#Happy

HappySo August is here. Another month just rolled away and now we are officially on the tail end of the third quarter of 2019. How time has flown.

I try to start my Mondays on a positive note, no matter how busy or chaotic things shape up to be when I glance at my calendar. I’m not a runner but I liken it to what I would be doing if I were psyching myself up for a sprint or a jog. There’s that visual of brightness and energy.

I’ve come to rely on whatever resources I can find to put me on that positive track. While I haven’t meditated much of late, I know that it’s a helpful tool. I work on imbibing positive energy through external stimuli and my own workings. I visualize. I reach deep down inside me to pull the positivity to the surface. I find my “happy”.

Don’t you just love it when a thought or a memory brings you there? More so when there are days when you need those short bursts of “good” and “happy” — be it in the form of laughter, a smile or a snapshot in your mind. Those are the real moments that matter. Why else do we have photographs and souvenirs to remember things by. We want to bring ourselves back through the memories those pieces trigger.

It seems that life has gotten busier and busier as the years have gone by. It takes a more determined effort to carve out moments to bask in a bit of happy in your mind, but the truth of the matter is, those moments don’t always have to be all that grand or big.

Have you ever tried to search for #happy on Instagram or Twitter? On IG alone, there are 535 million posts tagged with that single word. So you should have inspiration aplenty with what makes others happy. You shouldn’t have such a difficult time finding a #happy worthy moment.

Just close your eyes, take a deep breath, muster a smile, and picture the word “happy” and see what comes to mind. Then let that vision linger for 5 or 10 or 15 or 20 seconds. If it’s a memory, let that clip roll in your mind and loop it if you want or just be there in the moment again.

Just be.

Don’t even go to how that feeling was from so long ago, or is of a different place and time, or is no longer real. It was when it happened and that is what you hang on to.

Stay with the happy. No if’s, no buts. Just be.

#ThingsToDoIn2016: This year’s list

16in2016 (2)I started something in 2015 which saw me going back and forth to a list I had written at the end of the year before.  It was a list of goals of things I wanted to accomplish — from the mundane and ordinary to first time things I wanted to do.  I did periodic updates and tried to be guided by that list, and while I didn’t quite get to successfully accomplish all of them, having the tasks served as a reminder of my focus for the year.  So here is this year’s list, partly taken from the previous year’s.

1.  Read six books. – Take two.  Right now I’m in the middle of reading the second book of what I had hoped would be six last year.  I have the month to finish that and hopefully get this done in 2016.  (#6BooksIn2016)

2. Plan my trip to Boston. – Boston has officially given me an invitation to visit and I am planning to do that, but hopefully when the temperatures ease up a bit.  While it has been a temperate winter, you never know how much snow is in the horizon and they get a ton of it on that side of the coast!

3. Learn something new via an actual class every quarter of 2016.  I’ve been hit with a slew of “I want to learn..” moments, and among these are (1) sewing, (2) proper pearl stringing, (3) proper knitting.  I have all these projects churning in my head and if I find the time, I know I can get to it.

4.  Watch at least 1 concert.  I will try to make this a less ambitious task by actually not specifying which one.  Maybe I will get to do it in 2016.

5.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) – After losing half the weight I gained over the holidays in the first week of 2016, I am inspired to think this is something I can definitely do better at this year.

6. Lose another 10 lbs at least by April this year.  (Lost over 20 in 2014 and maintained my weight in 2015.) – I have a few more to get to my pre-2015 holiday weight.  I think 10 before April should be reasonable, unless I go berserk again when I eat.

7. On positivity: Get the ball rolling on the Thank You Postcard Project – I must confess that the concept is there but I am a having a difficult time zeroing in on the mechanics.  So first quarter, figure that one out.  Q2 produce the postcards.  Q3 and Q4, roll out.

8.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again.  Hopefully in the spring.

9.  Work more earnestly on my craft blog.  It pains me to see that my last post in that corner was in October yet.  I had promised to post regularly and unlike here where I post spontanously, I tailorfit my writing to take on a certain slant over there.  52 posts in 2016.. that’s the goal.

