Monday, December 31, 2012

Thank you, 2012

Image from http://www.cbc.ca/books/2012.jpg


It has not been a great year according to what I set, but it turned out to be a year of adjustments, possibilities, and renewals.

In our yearly visioning session, our friend Optimommy taught us to do the following: Write the things that did not work for you in 2012; the things that worked for you; your biggest success or successes; and the things you are grateful for as you bid adieu to 2012.

It took a while to put those things in writing. I knew my year was not great. I listed so many things to achieve in 2012 but not all of them came to life. And I only have myself to "blame" for it.

To write about them seemed like a drag. But it was eventually a relief to write them down and share it with my dear friends. And after sharing, they commented that they saw a renewed positivity in me, and the things I did and the things that happened toward the end of 2012 (and without me forcing these things to turn to my favor) helped indeed.   


So what did not work for me in 2012? 

1. Financial setback. Early this year, I lost a writing gig for the two magazines I have been a contributing writer for years. And it was my fault. Toward the second quarter, and due to some company changes, my regular sideline became a per assignment thing, until toward the fourth quarter, it was put on hold. Such was a blow since that regular sideline was my "happy money" source. Thus, the third and fourth quarters saw major budget tightening. I am determined to clear my obligations by end of first quarter 2013.

2. Complacency. My becoming a regular employee in my current full-time job was the first major blessing for the year, having learned about it as 2011 closed. The opportunity to work on a new project was a source of passion, until I have become so accustomed to doing the tasks that I ceased to be "eager beaver" with the project, as my manager observed. And she was right. I could not agree more. While I am still a high performer at work, the passion left me. I am claiming back that passion, regardless how routine or how administrivia the tasks would be in 2013.

3. Self-doubt.  I have not only doubted myself, I doubted my faith big time. The financial setback seemed to have aggravated my period of self-doubt. For more than a year I have been embroiled in too much self-wallowing, self-sabotaging, self-pity, brimming negativism, and I literally and figuratively isolated myself. Sure, I still ask myself if I can do it, and the answer now is "YES!" and that is pumping me up for 2013.

The things that worked for me in 2012

 1. Maximizing my leadership potential. My managers sent me to a leadership training which helped me affirm I got what it takes to be a leader. The live virtual sessions and the 3-day classroom sessions were enriching. The role plays put us in difficult people manager-employee situations that were really nerve wrecking if they happen in real life. The results of the business leadership, emotional intelligence, competencies, and derailment surveys opened my eyes even more. I also confirmed that I am a controlled, conservative, planner, organizational, problem solver type of person per my Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument results. I'm only with the company for 2 years and 4 months when they sent me for this, thus I am thankful indeed for the opportunity. And there were occasions that I displayed both my leadership and managerial skills for which I am grateful.

2. Welcoming possibilities. I met new friends from various parts of the world and to learn their stories, be treated like we were friends for long and only separated by great geographical distance, helped improve my social life. Thanks to technology, we still keep in touch. I am not now expecting anything more personal or deeper from any of these new friendships made, but I am just glad I took the big leap, conquered my fear, stepped out of my comfort zone, and welcomed them in my life. Indeed, the possibilities are limitless.

My successes and the things I am grateful for in 2012      

1. Renewal of faith. I turned down the invitation several times. But when I felt I finally needed to, and coinciding with my 32nd birthday week, I signed up to attend the Road to Damascus retreat, organized by the Living Hope Catholic Charismatic Community. Thanks to a colleague's persistence, that weekend retreat helped me, above all else, forgive myself for all the trials I thought were pulling me down and for realizing that the Lord and His Son, Jesus Christ never left me. Sure, I still have my misses as a Roman Catholic, but my vantage point in solving problems became clearer as I now consciously, always acknowledge --- and thank --- God for His presence in my life and those people I care the most. I am far from being a truly "good" Roman Catholic, but the baby steps I am taking, and as taught us in the retreat (like reading daily and understanding the Bible and the life lessons it bears) is truly building my faith and pumping up my optimism as I try to address my existing concerns.

