How To Create A Monster

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             We’ve all seen them in suspense and horror movies. They are usually the ones being chased with pitchforks and torches. They are the ones shunned by society and deemed unfit to live amongst the “normal” people or villagers. They live deep in the woods, swamps, dungeons, abandoned and rundown buildings. They are usually the spawn of unification of evil entities; an experiment gone wrong, an escapee from hell, sinister alien bent on destroying mankind, or a carny lunatic suffering from psychotic episodes. Then, there are people like me.

  I am a monster.

               No, not the “devouring-the flesh, hell-bent-on-assisting-the-demise-of-humanity” kind, but I am a monster of society. I am the creation of other peoples’ heartless choices. Someone bred from a broken relationship, then grew up in physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse. Fortified but scarred by a life of petty crime and drug use, led to be educated by poisonous relationships, heart breaks and promiscuity. This was me. Was.

I grew up in a third world country where life wasn’t really as bad as projected by all. Not until my Mom had to migrate to the United States of America when I was very young. It was a time when I was developing social consciousness and discovering the world. But because of this turn of life event when all hell broke loose. My Mom left us – I, together with my brother and sister, left us in the care of our relatives and sad to say, sometimes strangers are a lot nicer than our own kin. We suffered malnourishment and hunger that would go on for weeks of not eating, being moved from one aunt to another repeatedly. We suffered beating, humiliation and degradation. We felt unwanted. These traumatic experiences would be the reason for our emotional distance from one another, as well as our strained relationships with our Mom and Dads. Or so I would come to realize later on.

So by the age of 14, I knew what drugs and other various vices were, how to use it, where to get it, how to sell it and why people use it. Not only was I suffering from extreme hunger, I’ve also mastered the feelings of being stripped of pride and dignity, developed fear of abandonment which led to severe depression and emotional distancing. And because I’ve befriended drugs, I learned the power of extortion and manipulation. I eventually broke into people’s homes and cars. All these affected my life tremendously. Right that very moment, I don’t feel God. I was Godless. After all that I’ve gone through, I came to the conclusion that there was no GOD. I rejoiced to the fact He did not exist. And for many years, I savored this so-called “truth” and even promoted this “truth” to all.

That is one way to create a Monster.

             For many years I’ve lived a life void of any higher guidance. Least to say, I lived according to my own understanding and beliefs based on what I’ve learned from the world. I didn’t realize it then that I was on my way to a shattering, downward spiral into the dark unknown, and it would take years and a strong divine intervention for me to put all the pieces of myself back together. I have hurt a lot of people that I truly cared about, lost most of them and scorched many bridges.

But that was then. I’m a very different person now than who I was several years ago. During that dark time in my life, I began a search. I searched for who I really am. Something deep inside me kept telling me that I was more than who I was. It took me several long years to fully get a hold of myself, mistakes after mistakes, a lot of hurt and healing, endless realizations and dashboard confessions. There were times when I even find myself talking in a mirror, teaching the reflection from the other end on forgiveness and repentance. But above all, I searched for HIM. I longed for Jesus. When I found him, I discovered the true meaning of Love. I discovered how it felt to be truly and genuinely loved without judgment. It’s that kind of love that turns Monsters back into Human Beings.

“Every Saint has a past, Every Sinner has a future.”

-from a homily by Father Paolo Del Carmen-

             If you are at a point in your life where you feel like nothing is ever going to be ok and your heart is shattered into a million broken pieces, and felt like the solution is at the bottom of the barrel of a gun, just please wait. Sleep and wait for the morning to come. Once the sun hits your face, it signals a new day, a blank and clean slate where you can begin all over again. You can either choose to live the way you were living, or begin the change by searching for who you really are. You can’t expect to change anything in your life if you keep doing the same things over and over again. Ask forgiveness and offer forgiveness to yourself. Acknowledge that there is a higher power, a greater consciousness than your own. Accept the monster that you were and begin to shed that skin. Make a conscious effort to better yourself. Your surroundings will not change unless you, yourself, change first. The journey is going to be long and painful and I tell you now that it will not be easy. But I assure you that it will be worth it. All it takes is that first step, a clear decisive thought and one brave move from you.

I am both a victim and perpetrator. I have been both Victor Frankenstein and his creation. I have been the Monster and I have made many monsters, and sadly, those monsters created their own. It’s time we stop. Our actions, words and attitude affect others. If we cannot treat everyone around us with love and respect, the least we can do is treat them like human beings. It’s time to choose change. Let us choose hope, be respectful and above all, chose a higher form of Love.

Reflection Song:

Photo By: Patrick Ligeralde

Edited By: Sari Yoingco

The Boiled Frog


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It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. ~Krishnamurti

I’ve been in this world for about three decades now, and my eyes have seen a lot. Wars, poverty, inhumanity, greed, corruption, absolute terror, but nothing has ever terrified me more than seeing the content in today’s social media. It used to be “You are what you eat.” Now it’s, “You are what you regurgitate.” And it seems like that’s what the content of OUR social Medias these days. Wisdom regurgitated from the rear end of our soul. I say ours because I also once was the problem.

