Missing Class, Watching Movies

I just finished the 25th run of my creativity workshop last night and I woke up late this morning. I didn’t realize how tired I was. Running a workshop like this can get me quite involved with the subject matter including everyone’s issues and blocks and sometimes, I inadvertently let my energy get drained. I have mostly learned the skill of attentive listening without getting “hooked” into the situations my students are in. I don’t really get involved in the sense that their problems become my problems though my own blocks become evident to me as well. My over- riding concern though is to make sure that I have conveyed the tools they will need to help them get unblocked and that I have impressed on them the need to use these regularly until they develop it as a practice. The practice of regularly unblocking their creativity!

Tiredness notwithstanding, I really get a kick running the workshop. The rewards are real. I feel so privileged being instrumental in someone’s “awakening”, so to speak. The “aha” experience is shared again and again both by my students and myself! Every time I run it, I get clarified about my own issues and unblock just a little more. I feel I get as much or maybe even more than I can give.

I have a few weeks rest before my next run this September!

I miss teaching at the Ateneo. I miss preparing for classes, studying concepts to discuss with students in a classroom setting. I miss the student-teacher interactions. Sometimes I feel I could do without checking homework but not really! I miss that too since many times I get a kick when students show brilliance in their papers! Most of all, I miss LEARNING from my students. The saying that goes “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”, can swing both ways!

I am still hoping that despite my APO commitments, I will still be able to do some teaching next sem.

I was able to watch a copy of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 the other night. It was a copy downloaded from the net by a friend. (Michael Moore himself says he does not mind it being downloaded as long as it’s not for commercial purposes. So there!) Please make sure you do not miss this when it hits our theaters by August 5. It is such an eye-opener about George Dubya and the war on Iraq! Ay naku! I can understand now how a docu-film like this can out-gross Star Wars, Rocky and so many other blockbuster films. The reaction in America, if you go by the newspaper and internet accounts is nothing short of phenomenal. People sit around and discuss with strangers, cry and applaud loudly after watching it. And while you’re at it, watch Bowling For Columbine, too. Ganda!!

My daughter, Ala and son, Mio saw the film Imelda last night! They were quite agitated when they got home and were dying to discuss it with me. My daughter’s conclusion–Imelda was so beautiful and captivating and at the same time so crazy! Na-intrigue silang dalawa. They caught the complexity (and the complex) that is Imelda. They could understand the power she had on people and at the same time, the delusional mind that ruled the person.

I will be watching it this week!

Take Two for Travel and Take 25 for Creativity!

Look out pretty momma I’m on the road again.

I’m on the road again!.— from a 70’s song

We are off to Toronto again. We leave this August 3 to do a concert on August 7 at the Ricoh Coliseum Entertainment Center. I checked the venue in the net and it’s a hockey stadium. Considering we were there just 3 months ago, it’s quite an honor and a challenge to be returning so soon.. Danny, Boboy and our management met a while ago to draw up the strategy and songs for this gig. The concert is part of a big Philippine festival with booths and all and we will be doing the music part of it.

And this November to December……….it’s E U R O P E!— Amsterdam, Rome, Milan, Vienna, London, Dubai, with the possibility of Geneva and Zurich in the horizon! It’s been a while since we visited Europe–not since the 80s. Actually, I am also quite excited to go to Dubai again. It’s an Arab country that’s quite liberal, but still exotic. With all the travel we will be doing this year, we can be classified as real OCWs!


Allow me some more shameless promotions!

I am also pleased to announce the 25th Run of TAPPING THE CREATIVE UNIVERSE, a cutting edge creativity workshop that will uncover and unblock the joy and creativity that yearns to express itself in all aspects of life! Through interactive activities and guided exercises, the workshop will not only enable participants to meet and face their blocks but also introduce ways and practices that will help them overcome and remain unblocked for life.

.Various types of people, artists of all kinds, housewives, CEOs, executives, nuns, priests, students, teachers, engineers, etc. who in the past had found themselves in a rut or unable to move forward have taken this course and experienced amazing results.

WHEN: July 19,21,22,23,24,26 (mon, wed, thu, fri, sat, mon)

WHAT TIME: 7 to 9 PM

WHERE: ROCKWELL CLUB, Amorsolo drive, Rockwell MAKATI

FEE: P5,000 for all six sessions inclusive of snacks.

The workshop runs for 6 sessions and only 1 absence is allowed if you wish to get the certificate. Please call 426-5375, 929-0230 for reservations and questions. If you wish for more literature, please write me an email at writingonwater@hotmail.com or call. Ask for Ollie or Louie.

For those you who wrote in the past, I hope to see you there.

A Whole Flock Descending…

Sorry if I am getting carried away. I’ve been gathering these quotations from various sources for around two years now and it’s time to bring them out of the cage. If inspiration, as described in my earlier blog entry is a dove perched on one’s lap, consider this entry as a flock of doves doing V formations in cyberspace! Sit still. Some of them may drop by. Or even gift us with heavenly bird droppings! Ha ha!!

It stands to reason that the further we stray from our true mission in life, the more frustrated we will become, and the more out of sync our energy will be.—Carolyn Myss

I believe in this. As a teacher of creativity, I have observed that people who are doing what they are meant to be doing are happy people and vice-versa. And I feel this evident in my own life as well.

All things are at peace with their own roles in the universe, and they laugh at human beings. The suffering of humans comes from desiring what they do not have and not cherishing what is at hand. —Heart sutra

Happiness is where you are. THIS (whatever or wherever your THIS is) is as good as it gets!!! Wishing to be anywhere else causes all the pain.

Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.

