soulintraining

Posts Tagged ‘soultrain’

Have a four “S” Saturday!

In Living a Life Off-Center on January 7, 2012 at 10:57 am

I learned something new-yes in the New Year. I attended a group meditation with the Art of Living Philippines group and they imparted some enlightening advice when it was time to leave. This was to practice the four (4) S’s (I have no idea how to spell that). These S-starting words were simply:

Seva-which means “selfless” service. This is doing something for someone else with no expectation of reward or compensation. This is not necessarily a monetary donation (although that is always helpful) but rather an activity that is for the betterment of someone’s life or even the overall enviroment. When I attended a silent yoga retreat several months ago, our seva consisted of us taking up brooms and dustpans and sweeping and gathering of  fallen leaves, twigs, and even dirt from the surrounding areas. This was to help clear the way for passersby and to help in the cleanliness and tidiness of our retreat space. The next day our seva found us planting seeds and helping some farmers harvest fruit and vegetables that they had planted. It was hard work, especially since we were not used to it, but it certainly was akin to an active meditation.

Reap the rewards of selfless service with seva

Seva work can also mean volunteering at a youth center, an orphanage, NGO, helping to feed at a soup kitchen, or, the simplest, helping out at home. Give your helpers for example a break and actually clean out your room, your bathroom or even your car, inside and out.

Company of truth (and a lot of fun) with satsang

The next S we were encouraged to practice was Satsang which means truth (sat) and company (sang). It was explained to us that satsang consists of having a group activity wherein you can all speak or share your truths. This could be a small gathering of like-minded friends and peers. This gives one a chance to be enhance and raise his or her vibrations especially if the goal is common in the group. A book club for example, will read and discuss a book that they all enjoy and give their insights-this is a form of Satsang in my opinion although I have participated more in Satsangs after a meditation wherein we talk about our experiences during the meditation and see if there are any messages for the individual or for the group in general. I have also experiences satsangs that had singing and dancing, quite fun! And people really got into the joyful spirit of letting their hair down and chanting at the top of their lungs and getting into free movement.

The third S was one that I felt I’d have the most difficulty with, Sadhana or spiritual practice. To commit oneself to a regular, spritiual practice, be it prayer, meditation, going to temple, anything that would enhance the connection to the Divine was greatly encouraged by our teachers. A sacred time and space should be set aside everyday (if possible) or even three times a week. It was more the consistencyof the practice that was stressed. Meditation daily of 5-10 minutes or a devotion of 30 mins every week etc was not specified, it was more that it had to be committed to and followed through. Why? Because in honoring this sacred appointment you were paying homage to not only your creator, but to yourself. In doing regular sadhana you raise your vibrations and attract more abundance in your life. Setting your intention for more love, better health or even financial wellness is further encouraged as you start your meditation, prayer or even reflection. Imagine all the riches of the universe now being allowed to get to you because you’ve allowed yourself to be open to receive so much more!

Create your own sacred space for sadhana

And the last S? Was to simply SMILE! This is an instant upper, if someone smiles at you, smile back even if you’re don’t really feel like that. Your mood will instantly shift and you never know you can always make someone’s day simply by smiling at them. Even your own energy changes when you’re met with a smile as opposed to a sc0wl. If you’ve read or watched Eat, Pray, Love (the book was waaaay better) you may recall the lead character being advised to do a “smiling meditation” to sit in silence and imagine every cell of her body, every organ, every part she could feel just smile. Almost like your entire body is covered in smileys. This is a simple tool that can be done anytime and anywhere, a smile is universal. Turn those corners of your mouth up and to quote  Broadway’s most famous orphan, “Smile darn ya, smile!” Happy,  happy Saturday everyone! May the four S’s bring you benevolent outcomes. 🙂

Smiley kat, smiley kat 😀

*all images taken from the various sites on the Internet, many thanks to those who shared!

A worldwide prayer for Japan-repost from Masaru Emoto

In Living a Life Off-Center on March 30, 2011 at 3:12 am

Hello everyone.

If you are familiar with Dr. Masaru Emoto’s books such as the Hidden Messages in Water etc, you may want to take some time out tomorrow (March 31) to collectively say a prayer for Japan.

As “proven” in Dr. Emoto’s books, the power or thought and intention is strong enough to change the appearance and chemical component of water. (Including the one in the human body as we are 70% water)

News states that nuclear energy has already seeped into the sea water. This is the water of the world, ALL of us will be affected one way or the other. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but it will happen unless we do something to help change it.

Reports say that we do not necessarily get our seafood or nutrients from that side of the “sea” how is that possible? Water keeps flowing all around the world, the poison that nuclear energy inflicts can last generations and we do not know how it will or can morph into something else over time.

