Happiness

December 29, 2012

10:50 PM

The phone is ringing.

Somebody said he sent a car to pick me up. He said I promised earlier that I will join in the karaoke tonight.

I was already in my pajamas ready to doze off early with an excuse that I have an upset stomach. But he was insistent. The car is not leaving without me, he said.

So I struggled out of bed and tried to dress up. Shorts, tattered shirt, sweater and flip flops. I hope it’s enough to keep me warm. It’s 12 degrees outside.

True enough a driver was waiting for me when I went out.

There were other people already singing Indonesian songs when I arrived. They seem to be having fun.

I chose my songs, sang a few offbeat English ones then settled with drinking my cola.

Then a new song appeared. Barcelona. That was the title. I thought it was an English song so I paid attention until I saw the lyrics. It is Indonesian.

As I slowly dug deeper into my seat getting bored as I read lines I don’t understand, I reminded myself that happiness is a state of mind.

I told the self to be in the here and now. That’s where we find happiness. I tried entertaining the self by paying attention to the video playing.

So that’s how Barcelona looks like, I told myself. It looks very familiar. Those roads. Seems like I’ve been there before. Market City. Wait. The name and the structure. Very familiar. The train lines. The streets. And then I saw it. The Cathedral. St. Mary’s Cathedral.

mary

I’ve been there. I was there one early evening taking photos of the structure competing with somebody I barely know on who can make a better composition. I sat on those steps as the day was fighting with night. As darkness blanketed the city. I was in that city.

mary2

Sydney.

One of the happiest places of my life. Too many memories, too short a time.

I was chuckling inside. The song was very funny.

Barcelona but then Sydney.

I continued drinking my cola.

I found my happiness tonight.

Advertisements

Creating Lasting Positive Change

[It’s] the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.

— Shawn Achor

Creating Lasting Positive Change:

– 3 gratitude (Emmons & McCullough, 2003)
– journaling (Slatcher & Pennebaker, 2006)
– exercises (babyak et al., 2000)
– meditation (Dweck, 2007)
– Random Acts of Kindness (Lyubomirsky, 2005)

*Not bad. I think I am in the running.

Sharing to you my daily positive find. Let’s go get that happiness. 🙂

For My Sister

I told you earlier I’d dedicate one post for you.

This is one of my most favorite movie clips of all times. I remember I watched it when I was in high school. That time when internet was not as popular as it is today. When we have to rent VHS tapes as VCDs were still a little bit uncommon. When Google is not yet this big.

My classmates were talking about this movie. I don’t wanna be left out. I borrowed it from one rental shop and watched it alone one night while everybody was sleeping at home.

There were powerful lines that struck me. I was already the geeky and nerdy person then. I have to stop the tape and rewind it again and again until I have transcribed what Parrish said.

And this is what I am going to share to you now.

PARRISH
Do you love Drew?

SUSAN
You mean like you loved Mom?

PARRISH
Forget about me and Mom — are you going to marry him?

SUSAN
Probably.

PARRISH
Don’t get carried away.

SUSAN
Uh oh —

PARRISH
Susan, you’re a hell of a woman. You’ve got a great career, you’re beautiful —

SUSAN
And I’m your daughter and no man will ever be good enough for me.

PARRISH
Well, I wasn’t going to say that —

SUSAN
What were you going to say?

PARRISH
Listen, I’m crazy about the guy. He’s smart, he’s aggressive, he could carry Parrish Communications into the 21st century and me along with it.

SUSAN
So what’s wrong with that?

PARRISH
That’s for me. I’m talking about you. It’s not so much what you say about Drew, it’s what you don’t say.

SUSAN
You’re not listening…

PARRISH
Oh yes, I am. Not an ounce of excitement, not a whisper of a thrill, this relationship has all the passion of a pair of titmice.

SUSAN
Don’t get dirty, Dad.

PARRISH
Well, it worries me. I want you to get swept away. I want you to levitate. I want you to sing with rapture and dance like a dervish.

SUSAN
That’s all?

PARRISH
Be deliriously happy. Or at least leave yourself open to be.

SUSAN
‘Be deliriously happy’. I’m going to do my utmost.

PARRISH
I know it’s a cornball thing but love is passion, obsession, someone
you can’t live without. If you don’t start with that, what are you
going to end up with? I say fall head over heels. Find someone you
can love like crazy and who’ll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. I’m not
hearing any heart. Run the risk, if you get hurt, you’ll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love — well, you haven’t lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.

SUSAN
Bravo.

PARRISH
Aw, you’re tough.

SUSAN
I’m sorry. But give it to me again.The short version.

PARRISH
Stay open. Who knows? Lightning could strike.

———

I am not an expert on this. You saw how crazy things went for me. You endured all my nonsense. But if you will ask me if there’s regret, my answer would be no, none at all. Why? Because what I felt was real. I got swept away. I levitated. I sang with rapture and danced like a dervish.

But don’t be fooled. Because being deliriously happy doesn’t mean you will always get a happy ending.

But what the hell…

Run the risk, if you get hurt, you’ll come back. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love — well, you haven’t lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived.

In the end it is your choice.

Don’t listen to me. Listen to yourself.

Goodluck. I am just a Skype away. 🙂

My Indonesian Christmas Party

Living in a Muslim country, I wasn’t really expecting any joyous Christmas celebration similar to what I am used to back home in the Philippines.

