This blog contains opinions, experiences, thoughts and observations of the author from his day to day living.
It is subject to comments, criticisms and corrections, and all will be dealt with constructively and do leave your comments I would love to hear from you.
There is no intention to offend, discriminate nor degrade anybody or anything for that matter, only shared feelings, emotions and angsts at the moment.
Welcome to my world.

Friday, September 30, 2011

9 Life Truths We Should Be Aware Of

Surfing the net, I have come across an article that is full of wisdom that I need to share them with you. It was written by Sherri, Serene Journey. It is about the 9 T's (or Truths) about life that we need to know about.
We all know that there are millions of books, sites, and articles that discusses about personal development, improvement of whatever we would like to name it. It is also inspiring to know that there are many people who wanted to make that change in their lives and share their experiences with everyone. But, there are also a lot of insignificant things out there and a few are stated below, and there are some things we are not told about either simply because some people just want to be nice, trying to stay positive or maybe just don't get the idea. Here are some things that we may all be familiar already or maybe unaware of and needed the reminder.

.1. No one’s life is perfect. Some people try to look as if their lives are this perfect picture of a happy being, but I bet that they too have their fair share of flaws. They may appear to have it all, large sum of money, big houses, high paying jobs, popular with people, always smiling. Perfect? Really? Hmm...maybe they're neck up in debt and living beyond their means? Maybe.  There is usually a lot we do not see and appears to be perfect may not be so.
2. Life is never smooth sailing. Life likes to play with us by putting us almost always in a lot of difficult situtions. This is but normal and we must remember that the world isn't out to get us.  We can look at it on a different perspective life a challenge that we need to overcome for us to really want to reach our goals. WE cannot control everything and we must go with the flow, learn from these obstacles, re-thing and change our directions if need be.
3. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Really. There is nothing as irritating than being alone in a conversation with someone who thinks they know everything about everything. I am sure in one way or another we encounter these people or someone like this and I am sure we can't hardly wait to escape. There is no harm in admitting we don't know something. Let us stop blabbering about something we don't really have any knowledge about.
4. Humility is under rated. Some of the nicest people are also the most humble people. They have done great things with their lives and achieved great things but we would never know it. They are not the first ones to bring up any of their successes and in fact shy away a lot of what they have done. These are the people that have every right to brag and maybe be a bit arrogant, yet they remain humble.
5. Life is more about the journey than the destination.  So we have a destination in mind perhaps it’s being debt free, moving to a new country, or retiring early. No one cares as much about this goal as we do. Once we get to the finish line if we look back and think , was it really worth it? If we had taken it slower or see things a bit differently, maybe we could have come out the other end having learned more, or having had more fun. Sacrifice is good when it moves us closer to where we want to be but don’t sacrifice so much such that we don’t enjoy the journey there.
6. People dislike complainers. I am convinced that some people complain just to annoy, for something to do, or they simply enjoy complaining. When people complain about something but do nothing on how to solve the problem it gets frustrating. If we have no potential solutions try going with the flow and take things as they come. If something is really and truly irritates us try and come up with a few different solutions as to how to solve it. It’s so much more challenging to actually do something rather than simply complain about it.
7. Nobody knows everything about everything. Similar to no 3. Granted, there are some people who are very knowledgeable, highly intelligent and know a lot about a lot of different things, we don't need to be one of them especially if we’re not. People in general can tell when someone truly knows what they’re talking about and when they are just trying to be a know-it-all. Be real and don’t try to live up to something that it is impossible.
8. Big rewards usually come after taking a big risk. If we are willing to really push ourselves, take a huge risk and make some sacrifices we may see very large rewards. This usually means stepping out of our comfort zone and taking chances and the rewards can certainly be well worth it.
9.When something doesn’t make sense you likely don’t have all the facts. This I’ve learned from experience. When I don’t understand what the heck is going on or if someone’s actions just aren’t seemed right, it’s likely I don’t have all the information. Once everything comes out or we are told exactly what is going on it all seems to come together. So before you jump to conclusions and start taking things personally try giving people the benefit of the doubt and extend a bit of patience and understanding.

