Jesuit Online Retreat 2009

You can be online, at work, at home, abroad and still be able to do a personal Lenten retreat at any time, at your convenience.

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Fr. Johnny Go, SJ, in his spiritual blog, Pins of Light, has given a heads-up on another online Jesuit retreat (The Silences of Lent) that anyone can do for Holy Week. The first online retreat launched by the Jesuits in 2008 was a resounding success as it allowed many people who had little time to spare or who were far from a Holy Week Retreat venue to set aside as little as 30-45 minutes on each day of the Holy Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil) and be with the Lord.

Fr. Johnny writes about this retreat:

Ours is a God of Silence, but He keeps different kinds of silences. And during Lent, more than ever, He is silent, for His deepest silences are experienced in the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus.

Lent is a season full of silences: The Silence of Gethsemane, the Silence of Calvary, and the Silence of the Empty Tomb–each one is different from the other. Maybe if we understand God’s silences in Lent, we will better understand His silences–and language–in our own lives.

(UPDATE: Here’s an invite to the online Lenten Recollection)

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Benjamin Button Quotes I Love

Today, two friends and I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

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No, it was not the fact that Brad Pitt was in the movie that got me there. It was because I knew this was another one of those movies filled with life lessons.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is about a man who is born in his eighties and over time, grows younger. The story begins in New Orleans at the end of World War I in 1918 and ends in the 21st century. His life is filled with people he meets, places he discovers, the loves he experienced, the many joys of life, and the sadness of losing people he loved. He also discovered what would last beyond a single lifetime.

The almost 3-hour movie dragged a bit in some places, especially the ones that showed him still aged. But Lynn pointed me to this site that listed some of the quotes that I totally related to:

#1

Benjamin: I was thinking how nothing lasts, and what a shame that is.

Daisy: Some things last.

(my thought bubble: LOVE lasts…)

#2

Along the way you bump into people who make a dent on your life. Some people get struck by lightning. Some are born to sit by a river. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim the English Channel. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people can dance.

(my thought bubble: I’m the mom and the girl who dances!)

#3

We’re meant to lose the people we love. How else are we supposed to know how important they are?

(my thought bubble: Do we need to wait to lose people we love to arrive at this realization? I wish people realized BEFORE loved ones die!)

#4

Your life is defined by its opportunities… even the ones you miss.

(my thought bubble: Oh so true!!!)

#5

I wanna remember us just as we are now.

(my thought bubble: I do exactly what Benjamin does — make a memory imprint whenever I want to remember a person or savor a moment…)

#6

Sometimes we’re on a collision course, and we just don’t know it. Whether it’s by accident or by design, there’s not a thing we can do about it.

(my thought bubble: This has been the story of my life for about 2 years now and this was what I had just blogged about!!!)

#7

You can be mad as a mad dog at the way things went; you can swear and curse the fates – but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.

(my thought bubble: Letting go is really the only way to forgive, move on, and be at peace…)

#8

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

(my thought bubble: This is what I wish for my own life and for everyone…)

If you still have not seen it, I would recommend you going with your spouse, special someone or close friend/s. Somehow, the impact of such a movie is stronger when the people you love watch with you.

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Beautiful Yoga Quotes – updated

This post originally came out in my yoga blog, The Yogini from Manila. But I felt that these also spoke strongly about how we deal with life so I am posting these here, with a few more additions. 

I hope some of these will touch you just as they touch me…..

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Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. ~B.K.S. Iyengar

You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. ~Sharon Gannon

Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal…. But don’t approach yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain. ~Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

By embracing your mother wound as your yoga, you transform what has been a hindrance in your life into a teacher of the heart. ~Phillip Moffitt

Yoga is 99% practice and 1% knowledge. ~Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

Anyone who practices can obtain success in yoga but not one who is lazy. Constant practice alone is the secret of success. ~Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind. ~Patanjali, translated from Sanskrit

