As I Slowly Build

 The pace of how the world works gets faster and faster by the minute. Just last Friday, Ed Sheeran dropped his new album Divide, and in just hours, most of us was already able to listen to it in full- something that wasn’t really possible back in the day when copies of albums should be physically bought in person at record stores.

 

We are living in a world where ‘speed’ seems to be one of the things that we always wanted. Instant noodles. Instant coffee. Express Delivery. Express way. Instant messaging. Instagram. Instax (kidding). We want everything to move and work faster. Our lives right now has been so fascinated with the idea of fast, instant, and ‘right now’- we value fast internet, fast service, faster and easier ways of doing things, fastest way from point A to point B – to a point that it is already spilling over other areas of our lives, areas where speed isn’t really the best virtue to uphold.

 

Because of this need for speed, we find ourselves valuing results more than process, valuing overnight perfection than minute progress, pursuing the big and the spectacular while neglecting the mundane seemingly insignificant ‘dirty’ work.

 

We have become creatures wanting results more than the discipline and virtues that are required for achieving the results.

 

We dream of becoming healthy or thin but a lot of us never wanted to put in hours and feel the pain of exercise nor put restrain on choosing the food we eat (I am guilty of this!). Some of us wanted it so fast we choose faster routes on doing it, only to find out in the end that we are setting ourselves up for failure because the route was not sustainable.

 

We dream of becoming better in handling our finances but we are very unwilling to give up some of the unnecessary things that are eating away our budget. Some of us wanted it so fast we go to monetary schemes that promise easy money, only to find out in the end that the scheme was too good to be true.

 

We dream of pursuing art or music or anything that requires intermittent practice, but a lot of us are unwilling to start somewhere. We wanted to perfect writing letters beautifully but we never wanted to start with perfecting a stroke first. We wanted to perfect playing a song, but we never wanted to understand the notes and chords. We wanted to draw better, but we hate learning the foundations of it.

 

We dream of becoming a good leader/manager/administrator, but we are too much unwilling to be taught and corrected. We are too much unwilling to work with a team- because a team slows people down.

 

We dream of gaining knowledge and wisdom, but we never wanted to sit down, read books, and learn. Or we are too much lazy to go out there and intern.

 

We wanted the results, not the process. If only we could bypass the process and gain the results faster.

 

 
When we were kids, a lot of us were taught that ‘big things come from small beginnings’. We were taught that ‘the journey to a thousand miles begin with a single step’. We were taught that ‘the best day is today’. We were taught that our one peso could become a thousand if we choose to earn it and delay gratification.

 

What have we become? Where did those lessons go?

 

Credits: Featured image by Jeff Sheldon from Unsplash

Before #ENFAST2017

fasting-manuals

It’s time again for the annual prayer and fasting at church- a season where we devote ourselves to prayer, fasting, and consecration during the start of the year. This is one of those exciting seasons, as it gives me sort of a ‘fresh start’ with a lot of things. It’s a season where I get to look back and reflect on answered and unanswered prayers from my last year’s faith goals, and another season to believe for greater things (faith goals) in the different areas of my life.

I’ve been joining the annual fast for the past five years.

The first two years were pretty much exciting and encouraging because most of the things that I prayed for somehow were answered with a big affirmative, or at least the answers nudged me towards the realization of the faith goals I wrote. The third year was quite okay, and the last two years were pretty much a struggle.

I am not sure if this is a unique thing (I am pretty sure it’s not) with me, but as I go through the annual activity, I notice that there are faith goals that I have been rewriting and transferring year after year after year. Also, there are faith goals that need to be abandoned since they no longer align to my current season. Somehow, in a way or two, they’re pretty much discouraging. HAHA. But then, the ways that my heart and my mind know are pretty much lower and myopic compared to the ways of the Lord. So, I move on.

The past two years had been rough, as I have been rewriting and realigning my faith goals in some areas. Some of the prayers I had for my academics and for my career were rewritten and rewritten, and to be honest, the place I am in now is something I never imagined- something very much different from what I hope God would have given.

For the past two years, some of my faith goals shattered in front of me, and this has affected me and brought me to nights where I cry tears no one knew about. I had nights spent in writing every sadness that I have felt- pouring all my heart out to Jesus.