Human Rights In The Kingdom's Education System

I saw an article in the local paper called Arab News, Sept 7, 2011 issue about efforts to introduce the subject of Human Rights in the Kingdom's higher and general education syllabuses.
Err, what?
This is a very sensitive topic to discuss specially here, but nevertheless, the National Society of Human Rights based in Jeddah said that efforts are on going so that before 2011 ends it will be part of the education system in every school and university in Saudi Arabia.
However, debates are ongoing too about having it as a separate subject or a part of an existing subject. Having it separately would mean a better impact to the students the report said. It was mentioned also that teaching about human rights at early levels of education might improve the behavior of human beings (e.g. locals) and spread culture of tolerance and respect for others (yeah, right!)
This issue is not new in the Kingdom, two years back a workhop consists of lawyers was held in Riyadh that also called for introducing the subject in the higher education syllabuses, and was already introduced in some universities as a primary subject for undergraduate students and as an optional one for postgraduate students. It was also introduced in military colleges at the same time.
But here's the catch, the plan to teach human rights in the Kingdom's schools and universities were not approved, and to quote "as it was cosidered not in line with the religious and social nature of Saudi society."
Need I say more?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Best Way To Start The Day

What we choose to do as soon as we get up in the morning will surely set the tone of our day.
If we wake up, lay in bed for a while, creep into the bathroom slowly, prepare coffee and so on...our day pretty well follows suit. Slow and boring, by noon, we are sleepy and even before it is time to go home from work we already feel tired.
If however, when we wake up and work out, hit the shower or get outside and start working our day takes a totally different perspective.
The best way to start everyday is in exactly the manner we want our day to go about.

Ask yourself:
What will make me feel good about myself?
What can I accomplish if I get going right away?
What if I take it easy and take my time to get going?
How you answer these questions will help you figure out how you are going to start your day tomorrow. Give it some thought.

The best way to start my everyday:

Wake up, immediately gulp two glasses of water, work out for 20 minutes, hit the shower and head for work. When I do this, especially the working out I feel great in the morning. In the first hours of the day I feel I have actually accomplish something, healthwise. This leaves the rest of the day going through work and at the end of the day feel more accomplished and still have enough energy for a short run around the block, and other stuffs for a while before sleeping.

Now it’s your turn: what is the best way to start your everyday?

12 Laws of Karma - The Law of Humility

It is said that whatever we resist, persist for us, this is the Law of Humility. We can learn a lot about who someone is inside as simple as watching and observing those things and those persons to which or to whome the person objects. If a person, say, refuses to embrace the poor, this says volumes about the condition of the person's heart, and that condition persists as long as the person continues to resist acceptance of and association with and assistance to the poor in this world. The way to enlightenment and liberation is the path of humility. If everyone who differs with another on some issue is looked upon as "the enemy," then we are in a persistent state of opposition because ofthose whom we may wrongfully resist.

What's With Angry Birds?

If you haven't heard about this phenomenal video game yet then you must have been living on the moon, even so, with its popularity, even there these cute little angry birds may have reached its success.
So what's with this game? It is quite simple to play, the goal is to break all the barriers that hides the pigs, which are the thieves who stole the birds' eggs. Simple yes, but as you go on with each level it becomes a little bit difficult. The first of the series simply called Angry Birds, then the next series of versions came out, from Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio (an integration of the character of Blue in the cartoon movie Rio).
Be it a kid or a kid at heart, everyone is hooked with this game, not to mention myself. I spent more than an hour each night playing with it, something to help me feel sleepy, but when the game is getting quite intense and I really wanted to pass a certain level, I had to restrain myself or else I will never have any sleep at all!
I wonder how these game began, from my research, the game simply started when some geniuses from Finland wanted to develop a game that would create a sensation. Inspired by another game of the same concept called Crash the Castle, where catapults would destroy castles, this time angry looking birds, in all cuteness were the characters, but they needed an enemy and a motive and during those time in the late 2009, the swine flu virus is on the rise and since pigs are the culprits, they decided to make them the targets. From then on, there's no stopping this game from being downloaded from phone to phone and now it can be installed and played on PCs, not to mention merchandise like t-shirts, stuffed toys, figurines, notebooks among other things.

But to me, aside from helping me feel sleepy at night, this game is a great way to relieve a stressful day, imagine pouring out your stress and maybe even anger on those poor liitle pigs by trying to break and destroy glasses, houses, woods, crates and what have you! Instead of doing these things in actual settings, better let those pigs have it! Just don't throw your mobile phones when you can't seem to get pass a level, there was a time I almost did! Lols!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Photography Dreams

I always like photogaphy, but only given the chance to have my own camera at this period in my life, so I am making the most of it, I enrolled in a photography class too in order to understand fully the technicalities and the theories behind this, a little expensive but rewarding hobby.
Like everything elese, whenever we are into something we dream of being great at it, if not the best the least. So what are my dreams with regards to learning about photography? They say we are free to dream, and if we do, we have to dream big, so here goes, you with me?

