In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. But when the mighty voice of God broke into the silence, the darkness parted, and overwhelming light was cast upon the universes. So goes the story of creation, Genesis. But what the good book did not say, was that the light did not come from the voice of God. For it was not brought about by the power of the Word. It was brought about, by the light-bearers.
The light-bearers were benevolent creatures, who were under the command of God. They were as many as the stars in the galaxy, each bearing the radiance of truth and the light of God’s magnificence. They were astounding creatures, much like the stars at night, shining brilliantly against the backdrop of the twilight sky. Stories of old said, that when they frolicked across the universe, they moved so fast yet so gracefully, that their trail of light would mock the most wonderful comets in the nightsky. It is also said that when they danced in unison, hovering over the edge of space, the night sky would become a spectacle. Belittling any fireworks display then and now. They say that even the Perseids meteor shower paled in comparison, with the beauty of the light-bearers’ dancing in symphony.
Of all the light-bearers, there was one who stood out the most. His name was Lucifer. He was magnificent, for he bore the brightest of all the lights. He had in him the power to outshine even the sun and he can radiate much stronger and warmer than any super giant existing in the vast expanse of space. He was fair and kind, possessing the heart of a champion and the visage of eternal light. It is said that when the creator finished everything on the seventh day, Lucifer, not Prometheus, brought fire into the world. And God, seeing what he had done, was pleased with him. More than any of his kinsmen.
Lucifer made sure that the earth blossomed. He made sure that there was enough warmth to cast upon the flowers and trees of all kinds. And during the sixth day, when man was not yet man, it is said, that he made the rain come pouring into the earth. Enough water to sustain the magic of what is now known as Darwinian evolution. The rising of man from single-celled life forms which roamed the earth. God was so pleased with him, and the creator trusted him like his own son.
It came to pass though, that God, seeking to further enrich the existence of his favored light-bearer, asked Lucifer for a journey of faith, a trial for ascendancy. And even up to now, Lucifer holds the previlege of being the first light-bearer to had been granted the previlege of ascendancy. Such a test however, can only be done into the great void. A region of “moment” where God, nor any of his creations did not exist. Lucifer though, having faith in the wisdom of his master and taking pleasure in the gift bestowed, accepted God’s offer. And so, the brightest, the greatest of the light-bearers, in all his splendor, in all his radiance, ventured into the great void.
The void surprised Lucifer. For never in his life had he thought of a place beyond the presence of the Almighty. In the void, there was nothing but darkness. And because there was no air, only silence can be heard. It was a place of desolation, despair and destruction. A place that can bring shivers into ones spine, shooting straight down to the soul. But Lucifer’s faith in God was not built on steam nor water. His faith could not be swayed simply by the despair nor darkness which surrounded him. And in prayer he tried to nurture his faith, with hopes that God would answer and grant him grace. Oh how he prayed in the vacuum. He prayed every single moment in his infernal solitary confinement. Millennium after millennium, he kept on praying.
But, all his prayers were unanswered. And as time passed in the oblivion, the inner voice within him preaching of magnificence in all that is good, gradually started to fade. Like any solid rock subjected to infinitely perpetual drops of water, his faith started to break into pieces. For there was no light, no planets, no trees, no creatures to remind him how beautiful creation was. There were no other light-bearers, no man, no woman, no other sentient being to remind him what he was and of his existence’s purpose. Lucifer though, even in his dwindling conviction, prayed on steadfastly. But unfortunately, only silence cometh again.
In his prayers he hoped, asked, pleaded and begged for nothing else but a mustard-seed of grace from the maker. But eons passed and still there was no such sign, no hope whatsoever of deliverance. Until one day, one momentous crack in time, Lucifer stopped praying. And for the first time in his existence he started feeling cold, and became aware of the nothingness which enveloped him. At that infinitesimal moment, at that exact instant he broke away from prayer, the prophecy of the “Fall Of The Morning Light”, may have not yet been fulfilled, but the wheel of destiny started turning towards the direction of its fruition.
