Edits

Recently, I had edited a thesis and a report. It was arduous and fun. Arduous because I undermined the actual time it would take for me to ease into the role. And fun because I felt like I’m on a ride, on top of the words, picking “gems” – some I throw away because they were mere debris, cluttering the scene, while some I polish because they have potential.

There was frustration at first while looking at the mire, but simultaneously, in a strange, profound way, it made my heart flutter. I’ve discovered my love for words in high school, but only started writing after school. And now I’m editing! Education, for me, has only just begun.

Today is pivotal for me. Before, I felt it best for people to partake into my indecision – I let the world decide for me. But now I discovered I can make a solid decision for myself. It has been a pile of small choices which led me to this day. It’s freeing.

What I have learned from editing and proofreading someone’s work was meaning: It made me feel, or perhaps hope, that I’m adding a sliver of value to someone’s life through words, sometimes painfully omitting them, or peppering some in elusive crevices. It makes me think that improving ourselves and extending it to others, however small or subtle, is what makes up an art.

Seven days into it made me realize how much I assumed I know, what in fact I don’t, and how much I could do about it. My job in research made sense. Citation, indeed, is an art and it pays to know them well whenever necessary. I got to know APA better. That’s a bonus.

It also taught me how to be flexible, i.e., without relying heavily on computer. Doing most of the revisions on paper – slashes here, insertion there – allowed me to detect errors more easily. Despite the lack of space to insert words or phrases (line spacing was single), the limitation in itself helped me stretch out of my comfort zone. It could be messy but it’s interesting. And it’s human, too. I think I’m beginning to understand what connection means. It made me buy a blue pen.

 

 

 

Alignment

Do you have that internal rudder to be consistent with your actions? Eating eggs in the morning, for instance.

It’s your values calling unto you.

There’s a certain sense of satisfaction when we meet our values – the things we say we are. When we align our self-declarations with our actions, we earn ourselves peace, contentment, and pride.

In small, experimental steps, we build towards “something”. We don’t know exactly what that action could bring us, but we all agree that we’re doing something great and “right” for ourselves – may it be with a decision to be healthy or ship an idea or a project.

Alignment is not always easy. It’s even harder to align things that aren’t prepared to be aligned: We  might be oblivious that there’s something askew in our lives that needs fixing; or, if we’re aware but stuck, we choose to deny it and pacify ourselves instead.

To align ourselves then is to pause and re-calibrate. It is to ask ourselves what we truly want to focus on. It becomes critical because we only have one body and limited time. To know how we should best utilize our energy at a particular moment in our lives becomes pivotal.

It’s okay to want several things. If anything, we’re primed to be good or even great at a few. But only if we choose one now.

Should we choose, we must first extricate ourselves from perfect – the grandiose planning. I’ve tricked myself of the spot-on plan. In reality, it takes persistently putting yourself out there and making blunders. It’s making yourself experience a variety of imperfections to sift what’s really worth doing.

Being in sync with the beat of our drums takes intentionality and effort. To align ourselves with the yearning inside us is to begin aligning that desire with our actions.

Anytime, Anything

The thing is we can do it anytime. Genuinely busy or not. We can drop down literally everything and do whatever we want to, even in short bursts.

Time is a precious ally and we all have it. The difference lies, however, on how much we value or squander time. It’s easy to waste much of it on passivity. But it’s surprisingly easy to make it count, too.

We can take back now. Every time we choose to be intentional of what we do, of what we bring into our lives, we take back chunks of our humanity. Every time we become clear of what’s going to make us truly satisfied, we save ourselves from pocket holes, vices, and insanity.

In whatever sphere we are now, whatever hopes we dream for ourselves, we can start making our own map. We can break free from rationalizations, doubts, and fears. But only if we choose to.

We can do anything at any given moment, and relive those times where we are laser-beam- focused (i.e. mono-tasking) on something real and interesting. We can literally make something incredible out of scratch.

We can take it easy and begin: We can jot down ideas for a start-up, cook that nebulous recipe in our head, write that peculiar narrative, draw that charming character, or speak that strange language.

All it takes is that we discern and jettison those that don’t add value and focus on what does. We can make space and curate wonders which light us up and stir us forward – perhaps evolving in ways we’d never thought possible.

Bus

I met a girl on a bus. We were seated on the first seat facing the stairs. Glancing at her, I thought she was from Japan, but void of physical and linguistic evidence. I just insisted in my head: hmm… she ought to be Japanese.