- I would like to have my own photo exhibit someday.
- Work in an international institution, like UN or any internationally funded organization.
- At least some work be chosen in National Geographic.
- Have my own coffee table book.
- Travel the world and document each place.
- Win a Photo Contest.
- Commissioned for a photo job documenting an event, or catalogue products and services.

Well, these are some, and still I have a long, long way  to go, but I am already on the go in pursuit of these dreams. Hopefully, some of these, if not all, may come true, and who knows, an opportunity may be already be presenting itself soon. Thinking positive.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How To Be Perpetually Unhappy

Deviating from what's going on around me here, well, nothing that worthy anyway, for now. I would like to try to help myself and others by simply sharing some inspirational thoughts and words which are based from what I read and learned from others. You may have noticed that I have already started with some of my posts lately, and here is one I hope you find worthy of reading.
We are all in search for happiness, and for those who have found theirs, well, my envy and my congratulations goes out to you, but for us still searching for it, I think we have to search inwards more than outwards. But there are those who no matter what they do they simply cannot elevate themselves to being light-hearted at least and be happy.
There are ways to be unhappy, maybe we are already doing it and that is why that quest for happiness seemed to elude us. Let me elaborate more on how to be perpetually unhappy.
To be successfully unhappy we should constantly live in the past. Unhappy people are stuck in the past, going over and over at every situation and wishing they could have done it differently. Fortunately for us the past cannot be changed nor can the outcome, so we will always have something to live upon.
The IF ONLYs.  Many people live in “if only” world. If only I had money in millions, if only I was born somewhere else, if only this and if only that. This is similar to living in the past, but this time it’s the fictitious past as it didn’t even happen.
Most probably too we value things not people. Some unhappy people take pleasure in owning big, flashy, shiny things. Some get their sense of importance based on what they have. If you know anyone like this then you probably also know that many of their relationships with actual people are far from healthy or ideal.
Like me, sometimes I focus on my weaknesses. To be truly unhappy simply talk yourself out of ever trying anything or taking a chance because it’s “not one of your strengths”. This is a great way to remain in our misery and never expose ourselves to new opportunities or experiences.
Do you worry about everything? Some people are quite often "happy" playing the “what if game”. It is guaranteed these people aren’t too happy about it (I know I’ve been there). What if this happens? And what if that happens? This causes great stress especially when all we can see is the worst possible outcomes.
And lastly, maybe we are never contented because there’s always something better out there. If we never want to find happiness then stay with the “grass is greener over there” way of thinking.
So there, most of the time I am guilty of some of these, but changing one's perspective and way of thinking  will always be the cure, instead of sulking and living out unhappiness, let's try to change things from now on and maybe happiness is not that far away.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle

Will try to finish this book, half read through it before but had stashed it away for a while, anyway, will start again from the beginning, was told and read reviews that it could change one's life after so better give it a chance.

Groan and Grumble, Moaning And Doing Nothing

Every now and then I find reasons to complain.
I have too much work to do, I don't get out much and enjoy myself, I don't have enough money, I need a break, I am treated unfairly, I am this and that etc...
Then something from what I read, Serene Journey, Simple Things to Enjoy Life, had asked me point blank this question: What are you doing about it?
Complaining without a any solution is meaningless. It is like just talking and stating what’s wrong with our current situation. The only way we’re going to get out of an unacceptable situation is if we make an effort. No one else cares that much.
I used to complain about my work being monotonous, but then when I went home for a short vacation, I found out that life back home isn't quite the same anymore and with the rising basic commodities, I am thankful I still have a job. To relieve myself of boredom, I challenged myself to accept more paperwork which could mean more time for encoding and more people depending on me, and pushing myself to finish a day's job as much as I can. Suddenly, monotony disappears, each day became a challenge.
I complain being alone most of the time, especially at home and I am not in my country to do the things I would like to do. It is not easy just to call a friend to come over, nor it is  safe to go out alone. So, I find ways I can enjoy my lone times by reading a book, watching movies, blogging, Facebook updating, writing and even enrolled in a photography class during weekends. There are only 24 hours in a day so I try to make the most of it.
And here's the most difficult part, I complain about not having enough money so I asked myself what would be enough, looked at where my money is currently going and how can I change it? Can I learn to be content with what I do have, realizing that so many other people have much much less than I? I did asked for some partime jobs but still waiting for replies, and maybe will find a better use of my photography after I fisnished the course.
Next time we find ourselves complaining let's turn it around and see how we can make it about us. Take control, become empowered and do something about it. Nobody cares as much about our situation as we do, so let's get on it!

