Drink from Life

Take a swig, then another and another.

But do not hurry, drink slowly

Let it linger, taste the sweet, notice the bitter and feel the bite.

Acknowledge how it flows down your throat and then to your body.

Be engulfed by its spirit, feel how it turns your world around.

Be here now. Savor every breath, every human experience.

Let today explain yesterday. Let tomorrow take care of tomorrow.

Take what you are given, give back as much as you can.

Drink life, enjoy it, experience it, be intoxicated by it. Know the low, appreciate the high.

Notice who you are drinking with

Every moment is important only if you live that moment.

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Off With Those Training Wheels

training_wheelsRecent experience reminded me that  the longer you keep the training wheels attached to a bicycle, the longer it takes for the learner to build the confidence to go without it. Sure they’re useful. They minimize the bumps and bruises. However, being too afraid of the  bumps and bruises could mean keeping the training wheels longer than necessary.The bumps and bruises help a lot in the learning process to you know. They teach us how to get up after a fall and hopefully learn how to balance better to avoid the painful fall. The experience too, should teach us that the pain of a fall is nothing compared to the joy of the ride.

This is true with bicycles as it is with life. As parents, leaders managers, and teachers, we sometimes fear letting go. As children, learners and wards we become too dependent for our own good. We all know those training wheels will have to go one day. It’s just that one day is not today. Remember the lesson. The longer you keep them, the longer it takes for you to face the challenges of life. Remember too that even the best cyclists crash and fall once in a while. My point is, the only way to avoid falling from a bike, is to never ride it. But do you really want that?

That Displacement Experiment

I’m reminded of a science experiment inspired by Archimedes’ eureka moment that we did durindisplacementg elementary school. It’s where we learned a couple of things. One; the amount of water displaced when an object of a particular size is submerged to it determines the volume of the object; two; two objects of similar volume cannot occupy the same space at the same time and third, no matter the weight difference; objects of similar size will occupy the same amount of space.

Now, I’m not good in Science, in fact I’m not even sure I remember this experiment all correctly. However, I am very sure that pretty much the same principle applies to life. That the things you do no matter how important or unimportant occupy a finite amount of space and that no two things of similar size no matter the weight difference can occupy the same space. So I’d say be careful what you put in your life.

I often hear people wanting to be more successful, wealthier or happier or simply wanting to be better but unable to do something about it. More often, this is because their life is full of stuff that do not contribute to the achievement of their goals. There are just no space available for them to place the things that will weigh more heavily in their personal pursuits. So we hear people say, I want to earn more, but won’t sacrifice being out of their comfort zone to try out new ways to earn. Some people ask me to help them become trainers like me. I would give them the tools but they can’t find  the time to use them. They are unwilling to remove some stuff in their lives that occupy the space where these tools could have been used. They can’t take the movie marathons out, they can’t replace their love story novels with books that are relevant to building their training skills. As a Toastmaster, I would hear people say, they want to become better communicators and leaders and Toastmasters looks like their ticket to getting there. They are however, unwilling to pay the price of being there in meetings and participating in the most productive way they can. After sometime, they would quit because Toastmasters is not helping them… No, they are not helping them.

I say look at the principle behind displacement. No two objects of similar size no matter what the weight can occupy the same space at the same time. One will have to be displaced. The question is, which one are you displacing?

Eureka?

The Same River Twice

They say that You can never step in the same river twice. This is because each time you step into a river, it is not the same river and you are not the same person. You bring change to the river and the river brings change to you even without trying. We live in an ever changing world. Those changes in the world bring about the dynamic changes in us.

I guess what matters most is not that we change or that we influence change in the world. What is important is the kind of change we bring to others and the change others bring to us. Do we bring positive change? Do we respond well to the changes around us? These are the more important questions that we must strive to answer in the affirmative

Luto

luto1Luto means cook or in the context of this post “cooked” and again in the context of this post has nothing to do with preparing a meal. Luto is how Filipinos describe a rigged contest, where the judges of a contest connived to make an undeserving party win. The accusations are not always without merits, then again they don’t always have merit. They are often results of disappointment due to a party’s failure to make it to the top despite remarkable efforts and are beaten by a seemingly inferior party.

Having been in the receiving end of such an accusation lead me to look into the nature of this issue. Is crying luto a stage of loss called denial? a way to save face? An absence of trust in the system or the people behind the system? A way to tell the people behind the system, “you are a bunch of cheats and this is one instance to prove that you in deed are.” It’s subjective, one party will say it’s luto, the accused will say it’s not. The people around will probably never hear the end of it. The issue will fade away until the next opportunity to cry luto. There are actually people who believe that Oscar Dela Hoya gave away the fight to Manny Pacquiao. There are actually people who believe that the judges cooked the result of a contest or raffling of  Christmas prizes in their  last Christmas party. A sad thing to have in a season of being good and giving.

It has been so prevalent in this society that a lot of people don’t take it seriously any more. I think however that this issue is serious because it is a subtle sign of a problematic relationship. If there is no cheating and people say that there is, it could mean that there is no trust. If there is in deed cheating, then it could mean that there is no respect. If there is neither trust nor respect, a relationship can’t last. The absence of trust or respect has its roots. Find it and then nip it.

Curtain Call

Back in college, I acted in stage plays. I had the opportunity to participate in one where our group was one of the winners of the First National Drama Competition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. We staged masks_bw“Ang Paglilitis ni Mang Serapio” (Serapio’s Trial), a one-act play about a beggar society where dreaming and hoping is a crime punishable with eye gouging. I played the main antagonist “Ang Unang Tagapagtanong” (the first prosecutor).

The winning came as a big surprise to most people who know that most of us are first time actors and our director was doing her job for the first time. While we competed with big universities with big stylized production sets and numbers, our set design was composed of sewn together sacks, old tires and our make-up were charcoals because our university would not support a bunch of greenhorns dreaming the impossible dream of winning against giants.

So what helped us win? The curtain call. Our director said the best thing right after the casting call was completed. She said the goal was the curtain call. It’s the time when the curtains are dropped and the actors are called to take a bow. She clarified the goal. She said our goal, each and everyone of us, from the main character to the bit player with the littlest thing to say is to get the audience up on their feet, each time one of us go out to take a bow, the clapping must go louder and louder until the auditorium almost explodes in the loud applause and shrieking of the audience so swept off their feet by our performance. We kept a vivid picture of that curtain call and we were giddy with excitement of the prospect of making it happen. Everyone played his heart out to contribute to the loud applause. Later on, audience would tell us there was tremendous energy in our play that they goose bumps. There was no bit player in our play and as I said I know why.

So what is your curtain call? What is the thing that drives you to your best performance today? Are you excited by it? does it drive you to do better everyday, every opportunity? I hope it does. I hope you are giddy with excitement of the prospect of achieving what you want to achieve when curtain call comes.

Of Snakes and Rats

The other day, I saw my maid kill a small nonvenomous snake. I wanted to rescue the snake but I was too late. It was dead when I got there. I asked her why she killed when it didn’t do anything to hurt anyone. She said “why not? It’s a snake! It’s scary and slithering and yucky! Why are you so protective of it?  I answered, “Well, how many rats do you think a snake can kill in its lifetime?” She said “I don’t know, how many?” “I don’t know either” i replied, but I know it must be plenty”. “Between snakes and rats I’ll choose rats anytime” The maid replied back. “Rats run away when they see me, I run away when I see snakes”. “Ya, if you don’t kill them first!” I retorted. “Besides, you don’t know what you are talking about, rats contaminate our food, they spread disease and damage our clothes and other properties and they are yuckier as well. Snakes don’t do that. Snake bites are overrated. Have you heard or know anyone killed by a snake bite in your lifetime? Probably none.” The maid now looks more confused asked “Do you mean to say that in order to lose the rats, we have to keep the snakes?” She was obviously not amused with the idea. She was still  trying to figure out which of the two is the lesser evil.

Life is like that, an almost endless chain of causes and effects.  Every choice have implications, either good, bad or both. We can’t make knee-jerk decisions without the danger of throwing out something bad out into the world. Sometimes in order to rid our lives of rats,  we have to keep the snakes, but the choices are not always like that, never the less we need to learn how to make wise decisions.