Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: Grateful for a year of personal gains

Photo credit: Gratitude: Daily Vitamin C 
If my 2013 was about fitness, my 2014 an introduction to Cultural Intelligence, then my 2015 was a year of wonderful personal gains. However, (my family and) I also suffered a significant loss so how can I daresay that this year was all gains? In 2015, I was finally able to go back to school to continue my Masters. A goal that I have waited 14 years to re-start after emigration. Coincidentally, this was also the year that I have been naturalized as an American citizen. Other gifts for which I am grateful: securing Les Mills fitness format certifications*; expanding my friends circle; and albeit brief, the opportunity to spend time with my mom and my family in Los Angeles. This year, I also found an opportunity to impact a few animal welfare causes in the Philippines. Truly, it was a very good year. *finding time to teach fitness is a different story... In the Summer, though, I have been dealt with a heartbreaking loss -- that of my stepfather.  While my biological father was around most of the time as I was growing up, my stepfather really took on the role with genuine concern and fatherly love (I personally believe that dedicated, loving stepfathers do not get the credit they deserve and that should change.) While this loss was painful, I have gained invaluable collective learning out of this tragedy. This learning now sets me up for dealing with the new year and onward. I would like to share it with you: 

1. The loss made me internalize how really brief life is, and to genuinely appreciate the time we have on earth. To stay away even more from the trivial and mundane; to consider carefully how we choose to spend our time. If an activity does not add value to my life, why should I bother doing it?

2. I appreciate now, more than ever, the true importance of taking care of ourselves — of our health — not just for us but for those who value us. We all have others who think the world of us; those who want us to be around.
3. To really appreciate our parents while they are still around. And I don’t mean appreciate just through constant contact, but more importantly (at least to me), in the consideration we give to them when we make immediate and long term plans. Are they part of it? Or our plans always just about us?
4. I also have a stronger appreciation for a few select College friends, who went to the wake to personally extend sympathies to my mother and sister, even when I wasn't there. To think that we have not seen each other in years. It is really never about the quantity, but the quality. True friends are rare and they are absolutely a blessing. 

So, in the end, even this loss has become a personal gain.
On this start of the new year, I look back with absolute gratitude on 2015, and look forward with a sense of optimism and courage, for all that is to come. May we all have a wonderful 2016!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Today, I Become an American Citizen

TODAY is bittersweet for me.

I take my oath as a full fledged American citizen.
I swear to protect this country that has been my home for over a decade.
A country that is truly good to me and all its citizens.  A country that truly cares for its people -- exists for its people, governed by its people, and created by its people. A country that generates much admiration and draws criticism at the same time. After all, "no one ever kicks a dead dog" per Dale Carnegie (unless you are sick in the head!).

However,  I will never forget my roots -- my Filipino citizenship
.  I will always be involved and concerned with the state of affairs in the Philippines, its people -- my people.  
I will be a dual citizen, so help me God.  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Introspection to Re-orient Yourself

Wallpaper image by  iqitutoriales-d4wtykx
If you have a personal Facebook account...Today, will you do what I just did after viewing photos of mine and those of my so-called Facebook friends?Take a step back and recognize where you are today in your life, who you are, and how you got there.How far have you come?Take a trip down memory lane and fast forward to NOW.  Isn't it amazing how you never knew, just those few or so many years ago, where you would be today?Are you happy? Happiness comes from contentment and acceptance. I hope these are what you find in your heart when you are done with this exercise. I wish you peace and love. xoxo

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Food for Thanksgiving Thought (and After)

The essence of America is diversity. 

We were all of different heritage who have come to this land and made greatness of it. Today, this diversity lives on. I hope that in your own celebration, in your moments of thankfulness, in your prayers of gratitude, that you reflect upon how rich our nation is, because of the cultural differences that make it so. May there be less intolerance. More open mindedness. More genuine inclusion. Happy Thanksgiving!

(posted originally on MFHA)