Yes We Are

September 2, 2018.  After Teacher Mycs Villoso taught the whole hiphop routine for the class, she began to call groups to perform it in front of everybody.  “Alright, this time let’s call on the students of Teacher Faith.”  And so they went to the center while I and some stayed in the corner hoping to be invisible, but Teacher Mycs turned her gaze toward us and asked, “Aren’t you one of them?” We shook our heads, then she exclaimed, “In denial!” In the attempt to be excused, I said, “But I haven’t memorized the routine.”  Then she smiled charmingly and said, “It’s okay.”  

And so off we went to the center.

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As the music played, my body just started dancing with the rest of the group.  It just flowed with the energy in the space.  Yes, there were steps which were not properly executed but the flow and energy just felt good.

Truly, I cannot deny that I am a student of Teacher Faith in the same way that we cannot deny that we are children of God.  And so the next time someone will ask, “Aren’t you one of them?” With grace and confidence, say “Yes We Are!” and just show them what you got.

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Thank you Teacher Mycs Villoso for your charms which enabled me to dance that instant and thank you Teacher Faith for encouraging us to just give our best.  Forgive us for the denial.   And yes, we will learn from our mistakes and move on.  We are proud to have dance teachers who reflect His gentleness and greatness. May God bless you more!

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Hearts on Fire in Hip Hop

September 2, 2018.  Before the start of the Hip Hop Class, Teacher Mycs Villoso led everyone to prayer, “Lord, thank you for this opportunity to share energy in our same passion to dance.  May this be our worship to You…  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.”

Then, after a few minutes of warming-up, “Okay, game!”  The dance teacher gleefully exclaimed, which signaled the start of a detailed teaching of what seemed like a complicated Hip Hop choreography.

While learning the choreography, I noticed the coolness of the Hip Hop dance teacher:

1) She gives clear instructions of the steps to follow;

2) She leads by example, “Okay, watch first as I dance the routine.”; 

3) She considers the pace of everyone and so after revealing every routine, she would ask, “One more time or move on?”;

4) She gives enough time for water breaks and encourages everyone to ask questions, “What part are you having a difficulty? Let me break it down for you.  Here’s the counting…”; 

5) When she notices that the dancers’ minds are already overwhelmed by the many technical steps, she would say, “Relax. Chill. Inhale. Exhale. Okay, this time just let the body flow with the music.”  Then she allows the song to play in repetition as the dancers mark the steps until they get the timing and musicality;

6) Her punch lines are so true in dance and in life, It’s okay to make honest mistakes, but no shortcuts.  A shortcut is a sabotage waiting to happen.  Practice does not make it perfect, but rather, it’s perfect practice that makes it perfect.”; 

7) In a rare moment wherein she herself makes a mistake in teaching a step, she quickly admits it, asks for forgiveness and makes it right;

8) She pushes everyone to give their best effort and shine, “Get rid of unnecessary shyness and preconceived thought of not measuring up to expectations.  When you dance, it’s between you and the Song. Take your time.”;

9) She gives corrections for proper execution and smiles for consolation;

10) She then encourages everyone to put their unique character and personality in the dance.

The two-hour allotted time swiftly passed as everyone was having fun, and it’s amazing how, at the last part of the class, everyone would then be able to dance with a ‘swag’ what seemed like a complicated Hip Hop choreography at first.  Truly, it takes a cool mentor and a patient trust of the student to achieve any dream.  As what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, said —

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Thank you so much Teacher Mycs Villoso for being God’s reflection of His cool mentorship and for setting our hearts on fire in Hip Hop.  May God bless you more!
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With Teacher Mycs and my sister Charity, who I encouraged to join Jazz Funk class after Teacher Mycs encouraged me to join the dance presentation in the previous Hip Hop class.  Encouragement, indeed, can create an endless ripple effect.  Thanks to you Teacher Mycs. We love you! *Hugs♡♡♡

Let the Owner Be

Articles 428-429 of the Civil Code provide:

Art. 428. The owner has the right to enjoy and dispose of a thing, without other limitations than those established by law.

The owner has also a right of action against the holder and possessor of the thing in order to recover it. (348a)

Art. 429. The owner or lawful possessor of a thing has the right to exclude any person from the enjoyment and disposal thereof. For this purpose, he may use such force as may be reasonably necessary to repel or prevent an actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion or usurpation of his property.

Who owns you?  Whose are you?  Is the one who owns you the one who possesses you?  Have you been conquered by someone or something other than the owner?  Is there a thing? a person? a community? a vice or a virtue? a past or a future? – that is trying to limit your world? to make you feel small? to manipulate or to possess you?

Wake up now! Wake up this instant!

Let the Owner be…

Yet the Owner won’t be (even if He can be) without our permission.  The giver of freewill is the greatest respecter of freewill.  That is how much He loves us.  And so, let us choose to let Him be.  Let God be God.

But how exactly?

Ignatius of Loyola assembled the Spiritual Exercises to help us come into a more intimate relationship with God.  At the beginning of the Exercises, Ignatius shared a reflection now called the Principle and Foundation —

God who loves us creates us and wants to share life with us forever. Our love response takes shape in our praise and honor and service of the God of our life.

