Gentle Birth Goals

I already had an inkling that I will not be approaching childbirth in the mainstream way, if I can completely avoid it. A small movement of people in this country are revolutonizing the notions of a painful pregnancy and introduced the concept of gentle birth plans that are all natural. Only a handful of women are into it. I signed up. 

This week, I floated the idea to my ultra kind OBgyn and while she supported my childbearing rights to decide on my mode of labor, she told me that such choices will require me to switch to another doctor. Prior to discussing my birth plan, I was already sold to give birth to a cozy private hospital near where I live in the East. After our conversation, it was back to the drawing board as far as hospital birthing options are concerned. The support for my chosen method for birthing is poor. 

I am quite fascinated with the outcome of my research, but I was not at all surprised that I am game to try something new for welcoming my little one into this world. Of course, that did not sit well with those who have never tried this method. But that’s the thing about pregnancy: what your mother or mother in law or friend chose for their birth plan is not necessarily your fate or destiny. They can scoff all they want but they won’t understand why I think this will work for me. It’s a unique journey. I may get laughed at for my birth method choices but I arrived at this method for a reason. I did not just chance upon the resources I have found online by accident; I was meant to find them and make empowered decisions about my personal pregnancy journey as a result. And it allows me to firmly decide on it even if nobody else wants it. 

Gentle birth is the goal, that’s what I am sure of at this point. Getting there has different paths, and the availability of those paths in this side of the world is quite limited. But I am willing to try. I truly hope that it can happen. 

Vitamin Sea Upgrade

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I floated. I lingered. I savored the sun as it hit my face while I made love to the clear waters despite the algal Boracay blooms tickling my legs. I lay supine amidst the waves, the tourists, the Aklanons offering their services, the nearby boat that tours people in the island.

Sand was powder fine and worth digging my toenails into. I sat and with zero sunscreen, allowed myself to be scorched and baked by the morning heat. I felt the ocean embrace me and few things mattered at that very moment, that one moment where abandoning the body to the waves is probably one of the world’s most relaxing thing.

It is there under the sun and floating with eyes closed that I realized something. Vitamin sea can cure the ills of an anxious mind. It has the power of a hundred self-help books and costs almost nothing save for those precious moments that you wish would never end.

Happily, I realized that floating was not a sign of weakness, stupidity, or incompetence. People need to float in order to glide. And once done, I take that experience, etch it in my heart and memory, and use it to catapult me in the direction of my greatest dreams.

And for someone who isn’t really an inherent beach fan, I think my dosage desires for Vitamin Sea has just gotten a happy upgrade.

To floating. To dreams. To the fusion of reality and dreams.

Limbo

Not in my comfort zone, not in my dream zone, but somewhere in between. A miniscule almost imperceptible dot in the dash between my birth date and unknown but inevitable death date. So what will be my epitaph? Lots of self-help books tell me that to self-actualize involves finding the life mission other people will put in pretty obituaries or gravestones at the end of my life. Truth is, I cannot even define what the best sentence would be.

I will be lucky to be able to put “good practicing Catholic”, and audacious about my future to say “good mother and happy grandmother of many.”

The funny thing about the whole exercise of reclaiming my life energy and fashioning it into something new is that there is this particular period of awkward. Like being attached to ropes at the edge of a cliff, but you have no go signal to do the bungee jump.

It’s that painful ellipse in a sentence. It’s the hang in there until God knows when. It’s the you’ll figure it out sometime hopefully soon in this lifetime.

Sometimes I want to grab the sleeping bull by the horns but I know control is an illusion. It will eat me up like quicksand, as opposed to going all Zen and jedi about all these happenings and non-happenings.

Today is the middle of a huge what now that is hopefully not turning into another wtf. Imho, I am too old for original wtf moments and I am retiring from that tiring, always moving my butt type of response. These days, I have worked the hardest but also the calmest. It’s not like the frenetic quality that I gave to my old demonic workaholic days.

I just know that new things are happening. But I am in the middle eye of it. I hardly feel the changes. Am in some sort of blind spot of the developments but while tangibly it is difficult to pinpoint, a semblance of progress has been made.

At this point, I can no longer unsee what was seen. There are no reverses or returns, just a continuous plodding in this awkward phase until I reach the destination where it will someday make sense.

I’d like to think that the long stretch is veiled from my sight so that I’ll have room for the awesomeness that lies beneath the cover to my future. It’s always good to stay optimistic and simple.

So there. Hello, awkward in between phase. Really hoping you prepare me well for that unknown thing coming up next. I just know something’s coming and I need to do my best to prepare well.

2015: Zero Shortcut Year

For the last three years I think I took the “elevator” for numerous things. This year, I changed my strategy with a ground-up approach. It’s zero shortcut year and it’s going to be the best year of my life. 🙂 My new CBTL #brew2015 planner is jampacked with the stairway approach but I think that it’s better in the long-term. There is a reason why seasons have its own time and place in the world. I have learned to respect the natural order of progression.

Progress is not something that I can grasp in a snap. There is an incremental change that contributes to lasting and more important consequences in the future. I have learned to respect my limitations. I only have 24 hours a day, and 8 of it is spent on sleep or rest. I’ll be lucky if I reach the age of 90 and still be doing what I am doing, which is roughly 60 years from today.

Technically, I now only have 16 hours in a day, a substantial amount of which is spent on my duties or miscellaneous tasks.

I need to just learn how to say no and how to relinquish things that I cannot control. I have learned to “miss out” on things if it means that it frees me from the mental burden of having to keep up.

Control is actually an illusion. There is no such thing as control. We just try to float and make the most of the chaotic world that we live in. People who think they are in control will find themselves being set up for pain and disappointment. You can only organize yourself up to a certain extent but you cannot expect all the stars to align in your way all the time.

