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.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

To Be Reminded Of What's Important

Hi, missed me? Again my apologies, my hiatus is due to work which I put more energy and effort more than ever. Long story, and to cut it short, we lack manpower and work got tripled. End of story.

In lieu to this, I saw a trailer of the movie Titanic, as lately it ran once again in high definition, right. Now, I love this movie and how a fictional love story was incorporated within the historical catastrophe. It moved me to see people struggle to save their lives and the power of love that was ready to conquer even the biggest calamity and death.

This prompt me to remember what's more important, and what is more important really? Coincidentally I read a story, and not sure if it is true, that as the Titanic slowly sink in the middle of the Atlantic, one woman while being boarded on a lifeboat asked if she could come back to her room. She was given a few minutes  to do so. She hurriedly ran along the corridors to her room even when the ship is already tilting dangerously. Along the way she crossed a gambling room filled with money, in her room were her prized jewelry possessions, all waiting to be taken, but instead she snatched up three apples and hurried back to the boat.
She would have chosen her jewelries over the apples, but in the face of adversity, values are seen more clearly.

Unfortunately, many of us go through our lives with no clear sense of our true values. Instead our desires are molded by the culture and the advertisements that bombard us everyday. The result is that we find no consistency in our lives. No unity. Our desires change as fast as the culture and quickly swept off by the newest fashion, the most recent technology, or the latest wordly pursuit. In exchange, we often sacrifice a life committed to our values.

On the other hand, a stern conviction of our heart's values leads to a single, simplified life, one that is not swayed easily. It is built on the very things that we hold most true to our heart. And no advertising campaign is able to change it.

So, first let us identify this inside-out simplicity of our deepest heart values. This should not be difficult, it is highly important, even life-changing, yet, could be overlooked:

1. Take your quiet time.
2. Get a pen or pencil and a paper and write "What I Most Want to Accomplish with My Life"
3. Write whatever comes to mind. Don't think. Feel your desire. Hear what your heart says.
4. And when the moment feels right, stop.

Here's the hard part, to actually live by these values, when the pressure of "reality" and culture tags us somewhere else. To live with these values will need careful evaluation, intentional decision-making, a commitment to live differently with anyone else, and constant re-evaluation.

But taking the time to remember what's most important will always open the way to a life better lived. Which we should not always forget.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

An Acknowledgement

Today I won 2nd Place in the Portraiture Category at my first photo contest. It was heart warming and exciting, finally, an acknowledgement in the form of a judged photo by professional people. Now I know for sure that I am doing it right.

My apologies if I may sound a bit redundant when it comes to this subject, really I am pursuing this passion with everything I've got and who knows where it lead me. ( Travelling around the world is my ultimate goal, Oh God give me the opportunity! AMEN!)

Any, here's my winning shot:

We submitted  unedited photo shots, and was told to shoot any subject for a portrait. A good friend is there to assist in modeling for us (I am not the only one who took her picture) but each had to have his own concept.
I intentionally brought with me some mascarade masks (which I will using again in another concept which I am planning to execute sometime soon, but I have to have it in black though, a black spray paint will do, I think) and good thing I have a green one to match her scarf.
Now the yellow collar that peeked out was intentional, I let it cause I want something to break the monotony of the green color, however, in the end I find it distracting in the overall impact of the photo, but it's too late.

The judges were professional photographers who are masters in their own right, they judged the photos technically and was keen in lighting, composition and relevance to the theme.

I am happy that I got a place, and this serves as an inspiration to move further and learn more about the nitty-gritty of photography.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Simplicity And The Heart

There is a simple thought that we should learn about, that there is joy in pursuing less. Through it all, I have discovered that this thought appeals and resounds in the heart. Some people may argue with me and prove I am wrong, but I have come to an understanding that simplicity, the intentional promotion of the things I most value and the removal of anything that deviate me from it, is a message of invitation that is to appreciated, desired and should be accepted when offered.

Bottom line, simplicity adheres to the heart because, our heart knows that possessions does not mean joy. Happiness can never be found in having more, it is found in the pursuit of our lasting passions. Our heart knows freedom when we live it. Possessions burden us, far more than we think. Our heart longs to be free and to be only tied to things of true worth.

