Owls and Excellence

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I’ve visited the local zoo with my adoptive daughter (well, she adopted me as her dad, really, so how can I refuse an angel’s request) and the rest of the family. I was glad to have the chance to visit the animals; it brought back a lot of good childhood memories.

However, I digress. So I’ll cut that story short, and get onto my actual topic.

I’m consumed with the thought of excellence since Friday, last week. Mostly, it’s because I see people in our office who just gets by through mediocrity. They slack off, and they even have the guts to complain about getting poor evaluations from me when they know for a fact that they didn’t do anything stellar. It just makes my blood boil after it has curdled. I was raised with an Opus Dei philosophy, so it just makes me feel indignant when I come across a culture of mediocrity. As part of my protest, I’ve been putting quotes about excellence as my chat status message, hoping to inspire even just one person to strive for excellence.

I say “strive for excellence” and not perfection because excellence is not something permanent — at least as far as I know. One day, I might be excellent, but if I’m not careful with what I do, I can fall in the same traps that mediocrity seems to lay out in front of everyone. It might be a simple headache, a shiny red balloon, or blinking at the wrong time, and what we have can be spoiled. Could we really account for all those minute variables when we sometimes forget periods after sentences or feel angry at bird poop on a newly washed car? I think not, so we can’t really be perfect — just continuously striving for excellence. Nevertheless, there’s always a vanguard for excellence, and that is vigilance.

For me, it’s vigilance against the illusion of perfection. Yes, I admit that I pride myself with my achievements, but I realize now that it’s unattainable because it’s either the absence of fault or the completion of all requirements. Saying that someone is perfect is just simply turning a blind eye on a minute flaw or saying that a high standard was met when in fact, it’s just partially fulfilled. It’d take an infinite amount of energy for us to really achieve that, making me think that it’s just God who has the capacity to achieve. So really, we can only strive for excellence.

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Appreciation and Affirmation

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I realize that I might not be good at photography — yet. Nevertheless, I know that I can do better, so while I’m learning, I’ll compensate with what’s native to me — words. It all started with “monkeys go bananas for.. bananas!” Actually, it started when I started this conversation with angelicamereu:

Passenger on Foot says: Hi! Thanks for frequently visiting my blog! Sorry that it took me this long to go to yours, and boy! How I wish I got here sooner! The monkey’s fur seems to melt with the background. It looks almost surreal, but I’m not sure if that’s the right word. A picture is worth a thousand words; somehow, that one out of that thousand eludes me. I hope you get how much I like this photograph!

angelicamereu says: thank you so much, i’m really stunned, it’s great to read your words!! wow! and thx!!!

Passenger on Foot says: Ok, I think I now have the right ones: prismatic aura.

That’s it! 😀

angelicamereu says: wow, great definition!

Then, I browsed through angelicamereu’s blog and found “blue bird,” and continued the conversation here:

Passenger on Foot says: Are you based in Africa?

In my other comment, I got lost for words, but this time, I have more than “beautiful” to comment. It’s dlight-fully iridescent! Again, amazing!

angelicamereu says: no, i just spent 3 weeks in south africa last june, my guts and dreams are still there! and wow again, i love your comments, really appreciate it. i can’t find the words to tell you how much, so, just thx!!!

Passenger on Foot says: I see! Well, congratulations for having the ability to travel! I’m afraid that I’m locked in my location at the moment, but I’m trying to find good things to post and photograph.

I more a writer than a photographer (gulps at the brash declaration). I like alliteration, too. That’s why! Followed your awesome eye and perspective!

They have emotional charges — electric even — the same stuff that makes our hearts beat, making us feel alive. Alive to revel in each other’s brilliance, which is really how we can proceed in our journey through life.

Judging from her replies, I think that she was smiling when she typed them in — I’m certainly hoping so. When I comment on other people’s blogs, I always try to elaborate on how they touched me because I know that it will make them happy. I know that it’ll motivate them to keep on doing what they do. I know that it’ll inspire them to do better. I know this to be true because I feel the same electrifying and exhilarating feeling after reading comments on my own blog. Am I that different from other people to be the only one to feel this? I don’t think so. In fact, I think that at the core, we’re all wanting the same thing — affirmation, if not love.

By sharing this post, I hope to send a message to everyone: use your words when you well up with emotions, especially if you liked it. While I’m really wired for writing words, anyone can do it as long as the comments are written with sincerity. More than the like button, which is a recent invention to express affirmation, words have been around for ages. They have emotional charges — electric even — the same stuff that makes our hearts beat, making us feel alive. Alive to revel in each other’s brilliance, which is really how we can proceed in our journey through life.


After drafting this post, I got replies from other bloggers, specifically Lisa and Jav3d, and I’m glad that I was able to express my appreciation for their works sincerely.

Fidgeting and Photoblogging

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This gallery contains 6 photos.

I was never fond of taking pictures before today. I thought that they were capricious when I was growing up because my family only had enough money for the necessities — milk, rice, electricity, and school fees. Now that I’m … Continue reading

Light and Sound

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At last, my mom is home, but it’s not the end of it all. There’s debt to be paid, and more work to do to earn money for everything — including the debt.  Good thing that light always shines brightest in the darkness. The stars can attest to that.