For the past few years, I was given options to go through shortcuts and I took them because I know how to take risks, because I did not know any better, and because I thought that this is the age for taking them. In hindsight, I realized that the risks paid off in a good way; it gave me a good bird’s eye view of the landscape that I am in. And now I walk with a more enlightened footing.

But it did not help me in a sense that I missed out on learning experiences because I had to accelerate everything for the shortcuts I took. I did not get to enjoy the learning because I was too focused on the delivering.

The pace was too fast and I found myself filling gaps here and there. I realized that I still need to train myself further in optimizing my resources without killing myself. So I started from scratch this year and tried something new.

It was a RADICAL departure. The most important thing is that I am actually at peace with my decision. Some other people think it’s a ridiculous move. I was insulted last December by a friend because she says I am stupid.

But you know what? I think I made the right choice because I now possess a pervading sense of peace that I did not have in the previous years. I do not exist to satisfy people; I exist to do my best in what I was made for. Not everyone who climbs in the fast pace can say that. 

Ironically, my dreams are actually more within reach now that I decided to step back and take the stairway. The stairway is a difficult climb but it’s worth it. And when I do reach the summit of the climb, I will really take my time to savor the journey and the destination. 

 

 

Tail of a Long Holiday

It is almost the end of the year 2014, and I have just approached the latter half of the ultra long Filipino Christmas season. A blog post is in order.

This christmas had been a very busy one for me. It was my first time to spend Christmas with my husband and his family. Thankfully, I still managed to spend time with my parents although it is quite short.

The incoming year 2015 proves to be a very promising one; I think I have done some things right this year and it actually paid off as the year comes to an end. I was unable to figure out the grace and blessing of the difficulties as I experienced it firsthand. But in hindsight I saw them all as a redirection and a real blessing. Everything happened because it had to. Even the hard chapters occurred because there was a golden lesson that awaited me at each bend.

I do not think that 2015 will be any easier. But I find myself looking forward with a hope and optimism that I thought was lost forever. I thought that deep inside, I died. But I did not realize that there was actually a rebirth of sorts inside of me that enabled me to see things differently this time around. The momentary feeling of death and emptiness was actually a preparation to a breakthrough, some dark part of the mental overhaul required for me to do what I was supposed to do in this lifetime.

This year may be the peak of the keen self-awareness that I did not have in my youth despite my most strongest energies and efforts. This is the year of forming advocacies that matter and resonate deeply to me. This is the year of designing my life in a way that suits my skill sets and in a way that does not apologize to other people for the inherent demands that it will require from me. This is the year of multiple and purposeful learning, a year of pruning all the non-essentials to make room for the good things that constitute a meaningful life.

And as I enter the new year with increased awareness of the possibilities lying ahead of me, I can only feel thankful for how this year has prepared me to handle the things that are about to come. Thank you, 2014, for your strong and salient life lessons. I think you have prepared me well for the things that are about to come next year.
See you in two days, 2015. 🙂

Silver Linings

Believe. Imagination is the eye of the soul.

Believe. Imagination is the eye of the soul. (Photo taken at Papemelroti Sta. Mesa Branch)

It’s been, though bumpy, a good year for learning and maturing and appreciating what I have. I spent the weekend with some of my loved ones and had a movie marathon with my siblings. They are still sleeping in the bedroom next door, as I write this quick note to remind myself. My husband cooked my favorite spaghetti last night and I am up for a treat until the end of the day because my dad is also cooking something downstairs for us kids. After 12 long months of agonizing on getting myself out of the rut of my writing style, I managed to find ways to work around the situation. Everything that I needed was right in front of me and I was just complicating it.

I write about this day because I often write about the bad days and I think I need to begin logging the really good happenings to remind me that life’s a wheel and it always goes up no matter how much it sinks. There were things that this sudden detour and redirection opened up to me in a major way. I was heavily crushed at first but now I am just OVERFLOWING with GRATITUDE.

Some of the things that happened are too personal to write down on a public digital space. Suffice it to say, it was life-changing, positive, and completely affirming. And this year, more than ever, I am quite sure of my footing as a person and I am more daring in taking risks. There is no other age to take those risks than now. Later I’ll be old and grey and unable to fend for my basic necessities. Or I’ll be dead. Either way, I need to really ride the YOLO bandwagon with some calculated sense of risk and responsibility.

I have truly begun to live, this time around. Thank you, Lord. 🙂

 

 

Death of the Self

There is a battle inside myself to change who I am and give up preferences to make other people happy. It’s not easy.

In high school, I wanted to become a writer but my father refused to support it. I ended up taking up engineering.

I was not always happy. I tried to shift out twice. It was very hard. Later I learned to love it somehow.

After college, I was considering a cloistered life. But my mom needed me to stay in the outside world to help her.

I was miserable. But I became happy later. Shopping or retail therapy helped. I did stuff to amuse myself until I missed the cloister less.

Today, I have certain things that I want. And once again, I am being asked to give it up for someone important to me.

I am not yet at the stage where I am happy about it. But based on previous experiences, I know that I can be happy about it.

Loving is no walk in the park. You have to lose yourself to help another person gain something or be happy.

Other people say that I am my parents’ favorite. They have not seen what things I have been willing to do for my parents that made them love me in the way they do now.

I hope that the person I am making some sacrifices for at this time can also learn to recognize my gesture of obliterating myself. I may not be super giddy while I do it. But I am certain that love moves me to do it.

It may not be done with a dance or a giddy stance. But I crawled to let my selfish self die just to make it happen. Let it not be said that I did not try my best for the person that I truly love.