Inner Dance and Emergence Convergence

We entered a room created with the intention of holding those who enter the way a child is held in the mother’s womb. It did feel like a womb—a space of protection and nurturance. That where there is no fear of judgement and where there is no concept of danger. 

“Why was I born,” I asked. I was not compelled to answer—at least not in this space of re-connection with the moment of my birth. “What is my authentic dream?” I was not compelled to answer—at least not in this moment of stillness and profound peace. “What is it that I am supposed to give birth to?”

These questions floated, suspended, somewhere in that space between me and a pure everythingness around me. In that space where there was no concept of time and space and so I never felt compelled to answer. 

This was my first Inner Dance.

What I feel profound about the experience is the fact that I entered a space where I could ask myself questions that can be provoking in any other space. Provoking, when you had been thinking that what you have been doing is what you are supposed to be doing. Or when you had been thinking that you know and the questions reveal themselves to you and show you what you do not really know. 

I believe that we can all engage in a similar process consciously—not to say you are not conscious during Inner Dance because you are, although dreamlike, at the same time—when we have trained the mind and the heart to engage in a process where a dialogue happens between the self and the universe. But the gift of sound, in its simplicity and complexity, to open our chakras wide, or wider, and take us into the ebb and flow of our consciousness is something that we should honor and celebrate. Where does consciousness reside? Are consciousness and the cosmos one and the same? Inner Dance to me was more like a dialogue with an infinite consciousness. 

Does consciousness actually imprint a memory in our body? I could clearly recall the sensation that I was feeling the morning after my second Inner Dance so that it would allow me to process better what was happening exactly. I realized I judged myself so quickly when I kept repeating to myself “why are you so scared?” during the session and right after. In this writing, I recall how a man had told me repeatedly in the past that I am a scaredy-cat. I thought that I had severed energetic ties with the man. And, perhaps, I had, indeed, but that the memory is going to stay.

This was my first time engaging my energetic body in processing an experience, and I am deeply in awe of the gradual realization that my body holds so much memory. Has it been waiting for me to speak to it? It is a silent, sacred memory. I have never really understood my body. Or I have not been present enough.

I said I went to the Emergence Convergence to discover how we can possibly integrate the different modalities of healing, of being, and ways in which we can co-create sustainable communities. I knew that something in me had shifted by the second day and it allowed me to honor the gifts of others and to trust that we have been brought together to create something we have been trying to create but that which has been wanting to express itself in another form, in different forms, in many forms. Perhaps, it will never end wanting and finding new ways of expression. Perhaps, this is what it means to evolve. Perhaps, this is how we ride the spiral to the end. We spiral out. We keep going. Like that in Tool’s Lateralus.

Hearts and Jacarandas in Mexico

Something in my heart bloomed with the jacarandas in Mexico. I didn’t realize until a little after the start of spring that the universe has prepared to align events according to the decision that I have made to pursue a path many months ago. I didn’t expect it, but I had a feeling that I knew that this was going to come. I just didn’t know when. And so I am reminded by what my favorite travel writer realized when he was traveling in Japan where he met the woman he would want to spend the next chapters of his life with. “None of the things in life—like love or faith—was arrived at by thinking; indeed, one could almost define the things that mattered as the ones that came as suddenly as thunder,” he said.

I just finished my HeartMath certification training in Phoenix when I flew to Mexico City. When I was fine-tuning my travel plan earlier this year, I knew that the ensuing weeks or months after Phoenix should be a time to let the learnings percolate—through my heart, through my being. So all these weeks that had passed had been part of what I call my incubation period in this heart-fullness practice. This practice of connecting to and listening to my heart.

When I was in Mexico City, the universe has given me opportunities to make choices from a more peaceful place. That place where you are able to quiet down the noise, to calm the turbulence, to become more accepting, to become more loving, that is, to graciously receive and wholeheartedly give. When we quiet down the voice of expectations, in giving and loving, and consciously replace the forming feeling of disappointment with joy and appreciation, we open our hearts and we connect and radiate that quality of the heart. It creates a space that allows others to be what they are—the best that they can be. It is a sacred space where we connect through our hearts, trusting and believing, intuitively knowing that you will be received. I had been bad at receiving in the past. This time has taught me that receiving is a joyful thing just as giving is.

