Rise

You don’t just grieve loved ones you lost through death. You grieve broken connections, people you once loved that you let go of, traumatic situations, lost dreams, the old versions of you. You have the right to grieve each and every one of them, to feel the sadness and heartache, to cry. And you have the right to allow yourself the time you need to heal from them. 


A lesson the Universe teaches me constantly is that everything and everyone that happened in my life–even the most painful, difficult, and confusing ones–they were all for my growth. Whenever I choose to see it that way, I see the purpose and value the lessons I take away from every person and every experience. I honor the truth of love that I received and gave away. No matter how fleeting or how much it has moved me to tears, it is always freeing to love and have loved than not at all. Nothing and no one is a waste in the grander scheme of one’s life and journey. 


You have the power to heal from any grief in your own time, at your own pace. And like that Katy Perry song, you will realize after every healing that you will not just survive. You will thrive. 

Photo by: Lea Vergara Apilado (“Undas 2021”)

The soul always knows

Your soul already knows. The rest of you just needs to catch up.

It’s that shiver along the spine, goosebumps blooming on your arms, hairs at the back of your neck standing up.
It’s knowing with a heart certainty that doesn’t need tangible proof to be true.
It’s an invisible hug warming you from the inside out when you least expect it.
It’s the soul bond that is never broken, never conscious of time nor space–it just is.

And when you finally embrace this deep knowing and surrender it back to the Universe, you are free to fly to greater heights, to flow with a vastness of spirit you were always meant for.

Affirmation: I trust in what my soul already knows. I listen to the nudges of recognition I receive within. 💜✨💙

Image credit: Nicholas Ng @ Unsplash

What healing looks like

Healing is so personal and different for everyone.

Healing for me is finally not being afraid to release situations and people that are toxic–even if they are family and friends. It’s not walking away from issues–it’s setting healthy boundaries. It’s respecting the need to remove myself from energies that chip away at my soul and trigger the hurt all over again.

Healing is still feeling the sadness and grief sometimes–that sharp pull at my heartstrings telling me to look back just one last time, to give it one more shot, to make up new imaginative excuses for myself yet again–but this time, finally planting my feet on the ground and saying enough is enough. It’s admitting that I have given off myself to people who didn’t see the value of what I was willing to give freely. It’s recognizing that I have burned myself out in situations that played out like a teledrama.

Healing is reclaiming my power and self-respect. It is sending out this message, “Yes, I will take the lessons and the love with me, but I also know when I am not being valued and respected, and what or who is not worth sharing my precious time and energy with.” It’s being discerning of the rare people who truly deserve my love and most authentic self-expression–the baring and sharing of my heart and soul at its purest form.

Healing is forgiving others who have hurt, judged, and misunderstood me, even when they have not taken accountability on their part. It’s recognizing that accountability isn’t something I can demand from someone who cannot even do it for themself.

Healing is forgiving myself too for any lingering guilt, blame, and sadness that latched on. If I can look at someone else with love and compassion, I deserve to look at myself the same way.

Healing is freeing myself from the prison of other people’s judgment and attempts to control my life and my choices. It’s saying, “F*** it. I am choosing me, this time. No more excuses. I am doing what I feel and know is the best for me despite what anyone else says and expects. I am following my own path that fills me up with joy and love.”

Healing is freedom and tastes like the salty sea air that wraps around me like a warm hug whenever I am at the beach.

Healing is knowing deep within my bones that whatever happens, whatever comes my way, whoever stays or doesn’t in my life, I can survive and I will thrive.

Petite Big Love

I didn’t take nap time seriously when I was a kid. I pretended to nap as I planned my escape with my eyes closed. When the coast was clear, I’d get up as quietly as a movie spy and make my way to my Legos or continue my adventures with the current book I was reading. When I was at Nanang’s, I’d check if any other cousin was awake who I could turn into my partner in crime. Since we knew Nanang was in nap mode and couldn’t hear well, and we had no one else at home to answer to, we’d sneak out the kitchen door (always careful to cushion it back into place to avoid alerting anyone of our escape) and into freedom, off exploring secret short cuts, picking siniguelas from the tree, knocking on Auntie Emmy’s door to buy ice candy or halo-halo and see if cousin Jam is up for playing taguan.