2. Reconciliation. The not so "old" me used to run after the problem, thinking I could solve it on my own. But when I started to welcome other possibilities, and acknowledged that I already did everything in my capacity to patch things up and let fate take its course, then the problem started to present itself as a solution. Well, sort of, because as of this date, the problem still is a problem, but this time, a "lighter" one. I am just thankful for the gift of reconciliation --- and without me forcing it to happen. The ongoing communication is vital to see where this would lead us --- reconciling together or reconciling as two entities apart.

3. Wisdom and knowledge.  During the retreat, and upon trying to receive the Holy Spirit, I asked for the gifts of wisdom and knowledge --- to learn from my experience and apply it truly well in the present and future and to say the right words at the right time. In relation with reconciliation, I see myself now saying what has to be said, even if the other person would be hurt --- because yes, the truth hurts and if I do not tell the other person about it, no one else will. I am fully aware that the other person has battles of his own, and when that person needs boost, I give it. When that person needs to be castigated --- yet firmly and gently --- I do it. I am in no mission to "save," but I am here for that person in need of another person to truly understand him .... 

Forgiving myself

After completing the exercise, we moved to the next exercise: to write down the things or habits we will let go and to list down the person or persons we like to forgive. Then, we burned our lists, an exercise in releasing, in moving forward to the New Year and beyond.

Of course the financial setback, complacency, and self-doubt definitely have to go for 2013, among other things or habits I listed.

In the list of persons to forgive, I forgive myself above anyone else. All these years I have been too hard on myself that I thought the trials were weighing me down, when in fact, it was me who was pulling myself down.

For the New Year and beyond, I will be more forgiving to myself. Only then I will only be able to truly move forward.

So, thank you for the bittersweet 2012. You're so 2012 now, 2012. Move over and hello, 2013.

Happy New Year to all!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Simply uplifting

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) mount flash mob at NAIA 3


Most of us netizens slept last night worrying over the implementation of the RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Or the majority were kept awake by rains and fear of floods due to Typhoon Marce. These, on top of other concerns we each have.

Thus to wake up today might have felt a struggle, and you simply wanted to see, hear some good news. And good news only.

And now, I stumbled upon video clips of PPO (led by its chief conductor and music director Olivier Ochanine) mounting a flash mob at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 this morning, October 3. They delighted passengers with their playing of William Tell Overture, Ryan Cayabyab's Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika (where CCP officials and employees---mostly with no musical background---sang with gusto), and according to reports, a finale number from the quintessentially loved The Sound of Music.

Indeed, this is my good, uplifting news for today.  



Simply watching this video sent shivers. Our resident orchestra is truly talented. The way they play music is invigorating. I had the privilege to see them perform live a couple of times before, and even wrote about them and the state of CCP and the Filipino arts and culture. Their effort this morning---"to bring art to the masses"---has been CCP's thrust for years (and further emphasized in line with their 43rd anniversary), and is truly commendable.

What they did today is timely, uplifting. Arts and culture deserve our appreciation and support.

When you see and hear them next time---reaching out to you in a place unexpected---listen, and surely, you will feel good after.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Sunday Matinee

When it was decided that September was a difficult one, I capped it by escaping and dressing up.

Yesterday, September 30, I escaped to the magical world of The Phantom of the Opera. And boy, it was truly worth an escape. I also missed going to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, where I covered events and also wrote about the center's woes and why arts is also a worthy cause to support.

Part of the escape was dressing up. I did not want to attend the matinee fully dolled up, but at the same time, I still wanted to come decently chic. Thus, my ensemble:

I wore the rust and black boyfriend blazer from Tomato; round neck, short-sleeved black top from Forever 21; grey jeans from W & Co.; square toe, black flats from SM Department Store. The mocha sling bag I used was the only bag I have which width perfectly matches the length of my umbrella. I first thought to not bring an umbrella because I was toying to use a clutch, but in this crazy weather we have, it is a must.

So that was my end of September. How's yours?

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Grand End to "The Dark Knight"

Image from http://www.thedarkknightrises.com/home.php#


Except that the highly anticipated film of 2012 was marred by the Aurora shooting, most reviews are still glowing. And for me who is absolutely not a comic fan and appreciates a superhero film as it is – a superhero film, The Dark Knight Rises indeed rose to expectations.

