HUMMING IN MY UNIVERSE By Jim Paredes (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 15, 2015 – 12:00am
A nephew of mine in his early 30s did the math and figured out that at the present rate of annual tuition fee increases, he would end up paying P4 million to get his kids schooled and graduated from college at the Ateneo.
People worry constantly about the affordability of life these days. Looking at the prices of cars, homes, goods and services today — and especially when you project how much these costs will increase in the next 20 years — you understand why.
I was the same when I got out of college. I felt poor and was barely making it. My salary at work was so small and the monthly rentals, amortizations, gasoline and food prices where quite high. I could not imagine a future where I could earn enough to feed my family and send the kids to school.
At that time, I envisioned (only half-seriously) living in some sort of commune with friends where we could share resources In order to live half-decently.
That was many years ago.
Somehow, despite my fears, I was able to rise above my economic situation within a few years and live comfortably for the most of my adult life.
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Why the calculations driving my economic forecast of my future turned out to be so wrong can be explained by a creative mantra that says: “One never creates alone.” Allow me to elaborate.
I believe that for everything we strive for, there is some kind of help that comes along. Life is in a state of constant flux. There are many forces at play in the universe that can completely change the way the cards are dealt at any time.
I believe that the universe helps us attain our dreams and wishes. The Chinese have an interesting phrase that goes, “Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.” In his book The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho posits: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
When I dream of something and rely purely on my own limited resources, it often doesn’t seem like it can happen. But when I ask the universe for help, synchronicity — or serendipity, as we called it in the ‘70s — plays its part and the world rearranges itself. I discover new doors that suddenly open me up to new possibilities. People and opportunities suddenly present themselves and point me in the right direction that will make things happen.
This has become an article of faith for me as a creative person. I know that we were made to be creative — not to be frustrated, but to be productive. And for that to happen, we must believe that we live in a world of abundance instead of want.
When my father died, my mother did not have enough resources to continue sending us to the schools we were attending. Yet each one of her children finished college. That’s because every Catholic school in the country opened its doors and offered scholarships to each one of us. We did not ask for it. But my father was one of the founders of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) and the opportunity opened for us after his death. It was the member schools’ way of thanking him. Left to her own resources, my mother would not have been able to afford it, but the universe made things possible.
I ask myself at times if all this is a question of luck. Perhaps that is an element, but I believe that those who pay attention and are bold enough to follow the leads that present themselves catch on; and they successfully pursue their dreams.
I have learned never to write any person off as a failure. That’s because I believe that every person has a chance to lift himself up to a level that is better than his present condition, if he so wishes. I also believe that the power to dream, create and be passionate about things is like a muscle that, when used often, becomes more and more powerful. Success begets success. Happiness begets happiness. Positivity begets positivity.
The point is to work hard for what you want to achieve and be open to the forces around you that actually co-create your future.
Try practicing this in your own life. Look around. Dreams, invocations, incantations are actually prayers addressed to powerful forces. You will discover soon enough that you never are alone in your pursuit of passions and dreams.
Let me give an example. I had a friend who wished to go abroad to study. The moment she decided on this, she discovered how easy it was to get the tangible information that she needed to make it happen. For one, there was the Internet. She felt the info had always been there, as though just waiting for her to discover it. Then the universe suddenly started throwing some synchronicity her way like it was encouraging her to go on. From out of the blue, she met new friends who had graduated from there. She discovered she could apply for a scholarship. By chance, there was a seasonal discount on plane tickets at the time she needed to leave, and she found out that an old classmate lived near the area where she wanted to study. Things just began to fall into place.
Left to our own resources, our vision becomes small, limited, even miserly. But when we invite the universe to come in, all of a sudden, we may find that we have an almost unlimited bank account.