I had a dream that I won $55,000 twice. It was some sort of lottery or ticket. Gambling. Something like partybingo.com. My mom loves to play Bingo but I’ve never gone with her. I’m not into something old people do.
If I were to dream journal about this, I would think that it means money is on its way. At least, I would hope. And $110,000 is within my grasp, but I need to be patient.
Next year, I am kicking my business to a new level. I’ve registered it officially. I can’t fail. I have a lot of apprehensions.. I don’t feel like a real business person. But I know that I have an entrepreneurial drive because of my unconventional, misfit ways. Or, maybe it just means I’m a misfit… and nothing more.
I believe the dream was an important message. I felt stuck and stranded. But I was playing the victim. I still need to do a lot of things to shift my mindset to help my business and life flow.
I am scared.
But I know $110,000 is within my grasp.
I just have to do the work.
Put in the hard work.
Next year, I will launch an erotica book. A collection of hot stories.
Next year, I will create a Dream Journal designed by me, and add in a guided sleep meditation (maybe) as my first e-product.
I’ve been making affirmations.
I’m scared as hell.
I’ve never been good at selling anything. And now all of a sudden, I want to sell sex?
Really, I just want to stop worrying about money. I want to feel like I’ve got a handle on this entrepreneurship thing.
I’ve got this.
This is my dream.
I have created a vision story. It is my dream vision.
I believe my path will lead me to six figures.
I believe six figures is already mine.
I need patience to uncover it.
I haven’t lead a conventional path.
I still remember the first time I looked for Plano apartments, aged 21. I was doing my then-boyfriend a favor as he was working in his new job and still needed to secure a living space and move. It was a daunting task. What would I do? How would I do it? It seemed so…adult. But I sucked up my fears and did the best I could.
Step one. Find all the nearby rentals close to his job. Ask to look at the space. I mostly did this through drive by search rather than newspaper or internet browsing.
Step two. Access the surroundings, size, value for the money, price. Would there be downpayment? etc. People were happy to help and let me look around as I mentally took tabs on the places that left the best impressions.
Step three. Report back my findings. Let boyfriend see my “top picks” and let him make his final decision. He trusted my judgment and felt that having me do the initial grunt work made his choice easier. I felt needed and more accomplished as an adult. It was win-win.
I didn’t live with him then, but I took weekend trips every week to see him. I practically lived there half the time when I wasn’t at school or at home, where I still lived with my parents. It was a schizophrenic life, but I managed.
Moving out at 22 was a big step. My boyfriend had since relocated to another town and chose a different apartment with the notion that I would move in months later. It was small. One bedroom, one bath with an upstairs. We made it work, but the space was too cramped for chronic packrats like us.
The need for a new space quickly grew. We didn’t last in our first apartment together for long. Within the end of the year, we upgraded to our own 1400 square foot house! By the age of 22, I was already a young homeowner! Looking back at this “past life” is so surreal. I can’t believe I used to own a house, pay a mortgage to the tune of $1400 which we easily paid with our two paychecks combined. I was on the sure path to house, dog (we had an adorable jack russell terrier) and American Dream.
Something in me ticked and long story short, I decided to change course and leave him. I was bored by my life, my town, my job. I was in a horrible rut creatively and selfishly, I needed to be on my own.
“Being on my own” meant my first foray into finding roommates. By the age of 25, I lived with a gay couple and three male cats. It was quite an interesting change of pace and I found my roomies through craigslist. For some, perhaps finding “strangers” to live with via internet ads sound creepy, and they would prefer setting up roommates with friends or friends of friends word of mouth. For an introvert like me desperate to start her life over and with no friends or support system outside of the failed relationship, the internet was a natural resource.
My new roomies told me they had gotten an outpouring response for a roommate but had only replied to mine because they “clicked” with my introduction. The price was definitely right for me, and I was definitely right for them. I felt special. Blessed. Grateful that this transition was easier than one might expect to find last minute ASAP moves. I had gone with the gay couple because I didn’t want to feel obligated to vibe and be girlfriends like college roomies or sororities with girls, and I didn’t want the awkwardness of having guys I live with crush on me. Two non-heterosexual males was definitely the way to go, and I knew they would give me the space I needed to grieve and be my own.