When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world. ~B.K.S. Iyengar

Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God. ~Krishnamacharya

Yoga is difficult for the one whose mind is not subdued. ~Bhagavad Gita

In karma yoga no effort is ever lost, and there is no harm. Even a little practice of this discipline protects one from greater fear (of birth and death). ~ Bhagavad Gita

When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. ~Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika

For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth. ~Sanskrit Proverb

When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills. ~ Chinese Proverb

Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked. ~ The yoga sutras of Patanjali

Yoga exists in the world because everything is linked. ~ Desikashar

Before you’ve practiced, the theory is useless; After you’ve practiced, the theory is obvious. ~ David Williams, Ashtanga teacher

Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are. ~ Jason Crandell

Yoga is invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self control. Energy within and energy without. ~ Ymber Delecto

The most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind. ~ Rodney Yee

Yoga heals, nourishes, and challenges us. The practice infiltrates every corner of our lives. ~ Valerie Jeremijenko

Yoga is difficult for the one whose mind is not subdued. ~ Bhagavad Gita

Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives. ~ Cybele Tomlinson

Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better. ~ Donna Farhi

Namaste.

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Of Second Chances, Destiny and a Free Book on Life’s Meaning

“Nothing happens by chance” – from Kung Fu Panda

*****

Tomorrow, January 7,  I celebrate a major event in my life — the anniversary of the night when I almost lost my life and gained another chance to live.

That life-changing, tumultuous event showed me a strength of character and spirit I did not think I had, transformed my outlook into one that now seeks constant meaning and mission, and brought into my life a slew of friends who will be some of my truest friends in this lifetime.

I will always look back on this day as God’s divine blessing and protection over me.

*****

The past 2 years have been a journey of discovery and destiny. Two dear friends are walking with me through life in a most wonderful way. It is amazing how connected our lives are! There are days when I just sit and ponder how we have led parallel lives years ago and yet, our lives were not meant to be perfect parallels (beside each other but never meeting). Instead we led lives that were hurtling towards each other and 2007-2008 were the years when these points intersected. It has been interesting times — to say the least. Thank you, J and C. Your presence in my life and in the years to come will always have the imprint of God’s design on them. We may not always comprehend, but we KNOW we are meant to be here, at this time of our lives, together.

*****

Another event cemented my growing belief that nothing happens by accident.

2009 begins with my life in a state of flux. My project just ended in December and there is nothing in the horizon for now in terms of another project coming my way soon. It is not a worrisome situation yet and actually is a relief for me as I want to get back to yoga while trying to deal with what to do next with my life.

After I posted my previous blog entry, I got a comment from Louise Lewis, author of the book “No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You”.

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It is not every day that a book author chances  upon, and comments on, my blog so I curiously followed the link to her website and eventually to Amazon.com and iUniverse (her publisher). Oh my! Her book reviews averaged 4.5 stars out of 5!!!

She had offered to give out her book for free. I submitted my email address and the site said they would be sending me a chapter of the book. However, when the actual email came in, I was very surprised to find that it was a REAL offer to give away her book for free — I did not just just get one chapter, I got the ENTIRE book in PDF format (all 232 pages!).

This stumped me. Why would someone sell the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Booksense and iUniverse and still give it away for free!

Still curious, I emailed Louise to thank her for sending her book and she answered back. We have had several email exchanges over the last 24 hours and amazingly, I find a certain connection to her. The timing of this communication, coming on the heels of the project just concluded with a still uncertain future, is not lost on me. There IS a purpose and reason to our paths crossing!

Here is part of one email she sent me that explains the rationale behind her free book:

Hi Jane!

Thank you for contacting me…it means the world to me!
It is indeed my pleasure to share my book with you.
At one point, a free chapter was all that I gave away. But recently, words from Spirit reminded me I am far more generous than that. So, I’m now giving away my entire book.

“Louise, why on earth are you giving away your book?”

That’s a great question…but the answer is even greater (to me!)

Let me explain…

Some time back, I read the story about bestselling author Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist). Years ago he put his little-known book online for free after he was dropped by his publisher for poor sales. With no additional promotion, word of his book spread, and after a few years, sales grew to a million copies of multiple titles.