10. Work on creating one piece every week, whether for sale in the shop, a gift for friends or to wear myself.– That means 52 pieces for the year.. easily doable!

11. Leave one pre-loved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. –  I am going to get this going by choosing the 12 books to give away.  I think one reason it was forgotten was that I never got down to doing that and I didn’t make a conscious effort to get it rolling.  Now that I am actually trying to declutter, I think I’ll make this a weekend project and start it off this month.

12. Write one long hand letter or card every month.  As someone who loves to receive handwritten notes or letters or cards, I actually enjoy writing them as well.  Besides trying to keep the post office relevant

13.  Start a new Art Journal.  The Art Journal I’m working on has been a work in progress since September 2012.  I think it’s about time I closed it but there are still some layouts left to be done.  I haven’t written or drawn there as much as I had hoped in the last couple of months, but I’m trying to catch up.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month beginning March.  I am so ready to part with things and I had sent two balikbayan boxes home with old clothes and things I no longer have any use for.  I think for 2016, I will create little packages to send to friends who I know will enjoy them more, or to leave behind for strangers to find.

15.  Write poetry again.  I have not written any poetry since I arrived here in New York, 15 years ago.  So that’s a lot of catching up to do.

16.  Celebrate my birthday by doing 50 feel-good deeds.  I saw an ad yesterday morning which had this blurb: “Simply waking up is amazing.”  Isn’t that so true?  We really need to appreciate life more by giving back.  I’ll keep it at that for now.  But I truly believe that one good way of showing how grateful we are is by sharing what we have.  I don’t have much, but I think I have enough to keep me in good shape, and I have just enough to still be able to share.

Wish me luck on this year’s list — but somehow, I’m doubly confident that I will get more accomplished.  It can only get better.

Decluttering

I am reorganizing my life by starting to reorganize my closet.  The last two weekends saw me going through my things, sorting by size, and getting rid of the bigger items.  I ended up with a huge pile of slacks– in the bigger size I kissed goodbye a few months ago —  some barely used, and some still with tags.  I set them aside to give away.  Even now as I think about it, there’s a little voice saying maybe I can just have them repaired.  I am almost sure I wouldn’t want to solve the problem by simply wearing a belt, because I’ve moved away from looking “frumpy”.  While that would make the pants wearable, I wouldn’t be too happy with the look.  Decision made — off they will go to my “to give away” bin — in the balikbayan box heading home to Manila sometime in the next couple of weeks.

I already gave away a quarter of my closet during my last trip home.  I even managed to hand out some pocketbooks I had sworn never to part with.  Yet in simplifying my life the last few months, I have learned to detach my emotions from things that I know I will never use again.  Instead of throwing them away, though, I think of others who might find a good use for them.

I bought new sweater hangers to take care of my fall and winter wear during these sweater-weather months.  I am getting rid of the suits that may fit me now in my new size but which are definitely no longer fashionable to wear.  I have a few old reliables which were tailored in the classic cut, so those, I will keep.  My cardigans are now folded neatly to make the design visible and easier to pick through when pairing with my outfit of the day.

I have some memorabilia stashed away in the higher shelves of my closet which will need some thinking about.  I’m a sucker for nostalgia, but reminiscing these days does not always bring me down the giddy happy moments of the past.  Some of those moments are now wrapped in not-so-happy and even heart-rending discoveries and realizations better left untouched.  And I need space for other things that I need to make room for.

We always think of decluttering in the physical sense, but decluttering our mind and our heart are just as important.  How often do we find ourselves clinging to old memories or emotions which contradict what we have or not have now in the present?  I used to be guilty of that.   But when you go through an emotional upheaval that turns your world upside down, you find yourself picking up the pieces again.  It is then that you get the chance to sort through the things that haunt you unnecessarily.  In sorting through all that emotional rubble, you find yourself defining the things worth hanging on to for the lessons they have taught you.  There are memories and feelings that you anchor yourself on to stay focused on the positive.  You see the world in a different light once the dust settles.

It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t overnight.  But it can be done.

I was once at that point that I clung for dear life to what I thought I had– churning out evil plans and being constantly deluged with angry and hateful thoughts.  And then the realization hit me that I didn’t have what I thought was mine.  That no matter how I clung to what I thought could be mine again, it just wasn’t happening.  So I let go.  First, loosening the grip, then before I knew it, my hand had let go.  Had I known that doing that would also find me letting go of the anger and the pain — or releasing most if not all of it — I would have done it sooner.  But it wasn’t easy, and it still takes some effort to stay on track, but I’m in a better place.

So I’ve started getting rid of the useless pieces that hold some form of once happy memory, but which no longer give me that warm and fuzzy feeling when I look at it now.  Just as I look at a piece of clothing and ask myself if it is part of the “happier me look”, I look at the thoughts and worries that keep bumping around the walls of my mind and heart,  and ask myself if this is really something I can actually work on or am I worrying myself to oblivion without even any power over how that thing goes.

It’s all about letting go.  Whether it’s that favorite t-shirt you wore when your bra size was two cups smaller — and which won’t accommodate your voluptuous beauty now.. Or just trying to shut out the negative even when the temptation to let anger and hate in again is so strong.  You make room in your closet for the things that matter and are relevant and make you look good — those are the pieces you keep.    The same should hold true for your mind and heart and your life in general.  I know, easier said than done.  But like most things, it gets better with some practice and focus.  You just need to want to let go.  You need to tell yourself that shirt has to go because it’s occupying precious space in your closet.

Let go of the people who bring you down.  Stop going back to what used to be and focus on the now and tomorrow.

These days, I focus on the “happy”.  I look at my little guy and I know I’m set.  I think of dessert and that’s a happy thought I can smile about all day.  I think of a happy song and smile.  I am getting there a day at a time.
 

And the sun will shine again

#Sunset over #Manhattan -- sometimes I get lucky.. I've fallen in and out of love with this city and have fallen back in love with it again.  I'm here to stay.  This is where my #JourneyToHappy is taking place.. Getting there, holding my little guy's hand

Sundays usually find me thinking back to a weekend I wish wouldn’t end.  But this time, I’m actually looking forward to Monday.  I had started this post while sitting over my ribeye steak dinner and then had to stop after one paragraph to tend to my number one customer at home who was busy doing his homework.

Weekends should be three days, I always say — and the week, 6.  Ha!  =)  I can’t wait for Monday.. and yet I know I’ll be hitting the ground running at work, and there will be a thousand and one things to juggle.  I’ll live — and I’ll do it all with the Monday optimism that I try to infuse the day to help me get going.  (I have to have something beyond the caffeine!)  But I’m getting ahead of myself..

The weekend was productive, indeed.  Didn’t quite get the gown but got to fit a bunch (6 in all!) and found one but they didn’t have the right size.  The good news is that yes, I lost a size (Confirmed!) and maybe I might make it to the lower size yet.  (Ha!  Optimism…)

Everything went well including another Saturday trip to the city beyond the gown search.  I ate at the counter and sat next to these nice young men who ooohed and aahhhed my burger and shakes — and then I finally went back to Envelopper NYC in Chelsea to get some invitation supplies.  (Work in progress.)

All this, though, didn’t eclipse the sad news I got our Friday evening, that a high school batchmate and fellow Paulinian, Liezl Martine had passed away after losing her battle with cancer after 7 years.  That was a battle well fought by one of the sweetest persons I know.  And I’m not saying that just because she is a celebrity — she’s one who was but never acted like one, even back then when everyone looked at her with such awe and adulation because of her famous parents and her career as a child actress.  We weren’t close — but I know she’s one person who, if I saw her walking a distance away, would not pretend she doesn’t remember who I am.

I am actually closer to Arlene, her cousin, who was a Paulinian from her grade school days.  I remember a few trips home ago, I had actually asked for Liezl’s home address to send her something, but I wasn’t able to — Arlene’s message back was that I should go and see her.  I never did.  I did revel in the positive updates via Facebook.  She shared her cheery countenance every moment she could, savoring life and doing everything she could to live it to the fullest.

