Sunday, March 03, 2013

gratitude is a two-way street

well, this happened atop the overpass or walkover bridge near my wife's office building.  i was to meet her there and i needed to use this to crossover to the other side of the street.

there was this middle-aged lady who laid sprawled on the cement floor right in the middle of that overpass.  lady was unkempt, long, greyish hair was uncombed, her face and arms sun-burnt;  clothes were filthy and torn in places.  she laid there with eyes closed.  she had her face towards the sun. i was so sure she really planned it this way so the sun's rays can shine over her face and that passers-by can see it's ragged lines and its pained demeanor.  her left hand was over her shrunken belly and her right hand was extended outward holding her plastic begging cup.  this was her office.  on that day, she chose this site to do her begging.

then i noticed this two.  a young mother and her boy, around six years old.  both had just come up the stairs on the opposite side.  they were just a few paces from the lady beggar.  boy was holding a twenty peso paper bill in his small hands.  he was hesitant to go near the sprawled beggar.  no, not hesitant, i'd say, he was scared. of the lady beggar.  just lying there on that cement floor, unmoving, looking sad and dirty and helpless at the same time.  the mother was egging the boy to approach the beggar and drop the bill on the plastic cup.  he had this determined look on his face but still he could not will his feet to take some steps.  his mother took him by the shoulder and nudged him nearer.  he clutched tightly at her sleeves.

lady beggar had noticed this commotion near her and pulled herself up into a kneeling pose toward the two.  i saw her smile beseechingly at the lad and nodded her head towards him beckoning him to come near, coaxing him to give her the money.  she dropped her plastic cup by her feet and extended both her arms towards the boy, palms upward.

mother and child were near her now and the boy found the courage to approach the lady beggar.  he dropped the money in her outstretched palms and immediately ran back to his mom.  the beggar flashed him a wide, toothless smile.  a thankful smile. a joyful smile of gratitude.  twenty pesos will be a big help.  way different from the few, small coins in that plastic cup.

young mother and son looked lovingly at each other.  as they walked past the lady beggar, she was still nodding and smiling at them. finally, i saw the little boy flashed a  smile towards her.  young mom smiled at her too.  i feel those smiles are smiles of joy and gratitude also.

for the lady beggar with the ragged face.  for allowing them to help her this early sunlit morning.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

celebrating valentine's day at a table for one ..

i really deferred writing this this till after some days had passed from february14.

feb. 14. valentine's day.  i'm pretty sure lots of fresh flowers, single ones and bouquets, have been bought and delivered to girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands, mistresses, lovers.  lots of gifts, both cheap and expensive, have been exchanged.  i'm all too sure as well that, inexpensive or dearly-priced, the gifts have been rendered  precious and memorable by the very fact they were given on this special day of Love.

the wife was busy at work. needed to be there by her boss' side to assist.  i had to accept that i'll be passing this day celebrating at a table for one.  well, things happen. anyway, i never planned anything special.  she texted me on her mobile phone apologetically that it could be some hours before she can meet me at the mall.  no problem, i texted back.

i went down to the mall's food court to have my dinner.  the wife will be dining with the boss and her office mates.  then we'll just meet later to go home together. 

after my dinner, i noticed people were congregating at the center area of the food court.  there was a small elevated stage there and four people were on there sitting. there were four large loudspeakers and  four microphones. lots of electrical cables were snaking the very area. nice!,  i said to myself,  the mall is treating customers to a special valentine's day concert. 

soon, enough the four began their concert.  the lady singer and the guy singer complement each other. they sang love songs alternately and in duet.  they were only accompanied by a bespectacled gentleman with his portable electric piano/organ and a lady flutist.  this is what i like about love songs. don't need much musical instruments.  just two excellent voices, ten nimble fingers skillfully skip-hopping over white and dark piano keys, and two reliable air-filled lungs that can blow a steady gust of air to produce lilting notes from a pierced pipe. 

we all sat there beside the stage. allowing ourselves to be lost, mesmerized, amused by beautiful love songs.  at the far left corner where i sat, a girl and a boy, both in their early teens, were holding hands, seated, sharing a medium pack of french fries and a large coke float;  in front of me, a family of five were huddled together, the father and two young girls and their brother attentively listening to the mother who was seated on a wheeled chair obviously trying to tell them something about the dinner on their table;  the fat guy and his wife, seated just to my right, were discussing the title of the song currently being sung by the lady singer -- fat guy thought it was their special song, the wife not too sure;  to the right of the fat guy's table, another young couple was seated, the lady's tummy is bulging, probably nearing her term, she seemed not so well though, a bit teary-eyed, she had her head nestled in her husband's shoulder ... after the song, the two hurriedly got up and left.

a short while later, the lady singer announced they are accepting song requests.  several people immediately got up and handed paper scraps  to one of the ushers.  the guy singer read the song requests and announced which of the songs requested will be performed.  the piano guy looked at the bunch of requests the guy selected and consulted a large book, probably a songbook, beside him.  he whispered something to the lady flutist and again the four regaled us with lovely music.

 ahhh, love .. young love, middle-age love, old-age love ... but, Love is ageless ....

my mobile phone beeped in a short while. it was the wife. still apologetic. sorry, i am still with the boss and office mates, she texted.  no problem, don't worry about me, i texted back, i'm at a concert, i bragged to her, it's just unfortunate you're not here with me ..

i was almost done with my second cup of coffee when the wife texted again -- we're done, meet you at the cab parking lot.  ok, i texted back, but just one last song before i go there, if you arrive ahead, just wait for me.

i wrote my song request on a paper napkin and handed it to the usher.  the guy singer again read thru the bunch of song requests and announced -- we'll do this one first,  as time goes by, ....

great! that's my song.

when i met the wife at the cab park lot, i have this lightness in my heart .....

Thursday, February 14, 2013

eating apples ... boring

night. around 24 minutes before midnight. i was at the rendezvous point waiting for office mates to arrive.  this is where we get a cab for work. cheaper this way.  we chip in for the cab fare. as usual, i was early. arrived ahead of the rest.  well, i've learned to be patient. there are lots of reasons why people do not come early.  anyway, we are a full hour ahead.  shift begins at 1 am.

i sat by the cemented steps of the tile shop near our rendezvous point.  i held up the apple i brought for lunch later.  against the light of the streetlamp its skin is tight and glistened invitingly.  almost reddish all over except for the top and bottom which were still yellowish.  a pang of hunger suddenly welled up in me.  the apple looked so juicy.  i rubbed the palm of my left hand all over it to clean it off.  i examined it all over and decided it's clean enough. near the center of its bottom, though, i noticed a small, pin prick of a hole.

could not resist the apple's invitation any longer.  it's shouting, "EAT ME!" and i bit a chunk off near its top.  sweet juice flowed out of it and caressed my parched lips.  very good indeed!  i'm blessed.  i worked my way around the apple, devouring it bit-by-pleasant bit.  from time to time, i peek at the bottom to see if i'm near the small hole. i reserved that portion of the apple for the last.  gently, near the small hole, i placed a bite mark and broke off that portion with my fingers.  i used my mobile phone's flashlight to see better the separated pieces.

as i suspected, at the apple's core, near the seed, i found it.  the little worm.  faint yellowish as the color of the apple's flesh.  nestled confidently beside the black seed.  delicate.  soft.  a creature, minute, but still, like this red apple and i, bears the amazing handiwork of the One Creative Force.

i realized it is giving me a lesson in obedience as well. it knew instinctively.  although the apple's coat is red and gleaming and spotless it did not stay outside.  it did not succumb to the apple's enticing appearance.  the little one obeyed its nature and bore a pinhole at its bottom. and it kept on boring, boring, boring, going deeper until it reached the apple's inner core.  there it stayed beside the apple seed.  nestled itself.

the apple seed.  in it is Life.  in it is the promise of perpetuation.  inside it is a gamut of possibilities --

an apple seed falling
on fertile mother ground
then, sunlight and air and water and earth
conniving, nurturing;
the seed dies, but,
apple sprout breaks ground
and wins Life' struggles
becomes a robust  Apple Tree
where minute Worm will once again wait
for Apple Fruit..

the Old Sages and Masters always remind us --  Go Inside the Self, within lies Life and Truth.

be like the worm, keep on boring towards the Inner Core ...