The universe has mastered the art of timing. There wouldn’t have been a better time to meet somebody in my life than now when I have committed to a path of perpetually learning self-awareness, of less attachments, of recognizing the ego, of overcoming the shadow, heartfulness and spiritual communion.

It’s been three weeks since I was back in Cebu, and I feel deep joy and appreciation for meeting this man in this lifetime. Each time I tune into my heart and send its essence to his, I feel its fullness and wholeness. There are moments when I sit still, in deep awe of knowing that another being on the other side of the planet feels it when I tend to and communicate through my heart. The heart has the capacity to connect beyond space, or physical presence. Non-locality is a real experience and we only need to cultivate the qualities of our hearts.

We have our circumstances, and we may not be physically together, but my joy and appreciation keep vibrating because once upon a time, when the jacarandas bloomed at the start of spring in Mexico, I met my twin flame. He who says it feels like this isn’t the first time we’ve ever met. I know.

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.

 

 

 

  

 

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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.

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.

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

Self-Examination

You made a mistake, but you must move on. Drop the baggage. Go forth again:

In to the field where every interaction I have with others impresses on Kairos time what I give to Humanity. Whether I serve it for it to flourish and nurture its human soul or contribute to today’s dehumanization, demoralization and soullessness.

How many times have I told my Self that I am here to love, to be compassionate and to be in peace?

But it’s a new day. We can do better than yesterday.

An Early Morning Prayer

Dear, God. What did I see in others last week? Did I turn inwards—stripped off the ego—and did, and said things from “there?” I have to be better—be the better person, the higher being, so that I may be able to help illuminate the darker and more destructive thought patterns and actions in us. I will not be able to help others transform if I do not stay true to the process of personal transformation—my self-transformation.

When I leave a place, I should have helped transform it. I cannot participate in a vicious cycle of blaming, pointing fingers and preparing to defend. How do I truly invite others to look at ourselves for the change we want and the answers we seek?

Have I been reactive to petty taunts and self-trapping conversations? If I will be, this place will resonate with negative vibrations. I cannot help others to be positive if I am negative.

Yesterday, I had the chance to read about how we can still the mind and how we can let go—of the past, the future or even the now. May I truly be able to manifest peace.

I thank you for the gift of being able to use my hands to bring what’s in my head and in my heart to life—to reality. Thank you for the gifts of hardwork, patience and perseverance. May the work that I do continue to be a blessing to others—whether by living an example or by fruits of labor. Please help me always wake up from indolence and absent-mindedness. Always, always, teach me to be humble—to pause, to listen before I speak. I should only want to speak from the heart.

I am going to look for a new place this morning. May the place be a place to nurture my values—the ones that are important to me. May it be a place that will ground me to my advocacies and that will connect—not separate—me from my M.I.S.S.I.O.N.

I need to organize my life—my room, my expenses, my works. May the activities that I do to organize life essentials be acts of meditation. May I be able to transform them into daily prayers. This is a reflection of my inner condition. The lesser clutter I have in my personal life, the more that I can reach out to others—the more that I can be of help.

Please bless the people I love. Grant them the wisdom that they need to feel, live and honor their lives’ journey. Teach us to be more accepting of our realities and the realities of the ones we love.

Lord, Almighty Father, our creator, help me to be present. May I always carry your light. May I always love. Amen.

Fields of Work

I had just resigned from my job when I went to Iloilo for Workshop Courage Facilitators’ Training in February of last year. I told Nick that I no longer wanted a call center job and that I was waiting for a non-call center company to call me and hire me. I shared that stress levels in the call center environment is quite high because of the generally aggressive drive to produce numbers. You wouldn’t be surprised to hear about manipulation of numbers in order to meet client demands. A lot of employees grow more and more impatient over time. I had my share of impatience, too. I told him about the high levels of anxiety in those who are just starting with the job.