The roomies were so successful, as I slowly began to mix with their dynamics, that we even did a tandem move together across town and upgraded our living space from two story duplex town house to our own house unit with 2nd story loft area! It was around this time that I told them my plans to move cross country and uproot my life to Asia. They were blown away. Proud but sad that I would be leaving. With only four months left on my countdown, I was half surprised that they even let me tandem move with them at all, but I assured that the early notice would give them plenty of time to find a new roomie to replace me, when the time came.
I left my roomies at the end of November, 2009 and still think of them fondly. I have since become a traveling nomad gypsy and lived over a year with no permanent address or home. I joined monastery retreats, temple-hopped Taiwan, walked Palawan island for 27 days, lived in a raw foods eco-community, and traveled throughout Manila, Philippines and beyond!
Money slowly ran dry as I realized the nomad-everyday lifestyle was more expensive than staying put and hunkering down on cheap rent! Currently, I live in a poor community with my native boyfriend and we share $50 monthly rent. We don’t own furniture and live off our backpacks. It is merely a crashpad, a place of temporary shelter as I transition into my next phase in life: a location independent professional. I have started up my own graphic/web design business in the most unconventional of ways. In the “ghetto slums” of third world Philippines, I run my online business and try to hustle for new projects. Everyday is still a struggle, but I am slowly making the connections and marketing myself.
The path of unconvention has lead me down some dirt roads, straight to the “ghetto slums”, but I am grateful for the opportunities to start my own business while living on the cheap. For the month of June, I am offering 25% off graphic or web design services. Just e-mail me for my rates or project needs.
Purple Panda is out and ready for the world.
Here’s the deal:
-Soft launch happens now. I get the word out on Solitary Panda, and maybe even tweet some articles.
-Build my content until…
-April 29th, the official launch, and also my birthday. I’ll prepare something special then. And promote to the world. I will also kill Solitary Panda.
Thanks for sticking with me. Or not.
In less than 2 days I will be doing a 10 day silent meditation retreat. I’ll be offline. Again. So maybe this is the wrong time to “announce” Purple Panda but whatever. I’m sick of it looming over me. And I’ll try to schedule some posts.
Here’s to my new venture…
I feel depressed and low energy. I don’t know if its the shitty food I’ve been eating lately or what. I try not to eat much. But it’s all meat. All the time. And more and more fast food. With ice cream. The diet I’d like to leave behind. When I come back to my family I come back to this… And thus why it’s important to live an intentional life with your own place and your own set-up to cook your own food. I crave fruit. And vegetables. And light foods. And I need to take control.
I’ve never been a cook. And I haven’t had my own place for over a year. When I live on my own (but not entirely on my own because I’ve always had a boyfriend or roommates), I prefer snacking throughout the day, drinking fruit smoothies for meals, and carrots and sushi for snacks, so I never see how cooking meals for one person makes much sense. And I eat out a lot…
I have a secret about my nomad life style. I don’t always like it. In fact. Most times I don’t. I think I tend to romanticize “homeless nomad” and “professional hobo” a lot. As though it were this fun thing that makes my life so much more exciting. It certainly keeps me on my toes. That’s a good thing. The not so good thing is that I’m tired. I’m tired of having to walk around not knowing whose house I’m staying in next and I’m tired of feeling like a freeloader. I’m tired of being out every day in the hustle and bustle of a noisy city full of smog, overstimulation, and not getting the isolation time that an introvert truly needs.
As I live this bizarre life, I have to laugh at how life once was. The complete opposite. A stable job. A long-term relationship. And a house with mortgage. That house imprisoned me and that job sucked my soul and now the other extreme of the spectrum just wears me out, too. I feel useless often. Especially without my laptop. Without work… I don’t have time to regenerate, and if I do, it costs at least $10 for a hotel room for 6 hours.
That’s my life.
