Looking alone-ness straight in the eye

I accompanied my friend and her daughter to the park this evening. While they were at the rides, I walked to the other side of the park to jog.

It’s a Sunday night and the park was full. Everywhere you look, people are in groups or in pairs: families hanging out, kids running around, lovers occupying the benches, friends jogging and taking photos. Once in a while, you come across people walking or jogging alone.

At that moment, I was one of them but I didn’t care. I had my phone, my earphones. I jogged and walked until I got tired. I did get amused with the lights at the park and people watching while listening to dance music. These days were supposed to be busy ones for me. My old self would have been spinning from one task to another, wanting to get as much done within a short span of time. But that was me yesterday. Now, I can drop everything for a while and grab moments such as this just to have fun. And quietly, I prayed “Thank you,” for this moment and many others when I have finally learned to take care of myself.

I only became conscious that I was alone while I was waiting for my friend and her daughter. I roamed aimlessly for several minutes … well, not completely aimless since I was really looking for something to eat. But as I did, a strange feeling of alone-ness began cropping up. It was one of those very rare times when it scared me.

Anyway, I kept walking and decided to let myself feel that feeling for a while. And as I did, it began to melt away. And for some strange reason, I was more aware of what was going on around me and appreciative of everything. While buying mango from a lady at the park, I noticed how young she was and she was pregnant. She opened a can full of bills while she looked for coins for my change. Silently, I wished her well and admired that she seemed to be working hard for her family.

I sat by the fountain, happily chewing that mango I’ve been craving for for the past, uhm, several days. (And no, I’m not pregnant.) I watched a man who looked like he was in his 40s as he played with this colorful toy with a little bulb on top, which you shoot up above you and you watch it glide back to the ground. I had that toy too and wished I had brought it! The winds blew quite strong at times, and the toy would land far from its owner. And a few times, too, the winds sprayed water from the fountain to those of us standing or sitting near it. Some bystanders shrieked then just laughed.

My friend then called and I walked to meet them. We went home and had dinner.

After not posting for some time, I suddenly found the urge to write about tonight. Because I was truly grateful for those moments, for the companionship, for the capacity to face alone-ness and not run away from it. And the grace to see whatever blessings are already right in front of me. Here and now, it’s always full of surprises, and living in it lets you see something special and make this moment count. And it didn’t matter if people thought my life was incomplete. I had everything I needed. I got the life I asked for. And for now, I would not have it any other way.

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“The Obstacle is the Path” – Zen Proverb

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One day, my friend lent me a book about managing finances and growing your wealth. Instead of feeling inspired, I felt discouraged. Because I felt like I could not relate to the stories of people who come from well-to-do families, pursued their love for social development, and became successful entrepreneurs too.

Thoughts, mostly negative, kept running through my head. These are wealthy people becoming wealthier. But what about those who come from humble beginnings? Those who have to help their family pay the bills? Those who once found themselves in the same financial hole I’m in? Those torn between having to make a living and pursuing their passion? Those who could barely save enough?

So I texted my friend that in order to feel inspired, I need stories of people who’s backgrounds were closer to mine.

This happened several months ago. Up until now, I am still coming across stories of successful people I could relate with. People who had very little money, but had big dreams and brave and resilient spirits.

Here are some of them:

I have two favorite lines from the articles/videos above:

“And at the end of my day with Mr. Earl he told me that his success happened not in spite of, but because of, his disability.” – The Story of Earl Crawley

“.. and you know what I found? The only difference between the superstars making millions a year and the persons merely getting by, only difference …. It’s how long they feel sorry about themselves once they get hit.” – Barbara Corcoran on the Secret to Handling Rejection

Who says it takes money to live your dreams?

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Unexpected expenses – at home and for our MA subject project – cut off (more like gobbled up) a significant chunk of my limited budget. There were several things I was grateful for, though.

  • That I had kept an emergency fund. It was not enough to cover the expenses, but it was a BIG help. Since I already had some funds tucked in somewhere, I only had to add several hundred bucks to be able to pay the actual expense.
  • That I now believe you can be happy without spending a lot.

Your financial goals may be clear to you, but that doesn’t mean that habits that make you lose money will not creep in anymore. On those days when you just feel frustrated, you just want to spend for this and that, because it will make you feel better. On such days, when you keep yourself from buying something, you start pitying yourself, and you begin to tell yourself: What financial freedom? I want to be happy now!! Etc. You get the picture.

So lately, I’ve been telling myself: I will be happy without ruining my budget. I think when you just ask the Universe for what you really want, and take steps in that direction, it will really be given to you.

A week ago, a friend called to ask if I wanted extra tickets to Ateneo Blue Symphony’s concert, Lean on Me. It was a benefit concert for the Philippine Red Cross’ relief efforts. The concert also featured the Ateneo College Glee Club and the Ateneo Grade School Choir. So I went and I REALLY enjoyed the show.

Then, that same day, my friend told me she has a ticket to Untold, the anniversary concert of CADs (Company of Ateneo Dancers). Of course, I asked if there was still an extra ticket. And on the day of the concert, she told me she wasn’t sure she could get one for me. So I just said, “If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.” I was already telling myself I’d jog if I don’t get a ticket. One way or another, I’ll have a fun and relaxing Friday night. In the afternoon, she called up and said she was able to get one for me. 😀 And I just loved the concert. They were not merely dancing. Each performance was telling a story. Most make you laugh, some make you teary eyed. I just really, really loved it.

So two other things I am grateful for are these:

  • Having friends who share their blessings with you. I hope I can do the same for them. 🙂
  • Both concerts reminded me of my dream to play music and learn how to dance. If these college students can find the time to pursue their passion, I can, too. So I asked myself, “What’s my excuse? What’s holding me back?” I guess it’s time to pick up that guitar, take that violin lesson. And maybe, it’s time to simply dance.

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