The positive life

When it rains, it pours. And a negative attitude at our problems is never helpful. It’s funny because a lot of us (including me) believe that life, in order to be happy, should all be peachy. The reality is, we were never promised a rose garden in our life journey.

Sadly, we let stress dominate our world because we take the negative aura as stress factors. Maureen Killoran points out that

stress is not what happens to us. It’s our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.

It’s like looking at a glass of water as half empty, or half full.

Practicing positive self-talk can serve as a different paradigm in our lives. We don’t need to react to everything that bothers us. And here are five pointers on having a positive mindset.

1. Awareness

Reframing our thoughts is the first step. Listen and be aware of them so that we can understand it better. One doesn’t have to make it complicated.

2. Challenge beliefs

Not all our thoughts are true. Don’t just accept what you think just because your mind wanders off there. Our thoughts don’t define us. We need to challenge ourselves by rising to the occasion of looking for truth and validating it first.

3. Choose your thoughts

By being aware of our negative thoughts we can choose to change our perspective on it and shift to a more positive one.

4. Check the environment

The environment creates a big impact on how we think and feel. For example, the workplace may suck tremendously or the home isn’t a healthy ground for understanding and love. Is your environment bringing you more negative feelings than positive ones?

5. Practice it daily

As the saying goes, when we practice it daily it becomes a habit. And positivity is a habit that is learned. When we repeat positive thoughts, we develop a gentler and kinder way of talking to ourselves more often.

(Adapted and modified from

When every day can be a good day

Being challenged in life is inevitable. But being defeated is optional.

The other night, my mom and I were watching our nightly telenovelas and we jumped into the topic about her being incapacitated. We really never talk much about her deteriorating inability to ambulate. Except that night. She talked about the days when she could walk without difficulty and the sudden deterioration in walking, her feeling useless and being a burden, her self-pity, and my father who had passed away almost 24 years ago. And she shed some tears. And was fighting back mine.

She turns 81 this year. And I can completely understand her situation because of her condition. I could only comfort her and told her a story.

I chanced upon the story of a young boy who had a whole life ahead. At 17, while on a vacation with friends in Portugal, he met an accident. It would change his world. His life, and that of his family & friends, would never be the same again. The terrible accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. His youth and his future had been taken away from him that fateful day.

In spite of his condition, this young man fought his daily battles. He gathered strength from believing in daily miracles. Not in regaining his strength and motor faculties from his disability, but in harnessing whatever faculties he had left from his disability.

Almost a decade later, this former rugby player displays one of the most incredible dispositions in life. In spite of his paraplegia, he now paints with his mouth with a special stylus and easel and engages in public speaking.

In his Tweeter feed on Aug 3, 2015, he says, “we’re all too busy wishing something was different in our lives to realise that most of what we have is good; great actually”.

And as he rebuilt his life, there were trolls who continued to put him down. Until J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to praise this young man’s resilience.

In 2017, he published an inspirational memoir entitled “The Little Big Things” with a foreword from Rowling.

His name is Henry Fraser.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, life will never be fair all the time. It’s how we make out of what we have that matters.

I told my mom that she has all her faculties intact and that her ambulatory challenges should never serve as a hindrance to her. Our stories never end at an age. Her disability is just a setback. Not a death sentence. Even at 80, she should make the best out of everyday because everyday can be a good day.

Everything happens for a reason. That reason causes change. Sometimes it hurts, but in the end, it’s all the best.

And as long as I still can, I will see her through every day as a good day.

Pride and humility

There are people who we associate or work with that need those spotlight moments. Even if they are menial successes or something that’s really part of their job description, they want it noticed as front page headlines, announcing to the world their tasks and accomplishments.

They say that “people who shine from within don’t need the spotlight”. But humility is wanting in many of us nowadays. There will always be someone, somewhere who somehow wants to be a star.

Pride will always want to get in the way because pride will always be concerned on who is right while humility with what is right. There’s a thin line that delineates between being confidence and arrogance. That line is called humility. Remember that confidence smiles while arrogance smirks.

The test of a great person is one’s humility. When one is humble, one has a modest opinion of one’s self importance and a lack of pretention, superiority and arrogance.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta writes about a “humility list”.

– speak as little as possible about yourself

– keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others

– avoid curiosity

– accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded

– accept small irritations with good humor

– do not dwell on the fruits of others

– accept censures even if unmerited

– give in to the will of others

– accept insults and injuries

– do not interfere in the affairs of others

– be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone

And yes, the list isn’t an easy one to follow especially when we need to fight for what is right and what is just. It is not asking us to give up what is fair and correct. It is asking us to be selfless. After all, to forgive takes love. To forget takes humility.

