Killed By Aswang

Synopsis:

Aswang is a human-eater, half-body character from the Philippine Mythology. In the morning, it looks completely like any human. But in the evening, it’s wings unleashes and goes on to haunt humans only with its upper body. Its lower body is completely hidden away. But again this is a myth. Then, why are there reports that people are being killed by Aswang?

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Note:

Aswang is a character in the Philippine mythology that transforms into a human-eating monster in half-body with wings. 

Ate – is a word used by Filipinos to any woman older than them.

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Cool breeze met my face as soon as I alighted from the tricycle. The sky is in a mix of blue and violet and it is cold- meaning the sun has not risen yet. But the sound of roosters and townspeople outside their houses sweeping means that it is already the beginning of their day.

I guess it’s the start of my research too. I came from the main city, and I have heard reports that there are appearances of an Aswang in this area. I want to find out what I can and write about it for our paper.

I began asking at the first house on my right. Here, houses have no setbacks. They all are wall-to-wall, but they are nice houses. All the houses here have second-floors. Hence, when I asked the lady of the first house about Aswang, women, who were previously sweeping, came into where we were talking. 

“Oh you should not ask here.” one woman said. I heard her voice at the back of my head, so I turned around and faced her. “Why not?” I asked.

“There are no people killed by an Aswang here. It’s always there at the end,” she said while pointing at the end of the street. “When you find a grass clearing on your left, turn right. That is where someone died a few weeks ago.” She continued. I thanked her for her information and went forward to where she pointed.

I sighed in exhaustion. No one in this street seems to want to talk to me about Aswang. They are afraid for their lives. I do not want to be skeptical but isn’t Aswang just a myth? However, I erased the thought in my head. I came here to know about Aswang and not to judge these people. 

I am in my sixth house, and I noticed that it’s the smallest house I have seen from this street. Compared to where I was in the morning, all houses in this street are smaller. They do not have second floors and their houses are not coated with paint. Some are makeshifts from galvanized iron sheets. The house in front of me looks like it’s only one room, and when the door opened, my hunch was right. A circular wooden table is in the center of the house. A few feet at the back lies the sink. Then a little on the right is a door, which I assume is the comfort room.

A woman in her 40s greeted me. Before I can even respond, the woman asked, “Are you here to ask about my son?”

I got ready to disagree when I looked at her completely. Restless eyes, big build, hair tied in a ponytail, and dark crescent shadow under her eyes- this is the woman in the news, the mother of the teenager who died from the Aswang. I knew from the news that she never gave an interview. She never claimed that her son died from Aswang. Her perspective will give light to my skeptical self.

If you want to read the full short story, you can read it for free on Wattpad. My account is clearclaire, I also have other short stories written hehe. It is written in English with a few Filipino words but I made sure to define them from the start.

This idea came right from when I first watched the documentary Aswang, it is generally about War on Drugs in the Philippines. A lot of people are killed and they do not deserve to die regardless if they are innocent or not. Killing people is just inhumane. Also, with the War on Drugs, prisons are more jam-packed than ever. They should have atleast provided people deprived of liberty with decent humane spaces . But they did not.

Also, its interesting how they used Aswang (a character from the Philippine Mythology) as a metaphor for people who are killing civillians. Hence, I decided to write a short story about that.

Learn. Educate yourself. And be with the people.

It is about what you can contribute

In the book, Show Your Work!, author Austin Kleon wrote,

There’s a healthier way of thinking about creativity that the musician Brian Eno refers to as “scenius.” Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals—artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers—who make up an “ecology of talent.” If you look back closely at history, many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas.” Scenius doesn’t take away from the achievements of those great individuals: it just acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds.

What I love about the idea of scenius is that it makes room in the story of creativity for the rest of us: the people who don’t consider ourselves geniuses. Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but about what you have to contribute—the ideas you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start. If we forget about genius and think more about how we can nurture and contribute to a scenius, we can adjust our own expectations and the expectations of the worlds we want to accept us. We can stop asking what others can do for us, and start asking what we can do for others.

I just hoped that I read something like this years ago!! What’s interesting about this scenius is how it changes the focus from “I need to prove something.” to “I need to do something.” and it’s not necessarily about how smart you are, you just need to contribute something and this is something I definitely need in the long run.

There will always be someone more smarter than us more talented than I us, but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is what we can do and it is not correlated to our intelligence. Everyone can do something, can contribute something.