Our heart longs for financial sense. No one lives for the sake of having large amounts of debts. Our souls desire to live within means and not as a slave to credits. To be simple means financial freedom. 

Our heart knows what is true. Many live a lie, running after things of limited nature. Society, culture and advertisement promise lasting enjoyment in bigger homes, fancier cars and in season clothing. But lasting fulfillment can never be found in short-lived pursuits. Our heart knows when it is being faked. Most of the time we acquire things to put on a facade to act like we are successful, famous, put together and all figured out. But deep inside we know we are not. And more so, in the deepest part we long to stop pretending and be real and vulnerable. 

Our heart desires to follow a dream, and pursue a passion. I am sure nobody would say, or very few would say that owning something is their GREATEST desire. I think most will say that they long to find love, meaning and live bigger lives than themselves. Simplicity gives the means for our heart to accomplish its greatest desires. Out heart finds happiness in lasting worth. What we see are mostly temporary and what we cannot are eternal. Our souls would want to live for the things that truly matter by finding joy in the invisible, lasting things that cannot be bought with money.

Out heart longs for the higher self. Contentment, generosity, gratitude and self control. I would like my life to be remembered and described with those words and owning less allows more opportunities for these positive habits to shine through.

However, we have been fooled. As a collective society, we have fallen to the lie that there is greater joy in having more. But we all know that is not true, right? Our heart has been fighting to have less of the things that  of no value all the while. 
It's time we stop running after empty pursuits and start listening to our heart that knows who we are best instead.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Had Transpired

Been away too long again, my apologies my friends, I was just a bit busy juggling between work and honing my  photography skills that I've been active in my other blog (www.carlomagnophotos.blogspot.com) so much I almost forgot about my writing...my apologies once again.

What had happened earlier this month? Well, there were some events that transpired that seemed like a roller coaster ride of emotions. First, I had my birthday last 7th, so well wishers are still welcome and gifts are still accepted, lols! I had a simple day, I prayed and thank God for another year, I am something-something years old and glad to know that no one still could ever really guess! A couple of dear friends surprised me with the biggest blueberry cheesecake I had ever seen including the cutest birthday cake candle! It just made my day! Had a health check up a week after and happy  to know that I am still at the peak of my health, amen!

Got back into running and it just feels so good afterwards! Going 3.5 Km every other night, and long hot shower afterwards. It just takes a minute upon lying on my dusty bed and I am in dreamland.

There was also some happy news that my two sisters are both pregnant at  the same time, and will deliver on the same month in September..however this was immediately replaced by a sad one when my youngest sister, lost hers. I was already reeling with joy and happiness, until the news came. Although it was still early, probably wasn't fully developed yet, obviously. I talked with my sister and lend a support, told her that maybe it not yet time. We decided to call the baby Justine, although we didn't get to know which gender the baby was, but we think the name is good enough for both. Now we have a little angel named Justine who can watch over us.

Been practicing non-stop with my photography and eventually joined my first photo contest where the result is still a couple of weeks away, so I am in anticipation as to the results. Win or lose, does not matter, what is important is that I did my best and I had so much fun! My photoblog is almost daily updated and you are all invited to take a peek and enjoy the photos.

There were many good reviews and hopefully one day someone would really take notice and give me a break! Or someone would sponsor and help me acquire more accessories, meet new people who would inspire me, and travel to many places and capture all the beauty the world has to offer. I met a new friend via her comments and become close online. We laughed at our antics and life's experiences. She was a blessing and I really appreciate how she sees my photos, and expresses her reactions.

I am going to try to go to Egypt again in August or September, by land and sea. Cheaper, more exciting, and I would really feel the excitement of seeing the country. A friend and I will be backpacking from Riyadh to Jeddah, and by ship across the Red Sea to the historic Suez Canal, then go by train to Alexandria! Then travel across the country passing through the Upper and Lower Egypt, two weeks of non-stop sight seeing and photoshoots! I bet when we get back to Saudi, we will so exhausted, but I know it will be all worth it!

