On Slowing Down

It’s that feeling again. That feeling of moving forward, but not fast enough.

It’s that feeling again. Memories from last year remembered from reading a novel whose lead male character is only one letter short of his name.

It’s that feeling again. The need to slow down. Collect my thoughts. That feeling that the reason I probably want to speed up work so much is to forget the pains of 2016. But the very act of using work to distract me is very much like him. Thus, the need to slow down and face whatever I need to face. I am nothing like him. I will never be like him.

He would make the decision to leave you himself so that he knows for a fact he can never hurt you again. -Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us: A Novel

It’s that feeling again. The desire to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was trying to save me from pain? He warned me from the start. “Don’t get too close. Masasaktan ka lang.” I did not listen.

It seems I will spend the rest of my life wondering what was actually going on in his head the day I flew back home. Maybe it wasn’t easy for him not to say goodbye? Yeah. I’m crazy enough to even wonder (people think I was crazy enough to even have felt something in the first place).

One day maybe I will realize it doesn’t matter what he was thinking about.

It doesn’t matter anymore.



Lessons from Pain

I still remember one night when I was a kid when my father went home from work and gave me a printed copy of Bill Gates’ commencement speech in one high school in the US. He talked about some lessons he learned in life and one lesson particularly got stuck in my head: “Life’s unfair, get used to it.”

There’s one particular aspect of my life right now where these words resonate with great power, so strong that I might implode anytime with anger and sadness. You see, it turns out that no matter how good and pure your intentions may be, there are instances when Life will still give you sh*t in return. And because Life is so generous it will even bundle that sh*t with some goddamn, freakin’ pain. The kind of pain that tells you to just stay in bed in the morning or just cry at night. The kind that wants you to go back in time and do things differently. The kind of pain that makes you question if it was right to share your time and energy with such a person.

But at the end of the day, no matter how much you whine, it still boils down to one fact: “Life’s unfair, get used to it.” So you decide to cope with pain, instead of fighting it. You learn to acknowledge it instead of running away. You learn to face it every day, feel every bit of it, instead of denying its existence. You make a deal with pain that it’s welcome to stay for a while as long as it pays its dues by providing lessons. Luckily, pain has been diligent in paying its dues. Here’s what it gave me so far:

  1. Guard your heart. And I don’t mean this in a romantic way, I mean this in every freakin’ way possible. At work, with friends, with family, etc. Protect your heart because if you allow anyone to hurt it, it’s gonna be hell. Stand up for it if you need to. Never sacrifice your dignity for any worldly thing (e.g. reputation, degree, etc.). I saw how it destroyed people and how those people shatter others along the way. So take extra care in guarding your heart. It’s the seat of your values and dignity. Don’t let anyone meddle with it. Ever.
  2. Trust your instincts.  Trust your gut. Sometimes the heart is filled with emotions that it fails to see danger along the way. But your gut can sense this. Unfortunately, gut has such a small voice! So listen carefully and trust it!
  3. Never aim to “fix” other people. It’s not your job. Period. Besides, people are not things that need to be “fixed.” Give advice, support, or whatever, but never with the intent of “fixing” another person.
  4. Serve/help/share with others willingly without expecting anything good in return. Also, be prepared from time to time to even get something negative in return. It happens! When it does, just smile, say a couple of curses or cry if you want, then move forward. They are not worth your time anymore. Let them have the bad karma, not you.
  5. The people you spend time with is vital. Choose very, very, wisely.
  6. It sucks to feel discarded. Work extra harder never to let another person feel this.
  7. Challenges are good “people filters.” Those who are true to you stay. They stick around no matter what. Treasure these people and don’t ever run after those who leave. The fact that they left when things got rough tells something more about them than you.
  8. Life’s unfair only for a short time. Why? Because there’s always karma that balances everything out at the end of the day. So weather the storm for now while keeping close guard of your values and let karma do its thing at the right time. If you look around, you’ll find that you’re still greatly blessed. Smile and be grateful. :)

There you go. The dues that pain paid for staying with me for a few months now. Not bad, yes? I think it’s gonna stay for a little more time, but I have a feeling that it’s starting to grow tired because something else is sucking its energy out: love. Love from people around me and love I have for myself and the person who hurt me. It’s been quite a journey, welcoming pain, but I think it was worth it because its friend–healing– never comes before it.

On Irony & Pain

by jmanapat

How deep must understanding be?
How long must patience be?
How can a source of joy and encouragement,
Be the same source of pain?

Should I be doing this?
Or have I gone mad?
Because it turns out,
It is my friend
Who’s making me sad.


I’ve stared at death in the face six years ago and I thought that was painful. But this one, a thousand times more.

“If friendship is your weakest point, then you are the strongest person in this world.” ~Abraham Lincoln

On Lessons


“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

This mantra brought me out of near depression as I recited it at least 108 times every single day, using my mala beads as guide.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

Sometimes, the most hurtful words come not from our enemies, but from our friends.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

It’s necessary to leave home in order for us to grow. But there will definitely be no place like home.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

It takes courage to give love. It takes courage to receive love. Sometimes the latter is more difficult.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

There is power in silence.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

If someone tries to change who you are to suit their liking, move away. Fast. Do not ever lose yourself. Not with work. Not with friends. Not with love. Always be yourself.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

Live your life in your own terms. No man or woman should ever make you feel insufficient.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

You are enough. You are not at the mercy of any person. You should never be.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

Make friends because you want to, not because you need to.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

Forgive. But do not ever forget, else you lose all the lessons.

“I live my life with love in my heart for all creation.”

Smile. No matter what.



Again and again and again. But each time I learn something new. No regrets. :)

This thing might not be for me because, five years ago, I just might have married my advocacy. But who knows? I might be wrong. For now, I gracefully let go again.

You think by now I’ve learned,
Play with fire,
You’ll get burn.
But fire can be oh so warm,
And that’s why I return.

~Fallin’, Robert Klein


I am now approaching my third month away from home and the Universe is very kind to have blessed me with friends who are more like my family here in Cleveland. It never fails to amaze me how quickly we got along with each other!

The past two days, though, I have been feeling weird. My constant enemy has been attacking again: fear. People probably don’t have any idea how fearful a person I am, especially when it comes to my friends and family. With people coming and going in the lab nowadays, I can’t help but think that the time will come when we will have to part ways as well (oh my, so dramatic! Lol.) But seriously, these thoughts started to come in and I fought back fear again as I always did so many times before. Being selfish is something I would never want to be. So if they have to leave to finish their project, search for greener pastures, or whatnot, then I will be happy to see them thrive. I, too, will be leaving at the end of the year anyway. I guess there’s no use fighting the inevitable.

The transience of all things really make life more meaningful. It makes us appreciate every single moment. I felt the same when I left DMMME last year, but I no longer feel fear for that because I know that my DMMME family will still be there when I go back home (gaaahd, I miss you guys!). :’)

Anyway, I don’t know how else to show my gratitude so I guess I’ll just say it through the video below. THANK YOU guys (you know who you are). Where do we go next? :D


“If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice?” ~ Jonathan Livingston Seagull