We are craftsmen

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What is your art? It amuses me to hear people say they don’t have any talent or that they’re not good in anything.

“Care of the Soul requires craft.

To live with a high degree of artfulness
means to attend to the small things
that keep the soul engaged in whatever we are doing
And it is the very heart of soul-making.”

Art, as language of the soul, nurtures the soul.
Thus it should be in our every day. 

“The fine arts are elevated and set apart from life,
becoming too precious and therefore irrelevant.
Having banished art to the museum,
we fail to give it a place in ordinary life.”

My art is in people. I like seeing them grow and I’m a believer of change and progress. Seeing through and being seen, that’s when I am most connected to the world, in my very sense of destiny. People when they bloom, for me is the most beautiful that art has ever known.

Art that is not contained in movement, in rhythm, in color, texture and shape, in emotions and still moments — what is your art?

This is what Hey Artist is all about. Focus on your craft, enrich your talent, nurture your soul, and work out your own salvation.

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Using my maiden name as a married woman in the Philippines

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In a few days I’ll be celebrating my first wedding anniversary, and until now I’m not ready to change my last name. For reasons that I keep to myself.

I hadn’t touched my government records until I gave birth last month, during which my husband had to get me officially admitted into the hospital, update my PhilHealth, file for the baby’s civil registration and whatnot.

He went through hell, to the point that he was cursing my decision and even asked me (again) to just keep it simple and hassle-free. My husband didn’t really agree at first, but eventually supported me. Until this super big inconvenience.

At the labor room, I was “threatened” by the nurse that I had to “follow the rules” otherwise I would not be admitted at the hospital (what, they will usher me out of the labor room?). She asked me why I wouldn’t use my husband’s surname, to which I said “I’m not ready.” She said, “Then why did you get married?” Seriously? Not only that, they said my baby will have to follow my name (even after providing a marriage certificate?).

So this other nurse was curious enough to look up the laws governing this matter, which I quoted in the letter that I needed to write to the Admitting Office. “Please allow me to exercise my right.”

Different people asked my husband if he’s alright with this. And what’s worst, they had to extract blood from my baby twice because they used the wrong surname for him, and lied to my face that the lab test had to be redone.

Not ranting, just hoping to raise awareness just a little bit.

Introduction to motherhood

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So many things I’ve been wanting to write since March 10, the day I gave birth to Alon. But the past month (can’t believe I’ve survived the past month!) has been extreme, probably the most extreme I’ve ever allowed myself to go through.

More extreme than my adventures with rebels and guns and soldiers; sexier and more bone-breaking than the heels I wore when I kissed and kicked some ass; more brutal and captivating than the mountains I trekked; more crushing and awakening than dangerous adult love; darker than the secrets that still haunt me sometimes; holier than anything else in this world. . .

Unconditional Love and Changing What You Can

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This is an oath and a way of releasing possible tension that prevents my body from going into labor yet. I’m not in a rush, I’m trying to contain my excitement.

It’s quite healthy to find yourself in between happiness and self-doubt, to assess whether what makes you happy or unhappy deserves any validation.

And from now on, I will stop blaming myself for a particular dissatisfaction and discontent that I’ve been feeling over the past few months. It’s unfair to take blame for wanting to raise the standards, and failing.

My oath goes… that I will love my baby no matter what. I will be there to support him, guide him. But I will also be there to tell him the hard truths and maybe pour ice-cold water over his head if he needs to wake up like that.

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Prayers big and small

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This overwhelming gratitude has been going on for months now, and my prayer for tonight is for God to remind me all the things that I’m grateful for; especially when things get shaky. It’s like a matter of fact now that things won’t always go well, yet I feel a deep sense of security that no matter what happens, I will always be loved and I will always be grateful.

It’s not the kind of youthful highs that I felt before. Those were extreme, and fleeting. This one is simple, basic, restful, and comes from a kind of knowing.