In terms of Philippine History, now I understand why a lot of our National Heroes are in one way or another, related to each other- they may be a distant relative, or a colleague. There was no internet back then, they can only send letters. In those letters, they passed around pieces of information of when is the next uprising against the Spanish colonizers. And of course, they can only send those letters to people that they know. Hence, most people in our history are related to each other, and sometimes-instead of names-they called others like this, “sister of *name*”, “cousin of *name*”, “uncle of *name*”

What can I do about this?

I am in a school publication for this academic year and honestly, there are a lot of others that are better than I am in terms of writing and that’s great. Ultimately, its about what I can contribute. Having that kind of perspective prevents me from comparing or even having insecurities. And once I graduated too, there will be others much more experienced than I am in the profession that I’ll take, but again, it is what I can contribute and I am grateful that it is not something correlated with intelligence.

Slow down

Fred Mitchell: Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.

Last week, classes has started and God, I just adjusted quickly to synchronous learning. I barely remembered how I used to wake up 4 am in the morning to go to class and go home at around 7 pm (for 5 days a week) before pandemic. (How did I even kept up with that for my whole freshman year??)

Now, I am living my best life. I wake up, not being hurried or anything. I spend the day at my own pace. We have classes in less hours now. The lectures do not even pass the 2-hour mark. I have time for my hobbies (and that’s amazing!) Though ofcourse, there are days when the workload is heavier than usual but that’s okay (I mean I’m an architecture student, that is expected).

Though what I did not expect was how I adjusted so quickly. I am so grateful to have time for myself or better yet, I am grateful that I make time to slow down. When I know, I spent so much time on academics, I rest and watch my favorite k-variety shows or read. 

Last week (and for the following weeks), I make ‘slowing down’ my priority. And Rick Ezell best explained it why. In Defining Moments May 5, 2020 issue, he wrote,

Slow down. It has been said, “Don’t just sit there, do something.” Well, often we need to do the opposite: “Don’t just do something, sit there.” Regularly we need to be still. Stop what we are doing long enough to reflect on what is most important right. If we stay busy continuously, we lose sight of the significant in life. The important is tossed on the altar of a busy and hurried life. That sacrifice is much too great and utterly useless.

In those ‘unproductive’ times, that is where I get clarity- that I am more than my academics and productivity. I am a human being with hobbies and a soul. Also, slowing down is where I get energy by asking myself, “Is this important? Is this something I want to do right now?”

Slowing down is where I can breathe. To be human in this world conducive to anxiety and busyness.

Albert Camus, in Notebooks 1951-1959, wrote, “Do not be afraid or spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but ‘steal’ some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.

Rethinking Prisons

Imagine kids going to a school designed like a bunker: drab walls, bare concrete, metal bars everywhere. How can we expect children to learn and enjoy being in school in an environment that isn’t conducive to learning at all? Similarly,how can Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs) rehabilitate and improve their behavior if they live in a hostile environment?

According to the Section 2 of the Revised IRR of RA 10575 aka The Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, “It is the policy of the State to promote the general welfare and safeguard the basic rights of every prisoner incarcerated in our national penitentiary by promoting and ensuring their reformation and social reintegration creating an environment conducive to rehabilitation and compliant with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Treatment of Prisoners (UNSMRTP).”

However, according to the account of Marco Toral, a former inmate and former consultant for the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), the prison he spent in is anything but conducive to rehabilitation. “I find it very frustrating na wala kang ginagawa. Day in and day out, nasa loob ka lang, nakaupo ka lang.” Marco Toral shared his thoughts during the 7 years that he spent inside a prison.

FULL: https://philippines.makesense.org/2020/10/08/rethinking-prisons/?fbclid=IwAR3rPGT8aO7mHZ5J6ilZbrNJUr_8_IrDq52nONtS21tOHO0ghWcSML-ARNw

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My article is published yey! Anyways, I had an idea for this article around July and I started working for this article mid-August and finished it last month. I almost reject this idea because I have no confidence in writing this article at all. (James Clear: Lack of confidence kills more dreams than lack of ability. Talent matters—especially at elite levels—but people talk themselves out of giving their best effort long before talent becomes the limiting factor. You’re capable of more than you know. Don’t be your own bottleneck.) Good thing I did not. I followed my inner soul even if its scary. It feels good to overcome something— to have done something I thought I cannot do.