What have we become as a society, as human beings? Our journey can be collectively seen in the things that we post in our social Medias. When we post something, we post apart of ourselves, a piece of who we are and what makes us tick. Unknowingly (for some) we subjugate ourselves to ridicule and false judgment. But it’s ok because we don’t care what the world thinks? Or do we? What’s the purpose of the likes and the comments then? And why do we always check whoever checked us out? Isn’t it much truthful to say that subconsciously, we want the attention, the false fame? Some say they just post what people want to see, but that’s not who they really are inside. If so, the question that begs to be asked is, what are we trying to promote?

If you drop a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will of course frantically try to clamber out. But if you place it gently in a pot of tepid water and turn the heat on low, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor, exactly like one of us in a hot bath, and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death.

Version of the story from Daniel Quinn‘s The Story of B

                                                                                                                              

I believe this to be a true depiction of our moral standards these days. We’ve been slowly demoralized by society and the media and we are not even aware of it. We’ve brainwashed to the point that our main purpose in this world is to be the best version of ourselves on the outside, and be emotionally apathetic in the inside. We are more concerned with the newest trends than the stirring of our soul. More in touch with what’s in style than what matters most. We have allowed this world to be slowly poisoned by drawing a line, then erasing it whenever we feel like the line is inconvenient or gets in the way of our skewed plans. For decades the media has been bombarding us with images and subliminal messages of a twisted reality. We’ve allowed them to define the essential things like; beauty, love, happiness, truth and justice. We are the Frog. The World is the Pot and Water. The Flame is the perverted influence of the World. What do you think our end result will be?

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”Mark 8:36.

There’s a tremendous effect in our society when we are geared towards achieving false pride. We see it on Instagram and Facebook all the time. Men seem to be more interested in achieving top physical form than to find out what makes a man, a “real” man. Men are being taught to pound away their feelings at the gym than to face them. Women are taught that to look beautiful means, to flaunt and show and attract. There’s a thin line between promoting inner strength and beauty, and to advertise one’s self to rake in attention. There’s a thin line between self-acceptance, and self-gratification. Again, the question, what are we trying to promote?

I believe that the hunger for this, very addictive, false-fame and attention, is really a cry for help. We have all lost our way and are in need of divine intervention and guidance. What we promote, is what the world becomes. What we post sets a ripple effect on younger generations that will soon use the internet. Yes we would like to teach our children freedom of expression and the freedom to be whoever they wish to be. But first we need to teach them how to think freely, if not, our corrupted society will teach them. Isn’t it a scary thought that our children know more about Harry Potter and Twilight than Gandhi or Mother Teresa? (I have nothing against those books or its authors just simply stating a fact) We should also ask ourselves, are we enslaved by this world and its trappings? Are we truly free? Are our decisions, how we dress, we speak, how we interact, the way we decide, truly free from the influence of this twisted world? Or are we just regurgitating the views of this world regarding freedom of self, and freedom of expression. If so, another question needs to be answered. Are we truly free?

“People tend to be generous when sharing their nonsense, fear, and ignorance. And while they seem quite eager to feed you their negativity, please remember that sometimes the diet we need to be on is a spiritual and emotional one. Be cautious with what you feed your mind and soul. Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action.”
Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

We have this opportunity right at this moment to free our minds. We have access to the whole world, literally in our hands. So what do we promote? What do we stand for? What do we post? I keep on repeating this because I think it’s very important for us to understand that what we put out there is what the world is going to be. There are 7 Billion people living in this planet. If we all decide that tomorrow, there is no more poverty. It will be done. If we all decide that tomorrow, there will not be a single homeless person in this world. It will be done. If we put aside our greed and selfishness global hunger can be eradicated. One collective thought and one decisive action can result in a change in this world that will benefit all mankind and future generations. So do we add to the negativity and the hate? Do we add to promoting violence and sexual promiscuity? Shall we all to the fast growing ignorance? Do we help promote the lie that media is publishing? Or do we take a stand. It sounds so idealistic but sometimes all it takes is a simple action, and a simple question. So from one frog to another, before we post anything, can we all decide to stop for a moment and ask ourselves, “What is my intention?”

Reflection Song

  • Photo by James Lee, released under an attribution licence. [http://www.flickr.com/photos/jronaldlee/4579611880/]

Finding Yourself, In A Lost World

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Finding Yourself, in A Lost World.

We look at our image in the mirror at least 8 to 10 times a day. We usually check our hair, adjust our clothes, adjust make up (for women or men), and check if there’s food on our teeth or anything disgusting on our face. We do this on a daily basis, week in week out; month after month so on and so forth. But when was the last time that you truly stopped, looked, and questioned, who you were? Is the person staring back familiar to you?