Trying Too Hard

I saw this little old movie, Groundhog Day, it is a story about a man trapped in a never ending time sequence, he always end up on the same day, same time and meeting the same people and the same circumstance.
It is a wonderful way of showing how cause and effect happens. All situations are the same each day, but the actor reacts to each day differently, sometimes he's bored, then frustrated and then angered. The iteration of events that he wants to remain the same does not always end up the same. It just shows how we don't have any control over events. When he got over his frustrations, he starts to enjoy with the people he met, thinking that with foreknowledge of the events there are amazing things he can accomplish. However, there is this one thing that he cannot seem to control too, winning the affection of the woman he fell in love with. No matter how he tried, he cannot win her over.
Finally, when he stopped controlling reality and starts to accept his predicament, suddenly things began to change. He concentrated on helping people and his character slowly changes until he becomes a different person. Soon he became the person that the woman wanted to get to know and won her heart. Only then the timewarp stopped and he went back to the normal time.
The movie gave a great life lesson because it teaches that when we strive too hard for the things we really want, we can end up unconsciously pushing them away from us. Sometimes, what is important in order for us to get what we want is to take a more accepting approach to what happens in our life. Somewhat counter-react to it, and it may turn out that we can often get the girl (or boy) by actually letting her (or him) go. The closer we try to hold on to her (or him), the less attractive we become.
But this lesson is not just about relationships. We can see the same truth going out in many ways. When we try too hard to make money, for example, we unconsciously push away opportunities that may be intended for us, but when we try to go with the situation and the needs of others first , forgetting about our own, then things can begin to dramatically change.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Just Because I Have An Opinion...

Just because I have an opinion

…doesn’t mean I’m right.
…doesn’t mean you need to follow what I say to the letter.
…doesn’t mean I think you’re an idiot, well maybe.
…doesn’t mean I’m right.

We all have our own piece of mind, opinions in other words, and everyone has a right to it. Our opinions may be based on our own knowledge of the subject and from our experiences or lack thereof.  Most of the time our opinions are given without much of either. When people tell us their opinion, we can take it, think about it, may apply it and find out if it will work for us. Or simply don't.
That is the beauty of opinions, we can take them or just ignore them, because in the end we have our won free will to chose what is better, if not, best for us.

Affirmations To a Peaceful Living

I have read these affirmations shared  by Will Edwards, a motivational guru, taken from the bible and encourages all to try, that we could recite it every morning after we wake up, at midday and before going to sleep, it could bring peace and joy at times when we really need it. I think am going to memorize them and will try myself and see what happens.

6 Positive Affirmations Derived from the Bible:

1. I Am at Peace
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

2. I Have an Abundant Life
I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly. – John 10:10

3. I Have Boundless Energy
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31

4. I Am a New Creation
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

5. I Am Whole
… you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. – Colossians 2:9-10

6. I Am a Child of God
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:12

Will you try too?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Secret - Law of Attraction

I would like to share this video, from The Secret, that caught the world by storm, as simple as it is, this clip had moved me deeply, another moment for inspiration, watch and be moved too:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Oh Water, Our Water, Whereth Arth Thou Water?

Since Ramadan and after the Eid holidays, water has been a problem not only to the building where I reside, but everywhere here in the city. I understand that this is a desert country, obviously and water is a precious commodity, more expensive than gasoline (a bottled water good for one drinking costs SR1.00 while a liter of gasoline cost less than half of that and if only I can bring it back home). At first, I thought that water was being diverted to Mecca and Madinah due to the influx of visitors, tourists and pilgrims in hundreds of thousands doing Umras and visiting these holy places. But I was wrong, a headline in the daily paper caught my attention about the "growing water needs eating into the nation's resources."
It is said that even before Saudis understood the worth of oil, they first know the value of water. But the ever increasing need for water has slowly depleting this country's oil revenues used for desalination which is almost near its limit.
The news also says that the Kingdom's use of water is already twice the global average and increasing at a faster rate due to the rapid expansion of the population and industrialization.
The country's annual average of rainfall is only around 4 inches, this country uses their prehistoric underground aquifers which contain ancient rains or they call "fossil water" which fell thousands of years ago but has become too salty to consume. The only way to make it potable is desalination which according to report was an expensive way to clean it and the finances where being subsidized by their oil resources.
Nowadays the effect is being experienced by every household, there are days when even the water delivery trucks doesn't have water to sell, some people gets to use the 5-gallon drinking water even to bathe ( I wonder if it makes the skin better?) and more and more Arabs are spending less time doing estahammas, lesser than they already do. But we Filipinos cannot just brush it aside, we are as affected as they are cause we use water a lot. Even when our host country wastes their water resources like they don't really care, we should do our part by using it efficiently and when it comes to times like these, we do know what to do.
In the meantime, we have no water for two days, good thing my ever efficient housemate filled every container he can find in the apartment, from pots and pans, to buckets and trashliner-lined laundry baskets which can last for three days, I hope, before water delivery comes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Why Bother?

