Pink clouds

I woke up feeling anxious. I had a nightmare. A red helicopter suddenly appeared and it went inside the house and almost crushed me. The pilot wanted to kill me.

I let myself calm down for a moment. Then, I went outside for my morning walk.

It was pretty windy. The ground was wet due to last night’s heavy rain, which even resulted to power interruption. It was just 5 am.

I picked a flower that had fallen from its tree. It was a white angel. I thought it’ll be my companion for today’s walk. But, I dropped it. I felt a bit disappointed yet I proceeded, my heart a bit heavy.

Then, I turned around. I turned around to go back home. I turned around and saw the clouds. They were pink. Not all of them but up there was a mixture of different shades of blue, a hint of yellow, and pink. It was a beautiful sight.

The clouds somehow brought me the peace that I needed. And right that moment, I became certain that Someone up there is really looking after me. He knew that I wasn’t feeling well. He knew that I needed comfort. He knew that my favorite color is and will always be pink.

Magnilay tayo.

Sa ating mga Pilipinong Katoliko, ngayon ang simula ng linggo kung saan nararapat magnilay-nilay ang bawat isa. Umpisa na ng Semana Santa. Simula na ng pagpepenetensya, pagsisisi sa ating mga kasalanan, pag-alala sa ginawang pagsasakripisyo ni Jesus, at panibagong pagbabago.

Hindi naman natin kailangang saktan ang ating mga sarili upang makiisa sa paghihirap ng Panginoon para iligtas tayo sa ating mga kasalanan. Ang kailangan nating gawin ay ang tanggapin na tayo’y makasalanan, malaman ang mga pagkakamali natin, at gumawa ng paraan upang tayo ay maging mas mabubuting anak ng Diyos.

Paano ba tayo makakapagnilay-nilay? Para sa akin, kailangan natin ng reflection, meditation, at fasting.

  • Reflect

Maaari tayong sumali sa mga retreat o recollection para makapag-reflect. Pwede din naman nating gawin ito kahit saang lugar na tahimik gaya sa loob ng mga kwarto natin.

Mag-reflect tayo sa mga sarili nating pagkatao. Maging aware sa mga kasalanang nagawa sa atin. Alalahanin nating hindi naman tayo perpekto. Ihingi natin ng tawad ang mga pagkakasala natin. Maging aware din tayo sa mga mali sa atin. Tanungin natin ang mga sarili natin…

Mabuti ba ang pakikitungo ko sa mga tao? Kailan ba ako huling nagalit? Bakit ako nagalit? Nakakasakit ba ako ng ibang tao? Pini-please ko ba ang Panginoon o ang sarili ko o ang ibang tao? Nakakagawa ba ako ng mga bagay ng nakakapagpasaya sa Diyos? Nagagawa ko ba ang mga tungkulin ko sa Kaniya at para sa Kaniya?

Humingi tayo ng tawad at magpatawad na rin tayo. Patawarin na natin ang mga taong nagkasala sa atin, humingi man sila o hindi ng tawad.

  • Meditate

Maglaan tayo ng labing lima hanggang tatlumpung minuto para kausapin nang taimtim ang Panginoon. Sa katunayan, hindi naman natin kailangang magsalita e. Bigyan lang natin ng oras ang Panginoon. Umalis tayo sa mundo natin na napakagulo, napaka-busy, huminto tayo at tsaka tayo magdasal.

Mag-meditate tayo upang mapabuti natin ang relasyon natin sa Panginoon at ma-improve ang ating spiritual heath.

  • Fast

Marami pa rin sa ating mga Katoliko ang nagfa-fasting, hindi kumakain ng karne tuwing Semana Santo lalo na sa Huwebes Santo, Biyernes Santo, at Sabado de Gloria. Marami pa namang ibang paraan para mag-fasting.

Bakit ba tayo nagfa-fast? Para magsakripisyo ng ilang araw upang i-acknowledge ang ginawang sakripisyo ni Jesus para sa atin. Pero kung iisipin natin ano pa bang ibang nagagawang mabuti ng hindi pagkain ng karne? Ito ‘yong mga naiisip kong pwede pa nating gawing pagfa-fasting:

  1. Bawasan ang oras online. Gamitin ang oras na ibabawas para mag-reflect at mag-meditate.
  2. Huwag magalit, magtaas ng boses, magkunot ng noo, magtaas ng kilay, magsabi ng hindi magandang salita. Huwag magmura.
  3. Huwag uminom ng alak. Huwag manigarilyo. Huwag kumain ng junk food.

