we are doing something. When they have been awakened, they can never go back to sleep. Because that is our nature as human beings. We don’t want to be the generation that didn’t do anything while nature was being abused and the planet was on the brink of collapse, while technology trumped humanity and we had forgotten what it means to be a human being, while we had forgotten where we came from and why we exist—or did we ever find out?

For my sister, who is my blood sister and soul sister, who celebrated her birthday yesterday, I pray that you may always have peace in your heart, no matter the chaos or disorder around you. That you may always feel love, no matter what. That you may always breathe life, no matter what.

Happy Birthday, Pepang! 🙂 I love you.

Heneral Luna and Liwanag

I am probably not the only one who cried watching Heneral Luna, pained by the reality that the predicament of our present time is deeply-rooted in our history as a nation, as Filipinos. Some of the wars that our country has been through have been necessary for our national consciousness to grow. And the stories about our heroes have been necessary to awaken that consciousness and ignite the flame of love for our country deep within. The story of Heneral Luna is one.


I’d like to think that it was intuition, not plain brilliance, that was driving Luna’s resolve that the then newly-established Philippine Government must never sleep with the Americans. “Para kayong birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng puta,” he said. It was something deeply connected to a future he believed we deserved and were capable of making happen—a true independence.

I prefer not to re-tell the story as I think that every Filipino should go, watch the movie. Every Sibika at Kultura class from Elementary to High School must connect the revolutions and the life of our heroes to our current predicaments. Our educational system must instill in the minds and hearts of every Filipino student the nationalism that was alive in men like Luna. Similarly, if every mall had a real role in nation-building, it must help raise awareness, and campaign to draw more people to watch films like Luna instead of immediately closing its doors because turnout is low on the first few days of screening. Looking at the bright side of things, it mobilized the youth to call, if not demand, for putting back Heneral Luna in theaters. It was a triumph. The movie will be in both SM and Ayala cinemas in Cebu until September 22.

The movie is very timely. Four days from now, Liwanag World Festival, is going to happen in Cebu City. Liwanag, which means light in the Filipino language, draws its name from the Philippine Revolution, where in the process, our heroes understood the role of self-transformation in creating a new nation. We have been told that during the Philippine Revolution, Andres Bonifacio confronted Aguinaldo and the rest of the men of Katipunan with the question: what do we want—is it Ningning or Liwanag? Ningning is a flicker, or a glitter—something that is flashy but quickly dies—while Liwanag is a deep glow from within that burns in our hearts and drives us to pursue our envisioned future.

But we are our own enemies, said Luna—an even greater enemy than our American invaders. Pilipino sa Pilipino. Tayo-tayo ang naglalaban.

The murder of Luna isn’t only painful because a real patriot and hero was murdered. It is painful because it symbolizes the murder of our only hope, of our own dream, of our country. And this is manifested in the many different facets of our society today.

The conflicts from within the Cabinet of President Emilio Aguinaldo, as depicted in the movie, extending to the army, is an archetype of the conflicts that we continue to face—from exclusive systems, short-sighted views of development, especially economic, social divide, selfish politics, turfing, regionalistic mentality, and at the same time colonial mentality, and a constrictive view of our individual and collective roles in nation-building. They carry with them questions that we would like to sit upon and grow out of at Liwanag.

Sapagkat hindi pa tapos ang rebolusyon.

*Photo courtesy of http://henerallunathemovie.com

Camotes Island, Cebu – 2015

The first time I went to Camotes was in 2005. I remember how I was suspended in awe of the beauty that had been waiting for us. As the motorized banca that we rented was about to dock, approaching where the receding sea waves that reached the shore come back and join the body of water again, I thought we found a paradise. I went back a year after, and went again last month—8 or 9 years after.