That was a tall order considering she had traveled the world over so many times — for the most part, it was going back to places she liked.  This was one person who could truly speak with authority if and when you asked her a question about some famous exotic travel destination because she’s the one who’s been there, done that.  But that isn’t what I envied her the most for — it was the undying love and devotion of her husband, Albert, the more famous one of the pair and yet the luckier one by all indications, having had Liezl as his better half.  And yet he returned that love with equal if not more dedication.

It brought us yet to another “life is short” moment.  Liezl was a year younger than me and she lived and cherished every day she was given, so that was yet another stark reminder that we have to live life to the fullest.. just like Liezl showed us how to.

To the Muhlach and Martinez families, my condolences.  Liezl is in a better place now.  It may seem like an endless night — but the sun will shine again.  Monday is here, it’s a fresh start.

Rest in Peace, @liezlmartinez -- to those she left behind, find comfort in these words from #colleencorahhitchcock's poem #ascension.  Liezl lives on in our hearts..

 

Thankful

Sometimes colors just come together in an unexpected way at the moment you least expect it in the most unusual place.  #mynyc #mynewyork @onmywaytowork #manhattanskyline #ontheLIEWhen we were children, our parents always admonished us to say “Thank You” and “Please”.  Even now, I do the same to my 10-year-old.  And yet when you look at how we go about our day, there are many things that we don’t say “Thank you” for.  There are a lot of people we don’t get to say “Thank you” to. Sometimes, we crave to hear a simple word of appreciation and we get nary a thanks, when that would have made a world of difference.

This got me thinking the last couple of days and I’m deep into a “Thank You” project.  It’s still in the works so let me leave it at that.  I just find it to be one of those little acts of kindness that can literally mean so much and change the world.

Call it a means of paying forward the blessings I have and continue to be blessed with.  When the challenges seem to be piling up, the best remedy I have come to discover, is actually LITERALLY counting your blessings.  There is so much that we should be thankful for.  And yet as we go about our day, there is so much — and there are so many people — who go unappreciated.  More often than not, we do acknowledge the significance of whatever it is we ought to be thankful for, but we don’t always say it or express our appreciation outright.  How great would it be for someone to send us an unexpected “Thank you”!

I’m pulling together such a project, and I’ll write more about it when I have it in place.

My Thursday feels more like a Friday because of the Fourth of July weekend.  I am actually looking forward to recharging and getting things done — even if we’re not really going anywhere special.  I am also trying to do my Fourth of July weekend differently this year, because the past years have been non-events or days I would rather forget.  So between trying to make ‘new memories’ and trying to forget the bad, I’m trying to focus on other things.  (Like my “Thank You” project.)  Plus, Mother Nature has been pounding us with rain and pummelling us with nasty winds.

Last year was nice because my BFF Donna from Australia was in town.  And yet so many things happened, half of which I didn’t come to find out about until much later, which makes it one of the holidays I am not looking forward to.  So I try and count the positive — trying to keep my outlook bright and praying for the resolve not to give in to negativity.

If you ask me, I’d just like to be by some poolside or beach, sitting in the shade (I am not a sun lover), sipping a cocktail or two, and sleeping the day away.  It’s not even 11pm and I am already raring to hit the sack, so to speak.  Soon.

Still I wish you all a Happy Fourth of July — this great nation is celebrating it’s birthday and toasting the freedom we enjoy today.

Message from the Universe

You just never know who in the crowd, standing beside you in line or passing you in the street, might be raised in spirit, or even lifted from despair, by the kindness in your glance or the comfort of your smile.

But they may never forget.

Supersize me,
The Universe

—————

Picked up from the Facebook status of the ex-wife of a friend of my husband’s. Someone not on my friend list but who had been on my mind for another reason altogether the past couple of days.

The words moved me so much that I had to leave a note even if I hadn’t seen nor heard from her in years.  It was just one of those things where I had to say something a leave an echo somehow.