It is a superhero flick with the superhero missing for about half of the show. Catwoman is without a single cat unlike in previous portrayals of this character (and for this film, Catwoman was actually not referred as Catwoman, anyway). New York City was deglamorized to a despaired, isolated Gotham City. The production design and costumes were mostly sleek and sexy, bleak and black, ironically putting color to the film. New names were added in this finale, adding to the already sterling cast for this franchise, and they all played their roles remarkably.

Christopher Nolan is a genius. He started fresh with the franchise reboot, gave Batman more flesh in the second installment, and made him a “real” hero in the end. Batman Begins (2005) indeed began it all, explaining how it all started for Bruce Wayne and his other persona, the caped crusader Batman. The medias res, The Dark Knight (2008) unraveled more to Batman and gave the moviegoers the most remarkable villain of all time, Heath Ledger’s Joker. The Dark Knight Rises grandly ends the trilogy, with Batman finally confronting his fear and pain and eventually rising from them and redeeming himself.

From dark, to darker, to darkest – The Dark Knight Rises successfully deconstructed the superhero myth. Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) started the film by hiding in his manor, eight years after taking the fall for the death of Harvey Dent, the honest district-attorney who succumbed to evil toward his end. If anyone has not seen The Dark Knight, they might find asking themselves who Dent is and eventually get lost and confused in the labyrinth of stories that make The Dark Knight Rises.

New characters made the film meatier. New villain, Bane (Tom Hardy), spreads terror through the League of Shadows. Cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), displays such ooziness and balls (sometimes more than to Bale’s Batman) and as expected becomes an unlikely ally and love interest. As the events unfold, Wayne/Batman eventually comes out of retirement and dons the cape once more, roaring with his motorcycle-like Bat-Pod and pilots the “plane,” dryly called “the Bat,” and tries to save Gotham City from annihilation, the place that gave him “nothing but pain.”

Stalwarts Gary Oldman (Police Commissioner Gordon) and Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox, who is like Q to James Bond) continue to give sage support to Wayne/Batman. Nolan again collaborates with his Inception cast: Marion Cotillard (as Miranda Tate) plays as an executive board member of Wayne Enterprises, encouraging Wayne in espousing a sustainable future. Her character turned out to be complex and was concluded in a twist (well, for me she is a surprise as I am uninitiated to DC comics characters). Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as John Blake), is a promising young police officer who is revealed in the movie having the full name of Robin John Blake, and is seen in the Bat cave as the film wraps up. Michael Caine (as Alfred Pennyworth) made me cry thrice as his character of Wayne/Batman’s butler is further established from a confidant to a surrogate father trying to dissuade Wayne from helping Gotham City as Batman. Caine also provided the humor in The Dark Knight, which display of dry, English wit must be caught for a few laughs, a break from the overall somber tone of the film.               

The film also runs political themes in it, like the Occupy Movement or the Arab Springs, the people versus the authorities. The parallelisms in Bane and Wayne/Batman not only focus in their strength in darkness and shadows and masks, but both in their inaudible voices that were sometimes to straining to listen to. It is more forgiving for the case of the masked Bane (whose mask serves as his lifeline), but for Wayne as a Batman? I guess it would remain a puzzle while Wayne suddenly speaks in a bronchial, almost robotic tone when he transforms as Batman.  

Overall, the franchise’s resurrection of Batman under Nolan’s helm is by far, the greatest and it would be hard to top that anytime soon – of a new Batman franchise or any superhero film for that matter.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

To Happiness ...

Image from http://www.lifelonghappiness.com/welcome/#


It's your birthday.


You're 46 now (at least in the time zone you are now; you'll be a year older in her time zone in an hour).


She remembers your birthday very well.


It was her fervent prayer, for the past four years, that you'd be together on your birthday, and for many special occasions and seemingly ordinary days to come.


But that's not going to happen anymore.
You made it very clear with her.
She just keeps hanging on to nothing.


She knows that those promises you made are broken already.
She has given you all - love, patience, understanding - even if she discovered things about you that those dearest to her know were more than enough to not keep you anymore, or have you in the first place.


Despite everything, she remains faithful to her love for you, believing that someday, her love will find its way to your heart.

But, love is not supposed to hurt. And she is aware that loving you did nothing but to hurt her.