To shrug this notion off is a crime, we are all connected and we have to do our part for ourselves, for our family, our children and other generations to come.

I do hope you can all join me in this prayer.

In full faith and deepest gratitude:

Waterworld

To All People Around the World

Please send your prayers of love and gratitude to water at the nuclear plants in Fukushima, Japan!

By the massive earthquakes of Magnitude 9 and surreal massive tsunamis, more than 10,000 people are still missing…even now… It has been 16 days already since the disaster happened. What makes it worse is that water at the reactors of Fukushima Nuclear Plants started to leak, and it’s contaminating the ocean, air and water molecule of surrounding areas. Human wisdom has not been able to do much to solve the problem, but we are only trying to cool down the anger of radioactive materials in the reactors by discharging water to them. Is there really nothing else to do? I think there is. During over twenty year research of hado measuring and water crystal photographic technology, I have been witnessing that water can turn positive when it receives pure vibration of human prayer no matter how far away it is. Energy formula of Albert Einstein, E=MC2 really means that Energy = number of people and the square of people’s consciousness. Now is the time to understand the true meaning. Let us all join the prayer ceremony as fellow citizens of the planet earth. I would like to ask all people, not just in Japan, but all around the world to please help us to find a way out the crisis of this planet!!

The prayer procedure is as follows.

Name of ceremony:

“Let’s send our thoughts of love and gratitude to all water in the nuclear plants in Fukushima” Day and Time: March 31st, 2011 (Thursday) 12:00 noon in each time zone

Please say the following phrase:

“The water of Fukushima Nuclear Plant, we are sorry to make you suffer. Please forgive us. We thank you, and we love you.” Please say it aloud or in your mind. Repeat it three times as you put your hands together in a prayer position. Please offer your sincere prayer. Thank you very much from my heart.

With love and gratitude, Masaru Emoto Messenger of Water

http://www.youtube.com/user/WATERLOVEANDTHANKS

P. O. Box 687 | Sedona, AZ 86339 T

 

Out on a limbo

In Living a Life Off-Center on January 27, 2011 at 12:09 am

The spiritual path is not always a smooth one. Though many think it is an uphill climb, getting easier as we put one “foot” over the other, it is far from being that simple. Getting from here to bliss is requires a lot of rerouting, sometimes stepping back and even (it seems) going in circles.

Don’t beat yourself up if there are times when you feel like you’re the goldfish in the bowl of life. It sometimes help to just be fully aware of exactly where you are, even if it feels like nowhere. The first step for any kind of growth or expansion is awareness and acceptance.

Life in limbo isn’t too bad, just take the necessary measures to not stay in that place for too long.

*****************

Out on a Limbo

(Published in the Super section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 25, 2007)

Here, there and nowhere

I think I can be guilty most times of being an emotional fence sitter, racking up mileage points to and from my trips to limbo. It was easier earlier on in life, using pure idealism to propel me forward in making decisions, the world, being black and white through a teenager’s eyes was so much easier to make my oyster, or at least I thought. Adulthood and coming to terms with emotional upheavals slowly brought in more color, and definitely more static. So, finding clarity when lost in a feelings fog can make one reluctant to leave the limbo terminal. Not knowing the beginning or the end of what you’re going through can sometimes be extremely peaceful, as paradoxical as that sounds, it’s like being a permanent resident of Switzerland during the World War. It’s a neither here nor there Neverneverland and numbs the pain of having to choose one over the other. Ignorance is bliss, and limbo is bliss at its best. There are of course, advantages and major disadvantages of being in this state. One thing that could be considered a pro is that it actually gives you some time to think and reflect. Honestly, like when you are unsure if your flight is leaving on time or is delayed you then surrender to the fact that you have to sit down or walk around lost in as many distractions as you can possible come up with. In come the scenarios swimming in your head, all the possible wonderful endings and all the disastrous ones, in fact, it becomes a mental Choose Your Own Adventure, and the best part about it is that the ending can change over and over again. That’s the fun part about being in limbo (ok, fun is relative) you allow yourself a certain amount of detachment in order to play and replay scenes from your life and permit yourself to rebook your destination, if at least, in an imaginary outcome atlas, with no hidden fees and surcharges. You become audience to your drama, so in that aspect, limbo rocks. Another plus about limbo is that it allows reassessment, and for some, the chance to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is often scowled upon as a weakness, when the truth be told, showing vulnerability gives others a chance to help, when they would normally be turned away out of pride. There is no shame in admitting you need help, no one is expected to be strong day in and day out, and when the winds of confusion set in leaving us helpless in the hands of what we cannot control then humility takes over as well. We then learn that although we have to make decisions on our own, there are many around us who will help us til it’s time for that decision to be made, who act as support, sounding boards, sometimes even a shoulder to cry on or an understanding ear. We all crave definition in everything from our tv sets to our own lives but first we have to surf through our experiential channels in order to get the best reception, and this takes time. Limbo gives us a timeout and eventually a way out. So on your way to destination definition, enjoy a couple of stopovers in limboland.

