Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Joie de Vivre Is Discovered, Not Pursued

Life these past months has revealed to me certain truths and realities about dreams, desires and goals. Things I've experienced, read about and reflected upon have led me to revisit the paradigm behind the Joie de Vivre workbook. 

First paradigm shift : Joie de vivre is not to be pursued but to be discovered. It is not something that is out there for us to chase after or seek, it is already in us - and we are unconsciously experiencing this at certain moments. 

Second paradigm shift : Setting goals and achieving dreams and desires can sometimes hinder us from truly living in the present. We are in a constant state of  restlessness - always wishing we were in some other place. Not to say that one shouldn't set goals or pursue dreams. It's the attachment to them and the impatience to make them come into fruition that depletes our serenity. Life is fluid and evolving - so are our dreams.

So in the meantime, this workbook will stay in the parking lot - while I take a walk around the block and rendezvous with joie de vivre.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I'm Grateful For

I am grateful that on most days I have the time to do things just for the sheer joy of doing them, that I get to create and produce something without worrying about deadlines or appraisals and that I realize that at the end of the day, I work to live and not the other way around.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Can You Do?

The greater the love, the greater the risk
The greater the risk, the greater the reward

What else can you do but go for broke?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When Relationships are Rocked

A relationship (romantic and otherwise) evolves and changes over time. Life brings circumstances that shake it up, turn it inside-out, upside down, wrong side up -  and it is never the same. Depending on how you handle it, it can either cause a rift or a renewal. It is wise not to resist or struggle against it. Instead, try acceptance and surrender. Take a step back and several deep breaths, if you must. When you speak, speak gently and out of love.

When the chemistry changes, take the new form and examine it. Peel at the layers and beneath it, you will realize that your attachment to what once was (or what you thought it could be) is borne from fear of realizing the truth - about yourself, about the other person and who you are in relation to that person. It's best to take it as it is, and handle it kindly.

When relationships are rocked by some inner turmoil or an external deluge, just keep steady and weather the storm. Turn to your Anchor -that unshakeable, unchanging and unshifting force of Unconditional Love - and know that you are loved and worthy as you are - whether the relationship sinks or survives.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Words of Wanderlust

Image by Vandan Desai Photography
Charles Baudelaire

For the child, in love with globe and stamps
the universe equals his vast appetite
Ah! How great the world is in the light of lamps!
In the eyes of memory, how small and slight!

One morning we set out, minds filled with fire
travel, following the rhythm of the seas,
hearts swollen with resentment and bitter desire
soothing, in the finite waves, our infinites;

Some happy to leave a land of infamies
some the horrors of childhood,
others whose doom is to drown in a woman's eyes,their astrologies
the tyrannous Circe's dangerous perfumes

The ice that stings them, and the scorching sun
slowly erase the marks of their desire
But the true voyagers are those who leave only to move;
hearts like balloons, as light,
they never swerve from their destinies;
and without knowing why, say,always : "Flight!"

Those whose desires take on cloud-likeness
who dream of vast sensualities
the same way a conscript dreams of the guns,
shifting vagueness, that the human spirit cannot name.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Passion Statement of the Day - Expecting the Best

"Have faith in people. Don't assume the worst."

- Lieutenant Maria LaGuerta, from the TV series, "Dexter"

Friday, August 12, 2011

On Having Stuff and Happiness

1. This is how I wish to get value for money : by investing in experiences, not in things.

2. There are shiny objects and fancy things that we I used to think I can't do without. But the fact is, I can.  Or at the very least, they can wait.