All the things in this world are also created because of God’s love and they become a context of gifts, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we show reverence for all the gifts of creation and collaborate with God in using them so that by being good stewards we develop as loving persons in our care of God’s world and its development. But if we abuse any of these gifts of creation or, on the contrary, take them as the center of our lives, we break our relationship with God and hinder our growth as loving persons.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some responsibility. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a more loving response to our life forever with God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me.

Dear Almighty Father,

You own me, yet still, You ask for my permission to possess me.  All I have is Yours. Take them all until what I have is open hands.

Love, Rhea

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Be My God so I can Be Me

How will we know the actual state of mind of a person?

A hidden mystery.  Beyond psychological theories.  Beyond self-knowledge.  A realm where only the Creator can see through clearly.

Thus, as human beings, the best way to help another is by first listening to an expressed need.  Ignatius of Loyola said that, “We should be slow to speak and patient in listening to all…Our ears should be wide open to our neighbor until he seems to have said all that is in his mind” (Thoughts of Ignatius of Loyola for Every Day of the Year, 39). A contemporary adage seems to elaborate on Ignatius’s words: “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to respond.”

For instance, when a person expresses his fear of dying soon, giving him an outright advice to “just pray” without fully hearing him out may further burden him rather than enlighten him.

I, myself, have been a recipient of so many outright advices, and it is the Ignatian Indifference to all created things that has helped me in my discernment to choose the most appropriate course of action among the good options.  Notably, in moments of consolation or desolation,  or in the highs of joy or in the lows of sorrow, the best option is to just be in God’s presence and to refrain from making a major decision until one is back to a state of equilibrium.

The Ignatian Indifference urges us to “make use of what leads to life” and to leave aside what, for each individual, does not lead to life. It is a creative kind of “detachment” in order to attach to God alone.  I noticed that even if He is God, He made no attempt to “possess” my time, nor did I, on the other hand, attempt to pursue Him out of force.  I freely choose Him and He has fulfilled my needs and I am happy to share Him to everyone around me.  In doing His will and being in Him, I am fully alive, set on fire without burning out, and so, I pray…

“Dear Almighty Father,

Be my God, so I can just be Me. 

Love, Rhea”

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Please Allow Me to Be A Child

“Please allow me to be a child.”

“Allow me to rise and fall and rise again.”

“Allow me to make and unmake and make again.”

“Allow me to learn and unlearn and learn again!”

“Please allow me to be a child.”

Oh I remember how many times your elders tried to control you, but with due respect, through your charms, gentle persuasion and politeness, they themselves realized that what they think might be good for you may not be appropriate for you.  And so, they supported your personal desires to be and do as long as they are good for they understood that your unique purpose in this world is between you and the Creator.

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And now, I would like to thank you for using your charms, gentle persuasion and politeness in order to be obedient to your Heavenly Father and at the same time give due respect to your elders, whom He also loves.  Thank you for continuously discerning His will, for being brave to do it no matter the cost, and for patiently persevering when He seems quiet.  You inspire me.

So to you my inner child,

Go reach your personal dream to praise, reverence and serve the Heavenly Father with everything He gives you.  His omnipotent love and grace will see you through.  And I will be with you all throughout the journey.

Love and Prayers, Rhea

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Not Many but Much

During the 2010 Bar Exam Review, I accumulated many review materials that I thought I should read.  So much time was spent on reading them.  No focus.  No direction.  Only intellectual pride and greed.

Then, I panicked.

I failed that Bar Exam, but failure taught me well the Ignatian Principle of Non Multa Sed Multum. Not Many But Much.

It was a struggle.  False humility pulled me down, discouraged me, and created excuses to deviate my focus.  Friends and loved ones reached out to me, pulled me up and encouraged me to move forward.

During the 2011 Bar Exam Review, I asked Myself, “What do you really need? What subjects are your weakness? 

Then, Myself started to express and I listened.

Upon hearing and understanding Myself, I gathered review materials so much as was needed to address Myself’s expressed need.  Tantum Quantum.

Together, they worked it out and offered their best effort to God.  Together, they rested in His love found in all things.  And together, they asked for grace in prayer.

They both passed the 2011 Bar Exam. Grateful Exhilaration!

Indeed, God’s mercy saved them and His love and grace sustained them and continues to sustain them now and forever.

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Special thanks to Ignatius of Loyola, the Jesuit Community, and all who journeyed with me in finding God’s love.

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How sweet it is to be loved by You! ♡♡♡

 

 

A Brother who Understands

I ignored him.  I hurt him.  I could feel his pain but I was too proud to ask for forgiveness.  Yet, despite all these, he remained to be a brother.  He supported me and every little gesture of gratitude on my part for all his goodness brought him so much joy.

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And so, please allow me…

(Deep inhale and exhale)

Dear Kuya Mark,

Thank you so much for your patience, for your understanding, and for all that you are.  Forgive me for being too full of myself.  It was your steadfast love that saved me from my pride.  I am so blessed to have a brother in you.  And yes, I will join you in making this world a better place.  Take care always.

Love and Prayers, Rhea

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