She closed her heart and dedicated it only to you, unwittingly shutting down possible opportunities for real happiness to come into her life.

She must let the happiness in once more.

As you turn another year older, her only wish for you is to learn to make others happy.

Open your heart to welcome other's love for you.
Unconditionally accept the person who is offering you nothing but love.
Nurture the love that is being given to you.
Be healed from your past because you unnecessarily inflict that pain into others, who only did nothing but to love you despite being you.

You're not that old to be truly happy, just relearn to make others happy first.

As for her, she remains faithful in her love for you. But she has learned her lesson.

She will steadily not force her love into you.
She will try her hardest not to remember the times being with you though. But if she did, she at least knows that you're capable of making others happy, because you made her happy more than you'll ever know ....
She is now going to walk the path to her own happiness.
The path could still lead to you, it could be not. Who knows? No one knows, really ....

Surely, there will be days and nights that would be unbearably sad. But she knows that those days and nights would be over.
But for now, she will try to be happy, one day at a time.
Eventually, she will radiate that happiness because she has learned to make herself happy, even without you ....

Enjoy your birthday and have many more birthdays to come ....

Thursday, May 31, 2012

To Be Alive Again



Image from http://yourdailyshakespeare.com/
Indeed, the first five months of 2012 just took off like that.


To those who have accomplished a lot from January to May this year, congratulations! Surely, hitting your goals for the rest of 2012 would be a breeze!


To those who listed too many to accomplish but have done nothing, count me in.


I wasted my first half of 2012.


I thought I'm on my way to recovery, but I spent mostly wallowing, still trying to make sense out of something that obviously did not make any sense from the start.


At times, depressed, too depressed even to finish a book I swore to read in two-week’s time but instead took me three months to finish.


Often, I found myself angry. So angry that even the tiniest, the most trivial thing, easily got into me and made most of my days horrible, simply horrible.


I have become anti-social. I could last a whole week or two without joining my co-workers for lunch or coffee breaks. I preferred to be alone most of the time. After work, I’d go straight to my room and I'd only go out to eat, do my evening rituals, then sleep – or cry myself to sleep.


I have become more sickly, availing of my sick leaves lately due to migraine and recently, a very bad case of allergic rhinitis and slight fever. The dull and located sharp pains bugged me at times, but I never visited my doctors yet.


There were times I was coming to work with heavily puffy eyes. Especially during the third week of April when I found out something that crushed further whatever is left of my heart. 


Such was too much for me to bear. Good thing I had a teammate who patiently listened to me, at times, lectured me, pointed to me that I'm becoming a wreck already.


Then sometime this month, it hit me: I have been pitying myself too much. It’s not a nice feeling. And no one’s helping me. I swore in the past that I would move on but I kept holding on – to nothing. That "nothing" steadily ate a huge chunk of my optimism, my zest, my will to live.


Then I looked back to what I wrote here – and mostly the goals are left unfulfilled ....

Success


Career:
I am bagging an opportunity to work in my company’s office/branch in Hong Kong/Singapore/Australia as a branding/communications/marketing specialist, and I am starting with this overseas post by first quarter of 2013.


There’s a  virtual conference the company will be launching next week for all employees worldwide  – an ideal timing to review or learn more how will I achieve my career plan.

Finance:
I am saving 10 percent of my base salary starting payday of February 2012.


I recently had a financial setback when a steady source of extra income would now be on an "assignment basis" income instead since there was not much for me to do. Saddening because my source of “happy money” won’t be regular anymore, but this extra work was where I practiced my analytical skills, and putt into good use my background in business and finance. Good thing I'm steadily putting money in long-term investments.

Health:
I am hitting my weight goal of 120 lbs. and a waistline of 26 in. by April 2012.


I’m now 134 lbs. (60.78 kg.) and my waistline is 30. I was monitoring what I eat through the FitnessPal but I got tired of it. The lazy in me kept postponing my return to jogging, plus I’m complaining about my left knee lately. So I must see my OB gyne soon (for my myoma and endometrial cyst, which jokingly, I think they’re making my tummy bigger); see a surgeon for biopsy  and an endocrinologist for my goiter and related thyroid problem/s; see a nutritionist/dietician to help me devise a diet that would make me eat healthier without starving myself; and an occupational/physical therapist to check what’s wrong with my left knee, plus back and neck pain. Whatever the results of these medical check-ups, I must be prepared ….