What I need is my own place to rent. It doesn’t need to be much. I’m a nomad so I’m thinking crash pad more than condo. I can’t really afford a condo, let alone justify the price for the on-the-go lifestyle I lead. As long as I have some cushion to sleep on the floor, and an internet connection, I’m good to go. What I need is time to be who I am. Which is a traveling homebody. I know its an oxymoron. An adventurous homebody? Yes, really. I prefer spending weeks in my place without socializing much. It’s easy. But it’s also counterproductive. Back then in my “stable life”? I had no friends, and always stayed at home. That’s depressing too. Even for a huge introvert. My ideal would be a mixture of both. So that I could have a social life but rest and regenerate in between.
I’m resting now in Cebu. For two weeks I’ve been back with family. I come here specifically to regenerate because I know the Cebu life with my family is always the same. We don’t go anywhere and life is small. Occasionally, I go across the street to visit my first childhood friend whose married and has kids now and we have nothing really in common and nothing much to talk about but I go anyway. Just to be there. Just to check in. I’m working on a new blog project which I hope I’ll have the internet connection to fully concentrate on in the next coming months, but stability is uncertain. Life is always uncertain and when you live a lifestyle of uncertainty, instead of the fake “stability” you get with a house, husband and kids, it can be extra jarring, but also humbling and beautiful. I count my blessings more.
This life–my life NOW–is teaching me how to be social and I’m not even taking its bait. I’m retreating and getting cranky and feeling self-defeatist and emotionally eating and growing tired. What I need to do is accept the challenge. Find a place. That’s fine. But accept the challenge of a bigger social life and learn to enjoy it. Because this making new friends stint has never been my forte. Because I’m more of a wallflower than a socialite. Because I feel awkward. All. The. Time.
I need to get over it. Making new friends is the only way I’m going to be successful if I want to earn my own living. How can I ever make clients if no one even knows who I am, or what I have to offer? Friends are so passe. It’s hard to find the types of friendships an introvert needs. The friendships that go deeper than a facebook profile and the like button and a few lunch dates here and there. But connections and networking is in. I need to get in… Or get out.
We met at the temple. Back when my head was shaved and I looked like a 12 year old boy. I would later call this stage of my life “the ugly phase”. Ten pounds heavier on my petite frame made me chubby and frumpy. In the confines of a monastery, I wasn’t trying to impress anyone, least of all myself.
“Joemar is here,” Dave told me, during one of our breaks. We were performing a graduation ceremony to showcase the arts, dance and Mandarin language we had learned in our four month monastery retreat. I had invited him through Facebook, where we initially met through Dave who told me about a crazy guy who was going to walk the whole island of Palawan. Something in me sparked an interest. Maybe it was intuition, although I was scared out of my mind to think I would actually do such a thing. But I added him, and we talked. And he came to see me. My heart smiled.
After the program, I came up to him and gave him a huge hug. I might be romanticizing in retrospect, but it seemed as if I had known him for years. Like those best friendships where no matter how long its been since you’ve seen eachother, you can always catch back up as if time hadn’t passed.
It’s easy being a loner. I’ve been a loner for years. I’ve felt alone, abandoned in relationships that didn’t work. I’ve lived my whole life solitary, in many ways. As an only child, as a panic stricken teen with social anxiety, and as an adult with a quiet disposition. So when I meet people that make me bubble with life and talk like there’s no tomorrow, I know its something special.
Our walk was magical. The Universe conspired to help us. After sharing a water bottle getting dirty with use and refilled by the native wells along the way, I declared that I wanted my own water bottle with ice cold water, while Joemar was craving beeko–a Philippine rice delicacy–the whole day. That very night, after finding a place to rest, Joemar offered his healing massage to a local he had befriended, who spontaneously gifted us with beeko and a 1.5 liter of ice cold bottled water. I was amazed by the synchronicity and humbled by the simple gratitude that comes when walking. Never knowing where we’ll rest from night to night makes a wooden floor and a warm family willing to offer their hospitality and food a welcome treat.
