This year, I’ve had less inhibitions than before. I am not as worried with what people would think nor do I fret if I may seem a little wilder than usual. My husband tells me that I seem to have unlocked the rest of my hidden crazy, becoming more comfortable to let the world see how I really am.
I call this living sensually. Hinged on being fully present in whatever it is that you are doing, it is about trying to engage all the senses and heightening your attention to every detail that is part of every interaction. It is tuning in to the little aspects that make each experience unique, even the mundane and ordinary.
So how have I lived sensually in the past months? By being mindful about all that I do, by paying attention, by not rushing through things, by listening intently, by slowly settling into my day, by finding the daily rhythm that works for me, by doing more of the things that give me pleasure, by not feeling guilty, by not believing all the norms, by reading voraciously, by trying to do things differently, by behaving inappropriately at times, by speaking my mind more, by asking questions, by spending time alone, by seeking out others, by being guided by what my body feels like doing, by allowing myself to feel even the hard emotions, by not taking things too seriously, by doing things without reason just because I like it, by relishing moments, and so many other wonderful things. I would love to live more sensually in the years to come :)
I struggle with losing control. I am quite mindful of this and I’ve been trying to understand its root cause. I realized that it springs from a deep fear that’s been there since childhood. I am afraid of losing face, “ayokong napapahiya”. I heard this constantly growing up, “wag ganyan, nakakahiya.” Shame is something that I try as much as I can to mask or not go through. I’d rather be the calm, collected, centered person that I have shaped myself to be. I’ve learned to be proud and stubborn instead, not asking much from others and trying as best I can to figure things out based on how I know best.
But lately this fear has been more glaring, harder to ignore or to simply brush aside. I realized that I’ve been putting a lid on what I can do because of this fear. I say yes only if I know I have a sense of control and certainty. I get defensive when asked to commit to more than this. I see this at work, training and life in general. I am afraid to aim for my moonshots. It’s a bit frustrating since I am surrounded by people who are there to guide and support me in this entrepreneurial journey. They believe in me more than I believe in myself. I hope they won’t get tired doing that.
I’d like to let go of this, slowly and then entirely. I’ve started by replacing nervousness with excitement whenever I have to do something that involves putting myself out there. I also am trying to be more present as a full person whenever I meet people so I bring much value to the table. I want to try to be more keen to those times when I’d rather aim for something I can most likely deliver instead of aiming boldly. Whenever I feel small and uncertain I said I’d repeat this line- “Hey it’s just play. Just play bigger.” When I don’t take myself too seriously and don’t put too much unnecessary fixation on the result, I perform much better. If I think that the consequences of whatever it is that I am doing is huge, I cower up. It’s best to focus on the process and just show up everyday. So I’d like to treat it as play and nudge myself to just play bigger.
I have yet to practice this but at least I have a mantra to tell myself. These little things help in the practice of getting to a place where we can grow into the best versions of ourselves, fearlessly.
Last night I had a nice chat with an old friend and we talked about taking a leap of faith. I was in the same spot a few years ago, thinking whether I should or I shouldn’t leave the company that has served as my comfort zone for years. I had a family with two kids who were about to enter big expensive schools. I had a husband who was in a start-up. I had a lifestyle that I have gotten used to. It was a great company where a lot of people grow old in. But I could not see myself in it anymore. I realized that the things I learned I acquired from outside, from people and experiences I actively sought out. It took a while for me to finally do it but I eventually did.
It has been three years since I made that decision in the middle of Greenbelt 5 with tears streaming down my cheeks in broad daylight. I skipped work, played hooky that day and went to a wine tasting event instead. From then on I said I would focus on finding what it is I wanted to do. Over the course of three years I realized that what I wanted to do is build something. What that something is may be anything. But what I am drawn to now is the process and exercise of building.
So I tell my friend that we will never be fully ready to take the leap. We just gotta do it and be mindful as well of the sacrifice and compromise that we have to make because of this.
I saw this photo and it resonated with me except that it spoke about balance.
A few years ago I thought it was about balance. Work and life, fun and business, finding that sweet space where you can have all these things all at the same time. I realized that it’s a challenge to find that balance. I’ve learned to accept that I will not be able to do everything I want to do at the same time. There always is a sacrifice.