Growth:


Religious and Spiritual:
I am starting my day right by reflecting through Bible passages and Didache 2012.


I stopped reading the Bible and reflecting with Didache as guide. I stopped going to church also, because lately, I don’t understand why God is throwing me all the s***. I know there are more out there having far bigger troubles than mine, but I just felt abandoned, neglected by Him (or Her). I still talk to God but it’s more of questioning Him a lot lately …. And obviously, with how am I behaving about this, I haven’t seen or heard an answer from Him ….
And I don’t know how exactly I am going to address this. A colleague from work asked if I’m interested to attend a retreat in July, for which I said I’ll think about it …. For now, all I ask from God is that he look after my family because I'm such a wreck to even take care of myself, what more those who are depending on me?


Travel: 
I am visiting Singapore from November 11 to 14, 2012 for my 32nd birthday.


This is my next escape, and no matter what happens, I am pushing through with this trip.

Other goals that I listed that I find worth sharing include:


Success:


Career – At Work:
I am participating in three to four CSR activities for 2012.


I already registered as a teacher/facilitator for an employee club in our company that is into outreach education. Thus, this area has been taken care of.


Career – As a Writer/Editor/Blogger:
I am blogging once a week, posting quality entries for Descovrir and Rediscover. (I only blogged eight times in 2011 for Descovrir, 10 for Rediscover. How lazy I was!)


I'm too consumed by wallowing, hours wasted which I could have spent practicing my writing skills through blogging. I need all the energy and the focus, as I already listed the things I like to blog.

Finance:
I am increasing my “happy spending” to PHP5000 monthly.


This is decreased significantly, given the financial setback, and whatever money I would be spending for this or that item, I must save for my birthday trip.

Growth:


Development:
I am finishing two books in a month starting January 2012. (I exceeded my expectations! I already read three books for this month: PopeBenedict XVI: Light of the World, by Peter Seewald, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote).


Even reading a book took a toll. Now, I'm trying to finish one, and hopefully I get to do so this weekend.


= = = = =
I have wasted too much time already. I must go back, see the world, and seize the day.
I need to feel alive again.
I must embrace a new life.
I have to be reborn and better than ever.


And I’ll start tomorrow by steadily accomplishing the items in my list until I achieve most, or better, all of them before 2012 ends.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Smelling an Old Cheese


Image from http://findin42.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/who-moved-my-cheese/
I arrived at the huddle room 15 minutes before the schedule.

I left four hours after with full of thoughts on how am I coping with the big change in my life.

Actually, I was asking myself what happened with the past 11 months since I was left alone and had to adapt to change. As what I learned from the book, Who Moved My Cheese?, had I noticed the small changes early on, I should have been able to help myself to adapt to that big change that came my way.

Lessons Learned
Last Friday, February 24, I attended a half-day, classroom training called Adapting to Change, one of those soft skills training offered by our company. Like with other trainings from the company that I already completed, we started with the house rules, introduced ourselves to the class, and shared our expectations or what we like to achieve from the training.

My expectation was the training would be about coping with change – in the workplace. I started 2012 with a change in employment status (from project-term hire starting June 2010 to a regular employee now) and a new project to work on. It is a change that I was not expecting, but I know I deserve since I have been working hard to achieve whatever I am having now from the company.

So, I thought the training was “perfect,” as while I know I can do this, I still feel sometimes that I am unskilled for the project I am in now. Not to mention that I will be having more client interaction than with my previous project and, almost two years since I joined the outsourcing industry, I am still getting the hang of it somehow.

However, Friday’s training was different. It did not meet my expectations. For me, the training was the Universe’s way of telling me, of nailing it hard to my head that it is time for me to adapt “fully” to the change.


I like to share with you sample lessons from the training, which I find very applicable to me now:


There are four phases of change:
1.       Change: In my case, it was about a life-changing event that I still avoid talking about in general or with those who keep prying about what happened.