It is hard to live a righteous life not to mention a peaceful one, when there are so many distractions and negativites around you. It would take a mastery of your thoughts and emotions in order to simply "not get carried away" with the anger and frustrations people made you feel and the judgements they throw at you.
But I guess it is all part of life, in our journey, these things do come, everyday, and it will never stop even if you are long gone.
Like there are some things you'd like to do but many put you down when they should be supporting you, regardless. Or, you get talked to behind your back, outcasted in groups, hated and ignored.
People can say anything, and we cannot please everybody, you may lose your voice trying to explain but why bother, 'cause still what they think about you will be you, but I don't think so.
We are who we are, many people may not like us, but there are those whom we mean so much to.
So what the hell to do? There are options we can choose from:
1. Take it all in, sulk on it and either you die from the agony of low self esteem or use it to improve yourself.
2. Totally ignore what other people say, as long as they don't physically hurt you and the truth is far from what they perceived, as you know yourself far more better than they do.
3.Just laugh it off, and just think about this "haters are also admirers who just cannot understand why other people like you."
4.Be a little proud that there are people who gets affected by what you say and do, they cannot sleep or eat without mentioning you,  which means that they do care about you.
5. Admit that there are insecure people that cannot get over the fact that you are slightly or even better than them in many ways even when you, sometimes didn't even know.
6. Know that jealousy is the no. 1 root of all evil.
7. Things are not that bad really, and going through it can do you good at some point.
So there, I'd say let's just live our lives the WAY we would like it to be, no matter what other people say. We only have one and I've read and told that we just have to make the most of it, a day at a time.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We Can Awaken

You are not your name; you are not your possessions; you are not what you do; you are not your religion; you are not your belief system; you are not your programming nor your conditioning. You are not your thought; you are not your emotions. Your job is not in an office, it is to remember who you are, what you are. You are not your body or even your mind.

You are not your life, not a human being playing a spiritual game but a spiritual being playing the human game. You are consciousness, a point of view; a point of awareness; a point of light. The Earth is a school for soul evolution; you came here to evolve your consciousness. Lifetimes are experiences we use to evolve our consciousness. The body is a vehicle we use to enter this dimension, the five senses perceive our reality, our dimension. But it is not the only one, dimensions are realities in which consciousness happens. When you look around you, know what you see is not as real as you think it is, understand that the systems in place began with corruption and will fall to the power of love found in each heart.

Wherever you are, whenever you are, remember that time is not real. Time is an illusion, created by your mind in response to the movement of light and shadow across the earth. With time and thought, we created fear (fear is also an illusion), fear keeps us enslaved to this reality, to be done with it, replace it with love.
With your imagination you direct how the world happens around you. Imagine if you could actually do what you imagined, you can awaken.
- taken from something I saw on YouTube, photo by Gregory Colbert

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

12 Laws of Karma: The Law of Creation

We attract what we are and not what we want. This is the "Law of Creation." Whatever we surround ourselves, the enclosure or space we create in which we live in this lifetime, says much about who we are and we do tend to attract those of like kind. If our choices in life are all evil, for example, we will most likely to attract evil persons as companions and find ourselves within bad situations more often. We may say we desire to live righteously, but it takes far more than empty words and shallow desires to lift ourselves out of our circumstances. We must actually begin to BE, it we would eventually BECOME! In short, we create both our situations and our destiny by who we choose to be in our journey through life.  Just take a closer look at our surroundings, these are strong clues to our true inner persons.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Amateur Photography