The first night under the stars, with a thin canopy of trees above us in the jungle road to San Vicente, we saw glowing leaves and foliage. It was just like Avatar. Drops of rain woke our slumber, and Joemar’s quick thinking survival skills had us relocate to a nearby area where my yoga mat and his malong blanket hung over two branches for shelter. It was pouring rain and the ground glowed florescent. We used eachother’s bodies for warmth and huddled together under the yoga mat. It was the beginning of our seduction. The jungle blanketed us with glow-in-the-dark leaves and seduced us into sacred sexual communion.
Eat, Pray, Love has been a big motivator in my journey. I read it prior to taking my travel leap and making the ultimate decision to free myself from stuff and become a nomad. Intuition knew I would do it, but it took awhile before my brain–the logical me–decided I was ready. As my journey wove itself inside temples, I witnessed my own postmodern awe at the resemblances of my life to Elizabeth Gilbert’s story. I knew I was having an Eat, Pray, Love adventure… I just hadn’t gotten to the love part, yet!
Love came sooner than I expected it. I wanted to love in whatever capacity I had. If that meant jungle and tropical beach flings, I was ready to accept it. After my five year failed relationship, I knew I needed time and space for myself–alone. I mentally gave myself two years to be by myself, learning, growing and being me after gathering the pieces from a quarter-life identity crisis. The jungle seduction was exactly two years to date from my life as a single woman. My break-up anniversary from 2008 which will now become my anniversary with Joemar from 2010. I manifested this.
Browsing through my own archives, I stumbled across a prophetic entry that talked about my capacity for love. I wanted to love in 2010, but I didn’t know how far I could take it. Mentally, emotionally, physically.
I’m not sure what [love] looks like, how far my boundaries can go. Is it merely friendship? Friends with benefits? I don’t know. Is it blow jobs and practicing deep throat and strap-ons? Is it wrestling and choke holds and martial art moves? 2am sex after an amazing day learning how to swim, hiking to hot springs, and sharing a banana leaf umbrella under tropical storms?
Later during our walk, we bushwhacked off the highway and sat under a banana tree to shelter ourselves from a tropical rainstorm, sharing one banana leaf like an umbrella.
Sitting on the beach one day and meditating towards the ocean horizon, I shared this information with Joemar and he said he had written something similar. He knew that he would walk with a girl and he had dreamed that things would develop and wanted to share a banana leaf with her under a rainstorm… Somehow, we both thought that banana leaf umbrellas sounded so romantic that we wrote about it before meeting. We manifested this. We manifested eachother.
It’s easy being solitary. It’s my disposition. It’s hard integrating myself and merging my life with another. Harder even still not to become the clingy girlfriend in a codependent relationship like so many times before. Relationships are challenging and I wasn’t sure if I was ready. It wasn’t easy to trust him because I was so weary of his motives as a “psychic”. He told me he had a vision that we would walk together. That he’d meet a girl at a temple. He told me I was part of “the Script”. I called him bull shit because I don’t believe in things like fate and destiny, but individual choice and free will. Maybe he was just pulling my leg and telling me things that sounded nice to impress me. I don’t know. I played devil’s advocate. It wasn’t love at first sight.
The spiritual and mystical circles are new to me, and my own spiritual growth has been accelerated to the point of being mind blowing growing pains. But in the end (the beginning), I knew I had to take the leap of faith and Trust. Trust him and his sincerity and trust that I was ready to be vulnerable again.
The people you meet in your life have something to teach you and in turn, you have something to learn. I knew that Joemar would have a lot to teach me, and intuition told me I should be with him but it took awhile before logic told me I was ready. In matters of love, logic can’t be trusted, because the language of love speaks from the heart. The language of love is the source of life itself, and finding love… operating on love will bring us closer to happiness and our greater selves. Trust your intuition and follow your heart and life will have more meaning. It brought me to Asia, it brought me to Palawan, it brought me to Joemar, and it’s bringing me closer to my ideal life each day.
Walking 400+ miles of Palawan island wasn’t an easy trek. For starters, I am the most out of shape that I have ever been in my life. An irregular and more likely non-existent exercise routine plus my newly aging “late twenties” body has left me gaining 15 pounds and unsure how to get used to the changes both inside and out. By the first three hours of the first day, I was already limping. My feet were sore and getting blisters from my flip flops digging into the space between my big toe. At the end of the first week, my right knee was inflamed and I had a lame limp.
