Thursday, June 23, 2016

How to be Joyful on Demand

I am generally a happy person, but there are times when I hit rock bottom. This happens when my happiness tank rans out. I saw it coming already mainly because I was away from home (Manila) and away from family (hubby/Mom) and friends. I was having little bouts of depression and was oftentimes sick. The culmination of this was when I got sick early this month mainly due to overfatigue (traveled too much in May). My whole body hurt, I was having palpitations, spaced out and my comprehension was an all time low.

It was bad and I got scared.

I'm normally self-sufficient. My boss never needs to motivate me. I can work in whatever condition. I got scared because if I couldn't get myself to be my normal self, nobody can.  My doctor asked me to take a week off to rest. He said my heart was stable, I was just fatigued. So I just rested, prayed and spent time with my family. I only started to feel better after attending Sunday mass. I prayed that my happiness tank would be refueled so I could pick up from where I left off.

I had the opportunity to attend Chade Meng Tan's class, "Joy on Demand" yesterday. It was very timely for me since I want to learn how I could prevent myself from going too deep into my well ("cave" for men). I have been okay since I went back to work a week ago. I just woke up and things were just okay again. I noticed that I get really cranky when I'm tired, so I guess the week-long rest worked its magic that's why I just woke up and was my normal self again.

I was excited to attend the class because I missed meeting Meng when he was still at Google. Ten years ago when I was new and visiting headquarters I visited his desk to meet him and check out his photos with famous people. I got to see the photos, but Meng wasn't around. I was thrilled to finally meet him after ten years (haha). I also looked forward to learning more about his new book "Joy on Demand: How to Cultivate Joy in Our Fast Paced Lives".

Johnny and me with Chade Meng Tan.

Meng taught us some meditation exercises that would help bring joy. It was short practical exercises that helped us relax and bring joy to the surface. He said that "joy" is just always there, we just need to allow ourselves to feel it. He differentiated between sustainable joy and instant joy. Sustainable joy is where you are just simply at a blissful state all the time, instant joy is more like when you are ecstatically happy. He taught us how in three breathes you can bring up joy. The secret is to be relaxed, be grateful and to wish others to be joyful. It worked so well for me and by end of the day my cheeks hurt from smiling too much!

Me fan-girling haha. 

I have been wishing 2 people to be joyful every hour all day today. I have been so joyful I feel like bouncing around (or it may be from the Starbucks white chocolate mocha I'm having right now). I realized yesterday though what brought me back from the other side. It was my family. I remember while I was resting one afternoon that I thought about being grateful for finally having my family complete with me in Singapore. I took a nap after that and I felt much better after I woke up.

Meng's Pinoys fan club, Johnny, me and Cathy. (Photo from Johnny's camera)

Meng said that being contented doesn't mean you are settling on something, but you should look at being contented as being grateful. And wishing others to be joyful as well helps a lot because it is a sincere way of giving. Giving is always a good thing because it leads to being selfless.

My homework is to read the whole book so that my happiness tank never runs out.

*Banana - did some research and banana actually helps raise potassium which helps raise ones energy level

Monday, June 20, 2016

Firestarter Venom

There were two movies I watched when I was a child that have scarred me forever -- "Firestarter" (the one Drew Barrymore starred in) and "Venom".

Up to this day my hands shake whenever I need to light a match and I could never start the gas stove here in Singapore (I use an induction stove here and an electric stove in Manila and I starve whenever there's no electricity). It did not help that our gas stove when I was a kid used to spew out fire every so often whenever someone was cooking (I have since replaced my Mom's stove back home). I stay away from sparks and fire mainly because of the movie "Firestarter". Maybe I should watch the movie again and get a better perspective of the film since the only thing I recall about the movie now is Drew Barrymore blowing up stuff because she could start a fire just by squinting. Hmmm... or maybe I could just ask my Kuya to heal me from the trauma.

I mentioned in a previous post that I'm also scared of snakes. I know now that they will only attack you when provoked (thanks to NatGeo channel) and that expert handlers can pick up venomous snakes with ease. The movie "Venom" though featured a snake (a black mamba) that would attack anyone on its path. I watched the movie at an impressionable age (I must have been six or seven) and the image of the black mamba slithering through walls waiting to attack anyone has been stuck on my mind eversince. I'm okay with other reptiles, but snakes just simply give me the creeps mainly because of that movie. I read some comments about the film though and it mentioned that it had veered away from the book. Ahhh, maybe I should read the book to better understand the movie. Anyway, I'm sure a lot of you have not watched the film, check out this short trailer I found on YouTube.