Photo credit: A.J.L. (2017)

I grew up hearing jokes about how I didn’t grow tall because “hindi matakaw sa tulog” or “kulang sa siesta”. But I never consciously thought of being limited by my size. If anything, it only fired me up to be larger than life, to go beyond people telling me that I’m too small–I couldn’t be this, I couldn’t do that–and just think of solutions to get what I wanted to reach both literally and figuratively. When I needed to get something from a shelf that was out of my reach, no biggie. I’d just pull out the humble wooden bangko dad made especially for me, or any chair I could stand on, and go for it. I wasn’t afraid to climb solid furniture and countertops either when no one else was around. When my mom caught me standing on my tiptoes on the kitchen counter one time, about to grab something from the cupboard even she couldn’t get to, she freaked out and shouted at me, “Ay, bumaba ka diyan!” Dangerous yes, but I was a stubbornly independent kid who insisted on doing things for herself. A tall friend needs a hug? Sure–I’d just get on my tippy-toes, hold it, and stretch my arms out to them. Height was never an issue when things seemingly out of my reach became challenges both tempting and fascinating for me.

When teachers would ask us to line up shortest to tallest, I automatically assumed the front of the line. In class and photos, I was always in the front row. There was a comfort in knowing I had a fixed spot like a star–something I could rely on that I was always sure of–and embracing it. From that constant spot, I reached for the stars in my own way.

Now, I’m what’s considered as petite. It’s a nicer way of saying tiny. And it’s just a label. It doesn’t define me nor diminish my worth. I’ve learned along the way the joys and surprises of being open to discovering a person’s infinite beauty–of going beyond the externals to see who they are inside once you get to know them, and the depths they can achieve. When overcoming doubts and perceived limitations, I summon the courage to go back to that fixed spot where I have always known and felt that I love with a huge heart and a larger than life spirit that continues to shine amongst the stars.

Working with shadows to find the light

There was a time when I was a lost follower to the point that I got comfortable drowning in a sea of expectations and voices other than my own. Those expectations, wants, and desires were like separate pieces of Play-Doh figures I mashed up all together into a single round of marbled clay–I couldn’t point out anymore which bits came from me, from parents, from friends and peers, from society. I wanted to do things that impress and be someone accepted and welcomed by everyone.

Finding myself again and reclaiming my wholeness meant unfollowing some and withdrawing from participating, and I would do it all over again even if it means I won’t be looked at and treated the same way again, even if it means some spaces will be awkward and unwelcoming indefinitely. Being true to myself also means honoring the need to remove myself from spaces where I don’t feel respected and safe. Boundaries work to shield you from taking in more of anything that’s harmful to your health. Setting boundaries is a necessary act of love. I don’t need to try to immerse myself in an environment where fitting in means stifling my light and packing my fairy wings away in a dustbag. I don’t need to stay amongst those who don’t honor my authenticity. I am treading paths not everyone would dare stray into, exploring detours meant only for me even if I wanted a bit of company. I do not expect everyone around me to understand, to exchange the same courtesy of respect I hold for them despite the differences. Some people fear what it is they don’t understand, anything that doesn’t fit into their scope of rationality. And if they don’t consciously make the effort to go beyond the walls of fear, how would they know to treat the unknown with kindness and compassion? It’s not my job to make people understand. But it is my responsibility to continue to honor my authenticity, to be intimate with my shadows to understand how I can continue to cultivate my light. To explore my own answers to questions and sometimes, to let the questions unravel on their own.✨

Ultimately, it is also my responsibility to love myself unconditionally, radically, through my journey with all of its detours and discoveries, triumphs and challenges. 💖