Looking back, sure it was painful. But then, there are a lot of things that opened because of prayers that never got answered. I am pretty much in a different place from what I initially wanted, but different never meant something that is worse.

The answers that the Lord gave might be different, but looking back and seeing things now, I know that the Lord gave what was best for me- something more than I deserved (even though some of what he gave would be seen by the world as less). The Lord gave what is best for me and what glorifies Him. The Lord placed me to where He has called me.

This year, I am believing God for a lot of great things again. I am pretty sure some goals might shatter, but there are things that I know to be true- the Lord knows what He is doing, the Lord works for my good, the Lord’s plans are always good, pleasing, and perfect.

I can rise early in the morning and tell God, “Lord, let it be done according to your will. I wouldn’t have it in any other way”.

Letters.Words.Inspiration.

For quite a while now, the hype of lettering and calligraphy has been spreading like an epidemic on different parts of the world (at least, that’s what I know), and many have been dabbling and learning a lesson or two through whatever means.

I was one of the people who caught the bug. I got infected during Abbey Sy’s talk at the TEDx stage in TEDxUPM last February.

The talk has started my pursuit in this line of art and skill. In this blog, I will be sharing with some glimpse of my lettering journey (in the hopes that you might find this useful, or maybe you could be inspired on how I started form being sucky to less sucky in this artform).

THE BEGINNING

Days after the TEDxUPM talk last February, I did a few things using a cheap sketch pad, the gel pens I used to have, and some newly acquired fine liner pens.

Gel Pen - First Work
One my first work!
AISEC Quote
A good quote from the Y2G Conference I attended
Press ON!
On my attempt to be witty

MY EXPLORATIONS

The desire to create never ceased, and I loved making words more inspiring by using a set of designs that were made by my hands. It’s like a handmade WordArt where I could freely decide how the letters should be placed and how should they look like. My hands were really happy in this freedom that it had when it comes to creating. My lettering has then branched to using other kinds of material like chalk, crayola supertips, and brush pens.

Chalk- Mothers Day

Crayola Borden Quote

Up In Arms Brush Pen

DABBLING INTO CALLIGRAPHY

While learning lettering and all that, I also learned pointed pen calligraphy. I went to class (The JJ and Ava Workshop) and tried making some stuff out of what I know and what I learned. Here are some stuff I did as beginner.

Callig - Class

Callig - Jesus My Savior

Callig - Psalm

I even scored an opportunity to attend a workshop with Alexis Ventura (@inkscribbler) through the BrewPH promo, however I have more urgent concerns. Thus, I gave the slot up. However, that has been a major push still to learn more about what lettering and calligraphy.

TypeLAB MNL

TypeLab MNL

It’s just so curious as well that on the year where I learned and started geeking out about lettering and calligraphy, TypeLAB MNL was launched! It is the first-ever type conference in the Philippines. During this time, I already had a lot of references for the letters and designs that I’ve been doing. Some of the speakers include Abbey Sy, Jelvin Base, June Digan, etc.

Essentially, I cannot call myself a creative and an artist, because this passion stemmed from my being a learner. Nonetheless, the art has been saving me from stress and has helped me produce (and not just consume) something.

This event has been a fuel to my interests. It is where I’ve heard some of the famous artists in the industry talk about their beginnings as letterers, calligraphers, designers, etc. It was really encouraging because they’ve instilled in me that they started as beginners as well. Beginners turned awesome artists through grit, faithfulness of practice, and passion to pursue.

Aside from inspiring one to push this certain passion to type and design, they really inspired everyone to just push whatever passion they have. At the end of the day, it’s just the form that varied, but the foundations needed to fuel and follow passion had always been the same.

SOME PURSUITS

To give whatever I’ve been doing a push, I have tried some projects that needs intention.

With the company of some friends, I’ve posted on Instagram a project that I called #15DaysofIgnite2015Playlist which featured lines from songs that were used on the Ignite 2015 Campus Conference last May. I started it 15 days before the event, so it has served a countdown as well. 🙂

15DaysofIgnite
#15DaysofIgnitePlaylist 🙂

I’ve tried giving our notebooks with lettered first page as gift to some friends.

IMG_2606

With the help of some awesome brothers, namely Lester Rivera, Patrick Relativo, and Rainier Terucha, we offered a service to do chalk lettering on the menu board in one shop here at elbi.

