Passion streaming

Posted on April 26, 2010. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: , , |

Passion is one of the most used words when it comes to reading blogs. Zeal, fervor, and religious meanings are tied to this word.

Passion is something that gives you feelings and emotions strong enough to animate you to do extraordinary things!

Passion is the nitro in your fuel tank.

Passion Streaming is what you experience when you find something to write about that makes it effortless. It is the feeling when the link between brain, heart and keyboard become one. When what you are writing about overmasters the mundane in your life and begins flowing like pure freedom from your fingertips!

I feel that way about the Philippines. The sights, the smells, the real raw life that one experiences when we travel to somewhere so far away from your existence to a place where for the first time in your life you feel at home!

Can I give you some advice? Find that one thing in your sphere that will ignite the fervor that holds the key to your very existence. It may be writing, it may be helping people. It could be something you wanted to be or do from your earliest memories.

Start now. Make a list. Make a list of all the things that turned you on that you could never make a living at.

Begin to think about and dream about it. Begin to believe that it can come true. Please don’t give up on yourself and use your imagination to make your dreams come true.

I do believe in Passion. Even if you’re not a writer begin to write your dreams and you will begin to see them come true.

If you could see where I am and where I started from you would know that dreams really do come true. I am just a typical Midwestern guy. I don’t have any special talents. I do know what I love and have identified it. That is the first step toward progress.

If no one believes in you, don’t despair, I do. Please leave a comment to this post and we can begin to work on your dreams together. Don’t think that I don’t have the time or I’m too busy. One of my greatest joys is to help people! You don’t know how much I would love to help!

Please remember to just make a little comment at the end of this post and we will start our journey together!

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Living in Poverty! Yeah!

Posted on February 28, 2010. Filed under: lifestyle, Philosophy | Tags: |

  • The Kitchen

    POVERTY.  Just the word brings up certain emotions.  Is it fear?  Do you always have the urge to look away?  I’m not talking about here in the U.S.  I’m talking about real poverty.   The kind where there is no hope of making any money and no food for the day!

This post is not about living in poverty but CLOSE!  This is about interacting with people half a world away who live like most of the folk in the world.  I was walking with one of my daughters one day back in the summer.  It was morning, steamy Missouri conditions as we walked.  She said “Dad, it’s really hot this morning”.  I agreed with her, it was uncomfortable.   I replied to her by saying “You know, it is hot, but do you realize that most people in the world live out in it everyday?”

It was April 25, 2009 when I finally got home to the Philippines for the second time.  I call it home because I love being there.  After all, home is where you love to be.  We arrived in a taxi 20 minutes from the airport to the place we were to stay for the next 3 weeks.  We frantically searched for the right roads that would take us to the place where we would meet my wife’s family at their house in Pavia.  The language barrier was a bit of a problem and just remembering the right house was a bit of a problem as well. 

We arrived and exited the taxi to an environment that would make most people cringe!  The heat was a little oppressive, the humidity was uncomfortable but the image of my little niece coming from the door of the house was a welcome and long overdue sight!  She reached us before her grandmother (my wife’s Mom) .  Her long silky black hair was shining in the sun and her little forehead showed the effect of the climate  with little sweat beads on her tan little Filipino face!  Her beauty is apparent and her welcoming smile was all the relief I needed from the heat!  I grabbed her with a one arm embrace, the suitcase being in the other.  She was a little tentative with me because it had been two and a half years since we had met for the first time in 2007.  Mae Mae, (her name) was glad to see her Tito and Tita after a long absence! 

We were going to be here for a while.   Pavia is a tiny village settled outside of the larger town of Iloilo,  a much larger and more modern town in the central part of the Philippines.  It is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else.  Everyone knows your business and helps you take care of it too!  There is a security knowing that my wife is related to almost everyone in this little subdivision.  My wife’s grandmother is considered a local “Faith Healer”, not the kind you see on American t.v. but a sought after talent in those parts just the same.  I believe my wife probably has thirty cousins, all with families of their own in this little town.  

Our accommodations were quite simple by western standards.  As we entered the home it is secured by only a wooden gate that locks with a padlock.  The floors are rough concrete, the walls and ceilings as well.  I invited my mother in law to give me a tour of our new digs.  There is no formal kitchen, but a kerosene one burner stove set on concrete blocks and a hand pump well served the family’s needs.  They also had something I had never seen before.  A charcoal burning stove complimented the other cooking tools.  I am always amazed how resourceful these people are.  We spend big bucks to grill out and they enjoy it anytime they want for a fraction of the cost!  I was pleased when Nanay (Filipino word for Mother)  showed me the bathroom.  It was this little concrete room in the back of the house.  It actually had a flushable toilet!  You don’t know what a luxury it is among the poor to have this!  There was a pipe coming out of the wall with a shower head on it as well.  Sorry, no hot water!   So here it was, a small concrete room with nothing but a toilet and a shower head probably in a 6’x6′ space.  She led me to the place where we were to sleep, it was a 12×12 bedroom with two windows, you know the kind, they look like venetian blinds only made out of glass with a small crank to open up the small horizontal glass panes.  In the middle was a Papog.  A Papog is a handmade bed frame, fashioned entirely of bamboo.  Four big supports on the corners and the bed surface was made out of split slats of bamboo are used as a sleeping surface.  This creation was actually quite comfortable due to the fact that air is able to move freely through the sleeping surface and keep you somewhat cooler on those steamy tropical nights. 