3. The little things can add up. Let me try foregoing the little things and then putting the money saved into the big things, because in time, little things can add up.:)

4. Come to think of it, I have everything I need.

I must say, however, that  there are worthwhile dreams and passions and life pleasures that need funding. So yeah, I'm still in hot pursuit of that promotion and the pay bumps - as is writ in the game plan of every ambitious corporate minion. Because I do like having and doing stuff. I just know I don't need a lot of the shiny and fancy ones to be happy. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Counter (Corporate) Culture Creed

The workplace (not all, but most) can be an energy-sucking vortex of negativity. It seems that someone's always complaining about something - the system, the hours, the pay, the boss, the work, the slow internet connection, the high-priced canteen food. Oh,  the things one must endure to make a living.

Why do we stab the boss behind her back and then smile at her at the corridor? Why do we allow unpleasant vibes to fester in a place where we spend a majority of our waking hours?Why do we come to work dragging our feet and uninspired - as if it were a curse and not a blessing? I believe that people are inherently good, but the workplace somehow manages to bring out the worst in us

One might say, we can't help it if our jobs/boss/computers/canteen food are crappy. Don't we have a right to voice out our grievances?

I say, you CAN help it. No job is going to perfect - there's always going to be something to complain about. But mature individuals will deal with it proactively - because whining never got anyone anywhere. If you must exercise your right to voice out grievances, then do so to someone who can do something about it.

Work is a source of dignity, a sense of accomplishment and pride. When was the last time we thought about our jobs this way? It's not what you do to earn your keep that defines you, it's how you do it.

I am a corporate minion. Have been for five years now. But I'd like to think I am an enlightened corporate minion. (I believe there are others out there too.) I believe that we can be in this world, but not OF this world. In this light, I have made a personal resolution to go against the groupthink grain, to counter the culture that breeds emotional (and physical) toxins. I resolve to be an instrument of goodness in the workplace and (to paraphrase the great Mahatma Gandhi), be the change I want to see in this (corporate) world.

I therefore resolve that

Where there is gossip and griping, let me be silent
Where there is mediocrity, let me strive for excellence and the extra mile
Where there are insults, let me give praises
Where there is discontent, let me find something to be thankful for
Where there is an uncharted work assignment, let me be flexible
Instead of pride, I will have humility
Instead of deceit, integrity
Instead of burnout, balance
Instead of skepticism, faith
Instead of fear, courage

All my words, actions and thoughts in my workplace will be governed by love.

So help me God.

On Kindness and Tolerance

Be kind to your enemies, for hurtful ways come from hurting hearts.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Passion Plate Recommends :

I stumbled across a goldmine of a blog today :

Leo Babauta, the creator of this blog, is an advocate of minimalism, veganism, living life with simplicity, joy, passion, creativity and balance. This is a treasure trove of nuggets of wisdom and inspiration. Now those are a dime and a dozen on the worldwide web today - but trust me, this one comes to you like a breath of fresh mountain air. Below is a sample of one of his inspired entries.

Do One Thing Well

Post written by Leo Babauta.
I’m often asked how you can start doing work you love — how you can make a living doing something you’re passionate about.

I don’t profess to have all the answers, but the answer for me has been fairly simple:

Do one thing really well.

People want a more comprehensive answer than that, but in my experience, if you learn to do this, the rest will follow.

I write about simplicity. That’s all I do. Over the last 4 1/2 years of writing Zen Habits I’ve found success by focusing on that alone, and stripping away everything else that gets in the way. I’ve removed comments, I don’t do much social media (except for fun), I don’t do much email, I don’t sell ads, I don’t do consulting. I write about simplicity.

By doing this one thing over and over, I’ve gotten much better at it. Good enough, anyway, for people to want to read my work, and as the audience for my work has grown, so have the opportunities to make a living in a non-spammy way. The ways I monetize (print books, ebooks, online courses) are less important than how I’ve grown the audience.

Do one thing well.

It’s really that simple. Narrow down what you do, and do it repeatedly. Learn, grow, improve, read, watch, do it some more. When you’re really good at that one thing, people will want to pay you for it, or to learn how you do it.