A chance to meet a dear friend and a life-guide there too.

Work had become tight, but still surviving. Too many workloads, but still manageable. We lost a co-worker because of a transfer, but I am hoping that a replacement will come soon, before we cry for a life-support system! Lols!

Lately there's a constant sandstorm here, I gave up cleaning my room, and now looking more like an old attic full of dusts and smelling like a desert! It is so tiring to constantly vacuum and wipe dusts! Not to mention sleeping wearing a surgeon's mask! How can you sleep when you literally inhaling dusts! Well, I live in a desert country, what do I expect?

So, March is already half it's way and soon April comes, how fast time do flies! Until next time!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Better Ways To Judge Others

We have been making judgments about others be it on the color of their skin, facial features, better paying jobs, manners, clothing preferences, and so on and so forth. And have made terrible judgments along the way both personally and collectively.
I came across an article that tells about a "new way" of measuring not the external but the internal nature, the very heart and soul of a person, which can start giving us a better sense of who to trust and who to follow. You with me? Let's see...
1. Judge characters in solitude, who we really are is best revealed when we are alone. What we do when nobody is looking is the truest mark of our character. Those that displays character in the dark will always reflect it in the light.
2. Contentment in circumstance, often people find it hard to be content, regardless if one is rich or poor. But rich is the person who can find contentment in either circumstance.
3. Courage during adversity, which can only be shown when it is needed. Those who have showed it and acted it out during the hard times can definitely claim it as their own. Adversities can come in many forms, but courage will always be the same, action in the face of fear.
4. Faithfulness in commitment. Those who says the truest words should be given high praises today. Whether the word is given with a handshake, a contract or a wedding ring, those who hold true to their promises are worthy of recognition.
5. Generosity in abundance. Those who received much, much should be given away, this abundance may take any form other than material things.
6. Graciousness towards others. Those who had made it a habit of extending grace to others are among my heroes. They have a realization that this world however seemed unfair, that we come from different backgrounds and no one is self-made are quick to extend grace and mercy.
7. Gratitude despite circumstance. People who see enough good in any situation and expresses gratitude are focused on the right things. If you are thankful at all times, we tend to attract the right things and eventually draw others along.
8. Honesty in deprivation. It is when we lack of something we want that honesty is the hardest. Be it something intangible or physical, dishonesty is mostly used to have or gain something. People who show honesty in the time of need reveal how they value this virtue.
9. Hope during heartache. When we get hurt, and too deep, hard to be positive and it is not enough, hope comes. Definitely it comes from somewhere far greater than us, and those who find it discovers one of the greatest powers in the universe.
10. Humility in accomplishment. He who is quick to deny himself of praise should be first to receive it.
11. Inspiration in relationship. W all have relationships, friends, lovers, even with our pets. These relationships should not be used solely for personal gain but for bringing out the best in others. And those who inspire others to become the best they can be should received more relationships.
12. Integrity in details. This can be found in details. Those who manifest integrity in the small things of life will highly show it in the bigger things as well.
13. Kindness to the weak. Usually it is the weakest among us that needs kindness, yet they receive it the least because they have nothing to repay it back. Kindness should not be shown for the sake of having something in return, it becomes an investment and loses its true meaning. The measure of kindness can be seen in how we treat those who have no means to return it.
14. Love for enemies. Anybody can love a friend, or those who treat us well, and everyone does, but it takes a special type of person to reach out and love those who treats them unjustly.
15. Optimism towards others. Let's try to see the good in everyone. There is no other way  to bring out the best in another if we have not seen it first, right?
16. Perseverance in failure. When we fail it reveals much about our heart. It shows our character, our humility and our perseverance. We will all at sometime face failures and only those who get back up and go on succeed.
17. Purity in opportunity. When character is revealed in being alone and integrity in the little details, purity is revealed in the face of opportunity. When an offer of any dishonest gain like money, drugs, power or sex comes, those who choose purity should be praised. Not only it makes one sleep better at night but make this world a better place for all of us.
18. Respect for authority. Authority makes everything in order. It brings reason and order, and it should be allowed to do so.
19. Responsibility for mistake. We all love to pass the blame, I can see it in my family, among my friends, in my workplace, especially in my workplace to government leaders. We are often slow in accepting responsibility in our mistakes. Sad. Because only those who admits their wrongdoings have the opportunity to learn from them.
20. Self control in addiction. We are too often give much attention to most things that are precious to us.  We easily fall under the influence of substances, possessions or entertainment. When that happens our lives are no longer our own. Those who retain self control in the face of addiction should be recognized as special and judged accordingly.

