Love is the boldest stroke

“Is this really the boldest stroke you can make?” — The Half of It

It’s a line from a movie I didn’t expect I would resonate with and join my favorites list. I hear Ellie asking Aster and it becomes me asking myself, “Is this the boldest stroke I can make?”

I haven’t felt like I was making bold strokes until I learned to choose and embrace myself, until I grew comfortable in the silence and the stillness and found moments of peace, acceptance, and clarity I never even knew I was thirsting for. Moments of finding the courage to peel away the layers and reveal a truth or another part of me is also me painting one bold stroke after another. I’m nowhere near done yet with my painting and I still have a lot of space to cover. I have no idea what it would look like, but I am having fun creating it, building it stroke by stroke.

You wonder why you feel stuck or know you’re unhappy but never do anything to change it. You simply go on doing the things you do and stick with some people and relationships even when deep down you just know that who you are now doesn’t align with them anymore. You stay because they’re familiar and easy–they’re not challenging you to do the bloody inner work, to face your triggers and rise above them. Is it because you fear change? Is it because where you are is safe and accepted by the ones you feel you need approval from? But what is safe and what does external validation do for us, really? Is it even worth denying an essential part of yourself?

One of my bold strokes is finally deciding I’ve had enough of this and I won’t settle for safe and thumbsed up by everyone else but me. I learned you only grow when you learn to trust yourself and venture out of your comfort zone and into the wild unknown. When you realize the only approval and validation you need is from your authentic self, it’s a weight lifted off of your shoulders. It’s the taste of freedom and unity like that time the sea called out to me–waves lapping at my feet and without thinking, I just went into the water–my hair mimicking the waves and my dress getting soaked, a storm brewing on the horizon and I’ve never been happier. I want more of that and I am ready for it.

However my painting turns out to be, I hope it’s a beautiful mess of bold, colorful strokes speckled with jewels of neverending discoveries amidst the unknown.

***

Third post in the series: Music / Film + Writing Heals 💖

P.S. Ellie and Aster’s flirtation is a bold stroke for me and I like it. 😚

Wear it with pride

I used to think that wearing my heart on my sleeve was a weakness. And that to be a stronger person, to be taken more seriously, I needed to change. I had to be the opposite–keep everything in check. Keep the bubbliness and warmth from spilling over, don’t say what I really feel like saying at the exact moment I needed to. But no, it didn’t work. I was wearing a mask and felt the weight of being an imposter. I really am warm and bubbly and spontaneous. And I always feel better saying what I am intuitively guided to say to someone at the moment instead of waiting for the perfect time to say it, and not getting hung up on how the other person takes it. Our matrix perception of a “perfect time” is unreliable and even when there is perfect timing and you wait for it, the person might not be there to hear what you have to say when you think you’re ready. Better out than in.

Wearing love has only ever been my strength. That I could express and share my love and affection so freely is my natural state. Love is a super power, not a weakness.

Image credit: Aditya Saxena @ Unsplash

A prayer for today

Dear Beloved,

Allow me to see with the eyes of love and compassion.
Things may not be what I want them to be right now, but give me the courage to let go.
I may not have all the answers I am seeking now,
but in going within and surrendering further, lead me to the wisdom and guidance that I need.
Soften the hard, jagged pieces left in my heart and purify my mind that I may be reborn anew.
Help me clear the clutter so you have the space you need to co-create with me.
Whenever I falter or take a step back to old ways, remind me that Union and Oneness is within me.
I am where I need to be.
Everything that happens is for my growth and all paths I take would lead me home.
Strengthen my faith and trust so that I may continue to tend to the hearth within me and move forward in my journey with hope and love.
Always.
🌹

•~•~•~•

Growing up in a predominantly Catholic school, we wrote prayers as part of our Christian Living class tests and seatwork. I remember enjoying that part because it was one of the ways I could flex how good I was with writing. But it was more for ego and show than writing what poured from my heart and soul.

These days, my personal relationship with prayer has changed a lot. Before, I only asked for what I wanted and was so attached to my projected outcome that I always ended up disappointed when of course, I didn’t get what I wanted. I was using prayer as a crutch to get me where I wanted and thought I deserved to be, not where I needed to be. And also with little thought to what’s best for me and everyone else involved. Again, feeding ego.

So many things have happened since the past year alone that tested my faith and challenged everything I believed in. But prayer has become more of a constant and guiding light. This is what prayer is for me now: a heart-to-heart conversation with the Divine. Praying is a state of accepting what was and surrendering to what is, so that I can make room for possibilities and co-create the future. The spirit of prayer requires total trust and surrender that whatever comes my way is the best answer for me. That even though I don’t like what happens, that may be the answer necessary to push me to make the changes I need or to take a moment to choose how best to respond to the situation. There are always answers when you choose to see it. And there is always something to learn. Prayer keeps me grounded and reminds me to be present in the moment. It’s my umbilical cord to the Divine. 💖

Image credit: Todd Rhines @ Unsplash

Big Bang

“You love the soul, not the gender.”

That is something I believe has taken root in me since I was a kid. My soul already knew. I just wasn’t prepared to accept it as my truth. How could I, when I was trying to fit in with the 3D programming set up for me? Somewhere in the middle, I forgot all about it. A quarterlife amnesia. But then, out of nowhere, you were my Big Bang. Our galaxies aligned into one stellar Universe. The ancient and evergreen wisdom was awakened in me again. I am not afraid anymore. I am me. I am free.

Someday, you will also break all the barriers you set up and let the love in you take its place as the Sun–the core, the center of the Universe. And with it, all possibilities will thrive for you.

Image credit: Alfred Pasieka / Science Photo Library @ Getty Images

Oh Sweet Child O’ Mine

She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stare too long, I’d probably break down and cry

— Guns N’ Roses (1987) 🔫🌹

Healing the inner child

When I was 8, I wrote my mother a letter asking her this question: “Why don’t you have time for me?”

It was a valid question but I never got a reply. Like most parents of my generation, mine both worked full-time. Both worked their way up the ladder at the government’s top financial institution. Their love language was primarily focused on being good providers for my sisters and I. We grew up mostly autonomous self-starters but lacking that validation that we are enough on our own. It’s funny because we all filled up that lack in the same ways–by pouring ourselves out through books, music, art, and our school lives. We were creatively and academically engaged, but we also became people-pleasers in varying self-destructive degrees.

I am grateful for all the hard work and sacrifices our parents have made for all of us to live a comfortable life. And I understand they both made the best choices they could at that time. Most of my shadow and healing work revolves around reclaiming my worth. That I never needed to be extraordinary, to compete, or to always remain on the ledge of pleasing and pleasant to be enough for them or for any other person I value in my life. I am enough. I am always enough. And I am loved. I am loved by those who fully embrace me as I am. I continue to heal.

Celebrating the inner child

They used to call me bungisngis. I was the kid you could pull laughter out from effortlessly. And if you did it in a string again and again, I ended up laughing in tears. I remember making Lola Ilagan (not blood-related, but special to me) happy with just my laughter. She told my mother, “Ay, ang tawa niya, ang sarap!”

I first encountered the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” when I started reading my dad’s monthly Reader’s Digest subscription when I was 7. And yes, I do believe laughter + the gift of making someone laugh, smile, and see the brighter side of things is a balm to both the bodily nerves and the soul.

I want to continue celebrating and paying homage to this precious inner child trait by laughing like bungisngis little Lea more often and making others laugh and smile in my own ways. Corny or not. 🌽

Embodying the inner child

Whenever I channel my inner child, I always flash to this particular photo (see featured photo). It’s special for me. There wasn’t any ocassion for it, just a random Saturday or Sunday when my mom thought of finishing off the leftover film in her analog camera by taking photos of me and us in the garden.

This is the essence of little Lea. I feel like it doesn’t need further elaboration. You can look at it and feel what my soul–my inner child spirit is like. Eternally young and innocent, playful and mischievous, easy to love, trusting, and free as a bird. Always seeing and revealing the light in others. That’s how I hope to embody my inner child as she continues to be with me in this wonder-filled journey of a life. 💗