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Friendship is a fluid thing…

Corporate Junkie Friendship

Note: I have been thinking about this topic lately. I had a heart-to-heart talk with my best friend the other day about how friendships evolve over time and how she has become a great influence in my life and how I’d like to mirror her faith and her devotion to her family. Quite surprisingly, the topic of friendship came up again when I had a conversation with a friend who was concerned of how her other friends are falling apart and the way it is tearing her up from the inside.

I used to think that you are measured by the number of friends you have in your social network, your actual circle and so on.  As I grow older, I am  beginning to realize that really, there are very few people who you’d want to emulate and mirror in your life. Time and again, I have asked myself, who are the people I want to be associated with? I am still in the process of figuring that out so don’t count on the answer just yet.

In the meantime, here’s to the wonderful years of friendship, old and new, cheers!

————–

Friendship is a fluid thing…

…and unlike our expectations when we were younger that friendship is set on stone, it really is not.

The friends you have last year may not be the friends you have this year. People come and go and it is nobody’s fault. Sometimes, people grow apart. Sometimes, people grow older much faster than others. No one needs to be blamed.

It’s just the way it is.

I remember five years ago when my life was full of never-ending parties. I loved my friends who loved to party – they were so gregarious, so carefree and I wanted them to be my mirror. Fast forward to today, all I want is to cocoon inside my house, snuggle with my dog and my husband and watch the Back To The Future trilogy.

While I enjoy the occasional binge drinking, I dread the morning-after feeling when bile rises up from your stomach and you are rendered officially useless for the whole weekend. Quite surprisingly, I wouldn’t trade my weekends anymore. They are too sacred.

In the same manner, I would understand if I have friends who wouldn’t want to hang out with me now… I don’t and wouldn’t expect all of my friends to grasp the idea that it feels so sinfully good to stay at home on a Friday night because that may only appeal to me. I wouldn’t expect them to understand how shopping for home accessories and plants has been more enjoyable than buying four-inch high-heeled shoes or expensive makeup. It wouldn’t have made sense to the younger me, either.

But this is the reality of life. We all have the tendency to grow apart. Again, nobody’s fault.

It’s just the way it is.

Friendship is a fluid thing…

…there are friends who stay and there are friends who leave. As we grow older, we realize that we don’t really need a big circle, just a handful of friends who you share the same values with – who sees you inside and out.

We should never force the what-could-have-beens and keep on holding on to the past. As Paulo Coelho said, cycles close and we have to move on. If things do not feel right, let it flow its own course. Only time will tell if and when the ebb of your friendship will flow back together again. Just be glad that at one point in time, you have met wonderful people in a lifetime and who knows, they may just be part of the gang again, one day too soon!

Corporate Junkie Friendship

Let’s be old ladies together.

Book of the Week: Manuscript Found in Accra

Balot’s Stamp: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I have read Accra before (I could not remember when, of course). But since I have a memory of a fish, it was like reading this Coelho novel for the first time (again!).

It’s amazing how Coelho’s novels have become an important part of my life. By the River Piedra helped me during my younger years when I was still finding my way in the crazy world of love and the frustrations that came with it; Veronika Decides To Die accompanied me during my depression; Winner Stands Alone rose with me at the height of my career; The Alchemist once again guided me to my destiny when I decided to leave  my corporate job and eventually found my first love, writing; and now (again), Manuscript when the whole waiting for my pregnancy to happen is becoming a source of great frustration.

Manuscript Found in Accra, like all other Coelho books, is very insightful. I have read in one review that it sounded preachy — well, that was the whole point of the book actually. Because the Captain (Copt) is being asked questions about life and everything in between and he shares his wisdom. When you share your wisdom, it can be taken in two ways: to those who resist, it will sound preachy; to those who are open, it will give you enlightenment. I am part of the latter. Once again, Coelho sheds light to my uneasiness.

One of the strategies that I have in choosing a book is looking for excerpts – if I am drawn to one part of the book, I am more likely to enjoy it. But of course, that does not happen 100% of the time.