Share

Hands-on Everything

In Philippine Star Column on September 10, 2010 at 5:01 am

Face it, we like to touch, especially our faces and everything (and sometimes everyone) around us. Office computer keyboards are not properly dusted (unless you are fortunate enough to have a janitor with the same paranoia as Ethan Hawke’s character in Gattaca); you pay with money that has passed through all sorts of hands; you sometimes shake hands with people who may not have the decency or the presence of mind to wash theirs regularly and well; you carry a legion of germs to further spread around. It’s a vicious, rather disgusting cycle, really. Hand sanitizers have become a purse must-have, especially in a country that is infamous for not having properly working public toilets.

There are a whole range of hand sanitizers out there that have their fair share of gimmicks to get you to buy them. Most of them are just prettified spritzers of alcohol, which may not be the safest option. Others promise that they will moisturize your hands at the same time, I really don’t know, just based on common sense, how that is at all possible, but hey, as long as it gets you to clean your hands, then go grab yourself a bottle or two. I’m turned off by those that are either heavily fragranced or just flat-out smell like rubbing alcohol. I’ve found a nice compromise with Messy Bessy’s The Little Warrior which uses sugarcane alcohol, aloe vera extract and green tea essential oil. Sugarcane alcohol is not as drying to the skin as commercially produced alcohol; the aloe vera extract may have some moisturizing benefits and the tea oil has antiseptic qualities. The scent is light and it fades away quickly. I also like the brightly colored refillable bottle since I can find it in the black hole that I call my bag! It also has a three-fold use: it cleans your hand, can be used as a disinfectant so you can spay it in the air around you and lastly it’s a surface cleaner — just spritz it on a cotton ball or tissue and wipe away.

Look ma! Clean hands!

In terms of choosing products that are better for your health in the long run, with the rule of thumb being “if a fifth grader can’t pronounce the ingredients it probably isn’t good for you,” it should also be environmentally friendly (refillable bottles, locally sourced materials) and belong to a company with a sincere social conscience. There has been a rise in social enterprises, from first-time entrepreneurs to bigger corporations creating a spin-off unit as part of their CSR. Messy Bessy engages the disadvantaged youth through their H.O.U.S.E project by providing them both with employment and education. I have been fortunate enough to go to their warehouse and plant and I’ve witnessed the great care the proprietors take to ensure a safe and hygienic working environment. H.O.U.S.E stands for Helping Ourselves Through Sustainable Enterprises and the project recently received a one-year grant to put up its in-house alternative school. The employees get an education worth either an elementary or high school diploma and body and soul are also nurtured with workshops in art therapy, creative writing and yoga

As a consumer, being allowed to witness how the products are assembled and created gives me a lot more confidence when I patronize a certain brand. Messy Bessy has expanded from its line of household cleaners to a more economical line called Misis Linis to Baby-friendly products called Messy Baby and is in the process of creating food items that are a healthier alternative to well-loved Pinoy snacks such as instant noodles which normally have a very high monosodium glutamate content.

If you are trying to make a change in your lifestyle, dramatic steps are not always necessary; you can start with tiny, almost taken for granted ones. Something as simple as switching to a better brand of handwash in your bathroom or a product in your purse is a really good first step.

* * *

For more on Messy Bessy and The H.O.U.S.E Project, go to messybessy.com.

Angel Altars

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 7, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Ready to be the hostess with the mostest!

I recently completed a Wishing Angels ritual. The whole idea behind it was to “host” a group of wishing angels in your home for approximately five days. A friend had to pass on her guests to 2-3 friends and she chose me to be one of the recipients. The ritual itself was fairly simple, although there had to be some preparation involved. When I mean wishing angels I truly mean our winged guardians but these ones were primarily to help grant three of your most heartfelt wishes. These three wishes had to be personal ones, and not for other people.

