blind inspiration

Happiness is blinds.

No typo there, dear spelling/grammar police. You read that one right. Maybe you’d get what I mean if you’re a domestically inept dude (read: lazy guy), and you’ve tried and succeeded at installing blinds on your bedroom windows!

Which I did. Just about 10 minutes ago. Finally, after five years of existing before naked windows – and forever demoting “Must put up blinds” to the bottom of my mental to-do list, I have blinds!

I don’t expect you to understand my joy. It is personal. Aha! Now you’re thinking of me the same way you thought of that guy in front of you in the jeepney, who was staring into space, wearing a silly grin on his face. (Hey, maybe he too just put up mint-green blinds in his room?)

I don’t mind if you think I’m strange. Or if I think you think I’m strange. Right now, all I know is that no horizontal bars of plastic have made me feel this warm and nice inside than my newly installed blindssss… Ahhh…

I was just thinking – if you’ve been putting off something simple or ‘inconsequential’ that’s been nagging at you forever, like organizing your books alphabetically, arranging your payslips chronologically since you started working, putting up your own blog instead of just blog-hopping, or… whatever that thing is, maybe you should just get on with it! And feel the rush of simple, blind happiness! And it is best done at the end of a stressful day when all you want to do is sleep.

But don’t count on eternal happiness. Bliss of this sort goes away as fast as it arrives. I texted a friend to share my blinds bliss. And she replied:

Hapi 4 u too 😉 now u wil just have 2 wori abt dust n stuf lyk det 🙂 so u buy venetian blinds cleaner next.”

Oh. I see.

Mental note: “Must buy venetian blinds cleaner.”

waiting

I was wrapping up half-a-day’s work and trying to remember what ulam I ordered for lunch, while she was winding down at midnight, catching up on Pinoy tunes over at TambayMusic. Thanks to Yahoo! Messenger, the 12-hour time difference didn’t matter. And from half a world away, ‘Polaris’, a good friend from college who now lives in Maryland, managed to stop me in my tracks so I could ponder the powerful truth of waiting on the Lord.

She shared the article, Battling the Unbelief of Impatience by John Piper. Here’s an excerpt:

In God’s Place, at God’s Pace

Impatience is a form of unbelief. It’s what we begin to feel when we start to doubt the wisdom of God’s timing or the goodness of his guidance. It springs up in our hearts when the road to success gets muddy or strewn with boulders or blocked by some fallen tree. The battle with impatience can be a little skirmish over a long wait in a checkout lane. Or it can be a major combat over a handicap or disease or circumstance that knocks out half your dreams.

The opposite of impatience is not a glib, superficial denial of frustration. The opposite of impatience is a deepening, ripening, peaceful willingness either to wait for God where you are in the place of obedience, or to persevere at the pace he allows on the road of obedience—to wait in his place, or to go at his pace.

The Battle Against Unbelief

When the way you planned to run your day, or the way you planned to live your life is cut off or slowed down, the unbelief of impatience tempts you in two directions, depending partly on your personality partly on circumstances:

  1. On the one side, it tempts you to give up, bail out. If there’s going to be frustration and opposition and difficulty, then I’ll just forget it. I won’t keep this job, or take this challenge, rear this child, or stay in this marriage, or live this life. That’s one way the unbelief of impatience tempts you. Give up.
  2. On the other side, impatience tempts you to make rash counter moves against the obstacles in your way. It tempts you to be impetuous or hasty or impulsive or reckless. If you don’t turn your car around and go home, you rush into some ill-advised detour to try to beat the system.

I’ve never thought of impatience as unbelief. But now I am convinced that Piper is right! And I am guilty of it. In my life I have succumbed to both temptations that impatience brings as described by Piper. Sometimes I catch myself thinking and saying that I am waiting on the Lord, and yet my actions belie that claim. The ugly truth is, when God doesn’t seem to pull through for me, I fidget more than I keep still in his presence. I bite my fingernails more than I meditate on his Word. I plan escape routes instead of surrendering to him… anything but wait on the Lord!

Now this begs the question: How does one truly wait on the Lord? I’ll let Piper finish what he started. Read the full article here.