It takes a lot of focus and practice to get good at doing one thing, but I’ve found that if you truly love it, it’s not really work. It’s play. And I never complain about playing at something I love.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On Dreams and Surrendering

The pursuit of dreams is an exercise in being proactive but mostly, patience.
Desire, belief and action are needed to make dreams come true. There is however, an
unseen Wisdom and Grace that moves to make them come into fruition - in time.
Or sometimes unfolds something greater before your eyes.

by Bo Sanchez

Do you want to fulfill your dreams?
You need to surrender your dreams to God.
Many people have taught you to seek your dreams.
But very few have taught you to surrender your dreams.
Don’t get me wrong. Seeking your dreams is important. I always tell people, “You need to know your dream, define your dream, and pursue your dream. You need to have a firm grip on your dream—to eat, talk, walk, and sleep with your dream. I believe that if you don’t seek your dream with fierce commitment, your dreams won’t come true.”
But there’s a second phase to fulfilling your dreams.
At a certain point, after seeking your dream, you need to surrender your dream to God. 
Or else you won’t have peace.
In the Bible, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son on the altar (Genesis 22). From personal experience, I’ve noticed that God asks us to offer what is most dear to us. 
God calls you to surrender your dream on the altar.
Let me say it in another way. There are two extremes that you need to avoid. 
First is when we have no dreams. There are people I know who wake up in the morning not knowing what to do.  Because they have no dreams. And a person who has no dreams has already started dying.
That’s why every Sunday at the Feast (our weekly spiritual gathering), I teach people how to dream. I teach people to write 7 dreams on their Novena to God’s Love (it’s a little booklet we give to all first timers)and pray for them everyday.
The second extreme is when their dream consumes their life, it actually destroys them, or destroys their family, or destroys their health, or destroys their relationship with God.
These are people who say, “Unless I get a husband, I won’t be happy.” 
Or “Unless I get healed, I won’t be happy.” 
Or “Unless I get a baby, I won’t be happy.” 
Or “Unless I get a house, I won’t be happy.”
Or “Unless I get a US Visa, I won’t be happy.”
How do you know if you need to surrender your dream to God? When your dream becomes more important than your life. When your dream steals away your peace. When your dream steals away your God.
What does surrendering your dream mean?
I’m not asking you to give up your dream. I’m asking you to give up your attachment to a specific version of your dream. 
And that also means surrendering your attachment to a specific timetable of your dream.
Surrender means trusting that God has the best version in mind for you. That God’s best blessing will come in the best time and in the best way.
When you surrender your dream, you’re saying, “Even if I don’t get this dream, I’ll still be happy. Because my trust is in you, Lord.”
I believe something magical happens when you put your dream on the altar. When you surrender, you hear God speak to your heart and say, “Child, will you still want your dream if I tell you that I have something better for you?”
I want you to say this prayer to God right now: “Lord, I’m trusting you. I’ll still seek my dream with joyful passion, but I will surrender my attachment to the details of my dream. I will open myself to your wonderful surprises.”
 God Will Allow Temporary Disappointments

       My mother wanted me to be a priest.
       When I was a little boy, she told me, “I’m praying that you become a priest.  I’m not forcing you. But I’ll be the happiest woman in the world if you become a priest.”
       Talk about subtle emotional manipulation (Haha).
       When I was 16 years old, I took up philosophy for my college course, so that just in case God really called me to priesthood, I’ll be ready. (A.B. Philosophy is required for priesthood.)
After college, I also took all the required subjects for a Masters degree in Theology, again, just in case God really wanted me to be a priest. All the Bishop had to do was send me to a seminary for a year or two—and viola—I was ready for ordination.
But God never called me to be a priest.
When Mom learned that I had a girlfriend, it broke her heart. Aside from the fact that no woman was good enough for her son (Except for Mother Mary), her dream for me to become “Fr. Bo” was slipping through her fingers.
I’m sure there were many days when she imagined me to be a priest. I’m sure she imagined me wearing the clerical garb, celebrating Mass and consecrating the host. And one day, that beautiful picture was blown to bits.
But I also know that through many tears, Mom surrendered her dream for me to God. Like Abraham, she placed me at the altar.
And God gave her another version of that dream. 
I didn’t become a priest. But I became a preacher, an author, an entrepreneur, and a leader.
Today, when my mother thinks of me, she’s still the happiest woman in the world!
I love being a lay preacher. I love sharing about how I raise my kids and how I love my wife—stuff that priests will never be able to share. And without the long robe, I feel a lot more irreligious people can identify with me.
Friend, God has a way of fulfilling the dreams in your heart in the best way possible. He will allow you to be temporarily disappointed, but never permanently disappointed.
You don’t have to understand it all. Just surrender your dream to God. Just let it go. Just let God. Enjoy your life today, even if that dream seems to be so far away.
In due time, you’ll see the best blessing coming your way.
       Original article taken from  :