Nick normally asks questions and solicits information before offering his opinion. I said I thought that the call center environment nurtures a certain culture where there is degradation of important life and societal values. The industry reinforces job-hopping which to me is a great lack—if not the absence—of valuing opportunity and gratitude, I explained. A lot of our fresh graduates choose to or are forced to work for call centers instead of pursuing the careers they’ve prepared and worked hard for. I just think that we have learned to not persevere enough anymore these days and the Philippine economy cannot continue to depend on the BPO industry, but that is beside the point.

As truthful as he is, Nick told me he couldn’t see how what I said is necessarily degradation of values. And he, probably, thought that there was something else going on inside my head. So, I told him about stories we hear at the center where I used to work for—and stories from friends who work at other centers—about casual sex, infidelity, broken marriages and severed relationships.

He asked if I thought we could give workshops or seminars to help call center employees overcome the stress. I said that it might be difficult to give workshops to call center employees because of how employee scheduling is designed. I suggested that HR might not welcome Workshop Courage, for example. A lot of workshop graduates decide to quit their jobs after, having realized they have not been doing what they are supposed to be doing or have been called to do.

But I would think about Nick’s question again a month after, and again, months after.

I believe his message wasn’t only about helping by giving workshops and was not only about call centers. It’s about returning to “the field” where we can possibly impact and influence change. Most of the time, the fields we need to go back to are the same fields that sent us wandering and seeking for something higher, something more profound and true to our nature. When we don’t return, we become irrelevant.

When I started working again—for a non-call center company—in April of last year, the “Call” was to embody the principles of “imaginality” in corporate life. And I would find myself struggling because of the duality of forces in me—one pushes me to fight back and crush the restraining forces while the other tells me to let go and let come. At the end of the day, when I’m in the dark of my room, and in that silence and space, I reflect about my day. And then I sleep. And wake up trying again: work with forces that do not make being an “imaginal” easy. In the corporation, employees ask questions like why there has to be politicking or why it’s got to be a dog-eat-dog world. There has got to be something else more than competition, control, power and glitter in this world.

I sit down and feel. I sometimes read a book, or watch a movie, hoping it will help me see the interplay of forces in me or see my role in it. And then decide how I would like to think, act and feel the next day. I seek my heart for truths: what I really want, what my intentions are and what really matters. It’s the only thing that matters.

In fields like the corporation where most thoughts, actions and patterns normally reinforce old and selfish ways, our job won’t be easy. Accessing our higher selves is a conscious, uphill, soul-climb.

Deliver Me

I have been living in short bursts lately.

But, I like life with passion–with intensity. You can split an atom or fire a staccato burst of emotions. The intensity is there, but at the end of the explosion, or when the dust has settled down, it could leave you wondering how it had exploded, how you had exploded? What have you been doing? Where are you going?

I need to go back to the source often–very often. There is chaos when the self is a slave to auto-pilot programming, to conformity, to fears. The music dies. I can’t hum the tune. Or, it doesn’t sound beautiful. I retreat.

I no longer have the patience to wait on the sidelines. I want to be deliberate–make things happen and make others happy. It makes me happy.

Please be deliberate such that when I go back to the source, I still find you there–exactly you who I encounter in my every day.  I don’t want separation. We are one. I want you to be the same you when I accept the call, when I go through the trial, when I go back to the source until I return to the realm where I met you. I would want to find you at any point in my journey to self-discovery. I’m doing the lemniscate.

I am not sure who I’m talking to. I have this fear that I’m searching my heart for who truly loves me and who I truly love. I want the deliberate ones.

Times like this, when I go back to the source–of this passion, this intensity–I find my heart less-turbulent. I have been told that when less-turbulent, the wisdom of the heart comes in. It might not be wrong to say that the heart thinks.

Here’s hoping writing is the antidote to daily programming–to short bursts that are meaningless and empty.

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