Why am I so hopeful?

I can’t help but feel that way for many reasons. First and foremost, my mom seems to be at her best condition ever since her first hospitalization a couple of years back. On top of that, I have a job that allows me to earn as much as I want; I’m just limited by the amount of effort that I put in it. On the more spiritual side, God seems to be sending me tools that would equip me with everything I need. I just need to stop, look, and listen for His messages.

One of those God-sent solutions is the existence of binaural beats. Basically, they’re sounds that can influence the brain to work in a certain way, but if you’d like to read more about it, Wikipedia explains binaural beats clearly. I discovered the existence of these sounds through a blog post right here in WordPress. At this point, I’d like to thank yuriwovcha for posting 5 Facts About Sound That Will Blow Out Your Ears right before liking one of my posts. That’s where I got word of binaural beats. He wrote that there are lots of them on YouTube, so I put on my Spider Man outfit and crawled over to that part of the web to find something that’s truly wonderful.

I know that I’m putting my hopes up on something that’s not proven yet, and to some, just a load of mumbo jumbo, but isn’t that what most people call faith?

I say it’s wonderful because the tones evoke a feeling of serenity in me. They’re really simple yet calming. If you actually watch the videos, the uploaders also took time to put matching visuals, adding more entertainment value to the sounds. After just one video, I was immediately sold on the idea until I read online that there are — albeit unsupported by substantial research — other benefits to listening to this kind of music, such as increased focus and better sleep. Since I needed those two things, I thought that I should have these portable in my phone, so I looked for ways to carry at least one song around with me.

My quest to bring binaural beats with me led me to say thank you to my gift of gab and technology. I started out on YouTube, and then, onto Google to look for free, downloadable songs. I did find several websites offering those, but for some reason, the downloads fail; maybe, it was due to the large file sizes. For some reason, I went onto the Google Play store, and much to my surprise, I found several apps that had binaural beats! I installed one app, which was just basically the two sounds droning in my ears.

I listened to it on the way to the office. They seemed to work fine because I felt relaxed all the while, so naturally, I had to share this discovery to my friends. When the evening came, one of my friends said, “This app also has the tones that you were listening to. Remember the name and the icon. Maybe, you can download it on your android, too.” Ironically, after repeating the name several times, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what it was, so again, I went to the Play Store, and just made searches, which helped me stumble across Brainwave Tuner.

Brainwave Tuner didn’t have all the capabilities of the app my friend showed me, but it did have more capabilities than the first app I downloaded. It had the different brainwave frequencies but not just droning. It pulsed, faded in and out, allowing for variety. It also mixed in some  pleasing additional sounds in like waves and whispering wind. On top of that, there are background images that also changed colors, making it a relatively better app that suited the cheapskate in me.

I know that I’m putting my hopes up on something that’s not proven yet, and to some, just a load of mumbo jumbo, but isn’t that what most people call faith? I’m willing to try it out since those sounds keep me focused on the light rather than the darkness. It’s much better than falling into despair, right?

It’s Just a Matter of Knowing

Really, it’s just knowing why it needs to happen for the sacrifice and the hardship to be well worth it.

My mom’s diabetes is making life really hard for her and the rest of my family. Obviously, she’s the one who’s suffering the most because of it and it’s complications. My dad also suffers because of those complications since each time my mom goes into the hospital, all five times this year alone, he stays by her side in the hospital. My sister and I are also suffering in the sense that we have to see her growing weaker as time goes by, but as the first born son, most of the financial burden falls on me. Nobody in my family is really exempt from this ordeal.

Earlier, she was scheduled to be discharged from the hospital, but there’s a slight hitch; actually, it’s not slight because it’s 18 grand to get her out. I don’t have that kind of money right now since I’ve already shelled out nearly 80 grand for the four previous hospitalizations. I can only do 10, and that’s already compromising my budget for the coming month — I wouldn’t have any money for anything at all. Because I was already in a pinch, I asked my sister for help.

When I told her about it, I knew that I would be in for aggravation. She’s also shouldered other expenses for my mom, so she was also in a bind. I just told her that she should ask for our aunts’ help. All of this happened via phone, and when she called me back, she was whining that she couldn’t get a hold of both aunts like it was my effin’ fault.

At that point, I was already starting to feel enraged, thinking that it’s unfair for her to do that to me. I was ready to explode like a volcano, but I caught myself going to that high voice, and dialed it down. Then, I said in a restrained voice, “Please don’t treat me like that. We’re in the same situation, but you don’t hear me blaming you about it. I also have my own wants, but you don’t hear me complaining.”

I don’t know if it got through to her, but hopefully, it did. I sincerely hope that she sees how much I’m suffering without complaining nor taking my frustrations out on other people because I know why it’s happening: it’s because I love my mom and my family so much that I’m willing to go hungry, lose sleep, and work my ass off just to see them well and healthy. Really, it’s just knowing why it needs to happen for the sacrifice and the hardship to be well worth it.