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Passion Statement of the Day - A Word from The Beatles

And in the end the love you take
is equal to the love you make.

- The End, The Beatles

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Corporate Minion's Dilemma

You know how many hours I spend at work? Ten. That's not counting the one hour on the road going to the office and the two hours going back. In total, I spend 13 hours away from my creative pursuits. That still leaves me with 11 hours of my day. But then, 7 hours of that is spent sleeping. So really, I only have four hours of the day to do the things that aren't dictated by my paycheck.

Sadly,the day job can sap the energy (and the time) to do things we truly like. So what do we do with those precious 4 hours of "me" time? I truly hope it's not spent sitting in front of the television or the computer - unless blogging is your form of recreation.

How many days has it been since you last tinkered your bike / read that book / wrote a poem /  painted a picture / baked  a pie / taken a photo /(activity which brings you joy)?

I'm making a resolution to do the things I like after work - as if I was getting paid to do them. I resolve to do them with the same urgency and enthusiasm I put into accomplishing my deliverables at work. I have to think of it this way because otherwise, I will succumb to inertia - and the days, weeks, months and years will pass me by without me spending time to nourish my soul.

This is one of the most important reasons why our bodies should be in optimum condition - so that we have enough stamina and energy at the end of the workday to pursue, create and reconnect with the people and things that matter. A sickly constitution robs you of time and energy. So eat your vegetables, get enough sleep, get your heart pumping,  drink lots of water and quit smoking already. (And enough griping about your boss - that's not good for your health, either.)

To my fellow nine-to-fivers, please don't let your day jobs get in the way of joy. Life's too short not to be spent in pursuit of dreams.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Passion Statement of the Day - When in Doubt, Choose Love

The law of karma dictates that we are conscious choice makers. Emotions are spontaneous impulses, no doubt, but what we do with that emotion is in our hands. That is why it is possible to bloom wherever one is planted.

Love is a decision. When in doubt, always choose the loving thing.

(This entry is inspired by my Twinstah Winna A., who on her 80th birthday will be honored for being a loving human being, more than anything else.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Joie de Vivre Workbook

Joie de Vivre [zhwaduh vee-vruh]

That the French should have a phrase for "a delight in being alive" reflects a lot about the way they view the world. I suppose if you are a citizen of France, you cannot help but be delighted, what with the abundant artistic, aesthetic and gastronomic delights at every turn. Joie de vivre is a national trait of the French, much like hospitality comes naturally to us Pinoys.

The French may have a culture ingrained in joie de vivre, but I believe that every human being has a capacity for this cheerful enjoyment of living. And the good news is, you need not have the Eiffel Tower on your skyline to experience joie de vivre. Joie de vivre is not a reaction to the beauty of surroundings or circumstances. It is a reaction to the beauty that is IN us.

Have you ever had those moments when you thought, "Am I really here?" I have those moments now and then, usually upon waking up or while I'm in the shower. I can't get over the fact that I am here. That I exist. That I am alive. Isn't it mind-boggling how we came to be? That we see, taste, smell, hear and feel things?
Sometimes I can't wrap my head around it.