To prepare, I had to dedicate an area in my bedroom to house my divine guests. This was going to act as an angel altar, which required a few things. The first was that it had to have a vase or a pot of fresh white flowers, a candle, an apple and then a white envelope with a letter containing my three most heartfelt wishes. They were going to arrive at 10:30pm and I was to welcome them with an opening mantra of gratitude. That morning, I went to the local flower shop to pick the brightest, whitest flowers I could find and also a shiny green apple. I was lucky that I had a battery operated candle (you have to keep a candle burning for five straight days) because this is obviously a safer option than a real candle. Two of my other friends did the same thing, they used a battery operated candle. I spent the afternoon thinking of my three most heartfelt wishes and wrote them down, placing the letter in the white envelope and under the apple. For an extra special touch, I placed a ceramic figure of an apple on the altar. This is what it looked like:

Ready and waiting for my guests of honor!

My candle worked out well being battery operated, it flickered almost like the real thing plus it was vanilla scented which made it even more realistic.

Even better (and safer) than the real thing!

I also added some of my crystals that had angel-like properties:

Barite with watermelon tourmaline

For extra measure I also put a quartz cluster  just to amplify the energies:

More power!

At around 10pm that night, the rains started to pour and the ritual specified that I would have to open the front door and any main entrance to allow the angels in. In my case that meant the gate at streetlevel of my house, my front door and of course my bedroom door. I was worried about the rains, how was I going to stand outside and wait for them without getting wet and without looking ridiculous in my nightwear and an umbrella? By 10:28pm I waited by my front door (inside the house) wondering what I would do when the clock struck 10:30. All of a sudden, the front door “trembled” as if a strong wind at hit it I noticed several bright red lights blinking from outside my house, my heart leapt and I ran to open the door. I saw my brother, returning home from work at this late hour and alighting from his car-which meant, he was going to open the front gate since he had to enter. Problem solved! With umbrella in hand I watched him open the gate and felt a thrill I kept the front door open as I waited for my brother to climb up and go inside. He was giving me a quizzical look wondering how I could have opened the door for him without him having to ring the doorbell. When I glanced at my watch again it was exactly 10:30pm. There are no coincidences in this life, my guests had arrived, and had hitched a ride with my brother.

I felt like a giddy teenager as I welcomed them into my room and gabbed on about how I hoped they would like their little space. They seemed to approve and I went to bed that night with a huge smile on my face. Throughout the course of the day my friends and I shared stories about how they welcomed their angels and their experiences with them. I asked them to email me their angel altars, so here are a few versions:

Angel figurine already with an electricity fueled candle

Angel altar with disco light instead of candle

There were some who opted to put a more personal touch on their altars by surrounding it with photos of their loved ones:

Personal touches make it even more special

For the next five days, I used my imagination in entertaining my celestial guests. A friend of mine who could “see” them told me that mine were a mother and daughter tandem, and quite big in size (which I felt) and also quite old and regal (something I also felt). One friend had about three angels who visited her and they seemed more youthful and a little more playful. Another friend had a group of female angels, probably about five or more who were noisy and seemed to chatter like a bunch of highschool girls. I took my guests to my office, to the mall, flower shopping, to a bridal shower and always gave them the option to go back to my home and rest if they wanted. I know this sounds crazy but it gave me a sense of love whenever I spoke to them (sometimes out loud but in public places mentally) and I was quite sad on the 5th day when I knew it was time to say goodbye to them. That goodbye night was also special with a farewell ritual. As I walked them to the front gate (and thankfully it wasn’t raining this time) my dog followed me and he started to bark at noone and nothing in particular. When I opened the front gate he ran out, barking, and I panicked a bit as he rushed to the right side of the road barking, and then to the left side of the road. All of a sudden he stopped, and just ran back in. For the rest of the time I spent outside completing the ritual he stoically sat on the front steps looking into the distance. Eventually he lay down but with his eyes still focused straight ahead. This time I knew that my guests had really left and had moved on to their next host (2 of my good friends).

All in all it was a lovely experience, I am now waiting for my angels to surprise me with my 3 most heartfelt wishes granted beyond my wildest expectations. 🙂

One more altar option for the road

Bug Begone!

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

To be scared is normal, to be fearful, is a little more serious but relatively normal, to have a phobia-which evokes an emotion that goes beyond words but the closest would probably be terror is God-awful. There have been accounts of people who go into hysteria, some as extreme as dropping dead, right on the spot when faced with that one thing or situation that throws them right off the sanity meter. Yes, I know, this all sounds overly dramatic, but that’s what a phobia can do, bring out the telenovela in you, all at once you have no concept of vanity or poise, so even if you’re in the most anticipated, glamorous event of the year in your fight worthy ensemble you will be reduced to a big old mess, worthy of a straitjacket.