O, little Worm, i bow before you!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

on gifts

this was supposed to have been posted last december.  one of my early attempts at writing on a journal.  it is funny, now that i am thinking about this keeping a journal thing.  way back then, before computers became  a necessary household appliance, like a tv or fridge, i had these thick notebooks where i write in my mind's meanderings.  now seeing them again,  these old notebooks, they've browned in time, most pages had become crisp and brittle, in some pages where i used a fountain pen to write, many of the words were smudged and were unreadable.  probably a cockroach, or a rat, or some little pest, must have found a way to these my hidden treasures and peed on them.  or, some liquid substance must have seeped thru them and thus erased the words.  those that i've written with a ballpoint pen or a pencil were intact though.  i reread those old thoughts of mine and i am amused by most.  i had a ball trying to recall what prompts i had during those times to have decided to write down those impressions.  i'll burn most of these notebooks now though.  i am keeping a high tech journal now.  oh how times have changed ...  here's this old post ..

on gifts

yesterday, i wanted so much to give someone i love a little gift.  however, that friend declined to receive it saying that it feels odd to always be in the receiving end.  i tried hard to reason, saying that at that moment i could afford to give and that it will not cause me any inconvenience whatsoever. also, my friend is not always on the receiving end, my friend has also been very giving, though at times perhaps, my friend does not even realize a gift is being given .

a sweet smile, a warm caress, a comforting word, a wink, a telephone call, a cool glass of water, a steaming cup of coffee -- these are gifts too, and how regularly they are being given!

beloved friend, the mere act of receiving with honest gratitude and with sincere thankfulness another's gift is a gift in itself.  what is most important is that the Heart is gladdened.  whatsoever brings gladness to a Heart is a gift.

so, if this little note makes your Heart joyful, then it is my gift to you.  

your reading it is your own gift to me.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

falling ... in early 2013

it's been so long since i am able to visit the web and blogging.  have had internet provider problems but during the lull i was able to devote the time to other worthwhile pursuits.  i was able to go back to my "library" and reread my collection of books.  siddharta by hermann hesse, the good earth by pearl s. buck, the yearling by marjorie rawlings, the catcher in the rye by j.d. salinger,  business @ the speed of thought by bill gates.  classics all, in my estimation.  i got lost in these excellent creations of these great minds.  i remembered i think it was francis bacon who wrote, " reading maketh a full man. "  i'd say rereading these, my treasures, had me overfilled.

also, i was able to go back to myself. as my Master had always admonished, our greatest duty, and should be our dearest work,  is to Know the Real Self.  one can only do this by "going inside". so i was able to spend more time meditating and going inside. the more one learns of himself, the more one is able to control inner turmoil. the more one becomes at peace.  the more one becomes One. the more one learns of inner Joy.  i was able to hug the ukulele and the guitar closer to my heart and feel their strings' vibrations against my breast, not just listening to the notes they bring forth as my bony fingers slide over the fretboard. for this struggling musician, the feeling is overwhelming.

anyway, another new year had come!

early on the first two days of this 2013 i went over the news.  i read three news pieces which i will classify under the heading -- Falling.  (i read this all in our local broadsheet, the philippines daily inquirer.)

first,  the account of the death of a little girl, stephanie nicole ella.  she got killed in what the newspaper referred to as "celebratory gunfire" on New Year's eve.  the little one was eagerly awaiting the advent of 12:00 signifying the New Year's arrival, after getting tired of dancing, she sat on a chair to wait and rest.  a little later she was seen sprawled on the ground her head bloodied.  it was pierced by a bullet that fell from above.  an irresponsible person pointed his gun to the skies and fired. what went up must come down and it was nicole who got hit.  a sad falling ... officials says this will not go investigated ... well, we really hope so ..

second,  the newspaper had it as " singer of 3rd best-selling record ever dies at 85 ".  another sad falling ...
now this was about patti page who made the song, tennessee waltz, one of the best-selling recordings ever.  died in a nursing home.  one of the great voices, a pure singer, never has to coat her voice with the magic of electronics.  sing on, dear patti ...

third,  the newspaper enjoins everyone to " catch early showing of falling stars ".  the news said, " if the sky is clear, the annual Quarantid meteor shower, from jan 1 to 7, will be visible to filipinos in the predawn hours, beginning at 2 a.m. until daylight ..".  now, this one should be a happy falling, if the sky is clear.  it is an exciting event to watch a falling star, how much more exciting will it be to see many falling stars ....

a bullet falling and a little girl's death,
a singing star falling,
a shower of meteors,

welcome to 2013 ...