The Sacrifice

The greatest suffering one has to endure is the suffering resulting out of betrayals by those whom we deeply love, care for, and respect. How painful had God felt when he sacrificed his only Son to save humanity from sins.

The short summary of the New Testament reminds us the life of Jesus – healed the sick, showed that miracles do happen, showed us the way, the truth and the light. And we crucified Him, in spite of all He did! What is striking (and not emphasized by the Church), is that Jesus was tried, condemned and put to death out of political reasons. Even in Christ’s time, politics and its accomplices, put Him to death.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta describes sacrifice best.

A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves. Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your weakness.

Sacrifice, after all, is a self-less act. An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

This Lenten post should help remind us of the travails and trials of people. Yes. People matter. Some people are given up as collateral damage for personal or political ambitions. Dignities are trampled upon and values are exchanged for a few pieces of silver. We are reminded centuries later, year in and year out, that His death on the cross should not be one in vain.

Reflect and meditate, were you part of the crowd that chanted “crucify Him”?


There are two ways to face life’s challenges – one way is resolution by meditation, the other is by drowning ourselves in more work. The latter is what most of us consciously, or unconsciously do. I’ve seen people who cover one struggle by creating more struggles or immersing themselves in more work. In the end, we become so engrossed in so much work, that we actually forget the problem.

Some people say that in order to “forget” the problem, burying yourself in a lot of work is a good alternative. While there may be some wisdom in this idea, it’s an escapist’s thought. You see, while burying yourself in work in order to forget may seem a good idea from the get go, it’s like slowly killing yourself. We bury ourselves in a mound of problems as well.

Then there is meditation. Meditation is not for relaxation alone. As a matter of fact, “it’s primary purpose is to develop the capacity to respond skillfully and gracefully to life’s difficulties as well as its joys.”

Buddha was asked, “what have you gained from from meditation”? He replied, “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I have lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age, and death”.

In the humdrum of today’s world, finding peace and tranquility through meditation is a wonderful option we should learn to embrace. And there’s a difference when we pray and when we meditate. Often times my mom would always remind me (when I’m deep in thoughts when I’m faced with problems), to pray. I always tell her that she doesn’t get it – praying is when you talk to God. Meditating is when you listen to God. And there’s the big difference.

We often pray because we need to tell someone something. Talk to someone or some being. And blab away we go. You notice that even during confession it’s a one way street? We pray. For forgiveness. Question is, do we listen to God speak to us?

Like many routines in our daily lives, our way of dealing with problems and issues are through rote roles. We like talking. Not a lot love to listen.

Meditation is settling the mind to listen to what the universe has in store for us. It’s a deliberate effort at mastering calm during the storms of our lives.

Yoda in Star Wars says it succinctly,

Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.

With God on your side, we are all winners.

Strength through vulnerability

I was watching a delayed episode of America’s Got Talent season 12 where the artist Seal was a guest judge. One of the contestants was Kechi Okwuchi, who in 2005 and was 16 years old at that time, was one of two survivors of a plane crash in Nigeria traveling between Abuja and Port Harcourt. The plane crash landed in Port Harcourt, killing 107 passengers and crew. Since then, she had over 100 surgeries to treat her burns and injuries. Ever since that fateful day, music became her daily companion. After her performance, she received a standing ovation from the judges and Seal had said that his daily mantra was “strength through vulnerability”.

I share her story because I believe that we can somehow all relate to this. We are all broken in some form. And the story of Kechi is the story of our weakest moments in our lives. The resilience and strength to fight back in spite of the odds serve as an inspiring story for many of us who have fallen and have difficulty in rising from that fall.

Change and chances are given to us unlimitedly. Saying that we don’t have time to improve our thoughts and our lives is like saying we don’t have time to stop for gas because we’re too busy driving. Eventually the situation will catch up with us.

They say that sometimes we don’t realize our own strength until someone tries to take advantage of our weaknesses. When we are at our lowest points in our lives and you have someone take advantage of that situation, that vulnerability, one cannot help but feel angry or sorry or sad or all of the above.

Brené Brown summarizes what I believe vulnerability is.

Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s our greatest measure of courage.

And forgiveness is part of the process of strengthening ourselves. After all, when one forgives, two souls are set free.

Aging gracefully

There’s a saying that some people mellow with time. Or that as you age, you become wiser beyond your years. Some call it experience. Others call it reconciliation with life.