I often describe Camotes as “guapa” when I talk to my friends about it. Cebu has several white-sand beaches. Some are powdery fine while the others, a little more coarse. Camotes’ is powdery fine. But it’s not just the quality of sand that gives it a feminine feature. Santiago Bay, where we were exactly in Camotes, has a mass of elevated land with lush trees, mostly, coconut, extending to the sea on both sides of the bay. I liken it to a sense of boundary which women, in general, have. The shoreline is not very long so one can definitely walk the entire stretch of the bay. Some who stay at the beachfront by the bay go walk to check Santiago Bay Garden and Resort, a more high-end resort that sits atop the elevated land to your right if you are facing the sea.

That the water is crystal clear—in varying shades of blue, deep blue and green, if you look from the shore—is not anything new about most beaches in Cebu. But, yes, Camotes has it. The first time I went there, we stayed at a resort called Payag, literally a nipa hut, right at the beachfront by the bay. The sea view was totally unobstructed, which is still the case now. For this recent visit, I stayed at Masamayor, with my friend Carla, where we did in 2006 or 2007. More concrete structures have now been erected a few meters from the shore which makes it less unadulterated than it was years ago. But the beach is still glorious in its beauty.

We woke up very early on our second day, around 4:30, and went out for a walk around 5 am or a little past that. It was low tide. The morning was peaceful. The breeze, light and touchy. The air was cool. It was perfect for deep breathing and for emptying the mind with the worries of the city, allowing the self to get drawn to the details of the sea—like the bare beach sand, moist from the water that had just receded and the rustic colors that were starting to infuse the low sky as the sun was starting to rise. We picked up some trash on the beach: a foil pack of junk food, which, obviously, had just been dropped, or thrown, rather, within the hour we went walking and taking photos as well as a few pieces of thin plastic that had lodged in the moist shore.

Santiago Bay is a public beach. I say, the best way for locals to appreciate what they have and enjoy. You see them resting in cottages or waiting for customers who’d like to pay for their services to cook for them or to take them to a tour around Camotes Islands.

Santiago Bay is just a piece of Camotes. There is more to explore and discover. But the beauty and charm of Camotes can only be preserved for as long as the locals help protect the sea from garbage and pollution and as long as the visiting tourists and travelers do the same.

Mt. Kanlaon Coffee and The Fight Against GMOs

I’ve been trying to find good quality beans to replace my used-to-be-favorites Guatemala and Colombia from Starbucks. I love Figaro but the beans I’ve tried are not good for pressed coffee so I only buy their coffee black when either brewed or the usual americano. Being very particular with the quality of my coffee, I had to repeatedly ask Carlo who sells Mt. Kanlaon coffee at Cebu Farmers Market in Handuraw whether it’s good for a French press. He promised to either return my money if I didn’t like it or lend me his brewer if pressed does not turn out satisfying.

Well, I’m proud I bought this and I love it because it’s local and organic. It has a full flavour but doesn’t have an unpleasant after taste. Plus I need lesser-than-usual amount of coffee to make a tall cup and I put just a little amount of sugar to make it more delightful (sometimes, I go for no sugar).

Some time last year, I joined the boycott of Starbucks after word was out that they have partnered with or supported Monsanto and other GMO companies in blocking efforts to GMO-labeling. It wasn’t absolute boycott as I couldn’t find the right beans to replace what I have been using. A few times, less than five, I went to the store and bought coffee to-go when I had no choice but, hey, I’m trying my best and products like Mt. Kanlaon coffee and the people who grown and sell them help in the advocacy.

Mt. Kanlaon is an active volcano in Negros Island in the Philippines. Negros is one of the few provinces that banned the entry and propagation of genetically-modified organisms  or GMOs and is known for developing organic farming communities including the ones growing coffee trees by the mountain ranges of Mt. Kanlaon. Cebu Farmers Market is an initiative of GMO-Free Cebu, an anti-GMO campaign being ran by volunteers who are farmers and consumers (I will tell you more about the market and the campaign in a separate blogpost).