Well anyway — here goes the part which I liked (among many others) —

“The traveler continues his journey. He doesn’t complain of boredom now; he complains, rather, that he is tired. But that point he rests, enjoys the landscape, and then carries on.
Instead of spending his whole life destroying the roads he was afraid of following, he begins to love the road he is on.

Religions teach that faith and transformation are the only ways of drawing near to God.

Even if his final destination remains a mystery, even if, at some point, he makes a wrong decision, God sees his courage and sends him the necessary inspiration to put matters right.


What continues to trouble him is not what happens, but a fear that he won’t know how to deal with it. Once he has decided to follow his path and has no alternative, he discovers that he has great willpower and that events bend to his decisions.


“Difficulty” is the name of an ancient tool that was created purely to help us define who we are. Faith shows us that we are never alone. Transformation helps us to love the mystery.


And when everything seems dark, and we feel alone and helpless, we won’t look back, for fear of seeing the changes that have taken place in our soul. We will look ahead. 


We will not fear what happens tomorrow, because yesterday we had someone watching over us. And that same Presence will remain at our side. That Presence will shelter us from suffering. Or It will give us the strength to face it with dignity. We will go farther than we think. We will seek out the place where the morning star is born. And we will be surprised when we get there how much easier it was than we had imagined.”

What do you think, loves? Have you read this book? If yes, how will you rate it? 
 
xx,
Balot

An Unforgettable Encounter with Paulo Coelho

I don’t know how and when my love affair for Paulo Coelho’s writing began. I am sure though that the first book that I read was By The River Piedra and not The Alchemist. And then, I read The Alchemist. And for some reason, I lost the book. And then I read Veronika. And then The Zahir. I haven’t stopped reading (and re-reading) his novels ever since. I lost track of how many Coelho books I lost because I keep on loaning it to someone, promising that it is a good read. Some of them were never returned to me (because of course, it is indeed a good read and they forgot to return it) so I keep on replenishing so I have the complete set! Yes, this is how my love affair for Coelho’s books is.

I don’t know why I love his writing so much. In his videocast, he said that he is an experiential writer. He needs to experience things before he can write. Maybe I could relate to that.

I always believed that my love for writing has sprouted from my love of books. As time passed by, somehow the patterns interchange. There are times that I am inspired to write because I have read something. There are also times that I need to read because I want to write.

Ever since I quit corporate life, I have become more attuned to my creative wind. My writing is very personal, most of the times and I know that a lot of people would stop in the middle of the blog and say, I don’t care. I do not have credibility when it comes to food reviews because I have a black and white palate – it’s either good or not. I can’t do ratings. How do you qualify a 4 out of 5? I have a very unsophisticated taste buds. I would love to have a travel blog but I seldom go out especially with my condition now so…

And so, I realized that I can’t be a better version of someone else. As I said, I relate with Paulo’s writing style: something experiential. Something raw, full of emotions. Something honest and is a journey to self-discovery. My blog can’t be a version of someone else’s. I really didn’t care about statistics or page ranks. Or monetizing this blog. What I write here is just plain old me. What I go through every day. How I have given up corporate for the want of a baby. How I read to pass time. How I share my marketing knowledge to people who are interested at times. Those things that are essentially me. Nothing forced.

Which brings me to this — something that I consider as a defining moment in my life. In my previous post, I was talking about wanting to have some inspiration and stumbling upon Paulo Coelho’s videocasts. And I wrote about it because it mattered to me. I wrote about it because he lifted me from my creative drought like he always does. And I tweeted him saying that he is my hero. Which is really true. (To validate that, you can search Coelho at the Search bar and find that a lot of my posts start with quotes by him).

And then this —

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho re-posted my blog in his Twitter and Facebook pages. That is simply unbelievable (but incredibly amazing, too!)

When your personal hero does this, how would you feel? What would you do? For guys, this is like Michael Jordan answering your tweet. (this could be a lame analogy, but…)

And so I love him even more.

