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



Do what makes you feel alive.

The world may distract you by showing beautiful things that society dictates as acceptable. But do not forget how simple life can be–a life without the intricacies of changing who you are just to fit in.

Remember that it is only ourselves who can stop us from reaching our goals; of doing what makes us feel alive. So continue dreaming big dreams. You might fail, but there is also that chance that you might succeed.

Do not let circumstances rob you of your life. Your heart may still be beating, but a life without vision is a life not worth living. If you lose sight of where you are going, stop for a while. Check where you are right now, at this moment. Ask around. Shut down the world shortly and listen carefully to that soft, tender voice inside of you. It always knows where you should go.

Take care not to stop for so long, though. Time might leave you behind. If you should move, move forward. Slowly, but forward. You may look back, but keep moving forward.

Then one day, I promise you, it will be okay. Nothing is permanent in the world. Whatever you are feeling right now, it will go away. In the mean time, while the clouds have not parted yet, find time to smile and be grateful. You are still alive. You are still breathing. There is still hope.

Time will come when you will feel alive again. Everything will be okay.

Now go and continue living.


Ensō- a sacred symbol in Zen Buddhism; may translate as “Mutual Circle” or “Circle of Togetherness,” among other translations.












by jmanapat

The sun would rise and see me smiling,
Thankful for another day beginning.
It shines on my heart
Where one would find,
The dreams and fears
I have kept all night.

This hopeful heart still longs for you;
My dearest friend,
Do you feel it too?
Sometimes I forget not to hope so much;
But how can I not?
My heart you have touched.

The sun would set and in my heart one would find,
Fear creeping in,
For she is always on your side.
I can choose to be jealous,
Be miserable and cry;
Or be thankful for our friendship,
Lit by stars in the sky.

Sleep would come and I would dream once more,
I am up on the mountains with the same man as before.
In this place there is no fear,
Only joy and freedom,
So pure and so clear.

The moon would set,
The sun will rise;
My heart will hope for you again,
Even before I open my eyes.

Image source: puncturedartefact.wordpress.com

On the Road to Recovery

He cried in front of everyone. I saw his hand. It was trembling. His voice was shaking and there was pain as he spoke those words. The woman  beside me, she started to cry as well. The woman in front who was facing all of us, she was crying, too. She looked at me, said I was there during the meeting. Those eyes were asking, disappointingly, “Why didn’t you explain my side to them?”

I looked at his hand again. It was still trembling. Just as my hands have been trembling for the past few weeks. He was still crying. Just as I have cried in the past months. The girl beside him placed her hand on his shoulder and started to comfort him. Even if it was my case that was the subject of that meeting, no tears fell that night. Nothing. I just looked at them. I saw how the eyes of the woman I am serving first turned slightly red as tears started to flow out of it. I saw his trembling hand and remembered the many times that mine trembled the same way as tears fell silently on my bedroom floor.

I find solace in the belief that all this happened for a reason. It’s amazing. How the world taught me how it feels to have someone hate you so much, but at the same time to have another person believe in you so much. How at some points you feel so weak that you just want to give it all up, but then you wake up the following day feeling determined to fight for what you think is right even though others may have opposing views. It was probably the only period in my life that I have constructed so many letters to give comfort, to seek comfort, to explain, to defend, to apologize, to rant, to say thank you. A time when difficult decisions had to be made. The world made me experience how it feels to have people beside you for support, but at some points, what it was like to feel terribly alone again. I saw students cry in front of me, but, fortunately, there were many who were happy as well. It was a time that I felt disappointed about a lot of things, the most hurtful one, in myself. But I also learned that it is only through challenges that we will see the extent of our courage to wake up and live each day despite all uncertainty.

I can feel that all this is about to end soon and I can only hope that my sanity manages to hold on a little longer. The deadline of grades has already elapsed and I have two subjects I have yet to submit. I have a thesis defense in two days and I haven’t done a single slide for my presentation. But so what? In the words of my student,

“I learned that I am not a disappointment as long as I did my best given my current circumstances.” 

You have no idea how happy I was when I read that on your paper. Thank you for writing it so beautifully. It’s now your teacher’s turn to apply that lesson in real life. Wish me luck!

Perfect Imperfection

I don’t know any perfect people, only really, really flawed people who are still worth loving. – John Green

This is the last week that I’ll be giving lectures for this semester. Looking back very quickly, I realize that much of the stress I felt in the last five months was born out of a high expectation from myself. I wanted to introduce the effective teaching techniques I read about while in graduate school, but was not able to do so (at least not all, of course) because I underestimated the time it takes to make one really effective lecture. I did mess up in some of my classes, and did good in others. There’s much to learn from both experiences.

keep calm

Anyway, here I am cramming my last two lectures for this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon. It might not be that good given the limited time I’ve invested in it (due to the workshops and symposium I had to attend the past few days), but what the heck, I have to loosen up and just get up again if I do fail these last two lectures. Breathe! Arrgh. I just don’t want to let my students down, but at the same time I have to be patient and remind myself that I’m just a new faculty member who is still learning and developing her teaching skills. No one expects me, you, or anybody to be perfect. Breathe! Gaaaaahhhh.

My Sweet Lady

My Sweet Lady
by John Denver

Lady, are you crying, do the tears belong to me?
Did you think our time together was all gone?
Lady, you’ve been dreaming. I’m as close as I can be.
And I swear to you our time has just begun.

Close your eyes and rest your weary mind.
I promise I will stay right here beside you.
Today our lives were joined, became entwined.
I wish that you could know how much I love you.

Lady, are you happy, do you feel the way I do?
Are there meanings that you’ve never seen before?
Lady, my sweet lady, I just can’t believe it’s true.
And it’s like I’ve never ever loved before.

Close your eyes and rest your weary mind.
I promise I will stay right here beside you.
Today our lives were joined, became entwined.
I wish that you could know how much I love you.

Lady, are you crying, do the tears belong to me?
Did you think our time together was all gone?
Lady, my sweet lady, I’m as close as I can be.
And I swear to you our time has just begun.

John Denver is Mama’s favorite singer. I grew up hearing his songs and this one as well as “Perhaps Love” are among my favorites. I think the song above captures this quote very well:

One runs the risk of crying a bit if one allows oneself to be tamed. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

And if you’ve read The Little Prince, you know it’s okay to cry a bit (because of the color of the wheat fields). :)

A beautiful song, a beautiful book, and a beautiful day! Good morning!