This speaks so much to my future endeavors and ideas. This year, I followed my gut more and I had never felt more alive and joyful.

Also, I had read about human-centered prisons around April. And I have come to realize that the prisons we have in the Philippines barely even meet the basic human rights of prisoners. As an individual, I wonder how can I help? And this is something that I tried to answer on the article.

Just a reminder that prisons are built not to punish but to rehabilitate people deprive of liberty. How we treat an individual is how we treat all.

Life always works out.

I read a post from wholesome-suggestion on Tumblr:

“Life works out. I cannot stress this enough. It always turns out in your favor even if it doesnt go according to the original plan. You may be utterly confused and lost right now, it may feel like everything is falling apart and there is nothing you can do to salvage any of it. But believe me when I say that this is just a transition period. Things are constantly changing and evolving around you even if you can’t actively see that. Life is changing you to prepare you for what is to come. You are growing and as you grow, you are being built into the person that you are going to be. Because see, life always has this funny way of working out.”

There are a lot of moments this year wherein I felt ‘Ohmygosh. How am I gonna get through this? I can’t see the end!’

But today, here, I am like, “I made it.” Life really did work out. What I thought was impossible to do, I did and I passed by it.

And everyday, I continue to surprise myself. When I looked at the things I need to accomplish for the day, I will be like, “Omy. How am I gonna accomplish this?” But again, I reminded myself to just think about this hour or minute that I am right now and do my best to have some progress. I never know what may happen by the end of the day but what I’m gonna do right now is focus on the now. Somehow, I made it.

Today, I did something I thought was scary. Well, it is. But I’m just so glad that it was now done.

Tomorrow, I’ll be facing another one but that’s for tomorrow to worry about. Right now, I’ve got the present.

Its hard to go by everyday, hence, Neil Gaiman answered, when asked how do we get through these dark times?, “One day at a time. Sometimes a minute at a time.”

Dealing with this current minute I am in makes the whole thing bearable. The only responsibility that I have right now is the present and I’ll do my best to stay on it and live.

Why Would I Think About Failing At Doing Something That I Haven’t Taken Yet?

Michael Jordan said, “Why would I think about missing a shot that I haven’t taken yet?” or in other words (or non-basketball terms), why would I think about failing at doing something that I haven’t taken yet?

I mean why? It might seem obvious that I should not think about that or even spend time ruminating about it but I find myself last night, somehow worrying whether I can do it or not. Here comes Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” If I think I can, I am right. If I think I can’t, I am right too. And this is a psychological fact too.

“For thirt years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life,” wrote psychologist Carol Dweck on her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,

Then if that is so, if I changed my mindset or actually think of myself that I can do all the things I wanted, will I be as great like Picasso or Henry Ford? “No,” Carol Dweck writes, “a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passions, toil, and training.”

And I think that’s amazing. We can be great in our own way and we do not need to be like someone else. It takes the pressure off of trying to be someone or trying to prove something and instead, we focus on how we can live our lives to the fullest.

Psychologist Carol Dweck shares,

Did you know that Darwin and Tolstoy were considered ordinary children? That Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers of all time, was completely uncoordinated and graceless as a child? That the photographer Cindy Sherman, who has been on virtually every list of the most important artists of the twentieth century, failed her first photography course? That Geraldine Page, one of our greatest actresses, was advised to give it up for lack of talent?

You can see how the belief that cherished qualities can be developed creates a passion for learning. Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them?

…the passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

So, going back to the first sentence, why would I think about failing at doing something that I haven’t taken yet? Why would I even waste time thinking about it when I should use the time-that I will use for ruminating- to just do the work?

But what if you think you can but in the end, you still failed? My answer for this is, so? Believing that I can do it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll get through all the impediments in my life with flying colors. Having the belief that I can do it and that I am growing and learning allows me to thrive and keep going through challenges. I will never be perfect and I will never not know everything, hence, I will always fail. But as I fall, I will not fall backward but fall forward. I’ll make sure that I learned something from the experience and continue to do and live life.

And remembering what Nelson Mandela has said, ” I never lose. I either win or learn.”

Michael Jordan has not time to think of whether he’ll miss a shot or not because he knows he’ll learn something at the end. We either win or we learn.

Casual Magic

Mary Oliver:

Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.

Around a week ago, I moved into a new bed and that bed is positioned where you can soak in the first rays of the sun every morning.

I noticed that and since then, I get excited at seeing sunlight every morning. I tried grasping it as if it was something tangible.

Lately I have been thinking why am I taking this granted for years. But then again, I think it means that I am growing. Appreciating the environment I am in right now is a reminder that I am growing.

Even though this may seem mundane, I believe this is a casual magic of my everyday. Casual magic is a term , from the youtuber Unjaded Jade, which means finding magic in the mundane. It can be as simple as cooking meals for your family or cleaning your room after weeks of putting off your tasklist.

Everyday is not your birthday or Christmas. But you can treat it like one. There are research findings that says that when you are younger, you find ‘extraordinary’ things fun (ex. concerts, birthday parties, roadtrips) but as you get older, you started to feel joy out of the ‘ordinary’ things (ex. talking to a friend over the phone). And what bridges the gap through the ages is how you frame your life.

For instance, I may be young but I am not usually into parties or roadtrips (because of financial reasons). However, that doesn’t make me feel sad at all. I believe that they are just not something that I would like to do, hence, what I do is I continue to do things that bring me joy (ex. I read a book, spend time with my family, write a journal, etc).

And framing your life is certainly essential to how your attitude will be.

I got rejected so many times for various job applications this year and yes, I still feel joy in my life regardless and I think its because of how I framed it.

I have no job and it means I have more time to follow my curiosity, learn what I want to learn, and partake in volunteering opportunities. I would neither have learned what I learned nor read the books that I had read if I was accepted to a job during this pandemic.

The whole idea is amor fati, which means loving everything that happens (yes, even the bad ones). Though it could have been different but it’s in the past and I learned from it.

Again, today I saw the first shine of the sun. Everytime I see it, it gives me hope. Today is a new day to live, to see magic in the mundane, to forgive, to love, and to do. This is my casual magic.

What’s yours?

Keep a notebook wherever you go

Aristotle Onassis (according to Britannica, “Greek shipping magnate who developed a fleet of supertankers and freighters larger than the navies of many countries”) suggested:

Always carry a notebook. Write everything down. When you have an idea, write it down. When you meet someone new, write down everything you know about them. That way you will know how much time they are worth. When you hear something interesting, write it down. Writing it down will make you act upon it. If you don’t write it down you will forget it. THAT is a million dollar lesson they don’t teach you in business school!

And this is why I carry a notebook either physical or intangible. If I left my notebook, I make sure I have a gadget with me wherein I can write ideas or things down as I go. It doesn’t really matter if the idea is good or not, I just write it down because I never know when will I need it.

Most of the time, I use Google Keep to write down ideas. And whenever I write something new, I will look back at other things I wrote and hopefully, making sense with them. Sometimes, I feel that some ideas are not yet ready to be “realized”. Hence, I just keep them there. For example, for blog post ideas, I will keep them written and stored, and once I read a lot, I will go back and find that I can write it now.

My another blog: Empathy In Design, was just a simple thought that flashed in my mind. I wrote it then, after a week, I realized that there aren’t websites or blog dedicated solely for human-centered design and I even researched more products/architecture that empathizes with people during that week. Thus, after that, I started making preparations for it and launched it last July.

Leo Wildrich called this the inner-outer technique, in an article posted in the Buffer:

I will do all the research, jot down notes into my word editor and not worry at all about the actual blogpost. That is the first outer task. Then I have a few inner task follow. I will respond to emails, might have a brief chat with the team and do other tasks. Then, towards the end of my day, I get back to the second half of the outer task. I would sit down and then actually write the article, edit pieces and put into publishable form.

The amazing thing that happens is that even I don’t work on the blogpost during my inner tasks, my subconscious brain does. It will do all the work, and then gradually present the solutions to me when I get back to working on it later on.

But, first, how do we get ideas?

So, in my case, I get ideas during a time wherein I let my mind wander and when I let my mind wander, it is when I’m doing something “unproductive” (aka leisure).

Drew Hansen wrote in the Forbes, tips on notetaking ideas:

“2. Write down your thoughts immediately. You think you’ll remember, but you won’t, and you’ll forfeit all the thoughts that flood you after you’ve freed your mind from remembering the initial spark. Don’t judge them at this stage, either. There’s a reason they occurred to you this way.

3. Expound on your thoughts later. Don’t let your flashes of brilliance wither from neglect. Find a quiet time to explore your initial thoughts in more detail.”