We stayed three weeks with our family.  What I noticed most was there was a different kind of peacefulness there.  You really can’t put your finger on it but time seems to slow down, there is a politeness that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.  People always ask me “Aren’t you afraid to go to the Philippines?”.  I am always amazed at the way people are fearful of the unknown.  It seems we are spoon-fed stories about the world around us in order to make us fearful and distrustful of other countries and people.  There are troubles in the Philippines, mostly in the southern provinces of Mindanao.  There are Muslim anti government rebels that are wanting to self-rule.  I don’t go there any more than I would go and travel in South Central L.A.  or Washington D.C.  for that matter.   Did you know statistically speaking that you are more likely to be killed in D.C. than if you were to live in Israel?  If you follow all the news stories you would think that Israel is one of the most dangerous places in the world.

I absolutely love travelling and staying in the Philippines!  The people are warm, and friendly.  The local food is incredible, especially if you dare to be a little adventurous!  You will never be cold, and the living is very affordable!  Of all the nations of Asia, the Philippines is the most Western friendly nation.    It is the only Asian nation where Christianity is the majority religion.  If anyone ever wants to go, just get with me and we will plan a trip.  I am going in January of next year!  Can’t WAIT!

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Lean in to the Fear!

Posted on January 24, 2010. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: |

  What do you fear?  Ask yourself this question.     Life is all about perception.  You often think things are one way and they really turn out to be something different than you thought.  How many times has this happened to you?  Fear is over rated!  How many times have you feared something just to find out that what you feared never came to pass and all that negative emotion was misplaced?

Fear takes on basically two forms:

Real Fear: the kind that is born from reality.  The kind of trouble we could get into by crossing the street without looking both ways.  The kind of fear if we didn’t pay our bills we would lose our credit or home.  Keeping an eye on our children so that they are safe from harm. 

Imagined Fear:  This is 95 percent of all fears.  These little demons are pre-programmed in your mind that keep telling you that you can’t succeed or that it’s not time to do that project now, or that you will do it later.  It is a paralyzing force that keeps you in your present state. 

  I remember being in Iloilo City Philippines last time, we were about to leave for Manila the next day when we tried to get some Pesos for our trip back.  You see you need to live by one concrete precept when travelling in the third world.  A.B.C.   That little acronym is vitally important!  A.B.C. stands for always bring CASH!!!.  So there we were, standing in line at the A.T.M. waiting not so patiently for our beloved turn in line.   This has to be experienced to be believed!  The pace of life in the big P.I. , well, sometimes a snail has a sporting chance to win the race!   We arrived at the magic money machine only to find that our card information was “not valid”.   Our card was fine but this is where the fear part comes in.  Our card didn’t work so we had to try to go into the bank, insert here Mr. military man with loaded automatic weapon at the door!   The line at the A.T.M. paled in comparison to the sea of exasperated would be patrons of the Banco de Oro.   We languished for approximately 35 minutes in line once again  only to find that if we didn’t have an acct. with them they could not help us!   OK!  Back in line again in the futile hope that our card would magically appear to be in working order this time!  

What if we couldn’t get the money?  We have no accts in the Philippines!  We don’t know anyone with enough money to lend us here!  If the card doesn’t work this time what will we do?  We had approx. 10 hours to get cash or miss our flight to Manila to catch another one to go home to the land of milk and honey (America)!   Yes, Americans, we do have it pretty cake here!  The tension was palpable, the panic was building!  Frustration was the rule of the hour!  The long lines will hasten for no man.   We decided to try a different A.T.M. this time so we crowded into this 40 ft. line that not so happily was adjacent at the end of a hallway next to the crowded women’s C.R. (Bathroom).   In the big P.I. they refer to bathrooms as “Comfort Rooms”.   Another 30 minutes of aching feet and fragrant air later we were determined to take full advantage of our turn at the roulette wheel that is the Filipino cash machine!  All my midwestern polite upbringing was tabled because you see we were at an impasse!  We had to get cash or become illegal citizens of this country that I have come to love.   Our turn came only to find that once again we were turned down.  We dug for cards and tried to remember obscure pin numbers until at last one last attempt was made.   It was like the pressure you feel when you have applied for your first home loan!  Push the enter button and wait for that seemingly endless moment of time between when you hit enter and the dreaded/blessed moment arrives when you see your results!  Yes, I am writing this from the comfort of my home in America on my fabulous Toshiba laptop in the lap of luxury I enjoy everyday here.   So obviously we got the cash!