Let me try to put it in a coherent story (this one is for those who’s up for some reading)…

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Managing the household

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They don’t call it “managing the household” for nothing, right? And I’m talking about the more traditional setting where women run the house, set the budget, maintain orderliness, make sure everything is smooth and squeaky clean.

Now I don’t wanna talk about history, feminism, whatever. This is a purely based-on-observation narrative, of the men I met or heard about.

Seems to me that men need managing. “But my man is the CEO type already.” Then be the majority shareholder. He’s the skilled worker type, be the supervisor.

The household is only as good (and clean and orderly and harmonious) as its manager.

A difficult challenge in modern times.

I love the girl

Just looked back through all of my profile pictures on FB, back on photos as old as 8 years. I see a girl who wanted to be wanted, a girl who liked herself, and wanted to be liked by herself. She sought adventure in foreign lands, foreign relationships, and in nature. She had always been a child of nature, long before she even knew she was being called. She fell in love, with people, with life, with old churches, her best friend. She’s always wanted more from life, somehow she got addicted to the adrenaline of adventure and being in contact with the strange. She loved art, and learned how to express her beautiful soul. And then she tried to fit in, to belong, be accepted and loved by others. She projected an image of success, youth, potential, direction, passion, certainty, when deep inside she was torn apart, fighting for the faith that had been challenged forever. She grew wings for her own liberation, experimented, played with herself and with danger, not with caution but with an all-in defiance of reason. She had rocks, like her friends whom she keeps until now, and hope. Her everlasting hope that maybe God is there. She plunged into the dark headfirst, broke her wings. She thought it was for love, but yes it was. She broke her wings but not her soul. She found the pure. Pure loss and nothingness. She tried again.

And this is the final photo on her profile, which she doesn’t plan to change anytime soon.

Wedding inspiration, photography

Taken by Burtz of Blinkbox Photos

Color your hair, cover your ears

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I used to be known as the girl who changes hair color every week (not that I would dye it that often, but hair color has a way of transforming itself as you wash it everyday.) Whatever the hair color would be though, people will always have different opinions.

“Wow, that’s so nice! Can you color my hair too?” / “Hey, you changed the color again!”

And there’s the other half: “You look like the smurfs.” / “The last one was better.” / “Why don’t you color it purple instead?” “I don’t like dyeing because it makes the hair dry.”

Hair dyeing left me with a very important lesson — that people will always have something to say, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What matters is how you take them, or not take any of them.

What you can’t tradeoff 

It’s quite easy to lose track of things you’ve learned and accepted earlier, no matter how hard it was to arrive at such learning and acceptance. 

For weeks I’ve been at a constant battle between adjusting my reality and adjusting my mind in embracing it. 

Constant complaints and picking on little things do not seem healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. So I’ve been literally telling myself to either love this reality or shut up altogether. 

But now I’m starting to grow dependent on a drug that puts me to sleep, without horrible dreams that come in the wee hours; and if they come to wake me up, I’m robbed of the brief moment to react and be scared. And then sleep is mine again. 

This battle was first about urban and rural. Rural won. Manila and Cebu. Cebu won. Now it’s convenience or comfort.

Sometimes it’s about adaptability, practicality and a bit of sacrifice. And sometimes it’s about wellbeing. Is it really practical to trade peace of mind? Know the things you can’t live without and accept that there are things you can’t live with. 

Dent on wellness 

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“Now I know what to do when you have an episode. I’ll listen, hug you, tell you I’m never gonna leave you, and then we’ll cry together. 

Just remind me when it happens again.”

My boyfriend must have forgotten what episodes were like. I never really thought of giving it a name. Depression, borderline, bipolar. Didn’t matter as long as I’d get well, my way.

But what happened tonight lead me to helping Jason understand and really learn about it. This website was very helpful:

International Bipolar Foundation 
Consequently, I learned new stuff. Like maybe I’m incapable of making business decisions, that my dreams are too big, I’ll never get it right with money, I was manic when I steered our lives to this direction. 

Until now I can’t fathom the thought of taking meds or professional help. Maybe I will get by with a hug. Maybe not. Till the next episode. 

Thanks Trech.