Do not reject the idea at first glance just because its new to you. Just write it down. Carry a notebook and just write them all down. After a few days, come back to it and you’ll start seeing connections.

Drew Hansen: “Start small. Write down what you’re thinking and build on it. Follow it wherever it’s supposed to go, and one day your small thought could change the world.”

Make Time To Do Something Unproductive | In other words, take a break from school/work

Neil Gaiman (author of Coraline) advises to anyone who wants to be become a writer to “get bored.

[Ideas] come from day dreaming from drifting, that moment when you’re just sitting there… The trouble with these days is that its really hard to get bored. I have 2.4 million people on Twitter who will entertain me at any moment… it’s really hard to get bored. I’m much better at putting my phone away, going for boring walks, actually trying to find the space to get bored in. That’s what I’ve started saying to people who say ‘I want to be a writer’ I say, ‘great. get bored.’ “

And although Neil Gaiman advises this to anyone who wanted to be a writer, research suggests that doing something unproductive (in other words, taking a break or something “boring”) is important for your physical and mental well-being. When we work more than what we can and we needed, we ended up exhausting ourselves. This is the reason why even though we have worked for long hours or get ahead, we ended up being more stressed even we accomplished a few things.

We try to ‘catch up’ and ‘get ahead’, but that only piles on more stress and less control. The stress of pop-up problems, like an infertility diagnosis, can make you feel like you don’t have time to just play and relax,” wrote Georgia Witkin, Ph.D. in Psychology Today, “when your sense of control goes down, your emergency response system increases your adrenaline, your body’s natural stimulant. Now, you’ll find yourself still having to deal with the stresses and the side effects of adrenaline. Adrenaline, which sometimes manifests as panic attacks, is putting your brain and body on alert so you’ll be ready for the next crisis.”

Also, while your body and brain is on alert for the next crisis, it uses up other hormones like serotonin, which means your using up resources that you needed to be calm and joyful.

On the other hand, she wrote relaxing and playing, “…prevent the high adrenaline output and increase those mood-elevating hormones. Not only is relaxation nice, the clinical benefits are shown to increase overall health!”

At the end of her article, she shared that practicing mindfulness for only 20 minutes each day can improve your day and reduce your stress levels. Breathing exercises are a good way to go!

My own way of relaxing is to listen to music every morning. I play songs that motivate me and dance to it. At the same time, I watch the sun rise from our bedroom window. These moments are the best because as I watch the sun rise and get a feel of it every morning, it reminds me that I’m human- that I’m not in some race of sort, that I can slow down and walk at my own pace, and that I’m not a machine.

Why we need to relax

Jonah Lehrer explains it in his book Imagine: How Creativity Works:

“Why is a relaxed state of mind so important for creative insights? When our minds are at ease— when those alpha waves are rippling through the brain— we’re more likely to direct the spotlight of attention inward, toward that stream of remote associations emanating from the right hemisphere. In contrast, when we are diligently focused, our attention tends to be directed outward, toward the details of the problems we’re trying to solve. While this pattern of attention is necessary when solving problems analytically, it actually prevents us from detecting the connections that lead to insights. “That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers,” Bhattacharya says. “For many people, it’s the most relaxing part of the day.” “

“Relaxing or taking a break makes me feel guilty”

I experienced this many times last year. And since classes has started a few days ago, I’ve seen more and more posts like this one. Our constant working and belief that life is all about hustling made us feel and think that way. It’s the toxic hustle culture that made us believe we should be working all the time, forgoing time for family, friends, and even, me time.

In her book, Do Nothing, journalist and public radio show host Celeste Headlee confessed, “It was the hard-work culture that made me believe I was lazy if I stopped working for even short periods of time.”

Once, she learned that working for long hours doesn’t equal productivity, she started applying it into her life as well as to her employees. “I wrote a handbook for my producers that including the following advice: Don’t work a long day, go home, and turtle on your couch with a frozen dinner. Solid research shows forcing yourself to get out and go to the bar with friends, have dinner, see a movie, meet people and socialize, reduces your stress and makes you more efficient. Have a hobby.” Also, research shows that employees who completely disengage themselves from work during leisure (or non-work hours) live healthier lives emotionally and physically. They are less overwhelmed and they sleep better.

In my case, I start the day slow. Like I mentioned previously, I start my day mostly listening to music and watching the sun rise. It is to remind myself that it’s okay to slow down and I am not late for anything. I am just on time. Second thing I do is I keep a logbook.