So what freaks you out the most? You’ve heard of agoraphobia-fear of open and or crowded spaces. There’s zoophobia-fear of animals and the rather amusing cacophobia-fear of ugly things (beauty is really in the eye of the beholder). Fear is not alien to me but I have found that there is nothing else that makes me turn around screaming and running awat like a complete and utter lunatic than a cockroach.  It sounds silly right? I disagree, a cockroach, roach, ipis, cuca, whatever you want to call it is akin to the spawn of Satan. Seriously, that’s how I view them, practically indestructible sneaky little things that can creep through any hole, probably go through walls, and have the balls to go straight at you, even if you’re 200 times its size.  I’m not going to even get started on the flying ones which can send even the bravest, macho man screaming for his life (trust me, I’ve witnessed this) as this hideous winged menace makes an aggressive beeline for his head.

Roach no more!

As there are many ways to skin a cat, there are of course many ways to kill a cockroach, but more of them involve sprays with toxic fumes. Grab your supermarket brand of bug or roach spray, and spritz away, the smell alone is enough to kill you. This is especially detrimental in times of panic when you are trapped, alone in your bathroom and a roach decides to launch a surprise attack, if you are like me, you aim and fire that spray in all directions (because you’ve closed your eyes in fear) and what’s left is a fog that cloaks you and besides killing that six legged little beast you’ve probably also poisoned your lungs and goodness knows what else. Worst of all, if you’ve gone and emptied out half a can in one area of your abode, the smell stays for hours, even the whole day, and probably, so does all the toxins.

Thankfully, there have been less dangerous (to humans but not to roaches) alternatives in the market. One of which is the Anti-Roach Spray of Messy Bessy. Messy Bessy is well-known for its environmentally and people friendly line of house cleaning products and has expanded into handwashes, and repellants. Their roach spray uses a patchouli oil blend that seems to freeze a roach on the spot with one go and its smell will not cause you to gag or your eyes to tear. Again, you have to exert a little self control here, a spritz or two is enough if you empty the bottle out the patchouli’s scent will be overwhelming, but not toxic at least.  Herbal pest controllers have been recommending essential oils or certain herbs to get insects or other unwanted critters to bug off.  Citronella oil for example when mixed with a little water can be used to fight off mosquitoes and you can even spray it on your furniture as it gives off a pleasant smell and will not stain if diluted properly.

I have to admit that my newfound weapon of roach destruction has been effective. Even with a regularly cleaned house or office, the rains and overall crappy sewerage keep bringing my fears to the surface (literally) so I make sure I always have a bottle within arm’s reach. The cockroaches may never go away completely but at least I’ve found another way to fight them off. Ironically, when I did an online search for “phobia of cockroaches” the term used for this was Katsaridaphobia. Ah, the irony.

For more information on Messy Bessy products and where to get them visit: http://www.messybessy.com

Love is a many splendored and (often, very complicated) thing

In Philippine Star Column on August 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

My weekends are normally spent playing catch-up, with books gathering dust on my desk, unwatched TV shows, general exercise and sleeping until a sinful hour. This last weekend though I found myself bombarded with phone calls from friends and even colleagues moaning about the states of their love lives. Among the dust-gathering books on my desk was one in a series written by good friend and fellow Philippine STAR columnist, Jeannie Javelosa, entitled Revisiting Relationships. Taking the constant ring and ping of my phone as a sign, I decided to get some relationship advice of my own, before dishing it out to someone else.

What I got was a reminder on why some relationships last and go on, even if they shouldn’t in society’s eyes. One of the chapters tackled “affairs” which seems to be more and more rampant in the country due to our lack of a divorce law. How many friends do you know are really in love with each other but because a proper annulment takes such a ridiculously long time, their relationship is viewed as inappropriate, with the female half stereotyped as “the other woman” or “homewrecker” even if that home had already been “wrecked” by other forces years before? There is also the issue of women (and some men) who choose to endure couple-hood despite recurring instances of emotional and or physical abuse. Why is it that some seem to easily walk away while some cling on, seemingly for dear life?

The quickest answer is karma. Yes, that word which people use loosely but really does explain a whole lot of cause and effect. Whatever action you do (and this is not limited to physical action as thoughts and prayers also send out energy) creates energy that returns with twice the impact on the sender. Yes, not the “same” as we may have previously believed but, if we are to believe Javelosa’s research, we get a double return on our investment! To quote from the book: “Karma is a scientific occurrence in which quantum scientists have proven that space is concave and that any energy released from one point moves through the concave form of space and bounces back to its place of origin, often with twice the intensity.” There you have it, two for the price of one. So, think twice before you send that hate/love or sex-text out; know what you could possibly be getting in response.

