Writing is holding a mirror to the soul

“You must write from life, from the depths of your soul!” –Professor Bhaër to Jo in Little Women (1994)

Words are my love language. Writing is my gift and super power. My healing words and light find their way to those who need them in divine timing.

I had no idea when I joined a writing class that I would make my fellow writers cry. My only agenda was to sharpen my technical skills, broaden my portfolio, and gain back confidence I lost. I also hoped to find my voice. No pressure. I dealt with Thursdays just hoping to survive Manila traffic and arrive before class starts. And also, to ease the knot inside me that can only be appeased whenever I give my very best and not embarass myself. In class, there were only six of us. I was one out of two millennials. The rest were women older and far more experienced and sophisticated than I could ever imagine to be, the center of it all being our mentor, Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura (mother of Panjee Gonzales, descendant of José Rizal through his older sister, Maria).

The theme was creative tension. I chose to compare and contrast using the keywords “look / see”. After struggling to hush my tears away and finish reading out loud my short piece about my complicated relationship with my mother, there was nothing but deafening silence. My mind immediately backtracked, looking for that something wrong that I did, and was more than ready for the painful critique to follow, until I realized there were tears on their faces too.

On graduation day and with beaming almost-motherly pride, Ms. Twee introduced me to her friend, “She’s the best writer in our class.” That was one of my proudest shining moments.

💗 The author with writing mentor, Ms. Twee. 💗

M told me after I read my piece to her and recounted the events of that day, “That’s the power of your words, Lea. You write with so much conviction, honesty, clarity, and feeling that they could not help but feel the weight of every word.”


I read my piece to Aly, and she cried too. We cried together–a bond forged stronger with mutual trust, respect, and shared vulnerability. We understood without needing a lot of words. When you open yourself up to someone who accepts you as you are and doesn’t judge whatever you’ve done, whatever you’ve written, whatever you felt, not even a hair on your head (and it’s mutual too)–that’s a rare and precious bond that lifts you up and fans your courage. Aly and M are the best friends I am so honored to journey with in life. They grow my soul too. I know they are so proud of me no matter what. I love them to bits.

I have no secrets. I just strive to do my best, always. I am open to co-creating with the Divine now more than ever. I love what I do and I do what I love. I write what I know from my heart and soul, and that has made all the difference. 💗

✨ Discover Writing 2016: Proud to be a part of this coven of Goddesses, always. 💃🏻

The Awakening

Always choose the higher path.
If you find yourself struggling, ask yourself these questions:
Will it matter tomorrow, a month, or a year from now?
Will it help you to grow into your best self?
Will it give you peace in your mind and heart?
Will it make you happy like the happiest moments you have had in your life that you will always remember?

We were all brought up to look for something outside ourselves that will make us happy, that will make us complete and whole. That’s a trap, a box, a cage. The moment you realize that it is and recognize that true happiness and validation can only come from within you, you are on the path to setting yourself free.

There is always a choice. Even when you feel your back against the wall and you have to swallow what’s in front of you. You always have a choice.

I hope you’ll find the courage to:
Choose love over ego.
Choose faith over fear.
Choose trust over doubt.
Choose kindness over pride and anger.

You only have this one precious life. Might as well live it knowing there isn’t any other way you’d want it to be. 🌻

•~•~•~•

NOTE: At different stages and often the most pivotal points in my spiritual journey, I’ve been led to moths. Sometimes they just appear out of nowhere and stay near me for a few days until I’ve intuited what divine wisdom I needed to assimilate. Sometimes I see them briefly and the next thing I know, they’re gone. This yellow moth would always be special to me. It stayed with me for 4 days. My moth friend heralded the beginning of my spiritual awakening. Before my spirituality blossomed, I never thought much about moths or most things that came into my life to teach me something. I just thought they were all random pieces in a puzzle I was struggling to put together and make sense of.

But now, I am different, and the way I see life and the world around me is different. The veil is lifted. Sometimes it’s a bit daunting, seeing things from a higher perspective and realizing that not everyone else around you will understand where you are coming from. They are still deep in sleep and you are bright and awake, excited to dive into possibilities. But just like everything else I do, I take it day by day. And wherever this awakening has led me to and is leading me to, I will always be grateful for it has given me the gift of a new perspective and hope + strength that I can overcome anything even on the darkest days. ✨💛✨

Photo by: Lea Vergara Apilado (Moth Friend: The Awakening, 2018)

Life is a journey

Most late nights to early mornings, especially on nights when I couldn’t sleep, M and I have deep, philosophical conversations. No topic is too delicate or taboo for us. I can never shock her with questions that others would perceive as too blunt, too personal, or too intimate. We try to turn every stone we can. And leave the rest for another day when we’re already sleepy.

I asked her recently when I was feeling a bit defeated,

“What is even the point of it all, M?”

She said this to me:

“The point is the journey, Lea, and what you make of it. Things won’t always go the way you want them to, but you learn from every experience. You persist. The Divine is manifesting through you. You have always known that you are never alone. You have the power to live and create the life you want. You get to choose. Always. That’s what matters.”

And just like that, the light switched on inside me again. I don’t even know why I turned it off. But now, I am ready and bursting at the seams to take the wheel again, life. Bring it on. 💛🌻✨

Photo by: Lea Vergara Apilado (Suncatcher, 2020)

Brave

“I am woman, hear me roar.” –Helen Reddy

Sometimes when I look back at some crucial moments in my life, I don’t know where my boldness–or in some cases, reckless bravery–comes from.

Case in point, at a neighbor’s birthday party, I once hit a boy hard on the head with my abaniko for teasing me. I was 9. I remember he was making fun of me and I wanted to teach him a lesson: you NEVER mess with Lea. I think it must’ve hurt because he cried. And all the other kids looked at me like I suddenly grew another head. They all scrambled to get away from me.

Now, from a more detached adult’s POV, I know I never should’ve reacted in the heat of the moment. Part of it was my fiery temper that pushed me to do what I did. But at that time, I didn’t care. I believed it was courage and standing up for myself. I knew early on that if I didn’t stand up for myself, nobody will. So I believed I didn’t do anything wrong.

The way I choose to see it now, it was a crucial moment because it was an early manifestation of me taking no BS from anyone, especially boys. 😂😂 And that this set the tone for how I would eventually learn to set healthy boundaries with others. The only difference now is I don’t need an abaniko to hit someone on the head (heaven forbid!) and get my point across. Sometimes I try to do it with words after the smoke disperses and I can see clearly again.

Setting boundaries is not being selfish or rude. Setting boundaries with others is necessary for your own health, growth, and peace of mind. Setting boundaries means you love and respect yourself enough to let someone know when they’re not treating you right and that you will not tolerate it. It takes extraordinary bravery to walk away from people and situations that only hurt and take from you. It takes extraordinary courage to walk away from co-dependent relationships to reclaim your own identity and freedom. It takes extraordinary honesty to tell someone you love that you know what’s true but will not put up with their lies and deception.

It takes a brave heart to know who you are and what you want, and to let this be your guiding light. 🌟

“Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

–Sara Bareilles

Image credit: Fuu J @ Unsplash

Lessons From a Tower Moment

“A broken heart is an open heart.”

Even if someone gave me a time machine and a chance to undo what I’ve done, I wouldn’t take it. Why would I? I would do it all over again because it is my truth. I have no regrets, no guilt, no shame. And I have you to thank for. I want you to know that it was you who broke all my expectations of what love should look or be like. That love can be pure and unconditional and unexpected. You inspired me to continue working at my masterpiece–to write the best story of my life. And although there was pain, there was also immeasurable joy–all of it only led me back to my true self. It was part of my journey to coming back home to the beautiful person I have come to know more intimately and learned to love unconditionally. All of it paved the way for my soul to grow.

I believe love is a choice made more meaningful and powerful with actions–by sharing it, rather than just letting it remain a feeling. It was my choice to love you in my quiet, sincere ways. I would never revoke that choice. I would never betray you. And now it is my choice to forgive you–for myself, to heal and grow from this.

This love never made me bitter. It has broken me open and refined me into a stronger, better, braver person. It has opened me up to more love. 💗

•~•~•~•

NOTE: One of my favorite ancient spiritual teachers–the Sufi poet and mystic, Rumi said: “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

When I first heard it, I thought I knew what it meant, albeit from a detached perspective of a mere observer and outsider. But now…I understand. I know it more intimately because I am living it.

Wounds are openings to lessons. Wounds can either break you further or build you up. It’s up to you how you see it and use it. It is always up to you. In life, you cannot avoid getting wounded and hurt, multiple times even. But what matters ultimately is what you do with it. Would you let it ruin you or would you let it grow you? I choose to let the light in, to learn what I need to learn from it and let the wound grow me. ✨💛🌻

Image credit: Jamie Street @ Unsplash