So, when we start to correctly regard, idolized and follow those who lead from the "inside"...am pretty sure we will make less mistakes in choosing who to follow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Habits We Might Consider

There are times when we need to re-evaluate our lives and look forward to the future. It makes us look back at the choices that affects us in the past and gives opportunity to make some adjustments in the present, it may be too late for "resolutions", but we need adjustments to some of our habits, thought it may be "painful", but we need to get in "shape". We need to stop something or get our lives in order. Whatever we choose may relatively easy to do, or notice and are often supported by many.
However there are other, maybe worth improving that probably we often overlooked. But as the case maybe, they seemed to be just as important, even help us realize that there are some issues in our lives that leads to poor decisions or choices in the first place.
With that in mind, let's consider the following 12 habits as possible great "resolutions" to build our lives with:
1. Laugh everyday, intentionally. Laughter eases stress, lowers blood pressure and exercises muscles. It brings joy and hope. We should laugh everyday.
2. Have a solitude moment. Find some time by yourself, in peace and quiet on a regular basis. No everything, that will distract you. Just you alone with yourself. They say your life will never be the same (trust me, I know what it feels to be all by yourself most of the time. You become more creative.)
3. Say thank you all the time. Make it a habit to say thank you to someone or something everyday. It takes our attention away from what we don't have and leads us towards what we do. This may result to contentment and generosity.
4. Slow down.  Take your time. We can never outrun time. But we can be earlier so we can have time to take things slowly, enjoying each moment. Walking may lead to discovery of things around you, taking time in the shower relaxes and soothes, eating slowly makes us savor the flavors of food. Take time...no make time.
5. Try to fast once a month, we will not die if we skip a day without eating, in fact it is said that fasting "reboots" our body in order to function well. Also, if may teach us self-control, self-denial and sacrifice. It trains the mind to weather storms and temptations. It also heightens our senses. The purpose may sound like spiritual but it does not have to be.
6. "Do it Now! Instead of procrastinating about something we need to do, why not do it now. It may relieve the stress unnecessary in our lives. Just say it like a mantra, simply "do it now!"
7. Go fruits and veggies.  No need to elaborate on this. WE already know what it does and what these greens can do.
8. Read books. They contain wisdom.
9. Remove pornography. Say what?! Yes, it limits our capacity to appreciate what is real and the people in it. It shrouds the mind with unreal and unhealthy assumptions about sexuality and how we relate with others. Try to remove it and maybe life can be better, and we might appreciate more the simple joys of the people and our relationships at the moment.
10. Sleep early. We know the benefits of having a good night's sleep, right?
11. Try to give to charity. Ok, this may be kind of broad, try with the immediate people around you, you have something you have no use for? Without attachment, let go and give it away to someone who might have a better use for it.
12. Go out with your special someone. Make the relationship more fun and stronger by spending time together once in a while. Be creative, it need not be expensive.

