Whenever I’m back home in the province for the duration of Christmas and the New Year, I rarely find myself in the company of friends nor do I roam the city and the rest of my hometown. Most times, relatives, friends and even neighbors have no idea that I’m back to celebrate the holidays in Ilocos. They would only find out after my mom or siblings post pictures on social media. I’ve always valued this time to just be with family, find comfort in the company of my canine loves (Oreo and Snickers) and completely detach myself from other people and drama. The week long vacation gives me enough time to evaluate what I’ve done over the previous months and what I plan to focus on and achieve for the next year. In the course of my yearly “longest” vacation, I get to recharge and put most if not all in perspective to prepare for the following year.
What I have learned over the years is to just be at peace with myself- Not letting negativity dominate my thinking, never assuming but as much as possible trying to communicate with words, not expecting, practicing my faith, living in the moment, delving beyond the superficial, being patient, not taking things too personally, learning and acceptance of what is true and realistic.
Choosing to be at peace with myself was a sudden realization as a result of an arduous process. It was a state I was mentally and emotionally prepared to be in after years of struggle and uncertainty. Having been in a state of crisis for quite sometime some years ago, this (being at peace with myself) has to be my greatest accomplishment thus far.
I am just thankful to have reached this stage of my life wherein I have set myself free from the past, I don’t have to beat myself up over situations I can’t control, I have learned to accept and understand why things happen the way they do and that I no longer have to pretend I’m okay even if I’m not.
If you are reading my post until this part, know that I am truly happy. What I have now and where I’m in, I’m contented. I don’t aspire for much. Some of you might even say I’m not ambitious enough but I pray that you also find the peace you’re either consciously unconsciously looking for.
I have always known that my life belonged to the world and it still does. Most times, I find myself in the service of other people. The life I live has a more profound meaning whenever I connect with others through volunteer work. As much as it gives me great satisfaction, volunteering has helped me in my spiritual growth and healing. It also reminds me of how wonderfully and magnificently blessed I am; That my skills are not my own but it is meant to be shared to serve others
Shauna, an author at Kelly Brogan MD Page wrote:
“This life is about so much more than simply growing as an individual. It is also about strengthening our connection to humanity and being able to share kindness and hope with others.”
This year, together with five of my mentors, we volunteered in the outreach program organized by Apple Tree Integrated School at San Narciso, Zambales for the benefit of the special needs community of the municipality.
As I am carefully sipping my morning coffee in our space-crunched unit two weeks after I got back from this year’s outreach program organized by Apple Tree Integrated School, a question my grandmother often asked my cousins and I when we were kids every time we go to our favorite fast-food chain crossed my mind.
“Are you happy?”
I wondered if this thought was brought about by the exhaustion from a 12-hour trip from Ilocos to Manila, early call time (2:00am) for the outreach program some of my colleagues and I volunteered for, travelling from Manila to Zambales, a six-hour day of assessments, health education and providing activity/activities that parents and the special needs community of San Narciso, Zambales can implement according to the specific needs of the child who came for ABA consultation, from Zambales to Pampanga for a buffet dinner with the organizers and from Pampanga to Manila.
The question may seem simple enough, but most people would have difficulty discerning whether they are happy or not. For one moment, I was also reluctant to answer my own question. I shook my head as if to dispel this thought. Paused. Inhaled. And eventually entertained it.
“Am I happy?” I ask my self this while I type, my voice barely above a whisper.
I AM HAPPY.
I am happy not because I ticked all the boxes to the “happiness” checklist found online. But I am happy because it is a state of being I chose myself to be in. Consciously knowing the path I want to take, awareness of what my purpose in life is and working in alignment with these makes me truly happy.
My heart is full and it has been for quite some time now.