when we’ve gone

beep

beep

beep

flat line

Gone. Passed. Left. In a better place. Floating. Waiting. Reborn.

What happens to us when we’ve passed? What is there after we’ve breathed our last and closed our eyes one final time?

Do we just disappear, into nothingness like we never existed, like we have never been? Quite frankly that’s depressing and comforting all at the same time. Depressing as the 70, if we’re lucky, years that we have is all that we have. There is nothing more. But it’s also comforting. No more worrying about what comes next, what is after death. That’s just it, it’s over.

Do we just leave? Do we pass on to a better a place where angels, if you went to Sunday school, play harps just over the pearly white gates? Is there a state of paradise that we can look forward to after the inescapable labyrinth of suffering here on Earth? Many of us who were raised believers of a certain faith hold the promise of paradise very close to our hearts. I remember reading Dante Alighieri’s Paradiso and just thinking why people hate dying so much. Eternal life in paradise seems so much more promising that the repetitive boredom they paint human life to be.

Are we in between? Perhaps we are not nothing but not someone either. We’re just floating and waiting. For what? I am not sure. I just heard once that death is an eternal suspension where nothing is real but everything seems like it’s happening. Confusing, undefined but existing.

Do we get to live again, reborn, alive but different? Like Buddha’s promise of living life over and over again until we reach nirvana. We get to live the life that we deserve after we’ve lived the life before that. As enticing as this may seem, do we not get tired of living life til eternity ends? If it ends at all. This is why I think immortality is pointless. Fear and urgency brought about by the knowledge that life may end and nothing may come after that, allows us to pursue the spontaneous, the free and the risky. It persuades us to live, and I mean truly live because we may not get the chance again.

Whatever death may be, I hope that when it comes knocking on my door, I would have lived a full and happy life. I will work everyday starting now to make that happen. Maybe you should too.

***

TO MY READERS

You may be wondering why the sudden post on death. I’ve sat in a hospital room this past week watching my grand father regress before me. 3 times. 3 times this week he flat lined right in front of me and I kept thinking, ‘What would become of him after this? ‘ Where would he go?  Thus this post.

As you are reading this, he may have gone already. I may be in one corner suppressing my tears. Please, if you pray, pray for him, his soul. It would mean so much to me.

Image

like looking in the mirror

with my little sister

We have so much in common and yet we’re very different.

Although

-People say I come off too strong and you too shy.

-You’d rather endure and I’d rather stand up and fight.

-I live for the moments I travel alone and you hate even just waking up alone.

We share

-the love of books

-the creative soul that drives us to write, draw, paint and take  pictures

-the absolute obsession over seafood and pasta

-the appreciation for indie music

-the yearning to watch all the latest movies

-the geeky love for comic books and their movie franchises

-the spontaneity for travel and the adventurous heart for experiencing other cultures

-a steady disposition about the things we hate and love

I guess God knew what he was doing when, 10 years after I was born, mom conceived you little sis.

depressing, or not

It’s mildly depressing to think that everything that is has to fall apart. What takes a lifetime for us to build, years from now there may not even be a single trace of .

Civilizations- Persian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman and Egyptian- were all great, built from the ground up. They were powerful and controlled the world in their days but they crumbled and yielded to other more advanced societies. My adorable pillow, my comfort and imaginary shoulder to cry on, now tattered and old. Friendships I put all my heart, time and effort into, they’ve come and gone. Granted some things still remain, but they too will fall apart, vanish into nothingness. Even I, when I pass, I am no more.

That’s discouraging right? Not most people’s cup of tea.

But knowing me, I see an up side. If things will pass, they’ll be gone in the morning, won’t you have more reasons to look at now? You see the problem with our generation is that we’re too busy looking forward, what we build, what we’ll own, how our lives will be like in the future. We, more often than we’re willing to admit, are never truly present. We always think we’ll have tomorrow to enjoy everything. But what if tomorrow everything fell apart? There’s nothing more to look forward to. Wouldn’t you wish you lived more?