2.       The Unknown. Would you believe that 11 months after, and I am still in this phase, the “unknown”? There are still days and nights that I find myself very disoriented. I keep asking myself, what went wrong? What did I do? What did I not do?  I am stuck here, in the “unknown.”

3.       The Adjustment. I made – and still making efforts – to keep hold of myself. My colleagues, my friends, even strangers, have said, it is not worth it. But once a pang of sadness hits me, I revert to the unknown and everything I did to adjust were just nothing ….

4.       The New Norm. While the change is already a part of my “daily” goings-on, I still have not accepted it. I am still in the unknown. I keep asking the same questions over and over and over. I would pick myself up but stumble again because of my own doing. I have not learned my lesson – rather, I have not made that “lesson” my reality and to eventually get into this “new” norm in my life.

The Change Emergency Kit  
I am so unprepared for this change. I am naïve to think I can undo whatever that had happened already.


I know I have to take charge. However, I have barely applied this emergency kit called, “Test – Drive Change”:

T - Think about it. I reacted. They said it was normal. When I paused, I decided to step back. I tried to identify how the change was affecting me, eating me, ruining me. I keep on reflecting what would happen to me, to the promises made, now suddenly broken.

E – Examine feelings. The key action that was discussed for this part of the training was, “identify what you need to ‘let go’ to accept change.” I am still holding on to empty promises, to broken dreams. I asked myself way more than the prescribed “five times” why am I feeling this way. I keep looking back at “the way things used to be.” I gave the benefit of the doubt, but I think I gave too much of it already. I am stuck. As emphasized in the training, I have to change to survive. I am surviving somehow, but I eventually like to take charge.

S – Seek information. I sought information from the source but all I got was cold treatment. When I finally got a response, it was more of avoidance. Then the blame was on me. I tried to make the unknown “known” based on what I actually know. I held on to the information until I thought it was time to use it to my advantage. But it backfired. I thought I was impatient for wanting to find the answers right away. But as stressed in our training, I have to understand that all the answers might not be available now – or not at all and I have to accept uncertainty when I can’t get the answers. It has been very uncertain indeed.

T – Take Charge. After the training, it became more crucial to me to learn to take charge. That I have to view this change as an opportunity to continuously learn and grow. To seek support. To measure progress, make adjustments, and celebrate my achievements. Above all, I must “let go of the past.”

How Am I Coping
Excerpts from Dr. Spencer Johnson, Who Moved my Cheese?, were shared with us as we concluded our training. From the excerpts alone I learned a lot. I must get that small yet truly helpful book.


The cheese is a metaphor for what we want to have in life – job, a relationship, money, etc. You name it, you want your own cheese. How I lost my cheese is something I am making sense still but among the lessons from the book that struck me the most are:

1.       The more important your cheese is to you, the more you want to hold onto it. So true. Need I say more?

2.       Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old. I thought blue cheese smells yucky. But it tastes damn good. I have accepted my blue cheese as it is. But as this change came my way, maybe I did not have blue cheese at all. I had something that had become stale, just stale. Maybe it was already stale but I held on to it thinking it would turn into a blue cheese?

3.       Noticing small changes early helps you adapt to the bigger changes that are to come. This is where I failed. But I very much need to redeem myself. As stressed in the book, “when you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course.” I have other cheeses to enjoy now, so I will focus on such. Searching for a cheese to replace the old cheese will have to wait.

That is how am I adapting to change. I have a long way to go. But I am getting there.

How about you? How are you adapting to change?

Oh, it is leap day today. I heard over the TV last night we could use this rare day to reflect on the changes that happened to us in the last four years. So, this is my reflection ….

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

On Stage: Mamma Mia! is Love


The world loves Mamma Mia! The Musical and The Movie. OK, maybe not all (as evident in a newspaper column last Sunday of a lawyer and socio-political analyst who basically just “ranted” that he had to watch it as a dutiful husband). Anyway.

Mamma Mia! is one thing I will never get tired off. I know the songs by heart (by ABBA, the Swedish group that rose to fame in 1974 and disbanded in 1982). My exposure to ABBA’s songs was intensified when I was in the university and at the same time, spending countless sleepless nights in our university publication office, putting an issue to bed, fighting for our sanity, and with that, I heard Dancing Queen sang ala Mariah Carey, ala Miss Saigon, ala else.