Bothmer – How You Move Is How You Are

Some people used to tell me that I am intimidating which contradicts the fact that most of those who I become friends with say they pick up from my aura a message that I am friendly and welcoming. I couldn’t reconcile the two, but it didn’t really bother me because they often said it in the context of why I am not in a romantic relationship with men.

My recent experience with Bothmer Movement International, however, made me look into how the subtleties in the way I move are connected to how some people perceive me in the context of authority. I have started examining these subtleties because I think that they create the illusion that one is “separate.” Separation builds walls and this separation effect tells people you cannot be friends, that you will not understand and that you don’t feel. I still believe that you shouldn’t be drinking buddies with your employees but it is important for people to see the interest that you have in them, their learnings and their development. Generative conversations develop this trust over time and I have learned to trust in the process. But learning from Bothmer, I now think that it doesn’t have to take that long for people to get you right—or for you to send your well-meaning intentions across.

After Bothmer, I said, I won’t walk the same way again. In some of our exercises, we were made to open our palms as an act of giving, to scan the charged air with our fingertips as an act of sensing and to open our ribcages as an act of offering ourselves—eyes, always at a level with the horizon as we move when standing straight. It made me think about how my chin is slightly lifted when I walk, my eyes a little over and, therefore, looking down at the horizon. This is not how it was explained at the workshop—this is my realization thinking about how the movements are incorporated or not incorporated in my everyday life. I used to think that how I walk is how we must walk—properly. Did I get it from a magazine that I’ve read when I was much younger, or saw it on the television, or was this what I was taught at school and I took it seriously? The subtle raising of the chin, it seems, projects a different message I didn’t mean to because the movement is unnatural.

Bothmer also invited me to think about why I hardly subjected myself to conventional body language rules. Somebody must have told you, at least once, that folding your arms in front of you is a defensive gesture. I couldn’t make sense of it and decided some years ago that it is crap. You know how it is when you believe in something and you cannot explain it, you sometimes tend to believe less—or it erodes some of its believable qualities. I think that it is the function of science to help us see and understand so that we can become more conscious and aware of the realities around us. Bothmer is the science of movement. As I put more thought into it, I realize that folding my arms in front of me is an act of hiding or protecting the ribcage from something—it’s a gesture of closing and it is definitely not welcoming. Martin Baker, Founding Director of Bothmer Movement International, our teacher and facilitator, recounted that when we see a child and we want the child to come to us, we open our ribcages; then the child comes running and puts himself into our chest and we put our palms on the child’s back to embrace. We do the same with adults. And I recall those times when greeting somebody is awkward, cheek-to-cheek, with minimal body contact, whereas when we are fond of someone and we missed him, we hug tightly. We do not expect ourselves to immediately offer ourselves to others. I think that this is important in times of misunderstandings and when there is tension between people—when we do not want to rub it the wrong way and not want to push people away. When we’re sorry, we use our palm, not our fingers or a fist, to touch the other person, Martin reminds us.

We have been processing—silently in our thoughts—as we do the exercises and I think that it is powerful in helping re-wire our brains, grounding our ideas and putting them into action. In one of the exercises, we start with the hands on our sides, feet together. Then we start extending our arms on the sides, up to the level of the horizon, palms facing upward. Then we turn the arms inward so the palms also face inward. We start sliding one foot towards the back, while, using the arms, we form an arc, which becomes a circle, in front of us, head bowed down. From the arc to the circle, the palms have closed to fists.

Sometimes, in life, we just keep on giving, never receiving, and we get tired of it. Then we close our palms and hide our ribcages until we have processed the experience. But it is important to rise above it. We bring the circle above our head as the foot slides back to its original position, then we put one foot forward as we release the closed fists into the air, opening our hands back into our vertical, ribcages open. We must learn the lesson.