But I will take any semblance of merrymaking anytime.

A week ago I was feeling so down as friends and family members got so busy preparing for Christmas, the day when everything is just nice and beautiful for Filipinos.

I was living Christmas vicariously through Facebook as I inhale all the parties and get-togethers that I cannot attend and participate in all because I am here. I was green with envy. Why am I here? That was the question I’ve been asking myself again and again.

But I know the answer. It is my own personal choice.

So when I learned that the Christian staff, which is about 10% of the total population of employees, in my workplace are organizing a party, I invited myself in.

I didn’t know how grand the occasion is for them. They said the party starts at 7 PM.

My jaw dropped open. I went there in my work clothes and saw everybody all dressed up. Like it was a prom or something. I was so used to seeing them in their uniforms but they all look totally different that night. Girls were in their best attires. Some even in their cocktail dresses. And others probably dropped by a salon. Their hair were made up and they were wearing make up! Guys were wearing suit, long sleeves or their favorite batik.

I felt so out of place. Had I known what the occasion entailed, I could have bought a nice dress and curled my hair.

But I am a girl and girls have superpowers. Never underestimate our power to transform. I can move heaven and earth just so I can wear something nice and feel like it’s Christmas. I have nothing nice to wear except for my LBD. But LBD always saves the day.

I asked the driver to bring me back to my room. I only have 10 minutes to prepare. And I made it. Oh yes, I am a real girl.

I have no idea how the program will go. It turned out to be like a church service with performances here and there.

natal dec2012 016

DSC_0352

I was amazed. It was a well-organized event.

They asked me to light one of the candles, similar to Catholic’s advent candles I suppose.

natal dec2012 011

I also took part in the skit which I volunteered myself to join. I forgot my Indonesian lines and have to peer at my cheat sheet. I still got a warm round of applause afterwards. That’s major effort.

natal dec2012 026

And after hours of singing carols like Joy to the World and Silent Night in Indonesian version the party was over.

natal 2012 021

The short fellowship that ensued with the staff and the picture-taking tickled my heart. I love parties. I love Christmas parties. At that moment, everything felt familiar. The love and joy and smiles and well-wishes.

DSC_0377

DSC_0384

DSC_0370

That day really felt like Christmas.

party

A Letter From God

I was chatting with a friend last night updating each other on the craziness that we did this year and how life has turned out so far. I am lucky to have her. She is one proof that you don’t need to be together for a long time or you don’t need to know each other for years. It’s just that when you click, you click.

So before we ended our girl talk, she suggested one good read that she thinks is very apt for me now. I found the title in Kindle, downloaded a sample, and then eventually bought it.

I want the book to be my end-of-the-year read. So I was thinking of starting a few chapters an hour ago when I remembered that I don’t have my journal with me. I scurried back to my room and got it. It has been a habit to write down thoughts while I read something nourishing. It makes the lessons stick longer.

And as I was browsing through my journal that I haven’t written on for a long time, pieces of paper not part of the notebook came out.

A letter from God.

I attended one retreat last September. A time when I thought too many things were happening all at the same time. A time when my greatest concern was a broken heart.

One of the activities there was to let God write me a letter. I reread it again. It made me almost choke in my seat. His words refocused my perspective and gave me strength to keep moving the ball forward.

Let me share to you that very personal letter of His.

God said,

September 30, 2012

My everdearest, sweetest Leslee,

How are you enjoying earth so far? Isn’t it amazing? The interplay of all the elements make it very amazing and a wonderful place to live.

I know that you are going through a period now. I don’t want to say tough because nothing is tough for me. Be with it. Ride with it. Enjoy the plethora of emotions that it is giving you. There is a lesson there, a wonderful lesson that I hope you will never forget.

It might seem sad, unfair, devastating, painful, unimaginable, unfathomable. I know that you are carrying hurt and pain with you now. Just let it be. You will wake up one day and the negative feelings are gone. I will heal you. But you have to learn the lesson first.

Everything that I created is wonderful and is from Me. You might wonder sometimes why things don’t turn out the way you expect it to be. I have My reasons. They are wonderful when revealed.

Take care of yourself now. Strengthen your heart. Open it and let love in. I have sources of love that you are blocking to enter. Let them in. I will take care of you.

Don’t worry about plans. I have them all laid out. Just follow the signs. Do your best. You won’t stray. I know you won’t stray. I put that strength and power in you.

Everyday is a new chance to live life. Enjoy it. I give it to you.

Sometimes you try to do things your way. Sometimes you forget that I am God. In those moments, I let you be. But I am always in a safe distance if you need Me. I know you want your independence, your free will, your exploration. But you know what? All of them lead back to Me. Because everything is from Me. And everything is for you.

In times when life seems unfair, it is not. Everything is under the Master Plan.

Lay your heart to Me. I know you are wounded. Let Me heal you. I will heal you. You just have to trust Me. I know what’s best for you. Keep calm. You don’t need to do anything. Listen to My inner guidance. You’ll know what to do when the right time comes.

Now, just enjoy your last days of being in your 20s. Isn’t it wonderful? I have a new set of great adventures for you to be conquered in the next ten years. It will blow your mind again. Everything is for you. Because I LOVE YOU.

Always here,
GOD