9/11 The Day The World Stood Still

I am hesitant to write about 9/11 as until today I don't really fully understand what's it all about. All I know is that hundreds or a thousand innocent people had perished in that tragic day. I think it is one of the saddest moments in world history and it jeopardized the relations between people, countries and faiths. I remember when I saw the whole clip on TV, I thought it was a movie but when the CNN logo flashed on the screen, I stood there watching in disbelief. It indeed happened and somehow it was the day when the world stood still. Why did it happened? Why attack on innocent people? Why humans kill other humans? Why humans have no respect of their kind? We had wars to end all wars, but we never had a sincere look at the world as a whole. That we are one and the same regardless of race, color and belief. There's no point in blaming anyone or anything, for there were already so many finger-pointing since the attack, as for the loved ones of the victims, the scars will forever be visible and will never heal. They may not be able to forget nor to forgive, but think about also of the other thousands of victims of this relentless and pointless wars. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Israel there were also innocent victims. It was not only America that was attacked, it was not America that got hurt, but the whole world. We have everything that we need to sustain life, and the whole world needs to be united. The human race already came a long way and produced, created and built advances in science and technology but we still kill each other just because we differ in color, faith and beliefs. There are many lives to rebuild, instead of spreading fear, why not spread peace? There are a lot more people in Africa and the rest of the world still sleeping at night without food and shelter, and these mighty countries should direct their power and energy in making the world a little better. America was not the direct target of these attacks, it was aimed against humanity.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Moroccans, East Asians and South Africans, Seriously?

Todays paper, on the second page and on a small corner, there's this news that says "Moroccan Maids On Their Way." This is to answer the need of maids, baby sitters and household help in the Kingdom as they send home the other Asian household they take for granted.
I feel sad and angry at times when I hear and read something degrading about my fellow "Kabayans" and truly the increase in salary that we demand from time to time are all worth every halala.
Now they are importing domestic assistants from Morocco, East Asia and South Africa, I'd say, goodluck!
When it comes to TLC, that's Tender Love and Care, I'd fight for my Kabayans. We are raised in a loving home, where tender loving care from our Pinoy parents abound, shared and savoured. Our mothers would almost smother us and nothing beats the way they raise us. The way they run the household can be compared to a platoon commander on a mission. So much so that my fellow Kabayan domestic assistants were loved all over the world, simply because they share the same nurturing characteristics they learned from their mothers to the people they serve, and that is with all heart and soul. That is why the stories of hardships and abuse saddens me. When they stopped hiring Pinoy helps, did they think it's our lost? Nada! That'a what they think, but I know they lose the best thing they ever had.
I am not familiar with Moroccan helps, nor South Africans, all I know is that these replacements will not par at all.
I hope I am mistaken with these assumptions. But I really do believe it's not our lost, really, not at all.

The 12 Laws of Karma: The Law of Cause and Effect

I would like to start a series in between posts, about something we all knew about but not really paying attention to. We knew all about it, but we could not care less about its effect on us. We live mostly in a "que sera sera" attitude or maybe does not really care.
So it is my sincere hope that after this series we can deliberate and even review our thoughts and actions and have a better, if not good, one at that.
So the Laws of Karma is being introduced here and together, yes, you and I, we'll take the journey back within ourselves and search into our hearts and souls for that path towards greater good.
There are 12 Laws of Karma and each one is in relation with another, for one cannot exist alone and together they are so powerful that it can change the world in a snap of a finger.
Today I'll share about the most familiar Karma of all, The Law of Cause and Effect.
As we all know that whatever we sow, we always reap. It may sound very biblical but the majority of teachings are all about it. This first law is otherwise known as "The Great Law". Simply the embodiment of the principle of Reciprocity, which is really what "karma" is all about.
Our attitudes and actions affect the universe about us. A stone thrown onto a water creates a ripple that seemed to go on, expanding until it reaches the bank and return the ripple back to its source. Let us ask ourselves how many times we did something and eventually experience that same act? Have we done something that reaps good effect? Just today, what did we say and do that may reap good and/or bad karma?
Everyday we encounter situations that make us choose, and it is up to us whether the choice would echo something of good nature or the other way around. So think before we act and in this way life's blessing will come in abundance, and if we begin taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions right now, we will be given back what we desire. Essentially creating many positive outcomes and experiences in our day-to day life.

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Too Shall Pass

Once upon a time, there was a King who called upon all of his wise men and asked them a very important question, “Is there a mantra or suggestion which works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place and in every time? In every joy, every sorrow, every defeat and every victory? One answer for all questions? Tell me, is there such a mantra?”

