I’ve always doubted the goodness of my heart, I’ve always told myself it was never enough and that no matter what I do, it will never be.
I looked for happiness everywhere, from the friends around me, trying out new food, traveling to new places, and even from the faces of the children we served. Yes, it gives me pleasure, but it’s just temporary. When I retreat to my room or when I’m alone, I still feel lonely and empty as if there’s a hole in my heart.
I used to think that being generous of my love, time, and effort to the people I love could make me happy and fill my love tank, that it could somehow complete the missing puzzle I was searching for the whole time, yet no matter what I do, it was never enough. I’d still feel lonely, depressed, and anxious all at the same time. I could not remember how many times I’ve cried at night wondering why I was never enough (THIS IS JUST MY MIND MESSING ME UP!), the pain just numbs me but I continued to wake up every day because I know the children in our communities need me, they are my guide.
2018 and 2019 was a bit cruel to me, NO, I was being cruel to myself; I was always anxious about the future that I never got to enjoy the present, too attached to the pains of the past that I could not move forward and experience to live in the moment.
And then one day, I told myself “STOP HURTING YOURSELF, THIS IS NOT YOU ANYMORE, YOU ARE GOOD”, you need to rest, get away from everyone ( that started my social media detox because I want to escape) and from all the drama and anxieties that social media and real-life has inflicted us. I know I need to do something because I feel that I am making people around me uncomfortable that sometimes I could not control my emotions and my words.
“Recharge, fill your peace tank because you can never give something that you don’t have. ”
My journey to finding this program was just so surreal, that night in July when I finally told myself to WAKE UP SELF, this program was listed first on google when I was looking for answers! This was never a plan, I was not even supposed to be here but the Creator made all the universe aligned to make this happen. Everything was just easy. I started the 42-day SELF DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (https://peacerevolution.net/) from July to September, while we were juggling tasks and organizing events.
And then last December 7 to 21, I spent 15 days in a retreat site in Loie, Thailand together with 40 participants and 20+ staff and volunteers from all over the world (Latin and Central America, Europe, South Africa, Middle East, and Asia) in an unforgettable and life-changing Peace Training any peace advocate could ever want and ask for.
The training helped me to train my mind to be still (cos you know my mind is bouncing all the time) through 50 hours of meditation ( 4 hours a day), unlearn bad habits, and form new mindful habits. It also helped me develop myself by becoming more mindful and becoming present in everything I do even in little things like walking, brushing teeth and eating, etc. The training provided me with the break I needed for the longest time since we had no social media access and contact from anyone outside the retreat.
And the most important thing that I learned is that, I don’t need to go anywhere, be with anyone or try any new adventure to be truly happy, I just need to sit down, close my eyes, look inside of me, and still my mind.
The experience opened a new dimension of myself I never knew existed, it sparked the light in me, that was there already but I just never realized. It made me appreciate myself, and for the first time, I recognize goodness and I felt truly happy (that there were days I couldn’t stop smiling, akalain mo yun, ME SMILING? :D).
I also have reflected on what Sister Fidelis told me 3 years ago, that may be the reason why my parents separated years ago and why I grow up in different homes is because, maybe I don’t need to belong to any family, because the world is my family (no matter the color, race or religion) they are all my family. But I could never see that unless I recognize that I am made of goodness and that we all have a spark of God, and since God is love, we are also made of love.
I would never forget someone told me to conquer the world with my cuteness haha. While I see myself as a monster waiting to spit fire, they saw a cute, smiling, and loving girl who may not talk a lot but makes them feel Sabai with just my smile (WOAAAW, too much bragging of my cuteness haha). I would have never thought I could make them feel that way because, from my perception, I make people uncomfortable and I always frown lol. That’s how I see myself before, but that changed because of the support and encouragement of the people around me to push this ( Ate Honey, Doc, Teacher Chinky, Teacher Tin, Mommy Chol, and everyone!) and the unconditional love of these amazing people who filled me with overflowing love and limitless hugs for the past 14 days.
All the tight hugs and your sweet words gave me the strength to continue, it’s true, from now on I will never think that I am alone because I know that in another corner of the world, someone is meditating with me, someone is searching for inner peace same as me.
To my Teach Peace Build Peace Build Peace Movement Family, Ate Honey and Kuya Doc, thank you for believing in me, my potential to be better and my goodness even during the times when I could not see it, thank you for letting me grow in my phase, thank you for always reminding me that I’m becoming more mindful even if sometimes I would think, “Talaga ba?” Kasi hindi ko nakikita at nararamdanan sa sarili ko. Maraming Salamat ate kasi naniwala ka sa akin, in everything that I do and in every decision that I make, and every step that I take. You are irreplaceable in my life. Like Batman and Robin, we will always be together.
To all our volunteers, peace heroes, thank you so much for your patience and for keeping up with me ( the deadlines, the sungit and all) Sobrang mahal ko kayo! Everything will not be possible if not because of you, I am very grateful that our family is blessed with all of your selfless hearts, thank you so much for letting me grow with you and for you.
To our schools and communities, you are my compass, I’m here because of you. Thank you so much for your sincere and genuine love for our family, let us continue to work together for our children to become resilient and peaceful. Maraming Salamat sa pacensya at wlang hanggang pag.unawa. Mahal na mahal ko kayo!
And to my new family, the Peace Revolution family. Thank you for lighting up my candle once again, thank you for helping me find the missing piece of my puzzle, which is ME all along. Thank you for opening up the new chapter of my life, I will be forever grateful for all the lessons, experiences that each and every one taught me. I will keep all the lessons from the Teaching Monks deep in my heart, and all the love and friendships with the participants and staff as my inspiration in this new journey.
MARAMING SALAMAT. MAHAL NA MAHAL KO KAYO!