I love the movie to bits. I love Pierce Brosnan even if he was fighting for his life singing S.O.S. with “the” Meryl Streep. The latter was a revelation – she had opera and ballet training and that she exceeded expectations as Donna Sheridan.

Thus, when I learned it was staging here, I simply could not wait. I wanted a very good seat however, the earliest date I liked to watch it had no premium seats left. I could not wait until the next weekend thus I got myself a lower box seat (left of stage). As I am familiar with the CCP Main Theater layout (having covered numerous events and was given a tour of the 42-year-old building when I was a newspaper lifestyle and entertainment writer, then became a magazine business and finance editor), so the seat I had was already good.

I am still high from Sunday’s musical. Here are six reasons why Mamma Mia! is so dear to me:
And they're all watching the smash hit musical 



The CCP Main Theater was eventually full and at the end of the musical, majority of the audience were on their feet, dancing and waving to the encore
  1. ABBA is ABBA. Period. They have disbanded a long time ago, but their music lives on. And thanks for the cooperation of ABBA’s genius duo, Björn Ulvaus and Benny Andersson to producer Judy Craymer, their discography's glory days continue with this phenomenal musical
  2. Mamma Mia! never fails to uplift me. When a former colleague gave me a copy of the Original Broadway cast recording, I shamelessly sang my heart out in my office workstation and I bobbed my head in much gusto. I was like that for two weeks straight and all the songs – even the overture and entr’acte – kept me company when I was beating deadlines and dealing with heavy, personal matters. Yesterday, I resurrected my iPod shuffle hoping I saved the album there, but no. Sad – must save later.
  3. Mamma Mia! is by women, for women, for all. Much praises were given to the musical, evident in its continuing success since 1999. Both the musical and the movie were mobilized by the women trio of Craymer as producer, Catherine Johnson as scripwriter, and Phyllida Lloyd as the director (who again directed Streep in The Iron Lady). Women across the globe and across races and generation have danced to Dancing Queen. They are either Donna, Sophie, Rosie, or Tanya at some point in their lives. Admittedly, the musical got majority of females as audience, but yes, admittedly too, thanks to the movie, it has become more endearing to the younger generation.
  4. The musical is about you, me, us. The men were not left out in this musical – the prolific duo of Ulvaus and Andersson as proof. The male audience could have been at one stage, Sam, Bill, Harry or Sky - even Pepper. At Sunday’s matinee, there was an old lady sitting on the second row facing the stage who bolted up during encore and danced proudly, and the rest of the audience – men, women, young and old – from the orchestra up to the second balcony – were dancing in their respective places. I wished they danced in the aisle, it could have been more fun!
  5. I’m Donna than Sophie. Yes, I identify more with Donna. She is real. She is a woman who fell in love, got her heart broken, became a single mom, was disowned by her mother (like my mother who almost disowned me for my stubbornness, haha). But she continued, raised Sophie as a beautiful daughter inside and out, kept a scenic tavern despite the hardships, and eventually, was reunited with her love, Sam. Her songs, Money, Money, Money, Dancing Queen (with the Dynamos, Rosie and Tanya), and above all, The Winner Takes It All, sum up her ups and downs in her life, and those are the songs I closely identify with.
  6. Mamma Mia! is fun. Need I say more? When strictly concerts and musicals prohibit clapping until an act is finished, or it is rude to cough or sneeze during the lull scenes, Mamma Mia! is nothing like that. Sunday’s audience was generous to express their appreciation by applauding one number almost after another. They expressed it even more during the encore, and the audience was wild when Ellie Leah (as Donna) asked, in Filipino, if they want more. Of course!!!
  7. More musicals. After this opening salvo of Mamma Mia!, the Philippine musical stage will be graced by another Broadway hit. Since I resolved to see more arts and culture events this year, so this is included. Can’t wait for this, too!
On standby for schedule and ticket prices


Mamma Mia! is staging at the CCP Main Theater until Sunday, February 19, 2012. For tickets, call CCP Box Office at (632) 832-3704 or check Ticketworld.                      