For some time now I had been uploading on facebook, images of the rubber sports shoes I buy here in Japan. I appreciate it a lot when people comment and react on the type and style of shoes I choose. Some of them have shown keen interest on my collection. So much so, that they ask how much I pay for the shoes. Honestly, some of the shoes I chose come with a heavy price tag even though I buy them discounted or during “sale” time. However, let me tell you candidly too, that for each pair of shoes I buy, i remind myself of a fond set of memories.
The Jordan series
I remember when I was 13, sometime 1990’s. After almost nine years of service in the oil industry, my dad came home from Saudi because it was becoming dangerous due to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. After a few months, my family living on a strict budget by that time, went to Bacolod one day, to buy me a new pair of rubber shoes.
And so we went to one of those department stores, and I eventually ended up falling in love with the Air Jordans on display. And even at 32, I can still sense how much I wanted those shoes. How much my eyes glistened at the very idea of wearing the Air Jordan.
When I asked Papa if we can afford it, he was sad to tell me that we cant. I wanted to cry back then but instead chose to “man up”, make a decent enough face in front of Papa, and opted for a Lotto rubber shoes which fit our budget. Not that Lotto was not good, in fact the shoes served me well. It was just that, as a kid who only had but a handful of desires, it pained me so much when i cant get something I truly wanted.
I never told anybody, until now, how much that incident affected me. From that day forward, I swore to myself I will never ever buy NIKE rubber shoes. It is not that I hated the brand. But I guess I just ended up with the conclusion, that those shoes were far beyond my reach. That I may never afford them.
That incident stirred up something deep in me. Subconsciously, i decided that it is better for me not to get the best NIKE I can find. For some insane reason, the idea of me not “affording” them keeps me plodding on with what I intend to achieve. In part, I guess it is a reminder for me, that there are things in life, better not having, temporarily or otherwise.
“13” fast forward “31”
I celebrated my 31st birthday here in Kyoto, Japan. There was really nothing special to it. If memory serves me right, we just ate dinner at one of the better ramen houses here in kyoto. A ramen meal composed of :
1. Karage Teishoku (4 pieces of fried chicken with rice and cabbage)
2. Chashu hosomen (ramen with thin noodles (“hoso-men”), and chashu (pork) cutlets)
3. Negi tappuri (a lot of “negi” or welsh onion)
4. Ajitsuke tamago (a boiled egg topping)
When the meal was over, we all went home unceremoniously. As I went into my apartment, I was surprised to see a big paper bag on top of my bed. It had a whiteboard sign saying “SURPRISE!! Happy B-day! Enjoy your day -Stabs & Mike”. When I opened the bag, I was awestruck to see a pair of NIKE air direct II running shoes. They were my first ever pair of nike rubber shoes.
I dont know if Mike and Alwyn had any idea what “NIKE” meant to me. But needless to say, they have reminded me of a very wonderful moment in my life. Albeit, a poignant one. And though it has been over a year now since I received their gift, I still keep the whiteboard message from that very special day.
Going Back To “Shoes”
I used the shoes Alwyn and Mike gave me extensively. I used it for running, trekking and walking here in Kyoto. It offered a comfortable snug fit, and was as durable as hell. Recently though, it has shown signs of wear and tear. And because of this, I have opted to retire it. In its stead, as a reminder of alwyn and mike, I also bought a pair of running shoes from Nike. The one I recently posted on facebook. Not too expensive, but looks good and feels good on the feet.
Now dont get me wrong. I am not a sales person for nike. In fact, if I remove the sentimental value of the Nike Air Direct II from alwyn and mike, my favorite shoe of all time would be the Rebook Pump Triple Break. Nothing can beat the triple break when it came to comfort, snugness, and overall toughness. My second favorite is the Gigaride A3 of adidas because it looked good, felt good on the soles and more importantly, poses a challenge to the Shox technology of Nike. Though I gave my Gigaride to my brother-in-law, I bought myself a newer version, known as the Bounce series. And finally, I would give the third spot for Nike’s Air Direct II for its overall performance, comfort, durability and value.