Piknikan

PRESENTLY..

To be honest, there are still a lot of things to learn about this. The things that I can do are not yet at par with the works of the people whom I admire. But, I know that as I practice and try to up my skills, I get closer to what I wanted to become. Nothing started as an expert in this, but I know that a process of practice and studying helps one to become close to one.

This is just an overview of my journey, and I might post more details on some parts when I had the time to. 🙂

Below are some photos that show recent stuff I made.

brewph

foundation callig

goodlife

look outside

To whoever you are who’s reading this, always remember that this area is one of the areas that require time, effort to study, and faithfulness to clock in hours of practice.

I hope that you’d continue fueling the passion in to making inspiring words more inspiring through lettering and calligraphy. 🙂

-A

Together (A Series of Shorties)

I am not much of a person who wants help in accomplishing tasks especially when I think it is my job to do such tasks and when i sense that people can do better things other than helping me. Somehow, it also makes me feel like a burden because it makes me think like I am not doing a great job so there is a help being given.

This is my attitude towards most things because I don’t want to be a drag to people because I am a person who always wants to make the most of my time and the time of others- i do not want people to compromise plans (or maybe it is me who does not want to adjust) just to fit me in their schedule, or just to help me in a particular work that I am having. I am somehow the kind of guy that believes that I can always do things alone- and to a greater extent, it makes me feel like I am not competent when I ask for help.

However, I realized that there are things that are better done when shared, and people who offers another pair of hands are those that do not feel obligated to do so.  Not all of them are people who offers help just because you cannot do it efficiently yourself, but those that know that you are doing your job but they also want to help you in order for you to not get tired from doing things- in order for you to still have the energy to enjoy some other things.

Help that is being offered is most of the time offered with a good heart. The goal is to help you with things and not to convey you a message that you are not worth it.

I am also a person who somehow prefers to eat alone, shop alone, go the mall alone, watch movies alone, and do many other things alone. It is like this because I am a person who does not want to be an inconvenience to people- I do not want them to be waiting on me just because the line along BreadTalk is too long, or I am having a hard time choosing something, or have their works delayed just because they are spending some of their time with me

Although, I realized that some things just like eating, or watching movie is better shared because you get to receive ideas and stories from people. You get to form networks, and build stronger relationships. Relationships that will, in one way or another, be of great help in times of need, as well as in times of celebration.

Sharing activities with people, even if it costs a great amount of time for most people like me, is more enjoying and more memorable and fulfilling compared to when it is being done alone.

1.It will be fun when I get to witness a funny event and I am with a friend

2.When I get to think a joke or idea, I have someone with me whom I can share it with

3. It is great to know more people and get inspired with the life they are living.

At the moment, I am trying to remove the barriers that prevents me from sharing my time with people. I agree that I get to optimize my time and resources when I am alone, but the experienced fun and joy of being alone will always be sub par to the experience of doing something together.

Life is not meant to be alone so don’t go building walls around you. There will be times when it will not be about what you have, but who you know.

Can’t Wait No More: GET BETTER AND SHARE!

This is a post inspired by the weekly prompt of Truth Thursdays.

To get better.

These three words will always be a part of my urgent list. By better, I mean to get better at an aspect of my life as I go through it. To be better than myself yesterday. To be better than the me typing this particular blog post tonight. To be better. To be better.

That is something that can’t wait.

Stagnation will ensue if I don’t get better. Progress won’t be found if my movement won’t be leaning towards improvement. Fruits will not bear if I don’t allow myself to be pruned. I won’t be of use if I won’t let myself be shaped, sharpened, and polished. I need not to be the best, but everyday, I need to be better.

That’s why for my everyday, an urgent task is always written: “GET BETTER”.

They say that this life should be lived to the fullest. I agree with that. It is true. A life lived to the full is a life lived properly.

A life lived to the full won’t necessary mean experiencing things  just because it gives one the “YOLO feels”. A life lived to the full is not about a life that has fulfilled almost everything that is in its bucket list. To me, and this is what I believe, it is more of being better and better, and better driven by the only voice that one should be listening to.

The voice by the one who came not to steal, kill, and destroy.. but to give a life that is lived to the full.  A full life which started anew and is geared to being better everyday.