That is why I now strive towards bringing my whole self in whatever I’m doing. So at work I realized I am driven because it allows for flexibility so I can function as a better parent, wife, athlete ,etc. In turn I don’t count the hours at work nor do I mind working on weekends. I also have no need to constantly escape from it. It’s good too that there are digital tools for work and colllaboration that allow for this type of lifestyle to operate more optimally. I’ll write more about this approach in the weeks to come :)
It’s December and it’s time for parties and socials. More than the holiday preparations, this is what takes the most out of me. I thrive more in small group conversations where I can get to know people more extensively. I can talk for hours with just one or two people. I like it when the talk shifts to more than the usual chitchat. Maybe this is also the reason why I don’t have big groups of friends but instead have a few really close relationships.
I’m mindful though that these social small talk is important for networking and necessary in the job that I do. It is also good to practice social and conversational skills. I know that I will get better at this if I constantly put myself out there. What works for me is when I bring my full self to the table instead of trying hard to act smart and knowledgeable about whatever is the industry topic being discussed. What works too is being genuinely interested in what others are saying instead of constantly fretting whether you are saying the right things. And more than anything, it is simply listening and learning from those around you. If you see these instances as unique opportunities to learn then it is worth exposing your shy little self out there.
So I’m bracing myself for more of these events but I’m trying to replace the nervousness that I automatically feel with one of excitement. It’s the same sensation actually but just framed differently. I realized that whenever I do this I am more relaxed and less tired after. It’s quite similar to my race jitters. If I am less fixated on finishing at a set time, I get to relax and perform better. So yes, this is another case of the truth that how we do one thing is how we do everything.
Today is Rainer Maria Rilke’s birthday. I’ve always been drawn to Rilke. I have not read his poems in their entirety but pored over snippets of these. Countless times, I felt like the young poet he was speaking to in his letters. His lessons on silence have resonated with me. I have pondered over how solitude feeds the soul as I sought this in various moments of my life and even in my everyday. His writing on uncertainty comforts me, reassuring me that I’m gonna be okay. That we will all be okay despite these unsure times.
His poignant lesson on loving the other fully by giving space for growth has been one that I’ve tried to truly live by. He talks about how love in a long term relationship is not about seeking to complete the other but stepping back, reveling in how such a beautiful person who chose to be with you is growing into the individual she ought to be. It is about growing together but separately too because we deserve to be whole and true by ourselves.
Rilke has taught me about gentleness, helping me polish my sharp edges a bit. Since today started a little too roughly than usual, I latched on to this. I didn’t get to do my little rituals that gave me a sense of control but I remembered to just pause and gently work on getting myself back on track. Sometimes a quick pause is all we need to pull ourselves together.
I thank Rilke for these lessons and I hope to teach these same guiding principles to my little ones in the years to come.
I have very few friends. I seem like the type to have lots but I can count with one hand those that I am truly close to. I’ve always been this way ever since I could remember. I have various circles and each know bits and pieces about me. I hold these friends dearly and enjoy their company. But they won’t be the people I turn to when I am troubled about something.
I turn to my best friends. I am blessed to have three. One is a friend from college who knows me when I was a poor girl from the province and had nothing except sheer hardwork to get me going. We have come a long way and even if we don’t get to talk often, it’s as if things have not changed and we can talk for hours at length. My second best friend is the person I married. I can talk to him about anything that’s bugging me and am comforted by the fact that he will accept and understand me no matter what. With him I can be at my most vulnerable and weak. He has seen me at my best and my worst. And so far he still wants to be with me. My third best friend is someone I look up to. He inspires me to be the best version of myself and believes in me more than I sometimes believe in myself. What we have is a mature friendship that never judges.
These people are present in our lives for a reason. They teach us what we need to know when we should. They are the voice of validation that we need so we can follow our intuitions more intently. They have seen us through the different seasons of our lives and continue to accept us throughout the shifting times. And they are brought to our lives to simply be there. Sometimes that is all we need to get by in this crazy world. Thank goodness for the gift of best friends :)