Thanks, Polaris! 🙂

the day the rain came

If you sniffed hard enough in a crowded place today (say, the MRT), chances are good you’d get a whiff of… moth balls! And it shouldn’t be a surprise. The naphthalene scent is from the jackets, sweaters, and other cold-season wear that have been stowed away in closets far too long this year.

After a tortuously overstaying summer, the rainy season has finally arrived. The showers prior to the recent downpour were apparently a result of cloud-seeding, a multi-million rainmaking effort of government to keep hydroelectric power plants functioning. Or so I overheard on the jeepney ride.

It’s interesting that even our seasons this side of the tropics are inflicted with Filipino time—coming belatedly, but not without drama or incident.

__________

I thought I had lost forever the post above, written sometime last week when typhoon Chedeng paid us a visit. One of the housemates was tinkering with the phone line just when I was about to upload. I clicked Publish, and then nada! Then tonight, I saw the post saved as a draft. Thank you, WordPress, for remembering my words 🙂

swamped? read before you drown

I had written the following article, a book review, for Business Mirror‘s “Executive Readings” column. It appeared in the November 10, 2006 issue.

___________________

A quick glance at my computer screen tells me that six items on my To-Do list are inherited from last week. Hand on mouse, my start-of-the-week instinct is to swoosh the cursor onto the To-Do field and key-in six more “urgent” items for the day. But even that won’t make it an exhaustive list. There’s a big white board to my right that details the progress (or non-progress?) of marketing projects, most of them needing to take off in time for the Christmas buying season. So much to do, so little time. Or so I think. The Bangles’ song rings in my ears, It’s just another manic Monday….

Or is it? Will Tuesday—or the countless work days thereafter—be any different? Any better?

Todd Duncan, author of New York Times bestseller Time Traps (Thomas Nelson Publishers), doesn’t think so. Not unless I “fight” to secure the most productive use of my time. Thankfully, I—whom Duncan would classify as a “swamped professional”—am not alone. “Nearly every professional has a challenge with time,” writes Duncan. “It is the most pervasive and repetitive problem I’ve come across in fifteen years of speaking and training, and it doesn’t just go away. To-Do Lists never get done on the day for which they were intended. Post-It Notes lose their stickiness, and the dream of productivity fades into a state of harried and hurried multitasking.”

Touché! So what does Duncan propose to us, swamped professionals, whom surveys reveal are productive only—gasp!—25% of the time despite the longer hours and the generally industrious attitude? Will more overtime hours (and more colored Post-Its) effectively redeem the 75% “wasted time”? The answer, Duncan proffers, does not lie in the oft-praised time management paradigm; instead, the solution begins with task management. “The majority of disorganization is not the result of character flaws, too much work, or too little time,” the author clarifies. ”It is primarily the result of investing time in meaningless tasks.”

Continue reading “swamped? read before you drown”

(just write)

The silence is deafening here.

I have been a negligent blogger of late, I must confess. So sorry to those of you who took time to click this way only to find nothing new.

Not that there’s a dearth of interesting activity in my life these days. Quite the contrary, actually – it’s just that I can’t seem to carve out time to mull over my life’s events in a way that concludes in a written piece. Even my offline journal hasn’t seen a new entry for quite some time. There are tall weeds in my writing garden from my lack of tending.

But surely I cannot be faulted for not trying. Several times I have taken a deep breath and tapped away on the keyboard in hopes of cajoling to life a post that’s meaningful or just even plain understandable. Sure, I could have posted these half-works nonetheless; but I simply couldn’t bear the thought of boring my readers (no matter how few they are) or wasting their precious Internet time.

Now this brings me to a realization: although this blog was birthed several years ago as primarily a venue for self-expression and writerly release, with little thought given to structure, style, or substance, I must admit that I have since become very much aware and self-conscious about being read, much to the detriment of spontaneous, revealing, and raw writing. (That’s a long sentence, but I will resist editing…)

I haven’t decided yet if that is good or bad. Surely, as in most things, there are pros and cons to it. But it is too late in the night to dichotomize when in fact my objective for writing this post was to simply break the dry spell.

And I think I’ve been quite successful.

Is it safe to open my eyes now? Has the monster that is Writer’s Block finally left my room?