Thursday, January 20, 2011

Closing Cycles by Paulo Coelho

Thanks Je for sending this. This is such a good read. Hit me right smack in the face.

Closing Cycles by Paulo Coelho

(Best-selling writer of "The Alchemist" )

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through.

Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?

You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that.

But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot forever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.

Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it maybe!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.

Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the ideal moment. Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person. Nothing is irreplaceable. A habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I am Blessed

"It's difficult to walk backwards because our feet are meant to make us move forward.
Life is always better if we see what's ahead than look at what's left behind.
Forget bad past - bitterness, grudges, hatred, and pain. Move on. Forgive. Love. Smile. Pray."

I got this SMS from a sister in the community this morning, and I just couldn't help being amazed at how timely the message is.

Those who know everything that I am going through right now will agree that this message hits the spot. Many people nowadays have been telling me the same thing: Get rid of my bad past and move on. In their most loving way, they help me forgive myself, believe that everything happens for a reason, and get up from the slump that I am in. They help me realize that I am actually blessed, and indeed I am.

I am blessed to have an intact family that is not perfect but stands by me. I am blessed with love and support from friends who sincerely care for me and my future. I am blessed with talent to hone, work to improve, and personality to develop. I am blessed with great and unconditional love from my Father who will never abandon me at all costs. I am blessed.

With that, I am shattering my rearview mirror.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Perfect Setting

Last night was the community mass for the late Feast Alabang music minister Tita Minda. Along with other Feast Alabang servants, I rode a van en route to the far away land that is Quezon City, to honor one of God's faithful servants.

I was the last one to get on the already packed vehicle. After saying a few hi's and hello's, I hurriedly took the lone unfilled space beside a little girl and then braced myself for a long and unmemorable ride. Or so I thought. I didn't know that from this little girl, from such a small package, would come a great realization that I aptly needed.

Sitting beside the little girl was her mom. Without intention, I overheard their conversation. (The van was that packed.)

The mom said, "Start working on your assignment, so that, when we get there, you're all done." To which the little girl answered, "Ok, Mom." She then began opening her stuffed backpack.

After a few minutes, the little girl was still searching through what seemed like a bottomless pit of books, notebooks, pens, and school stuff, to the dismay of her mom, who was already waiting for her to begin.

"Aha! Found it!" The little girl has apparently found what she was looking for. Must be a gold coin or something, I thought.

"There it is." I saw in her hands a dark-colored rosary. "Now I can work. I have Jesus na." The rosary was the missing gold coin.

And then I realized just how great that statement was. The little girl, just about 8 or 9 years old, could not start doing her assignment without Jesus. It was absolute dependence. It was the great need for Jesus. It was the belief that she could not do or begin anything without having Him first.

Right at that moment, I realized that I have lost such dependence. Through all the things that I have been busy with recently and all the tasks that I had to finish, I have somehow relied only on my own strength. I have been too preoccupied with clearing my to-do list that I have forgotten the real source of my capabilities. I have failed to acknowledge Jesus' presence and His work in my hands. I have grown utterly self-dependent.

With that, I said a silent prayer of surrender. I asked Jesus to be the right hand for when I am writing, the fingers for when I am typing, the mind for when I am working, the body for when I get going. Without  Him I cannot do absolutely anything.

As the van neared our destination, I thanked God for letting me be where I was: a lone seat in a packed van beside a little girl with great faith. The setting was perfect.

(Photo source: