“It is your Rose.” the fox says.

In the Little Prince, “But it is not any common rose,” the fox says. “It is your Rose.”

I love to think that the “rose” is a metaphor for the things we love and we create. To me, my journals are where I keep my history and the history of the environment around me. But to others, it may just be any notebook out there,

This just to show how each of us is vastly different from each other. We cannot shame people for liking something we do not like and vice versa. Let people enjoy things.

In the Little Prince, the Little Prince asked the fox if they can play but the fox replied that he is not tamed. Then, the Little Prince asked what is tamed. The fox answered that it means to build a relationship or to need each other.

To the Little Prince, the fox is just like the 100,000 other foxes out there. To the fox, the Little Prince is just like the 100,000 other boys out there. But if they choose to build a relationship or to “need” each other, they become unique in each other’s worlds. Both the Little Prince and the Fox became each other friends. And their journey would never be the same.

To you, I may just be like any other person out there. To me, you may just be like any other person out there too. But then, I decided to write this and you chose to read this. What I create is now on your mind and will become a part of your journey. Everything that will happen from now on is affected and influenced by our actions and nothing will ever be the same again.

Empowering the Invisibles

I’m currently binge-watching episodes of Workman. It is a Korean variety show that features Jang Sung Kyu, a former Korean announcer, working as a part-timer. Jobs differ in every episode. What I love about this variety show is that it focuses on empowering blue-collar jobs.

The episodes do not feature a sob story of how we should pity blue-collar workers because they get all dirty on their jobs (and yet are still earning less) but rather because of Jang Sung Kyu’s entertaining commentaries, every episode ends in a way that instead of pitying them and belittling their job, we will start to regard these jobs and workers as highly important to the society.

In this episode (check it out people, it has ENG subs available), Jang Sung Kyu and guest Lee Sang Yeob worked for a day at a wastewater treatment facility. They do have with them a worker from the facility, guiding and explaining to them their responsibilities along the way. Jang Sung Kyu interviewed the worker from the facility of what he feels about his job and by the look of his face, he feels happy and satisfied. He replied that millions of people living and working in Seoul are drinking the water that he helped clean and you can see how proud he is that his actions are part of something larger- keeping people alive and healthy. And this is why perspective matters.

In 1962, US President John F. Kennedy visited NASA and saw a janitor. He introduced himself to the janitor and asked what he does. The janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!

I think, sometimes, we are dissatisfied with our jobs because we sometimes only see our jobs on the surface instead of the depth of it like how it affects the larger whole. And this mindset can largely affect our performance when it comes to doing our jobs. What we think is what we become.

Spontaneity

Some jobs featured on Workman are blue-collar jobs at risk of being replaced by robots. But there are certain things that only humans can do.

In this episode, Jang Sung Kyu and guest Jay Park worked for a day at a tent bar. In the Philippines, a tent bar is similar to a carinderia. Throughout their jobs, Jang Sung Kyu took turns to talk with customers and playing games with them. He asked two customers (who he found out that are musicians by talking with them) to perform a song for them. What happened was heart-warming: an impromptu busking session. These are something initiated and done by humans- spontaneous moments that make us feel alive.

[P.S. The Workman variety show relies heavily on spontaneous moments such as this. Unlike most variety shows in Korea that are scripted, the Workman cannot control the customers that will buy so, Jang Sung Kyu, the commentator, is amazing for taking in things quickly and creating worthy scenes to watch.]

The Popular Comic re: jobs

2 types of parenting : wholesomememes

I know a lot of people (ahem relatives) who have a similar mindset like the blue woman in the comic- measuring success in terms of material wealth or job position or educational attainment.

What the Workman shows in their episodes is that every single job is important regardless of the pay and blue-collar jobs should be respected at the same level as CEOs are. These workers are what is mostly called the Invisibles, we mostly do not see them but when they made a mistake then we will know how important they are.

If suddenly a janitor slacks off in cleaning the streets, anyone passing by would be pissed out seeing all the trash and this would negatively affect their mood for the whole day. If a janitor does his job well, then the other workers of the organization can worry about various things and a messy room will not add to the list of their worries, and this will help them to think more clearly and work efficiently. If they do their job well, then a janitor would not worry about the company going bankrupt and looking for a new job.

At the end of the day, what matters is what you perceive as your job’s purpose.

For the people producing Workman, I think it’s bringing people bite-sized entertainment while empowering and humanizing the Invisibles.

Highlights From Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits is a book written by James Clear and here are some of the lines I highlighted while reading the book:

  • “Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior. Despite our unique personalities, certain behaviors tend to arise again and again under certain environmental conditions. In church, people tend to talk in whispers. On a dark street, people act wary and guarded. In this way, the most common form of change is not internal, but external: we are changed by the world around us.” – James Clear

In designing, designers can influence people to act in a certain way using visual cues. They design a space not only considering the technical specifications but also how should they want people to act in the space.

An interior designer and a professor from SoFA Design Institute shared to us how her client had asked her to not place a dining table in their house because it is always left unused. According to her client, her kids eat separately in their rooms, hence she though it would be useless to have one. Through the story, our professor remind us how important designing can be. As designers, they can design the spaces inside the house in such a way that families will spend more time in the living room and dining room so they could eat and bond together.

Another example of redesigning an environment to shape human behavior is the Alley Oop of HCMA Architecture + Design. By adding bright colors, basketball hoops, and lights, the dark alley transformed to a public space. Observations showed that after revamping the alley, more women spent time and passed by the alley- this means that alley felt safer than before when it was all dark and gloomy. Also, college and high school students frequently use the space for their physical activities.

  • 1% Better Every Day

Reading one page a day.

5 minutes of exercise every day.

Writing a paragraph every day.

All of these when done for 365 days are a big thing. Most of the time, big goals intimidate us, but when we take it day by day, we can achieve it.

A novel might seem a lot of work and may take even for years. But when you write a page per day, by the end of the year, you will have 365 pages!

  • One small step per day. Every day.

“The secret to getting results that last is to never stop making improvements. It’s remarkable what you can build if you just don’t stop. It’s remarkable the business you can build if you don’t stop working. It’s remarkable the body you can build if you don’t stop training. It’s remarkable the knowledge you can build if you don’t stop learning. It’s remarkable the fortune you can build if you don’t stop saving. Its remarkable the friendships you can build if you don’t stop caring. Small habits don’t add up. They compound. That’s the power of atomic habits. Tiny changes. Remarkable results.” – James Clear

Why journaling?

Here is what songwriter Nick Cave wrote about journaling:

“…you asked what you could do, how to behave. Please, take care of yourself. Seek out beautiful things, inspirations, connections and validating friends. Perhaps you could keep a journal and write stuff down. The written word can put to rest many imagined demons. Identify things that concern you in the world and make incremental efforts to remedy them. At all costs, try to cultivate a sense of humour. See things through that courageous heart of yours. Be merciful to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be kind.”

I will be writing an article as part of my internship and ever since I was given the task, I can feel myself panicking on the inside. Then, I decided to write bits of paragraphs that I wish to put on the article.

Then as if the Holy Spirit went through me- washing away all my anxiousness and fears, my mood significantly improved.

I think, the fact that,  I have made progress with my article and I let out the words that my brain is carrying made me feel better. I free up the things that are bugging my mind for days. Knowing that I have started on my article and when I get back to working on it again, a blank white page would not be anxious.

So.. I wrote why journalling is a great activity based on my experience, but every experience differ.

I practice journalling for over four years and I don’t know, it’s just this year that I started to feel the good things about doing journaling. I don’t know if it’s because I’m more self-aware or because I’m reaping the gains of repetitive journalling I’ve done for the past years. Either way, journaling is a wonderful activity.

Also, try looking up ‘art journal’ or just simply ‘journal’ on Tumblr and you’ll get to a world of human creations. It is amazing what humans could do with only a pen, notebook, and coloring materials.