Its never about the shoes
My good friend Alwyn always says “We are what we are deprived of.” So literally I am a shoe. Just kidding. But it does make some sense. I had been deprived of some things in my life, which explains probably the hunger in me. Not that I want to eat a shoe or anything. It is just that a part of me, like everyone, desires a “good life” represented in this blog by a pair of Nike Air Jordans, to a 13-year old boy. I guess, I continued feeding the hunger, by depriving myself of a pair of nike shoes. A constant reminder that I am not yet there, that I cannot afford it yet.
To some it may sound hypocritical considering that I have other pairs of shoes that can match the price tag of the latest models from Nike. But for me, in a very weird and insane way, I feel that for now, I would be better off without buying the latest Nike models. Dont get me wrong though, I am still fascinated by some designs from Nike. So much so that I bought my mom a pair of NIKE shox as a combined present for her birthday and for christmas.
The way I see it, in a very simple way, “not having a pair of wonderful Nike’s” keeps me ticking personally. It is a reminder for me that the job is not done yet, that I have not reached whatever goals I have set before me. In my gut, I can sense it, I am all but half-baked.
Someday, when I feel that my job is done, and that I can rest a little, I will buy my pair of Air Jordans. The very same model I wanted way back in 1990. I will have to save for it though because most probably, it will be a collector’s item. It will become one of the many reminders for me, that in spite of and despite of, I got the job done. I made it through.
In my head, the mental image is that of a son asking a father for a pair of shoes, and the father having to say “NO” due to circumstance. But this time around, the son replies “No pops, I think we can afford it now.” And as far as my context is concerned, “afford” doesnt necessarily mean having a ton of money, but more in the light of a “rightful reward” for finishing a hard-arduous-wonderful-happy journey.
But as for the moment, come my 33rd birthday, I will have to commemorate it by buying a pair of Lotto shoes in Manila or Bacolod. Preferably, together with my father.
How about you? What are the inanimate things in life that help you remind yourself to strive for better things?
Tom stared blankly into the mildewed ceiling of his decrepit apartment. He watched silently, intently as the rusty ceiling fan blades cut perpetually the ceiling lamp’s light. But he was not contemplating on the color of the ceiling, nor on the energy emanated by the man-made-electric-sun attached to it. He was in another realm, a dark isolated place where agony, wrath and malevolence were as real as the pitch black darkness that enveloped it.
He loved his wife and kid. They meant everything to him. They were all he really had, and all he ever wanted. His wife, Teresa, was the most wonderful creature of God. His love for her was unfathomable. And hers for him was just the same. When the recession boomed, he had no savings. He lost his job, and almost lost his bearing. But his wife’s steady and loving hands held him together. During those long months of unemployment, he almost lost his sanity to whatever lurked behind the darkest recesses of the psyche.
In those days, he waddled in the pool of self-pity and depression. Teresa though, tried to tide things over by selling home made cookies at a nearby school. She too, started doing errands for their neighbor Mrs. Wilson, for a measly two bucks an hour. And when she went home, tired as she had been, she never said a word out of spite. Nor did she nag him on the loss of job, nor on what seemed to be a temporary dementia on his part. She just went on her way, ironing the clothes, cleaning and preparing whatever-something-there was for dinner.
His son, Kevin, God bless his soul, was nothing but God sent. He had the eyes of his mother. Young as he was, he understood well the concept of “not-having” and of virtuous patience . On Sundays, Teresa and Kevin, would take him out for a walk, and drop by the supermarket for groceries. Kevin would run to his mom asking if they can buy the Spider man figure which cost roughly a dollar. But Teresa, having only a few dollars, would gently, lovingly tell Kevin, “We dont have money, Kevin. Someday, I will buy you one. “ And Kevin would just beam his no-front-teeth smile, and shout “Someday!”. A picture of innocence and of saintly naivety.
And though he was in depression, he could clearly remember all these memories. It is funny that the mind has a way of preserving precious mental images even if the soul is lost in wandering. Probably because these are images that can permeate through the soul, through whatever hellish pain or indifference there is in this God-forsaken world.