Now I realize why my sister insisted on censoring what I would watch since my Mom just let me watch whatever I wanted back then haha. I still haven't watched "Basic Instinct"! Gaah!

What about you? Did you watch any films when you were young that left a big impression on you? Traumatized you? Shaped who you are now? On the fun side other unforgettable films I watched when I was a kid were "ET" "Back to the Future" "Star Wars" and "Dead Poets Society". Ahhh probably why I'm so geeky LOL.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Adventure Down Under: Of Kangaroos and Koalas

Two of the channels I always watch are NatGeo and Discovery Channel especially when I travel. I particularly like watching shows about animals, the ocean and anything related to archaeology/anthropology. I guess it's because once upon a time I had planned to take anthropology in university, so I sate my hunger for knowledge by watching these two channels.

So I absolutely had to see a koala up close. And a kangaroo. I know there are a lot of sharks, snakes, crocodiles (and other animals) in Australia, but my priority was to see these two cute animals. We didn't have time to go to the big zoo so we ended up at the small zoo in Darling Harbour.

Strangely enough I got to see a lot of venomous snakes first before I got to see the very cute sleepy koalas and kangaroos. I only got close to the snakes because they were in an enclosed glass case. Good thing though most of them were asleep since I have this vague memory that someone told me that a snake takes a snapshot of you through their eyes if you kill them and another snake would take revenge on you when they find you (I seriously do not know if this is true or not). I'm really scared of snakes because I watched the movie "Venom" when I was a kid and to this day I can't forget the image of the snake slithering through a home killing everyone on its path (watch this to get an idea). The snakes in the zoo though sported very colorful skins.

I rushed through the other animals because I wanted to get to the koala and kangaroo. We got lucky though because we chanced upon the kangaroo show. We managed to get in and get close to the kangaroo. One of them was very friendly and allowed visitors to pet it, but one was very wary of people. I just kept a safe distance since I just wanted to take a photo. Here's one of your best friends Pooh!

I was a bit sad when I finally saw some koalas. They were all asleep and lethargic (must be because it was winter), but the koala show was still open near the zoo cafe and I finally got to appreciate seeing them move. Their claws are bigger though in real life and I saw a koala claw back scratcher at the market (scary big claws!).

One thing I like about zoos is you can capture the personality of the animals when you take their photo. Here are some interesting photos I took:

Love birds in love.

What are you looking at? Hmmm?

Pretty butterfly hiding under a leaf.

Ribbit ribbit.

Yup I can turn my head this way. Can you?

Wrestling match.

Is this pose fine with you?

We're sleeping all day everyday.

Still a lot to learn about these animals, but maybe next time I'll be able to go to the bigger zoo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Adventure Down Under: Sydney

Way back in the late 90s my Tita Chu invited me to come visit Australia. I managed to get a visa but didn't have enough funds to pay for a ticket (huhu!). It took more than 15 years for me to and mainly because I had work to do (sorry I'm such a tightwad!). I was worried about leaving my son at home alone so I immediately checked if I could get cheap tickets so I could bring him with me. We got lucky since I managed to get promo tickets for Miguel and Sweetie!

So off we went Down Under on a red-eye flight. Seven and a half hours later we arrived in Sydney and ended up eating at McDonald's at the airport. The first thing we learned? Water and taxis are very expensive in Australia. You could actually drink from the tap but unfamiliar water is one thing that makes me sick so I always drink boiled water (some bottled water makes me sick too boo). The first thing we did when we arrived at the hotel was take a shower and sleep.

In the evening we met up with Tita Chu and Uncle Robert at a nearby restaurant. We had a real treat eating seafood buffet. It was a good thing we decided to walk back to the hotel. I walk very slow so it took us about an hour to reach the hotel. It was a good long walk since we were able to familiarize ourselves with the area.

The next day we met up with Tita Chu at the pier and went on the Captain Cook's Sydney Harbour Story Cruise. It was a two hour ride across the harbour. We got to see the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the different nooks and crannies locals go to (there was even a nude beach!). It was an awesome experience to see the area. We were also lucky because the sun hid for awhile so it wasn't too hot to be on the open deck. It was such a beautiful day to be with family.

In the evening we had a very different experience. Tita Chu brought us to the Mercedes Benz Fashion Show. It was our first time to attend a fashion show. It was fun to see new trends in fashion. 

The next day we had an awesome gastronomic experience at the Sydney Fish Market with Sweetie's cousin James. We had a wide array of seafood. Fresh. Juicy. Crispy. The scallops were unbelievably huge! Bondat from lunch we headed to the Market to buy some stuff. 

So that was our first three days in Sydney.