Paul Johannes Tillich

We always like to think that heroes and the like never go through self-doubt and worries. Being human, or of the earth is the very element that makes reaching for the heavens a heroic thing. It’s the yinyang of life.We literally take a leap of faith fear notwithstanding. And each time we do, we create miracles.

Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.

Milton Erickson, M.D.

OK! We all have our sad stories, bad stuff that happened to us and all that. But we are 100% in control about how to feel about it, or at least what to make of it. Joy is up to us!

If you feel I’m fucking with your mind,

then please put on the prophylactic of reason.

–Al Gene the Poet

Ha ha!! OK! Not a deep thought but I thought the metaphor was great! (bird droppings?)

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in dewdrops on the grass, or even in one drop of water.

– Dogen (1200-1253)

This one, I love and hold dear to my heart. Buddha nature exists in every being. Creatures big and small are given the same gift of enlightenment. The truth is, we ARE already enlightened. We just need to wake up to it!.

I end this entry with an unintentionally enlightened remark I heard on TV. “Hoy Gising!!”

3 Doves On My Lap!

Just as some people like to share quotes from the bible, I look at other non-traditional places—religious texts from other sects, or just quotes from non-religious people to share. I’ve been visiting three websites for years now—http://dailyzen.com, http;//deeshan.com, http://interluderetreat.com, and once in a while, I spot some quotes that stay with me for sometime. I suddenly find myself in an aha! situation that is so affirming. It’s like the dove of understanding perched on my lap. And at that moment that they are there, there is clarity, until they fly away! I’d like to share three of them.

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.

Vaclav Havel

I love this! It’s so full of faith that clarity will always dawn upon us no matter how things turn out or how confusing things can be!

Worldly ups and downs

Should be treated

As lightly as clouds

Gathering and breaking up.

– Anon

This is one zen quote that can calm me down. I always think of this when worries about the future begin to overwhelm me, or I find myself in heated political discussion or anything else that can get me hooked! Nothing is permanent or written in stone.

Does one really have to fret

About enlightenment?

No matter what road I travel

I am going home.

Believe that everyone and everything are where they are meant to be. This is a profound realization that has visited me on a few occasions. I find myself putting a stop to my condemning or judging anyone and I drop the use of the words should, must, and have to. I understand that suffering and joy are not strangers to each other but complimentary. Without one, the other is non-existent. Strangely enough, most cultures seem bent on separating one from the other, dropping the pain and seeking only pleasure. Would we know what black was if there was no white?

But what if one feels like putting an end to suffering instead of accepting it? No problem. Trust that whatever your choice, it will still lead to home. Leap of faith? Hmmm…

Blasts From The Past!

One of the good surprises during my last travel was meeting people from the past. It was bound to happen, traveling as extensively as we did . There was Ben Salamat from 12 years ago, our arranger Lorrie Ilustre’s Man Friday who did a lot of favors for us, I notably. He used to register my car, renew my license, etc. on many occasions. It was great to see him in Toronto, settled and doing well, but still looking not a day older and wanting so much to connect with us whom he associated with a past he sorely missed. He even gifted us with t-shirts from my favorite store—Old Navy!

Bill Breitbart was a young Jewish medical student who studied in FEU during the early 70’s with whom I spent many days and night in conversation and in kalokohan! From out of the blue, he walked into our sound check at the Hunter College in NYC upon seeing our poster outside the building. Big hugs, and warm exchanges as he introduced me to his wife Rachel and his son Sam. He prefaced my meeting his wife with the line, “these guys kept me sane throughout my years in Manila”. It was a nice, sentimental touch to our brief NY stay.

There were students of mine at the Ateneo, two of them whom I saw in New York. There were other people whom we see every visit —Filipinos who own stores and restaurants in the US who’ve always supported the APO through the years.

But the biggest, most pleasant surprise was getting a call from a girl I met when I was 23 during my first ever trip out of the country. It was 1975 when Danny, Boboy and I toured the US as front acts with former showbiz biggies Mercy Molina, Eddie Mercado, Elizabeth Ramsey, Toto and Susan Salcedo. It was billed as the Balikbayan Road Show and we toured 57 cities in the US and Canada by land. Becky was a FilAm girl who was with a dance troupe which performed with us in a few places in California.

It was many seasons ago when we were young and carefree and would drive aimlessly for what seemed like hundreds of miles across LA and San Diego, radio blasting while feeling like we were the cool California guys and chicks that was the subject of so much Beach boys music! Or if it wasn’t Beach Boys music, it was the Eagles, or Captain and Tenille, or Boston singing Dance With Me. Them were the days my friend! I was so fascinated with this Pinay who was so “alien” and yet was somewhat familiar. I guess she found my “boy from back home” ways rather appealing too. It was a brief romance, but still sweet to remember even after 29 years had passed

Back to the present.

She called the numbers printed on our promo posters and somehow found me in West Covina! A few days later, we were able to have lunch and catch up with each other’s lives—talking about the people we married, our children, our achievements, showing pictures, and talking about how life has treated us so far. I talked to her about my new apo and Lydia’s bout with cancer. She talked about her husband who for a time was a musician/arranger with Gerry Seinfeld! Needless to say, it was a great lunch and even greater was our appreciating how much the passing of time had eroded little of what we remembered. And marveling also at how easily we could still connect.

A few days later, she gifted me with pictures she had collected from those golden days of youth. If you know the song The Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye by Sergio Mendez, play it in your mind as you look at the pictures below. That was the last song playing on her car stereo in 1975!

Could have been any two college kids at the Ateneo campus, di ba? Dig the hairstyle?

Warning: Youth is fleeting. But gloriously wonderful while it’s there!

Yes! We were at the White House in 1975. It was a friendlier world then!

Meeting old friends is like life showing up with a bouquet of flowers!