I wanted to capture this moment in my blog because as I mentioned before, I have a really lame memory. Somewhere down the road, when things go rough, I could go back to this day and I know deep in my heart, it would lift me out of a pit.

And of course, this is my takeaway as again quoting Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

My heart is in writing. I wrote ever since I was a kid but there were many times that I put it at the back-burner. And at this point in my life when I have almost nothing, my writing gives me my treasure. They pay me to write for blogs and social media. I was able to have a personal connection with my hero because of it. And while I thought that the only things that could give me happiness were a high-paying job and an uber-successful career – I was wrong! Because nothing beats the gratitude I have for experiencing these things given to me by the Divine at this point in my life.

Cheers,
Balot

Inspiration by Paulo Coelho

“You are useful when you give inspiration to people.”

-Paulo Coelho

I have been struggling with my writing as of late. Some call it writer’s block. Some call it creative drought. Whatever it is, yes, I have it. For several days now.

I browsed some articles to research on how to get rid of this halt. These were the tips I got.

  • Change your environment. (But it’s so dreary outside!)
  • Read a book. (This bed weather is making me sleepy.)
  • Exercise. (Uhmm..)

And then, I stumbled upon this – Part 3 of 4 of Paulo’s podcast on writing.

 

“What is inspiration? Inspiration is breathing. You put what is outside inside of you. And then, you expire. So, inspiration is something that everybody has, not only writers… Everybody has, when you do things with love. It is connected with this energy that we don’t understand. We can explain, explain, explain, but it is connected with the energy of love.  If you enjoy what you are doing, you’re going to be inspired to share it with other people. However, inspiration, you cannot guide inspiration. Inspiration is a boat and you are in this boat, in a sea. So there is this gigantic sea. And your boat is taking you. Inspiration is guiding you. Inspiration is this wind that is guiding you towards your destiny. If you try to guide inspiration, you are lost.” -Paulo Coelho

This is actually the first time that I have played a videocast from Paulo’s blog and my admiration for this man has been cemented in my life more than ever before. I seriously had goosebumps listening to him.

If you are a close friend, you would know that I adore Coelho. I have all his books, I have read and re-read them more than you can ever imagine. I couldn’t pick a favorite Coelho book because I love them all. And yes, one more thing, I trash all my Coelho books. I am really sorry but I do. I only do this to his books. You know what those are?

Yes! Dog-ears! My bad. But what can I do? Too many lines that I love. How can one write so profoundly? Almost every other page? That’s crazy!

I wish that someday my own creative wind will guide me to write something that could give inspiration to other people. In the meantime, please do enjoy listening to my hero as he has inspired me enormously today.

Check out the first installments of Paulo’s videocast on writing below:

Part  I on Writing

Part II on Writing

Part IV on Writing

xx,

Balot

Book Quotes: Aleph by Paulo Coelho

 

Balot Aleph

“I love you,” I tell her. “I love you because all the loves in the world are like different rivers flowing into the same lake, where they meet and are transformed into a single love that becomes rain and blesses the earth.

 
“I love you like a river that creates the right conditions for trees and bushes and flowers to flourish along its banks. I love you like a river that gives water to the thirsty and takes people where they want to go.
 
“I love you like a river that understands that it must learn to flow differently over waterfalls and to rest in the shallows. I love you because we are all born in the same place, at the same source, which keeps us provided with constant supply of water. And so, when we feel weak, all we have to do is wait a little. The spring returns, and the winter snows melt and fill us with new energy.
 
“I love you like a river that begins as a solitary trickle in the mountains and gradually grows and joins other rivers until, after a certain point, it can flow around any obstacle in order to get where it wants.
 
“I receive your love, and I give you mine. Not the love of a man for a woman, not the love of a father for a child, not the love of God for his creatures, but a love with no name and no explanation, like a river that cannot explain why it follows a particular course but simply flows onward. A love that asks for nothing and gives nothing in return; it is simply there.”

 

 

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