Was this a real or imagined fear?  It could have went either way.   We would have made it somehow even if the machine had not worked.  Believe me, the names and phone numbers of some expats I had recently met living in the Philippines were coming up as a possible resource to my dilemma!  

Lean into the fear!  When you feel inadequate or merely apathetic Lean into the fear!  What do I mean? 

Ask yourself this question:

What is keeping me from achieving all my dreams?

I bet if you really analyzed it you will find that fear is at the root of your paralysis.   Did you ever see the long ski jump competition when the athlete takes off and is suspended in the air?  His or her head is almost touching the front of the skis!   Imagine yourself there looking down.  Who knows how high you are!  Are you going to land correctly or wind up in the hospital?  He/she is leaning into fear knowing they have prepared themselves for the outcome!   In life we face daily challenges both large and small. 

     I have found that progress and victory only appear coming out of the struggle!   We must grapple with life.  Life appears to be unwilling to grant us wishes like a good Fairy God Mother!  So my friends we must put our hand to the plow, shake off our fears and steer straight ahead.  Life may not be like that Fairy God Mother but you can attest to victories in your life when you accomplished something.   Why did this happen?  Think of those times now!  Stop and remember  two or three.  Remember the process you went through?  Remember the fear?  Remember the struggle?  This is your own key to success!   Take the process you went through and repeat!  Maybe refine the method a little but get another goal and repeat!

Please leave a comment at the bottom and share some things that you have been through.  I don’t want you to do that just to have comments on my blog, I want you to do that so you can see what a great person you are and when you put it down in writing you make it more real to yourself.  You don’t know how your story might inspire someone else!  Don’t be selfish with your story, please share to inspire others!  Thanks!

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To Breath and to Smile

Posted on December 14, 2009. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: , |

To breathe and to smile? Why would I make such a ridiculous title for a post?

Look at the children. Examine their faces. My favorite smile is of course in the middle! I actually know these small children. I wish you could have could experienced meeting them like I did. These little expressions of joy I met while on my first trip to San Matias, a little Barangay (village) that was devastated by the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption years before in the Philippines. Despite their circumstances these children and their community have grace and hospitality, I have only observed first hand once in my life!

My wife and I walked the dirty street that led to her Grandmother’s small concrete home. We approached the gateway to the little dwelling when it seemed like 10 – 15 beautiful tiny figures gathered around in front of us. I did not know it but my wife was related to all of them and was greeting them for the first time! She had been away from her native country for 10 years so she had not seen these children. There is a custom in her country that the young are to always show respect to their elders. I had heard of this ritual but never participated first hand. The children formed a line in front of us. The first one grabbed my hand gently, bowed, placed the back of my and to his forehead. Each child repeated the same until they were done. I cannot accurately describe the feeling that came over me!

These children one by one paid respect to me and my wife as was their custom. You could see the fact that they were in poverty, a way of life that they were quite accustomed to.

I guess what I am trying to convey is when you strip life down to the very basics, all you really need in life is to breathe and to smile! You cannot tell me that these children are not living happy lives! I know they live on much less than we do, however they are happy in whatever circumstance they find themselves in!

We in the Western world are governed by our appetites, our addictions and to pop culture. We live our lives to varying degrees according to what our world view tells us is right. We are marketed to at every turn, overwhelmed with ads in print, television and on our smart phones! We are so engrossed in the virtual world that we miss out on reality!

I want you to try an exercise that I learned from a book by Thich Nhat Hanh. He is a Buddhist and Zen Master from Vietnam. He has published many books and is known the world over for his wisdom. This particular book is entitled “The Miracle of Mindfulness“.

This simple exercise will help bring you back into focus so you can, like the little children, once again learn to smile and enjoy the little things. This is a breathing exercise, so find a quiet place the first time you do this. Soon you will be able to practice this wherever you are.
  • As you breathe in, say to yourself in your thoughts “I am breathing in a calming breath“.
  • As you breathe out, say to yourself in your thoughts “ I am breathing out a smile“. Put a smile on your face! It will amaze you how much better you will feel with a smile rather than a frown. The physical act of smiling will bring a happier emotion to you shortly if you will keep it up!
  • Next, as you breathe in again, say to yourself “ I am breathing in this present moment“. Take take time to be in that moment you are currently in and experience it.
  • Next, as you breathe out, say to yourself “ Wonderful moment“. We should be thankful for every moment we live.

By repeating this process you can achieve much comfort and stress relief! By counting our breath and making the most of each moment we can live a much richer and more fulfilling life!

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