Kevin and Teresa are now gone. They died because of misdiagnosis. Dr. Roberts, the doctor in charge failed to look beyond what seemed to be a complicated form of the flu. And since the Mastersons could not afford the services of a specialist, there was no other way but to proceed treatment with the public hospital’s Dr. Roberts.
For almost a week, Dr. Roberts diagnosed it as the winter flu. But the situation worsened. Son and mother both started experiencing thunderclap headaches and fevers that went on and off, just like typhoid. Dr. Roberts took another look at them and diagnosed them for meningitis, but the disease was far too elusive for the good doctor. He too had other problems. His hands were full of patients, and the Mastersons were not the only people he had to look out for. As the situation lingered, Tom could only watch his son and wife, slowly, painfully succumb to the cursed fate which all of us share. The inevitable fate of death.
Kevin and Teresa’s funeral was the most painful experience he had to endure. An image so painstaking that it drove him into the very depths of oblivion. He cried in pain, not knowing where the endless tears and the eternal pain came from. The pain was neither poignant, nor stingy. It was a scalding pain. It was as if his heart was tormented by an enormous blue flame but was never reduced to cinder. It was forever bleeding, and scalded by the very blood that gushed out of it. It was a pain no sane man can ever endure. It was unbearable…. It was unthinkable ….
Now he finds himself in this cheap apartment, living like a rat, with a gun in tow. A rusty old piece that can get the job done for what the angels of retribution have prescribed for him. Dr. Roberts has to pay for his mistake.
For the past week, he had been trailing him. He knows where the hack-doctor lived. “Apartment 4, 7th Street, Orange County.”, he breathed out with the full resolve to kill. He stood up from his bed, and carefully loaded a full magazine into his cheap .45 caliber. He stared at himself in the mirror. He made sure that he looked splendid with his white long sleeves shirt, black slacks, coat and tie. He walked out his door and into the cover of darkness offered by the twilight that heralded the night….
….. to be continued ….
Second Part of the series …. (While waiting for my half an hour compilation…)
LIFE HAS TO BE LIVED! Therefore it is not imperative to be 100% vision oriented. Wisdom will tell you that human as we are, we cannot be 100% anything but human. WE WILL FALTER!!!!We will skew from our dreams and ambitions. However before we judge rashly, if skewing is good or not, let me remind you, that it is ONLY in life’s end, that we will eventually realize if the skew was worth it. Sometimes the “skew” can provided us with a serendipitous vision. What I am trying to say is, LIFE IS DIFFICULT AND IT IS UNPREDICTABLE, but it will help you alot if you have charted out a plan for yourself before you proceed on your journey. The plan may be incomplete, just a set of destination points and pit stops, but nevertheless a plan is in place.
REMEMBER : Your vision is your proposal to the fates, it is your heart’s desire expressed tangibly.
When i graduated college, I just wanted to be an R&D engineer. My first job was R&D manager and eventually CEO. Oh well those are just titles. But as an R&D Manager, i was able to guide all my fellow fresh graduates in creating a commercial level device, outsourced from one of the leading hardware companies in my country and invested in by one major conglomerate. I hope you dont see this as “boasting”, but what I am trying to say is:
When our visions of ourselves come to a fulfillment, what’s next? Some people tend to “not mind” and then stagnate. This is the “I already have what I want” policy.
So do we really need to have all forms of visions/goals. My honest answer is No. What i think is imperative though, is our genuine effort to continuously update our visions and goals. And if you can, once you can, Go for the Impossible Dream first. 🙂 Then build slowly below it.