Hmm,” I said. “Selling books would sure be nice, but the idea of giving away my book really does feel like the right thing to do, but…” Spirit quickly chimed in: “YES! That’s who you are! Do it!

Being the hard-head that I am, I ignored Spirit and walked away from the idea.  …But Spirit wasn’t giving up so quickly…

Then a few days after that, Suze Orman (famous financial advisor) announced on Oprah that she was giving away her new book, Women & Money, on Oprah’s website. She said her passion for helping women control their finances was her reason.

Again, I heard from Spirit, a bit more forcefully this time, “That’s who you are! You have that kind of passion! You wrote this book to share your story with the world. So do it! Share it!”

I finally “got it”…

This will all make much more sense when you read my book. You’ll learn that years ago I made a promise to myself to always follow the messages I receive from Spirit (not Ego.)  And from doing so, I’m here to tell you that my amazing journey continues today.


Do you want to have a FREE copy of Louise’s book? Click HERE and fill out your email address. The PDF file will be sent to you in its entirety. Louise is eager for feedback from you after you’ve read her book. And, at least for now, I assure you that she PERSONALLY answers each email!


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A New Year Thought on LIFE

Thanks to Nicely for sending this SMS to me.

This says all I want to do for 2009 onwards.

May you be blessed by these words as well:

What’s the meaning of LIFE?…

“Keeping cool”, said the ice.

“Driving Hard”, said the hammer.

“Being up-to-date”, said the calendar.

“Being sharp”, said the knife.

“Making light around you”, said the fire.

“Sticking to it”, said the glue.

“Being bright”, said the lamp.

“Being on time”, said the clock.

“Saving a drop”, said the faucet.

And best of all…

“Learning from it”, said the mistake.

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“Wasting” time meaningfully

We are all perennially caught up in the rat race. And in this fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world we live in I find that many people are preoccupied with making the most of that which, when gone, can never be captured again — TIME.

Ever since I got back to the corporate world, things changed in my life. As a homemaker and budding yogini, I learned to slow down, breathe deeply, become aware of my surroundings, meditate deeply. Going back to a corporate environment meant adjustments. Time well spent in the office spelled productivity. What mattered was what you could produce in the least amount of time. Wake up early. Move quickly. Think on your feet. Eat your meals faster. Walk more briskly. Take the quickest route in any situation. Move it, move it, move it!!!

Sometimes I wonder what people caught up in the corporate whirlwind think about pausing, taking stock of life passing by, and learning to “waste” time meaningfully?  Aren’t those two ideas opposing ones?

Can wasted time ever be meaningful?

YES, YES, YES — because it really depends on your view of WASTE.

I can think of thousands of time wasters. But from my perspective, anything that adds value to others, most specially to loved ones or to people around my spheres of influence is NOT a waste. Time away from my own task, though considered wasted, is channeled to making someone else feel better, feel more loved, feel supported and understood. Actually, anything that also adds value TO MY OWN LIFE is definitely not a waste of time.

A parent who stops work to play with his child just lost productive hours but added meaning to his child’s;

A long phone chat with a friend in need is a time waster but has comforted someone;

A long chess game with your kid could make you think of “better” things to do but that precious time can be one of the greatest bonding moments.

Two Saturdays ago, I was at work. I was planning on staying till 5pm to get some work done on a quiet day. Around 3pm, Chona called me. She was free to meet up at Shang. I was initially torn. There went my plans to be work productive. But the next moment, I decided that if a friend I missed wanted to see me, that was more important for us both.  Though I did get some work done, it was not as much as I would have wanted. But there were no regrets because I got to spend a wonderful afternoon with an even more wonderful friend and that time cemented our friendship even more.

In a few weeks, I will adjust once again to a slower life as a project comes to an end. There will be time for yoga, time for myself, time to waste with friends and family, time for introspection, time for my bucket list. I think I am looking forward to “wasting” my time. Because by wasting it, I know my life will become even more meaningful.

Looking forward to wasting time with all of you!!!! 🙂

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