I do try to make it a habit intentionally each of these, some I already did at some point, while others needs a bit more practice and one is still beyond my choice, lols! (no. 12). My desire is not that these list would be the secret to have a happy life, but rather simply consider each one in the hope to have a better life.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Choosing Less

A few months ago, I decided to begin living with fewer possessions.
I made the decision out of an outward emotion. I was tired of the non-stop cleaning and rearranging my things they so needed. I was tired of living with wanting and not having enough. And I am starting to get frustrated that I could not find the time and energy to do the things and be with the people I like and mattered most. I did not noticed that somehow my want to own many things was the cause of this discontentment.
Maybe I don't need more stuff!
Now I am starting to breathe a little, owning less has started to give me less time and money running after those things I used  to like to have. It had given me more opportunity to redirect my time, energy and cash to things I most value.
Another is that it provided me with even bigger opportunity to change. The external change of behavior has with it the chance for an inward change too. It has allowed me to change and adopt value that I have always liked in others.
So, take how the decision to live with fewer possessions allow hearts to embrace the following:
- Contentment, simply being mentally and emotionally satisfied with what we have as they are.  Most discontentment in our lives lies in the material things we have and how we compare them with others.
- Generosity, our willingness to give away our time, energy and something extra. When our hoarder-mentality is slowly being removed from our minds, we can be free to use our resources for other purposes.
- Gratitude, or a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation. It is important that we experience gratitude by thinking less about the things we don't have and focusing on the things we own.
- Self Control, or our abilities to stop ourselves, our feelings and impulses, reactions. Many of us go on with our lives without any clear visions of our true significance. Instead, desires are made by culture and not to mention advertisements that we see each day. The result is that we become inconsistent in our lives. No control.
- Honesty, being right in our beliefs, principles, intentions and actions, being fair and upright. We often believe in the lies and misguided truths that are being circulated in our society which is based on the need to get ahead and acquire more. Finding contentment rids the need to be dishonest.
- Appreciation, the move to estimate the qualities of things and giving them their proper significance. If we just stop looking on others and what they have that we do not, we are able to appreciate other people's successes and accomplishments, the beauty that they share to the world. We can fully appreciate others without being jealous of them, or worse wishing them fail.
Okay, one thing though, please do not misread me. I am not saying that having less necessarily breeds out contentment, generosity or even honesty. I myself is not even halfway but am working on it. There are many generous people who would not live having less, and there are also people who enjoy having less but might score high on selfishness. And I would never claim to have mastered even fully understood any of the characteristics I just mentioned, but it's worth to try. I believe in my heart that the less we have or the intention of owning less can allow an opportunity for these traits to grow in our hearts. What we do with that opportunity is our own call.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Recognizing and Celebrating Small Victories

For all the important changes we have made in our lives resulted from a long, and often difficult series of small changes.

  • stopping impulsive shopping by turning away from temptations, 
  • watching my health by starting to eat less to no rice,  
  • exercising everyday starts from the moment i wake up in the morning, 
  • attitude adjustments began when i told myself i need to start moving in my life, 
  • building relationships by taking it slowly with old and new friends, 
  • working effectively by planning my every action, 
  • learning not to be too attached to things by starting to give away or throw unnecessary clutters in my room, 
  • trying to live simply by slowly adjusting to minimal living without compromising personal enjoyments 
Living is not measured by what we have most and what we have less, as they should be measured by the little victories, smallest effort and decisions that we make every day.

Reality check, fast foods, Facebook, latest gadgets on the market, TV, and other irresistible schemes, Twitter streams and never ending media hypes, those who make it often receive the praise, while those (like me) still on the journey are often overlooked, or even worse, we long for the finish line at the expense of the little efforts that must be done to reach it. The reward at the end is hanging by a thread, and the number of steps between where we are and our goals is seldom counted accurately .

Let's start to level our way of thinking. It is but right to give praise to those who have made it, and completed a positive life change, but we must also rejoice to those who still lagging in their journey. Each small step forward is significant and worthy of celebration. And when we see it in our lives or in the lives of others, we must claim it as a victory worthy of recognition.

  • a person who starts to rise early in the morning than usual deserves celebration 
  • a spendthrift who resisted a season's sale deserves a celebration 
  • someone who cleaned his room, even wiped the dusts which is unlikely of a person to do deserves praise 
  • a person who tries to work harder than usual deserves a recognition 
  • a husband who comes home and picks up his child instead of the remote control deserves celebration 
  • a smoker who quits or even controls the number of sticks he consumes deserves a praise 
  • a person struggling with weight and chooses to take the stairs deserves a celebration 
  • and so on and so forth... 
We are human beings in need of grace and patience. We need encouragements. Let's enjoy each small victories we achieve in our lives and in other people's lives, because I believe life is only lived to the fullest through the little moments and the big. Don't you think?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Choose, Success or Significance?