You have the rest of your life to live in the future, better live in the now. If tomorrow doesn’t come, you’ll have today to be happy about.

Image

seriously silly

picasion.com_d460464ef1582f529cc081d72d03a1cd

Be silly, not everything in life has to be taken seriously.

It doesn’t make you juvenile or irresponsible if once in a while you let you hair down or loosen your tie and let go of all the worries even for just 5 minutes. True, it may not solve the problems you have or thicken the wad in your wallet but it makes you feel better. It will give you the courage and strength to face another day, another hour, another minute in the crazy hustle that’s life.

GOAL: leaner, healthier me

Setting goals are easy, living up to them is the hard part.

I find that visual reminders of goals increases the accountability I have to fulfill them so here I am blogging about a goal I have in mind. I want to be healthier and leaner because all my other goals are contingent upon that. My dreams of biking the European countryside, climbing Machu Picchu, kayaking through rough rivers, running a marathon  and learning to dance Flamingo in Andalusia, I wouldn’t be able to it if I don’t have the stamina and the energy of someone who works out and eats right.

This goal isn’t about losing weight or attaining a shape to be more attractive or acceptable to fit a standard society has. I need to to clear that up right away because I don’t want people to look at the mirror and not see someone beautiful. Cliche as it may sound, ones beauty is judged only by the eye looking at it and frankly the only person whose opinion matters is yours. Think you’re pretty and you will be, that’s what I always thought and it worked out well for me.

When you work hard to lose weight just  to look prettier or more attractive, even when you shed all that body fat you will still look at a mirror and knit pick your imperfections. Beauty is a thought process, a state of being not just a physical form. Lose weight and be healthier because you love yourself not because you hate how you look.

starting right

Starting right may mean completely different things for different people.

Some would work hard for a clean slate, one where mistakes are wiped clean. Others may see it as an opportunity to run, be free and not worry about who they were and what lives they’ve lived so far. I know of a friend who relied on a makeover, the transformation of the outside to force the inside to follow suit.

I am none of those, or maybe a little of each depending on what I’m trying to end. That’s really tricky, you see. Starting right means ending something else right too.

In my case, starting right is about finding the strength to accept what had to end. It may be a friendship that’s toxic, a commitment that’s draining or a version of me that is just nothing but miserable.

The courage that you get to move forward is a consequence of that choice to be at ease and to understand what cannot be changed.

Video

CARRY ME by Josh Wilson

For those with anxious hearts, this might help you relax and put your faith in something bigger than yourself.

CARRY ME by Josh Wilson

I try to catch my breath
It hasn’t happened yet
I’m wide awake in the middle of the night scared to death
So I prayed God, would You make this stop
Father please hold on to me, You’re all I’ve got

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I‘m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Jesus calm my heart
Come near me please
Lord don’t let these worries get the best of me
Oh I believe, that You’re still here with me
Cause You meant what You said when You said You’d never leave

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me
God carry me
Carry me
God carry me

I’m at the end of myself
I know I’ve got nothing left
Feels like I’m stuck in the valley of the shadow of death
And I’ve been down here so long
I just can’t find my way out
Oh God I don’t stand a chance
Unless You carry me now
God carry me now

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now

What would YOU have done?

‘What would you have done?’ (The Reader)

It’s one line but it had the power to haunt me for weeks since I first watched that movie. Had the role been reversed, would the judge have done differently as Hanna did? Would he have had the courage to stand up against Nazi Germany and let those prisoners go? Would a heroic act in a time great of peril have made a difference?

What would I have done?

Would I, like Hanna, have followed orders or would I, knowing far too well my resistance to conformity, have opened the doors of the Church and stopped those Jews from burning to death? Sitting here, in the comfort of an air conditioned room, secure from the mayhem of war, I know I’ll open those doors. But what if I was there, with an invisible gun to my head, and a promise that a million more guards are doing the same as me, would I have chosen differently? Maybe not, but one can never say for sure.Only in the toughest moments in our lives do we find what who we are and we can and cannot do.