Before I started the walk, I had already told myself the theme would be “letting go”. Letting go of fears. Letting go of physical pain. Letting go of attachments. I knew that for the walk to be successful, I had to be able to let things be, and be open to opportunities. Try to stay present in flow.
This whole year has been about letting go. The walk was just a culmination of all these things into a literal metaphor. For 27 days, I was walking the metaphor.
Being a nomad and traveler is the perfect lesson on Buddhist impermanence. I’m letting go of possessions and stuff in exchange for experiences. I’m letting go of emotional baggage and toxic people in my life, in exchange for single serving friends (a la Fight Club), constantly in dynamic flux within the world as their playground. I’m learning how to let go of them, too. I cycle through people, wondering if I’ll ever see them again, yet knowing that the decision is entirely in my making. Europeans pass through and teach me about life through their perspective. We have a moment. A connection. Maybe many moments, and many connections. Will I ever see them again? We add eachother on Facebook or Couchsurfing or our social media profile of choice. Our friendship is reduced to the ‘like’ button and I wonder when my life will ever be less fragmented, or if I should just get used to this 21st century communication breakdown.
Road to Zen
Meditating on impermanence isn’t about detaching yourself from people. It’s about observing the world we live in and staying focused on the inhalation and exhalation of life. Inhale observe. Exhale let go. There’s such a thing as attachment to detachment. The world isn’t so serious that you have to be spiritually disciplined and emotionally robotic. Impermanence is the balance of the pendulum swing from attachment and detachment. Too much on one way and you’re not there. Impermanence is here. Now. In the present.
Impermanence is letting things be. Going with the flow. Realizing you can create your own reality, but also realizing that you can’t hold on to it, because reality is constantly shifting. Moving. Changing. And becoming.
My next bold move? To rock the internet for a living.
For a whole year, I’ve been traveling on savings, or more likely, my retirement funds that I chose to cash in on when my former nine to five gave me the boot. After less than 5 years of working “in the design field”, in the bottom rung dead-end job that left me feeling bored and unchallenged and unable to “climb the ladder” even if I had wanted to (think Kinkos), I feel like I’m essentially retired. Exploring the world is exhilarating but my next bold move involves reinventing my career and bootstrapping a business from scratch. As my funds are dwindling down, I need to work again in order to sustain my current travel lifestyle and hopefully be on my way to becoming truly location independent.
When this blog launched nearly a year ago, I had high hopes but no coherent goals or plans. I hoped to write erotica more regularly. I hoped to become a “professional blogger”; using my blog as a way to leverage a business venture. None of these things happened. But maybe they didn’t happen because I’m once again outgrowing this blog. The Solitary Panda is no longer Solitary. It doesn’t describe me anymore. Or maybe, it’s not how I want to describe me anymore.
I’ve spent my whole life feeling solitary. Alienated. Alone. I’ve often wondered if I could ever be a hermit up in the mountains and be happy. I’m an introvert with sometimes a misanthropic flair, particularly in my past teen years. Even when I’ve been in relationships, or perhaps especially when I’ve been in relationships, I have felt this sense of being alone.
I tried to convince myself it was a good thing. I wasn’t lonely! Being solitary can be empowering. I’m comfortable with being alone. But I don’t want comfort anymore. In order to expand, I need to challenge myself instead of doing what’s easy.
I’m a big fan of intentions and how they can manifest. How you can manifest your own intentions and ideas into reality. By describing my persona as the “solitary” panda, I am keeping the intention of a closed off person; acknowledging my introvertedness. When I first made the Solitary Panda, I was in a bad space with my life emotionally and romantically. I needed the Solitary Panda as a kind of therapy and coping mechanism. It was empowering at the time but as my life is starting to grow, the word no longer fits and is becoming a hindrance. Now, I want something more.