We all want to be financially stable, who isn't? To have enough to spend and more to store. It is a great motivator and controls most people's lives. It chooses occupations, and controls how time, energy and resources are used. It can influence relationships, schedules and even our families. There are more people so consumed by this passion that many are left broken and moralities in question.
I think we are not called to make this passion our life. In fact, compared to significance, it fades just like that.
I have learned that success is like a tide, it comes and flows with the rise and fall of economy.  As recent years have proven, financial success is always at the mercy of a national economy and increasingly, a world economy. When the economy goes down (as it always does), so does net worth.
Success also ends on the day we die. All wealth and possessions will be immediately transferred to someone else. And even if we get to pick where they go, the reality is that person is always someone other than us. And it is never enough. Financial success will never satisfy the innermost desires of our soul. No matter the amount of financial success earned, it always leaves us wanting more.

On the other hand, significance always lasts. Significance will always outlast us. Even when we are no longer present, our significance will still be ours. And nothing can ever take that away from us. It carries on. Significance keeps on giving. When you positively change the life of another human being and that person changes the life of another who impacts the life of another who influences another, it gets paid off forward. 
I think significance also satisfies our soul. While the thirst for success is never quenched, significance satisfies our deepest heart and soul. It allows us to lay our head on our pillow each night confident that we lived a valuable and fulfilling day.

Unfortunately, many people spend most of their lives chasing financial success. And while some achieve it more than others, many will never find it in the end. When they begin to shift their life focus to significance instead of success, they wonder why they wasted most of their life chasing something different.

Don’t waste any of your life. I suggest to seek significance today. How? Let's see...

Realize that life won’t last forever. We know that we will eventually die but no one wants to think about it. Sad, why? Because I believe that when we think that we will eventually expire, we can begin to live differently, at this moment. We are never too young or old to start to think about our legacy. How do we want to be remembered, and what do we really want to accomplish before we die? I don't want to sound morbid, I am just simply saying, that if we were to make a list of things we would like to be thought of, I am pretty sure we will not find there "drive a nice BMW!"

Try to live a life worth imitating. Live with character, integrity, and morality. Our life should look the same in private as it does in public. And while no one is perfect, just begin striving for a life of integrity. It will be noticed.

Let's try to focus on people. Not money. Begin to change our life’s focus from our bank accounts to the people around us. Rather than worrying about the how to get-rich-quick blah,blah, blah, spend that energy focusing on our family, our neighbor, or the disadvantaged in our community.

Maybe we can start with one person. Find one person who needs us today. Start there. Significance may be as inexpensive as one cup of coffee or as simple as one heartfelt question. If we are unsure on how to start, how about with a smile.
Let us find a career outside our job. Sometimes, our day job leads to significance. But if ours does not, find a “career of significance” outside of our job by learning something else and be great at it (like I did photography). Most likely, our gifts, talents, or expertise are desperately needed. Use our job to pay the bills, but use our “new career” to pay our soul.

I know that too many people think that, “once I make it rich, I’ll become significant.” I don't think so. Let's try to choose significance today. Begin striving for it now. If, then, financial success comes our way in the future, our mind will be in a better place to truly use our new success for broader significance.

Reduce our expenses. Yes we can learn to live with less. Living with less frees up our life to invest into others. And living with reduced expenses allows us the freedom to not spend so much time at the office and more resources on others.

Read books of people who sought significance rather than success. The lives and writings of these authors will inspire us to make more of ours.
People don't often look back on their lives and savor their professional achievements. Instead, they celebrate the impact they have had in the lives of others. Give ourselves much to look back and celebrate. Stop chasing success. Start seeking significance.

I am.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We Can Be Better At Anything We Want, Seriously.