I am, and you too are, not in the position judge.

It’s not the ability to make a decision that I took from that movie. I know who I am and I know the principles I will never negotiate for. I am not saying that what Hanna did was right, that those lives lost don’t mean a thing, that justice was not served. I too mourn the lives lost in wars that should have never been fought. But those words, her sentiment, opened my eyes to the possibility that even the most atrocious actions are never one plane.

Often we are blinded by the good and the truth that we forget not everyone gets to see it, that maybe there’s another version of the truth or the good that they see but we don’t. Be stern on what’s right, what’s moral and what’s good but be human and open. Understand that decisions and choices are never as easy as black and white.

Ask yourself. What would you have done?

readerposterabc

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Blogger’s Note:

  • If you’d like to watch the movie, below is the link for the movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrq9oTudlcM

  • Published before the movie is a book by Bernhard Schlink with the same title. It was published in Germany in 1995.
  • Hanna, is one of the main characters, who is on trial after the release of a book one of the prisoners wrote after she survived the torture of a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Hanna was named one of the guards who chose prisoners to be put to death next in that camp. She too admitted to not opening the doors of a Church the prisoners were sleeping in when it burnt down. During her trial the judge asked her why she did such a heinous thing. To which she replied, ‘What would you have done?’
  • I watched again it last night so all the feelings and thoughts I had then, I had again.

the power (or curse) of anonymity

@thenerdhub

@pilyongBrentTzu

@livelaughred

@lasswhoreads

@FantasticThread

@callmetolay

More than half of my Twitter community aren’t using their real names. A good amount of my Facebook friends aren’t who they say they are. Most of my followers on this blog I have not met nor had a conversation with (but I’m thankful for each one, really). In the age where we live half our lives on virtual media, we ought to understand why people act a certain way online and act different off it.

Context changes a lot how people interact with each other. The cloak of anonymity and the lesser possibility of physical confrontation emboldens a person to pursue actions which he might not normally consider doing during face to face interactions. The premise is similar to the rush of courage we feel to go topless on a beach in Ibiza while we refuse to do same thing on the beach in our neighborhood.

It feels as if we have lesser responsibility towards our actions when people who care are not aware we are doing it or people who see us doing it don’t care about us at all. 

On the downside, more and more netizens are becoming unaware and uncaring of what they thwart about online. They believe it’s legitimate because it’s an expression of their freedom but ask them if they’ll do the same, use the same words, curse and not care when they are in front of the person they’re addressing it to. Chances are more than half of them will retract their words or would not show at all.

Granted we have the right to say what we want, when we want, the way we wanna deliver it but with that right comes the responsibility of standing by it, defending it and being quoted for it. If you have the nerve to call someone names and walk all over them, have the nerve to be called out and have someone trash you too. That’s how freedom of expression works, on and off the net.

It’s not all bad though. I finally found the guts to write again, anonymously at first. I was afraid, you see, to be judged and not be good enough or as good as most people thought I was. Slowly, my confidence grew until one day I realized I was typing in my name at the end of my work again. Had I not written anonymously at first I don’t think I’ll be able to take the pressure. I wouldn’t have posted my work at all. I know this rings true to many other people.

For some anonymity is like training wheels, they come off when we’re ready to ride on our own. For others they keep the art or thought pure, free of the bias others might have against or for the writer or artist. Still others find it important to maintain a mystery, an image. I am in no position to judge any of them for I too was once there and every now and then I revisit the perks of namelessness.

I guess the bottom line is you get to decide what role anonymity plays in your life. Will it be the hero that pushes you to higher grounds or the villain that drags you down? You have to make that choice because nobody else can dictate who you can be, whether it’s on social media or in real life. Just remember accountability is not mutually exclusive to people who have names plastered on their opinions. Remember, what you say about others says more about you than it does about them. 

Do everything as if it has your brand on it because it matters less that people know, what truly matters is that YOU KNOW.