As a human being it’s so hard to see acts of terror and oppression churn out the products of their vicious cycle nearly every day.
 
As a Muslim, it has come to the point that with every attack on other innocent lives is a prayer to not let it be perpetrated by another ignorant fool excusing his/her inhumane acts by invoking the name of Islam. Each time is another countdown before news breaks, and once again Muslims around the world who have nothing to do with these extremists have to explain and defend their faith and dare I say, humanity, again and again.
 
But instead, I realized that this state is also a grave symptom of how much disconnected to the essence of Islam the majority of Muslims are, that these terrorist groups hold the megaphone to gain the world’s attention. It’s not the true love of God that has caused this state of ours, rather it’s the lack of it. The grave disconnect due to the lack of literacy and lack of true understanding from the founding principles of Islam and the example of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the root of this all.
 
And this, is a major example of how faith can never be inherited. One “born into a Muslim family” can never automatically equal to “one who truly knows, understands, and believes in Islam.” The same can be said for other faiths.
 
On the flip side, this is also why as human beings cannot be left alone to our own devices and impulses. Left alone, we stray and go to extremes. The dying animals, and polluted rivers, and increasingly toxic air is testimony of how mankind cannot just function without Guidance.
 
God has never asked us to be perfect. But He has always asked only that we continuously seek to understand and live a rightly guided life…
 
But it is our duty to ourselves to admit our faults, and to be brave enough to break the status quo. It is our duty to find the Truth that unifies us with the balance of the entire cosmos, with every living and “non-living” thing. We owe it to our souls, to our loved ones, to the generations that will follow us.
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Fallen Leaves: Of Time and Memories

Lord, said David, since you do not need us,
why did you create these two worlds?

Reality replied: O prisoner of time,
I was a secret treasure of kindness and generosity,
and I wished this treasure to be known,
so I created a mirror: its shining face, the heart;
its darkened back, the world;
The back would please you if you’ve never seen the face.

Has anyone ever produced a mirror out of mud and straw?
Yet clean away the mud and straw,
and a mirror might be revealed.

Until the juice ferments a while in the cask,
it isn’t wine. If you wish your heart to be bright,
you must do a little work.

My King addressed the soul of my flesh:
You return just as you left.
Where are the traces of my gifts?

-snippet from Be Lost in the Call, Rumi

“I’m so sad….How can I be happy?” my dear friend asked.

“Remember the good things that has happened despite the bad,” was my reply.

It must be prospect of a huge challenge that kept me in spirits of anticipation. Maybe the coffee too.

My friend let out another sad sigh. “Memories. It all just ends up in memories.”

I don’t know what hit me, but my body flew into action. No.

“Memories are carried on to create anew. They aren’t the end,” was all I could say in that moment, collecting myself as my mother’s words days ago began to sink into me.

My mother had called our attention that late afternoon, as she segregated the peelings and cuttings of various fruits and vegetables that she prepared. She was very enthusiastic and commanded our attention.

She said she was just astounded how much learning about permaculture and composting has taught her so much.

“Can you imagine? We eat these fruits and vegetables. Then we return them to the soil. And from the plants that grow from the soil, we eat. We put them back inside our bodies. What we give the soil, it gives us back. But nowadays, most  of us plant for the sake of a huge harvest or money, using chemicals forgetting that we eat what we harvest. It made me think about life. What does that tell you two? Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”

I guiltily remember how I was slow to catch on the depth of what she was trying to say.

We are prisoners of time.

The moments of happiness, the moments of sadness pass by us. Time does not stay still. They leave us but not without leaving a mark on us, in form of memories. And with Time, even these memories become cloudy until, most, fade into nothingness.

But do they really?

A leaf, full of color once, dries up and falls to the ground. Time passes, there’s no more of the leaf. All that is left is the soil or dust. If we think of it that way, then surely…it is all for naught…depressing.

But! But! It doesn’t happen that way!

The “dead leaves” along with another “depressing” thing called rain,  actually nurture life into the soil. They are, with proper care in special cases like in cities (for example), what bear the healthy ground that is healthy enough for new plants to spring. And with a extra effort, those new plants can even be healthier than the “plants or leaves that came before them.”

 

Just like memories.

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G.T.

Dear You, Dear Me, Dear Us..

Renew our intention today.

Set it, if we don’t have one.

Even as simple as, “I will be better today.”

Then pray…

‘Cause no matter how prepared and determined, our only full power is in our choices.

So choose to strive,

Choose to at least try.

Even if it’s painful, it’s worth it.

Why?

We’re breathing.

Cars are made to be driven.

We are meant to live until we can only sleep.

So fuel up, from our hearts.

Let’s go!

Fighting!

Faith-ing~!

Hahaha

Leggo!

(3/31/2017, a quarter into 2017 already! Wah!)

-G.T.