When we climb a mountain, there are a gazillion ways to plan it. The basic school of thought is to attack it from the base. However, if we had an opportunity, wouldn’t we want to see the view from the top first and then plan from there? To chose a path that is not the usual trail but a path we have selected for ourselves, a “probably” unique path. Who said that there is only one actual way to reach Kyoto Station? So our impossible dreams will be our path’s zenith. And we must plot from the view on top. And yeah, impossible dreams are upgradeable too. 😀
Everybody is a freak. So it is normal to have no vision. However, I think, they are in great risk of squandering the time they have and the gifts granted to them. They are also prone to becoming more and more lackadaisical. Of course there are certain exceptions to the rule, extraordinarily blessed people who became SOMETHING out of a series of fortunate accidents. 😀
Have you seen a carriage horse driven in traffic? They usually have blinders on the side of their eyes. (Check this yahoo answer…) Much like scope of the horses’ eyes, an individual has an almost infinite set of possibilities. If left unfocussed it might wander into oblivion. Visions have the same effect as the blinders for horses. Dont get me wrong, I am not saying you better be single-direction oriented. What I am trying to say is that, when we envision something to happen, usually we spend time and resource efficiently. Or should you be like me who likes to ponder and wander around, our visions will grant us enough strength to stop clowning around with our spaghetti and start eating the meat balls. No pun intended here. 😀
Anyways, what is there to lose if we set out simple or grandiose plans for ourselves. Let me end today’s blog in the words of my father, Vicente Belarma Repuspolo Jr., the Gasoline Boy, “pahinante”, Truck Driver turned Instrument Technician …
“Libre lang naman maghandom sang maayo, nga-a indi ka maghandum sang sobra sa lab-ot sang kamot mo….” (Hiligaynon :: Ilonggo)
“libre ang mangarap, bakit di mo pa damihan at lakihan?” (Tagalog)
Visions are for free, why dont you think of many, and make them greater than life itself? (English)
夢は無料でしょう。夢を深く考えて無限レベルを目指しましょう!!! (in my imperfect Nihongo)
“Ang batang nangarap” : The kid who dreamed : 子供の夢
“Trabahong Outsourcing sa Nihon” : Outsourced in Japan : 日本の仕事
As I am already 31 years old, I find myself thinking and dreaming for the young people I had been working and communicating with in the past few months. I am delighted with the spirit and energy they possess, fascinated by the variety of “kangaekata” (“way of thinking” in Japanese) and their optimism which shines brilliantly in their eyes and their smiles.
For the majority of my life, I dreamed only that someday, in the most microscopic of ways, I can be a form of inspiration for those whose paths may bear semblance to the path I have chosen. More so, I also dream of coming across somebody who can either verify my path or somebody who can make me learn more.
For some who know what I have achieved at 31, I have achieved much. To be honest though, I feel that I am still “half-full”. Either way, half-full or not, that remains to be seen in the days left for me to wander this earth. But for the most people to whom I am a stranger, I am practically nobody.
Be it so, I hope that what I have written here be of use to people who might be in a tight spot and might need some amount of focusing. And should you find it useful, and should you believe in a God, I hope you just thank him for granting you the chance to come across my site.
I wrote this blog to share only 5 things. These things in my perspective are by far the most important to me, as far as ZENTAITEKI (“holistic” in Japanese) personal development is concerned. I guess at 31, this is my formula of whatever little successes I have had in life. I am not yet in any way finished building myself, so I too am a work in progress. That being said, though I am no expert, no saint nor genius, I want to share whatever little I have learned over the past 31 years.
The key ingredients and in no particular order to better personal development are as follows :
As this is like my personal quasi-magnum opus, the above items might be too much and too long just in one writing. So for today, I would like to talk about Vision.
Most of the young people I meet have rarely screeched out their visions, their dreams, their heart’s deepest aspirations. In this light, I feel that I should talk more about visions so that the young within my circle of influence should dream more, than old farces like myself. The importance of this key element cannot be underrated. Vision provides us an infinite source of motivation. We never tire nor burn out for as long as we keep some form of goal within our heads.
What is it that you aspire for? Who do you want to be? What do you want to be?