So the answer to why do some people stay in a relationship even when common sense is screaming at them to go? The leveling out of karma from either a past life or the present.

Jealousy (not worth it), unconditional love (yes, worth it), and going back to an ex (you decide if he or she is worth it) are all tackled in Revisiting Relationships. Javelosa has counseled hundreds — maybe even thousands — of men and women who have gone to her for her destiny chart readings. One story that struck me was of a teenager who had the good fortune of finding his soul mate and then losing her first to a coma, and then eventually death. Throughout her comatose state he was advised to just send her loving thoughts “When love is there,” advised Javelosa, “not just romantic love but compassionate love that seeks the betterment of the other person with no selfish wants or needs, only healing and greater love can happen.” Although the two never connected again on the physical plane, the young boy wrote Javelosa to say that he had enjoyed one last moment with her, through a vivid, beautiful dream. He lives on with no bitterness or regret and is ready for love again.

If you have been contemplating your relationships of late, be they romantic ones or just alliances with friends or colleagues, it would be a good idea to pick up this book to get a better understanding of why you feel the way you do towards certain people. Relationships act as mirrors to the self; get to know what makes you tick and stop trying to emotionally dismember someone else when things aren’t working out the way you planned. On a lighter note, the book also offers some meditations, including a little exercise you can do (with or without a partner) to attain tantric bliss. Yes, you read that right: tantric bliss. All in all, the book keeps driving home the message that we are all each other’s teachers in this life, and that whether we are with someone for (and this cliché makes me roll my eyes) a reason, a season or a lifetime, that we have come together out of our own free will and a pre-life promise to do so.

Believe it or not, we actually choose whom to be with, and we also choose to keep them or leave them. Even after a death, or a breakup it’s what we do with the memory of that relationship that will allow us to move on or keep us locked in the past. Maybe it’s time for you to go forward but as I’ve also read, everything, short of death, can be revisited as well.

* * *

Revisiting Relationships by Jeannie Javelosa is available at PowerBooks and National Bookstore

Art break

In Living a Life Off-Center on August 8, 2010 at 9:23 am

Am certainly not an expert on art and I can’t really write about it intelligently, so photos are always the best way to share what I like.

This is the recent exhibit of Norberto Roldan at the Silverlens/ SLAB Gallery in Makati.

Cool re-fashion

I liked what he did with the beauty kits, reminded me so much of my grandmother’s vanity table when I was super young.

Pretty little boxes

Took a closer shot of my favorite ones:

Anything bring back a memory?

And these:

Oriental touches

Here’s the artist in front of one of his installations at the exhibit:

Norberto Roldan

and sans artist in front:

Check out the detail

He also made these cigar boxes imprinted with famous people names in a series:

Wanna puff?

You certainly don’t have to be an expert to appreciate art. This, for me can take the place of retail therapy or window shopping. There’s no spending involved (unless you are so enamored by a piece that you do splurge) and you learn to nurture the right side of your brain once in a while. Plus, you get to observe some of the most interesting people and see what kind of thoughts they have to bring to life in order to exist. 😉

Souls in training have different outlets, when I need to just let go and have a nice visual feast, I go to an exhibit. Sometimes, I actually come home with something I like!

The will to run

In Living a Life Off-Center on August 3, 2010 at 12:40 am

I used to be super athletic. I could jump from activity to activity within the day and was euphoric at the end of it. Now I wonder, where has all that energetic enthusiasm gone? These days, aside from eating out, or eating in, anything more strenuous is relegated to later, and then pushed on to much, much later. I started running once upon a time because it seemed a great “couple” thing to do with my then better half, and then nowadays, it just seemed to be the only activity that could match my amazing appetite. So to keep the calories down and to keep the fitness  meter  up, I run, and when I run good, I feel very, very good, and when I run bad, I don’t really care.

I even went so far as to google “Run with joy” online and came up with zip. Although due to a good friend (Celine Novenario the heart and soul of http://www.the30before30project.com), I got a glimpse of an article that made me realize, just running wasn’t going to make me the supermodel I always dreamed of.  So instead of go run and eat what you can, she made me read this:

Hungry for More

The Newbie Chronicles

Hungry for More

When you start running, you get to eat as much as you want, right?
By Marc Parent

Image by Marcos Chin

From the August 2010 issue of Runner’s World

First, you go for a run, of course. Then what you do is go ahead and take a mess of red beans and let them spill across a big white plate so they just kiss the pile of dry-rub ribs. You go for a run (of course!) and then you roll a grilled cob of corn on a stick of butter until it’s good and gooey and shake some salt and hot pepper flakes on it. Actually, since you went for that run, just go on and do two cobs, but don’t forget to save room for the raspberry pie.