All the wise men were puzzled by the king’s questionm, however they thought and thought still. After a lengthy discussion and a couple of days, an old man, one of the wisemen, suggested something which appealed to all of them. Then they returned to the King and handed the king a paper with four words written on it. These four words would ground the King in his triumphs and lift the King during his darkest hours.
The four words were: This too shall pass.
As the king read the words, he became enlightened.
Life surely comes with a lot of high and low times. Good health, new relationships, being promoted, materials things, a salary increase, a new baby, a new friend and so on were some of the high times. Whilst, losing a job, gaining an enemy, losing a friend, getting sick, financial difficulties, losses and even death comprises the low times. Surprisingly most people find it hard to let go a little of each in the course of their daily living.
We often go through a roller coaster ride through life and our levels of happiness are directly proportional to the situation at the moment, including our moods. We usually celebrate the high times and sulk on the low times. In this way of acting it out, I am assuming that the end result is to experience more of the high times than the low times.
I would like to take a different look at it, I will see it not as the better or the worst but just different. In that way it would be more fulfilling and, what's the word, empowering.
I must realize that the high and low times are all part of our existence, and these experiences are infinitely inspiring and right. Regardless where I am at my roller coaster ride, the lessons to be learned and the lives to be touched are all worth the spin.
And the secret must be to not let my feelings, emotions or degrees of happiness be defined by the issues and situation at the moment for these all will pass. I must know that the true power comes from inside of me, it does not matter what are the situations surrounding me. I must level my happiness on the permanent rather than the superficial, that the motions of my moods are insignificant and the level of my happiness is quite up there.
When life hits hard, I will just tell myself that this too shall pass. On the other hand, when I get lucky, I will also remind myself that this too shall hit the road.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Status Hanging In A Balance

My host country's government is strictly implementing their "Saudization"  or "Hafiz" program giving priorities to their locals especially by providing employment both in the private and public sectors as per the directive of the king himself. He would even give incentives and rewards to companies who will exceed the given percentage of locals that they would hire.
Prioritizing, so much that most companies are "forced" to lay-off their existing foreign workforce in order to reach or surpass the "quota" given by the Ministry of Labor. According to the report in the Arab News , 7 Sept 2011 print, "Hafiz is an initiative to help job seekers and is a way to demonstrate to citizens hat the government is aware of unemployment." Actually this is good news for the local Saudis as most of the them are unemployed and in need of a proper outlet for their acquired skills and trainings. I am not against this in the truest sense of the word, however, I am into the reality that some of these locals abuse such privileges to the extreme.
My housemate who works in a government hospital as a nurse would tell me every night "horror" stories about how the local interns and  nurses behave inside the facilities. So much so that I am scared now to go to any hospital that has more locals than foreign workers. He would relate to me how in his section which is the blood bank, the local male nurses was so lazy that they would come to work late and leave too early and while at work, they would not do so much but hang around with each other smoking, chatting, drinking tea or just go around from department to department and chat the time away. One scary story is how when asked to sort, catalogue and rack extracted and tested bloods inside the refrigerator they would almost always mixed it up! Imagine having your blood test only to find out you have HIV due to carelessness? My housemate would often repeat all the stacking himself just to make sure every thing is in order. He would also relay to me how they would just sit all day and when asked to do something they would exclaim that they are "Saudis" and should not be asked or ordered to do anything when they don't feel like it! How about these same group pay their foreign colleagues to do their work for them? That they would offer a certain fee say to do the rounds for them? To take their night shift in exchange cause they have a party at a esteraha and does not take their oath-taken profession seriously? How is that for Saudization? The sad news is my housemate already received his termination notice as they have told him that his government employee number was already given to another, a local, and has only three months before they will give him an exit.
I know that my host country will suffer tremendously economically because of this maybe for a few years, I am not undermining the locals, but they need to realize that when it comes to work being responsible, dedicated and hardworking is the key to succeed, and they have a lot to learn and I mean A LOT! However there are those who were educated, most probably in another country, who already had the values and ethics that is necessary in order to fit into the business industry or to any industry for that matter but they are a minority and the bums are the majority, and they may even get into the habit as bumming can be contagious.
Back home, I am still hoping that my own country would think that the lives of their so called "new heroes" are not all milk and honey. Our status' hangs in a balance that the slightest wind could tip the scale and we can be asked to start packing and be sent home, where that's another story as what's waiting for us home? When companies prefer the younger generations who has less experiences and the has beens who were the skilled are second choices. So I'll stay here and make the most of the limited time I have, work hard and try to be irreplaceable if I can,  until I also receive that same notice and then...I don't know.