She’s far from me; a child could literally fill the space between us. So, summoning a possibility for a chat, I asked her to move closer. She did.

I knew she was foreign – in all the good ways. She knew I was Filipino. Good guess. She’s been here for 10 months, and she’ll be filling up the  2 years to finish her Master’s. She taught me her country has three seasons. Their given names, I learned, are usually three characters. But two, I confirmed, is okay (I didn’t ask the case with their surnames, though).

She’s lean and bespectacled. Smiling and confident, I told her she must be living in quite a small country (Myanmar, I was reminded, is twice the land area of the Philippines).

I learned it’s best to ask questions. And genuinely put an effort to listen with full attention.

Our Oceans, Our Future

A poem for the ocean isn’t much. But I write what I know, what I can learn, and what I like for me and others to read. It’s a pleasure.

The words aren’t the best part, however. Though the words themselves have the power to influence, it is only the piercing one that matters – the few words that stick to you towards action, or even a small change.

Getting people to move requires we be the role model ourselves. People have to see and experience for themselves WHY a cause is so important. Consistency comes from nudging and vision. People have to be reminded of WHAT they’re fighting for.

And one of those we fight for is our oceans, our lungs that keep us all alive.

There are many ways we can contribute to our oceans, which goes beyond this list.

But here’s some:

1. Walk more. Commute less.
2. Ride a bicycle if you have one.
3. Know and share. It’s a big lesson for me because I only know but hesitate to share. To spread ideas, however, is for the world to identify with you and your thoughts.
4. Bring your own bag.
5. Invest on reusable items.
6. Eat more plants.
7. Dine in; a nice packed lunch can also do a lot of good if one has the time to cook.
8. Instead of printing, read online.
9. Be intentional of your purchases. Ask yourself if you really need it at least a dozen times. It works.
10. Be a conveyor.

Being internally consistent with what we want to contribute to our world and its recuperation, in general, doesn’t need much.

Re-examining the little things we do that interlace our daily routine, shifting a block here and there, and paying the good forward, make ripples. Changing one’s heart, I believe, is a huge step.

 

 

Best Time

The time is now – not tomorrow or the next month. Do it now. It’s a timeless advice that saves us from ourselves.

Sweat the hesitation, put it in a cage, seal it. You’re free. Do it now, with courage in your heart. You’ll never know how empowering it could get, unless you do.

The willingness to propel ourselves – now – is a choice, perhaps the best, we can always make.

Doubts

Goals can sometimes scare me. However, when I’m taking a few steps, I feel like my life is going somewhere. I have substance, the earth applauds.

Now, few days on it, the thrill is gone – I abandon it.

Why it is so easy to be determined at a gripping moment and a limp the next?

I sit for some time and think about this restlessness: I think about my big hopes which hover on towering dreams and fulfillment. Then it all zooms back to reality – I’m nowhere that far. Inches against light years.

My lizard brain knew it was right: “I told you, it ain’t gonna work.”

I thought I’ve built formidable patterns, a better nemesis against the lizard brain. But time and again it wins. I wonder how to rebuild a better strategy.

To nurse my ambiguous self-esteem, it helps to look for an “A-HA” advice from awesome people in the Internet. But it doesn’t help much when the lizard has better things to do.

So where do I outsource a constant inspiration and courage to sail with my fears?

I came up with an answer: beginning. When I begin to type these words, doubts slowly retreat. Even as the great uncertainty pulls me back, I literally feel knocking out one foe after another. Bodies pile up until I have conquered my own barriers.

We are our own nemesis: It takes identifying what bugs us, recognizing it, and confronting it head-on is the only way to subdue it.

So I begin. I write what makes me lethargic, yearning, confused. I write them all down, if not to resolve them but to appease myself.

Pausing is also magic. I ask myself what matters now. If it isn’t a race in the first place, then continuing in small steps must be the answer.

Peak energy is a do or die. I know that mornings is when I’m most alive. Dedication to that fountain of energy is our choice. Knowing one’s self and building a habit strategically is the key to consistency.

I must take breaks, too… in the form of motion. We change our physiology and we change our lives.

Last, building something concrete requires a deadline – this is my greatest loophole. Maybe shaving my head bald is a perfect consequence. Unless I make that project come to life, then bald I will be in no time.

To upend one’s doubts is to start.