The Purple Panda brings about new ideas and a bolder outlook on life. It opens up to possibilities. I’m ready to explore the world, and as introverted as I am, I’ve found that I love meeting new people! Besides purple being one of my favorite colors, and representing courage and spirituality, it is also a reference to Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow”, a marketing book based on how to be remarkable and extraordinary to stand out from the crowd. These are the kinds of things I’d like to focus on in my life, and by semblance, my blog. I firmly believe that changing the direction and name of my blog will have positive consequences by getting rid of the word “solitary” and focusing my intentions on the meaning of “purple” instead.
The Purple Panda will be THE blog to make “professional blogging” happen. I will rebrand myself and use it as a professional platform to help leverage a business venture. The “soft launch” of my new design studio is here. By Janet. But the official launch will be tied into the new blog. Through the Purple Panda, I will help others live remarkable and extraordinary lives and focus on personal development, career development, entrepreneurship and other things, all within the lens of my own personal journey.
Running through my brain (the mind) to think of a sufficient answer to this prompt brings me to the obvious: Meditation.
It was my four month monastery retreat that first introduced me to meditation. I had heard about the many benefits of this calming exercise many times before. Doing yoga, starting to become more health conscious throughout the years, and appreciating the wisdom inherent in holistic health put me on the fast track to
hippydom meditation. It had to happen sooner or later with all my interests lined up practically calling its name.
The simple answer is meditation. But the real answer is not quite that. Four months of daily meditation for half an hour a day isn’t making me any more or less enlightened. I didn’t feel as if I was never not my mind or body. As much as I’d like to feel that I was one and whole and present and all of those feel good adjectives that make me want to strangle you sometimes because you’re so goddamn in touch that you’re more and more out of touch with life and drama and living. More often than not, I was out of touch. Instability in too much stability. When I wanted to calm my mind, I also felt like I needed to rock the boat and take a little pleasure in life’s pleasures. I’ve got this body and these five senses for a reason. Might as well enjoy it while I’m here. Too much hedonism might be bad, but too much detachment is the same thing. Everything in moderation, including moderation, as one of my friends likes to say.
Meditation goes like this. I sit for 5 minutes wondering when 30 minutes is up. By 10 minutes, my legs and feet, propped up into double lotus position, is starting to fall asleep and my nerves are giving me that tingly ache that makes me want to move, but I tell my mind to bear the pain and keep on sitting still. A mosquito buzzes by my ear. My skin itches. I twitch. I scratch. I break my position. I open my eyes. I look at the time. Only 2 minutes have gone by!
Sometimes, I lose a sense of time but it is rare. Those are the times I know I’ve got a good meditation. My mind runs all the time, but I let it flow. I observe my thoughts instead of try to control them and let them run where they want to run. It is as if the mind has a mind of its own! I solve problems through meditation. Ask questions. Find answers. I never experience a sense of timelessness and spacelessness, as if I’m one with the universe. I have never gone that deep with my practice and by the 4th month of daily meditation, my effort was actually getting worse! There is nothing transcendent that has ever happened to me with meditation, or yoga. The transcendence happens in the repetition, until you one day feel that awareness. The presence.
Floreta catches the flow of the ocean
Dedicated readers (thank you!) might previously have known me as Floreta, which is a special pen name in that it used to be my grandma’s maiden name, and since then has come to personally represent flower. Flow. That blossoming. That becoming.
One of my most profound transformations happened after reading a simple quote from my favorite author, Anais Nin:
And the time came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk it took to blossom
That was two years ago and I’ve chosen to blossom ever since. The more I came unto my own as a flower, the more I felt aligned with flow.
Positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (yeah, that’s Me-hye Cheek-sent-me-hye) first coined the term Flow in his book of the same name. It is akin to being in the zone, present, in the moment, aligned or in the groove.
Flow happens when awareness and doing merge as one. It’s that tingle I feel when I play my violin in a cohesive unit in front of hundreds of people and know that the rhythm, both internal and external, are spot on and a standing ovation is on the way. It’s the bliss I feel when conversing with another fiddle, as we dance together in improv styles and unleash a side of me I never thought I had. But in a bigger way, a more macro way, it’s my whole year this year. It’s being able to be in flow and stay in flow that has given me a sense of wonder, amazement and awe at the world.