Do it. Right now.

Writing this as a way of saying it to myself as well.

Do it. Right now.

The grim reaper might come for you in the next minute and you will not have the chance to do anything again.

Death may come to you anytime and the thought of it makes the fear of failure blue. Leaving only what is truly important.

Go. Do it.

Doesn’t matter if it would take a year to get it done. Time will pass either you chose to do it or not. If you start today, you’ll only have 364 days left. 1% progress every day.

Do it. Right now.

Look at the colors, look at the things around you and be amazed that every single thing in your room right now is made by a human, like us, who has fears and uncertainties as well.

Do it. Right now.

Motivation is overrated. Just do it. No one says on their deathbed, “I wish I have spent more time scrolling on Facebook.”

Go. Do it.

Because it brings you joy. It doesn’t matter whether you think you are good enough or not because everything that you do had and will shape you in the present moment. You’ll grow after doing something and you will never be the same again.

Go. Do it.

I’m rooting for you.

Let The World Decide

For the past few days, I am reading James Clear‘s articles written years ago. And this is one of the best things I had read:

So what do I do when I feel like giving up? I show up.
Do I show up at my best? I doubt it. But my job is to judge how good or how bad I am.
My job is to do the work and let the world decide.

Our job as creators isn’t to judge our work but to create. We frequently underestimate our skills and so, often, we think that our works are mediocre. James Clear wrote another article related to this— it is about Martha Graham’s advice to de Mille.

Martha Graham says, “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

In short, each one of us is different and it is no use to compare ourselves to others because we, each, have our own stories to tell that we translate to our work.

Jay Fai, in Street Food Asia, cooked for decades before she was given international recognition. “I want it to be the best, not because I’m just a street cook, I’m a chef,” she says.

Jay Fai knows that her job is to cook great food and she does it every single day. At the same time, Jay Fai is fully aware that she cooks good food, not because she had earned a nationwide as well as an international recognition or because people come back for more, but because Jay Fai knows that she cooks every single food in the best way possible. “I am meticulous about every dish I serve. Everything must be flawless.”

Austin Kleon wrote,

Bill Cunningham in Bill Cunningham New York, who gets up every day, gets on his bike and takes pictures. Joan Rivers in Piece Of Work, who, right up until her death, was playing gig after gig. And Jiro, from Jiro Dreams of Sushi, who gets up everyday and makes the sushi.”

Bill Cunningham, Joan Rivers, Jiro, and Jay Fai, regardless of what other people think of their outputs, do their job every day. I think this is the kind of attitude that I want to adapt— get up every day, show up, and do my job.

Public opinion is within the ‘you cannot control’ area.

Do your job and let the world decide for themselves.

How I Was Raised

A twitter thread made me look back on my childhood as well as about how my parents raised me.

Here is the entire thread:

Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego
Screenshot from Junize San Diego

Before anything else, I would like to share mine as well. No, I don’t have a kid. I’m barely an adult. Growing up, I had poor mental health that I tried to mask in public through reading. Whenever my classmates see me, I am either reading or answering an assignment. Also, I did not grow up with the capacity to explain what I am feeling, hence, whenever I am sharing my problems with my friends, I never felt ‘good’. After all, I had yet to learn how to verbally express what I am feeling: It isn’t until 12th grade that my current social circle called me out because I never say anything to them. I never share anything personal. I had been with people who cannot understand me. My mom even frequently says to me that she does not understand me. So, I had this belief that no one will even understand anyway.

Going further back into my life, I cry a lot. My parents raised me to not talk back to them even if I’m just merely explaining my side. I learned to keep everything inside and every night, I let it out. In retrospect, I realized how far I’ve come in terms of my mental health.

Disclaimer: This post isn’t to spread hate on my parents or even hate on your parents (if you had the same experience) But my goal is to share how my parents raised me and how it influenced me.

I had seen, heard, and read similar situations from my peers and people in social media; how their parents treat them negatively affected their mental health as they grew as an adult. My generation is almost entering the ‘marrying age’ and I had read dozens of essays from my generation that they refuse to marry during their mid-20s because they want to focus on being ready physically, financially, and, especially, mentally. They had suffered verbal abuses (i.e gaslighting) from their parents and relatives and most had experienced how painful broken families are. Thus, they vowed to improve their mental health first, so that their future kids will not suffer the way they had been.

Growth

I wrote a few paragraphs back that ‘In retrospect, I realized how far I’ve come in terms of my mental health.’ and this is mostly because of a community group that I am part of. We would meet one every week and we will play board games, share stories as well as listening to others’ stories, watch movies together, and even explore places.

I became more empathetic through the listening part and my mental health became better because of the feeling that ‘I had found my tribe’ — meaning people who understand and accept you.

In Japan, research has shown that the reason Okinawans live longer than the rest of the world is because of Moai. Moai is a social support group or what you can call community in English but deeper in Japanese.

The feeling of having people who will support you whether you win or lose in life is one of the reasons why Okinawans live longer.

To you

If you are currently or had suffered verbal or even physical abuse from family members or friends know that it is not your fault that you have poor mental health now. You cannot control how other people will treat you, you can only control yours. I understand that you may feel overwhelmed at times or may think that will this cycle of crying every day ever end? It will. No one deserves to be treated that way. Keep fighting. Keep going.

What we learn from our experiences today ensures that there will be a better future for us and future generations.

Takeaways from Philippine History Through the Lens of Local Church Architecture

Last August 14, Grupo Kalinangan held another talk under the Pamana Talks series entitled Philippine History Through the Lens of Local Church Architecture. Ar. Roy John de Guzman enlightens the audience about how Philippine churches have evolved, why our churches designed in that way, and certain misconceptions.

  • The word ‘simbahan’ (church, in English) came from the early Filipinos.

According to Padre Francisco de San Antonio, OFM, early Filipinos do no have built religious spaces for their rituals, instead, together with the community, they meet up in private places to worship and called it ‘simbahan’.

When the Spaniards came, the word ‘Iglesia/Yglesia’ became the term for the church. However, until now, we, Filipinos use ‘simbahan’, in general, to call our churches. I think it is impressive how the word ‘simbahan’ had survived throughout the years of colonization.

  • We used eggs to build our churches.

Not until the Spaniards came did we had built spaces to worship. Since cement or other binding agents used by the West are expensive, Spanish friars opted to use eggs (which are widely available through the country) as a binding agent to build churches.

  • Most Philippine churches have eclectic styles.

Ar. Roy John de Guzman mentioned that Philippine churches have “unrelated and eclectic styles”. There are churches in baroque style but had Chinese elements. On the other hand, some churches have rococo elements but overall, the church is not designed in rococo style.

Fun fact: Some of our churches have Chinese elements (like the Chinese Fu Dogs in San Agustin Church) because back then, unlike Filipinos who have great agricultural-related skills, only the Chinese population in the country knows how to carve and so the Spaniards gave them the job,

  • Filipinos, in general, are more historically-conscious than ever.

Ar. Roy John de Guzman mentioned that when we started restoring old historical buildings (I think during the early 2000s-2010s), the decisions about heritage preservation or restorations are usually decided only by higher officials. But now, we are more historically-conscious than ever, there are active groups related to heritage preservation and restoration that creates discussions related to buildings that are inaccurately restored and saving historical buildings from modernization. The people are now proactively taking part in instilling the Filipino identity in our buildings today and making sure that buildings that are part of Philippine history will reach future generations.

Watch the whole talk here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=1471752013023576

How The Master Artist Taught Us On How to Focus Only On What We Control

The Master Artist is a story about Monsieur Signy l’ Abbaye and Guiliano Bartoli. After decades of working for the guild, in 1392, Monsieur Signy l’ Abbaye decided to retire. Guiliano Bartoli, an Italian patron, asked the Monsieur to paint a portrait of him on a 20ft wall. Monsieur did not want to but Guiliano insisted that he will pay him big money. Monsieur agreed, not for the money, instead, he wants to paint in any style that he wanted.