To be better everyday, is something I should not miss out. Getting better everyday makes this life a little more hard, but exciting, uncomfortable but advantageous.

To share Him.

Another three words that is part of my urgent list. 🙂 As I look around me, there are a lot of people out there who never knew Him and who never had a relationship with him. Him, who live the life we should have lived, and died the death we should have died. Him, who came so that we can live this life to the full.

To share who He is, and what He did is also urgent for my time in this earth is short and unsure; and there is a great need for people to know that it is Him that they need- not another achievement, not another award, not another boyfriend, not another activity..etc.

These things I listed are things that are urgent. An every day urgency. An urgency that needs to be addressed on every “today” of the week and not on every “tomorrow”.

I Have Learned

This is a Truth Thursday post which I originally posted on my tumblr page.

It had been quite some time since I graduated college. I am already on my second work, and somehow things are great- I find time to do the things that I want to do, without really compromising the hours of my work, and other obligations that I have.

If there is one thing I have learned that I wanted to share to everyone, it’s this:

The more I learn and the more I get to know things, the more I become aware that I am small and my knowledge is very little..

It is true that it is really blissful to know less, but I believe that a chance to learn a lot is exciting (even though painful at times) and humbling (because it makes one aware that his knowledge is small compared to the immensity of information that can be known).

When It Was Over

This is a Truth Thursday post.. (Even if it’s not a Thursday)

Burn-outs.. Sickness.. Impatience.. Fear..  

     These were the four major disturbances that intermittently visit me during the first thirteen months of working. Disturbances brought about by the harsh environment I was in.

    During the first few months of this work, I thought it was just because of me- my competencies, my not-that-excellent performance when it comes to some of the skills needed in the lab, my working background in the said field that is not really that vast (I’m a Microbiologist, the nature of work is somehow related but it is still in a way far- that is, Plant Pathology) , the way I use my time, and all. 

    I tried to get better, and I did. The succeeding months became better. The workload changed, and it was great. Little did I know that it will again go back to burn-outs, sickness, impatience and fear.

    During those good times, I somehow got away from the more important things that should be filling up my time. I always go OT, I work overtime just to finish tasks and make sure that everything is okay. I thought this was healthy, and it would lead to a better working environment and all, but.. it did not..

    May 31, 6:00 PM. During the start of the worship of the last session for Ignite 2013, I received a phone call. I heard a voice shouting at me, getting angry, and all. Something was wrong at work, and there are things that needed fixing. I was somehow involved, but it should not be really my problem, I was not holding the project anymore. While everyone was singing praise and worship, I was at the back, problematic, and in fear. After the phone call, I refused to get affected by what happened, got back to my seat, and tried to chill.

    The environment was never the same after that phone call. I started to get sick, work in fear, get disoriented, and other negative things. I asked for help from the people who knew me- my past mentors, my leaders, my friends, and other people who had been working with me. Then I’ve decided to no longer work there.

     I talked to my boss and I told her that I will no longer be renewing my contract after it ends by July 1. Then July 1 came but I was asked to extend just to do some stuff. I got extended for two weeks working outside a contract. I finished as much work as I can. When July 13 came, it was over. I finished the last experiment. I did everything I could. I left.

    When it was over, it was a great relief to me. I took my last look at the lab, i took all papers that I own, i took down all my post-its at the back door which accumulated during the duration of my stay. I had a smile on my face. Finally, it’s over.

     I am not saying that the work was bad in and through. I got a chance to be better there. I learned a lot.

I wrote a draft during the end of my contract, and it says:

Today, basically, marks the end of my contract (after two renewals since I wrote my post about my doubts if I will be renewing). I have decided to no longer renew for the second year of the project implementation.

So what can I say? Actually, the past 8 months had been great even if there were intermittent anger, rage, and somehow harsh disciplining interspersed within it. I was able to handle the project that I want and I was able to do experiments using techniques that I loved.Oh yeah, it was a great season. I did a lot and I grew in ways I never imagined. It was a great level up.

Despite these.. There are still things that I want to explore and find so that I may be able to know what field will I really tread on.. Things that I won’t be able to know, experience, and do if I won’t end my contract. This day marks its end..

I am excited for the next chapter.