Self Portraits

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Importance Of Being There

Life far away from our immediate family can be lonesome and depressing, and the best way to cure these is by having a set of friends who can be your extended family.
There will come a time when you will need someone to be there for you especially when you are in need of assistance, comfort, support, a shoulder to cry on, to talk to, share with, laugh with and fused both of your lives together through thick and thin.
I've learned though, the hard way, that sometimes you'll meet those who are only "friends" during the happy times and won't even bother to ask how you are when the days are cloudy.
Again, I am blogging about the importance of being there for someone. Recently our little angel Sabby, my very dear friend Ivy and Benjie's daughter was brought to the hospital for some check up and treatment of something discomforting her. The family had an overnight stay at a private hospital so that the medical staff could monitor and observce our little angel's progress. The private room they had would compete for a "some star" room as it has a complete amenities, from a shower, comfortable sofa, a leather lazy boy down to the small container of toiletries and soaps that bear the hospital logo! Even the food ration includes a menu and the service was a delight. The Filipina nurses were very friendly and accommodating, and I would really expect that from our Kababayans.
Anyway, going back, after work, I went to visit them at the hospital and when I get there I immediately felt the warm welcome specially when my little "inaanak" smiled at me. I haven't seen her for almost a week since I came back from Aseer Province, and after the pleasantries I settled down. I asked my "sister" Ivy what had happened and requested for me to look after Sabby later as they will go back to their place to get more things. After a while of chatting, Benjie and another officemate decided to buy dinner and Ivy and me were left to take care of our one year old baby.
Like we always do when we are together, we started our "catching up" and talked about people and things, personal and impersonal issues, relieving ourselves of our stresses and bottled up anxieties, all the while I am thinking how happy I am that I was there and she was with me. I could not imagine both our lives without each other in this arid place. She, being a woman who cannot do much as it is forbidden, and I who often got misunderstood and rejected by other groups. Being there for each other, helding each other, listening, being a friend, but what was important was someone was there for them.

I remember the last time, yes, cause I told myself never again, I got the flu, my first year here, maybe because I was adjusting to the hot weather, and was bedridden for a couple of days and left to fend for myself (as my housemates had to go to work), maybe  I felt so helpless and alone that I cried for my mother. I have not yet made any close relationships with anyone that time.
I literally crawled to the kitchen cause I was too weak, to prepare myself some food to eat. I drag myself to the bathroom if I need to be relieved. I longed for someone to be "there" for me, but what can I do? I called home, and only made my mother worry for me, 'cause there is no one there. I have to wait for my housemates to come in the evening in order to have some assistance, but then again, they can only do as much. We need someone to "care" and not just out of sympathy but because they do really.
The importance of being there for someone cannot be surmounted to anything, as the moments shared are too precious. It can change lives, and even alter someone's state of mind. A lonesome person's mind is idle and you know what they say to an idle mind, it can be the devil's playground, whilst a person who knows that they have someone there for them is blessed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Khamis Mushayt, Aseer

Situated just 30km before Abha, a two day trip in Khamis Mashayt for my friends' badminton tournament is quite interesting. Eventhough the lack of limousines (as they call their taxis here) tends to limit the places you can go on your own but the private cars make up for it and for SR 2.00 will get you at least 5km to anywhere but where will I go in Khamis? After taking pictures of my friend and the newfound friends I made, I decided to explore the immediate surroundings for a photo opportunity. Scouring the surrounding areas I find a highway with dizzying speeding cars which is not surprising, a truck parking lot, a large garbage dump and an open warehouse for brick, mables and tiles. I decide to try the garbage dump which immediately surprised me as not smelly and not full either. I saw broken crates, old tires, plastic and bottle containers, tin cans, sacks of old rice and some discarded appliances. A budding photographer like me should find beauty and art even in unlikely places and I did. I took pictures of the old tires, arranged containers in a row and shot them too. I also saw a pair of old and rugged shoes, posed them and took some shots. When I had my enjoyment filled, I left the dump but out of the corner of my eye I saw a small patch of yellow daisies amidst a broken wall and excitedly I took to opportunity as well. My first day out of three was not bad at all. I am still looking forward for more opportunities in the coming days in another place as there are more places to see. So for starters, here are some: