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. 💗

Esther Vergara y Angel

Anyone who saw her would agree–Lola Nanay was an otherworldly beauty. She had huge, expressive brown eyes, a touch of gold in her hair, and a radiance that seemed to come from the inside.

She was a good and loyal wife. She was a responsible and wise mother. She was a reliable kumare and peacekeeper to her neighbors. She was clever, creative, and resourceful. She had a sharp eye for micro-business opportunities and was a natural entrepreneur. Every small business she started was a neighborhood success that also added to lolo’s income. My mother, titas, and tito experienced a simple life but they never went hungry, thanks to Lola Nanay’s budgetting prowess. She was generous to anyone having a hard time to the point that the bit of money she saved she was able to loan out to relatives and neighbors. And she never even demanded payment. But for all her traditional Filipina attributes, no one who knew her can deny that Lola Nanay also had a sharp tongue–she said what she wanted to say and meant whatever she said. She didn’t hesitate to speak the truth, even when it hurt.

What people outside the family didn’t know about my grandmother was that she was a natural intuitive and had strong spiritual abilities. I grew up hearing stories of her visions and visitations from spirits of dead relatives. The stories didn’t scare me. Ever since I could remember, anything of a spiritual nature was fascinating for me even as a kid. And now, I am able to understand it better: Lola Nanay was a closet clairvoyant.

Lola Nanay died when I was in third grade, just a few months after her daughter, Tita Lena, died of a brain tumor. Mom used to tell me she died of sadness from losing Tita Lena. She couldn’t bear the thought of her own child dying before her.

I don’t remember having a lot of bonding moments with her when I was a kid, but somehow since my spiritual awakening, I can feel her wise spirit guiding me from beyond the veil. I fancy I inherited her eyes, her stubbornness for digging at the truth, her lioness courage and formidable spirit. I also believe I got my natural intuition and spiritual gifts from her. I am not clairvoyant, but I have come to terms that I am blessed with other clair gifts. And when I tap into them, I also express them through writing, creating, and connecting with others.

Thank you, Lola Nanay, for being my mother’s mother, for being my grandmother. A part of you lives on in me. And because of that, I feel more connected to you. I am honored to be one of the bearers in our generation, of a legacy of spiritual gifts in the family.

For Now

Sometimes the best you can do for someone you love is to pray for their health, safety, and well-being.

Especially at this time when all you want to do is to hug them, keep them as physically close to you as possible, to cook your special chicken sopas or kalabasa soup for them. All the little things you can do that may seem trite, but always coming from a spirit of unconditional love. If only you can invite them over to stay for a while and share a companionable afternoon talking about anything other than this pandemic, all while enjoying a cup of tsokolate and a slice of lemon cake fresh from the oven.

Maybe someday.
I hope, someday

You cannot promise them a better tomorrow, but for now, you can offer your love, prayers, and well-wishes. Gather all of them up and send them flying to God, the Universe, the Divine, on angel wings of peace. Then let go.

Let all that remains be trust and faith.

Photo by: Lea Vergara Apilado (“Soup is Love”, 2015)

Rare Soul

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” –Mulan (1998)

That’s the instinct. When you come across a pure thing, a rare soul–you don’t want them to change. You hope they won’t be changed and corrupted by the world. You may at some point, hurt them or leave your mark on them. You forget to see their worth. And yet, you would still want them to remain a constant, untainted. Isn’t that a bit selfish?

Journeying through this world, this lifetime, I realized I didn’t need that validation from anyone else. That’s one of the hardest lessons I have learned, a truth I have reclaimed from beyond the spiritual veil. I am now reacquainted with the essence of my soul–the beauty of its rarity and its blossoming in adversity. It took generations and lifetimes of alchemy to get to this purification. To transform my soul into a Philosopher’s Stone. And I am still exploring its infinite possibilities.

P.S. Dear Universe, thank you for all the hurt, the pain, and the lessons. Thank you for all the joy, the love, and the experiences. Thank you for sending me soul teachers in the form of family, friends, mentors, kindred souls, pets, a loved one. Yes, even the ones that hurt. Everything and everyone I met in this journey has only led me back home to growing and honoring my own soul. It is all worth it.

Image credit: Rui Xu @ Unsplash