The thought of being alive inevitably leads to the thought of being dead someday.  That seemingly morbid thought does not fill me with dread - but with two contradicting emotions : a sense of peace and a sense of urgency.  The sense of peace comes from the thought that all my emotional and psychic issues are a waste of (life)time - time better spent joyfully appreciating the gifts of the present. The sense of urgency  comes from the thought that I only have so much time to make the most of this life - I must take advantage of my youth to do the things that my heart and soul call me to do.

This existential revelation of mortality is what has spawned the desire to pursue joie de vivre. It is living life wide awake, taking in every experience, every encounter, every surge of pleasure and pain, and declaring,
"Ah, it's good to be alive!"

But I believe that joie de vivre is not just about posting shout-outs to the world. Joie de vivre is deeply rooted in connecting with one's core truths. Joie de vivre is incited and nurtured by taking the following steps:

1. Identifying and applying your unique strengths and talents
2. Appreciating and nurturing your life relationships
3. Imagining and pursuing dreams that are deeply rooted in your joys
4. Integrating your body, mind, heart and soul by consciously taking care of each of them

The workbook I have developed aims to guide the participant through these steps through structured introspection exercises, creative expression and interaction with fellow participants. We all have our moments of reflection. What this workbook does is it organizes your thoughts and personal revelations and helps you connect the dots.

It is my hope that accomplishing this workbook invigorates and moves the participant to inspired action to make the most out of this life - and truly experience joie de vivre.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Passion Statement of the Day - Finding Yourself

My advice to all those who are going to find themseves is: stay exactly where you are. Otherwise you are in great danger of losing yourself forever. 

- Hans Thomas, The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder

Wherever you are right now, BE in it. If it is in a good, happy place - express gratitude. If it is in an uncomfortable and unpleasant place - remember, it is darkest where light and shadow converge. You have a choice - you can choose to go towards the light or retreat to the shadows. It's the discomforts of life that stretch us, that make us ask questions, and move us into action- and essentially make us better, and more beautiful.

Extraordinary living is not about escaping the present. Finding joie de vivre is not about quitting your job and flying off to exotic places. It is about being fully engaged in the present, while creating and pursuing dreams. It is about blooming where you are planted. The extraordinary life is not out there somewhere. It is in you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Main Course

The hunger for an extraordinary life is marked by feelings of restlessness, searching, longing, and perhaps a little bit of pain.  This can be brought about by a period of crisis, a transition, a crossroad, or a realization that your life has been static. The Passion Plate offers a generous helping of guidance to help satiate this hunger. You may choose to serve yourself. However, I would be happy to personally guide you on this journey, and talk you through the exercises. There is much discovery and revelation in conversation :)

To be consumed slowly, leisurely and savoring every bite.  The flavors of your life shall unfold even after digesting this piece. May your soul be nourished and delighted :)

Passion Statement of the Day - Comfort zones bring no comfort, only regret

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

- Mark Twain

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Passion Statement of the Day - Do not Settle

There is no passion to be found in playing small - in settling for a life that is less than what you are capable of living.

~ Nelson Mandela

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Extraordinary Life for an Ordinary Citizen of the World

The Reality

The passionate life is not necessarily one that is consumed by a sole undertaking which makes use of  a special skill - and ultimately serves humanity.  With 6.9 billion people in the world today, chances are that millions of others can do what you do, and realistically, do it much better.  And the truth is, not everyone has that innate desire and the resources to do good to mankind  - and by doing good I mean the kind that makes you risk life, limb and liquidity to cure the ills of this world.

99.9% percent of the world's population are not born geniuses. 99.9% of us will never compose a song that will change the face of music. Never create art that will be studied for generations to come. Never be recorded in the annals of history, except for our Birth Certificates at the Census Office. Most of us will never be great.

