Useful Lenten Podcasts

Since Ash Wednesday, I began listening to really nice podcasts on my iPhone in keeping with the reflective season. I thought long and hard about my life, where it is going and how I plan to go about it with my lifetime partner.

It was really useful and therapeutic, and I usually find myself more centered while I code or do my writing work. While I silently work, I let these things run in the background and I find it comforting. Ideas seem to flow more easily and there is no noise that hinders me from absorbing concepts.

Here are three of my favorites for Lent and beyond Lent:

1. Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours

This tops the list because it is based on Catholic Scripture and Tradition. It is divided equally throughout the day, into 6 to 8 specific parts. If you are really going to follow through the prayers, you will basically be praying every 2-3 hours during the day from sunrise to sundown. I do not get to follow the whole 6-8 prayer per day regimen; usually, I just pop in and out of the podcast for the time that I chose to listen to it. I do it while I wash dishes, do laundry, fix the house, or do my work in the computer. It’s really excellently done and I really hope they have an Android version for this thing. Traditionally this is prayed on a physical Church from morning to evening (lauds and vespers) and referred using the thick book they call a Breviary. The nuns usually get to do it. Common folk like me can just listen to it.

2. Jesuit Media Pray as You Go Podcast

Sometimes I am out of town and I do not have the time to sit by my computer. I can only pop in this 15-20 minute daily podcasts. The first one I listened to had these really nice and relaxing African background sounds. The whole thing has a very eclectic vibe that any open-minded worshipper will surely enjoy.

3. The Rosary Podcast
The Scriptural Rosary podcast episodes help me through when my hands are busy but I want to meditate with eyes closed for a short time. It is very artistically done.

Equally worth noting are some of the best in the fundamentalist podcasts, to wit:

4. Joel Osteen

He preaches with a twang but often it’s a bang straight to the heart. I like his very modern manner of preaching and encouragement. There are always words of life. My favorite episode of all time is the one about kicking toxic people out of your life. 🙂 It was very spot on and enlightening because at the time, I decided to end a very bad friendship. There are emotional vampires and there are people that are really in need of help, and every person must know the difference between those things.

5. Joyce Meyer

A little funny and kooky is the Joyce Meyer podcast. I’ve listened to a handful and probably more women can relate to it. Sometimes, I think she goes too hardcore and I do not always agree with her but I respect this woman for her courage.

6. 60 Seconds with Max Lucado

I like this wonderful podcast because you only have to listen to it for 60 SECONDS! And you have a nugget of inspiring thought to ruminate on for an hour or for the whole day. I just love it. I love Lucado’s well-written books and I love his podcasts just as much.

Having said that, I really wish everyone to have a rejuvenating and meaningful Holy Week. 🙂

Day 16: #100HappyDays
Holistic Spring Cleaning

cleaning

Good Friday’s timing for spring cleaning in all aspects is just perfect. I used the morning to clean my cabinet and get rid of some unnecessary clutter.

In the afternoon, during the Veneration of the Cross and the Holy Communion, I used this solemn time of Lent to do a thorough spring cleaning of the mind. My meditation today was not a particularly tranquil or easy experience; my mind kept flying out of my meditative goal with its own agenda. But it was worth all the sweat and the struggle. I eventually managed to recollect myself in key moments and emptied my brain of its useless vagaries.

Part of my life’s spring cleaning also included some basic life planning. I finally got around to listing down my life agenda for the next three months.

Aside from this, I read every single entry in this blog since 2004,and I marveled at the things that transpired. Despite the fact that I felt like I am going nowhere, I saw a lot of progress with my writing and my life. Everything moved progressively, and it’s something I need to be thankful for.

The blogger in 2004 is radically different from this blogger from 2014. Sometimes I want to just hide the 2004 version of me. The things I said in the past embarrass me greatly when I do my retrospective.

But I realized that it was a part of the whole process of continuous improvement.It is good to keep all those past posts there so that I will have a humbling reminder of key points in my life where God has helped me and how exactly he has helped me become a better person through the years.

If I delete any of these old blog posts, I will never be able to recreate them again even if I write a hundred posts today to replace them. So let all my defects stand, jologs posts and all.

I hardly checked my phones or gadgets these days; I was too busy reflecting on many things.

I guess this is what happens when you are about to enter a new stage of life; you just have a lot of things to consider. There is so much to plan, so much to be done, and so much to give your best energies to. It’s no longer palatable to waste time on useless things or activities.

And you no longer have qualms ignoring the non-essentials because you have zoomed in on what matters to you. It’s somehow a true mark of entering adulthood.

It’s part of my 43things goals to live in simplicity, and I believe that I have gained some good groundwork with what I have undertaken for today and the past 8 weeks since I have overhauled my entire lifestyle.

I still have a lot of activities but all of these no longer had the random chaos of a spinning top or a hamster on a wheel. Most of it is now coordinated, lined up in some form of organized fashion and within the happy bounds of my realities and circumstances. It was nothing that I have done by myself. This solid peace of mind and clarity is simply His gifts to me for this phase of my life.

Writing things down and paring most of my possessions down to the essentials really helped me see my priorities in life and how I can improve things, in general. I got to know my chief defects and strengths as a person and I have taken both menial and drastic measures to manage them.

Years ago, this would have been unthinkable. I tend to complicate myself so easily. I still do that today, actually. I complicate my life and I sometimes become my own worst enemy. But I tend to know more about myself these days and I become aware of what triggers me to be at my worst, and what drives me to be at my best.

Today, more than any other day, I am fully convinced of the unquestionable fact that the simple and peaceful life is the real way to live life happily and meaningfully.

