Grass does not strain to grow

Ginger and turmeric from our urban garden

I was chatting with a dear old friend yesterday, and he pointed out that he could feel I was "in resistance mode." In life coaching terms, it means that I am going against whatever good that flows.

I do get my moments. Sometimes, it's whole stretches of time. I could beat myself up over the time I've wasted--and I would too--but I need to shift, pronto.

Perhaps it's because I've turned 40. I'd never been one of those women who felt the need to hide their age. I thought I'd never really care about growing older--I know so many women 40 and above who just got even more amazing as they put on the years--and to some extent, I still don't, but I'm suddenly hit by this existential anxiety.

I keep wondering: Am I doing what I was meant to do? What verse do I contribute to this powerful play? Is there a point to all this? And if there isn't, why do I feel like I need to contribute nevertheless?

I still have no answers. But I don't want to overthink it anymore.

The other day, I went out to our small garden, overflowing with plants because of the rains, and I was reminded again that "grass does not strain to grow."

We'd planted some turmeric and ginger rhizomes a couple of months ago, and there they were, full-grown plants, bulging out of their pots. From a store-bought ginger that we planted because it had started to sprout, we now have a several ginger roots, waiting to be harvested.

I planted an additional two dozen or more turmeric rhizomes. They had been our harvest from a few months ago, and they'd just stayed in a basket, almost forgotten. One day, they decided to sprout.

I am not the world's best gardener, but gardening appeals to me because it reminds me all the time of how little effort--and by this, I mean resistance--there should be in what one does.

If the space is right, the plant will grow. That is all there is to it. That is all I need to know.

Why bother?

On a whim, I decided to tinker with this blog's template once again. I ended up not changing much, preferring the old look. I still think I have nothing much to say, but I consider it a sign that I came across this quote on Facebook.


A love story

This would've been okay as a tweet, but I prefer to put it here, on this day that perhaps someone else's beautiful love story has officially begun.

In Starbucks, a chatty little girl, maybe four, nags her mother. "Mommy, tell me a story. Tell me the happiest story. What's your happiest story?"

The mother says, "Look at daddy."

Goodbye, it was nice to know you

Looking through my old blog posts (the ones I've decided to keep) and scrolling down my Facebook timeline (as I debate whether to delete my account or not), I saw interactions with people I no longer interact with, either by choice or by chance.

I didn't even know then that that would be the last time I'd be interacting with them or posting about being with them.

It makes me feel sad, actually, how people come into your life and make you happy, and then you somehow hurt each other, and then all you have left is evidence that at one point in life, it was good between the two of you.

Still, it is what it is. I have these happy memories that don't make a monster out of me and a monster out of you.

Two (blogs) become one

I suppose it requires some amount of courage to face the failed parts of yourself. And then it takes even more courage to accept those parts.

This is my dramatic way of saying I've decided to merge my old blog with this relatively new one, partly because I am tired of searching for stuff I remember writing but feared I'd deleted and partly because I'm sick of hiding what feels like a dirty past but is really a dreary one.

There's a lot to clean up, like cryptic posts to lost loves, dead links, embedded flash videos, and announcements to my Multiply (+) friends. 

There's a lot that makes me cringe. The earliest posts date from 2007 and I was naive and (more) dramatic and had a (higher) tendency towards self-reflection and self-analysis-paralysis.

I want to kick myself for the many times I swore I'd finally finish my MFA throughout the years!

But I also regret many of the entries I lost, partly because I didn't back up my Multiply properly and partly because every so often I'd feel like erasing my life and the personal blog, started in the late 1990s, was always the first to go. 

Anyway, no promises, but here we are.

If you ever had something that you wanted to say

Yesterday, I reminded a good friend of her blog. She thanked me for the reminder and replied, "These days, I feel like I have nothing much to say."

That is exactly how I feel as well. And it is why this blog--and my writing--is barely alive.

I feel like ever since social media gave everyone a platform, if you intend to write something and share it, you better make sure it's worth disturbing what ever silence there is left.

But shouldn't that be the goal of any creative writing endeavor? Isn't that why we strive for literature?

And now I'm suddenly reminded of this poem.

How to Be a Poet
(to remind myself)
By Wendell Berry

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came. 


I recently went to the mall to meet an old friend. After the meetup, I happened upon this accessories store that was on sale. Against my better judgment--I'd recently thought of renewing my commitment to be minimalist--I decided to take a look inside the shop.

I ended up buying something: a silver sand dollar ring. I didn't need another ring, for sure, but I fell in love with this particular ring because it reminded me of something I did in the past for someone I loved: I collected sun-bleached sand dollars on a beach off Puerto Princesa so I could share a bit of paradise with him.

Many of the sand dollars didn't survive the plane ride to Manila. What was left of them disintegrated in the mail, and the recipient, while grateful and touched, didn't, couldn't, really appreciate the grandness of my gesture.

That was how I loved back then: romantic and impractical, thoughtful and contrived. How I threw myself into love!

I don't miss it, and I do.