For my review of Mamma Mia! The Musical, please visit Rediscover.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

From Vision to Action

Where I keep my secrets, eh, goals for 2012


Wow, we are on our last day of January 2012. That was quick!

For those who listed their New Year’s resolutions, how are you doing so far?

If you did not start yet, and deferred starting on Chinese New Year, which was on January 23, did you make it then?

If you answered no to both and shrugged your list as not doable, think again. Perhaps, you need more than just listing resolutions, you need to envision those resolutions and make them work for you.

For six years now, I made it a habit to list the things I like to happen in a year. As the year closes, I review those things for what I have accomplished, and for those I am not able to do, I carry them over and update them for the New Year. There were also times I burnt the “old list,” read aloud my “new list,” and I pray for guidance in accomplishing them.

I closed 2011 deviating for my usual “goodbye old year, welcome new year” ritual due to unforeseen circumstances. However, I started 2012 right away by polishing my “visions” for this year of the Water Dragon.

Visioning in Action
Visioning is the mental process in which images of the desired future – goals, objectives, and outcomes – are made intensely real and compelling to act as motivators for the present action.

A friend first taught the visioning process to me in 2010. The same friend taught me and two other friends a more focused, more achievable process over coffee on December 29, 2011 – a productive meeting that extended to an overnight session.

What I learned is that for our visioning to be more effective:

  1. We have to specify our goals into four areas:
  • Success (covering but not limited to career, finance);
  • Health;
  • Relationships (family, friends, personal); and
  • Growth (education, personal development, travel)
  1. Categorize your goals based on the four areas and list as many as you can.
  2. Write your goal with conviction, not “I am going to,” “I wish,” and the likes. Write them as if you are already doing them, accomplishing them.
  3. Make your goal time-bound. Specify when exactly you are achieving it.
  4. Identify your ultimate goal per area.
  5. As you narrowed them into four goals – one each for Success, Health, Relationships, and Growth, then narrow each of those goals into:
·         Minimum (Specifying a goal that would not make you too disappointed if you do not meet it)
·         Target (Aiming a manageable goal)
·         Outstanding (Hitting your ultimate goal, which you will be achieving by setting yourself to hit first the “minimum” to the “target” goal)

Out of that visioning process, I am sharing with you snippets of my visions for 2012, particularly my ultimate goals per the four areas (the details of achieving them from minimum to outstanding, I am sharing at the end of 2012). Now, I am keeping my “visions” in a “pretty pink” notebook solely dedicated for this. I am treating my visioning list as a “living” document, which I am reviewing every end of the month (thus, this blog entry):

My “Visions” for 2012 (Disclaimer: I am not yet able to identify my ultimate goal under the Relationships area. It is difficult at the moment for me to set goal on that):

Success

Career:
I am bagging an opportunity to work in my company’s office/branch in Hong Kong/Singapore/Australia as a branding/communications/marketing specialist, and I am starting with this overseas post by first quarter of 2013.

Finance:
I am saving 10 percent of my base salary starting payday of February 2012.

Health:
I am hitting my weight goal of 120 lbs. and a waistline of 26 in. by April 2012.

Growth:

Religious and Spiritual:
I am starting my day right by reflecting through Bible passages and Didache 2012.

Travel: 
I am visiting Singapore from November 11 to 14, 2012 for my 32nd birthday.

Other goals that I listed that I find worth sharing include:

Success:

Career – At Work:
I am participating in three to four CSR activities for 2012.

Career – As a Writer/Editor/Blogger:
I am blogging once a week, posting quality entries for Descovrir and Rediscover. (I only blogged eight times in 2011 for Descovrir, 10 for Rediscover. How lazy I was!)

Finance:
I am increasing my “happy spending” to PHP5000 monthly.

Growth:

Development:
I am finishing two books in a month starting January 2012. (I exceeded my expectations! I already read three books for this month: PopeBenedict XVI: Light of the World, by Peter Seewald, The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote).

I am bursting with goals for 2012. I am achieving them with smart work and fervent prayers. If you have already set goals for yourself this year and beyond, own them. Be proud that you have such goals in mind as they make you look forward to a bright future. Once achieved, share your success. Spread the blessings.

Thus, let us all put our concrete visions into delightful results.