Keeping a logbook

A logbook is where I keep everything that I did for the day, which includes making my bed, doing the laundry, what have I wrote about, what articles I read, etc. Every time the sun comes down, I will look at my logbook and I will feel relieved that I have accomplish things for the day and then, I’ll proceed to relaxing (aka total disengagement from org responsibilities and school), I watch my favorite show, write here in my blog, read a novel, etc.

Having an awareness of how you spend your days is helpful in terms of knowing that you are in control of your life and that you do not lack time.

Having no clear understanding of how you spend your time can leave you feeling more overwhelmed than necessary, which can cause you to make decisions that lead to more stress and anxiety, which feeds the sense that you’re pressed for time, and you end up feeling more overwhelmed than necessary.” wrote Celestee Headlee in her book, Do Nothing.

She mentioned about “time perception” which is an understanding of how we spend our time. People who have little time perception spend more time scrolling on social media sites and they feel more overwhelmed. Contrastingly, people with high time perception feel more in control because they have an exact idea of how they spend their time. They knew how much time they spend working, hence, they can make time for family, friends, leisure, and contemplation.

Celestee Headlee noted, “You may believe you can relax if you put in a few more hours and get ahead of your workload, but actually you’re more likely to reduce your stress level by taking a break.

Logbook is extremely helpful when I am relaxing at night because it shows me that I deserve to rest after hustling for hours and I can focus on other matters other than school and orgs. It leaves me feeling accomplished and that I did the best that I can for today.

Stop comparing

Lastly, avoid or stop comparing to how you spend your time to others. Hustling for more than what’s necessary is like a badge to other people which is overall unhealthy. Remember, this is your life and that is their life. The point is not to be as busy as your friends or be more busy, but its saying, “I am living my best life at this moment! I am grateful and I am in control.”

How I spend my time is more or less different from yours and that’s great! All we just need to remember is to be human. Be present. Focus on what you are doing right now instead of worrying about the work that you have to do tomorrow.

Celestee Headlee: Stop trying to prove something to others. Reclaim your time and reclaim your humanity.

Additional reading:
Work Is Play
Do More of What Brings You Joy
Why Do We Need To Play Even As Adults
“You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.”

This Too Shall Pass

In the October 1 issue of Daily Stoic newsletter entitled ‘And This Too Shall Pass’, it reads:

Marcus Aurelius certainly understood this, writing that we must “keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone—those that are now, and those to come.” The events of the world—good and bad, beautiful or tragic or terrifying—flow past us quickly. None of them are stable, each of them disappears with due time into the rush of the water, and is never seen again.

Classes has started and in retrospect of how 7 months had been, I can remember how I my stomach twists every time I publish an article publicly. When an article I wrote for my internship got posted I literally got out of social media because I just can’t take how much pressure I felt. When I joined an artwork contest for the first time, I cried when my artwork got published because I am just so embarrassed to have my artwork posted. An article about rethinking prisons and jails, which I almost did not pursue at all because I’m scared that I may not write it well, but I overcome that.

During the first few weeks of this blog, I used to overthink that what if the time comes that I would not have anything to write anymore? Hence, back then, I only post once per week. Then by June— after weeks of reading books and articles, and watching videos— I had these article ideas that I want to write so I began writing whenever I wanted and just posting it. By July, I launched another blog for design projects that empathizes with people, I used to worry about what if I would not have anything to post on that blog and what if I can’t post on schedule? Three months later, I strictly followed the every other day posting of my design blog. Since classes has started, for this and consequent months, I changed to posting twice a week (every Thursday and Sunday) for my design blog.

Ooooooh. Look at that chessboard.

The “following the strict schedule” mattered to me a lot. I have commitment issues before but I overcame those because of small successes.

In all those times, I worried a lot about not having enough experience or just being not enough at all. But reading this quote from Richmond Walker every day helped me cope up:

Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burden of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives men mad. It is remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.

In those times, I made sure to be present. Whenever I caught myself worrying of the past or the future, I remind myself that I am in the present. I’ll focus on what I can do today. My tomorrow self can worry about tomorrow. I will do the work of today.

Also, Richmond Walker was an alcoholic. Every day must be a struggle for him—battling his addiction and other things he need to worry about—and yet, he constantly do his best to live for today; to be present.

A lot of us struggling but again, remember that this too shall pass. We are here not to worry but to live; to live for today.