Am back from a weeks' hiatus and my apologies my blogfriends, did you miss me? I did missed you all! So what have I been doing? Well, pretty much a lot! Let me explain...
Since the start of new, actually a couple of months before the new year, I suddenly woke up one morning and decided, believed and accepted a challenge. A what? A challenge, yes, I told myself that I will be a better person this year than the last. Yeah, right.
Seriously, it all began when I started, for the nth time, photography. I realized to be able to take great shots will take not only time, energy and a lot of practice, but also I have to motivate, find inspiration, and drag myself out of bed early morning just to get that geat shot. Then uploading them either on Facebook or my Photoblog and wait for comments and critiques. I love getting them, be it good or bad, 'cause that's the only way I would find out if I am improving or not. And I try my best, at all times. Now I get more positive reviews than negative ones, that's already a huge accomplishment!
At the same time, I changed an attitude at work. I told myself, when at work, do the best. It does not matter if it did not pass anyone's standards, but as long as I believe I gave my all for the day, and you know what? I realized it is hard but doable and I did notice a change, for weeks, I got my focus and I try to accomplish as many task as I can and at the end of the day, I sleep knowing that I did well and what a sound sleep it is!

We can be better at anything we want, seriously. It is just a matter of attitude, looking at things and situations on a different perspective, just be positive and not let anything or anyone affect you regardless of any circumstance. I learn a lot about these things last year and I intend to remember the lessons everytime a situation becomes something familiar.

There are great things to be found in the realization that we can get better at anything we want.

Our lives consists of dreams, wants, desires, things we would like to do. We seek to be better friends, employees, artists, better speakers, a better person. We wish we were better at reading, writing, cleaning, organizing, leading, entertaining, or fixing things. There are numerous good things that we can add to our lives… and start a new life because of it.

How did I do it? It is not easy, for I struggle with each step, but am learning and the important thing is I try and stood by it. First, I made a conscious effort to decide to pursue a dream, a change, a new life. It involves moving an idea from the back of my mind to the front. It includes a thoughtful, decision-making process (i.e., Is this new skill worth the effort? Is this change beneficial? Will it improve my life?). It requires confidence, motivation, and intentionality. And it requires a breakthrough moment where I sat down and decide, “Yes, I’m finally going to do this!”
Next I slowly remove distractions. Now this is harder. Our lives are full. Learning a new skill should be fun, improving oneself should be easy,  but it will always require time. And the more I wish to improve (depends on the difficulty of the new skill and the degree of change I hope for myself), the more time and energy is going to be required. In the end, I must purposefully remove distractions that deviate me from my goals. I try to remove the correct distractions (television, mindless Internet browsing, bumming, staying up too late, sleeping in too long, etc.) and leave the important ones untouched in my life (work, my hobby, my family, friends, my group, etc.).

Lastly, I plan my next step and take it. If you are reading this blog post today, there are countless means available online in almost every imaginable field. If you are in a community, there are likely numerous educational opportunities available. If you have friends, they have countless hours of training/experience in some very desired skills. And the bookshop likely holds at least one book relevant to any skill you’d like to learn. There is almost no limit to the number of “next steps” available… we just need to select one. I did and I have books to read, softwares to learn, videos and a group to perfect my photography skills. I have a good supervisor at work who motivates me to be more responsible and be better. I have a spiritual friend/teacher/guide who never fails to impart words of wisdom and inspiration to keep me going, going, going and going. I take a step, one day at a time and for the first time, I feel I am moving and I know I am going somewhere.

So what new skill would you like to pursue? What change do you hope to happen in your life? And what is the next step you need to take to do it?
Let me encourage you today to take a step. ‘Cause you can get better at anything you want.