Marami pa ‘yan. Depende na lang ‘yong mga idadag natin sa klase ng buhay mayroon tayo. Halimbawa, kung isa kang workaholic, bawasan mo ang oras ng pagtatrabaho mo.

Maganda rin kung ngayong Semana Santo, magsimba tayo, mangumpisal sa pari, mag-Station of the Cross, at magbisita sa iba’t ibang simbahan o mag-Visita Iglesia.

Ang Semana Santa, dapat hindi maging tanging panahon para tayo magnilay-nilay, para natin alamin at pagsisihan ang mga kasalanan natin, at para lumapit tayo sa Panginoon. Ang Semana Santa sana’y bigyan tayo ng inspirasyon para magsimulang magbago, mag-improve, maging mas mabuting tao para sa Diyos, para sa kapwa natin at maging sa ating mga sarili.

Mapayapang Semana Santa sa ating lahat! God bless!

Psalm 23

One of the most popular chapter in the Bible is Psalm 23. It was written by the shepherd turned king, David, who bravely defeated Goliath. Psalm 23 is also one of my favorite chapter in the Holy Book. I find the words calming, especially when I’m distressed.

The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need.

The Lord, like a shepherd to a herd of sheep, looks after us and attends to our needs. Without our shepherd, we’re nothing but a confuse, hungry, thirsty, and scared herd of sheep. When we get lost, the Lord looks for us; he doesn’t stop looking for us and waiting for us to come back to him.

He lets me rest in fields of green grass. And leads me to the quiet pools of fresh water.

The Lord knows our needs; he knows when we’re already tired or when we’re thirsty. He knows that we’ve been working our best each day and that we deserve a break. God gave us not just fields of green grasses and flowers, he gave us a beautiful world filled with his amazing creations on where we could lie down, roll down, and live. He not only gave us a pool of fresh water, but he also gave us seas and seemingly never-ending oceans.

He gives me new strength.

Every morning, God gave us new strength to go through the entire day. He gives us the strength to do our duties, to serve him, and to take care of his creations including ourselves.

He guides me in the right paths as he has promised.

Our shepherd leads us to the right paths. Even though some of us disobey him and try to go our own ways, he never stops chasing us and leading us back to the path we meant to cross. We need to put our trust in him. He knows what’s best for us so whatever he allows to happen in each of our lives has purposes.

Even if I walk through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, O Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.

No one else can give us the protection that’s so great. The Lord looks after us, although it’s not what it seems to be at times. He allows us to pass dark alleys, I believe, to help us strengthen our faith in him. So, if you’re going through some tough times right now, don’t forget to pray. Whatever happens, God got you.

You prepared a banquet for me where all my enemies can see me. You welcomed me as an honored guest and filled my cup to the brim.

For everyone who follows him, God gives nothing but the best. He will not deprive us of the things we deserve. If he isn’t giving you what you’ve been asking yet, don’t lose your patience. God loves surprising us in the best ways.

I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life. And your house will be my home as long as I live.

God’s love is the greatest. God’s love is the reason why we’re here. God’s love is what should always make us feel grateful, faithful, and hopeful. When everything else is gone, God’s love remains.

And because God loves all of us, he’s kind to us. He gives us our needs, he looks after us, he guides us, he protects us, he answers our prayers, and he’ll never ever abandon us.

All we have to do is trust in him. Let’s be faithful to God and surely, he’ll reward us with things so unimaginably awesome. ❤

Stressed or Anxious? (Part 1)

Ever since I’d begun this blog, I am hesitant in writing about this topic for the simple reason that while talking about it, I may feel it. Stress and anxiety were two of the not good things in life. Just the word anxiety makes me anxious tbh so let’s see how far I’ll go with this post. I’m hoping that it could be helpful still. Alright…

Since I’m scared of the word “anxiety”, I referred to myself as so stressed whenever I feel anxious. It’s almost the same anyway. Stress is one of the causes of anxiety. When you over think, you get stressed. When you get too stressed, you get anxious. Over thinking, I personally believe, is the main cause of anxiety. Other causes include physical condition, tension (which may also be caused by stress), fearful incidents, and genetics.