A Work in Progress

I am not the one who knows how to mince words. The flaws are apparent, and I even had the audacity to photobomb the patron saint of appropriately frank people, Saint Bartholomew:

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When I was young, I was actually as docile and submissive as a mouse. Unfortunately, I was taken advantage of precisely for that reason. At that age, it did not work well for me. I was bullied by small-minded people with the maturity of a gnat. I would have accomplished a lot of things. Things happened, and I know that there was more to it than meets the eye. There was nothing to look back to after that dark episode of my life, and I knew that the things I experienced there were to shape the course of my life.

Life was colorful, but it was not without its requisite crosses:

Parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary Antipolo- Crucifix

Parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary Antipolo- Crucifix

When I was young, I went to San Roque Cathedral in Caloocan. It was a tiny parish, then. While people went out to play, I really sought God because I saw a lot of things inherent in this local society at a young age. I had questions, but no answers. And I basically lived life for so long without answers until I had my own means as an adult, until I was free enough to form my own opinions without having to be subjected to others’ preferences, dreams, and visions for the way I should run my life.

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At an early age, I was exposed to politics, peer pressure, and the toughness of being a poor scholar in a private school. In college, I kind of had some form of blossoming but it came to the point where I had to temper the strength I built for years.

I became a survivor, and in the middle of that mess, I decided to seek the spiritual side of things to get to know myself better and to heal myself of wounds from the past.

Only in my late twenties will I come to embrace myself fully for all my defects and strengths. I learned how to wind down, unaffected by what others think. And when I journeyed to elusive self-discovery, I was delighted to find that I had more life, light, and love to give to others:

With my latest baby sister Grace Ann

With my latest baby sister Grace Ann

I had to deal with a lot of things about myself, even ones that I was not exactly very happy to face. But I did that because I wanted to become a better person. Fortunately, there was love that makes all things possible.

As I opened my mind and heart to new things and changes, there was an immense amount of wisdom that came from various sources.

I realized that even if I came from the borderline of Gen X and Gen Y (millenials), the baby boomers had a thing or two to teach me: the tenacity, the stability, the reliability, and the humility of accepting even menial forms of work as an avenue for growth.

Generations

Generations

 

Mommy Mary and Daddy Seth at the Rosary Garden

Mommy Mary and Daddy Seth at the Rosary Garden

I gorged in a lot of reading materials in my quest for gaining knowledge and mastery of how I should move about in this world, and I only gain enlightenment in strides. Despite this, I am fundamentally thankful for the defective devout person I am, and the better person that I hope to eventually become.

Parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary Antipolo's Beautiful Blessed Sacrament

Parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary Antipolo’s Beautiful Blessed Sacrament

Sometimes, I just stop thinking. For a few minutes, I just look at the Blessed Sacrament. It gives me some sense of peace. In the host, He allowed Himself to be broken. He was Goodness and Perfection, and yet He allowed people to treat Him unfairly. It is quite hard for me to fathom how that can be done by me. I tend to like matching an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. As I temper my tendency to slay the outer dragons, I don’t win the physical war but I win the battle that rages within myself. And this is how I know that I am growing despite my defects.

I have learned to see people as inherently good, only bogged down by respective flaws. And that it takes a lot of respect for the human race not to criticize people harshly, that it takes a lot of inner waging battles to overcome my skill of “editing” people (and not just editing words on a manuscript)… I managed to have more peaceful relationships with various people of different life vocations because of my decision to look more on the good things, and to properly establish boundaries in my relationships.

Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Antipolo Parish Priest

Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Antipolo Parish Priest

with Antipolo's political figures

with Antipolo’s political figures

I also developed the acumen of detecting abusive people and energy sucking relationships. After purging the toxicity, the essentials remained and I became happier with the relationships I managed to continue building…

parish-immaculate-heart-mary-antipolo-happy-pau-helen parish-immaculate-heart-mary-in-laws-bench

In addition to ceasing from the compulsive urge of being brutally frank, I have learned to be more one with nature, the ultimate demonstration of God’s sense of order, beauty, and peace.

The Rosary Garden's Area

The Rosary Garden’s Area

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I wish I can just meditate on this tranquil goodness for long periods but there is still a lot of work to be done after I refresh myself in these peaceful places.

When things get too hard, I usually know instinctively where to go…

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And I am fully convinced that when you share a huge thing like a pursuit of faith, relationships strengthen despite the dangers of damage brought about by our respective flaws. It’s not perfect, it takes a lot of work… But with love, nothing is impossible to endure or work on…

parish-immaculate-heart-mary-antipolo-paulo-helena-1 parish-immaculate-heart-mary-antipolo-shades-hug parish-immaculate-heart-mary-joyful-mystery

Helen Mary with Mommy Mary

Helen Mary with Mommy Mary

I also realized lately that it’s okay to be weak and to ask for help and to seek others’ counsel, that not all people are out to get others for their personal gain.

That it’s okay when other people seem to succeed after they take advantage of you, or if other people decide to talk badly of you… It’s okay, for as long as you know yourself and that you are running your own race to becoming better over time. That others do not approve of you all the time.

Also, it’s okay to hold another person’s hand as you go through the best and the worst of times.

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Because when you realize your moments of weakness, you get the fullest measure and potential of your strength.

So this is me now, still a work in progress but I am completely at peace with whatever that means.

Fundamentally flawed,

Parisian Shoes adorned with Ugat XD

Parisian Shoes adorned with Ugat XD

fascinated with life,

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and FINALLY FREE. 🙂

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Parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Hinulugan Taktak Road, Fairmount Hills Subdivision
1870 Antipolo, Rizal
(02) 696-4387, 697-0344