God did not plan our lives to be stagnant,
mediocre, boring or declining.
God planned our lives to be growing,
excelling, improving and thriving.
When someone ask you- "How are you?'
Is your reply, "As usual"? "Just the same?"
God did not plan your life to be as usual either.
As a child of God, you are what you declare.
Declare instead - "Just gettin' better."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Hero Become A Zero

I heard and read a lot about prejudism and discrimination, be it of race and gender, and my heart goes out to people who suffers so much because of this. This world although already on the verge of almost achieving anything, still has a lot to learn about acceptance, tolerance and brotherhood. Many people fight for the right to be equal and to be accepted without conditions, separation and hatred.
I never thought that the day will come when I will feel the way these discriminated people feel, just because I am "different"
I met an Arab hero, for me he is, an artist, award-winning, cool, nice and very good at what he does,  I made a way to find out about him and did a research about his art, his passion, and the work that he did. Maybe fate made it a little easy as coincedentally a friend works were he works. I got his email and soon we were exchanging ideas, and I am relating how I admire his work, his passion, his art.
Then after a couple of months a meeting was set for the first time and I was so excited and going way over my head, I prepared my portfolio, memorized his resume so that I will come prepared and I get to ask questions that I so wanted to ask. As an aspiring artist too, I need to meet someone who'd taken the journey and learn from him. The agreed day and time came and we met in a branded coffee shop, and from the moment we talked, it was pure high for me, I'd say I was startstrucked. I digest every word he says, his stories, his dreams, his projects, his work, his style, his adventures, how he create, his techniques, his frustrations, his life. I am hanging on to every word and I never felt this way, the way a fan would feel when he meet his hero. He commented about my work, and labelled me a "lifestyle" artist as most of my work conveys a story, that he admired my "quick" eye in seeing the aesthetic at a glance and how he wanted to learn the same.
There was no moment wasted, three hours of full art and passion, in the end there was an invitation for a collaboration, a group, travels and new projects, and I almost broke his arm when we shook hands after. I went home full of inspiration, positive energy, new hopes and dreams.
But it was all short lived.
The next day, feeling elated and happy the whole day, I received a text message that he doesn't want to see me anymore. I was "what?" and I immediately called him but he never picked up, instead he pressed off to busy the, the next text messages got me asking why and what happened. Apparently, he found my Facebook account and saw my pictures when I used to model (half naked) and my gender identity, he told me that he doesn't want to go out or be with, nor seen with someone who prefers men and who is "different" (at least he used a kind enough word) and he doesn't want to be with someone where he feel awkward to be with,  I was devastated, heartbroken, I felt angry, sad and numb. It felt like sky fell on me, it's the first time I experienced rejection and discrimination simply because I am "different." I told him that my personality has nothing to do with the passion we both love, the art that we do, I told him that my interest and admiration for him is purely of respect and inspiration, nothing more and nothing less. I have no intention whatsoever of crossing any line but of friendship and apprentice. I don't remember  giving him any hint nor showing him any signs. Did he thought I would jump on him? He's not even my type!
Still his closed mind did not agree. His last message was a wish for me of luck and a goodbye.
I hurt the rest of the day, my heart got smashed into pieces, I thought breaking up with my 6 year relation is the worst but this feels even more worst. It almost killed me, and good thing I have a strong sense of who I am and my positivity is strong enough, I made it through the day.
I stopped myself of continuing to argue my case just to change his mind and educate him about prejudism and discrimination. I just tried to let it all go. It's hard, but I do try to let this anger and sadness go. The irony of it all is that he shared with me his experience about discrimination too! That being a local, many other nationalities would not want to work with him because of the stigma that his kind were hard to difficult to work with, that their work ethics is relatively the same as "simply watching the sheep graze along the grassy plain". That these media people would rather hire international professionals than hire locals, even if they spend more. This is one of his greatest frustrations and now this? I think he should know better, he should understood the feeling of rejection and discrimination.
In all fairness though, maybe his being prejudiced is nothing personal, that being a Muslim and his cultural upbringing has something to do with it, but what about brotherhood, compassion, tolerance and love of others? Aren't these also being taught in their religion?
I hate to say that my hero became a zero. Too bad when we could, or might, have a good camaraderie together and who knows create something amazing and grand.
Discrimination is wrong, in any which way you view it. I will stand up against this and show him that I will be better than him in more ways he could possibly be. He is just one person to look up to, well, not anymore, a hero does not have a closed heart, a hero possesses all the qualities people will admire him  for. I guess I'll just find another whom will be deserving to be called one.