Anxiety can be felt mentally, physically, and both. When thoughts come in and in and in, and you feel like you’re losing control over them, that’s anxiety. When your heart’s palpitating with no reason and you feel an unexplainable tension, pain, or any physical sensation, that may also be anxiety. It’s different for everyone. But if you experience it, hey, you’re not alone. Also, don’t worry too much. There are ways on how you can cope with it. You’ll be well. Every episode shall pass.

I’m also hesitant to share this post because I worry that someone I personally know may read it and then, worry about me. Please don’t.

Anxiety, just like other illnesses, can be prevented through the following. A disclaimer though, I’m not an expert; these information were based from my experiences and the things I read.

  • Meditation

Meditation is a form of mind training. Its main purpose is to bring us back to the “now”. It trains the mind to focus in the moment and cut the train of thoughts that do not help us. The concept of meditation is not ignoring thoughts (no matter absurd); it’s about trying not to judge them so that we’ll be able to control them and not the other way around.

I used the mobile application “Calm” to meditate every night. This is basically how you meditate: (1) find a quiet place to sit down, (2) close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply in and out, (3) put all your focus on the flow of your breathing, (4) breathe normally and concentrate on your breathing for 5-10 minutes, (5) bring your focus back in the room you’re in, then (6) gently open your eyes.

  • Gratitude

Anxiety roots from negative thinking and so, to combat it, you need to be positive. I like another mobile app, “Bliss“. It’s an app that allows you to appreciate what you have to increase your happiness and improve the quality of your life. Another disclaimer, I’m not paid by any of these applications. I find them helpful so I’m sharing them with you.

Bliss has many options. You can list three things you’re thankful about daily or just write in a paragraph form the things and people you’re grateful about. You may also re-imagine a not so good situation and turn it into good. Each activity could really help us remove our focus on the things that are not working out, in our lives as well as our daily worries.

  • Rest

So simple yet not all of us does it. I’ve read that we experience anxiety episodes when our bodies were trying to tell us something. My body told me on the last day of 2015 that my blood glucose level is high through an anxiety episode. It’s not always that extreme though. Most of the time, we get anxious because our body needed rest.

We should acknowledge that we also have limitations. A machine will malfunction if used beyond its capability and so will a human body. When you’re tired, rest. You won’t stop, you will just take a break. You don’t have to sleep, you could just take a nap.

  • Pamper Yourself

Each of us needed relaxation. Each of us deserves pampering. Not all of us has the means to go to spas or massage therapists I know. But we definitely can still relax.

Here’s what I do when I pamper myself: (1) clean my nails and paint them, (2) light scented candles [strawberry and grapes] and massage my head, (3) put on face mask, (4) exfoliate my skin with milk salt, and sometimes (5) listen to ASMR through YouTube.

  • Express Yourself

Don’t hold onto your emotions and thoughts. Release them through different mediums. You could write them in your diary, blog about them, or talk to your friends or family about them. You could also indirectly release your stressors through drawing, painting, baking, singing, or any activity that works best for you.

Let it go! Let it go! Don’t hold it back anymore. (Let It Go from Frozen)

  • Yoga

Anyone can do yoga. Everyone should do yoga. Yoga is not only a great physical activity that can help us tone our body, it is also a form of mental training and relaxation. Yoga includes different poses; each focusing on one or more organs of our bodies. It also includes different breathing techniques that could help relieve stress and anxiety.

I do yoga with the help of the mobile apps “Yoga Monkey” and “Sworkit“, and  “Yoga with Adriene”  on YouTube.

  • Workout

There are different workouts that help us become fitter. Aside from their benefits for our body, it also has positive benefits for our thoughts and emotions. Working out may help us clear our mind and whenever we work out, we release endorphins (also referred as “happy hormones”).

I know we tend to be really busy with our daily lives and sometimes we no longer have the energy to workout after a day of work. We can always start small like 5 minutes of warm-up cardio before we head onto the shower every morning. The app “Sworkit” helped me plan my workout routines for every week.

  • Seek God

To me, knowing that there’s someone out there gives me hope and security. I trust that He will always save me from my troubles. I read Bible daily and other devotional books. I also pray all the time.

That’s all for this part. On part 2, I’ll share with you the things we can do when we’re having our visitors.

I want to end this post with my current favorite quote.

*Hey guys, if you are going to comment, please be very careful as I am pretty sensitive. I’d like to be of help by sharing to you the knowledge that I have acquired. For now, that’s all the help I could offer.