That is just one of the many realizations that I had from the different movement exercises at the workshop. It is a very rich experience. And the awareness that it brings to our bodies and minds is powerful it trickles down and sinks into our everyday lives. There is wisdom in movement and the space we use or not use around us is alive. Alive is a word best understood when experienced. I wish you could participate in this workshop. I can only tell you that when I closed my eyes, I felt that the space was growing—something of a quality we do not feel when our eyes are open. I moved and continued moving because the space was asking me to just move.


(Photo courtesy of Shaping Sophia. For more information about Bothmer workshops, you may contact http://www.facebook.com/shapingsophia.)

Miami in March – 2014

In the house of digital memories, there is a vault where you keep the photos that you have not—yet—uploaded. When you have taken random shots from vehicles flying through an expressway, salvaged sweet scenes through a fading daylight, captured animated conversations in the setting darkness, without the right camera, you will have, alas, dark, blurry or uncharacteristic photos that need editing. For me, this is one of the hardest part about sharing the digital album. Sometimes, it’s either there’s too many to choose from or too little—decent photos—to choose from.

That was how I collected memories in Miami  in March of last year. I was there for work. The kind where you don’t normally get to willingly waste time exploring the bedrock of culture, of food—or people. But I like taking in my surroundings, breathing in an air of wonder and finding some things magical about the moment. Alas, I found out that the photos on the road to and our sweet little time in Lancaster—before heading to LAX for our flight back to the Philippines—have not been saved. The setting sun in the city of angels, my supposed last refuge, are nowhere to be found in the vault. Nothing to recover. But I remember that I loved the rustic Lancaster the most among the cities I’ve visited on this trip and that the sun warms the heart wherever you witness it set.

My no-strings-attached relationship with the streets of Miami made me realize, or affirm, that I cannot live in places like Miami. I am not the one who belong to the highways, to the criss-crossing expressways, to the towering buildings, to the party hotspots. But I loved the fact that there were lush trees in Doral, that beautiful colors glowed at the bayside, in the dark, and the thought of going to Miami Beach was exhilirating.

Interestingly, the things that I loved about this trip, I see, are here at home. And the things I hardly fell in love with are things we—some of us—resist to consume us back home. There’s truth in what my favorite travel writer—again—said, that “there is, for the traveler at least the sense that learning about home and learning about a foreign world can be one and the same thing.”

Miami collage

Bidding YIP Adieu

One of the gifts of traveling is seeing the world differently. Sometimes, it means seeing ourselves differently—what we are capable of and what we are worthy of. Sometimes, we realize that we can trust some more, love some more or that we can be trusted and loved some more. I think that it’s true to both the one who physically travels and the one who travels in the presence of he who physically travelled.

When we travel, we are blown away by the capacity of the human being to feel the same way or think the same way. Wherever we are, in another city or country, we receive a thousand affirmations of our humanness—our hopes, our desires, our trivialities, our vulnerabilities, our joys. We see universal truths as we peel away layers of our own traditions, practices, preferences or idiosyncracies. This capacity to feel the other and to find deep in our hearts that we are the same and that we understand each other has power to feed some of our deepest hungers or heal some of our deepest wounds. Perhaps, the more people travel in different directions, the more understanding the world will be and the more that it will be able to shed light on the assumptions that we have built in our own spaces, territiories and jurisdictions.

I believe in the capacity of the traveled and the travailed individuals to help their worlds see the other. As we bring stories from one place to another, we light a spark of interest, we open doors and windows in which others can peek into and see what must be seen. The experience is a revelation. It hums, it sings, it inspires. It is an instrument of new seeing and understanding.

But  there also is an aspect of travel that, to me, is still quite surreal. The pull that a place has on you years after you have traveled. Not all places do this to me. But there are certain places that I feel I must go back to. The pull manifests in many different ways and it never goes away. And it’s not necessarily because of the intensity of an experience or a vivid memory. I believe that we were meant to be in some places—in the past or in the future—and that the soul recognizes it. It’s the same with people we meet when we travel, physically or not. The impulse to make the most out of it because we might not see each other again is in the deep recesses of  our souls. We are more sensitive and attuned to what our hearts desire. When I sink into the sadness that comes with goodbyes, I wonder if it will take another lifetime for our souls to meet again. Separating ways casts a dent in my heart but I believe that having crossed paths, and having exchanged love and energy, we are meant to honor  the journey our souls are taking.