It would be useless for me to preach about vision if I cannot share some things I have learned about it. So here goes what I have in mind. Visions or goals can be classified in my opinion as such :
a. “Impossible Dream” (from Man of La Mancha)– Forgive my copying of the song’s title. But envisioning something beyond yourself is not bad for the spirit. In my current learning I have come to the conclusion that an individual, should he possess an impossible dream, (for as long as he controls his path) possesses an indomitable spirit. He or she becomes virtually infinite in terms of spirit and intensity, though he or she may express it in silence. However, as I have said, one has to be careful of pushing for this dream since the body is not so indomitable.
b. Segmented / Paged Visions – Pardon the play on technical terms, but A BIG IMPOSSIBLE-DREAM VISION has to be compartmentalized into smaller dreams. For example, dream “professionally”, dream “family-wise”, dream “individual-wise”, dream “spirit-wise” so on and so forth. Our Segmented visions make up and streamline our Impossible Dream/s.
c. Episodic Visions – Like a television mini-series, a story arc (ala Onepiece) or a season, is built on top of sub-plots and episodes. What I want to say is that our bigger dreams, are built on top of small goals, which can be achieved over very short-intervals of time. Like the Great Pyramids of Egypt, which are built on bricks, which in turn are built on sand.
d. Serendipitous / Spin-off Visions – This one is what I like the most. Sometimes, in our lives we meet very wonderful people who can influence us very much. In their presence we sometimes end up getting influenced by their natural or not-so-natural gifts. In the process our original vision becomes a bit skewed or what I can honestly say as mutated. These serendipitous (watch the movie SERENDIPITY!!!) moments, or fortunate accidents, which trigger spin-off visions may come from the television, the blog site, your multiply.com friends or probably even from your very own family. Serendipitous visions at surface level may not seem to contribute to fulfillment of the impossible dream, but I believe they do.
What then happens if people don’t have a vision or visions? goals?
Do I really have to be “100% all the time” Vision-oriented?
Do I really have to have all forms of Vision?
Why the Impossible Dream first and not from the sub-plot visions?
And some of my most memorable personal experiences …
He stepped into the hot water. His body almost soaked in blood from the day’s unending battles. His once proud ivory wings are now just but fragments of what they used to be. The burnt skin, the scars, the ugliness of his physique was a testament, of the commitment he had made to those whose lives hang in the balance.
The hot water was soothing. For a moment, he closed his eyes, trying to forget the pain within, with the seething heat offered by the water. His thoughts roamed, they wandered into the void within him. Blessed nothingness. The water trickled down his spine, down his broken wings offering some respite to the weary body. It has been a long time since he felt anything good.
The war is not yet over, but the outcome has been predicted long before. And no matter what the others do, for him it will all eventually be over. And as he has envisioned since the start of the war, he will eventually evolve into something new. The inviting water from the hot springs, the greenish lush surrounding him momentarily interrupted his train of thoughts. He dipped his head into the water.
As he held his face diving in, he once again felt the scars. The scars of the battles that had been almost an onslaught at the start. Three long years of aggression was not really what he wanted. But the fates have decided on him, via a series of unfortunate events. And in the solace underwater, he opened his mouth unleashing a sound no man under his command should ever hear. It was a swan song, a howl of a dying dog roared with a dignity of a lion, albeit a dying one. It was pain, unbearable, unceasing pain. A tormented soul’s lament over what there was and what there is.
He gets his head out of the water. He gazed into the stars that watched him that night. He stared at them nonchalantly, for they have witnessed what should have never been seen. His cry to the fates, his wail to the heavens. He was calculating whether he should pray that night. For in his eyes, God never really favored him. But in a rare act of piety, he bowed his head, and uttered a very simple prayer. “Why?” he gasped with all honesty. God had never answered him before, nor will he probably ever. But he does not question his God, he believes. But being human, even though he has been granted wings, it is his nature to ask.
As he stands up from the water, he exhaled everything there was in him. Hoping it can take the pain and the weariness of his spirit. He puts on his armor, sheaths his tarnished sword into the scabbard, the seraphims have given him. He grabs his helmet, sets it on, making sure that the sun-gold hair is properly tucked in. Tomorrow will be another day for a bloody fight. Whether he will live to see it end or not, his resolve remains unwaivering. And though recently he has been dragging his fatigued legs into the battlefield, he tries to carry on. Steadfastly, patiently.
Yes there is no rest for the wicked. For they are the only ones who know what a real fight is, and how it can be fought to win. He looks up, makes the sign of the cross and hopes that God has not forgotten him. For now, there is no real rest, no place nor time of respite for the wicked.