Growing older should slap us with more sense of responsibility in our lives. These petty dramas must come to a halt. And we need to make sense of learning to grow up instead of being pinned in so much petty squabbles. It’s sad to see some adults still lacking the maturity that comes with age.

David Bowie says it bluntly when he points out that

Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.

Sometimes life isn’t fair. And there are lemons thrown our way. There are situations that make it difficult for some of us to realize that we mature with the damage, not with the years.

Through our life journey, we need to remember that it is important to do your best, place your best foot forward, and try to be an honest person.

As they say,

Change is inevitable. But personal growth is a choice.

We all need to age gracefully. Time, after all, has been our faithful companion.

Better days

We all want to be the best we can be. Always. All days.

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s wings.

It’s a fair reminder that to have better days we need to believe in ourselves.

Because we want to be better versions or have even better days, here’s an adapted version of 7 steps to help us live better!

1. “Future-focused”

When you think about life, remember that no amount of guilt can change the past. No amount of anxiety can change the future. And because each new change provides us the chance to better ourselves, don’t define yourself with who you once were.

2. Set boundaries

We need to set limits not to control others, but to protect yourself. Let’s not create too much unneeded drama in our lives just because we fail to effectively set boundaries.

3. Feel all emotions

Wouldn’t it be great to just remove all those negative feelings in our lives? Yes! Those unwanted emotions. But positive and negative moments serve as lessons in gratitude and pain. So here’s the deal. Allow yourself to work through the difficult times and get to enjoy the good times so we can experience and learn from life.

4. Commit to healthier habits

There are 6 best doctors in the world. And they give free consultations daily, without having to seek appointments.

Sunshine, water, air, rest, exercise and diet.

We tend to abuse our bodies in more ways than one. And yet we spend so much for health care when health isn’t our priority. As we grow older, we need to plan for better days even with our health.

5. Practice gratitude

Learn to replace our rants with expressions of thanks. Not everything is wrong with our lives. And never get stuck in a rut. Have a mindset on positivity. Some things just have to turn out wrong before they become right. Count your crossings as blessings.

6. Cultivate generosity

Yes, the world does not revolve around you. Those who are bitter about what’s happening to them by drowning themselves in self pity lack appreciation of life in its full splendor. Loving others through generous service deepens relationships with others and makes you happier overall.

7. Give yourself grace

This is the part that I love.

We need to stop being so hard on ourselves. The key to experiencing growth and becoming the best version of yourself is to give grace to who you already are and love yourself along the journey.

(Adapted and parts rewritten from Downs, Ups, and Tencups. 7 Steps to a Better You)

Uncertainty and happiness

Vincent Van Gogh said that

I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

I thought of sharing that line with you because it’s a beautiful phrase that reminds us of our daily crosses in life.

I guess growing older has a way of reconciling us with the universe. The young ones don’t get it. Just like when most of us were young, the hurdles of going through pain were bittersweet relations that we hardly understood. Pain changes us as people. Sometimes we think of life being unfair – a job lost, a love failed, financial disasters. Pain will leave once it has finished teaching you.

There is no greater teacher of happiness than pain. Just like pain, happiness is a choice that is made. We need to fight the pains of our lives and having a mindset on positive values and attitude makes or breaks us. Pain cannot break us unless we allow it to.

Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it. Happiness is letting each situation be what it is, instead of what we think it should be…it is what it is…


A little girl was holding two apples. Her mom asked for one. The little girl quickly bit one apple, and then the other. Her mom held back her disappointment. Then the girl handed one to her, saying, “here, this is the sweeter one”.

Often times in our lives we’re quick to draw judgement at people or their actions without fully understanding the circumstances at all.

Sometimes all these harsh and rash judgement isn’t even real. It’s picked up from gossip that are spread by envious detractors and the sad part here is that some people are just too gullible to believe them. In short, we have problems when it comes to giving the other person a chance to prove herself.

Like the child in the story, the mom was quick to judge at the action taken by the child. She forgot that it was a well meaning gesture because the little girl cared.

There are people that circle our lives like vultures waiting for the kill. And these are the dangerous kind of acquaintances we meet. Discerning them and dissociating with them is difficult especially when you rely on rumors from the vultures at bay. Gossip is like listening to the devil whispering in our ears. The story is juicy but the intent is evil. Being judgemental is treating people unfairly.

No one likes feeling judged. We need to back off and let people live because we’re all in our personal journeys – evolving and growing.

Discernment is a gift we need to harness because only through discernment can good come from the wise.