This recent soul encounter with our friends from YIP who we said goodbye to yesterday is probably one of the best travels I have had without physically traveling. And I will always remember the fullness of the experience. Because “the best trips,” said my favorite travel writer, “like the best love affairs, never really end.”


Global Voices Summit 2015: Reflections and Connections

The most natural connection that I found was with Rising Voices, through two girls—16 and 17 years old—representing a group called Girl Activists of Kyrgyzstan. They share the story about their fight for gender equality in their country. In Kyrgyzstan, girls cannot have the same privileges as boys. They cannot study Science, for example, they say. Many girls don’t go to school and are forced to marry early, locked in their houses to do housework. They cannot participate in discussions around problems and issues that involve girls. But their determination to get involved rests on the fact that they believe you cannot solve problems girls have if you don’t go through them. As part of their initiative, they hold spaces for other girls to talk about their own issues and get the support that they need. More girls, they say, have come forward to tell them they feel the same way, think the same way, or go through the same experiences. They use art, stories and music to amplify their message and encourage more girls in their society to feel empowered. These two girls, however, admit to getting tired. As with most social movements, they sometimes end up alone, sometimes wanting to quit, or just drop everything.

This writer is part of a civil society organization called the Movement of Imaginals for Sustainable Societies through Initiatives, Organizing and Networking. In the context of MISSION, the “initiatives” that are born out of personal transformation is the basic foundation of the larger societal transformation. And that is what Rising Voices is about—based on what I have seen at the summit. MISSION is holding Liwanag World Festival, in Cebu, in September this year. At Liwanag, social movements from different walks of life, from across different cities in the Philippines and countries in the world will converge to look at ourselves, to see and deepen our understanding of the forces that drive movements in effecting social change—The Science and Spirit of Movements.

Global Voices is a vast sea of movements.

In a plenary session called “Battling Trauma: The Highs and Lows of Revolution,” four journalists, and online activists, share what witnessing the brutality, the casualties, the aftermath and the fatigue have done to them, their friends and their communities. They share about how they still see hope rising from the rubble. But one of them, an editor from Bahrain, tells us about how the killings of journalists she knows have instilled fear and have paralyzed her from writing any more about the conflict in Bahrain. She speaks from a wound that hasn’t healed, or never heals. The brave journalist from Egypt says it is difficult to make sense of the panel, where they are being asked about how they are finding hope, after having been reminded again of images of the revolution.

This morning when I woke up, I wondered how journalists truly cope up. There are conscious volunteers on the ground, like Freunde, doing interventions like Emergency Pedagogy to help prevent trauma in survivors from developing or escalating. Perhaps, journalists need it, too. Because, we see, trauma doesn’t seem to only develop in the form of visible “abnormal” behaviors, in panic attacks or anxiety attacks but also in paralysis or debilitating fear that stops us from being who we are, what we can be and what we can do to serve the larger evolution. They, too, need a sense of place and a sense of peace or a sense of order in the societies that they serve.

I learned about how online activists are building what mainstream media is destroying—like the authenticity of protests and the issues in which they are built upon. It was enlightening to hear how the whole Russian-Ukraine conflict have become what it is—polarized—when in the beginning, people were going out into the streets with different sets of issues and causes to fight for. It is an honor to hear from people who have the authority to tell the story. During the summit, I was feeling like I had stepped into a space that, only now as I write, I realize is hallowed ground. You don’t normally get to enter a space where you feel that unstoppable force for truth and compassion.

To Global Voices, its journalists, online activists, bloggers, volunteers: how do we truly serve you in return?

panel_battling trauma

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