What you’ll want to do with the pie is take out a wedge about the size of a shovel blade and lob on a double dip of ice cream and eat it really fast and think how lucky it was that you got that run in.

Or here’s something else to try. Start with a run like I do and then go to the kid’s birthday party and rush the potato chip bowl with the rest of the children. Stuff a handful of chips into your mouth and laugh wildly over your shoulder at the nonrunning adults nibbling miserably on carrot sticks. Raise a can of orange soda in their direction and watch them tentatively lift their cans of diet. Then chug yours down in one swallow and slam the can on the table and wipe your mouth on your sleeve and let out a howl. Man, you don’t need no stinkin’ diet soda ’cause you ain’t on no stinkin’ diet, so pass the pepperoni, ’cause you just ran your fool head off and you’re hungry as a dog.

Something else I like to do is go for a run, do my normal cooldown followed by a short stretch and a shower, then go into the pantry and rip open a bag of chocolate chips and fill both cheeks. That’s a fun one. And like so many people, I used to drink beer and eat fried fish. Never again! That was the old me. Now I go for a run and then drink the beer and eat fried fish. In fact, for me, the beer and fried fish have become one of the great joys of running. The only other thing I’d really like to try with running sometime would be a little weight loss. I haven’t seen that as much as the beer and fish.

The prospect of losing weight was the primary reason I took up running in the first place. With a crafty bit of magical thinking, I figured there was no possible way I could run and be fat at the same time regardless of what I ate. There is no such thing as a fat runner. This reasoning, coupled with low mileage and a newly raging appetite, resulted in precisely that. But rather than panic when I stepped on the scale, I attributed the rising numbers to a new accumulation of muscle mass. I found a doctor who would support the claim and clung to him like a barnacle. Then I used any chance I could to make the point that muscle mass is so much heavier than a mass of fat. My weight gain was a product of a building athlete, not a midnight pantry raider. After increasing my mileage from one to two miles, and my running frequency from two to four times a week, I finally saw a small drop. Encouraged by that, I built my mileage and waited to see the pounds fall away. And waited, and waited…and ate like a cow the whole while.

We are all at least partially defined by the questions we ask ourselves in the bright light of the bathroom mirror–deep questions with profound implications: Can I run for a few miles and butter my steak too? Somewhere in my gut, I already knew the answer. Somewhere deep in my deepening gut. But the answer, like the gut, wasn’t pretty. The answer was a big fat no. Running may produce or otherwise support many miracles, but the butter/steak miracle is not one of them.

One morning while eating a cinnamon-raisin bagel with honey-walnut cream cheese, I came across an article about exercise and weight loss and went straight to the source study online to pore over the data myself. As reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in September 2009, researchers in Australia tracked 58 “sedentary, overweight/obese” male and female participants who took part in a 12-week, supervised “aerobic exercise intervention” without any change in diet. At the conclusion of the program, the mean weight loss for the group was just over seven pounds, but for 26 participants, the average was only two pounds. Three months of no-cheat toil for two lousy pounds! That’s a long, hard road to beautiful, partner.

I took a giant bite of the bagel and clicked to more studies. One focused on how athletes’ bodies allocate and utilize calories in an effort to discover a phenomena known as “afterburn”–roughly translated as an ability to continue burning fat calories after a workout; a get-out-of-jail-free card for my cream-cheese bagel, thanks to my previous run. And man, who among us couldn’t use just a little afterburn every once in awhile? One problem. It doesn’t seem to exist. In fact, the only good news I found was that exercise seems to keep pounds off once you’ve managed to shave them off through strict cream-cheese-bagel restriction.

One Saturday morning, from the sidelines of our sons’ middle-school lacrosse game, I shared my discoveries with Dr. Matthew McCambridge, Lehigh Hospital physician and medical staff president of the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania. “It’s all pretty straightforward,” he said with a smile. “Weight loss and attending health benefit is essentially a calories-in/calories-out proposition.”

He could have also gone on to tell me that grass is essentially green and the sky is essentially blue, but he’s too much of a gentleman for that. I pressed for clarification all the same.

“To lose weight,” I said, “you have to… eat less.”

“Exactly.”

“Even if you’re a runner?”

“At the typical distances and durations for the average athlete–yes, even if you’re a runner.”

“But I get really hungry after a run.”

McCambridge, who is trim and muscular, had just completed a 12-mile run. “To lose weight, you have to occasionally allow yourself to get really hungry,” he said with a knowing smile returning to his face. “I haven’t had anything to eat yet today. I’m actually quite hungry.”