Cookie Break

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I have no idea, why in the world, I titled this Cookie Break.

The thing came to mind, while I was unfolding this small table and chair that I’m currently sitting in, decorated by Snoopy looking at a bunch of Oreos and thinking “Cookie Break!”

It’s a table and chair meant for my 2-year old nephew, but I think I feel most comfortable writing by using it.

And as I get through typing the lines you’ve just read, I think I quite figured out why I’m being final with calling this entry, “Cookie Break”…

After so much that has happened since my last entry, this is the only time that I can write with my mind entirely focused on what I’m about to share..!

I hope it won’t be so long that it’d bore you, dear Reader. I’m writing this, as most of my entries are, completely impromptu! So for all the rough edges of this piece, I sincerely apologize!

What started out as a quite intense day of activities and a big chunk of necessary out-of-pocket expenses towards a family visit I had fears about, turned out to be quite the healing trip for me.

In all the craziness, that I cannot even began to enumerate here I believe that by listening to the people that invited us over.

Listening to other people’s stories that they have to tell…even by simply, listening- quieting down your own worries that clog your heart and mind, and opening your thoughts-you suddenly get a break from the struggles that feel as if they aren’t going to end.

The lyrics of EXO’s Lucky One “너와 나의 평행선”| “The parallel lines that are you and me” somehow makes a deeper impression to me now.

In our darkest times we feel as if we’re alone and no one can ever understand the pain we’re going through.

But maybe, in all the differences of our stories, there are some common points. Points that make the difference for us to keep going on and/or to be thankful for having gone through what we’ve been through.

Stories that make us go, “wow, he/she went through all that? And he’s/she’s still here? All good? Maybe I can make it too..”

Stories that make us go, “I didn’t know he/she had to endure all that. I didn’t know that he’s/she’s like that. Maybe I’ve been looking at all of this in the wrong way, as well…”

Or maybe stories that are so strikingly similar as our stories of our past, that now, we’re the ones meant to help others get through theirs.

Maybe we’re all not that different. And that we’re like two parallel lines, unique as who we are, but striving towards the same hopes of a better future.

I suddenly remembered this quote from a video I watched many times before:

This world isn’t perfect. This means it isn’t perfectly good: but it isn’t perfectly bad, either.The ease comes with hardship. Shift focus of what you see, and your experience of this life will change.

-Yasmin Mogahed

I guess that quote perfectly sums up my thoughts for this evening.

And from the little I could share here, I hope you find the cookie break you needed and the strength to push forward again. Hope a little rambling from a little tree can become that cookie that energizes someone out there!

 

G.T. (Growing Tree)

Ballpen: A short anecdote| T.O.A.

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“I’m sorry to disturb you. But I hope you understand. I am a father, with children who I send to school. This is the only moral way I know to earn a living. If you could just buy (even one or a few), it would mean a great deal. Thank you!”

 

Those were the few words uttered by the elder man who was obviously roaming the streets earlier today- amidst the sorching heat of the sun and danger of going from jeep to jeep in the middle of heavy traffic. He  basket full of pens in hand and small printed notes that more or less said what he had uttered.

All this, just so he could send his child(ren) to school.

Some may say, it could be another modus operandi, a hoax to get people’s money. It’s a thing so common in the Philippines when you roam the streets and you encounter indigents who ask for alms. There are people who take advantage of the suffering of others…

Others who think that they have no other choice, if they wish to survive.

But dare I say, where is the proof? Would we dare choose to believe the latter whilst knowing that there is an equally high chance that a simple ballpen could mean a child’s future?

But besides all this, I was nearly moved to tears…

I felt guilty…

 

Being still considered a fresh graduate and having earned my license last October, my current job has had me in the ropes. I’ve faced challenges and situations that have me constantly pondering whether I did the right thing, and/or whether the struggles are worth it.

 

But what are my struggles, compared to others who choose to push on? Like that man who had put aside any concern for his health and being for the sake of the future of another?

 

Love.

 

Hope.

 

Selflessness.

 

Goals.

 

Purpose.

 

No matter what our situation is written to be…no matter how grim or trialsome…May we never lose sight of these.

The Year of “Why?”

A definite MUST READ.

adoptingjames

why-1

Welcome to 2016!

This is the year where you will either A) figure out what you want to do with your life, B) continue to push forward toward your goals, or C) reclaim your lost passion and start over.

But there’s one question you need to ask yourself every single day should you decide to act on your passion or goals.

Everyday, when you feel beat up, worn out, tired, depressed, whatever, ask yourself: “WHY?”

WHY do you want to lose weight?

WHY do you want to finish school?

WHY do you want to get your painting in an art gallery?

WHY do you want to be famous?

You see, when you ask this question, it puts your inner-self right back at the beginning. It mentally places you right back in that moment when you decided you wanted to achieve whatever goals you want to have achieved.

And then, when you…

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