Remember Finding Nemo when they ride with the sea turtles (duuuuude!)? That’s going with the flow. The flow doesn’t stop. It’s always there. It’s presence. The only thing that stops is your mind when it stops to think. All of a sudden, you’re out of flow and you’re out of synch. You’ve stopped moving because you’re too busy thinking to take action while the Universe keeps on changing. Moving. Flowing. Stop to think long enough and you’ll miss out on the Universe’s opportunities, or what I like to call clues.
Being in flow is beyond the thinking and mental realm, and into feeling, emotion and intuition. When your life is aligned with intuition, the Universe works with you instead of against you, and life becomes easier. But how do you cultivate flow and find that balance?
- 1. Find your passions. – Finding your passions and living your passions are so important to having the best life that you were meant to have. Explore what makes you feel happy. What makes you lose track of time. You deserve it!
- 2. Listen to your intuition – We all have it, but some are more in tune than others. The good news is that you can refine your intuition and with practice, improve. Sometimes, it can be hard to decipher between intuition and desire, but if you have to think about it too much, then it’s probably desire! Intuition is that gut instinct that can happen in seconds without conscious or rational thought.
- 3. Let go – For people strictly into logic, it might be extra difficult to trust your intuition and that’s exactly why you have to let go! It may be a completely foreign concept, but trusting your intuition works and is even part of our evolutionary survival (I don’t really know that, but it sounds good, and it sounds right, and I’m keeping it for literary effect). Sometimes you have to accept that you’re not always in control and try not to over-control things. The more you try to control life, the harder it will be to live easier. Just let it be.
Presence in the Moment
“Look at the full moon,” Joemar said, through the hazy morning fog. “I feel like I’m in love.” I tried to ignore the implications of the bold statement and chalked it up to the mood and setting feeling romantic. As if that’s what it means to be in love. In love with nature. In love with life. In love with the moment. But not in love with me.
I smiled and finished my breakfast noodles. We had just walked over 300 miles and stopped for the night along the jungle road, where construction men were working and living in the off-road shelter. The night before, I was craving to drink and get drunk all day when we showed up in the middle of a Filipino style drinking session. A tiny amount of gin was poured carefully on the ground as an offering to the spirits while we shared one glass for shots and one glass for water in a counter-clockwise circle. The locals joke about “one glass, one disease”, but I didn’t mind. Even when I want to drink, the Universe delivers.
Thanking our new friends for the place to stay, we walked on in our journey. The mission: to walk the island of Palawan from the south to north, ending in El Nido. A spiritual culmination of strength and determinism. A unified joint effort. Many people along the way didn’t get it, but they didn’t need to. I was never walking for them, or for Joemar. I was walking for myself.
The air was crisp and cool and the fog was rolling through the hills. Indeed, it was starting to feel romantic. As the sun slowly illuminated the morning atmosphere, shining its golden rays amongst the plants, I felt a deep sense of complete presence to the moment. To the now. That ever illusive, simple, yet so maddeningly hard now. It was on. And it was happening all around me, right before my eyes.
I had gone mad. So mad, I felt high. Things seemed so much more vibrant. Magical. Alive. The smells were stronger and it was so sweet that I wished to capture it in a bottle for myself, selfishly wearing the jungle scent like a perfume. The colors were brighter, with the sun hitting just right to form a golden hue. The stillness of the jungle, with hardly any traffic running through, was pristine. With nothing but the jungle noises–birds, crickets, and my childlike wonderment in the form of words, or the soft click of my camera–I felt the oneness of nature, and me in it. Part of it. Pulsing like the cycle of life.
Everything looked so magical
“I love you,” Joemar said. Did he just say what I think he just said? He’s high. We’re high. He’s under the influence. That’s not real. This is real. I’m in love with life! Invigorating, pure, all-encompassing life. I had never felt so still and present until this moment. Time didn’t matter. Only pulse. Everything around me pulsed with life. I’m breathing. I’m part of it. I’m one. And I’m alive.