I smiled back and nodded, but mine was a guilty smile. I hadn’t just run 12 miles. I hadn’t even run two. And I wasn’t hungry either. After a heaping breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs and pan-fried potatoes, I wasn’t even just satisfied. Two whole hours after my undeserved feast, I still felt quite full.

***

So there you have it, and yes Celine Novenario, you now have me sadly not reaching for that  second delicious portion til I find a consistent running rhythm!   If anyone out there knows an article that will make me find the joy to run, on a consistent, less whine-y and whinge-y basis, feel free to share!

Live to Eat

In Living a Life Off-Center on August 2, 2010 at 9:20 am

I know, gluttony is a dangerous thing, but when it comes in the form of a guerrilla dinner the danger can be transformed into a delicious fete. The premise? A group of food lovers ready for adventure, to be taken to an undisclosed venue and ready to eat whatever is prepared and plated for them. So, under the care of JJ Yulo and his fellow chefs and partners we were carted off to Canlubang to enjoy an almost 12 course feast. Seriously, it seemed like it was at least 12, because the food didn’t stop coming.

A glance at the menu reveals the culinary stylings of:

Chefs unite!

Karla Mendoza-who has had almost two decades of cooking experience, and has worked under some of the best chefs in the US (Annita Lo, Mark Peek, Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali) and in some of the best restaurants like Annisa and Mozza. She’s also going to be opening Mozza in Singapore, so that’s two thumbs up to being proud for the Filipino!

Namee Jorolan-a third generation restaurateur (Pampanga’s Everybody’s Cafe) and worked in the US in restaurants such as Chez Panisse, Aqua and Spice Market.  Food is definitely in her blood!

JJ Yulo-from a family who loves to eat, our host and instigator of the night, openly admitted he had to up his game when working with the two above-mentioned chefs. But he is no lightweight in the culinary filed by no means having gone to culinary school in New York and doing an internship at world famous Nobu.

And here’s what we had:

Menu was just a teaser as way more was served

So, even if the menu looked “normal” by any glutton’s standards, the servings were heartier than expected with jet fresh ingredients and very rich condiments and seasoning. I will warn any and all of you now. The food is very flavorful and very rich, it is certainly not for the health or weight conscious, but then again, it is only for one night. Even people who love to eat like me were challenged, as it’s a lot to take, and if you want to truly enjoy you will have to make your digestive system ready.

Food porn shots coming up!

Lick, shoot and suck...or something like that

This is one of the appetizers. There were scallops, there was a crab cake, and I can no longer remember what was in the shot glass

Potato and goat cheese, and a salad in the BG

I believe this salad was the lightest thing we had all night. It was one of my favorite dishes though, something about mixing it all up was quite perfect. Plus, it had a lot of texture since all sorts of things were happening in your mouth!

Foie gras is never blah!

Of course, what is a fine dining meal without foie gras? Certainly not fine dining. So, this is foie gras with a little brioche on the side. Heaven.

Two eggs are better than one...

Truffled egg which you scoop out with a little spoon and a balot croquette. Good cholesterol right?

Shrimp sandwiched scallop

Another favorite of the night. I guess I really just have a preference for seafood…and foie gras? Hmmm…wait.

I should have taken this home...

I wish I had taken this sandwich home to enjoy at leisure. Porchetta sandwich with a shot of Red Horse beer (who needs wine, seriously?) The bread was crunchy, the meat was juicy, actually if they had served JUST this for the whole night and a dessert I would have left very happy.

Fish in lemongrass sauce

I think my system was starting to fail at this point, but I pressed on, I thought, well it’s just fish right? Right.

Stuffed chicken

Ok, I’m really not big on chicken, but when it’s stuffed with risotto and spinach and fennel it just tastes different so I did have a couple of bites, mostly finishing the risotto. Probably not my favorite of the night, but I’m sure poultry lovers would enjoy this and hey, it’s got rice…sorta.

Cool-inaries, Mendoza, Jorolan and Yulo

So, here’s the role call before dessert 🙂 Our chefs!

Still room for dessert

The Yulo version of Dunkin’ Donuts complete with dipping sauces of chocolate and a mind-blowing caramel!

Biscotti for the road

Some tea and coffee was served (as well as cheese) after our pig-out with an extra helping of this yummy biscotti.

Although the dinner fete lasted til midnight and the trek back home took about an hour, I would recommend this for the serious foodie or for a group that would like to do something different and more creative-rather than just a usual restaurant reservation.

Pleasant company and conversation are actually included 😉

For more information on how to get hooked up go to: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=112474868773754&ref=search

Happy gluttony!