And to that I say, so what? We may never be great by the standards of humanity's history, but that doesn't mean we cannot live extraordinary lives - by our own standards. And living an extraordinary life, a truly passionate life starts with a conscious choice.

We all have a choice. We can see life as a series of mundanities and routines - occasionally perked up by fleeting highs in the form of shiny new things, pleasure-inducing chemicals, adulations from our superiors and subordinates, and heart-racing infatuations. And then we die.

Or! We can view life as a world of wonder and joyful journeys - with places to see, things to do and people to love. We die just the same. But wouldn't we rather grow old and gray knowing that we made this life count ? Would we not rather leave this world knowing that when we had our youth, our mobility, our beauty and our eyesight - we went places, learned new things and loved with passion?

The Power of Truly Wanting Something

All well and good, you say. But we mere ordinary citizens of the world have jobs and bills and responsibilities. As much as we want to escape the cubicles of our daily existence, we cannot just book a flight to Cambodia, learn how to pole-dance or declare love to the apple of our eyes.

If you cannot, it just means you will not. The thing about desire is that when harnessed, it can move you into inspired action. And sometimes, the desire itself, when expressed and laid before the Universe, starts a process of fulfillment - as long as the desire is constant and pure-intentioned.

The Practice of Extraordinary Living  

The extraordinary life for the ordinary citizen is not something which happens on the outside - it is within. There are four things one can do to start living this kind of life. I call them the 4 Rs of Extraordinary Living.

1. Relationships

Nurture bonds with the people who matter - your family and your core group of friends. Fix broken bonds. Forgive.

2. Recreate

Pursue your interests and hobbies. Do the things that make you happy. Best if this allows you to create something with your hands or your mind. (Shopping does not count.)

3. Revel in Nature

Watching a sunset on a beach or at a mountaintop does wonders for the soul. Get out of the city.
Breathe in fresh country air.

4. Retreat and Reflect

Have some time alone. Disconnect for a whole weekend. Enlightenment comes in solitude. Connect with your inner divinity, with the Universe, with God.

How It All Ties Up

Interestingly enough, when you do the 4 Rs mentioned above, you will inevitably see places, do things and love people. 

Go forth, ordinary citizens, and live extraordinarily. :)

There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment.  - Anais Nin

Monday, May 23, 2011

Passion Statement of the Day - Truly Living

When we are motivated
by goals that have deep meaning
by dreams that need completion
by pure love that needs expressing
– then we truly live.
- Greg Anderson

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Passion Statement of the Day - Beginning Something

What you can do or dream you can, begin it. 
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Three Life Regrets

A group of elderly men and women were interviewed and asked about life satisfaction.

Their life regrets can be summed up in three points :
1.       I wish I took more risks.
2.       I wish I were more focused.
3.       I wish I had given more of myself.

Look at your life now and ask yourself if you are:

1.       Living within your comfort zone
2.       Going any which way the wind blows
3.       Centered on yourself

If you answered yes, then you may just find yourself in your twilight years with the Three Life Regrets. Surely, this is not a future to be desired. 

And yet many of us live life half-asleep - going through the motions of our daily routines, bearing with jobs we don't like, lamenting failed relationships, wallowing in loneliness and melancholy and finding fleeting relief in material things and consumeristic activities. Many would be content to live life this way. Never struggling, never questioning. Perhaps they don't feel the need to do so.

But there are some of us who want to make this life count.  There are some of us who want magis - something more. We want to be fully engaged in life. We want to leap out of bed and cannot wait to get our day started.  We want joie de vivre - the joy of life. We see ourselves on our 90th birthdays being honored for our courage and our extraordinary life experiences - feeling content and at peace with absolutely no regrets. 

This blog is dedicated to eliminating the Three Life Regrets by providing references, insights, and tools that will jolt you from the mundane and guide you on a journey to a life of purpose and passion.