Talk Shows on Mute



Week 48 encroaches as of this writing.

“Natutulog ka pa ba?”, I remember my grad school classmate asking me. He was perplexed with all the bustle my life seems to have had lately. Perhaps this was borne out of scenes with me being shipped off to different places for work, still being enrolled in school this semester, and still carving out time for yoga practice – these on top of making sure to be a good daughter, sibling, tita and friend in the best capacity I know how.

Needless to say the past few months has been an emotional, physical and mental roller coaster ride. Also, it goes without saying that I am immensely grateful for all the peaks and troughs that life has brought. It comes with the territory though, that being susceptible to the surrounding noise of the bustle is highly likely.

Tonight, my boss shared this article to the team. It’s the perfect encapsulation of well-guided YOLO-ing, in my opinion. The article brushes on big dreams, taking big steps, letting go, and the like. This is some good stuff to absorb in a time where one is in a thoroughfare of gunning to change the world as well as gradually accepting that one cannot be all things to all people.

Speaking of letting go, I was in the process of cleaning out data from my old phone, so I can give the gadget to my brother. There was so much information stored there, but I realized, I wasn’t able to read up on all the e-books I loaded, play all the games I downloaded, interact with all the folks on my contact list, or learn all the modules in my language app. The list goes on. This then got me thinking (and feeling) that as much as we all want to be superheroes, learn and do so many awesome things and change the world (and I do believe we can), the virtue of focus is fundamentally important to translate these big dreams into doable steps. It is okay to let go of noise to make space and bring in focus.

Each person, or super-person, has always had a niche that he/she zoned in on – Iron Man focused on optimizing his geeky mechanical inventions, Spider Man on his hopping and webbing and such, Flash Man on being fast – all for the goal of being the most effective conduit in making the world better. A lot of (non-fictional) people I consider successful always focused on something, more than intending to address the full spectrum of an identified gap. Yes, focus.

And so with fostering focus comes shutting out the noise.

“You’re so much more endearing with the sound turned off”, so goes a lyric from Talk Shows on Mute, a song from my favorite band, Incubus. This may very well be my soundtrack of the moment as I attempt to follow through on achieving these big and bold dreams. To hone focus comes with shutting out the noise, and being attuned to consciously simplifying life.

With simplifying life comes the appreciation of the virtue of silence. A good friend shared this article recently written by one of my favorite profs. This quote stuck to me:

Unfortunately, today’s obsession with speed tends to compromise the virtue of silence.

In this post-modern, information age, there are so many ideas and concepts that can easily bombard us and sway us. I’ve been subject to this noise on many occasions, But over time, I’ve come to realize that listening to the self can be powerful – that it has a voice and that it has something significant to say.

Two weeks ago, the team had a strategy planning session. There was an activity where each person in the team was tasked to map out her/his 20-year life plan and share that to the entire group. It proved to be an enlightening and frightening encounter for me. I always knew at the back of my head that I had big dreams, but putting it on paper, more so announcing it to others, makes me feel more accountable to those dreams. After that exercise, I shared to my good colleague and friend that I actually felt scared, considering the what-ifs of life in the course of gunning for those goals. He then shared, “If your dreams aren’t scary, are they even worth pursuing?”

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”, so goes another reminder springing up on my news feed. And so, in the course of contemplating on dreams to change the world with its weight on one’s shoulders, perhaps much of it has to do with honing focus, respecting the process of change, and learning to be comfortable in the struggle upward.

And perhaps part of that journey means to be tolerant of failure. Perhaps in the pursuit of excellence comes the recognition that the world does not need our perfection, but rather our compassion, our courage to fail forward. However, excellence bundled with compassion does not necessarily entail having to be consistently gentle. Compassion devoid of strength, passion and rigor may very well lead to what is called, “Idiot compassion” (another term I learned, thanks to my news feed). It is in the course of mixing in these ingredients that one does indeed achieve: COMmitment + PASSION= compassion. This all begins with zoning in on the self.

So, for the snippets that remind me and you to zone in and introspect, to listen to ourselves, to focus, to dream, to achieve and achieve with excellence, commitment and passion, much gratefulness!

Cheers to the seven billion unique paths to bliss and awesomeness!



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