If you haven’t figured who you are yet, take this moment to get re-acquainted with yourself. Take out 3 sheets of paper. Recall all the life lessons that you have learned in the past years, and in the past decades. It could be as simple as “write more poetry” or as complex as “Don’t learn anything that you’ll need to forget”. I suggest that you write it down on paper. Recall all your triumphs, may it be physical, emotional, or spiritual and root out the lessons you’ve learned from them. Recall your failures… all of them, and pull the lessons from them. On a different piece of paper, make a list of the people who have hurt you immensely, then list down the people you believe you have hurt immensely, pull the lessons you have learned from that particular time in your life and write it down. On a third sheet of paper, Side by side, write down, the qualities you like about yourself, and on the opposite, write down the qualities that you don’t like about yourself (I assure you this list is longer than the other, there is a reason for that) Leave the rest of the paper blank for now. Read those three pages of paper.THIS IS WHO YOU WERE

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”- 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Take a look at all the lessons you have learned in life. Read them out loud. Now, we start taking out what is not of Love. Huh? What? Everything that is not borne of Love or does not promote love of self and most importantly of others is a selfish lesson. It promotes self-seclusion, and it will alienate others from you, and will stunt your growth spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. So how do we know if its true love? Good love? Positive love? Simple, I always use this rule. You may agree or not but if you think about it withholding any bias, it’s the perfect description of Love. If it’s not these things, it’s probably not love.

“To ere is human, To forgive is divine.”

-Alexander Pope-

Now comes the difficult part. Much like in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, this is a very important part of the recovery process (This would be similar to Steps 8 and 9 of the 12 steps) Giving and asking for Forgiveness. In the 2nd sheet of paper, we listed the names of the people who have hurt us, and the people we have hurt. If it’s not going to harm that person or others, approach the people who have wronged you and that you have wronged, I myself would write a letter or an email if the opportunity to see them face to face will be more damaging or at the moment, is not possible. It should be a short letter, not going into details of what transpired, but, merely acknowledging your own faults and asking forgiveness for them while expressing deep regret in how things have turned out. Even if you’re writing the letter to someone who has done you harm, there will always be something that we have done wrong, especially in relationships. It might have been our immediate reaction towards the confrontation or how we reacted afterwards, our attitude, what we said that we believe they deserve. The bottom line is that it is not a blaming game. Some people will reply, with kind words thanking, that you had the courage to reach out, forgiving you and moving on. Others will still be angry, and will say harsh things. Others will not reply at all. Stop there. You have already asked forgiveness, whatever the result is, is out of your hands. If they choose to forgive you, or don’t forgive you, you have no say on the matter, what you can do, you did. You have done your part. The next step is repenting, learning the lesson, and applying it.

The 3rd sheet of paper is about how YOU, view YOU. It’s about your strength and what you believe are your weaknesses or what you dislike about yourself. Read this with your heart. More often, I have seen that the list of the things that we dislike about ourselves is longer than the list we like about us. Why is this so? Inside of all us there’s a yearning, an inner hunger, to be the best version of ourselves. We simply haven’t learned to live grateful lives. To appreciate what we have right at this moment. We are always looking for the next big thing, new cellphone, clothes, things that will improve our outer selves and all the while, we neglect our inner beings. This sheet of paper represents who you are. You need to realize this and accept it. Accept YOU for all your flaws and insecurities. Accept that YOU are perfectly made this way. YOU are the result of YOUR experiences and decisions that YOU, yourself have made. Accept yourself. More so, accept yourself and your mistakes.

Read all three pages…. THIS IS WHO YOU ARE

After you have fully accepted You, it is time to begin the “Process” of creating a better you. (BIG emphasis on Process) Maximize your growth and the potential of your mind, heart and soul. Start learning new things; learn a craft, an instrument, and travel. I suggest having a 1 year plan. Things that you want to accomplish within a year like; bungee jumping, lose 20 pounds, bake a perfect cake. Whatever it is, created short-term goals and accomplish them. At the same time, you should create a five-year plan. Where do you want to see yourself in the next 5 years? Things that you want to accomplish. (Long Term Goals) Finish school, mend that broken heart, (which sometimes takes years to heal), get married or become an astronaut! Literally, your imagination is the limit.

Finding and discovering who you are is a process. Just like every process, there are steps that we have to take. We must not skip steps and fast forward to where we want to be. It’s within the journey that we will discover who we are. These steps need to be done with Honesty. We need to stop lying to ourselves and saying, we are “OK” when we are not. Stop faking and start being real. Go thru the grieving process; let the emotions run through you. Be honest with your feelings but you don’t have to let everyone know your business. There are things that need to be said, and there are things that need only to be felt.   Surround yourself with genuine people and family. Let go of the fake ones that drag you down, and are only around you because they need something. You are in this for the long run, so have patience with yourself. You will constantly change and expect that. You can keep adding, and subtracting, but you never have to lose who you are. Love Yourself.

#ChooseLove

Reflection Song: