Category: Gratitude Pie slice

Day 1: Be the guardian of your own solitude

I tell you that I have a long way to go before I am—where one begins….

You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Resolve to be always beginning—to be a beginner!


Reusing Rilke.  His words always seem to resonate with me. Just can’t get enough of using his letters to a young poet.  The last time I used his words concerning being patient with things unsolved in my heart was when I was mind blown by India and being overstimulated in Mumbai.  A maximum city can do that.  Who knew a broken heart would send his words tumbling down the rabbit hole on to the plaster that would bandage the cracks of the organ I didn’t guard.



I know it will take time to mourn and heal, and today is Day 1 even if it really isn’t.  I bike to  and from school these days to change my morning routine.  Twenty more days to break an old habit and start a brand new one.  Recovery is expensive and is a pain in the butt.

Rehab. It's not about the bike

Rehab. It’s not about the bike

I am looking forward to my future self  thanking  me for doing this.  That’s the next step. Right now, my present self is really sorry. Sorry to my cracked and beaten heart.

Anyway, two things made me smile today though, Bishop’s villanelle and a song Yason sent me “Since I Left You” by The Avalanches.   Here they are and here goes…

One Art

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn’t hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.



Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art” from The Complete Poems 1926-1979. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel. Reprinted with the permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC.
Source: The Complete Poems 1926-1979 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983)

grateful slice:  making a hard decision and sticking to it

Word for the Year 2012

time for cool change*

Sonnets to Orpheus**
Part Two

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Want the change. Be inspired by the flame
where everything shines as it disappears.
The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much
as the curve of the body as it turns away.

What locks itself in sameness has congealed.
Is it safer to be gray and numb?
What turns hard becomes rigid
and is easily shattered.

Pour yourself like a fountain.
Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking
finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins.

Every happiness is the child of separation
it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel,
dares you to become the wind.

Last year’s word evolved, as usual.  From Focus, it turned to Surrender mid year. This made total sense in the grand scheme of things and in the end, I needed them both.  Evolution is cool.  I am all open for things changing into stuff way more awesome than what I could ever picture in my mind.   This flexibility is timely too because I can bet a kidney that 2012 will bring many new places to visit, things to experience, big changes, a lot of learning and awesome adventures with amazing people. 🙂

So my  2012 Word for the Year is …


Enough said.

As much as I want to relish the peace and quiet Dec 31, 2011 has brought me, I can’t wait for extraordinary 2012 to roll in.

Wohoo!  I am so excited I am about to spontaneously combust.

Happy New Year!

What’s your word for the year?

grateful slice:  discovery and new beginnings

*wall art singapore subway

**[in In Praise of Mortality: Selections from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, trans. and ed. by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, p. 117]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Breakfast (catch up)

Two weeks ago, I got to eat this wonderful meal here, with my good friend, C.  In a line, the future is so bright, I have to wear shades.

Oh, what a beautiful morning

Let's eat to that

Thanks, G. For all the opportunities. Good friends who welcome us into their homes (with hardly a notice).

C's breakfast view

And this, a view of a booming city and many more breakfasts of champions.

grateful slice:  good friends and the future

One Big Ball of Svelteness

A thousand times over, thank you

Just when I thought  things couldn’t get any better — they do!  First this. is back from its Argentinian sabbatical.  Win.

And Litratula is BACK! : )

And then this.  Freshly pressed goodness!

I am once again so humbled by this gesture.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for featuring this post that’s so close to my heart.

And a thousand times over,  thank you everyone for your wonderful comments, subscriptions and for well, passing by.  Am totally stoked you guys did.  I am very grateful for this today.

Freshly Pressed Love

What a way to end another perfect day in Mumbai.  Maximum times.  Win!  Stay tuned! 🙂

grateful slice:  Wordpress, being freshly pressed, Litratula and perfect days

This one is for you, Kuya Bong

Gratitude Plants grow everywhere: Visiting RJ

Death is weird.  Inevitable, but also weird. I think this because it’s so damn random.  Cancer seems to be just as random and aggressive these days too.  Wth.

My oldest cousin (on my dad’s side), Kuya Bong, died today.  He was 47 years old.  After watching his 13 year-old son, RJ, die of cancer not too long ago, and then the more recent months of  him fighting his own cancer and complications, he passed away peacefully in Sloan Memorial Kettering Hospital.  He was surrounded by family and loved ones. I am thinking about Ate Malou, Simon and Daryll right now as well.  Even if they have shown nothing but unconditional love and unrelenting strength, my heart goes out to them.

Anyway, this one is for you, Kuya Bong.  Your kindness, laughter, and  generosity will be missed.  God speed.  Say hi to G, RJ, Inay and Tito B for me.

grateful slice:  release from the pain of illness

Top Ten Grateful Slices for 2010

Fresh picks of 2010

2010 did not disappoint.  It was truly a stellar year filled with love, hope, truth, friendship, laughter, humble pie and lessons learned.  I wish I could write down every single thing/moment I am grateful for but I managed to join the bandwagon with the play on the top ten grateful slices for 2010.  And here they are:

1.  My daily walk with G.  Without it, nothing else past number one would be possible.  So thanks for everything, G.

He made this possible (Dumaguete, Dec 2010)

2.  My spiritual family — for their support and guidance (includes S and G’s small group; the ladies from St. Lukes; Victory Fort community; S;  my co-teachers from Beacon, Training for Victory classmates, my sis)

Victory Weekend

3. Family and the opportunity to make peace with mom (she forgave me, just like that.)

Skagway - White Pass & Yukon Route Railway with my mom

Mom and I in Peter Paul (photo taken by Mon)

4.  My sister’s beautiful Manhattan wedding

Maqui and Mark at ease (Photo taken by Mon)

5. My winner, gold medalist friends (the girlz, the gayz, new friendz, and time&tested friendz too) You know who you are.  Thanks so much for making 2010 truly wonderful.  🙂 Win.  Will have posts on odes to these wonderful peeps very soon. Stay tuned.  #postaweek2011

6.  Traveling and all the people I get to go with and/or meet along the way

….around the Philippines  (Sagada, Caliraya, Laiya, Tali, Quezon, Dumaguete)


Sagada 2010 with the kids

Caliraya Sunset

TALI staples

Laiya Laugh Trip

Peter Paul, Candelaria with the family (Photo taken by Mon)Peter Paul, Candelaria (photo taken by Mon)

The jetty at Kookoo’s Nest, Dumaguete

…And of course, traveling  to conduct IBO workshops (Adelaide and KL).  I’ve been pretty lucky.  Next year, India. 🙂  Twice.  Thank you, G.  I am humbled by these opportunities.

Petronas Towers, KL Malaysia

Crowne Mutiara Kuala Lumpur Participants, Cat 2 Language A Workshop

Adelaide: My room with a view

Prince Albert College, Adelaide Participants, Cat 2 Language A Workshop

Loved the wine in Adelaide

Loved the food in KL

7. Buying my Nikon D90 and taking Basic Photography lessons at the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation.  Two of the best decisions in 2010.

Photography 101

8.  The kids in my life and getting to spend time with them:  Sabine, Mateo and Basti, My 8PG homeroom and Rune and Gray (Lapster’s kids)

Playing with the tripod, christmas 2010

Beautiful Girl

The boys are back in town

Hamming it up with Grade 8 PG. Win.

my godson, Gray (with @maimailim)

Rune like the wind

9.  Passing the Licensure Exam for Teachers.  This just told me that I am on the right track in terms of listening to His will.  Win!

10.  Rediscovering writing and being open to falling in love again: one led to the other, now they bleed into each other.

grateful feet (Kookoo's Nest, Dumaguete, 2010)

I am going to cheat a little and say that there’s really so much more to be grateful for.  There’s being in New York City twice in one  year, being in New York City taking pictures with my brother, actually, being in NYC with my whole family; MM’s and Lapid’s valuable mudakis/brotherly advice one fine day (after PTCs), yoga (and yoga with friends), running (and running with friends), grand gestures (decisive admirers and airplanes), kinilaw, anchovies, skype (being able to talk to Lauren or Itsy anytime and S almost every week even if she is already in Mumbai), girlfriends who listen and keep us real, films, Pixar, Starbucks Drive thru, blogging, twitter, MUJI, the IBO Middle Years Program, writing to special people in the other side of the world … gosh, the list goes on and on and on … I guess the point is, is to take a moment to take it all in.  Inhale.  Exhale.  My heart is overflowing right now.  Goodie, next year, it can be 11 awesome things for 2011.  Win.

What are your ten grateful slices for 2010?

grateful slice:  being grateful

Wall to Wall Carpet of My Dreams

Two years ago, I realized I had managed to make myself invisible.  I’d often glance at who I was and would find myself staring back at an elusive  ghostlike figure that would be there one minute, gone another. I was so focused on making my relationship work then, that I had forgotten what was important to me, what I desired, what made me passionate, what was inspiring, what was magical, what made me laugh, what made me healthy.  Often times I felt like an impostor, a pretender, a performer, a stranger; all those things but never myself. I remember thinking, it was probably better when I was angry. At least then I felt something. Stood for something.  When you’re angry you’re still fighting for a part of yourself, even if you are foaming in the mouth. At least, there’s a part of you that’s still palpable. But one fine day, two years ago, it hit me.  I was unrecognizable because I was invisible.  Into thin air, I had disappeared.

So, I decided to change, do and be many things to fix that.

One thing I did  was create this memory wall of simple achievements and love reminders.  I needed to somehow tell myself everyday  that I was so much more than this ghost.  That there were very cool things that made me, me.  That I still believed in my voice, was still passionate about life, love and was bigger than my despair.  And it had to be something in my face, and not just a red string around my finger or a post it on my mirror.  By Dec 25, 2010, this is what the wall looked like:

The Great Wall of 09 & 10

It was a pretty rudimentary move to help transcend a life of invisibility but slowly, and surely, I started to recognize myself again.  I re-discovered, learned,  unlearned and discovered new things.  It was peaks and valleys for awhile. I cried, laughed, laughed harder, felt pain, and mourned.  And boy did I mourn.  But through it, I recorded all the moments that reminded me that I was not blank or gone.  From words to images to stuff my students made, my blank wall was eventually filled with love and life and yes, hope.  I stuck photos, letters, postcards, race bibs, e-tickets, boarding passes, match books, merchandise stickers, art work, newspaper articles, itunes cards and more race bibs. I also  put G at the center of this vision drawing Tara and I did some week night in 09.  It was to signify my finally letting G back into my life.  And that decision was so much more than  my great wall of stuff.   I didn’t want to get in the way of His way anymore, so I put him right smack in the middle of everything and just let him lead me to the X that marked the spot.  By the end of 2010, since I had run out of space, I had to extend my wall to another …

Soon, I became flesh, rosy-cheeked and visible again.  Larger than life.   Happy.  At peace.  And here we are…at the beginning of 2011.

Last week, as the end of another year was slowly rolling in, I decided to take down everything that was up there.  I realized that I have been restored.  That I am a new creation.  That what I cherish, what I hold most dear is already embedded in my heart. That just as long as I fix my gaze on what and who matter, I will never, ever disappear again. Wall or no wall.  So I have dismantled the old, to make way for the new.    Here’s what my wall looks like now.  It’s up for a different purpose, it’s signifying something else.  A fresh start, the next step, the huge pond outside this small one…a reminder in my face. Where to, G?


The world is my oyster


grateful slice:  Being visible, the new year, big plans and moving on


Harvest Time

Alpha Omega et al

So here we are . And damn, I worked hard to get “here.” Even if I have been here for awhile now, teaching and learning and well, unlearning; it’s still nice to honor these moments.  They are part of who we are, what we believe in, what we love.  No matter how cheesy and cliche’ ridden the ceremonies are, it’s showing up and saying, “Hell, yes!” that counts in the end.  It’s humbling to know you got this far. Mind numbing to know you got here.  Those old fogies who kept on telling us that it’ll be alright…I thought about them today…because they were right.  No need to worry.

It’s also great to do it, the honoring and acknowledging,  with one of your good (hammy) friends.  It’s cool to just feel elated the entire day, overdressed with an orchid by your collar and need not explain the why too much.  It feels good to have at least one person totally get it, in the exact same way it is playing in your head.

The Lapster: he is happy inside.

The next thing on the agenda involves walking in faith and finishing the race.  So far, all systems go.  Even if I wigged and vacillated for a bit, it’s pretty clear what I won’t do.  Stay.  So, I have a year to fix stuff and decide where to go and what to do next.  Exciting times.  G, where to?

Reaping what you sow

grateful slice:  finishing something you started and making good, pleasing, perfect life plans with G