Working for the Guild for decades only painting in Byzantine or Proto-Renaissance styles, the Monsieur wanted to paint in a style that he wanted. Guiliano agreed. After a few months, the Monsieur had finally finished painting a portrait of the rich Italian patron of what looks like a cubism style of portrait.

When Guiliano saw the portrait, he was disappointed by how it looks, whereas, Monsieur’s reaction is the opposite. The Monsieur has never been more proud of what he had painted that even though, Guiliano did not like it. No one can even change his mind that it was his greatest masterpiece. 500 years later, Pablo Picasso became famous and loved by the world for cubist art.

James Clear wrote,

If what you write on your paper doesn’t meet someone else’s expectations … it is no concern of yours. The way someone else perceives what you do is a result of their own experiences (which you can’t control), their own tastes and preferences (which you can’t predict), and their own expectations (which you don’t set). If your choices don’t match their expectations that is their concern, not yours.

The point isn’t to be loved by the public or only do something that society tells us to do. But our job is to do our work because that is one of the only areas that we can control. We can only control how we act, what we say, and sometimes, how we feel. hence that is what we should focus on.

Learning for learning

Just these days, I have been constraining myself to not do things that are entirely unrelated to what I’ll be doing in the future but I realized that I’ve been also constraining myself to who I need to be and only thinking about what I think I will be doing in the future. No one knows what will happen in the future, hence there is no perfect idea of what I should do right now to get me to where I need to be. So in every day, it’s more of doing what you think is right and doing what you love and not thinking whether what I’m doing now will lead me to a higher-paying job later or not.

And this is where hobbies come in, hobbies are something that you do just because it makes you happy. Most of the time hobbies start with a curious question in the form of “How do you do this?” or “How do I use it?”

Writing is one of my many hobbies. I get a lot of questions from my family asking whether I make money from it and whenever I said, “No,” they would then have a follow-up question, “Why?”

The question “Why?” not in a sense of genuinely asking why do I not make a profit from it but “Why am I pouring so much effort on doing something that will not give me material wealth?”

My answer for that is best written and explained by Austin Kleon:

“The lives of great thinkers teach us that learning is the verb of life. The trick to lifelong learning is to exercise your curiosity as much as you can and to let it guide you where it wants to go. To pay attention to what you pay attention to. To not worry so much about where things are going to lead. To learn for learning’s sake, not because it’s going to get you something, necessarily, but because you have faith that the things that interest you will help you become who you need to be.

Your interest and your desire and your instincts are your compasses. They show you the way.

It’s a hard thing to internalize, but once you do, it’s one of the most powerful things. It sets you free.”

 Reading was my first hobby and somewhere along the road, I picked up writing. Those two were my hobbies for years and had greatly influenced who I am now. Remembering how my hobbies have influenced me about how I treat other people, how I think, and how I do, I go back and ask myself, “Why should I be only doing things related to professional growth?” because who I am now is mostly a result of just continuously pursuing my hobbies.

I’ve written about people who had great contributions in their chose fields as a result of their hobbies. (Read: https://clairesessays.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/you-cannot-be-really-first-rate-at-your-work-if-your-work-is-all-you-are/Most of the people I wrote about have hobbies that are unrelated to their professional career but along their lives, they had applied things that they learned from their hobbies to their jobs.

Lately, I have learned how to use a few Adobe applications just because I want to. Well, I accidentally tapped the free trial button. So, instead of wasting it, I looked for learning resources. So far, I’m glad that the accident happened because I’m enjoying learning design software.

I hope that whatever you are doing now is something that you love doing. Learn and let it guide you in your journey. Rather than expecting (controlling and predicting) what will happen in the future, let’s anticipate what the future holds, on where our actions today, of doing what we love, will take us.