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It is saddening to see Filipinas in The Netherlands, Hong Kong and all over the world employed as domestic helpers.  They are working their tails off so that they can send money back home for their children’s education, for their parent’s and relatives’ sustenance or to build decent houses for their families.  Houses which they can never otherwise dream of nor afford owning had they stayed in their own country.

Some risk staying illegally once their employment contracts expire because the threat of deportation if they are caught is a better alternative than returning back to the poverty-like conditions they have been trying to extricate themselves and their families from.  These undocumented Filipinas survive by doing odd jobs; sometimes cleaning ten to twelve houses a week while others are employed full-time in certain households.

In an article written by Jeff Israely of Time magazine, he mentions that a cleaning woman is often generically referred to as a “Filippina” in Italy.

Cleaning other people’s houses and toilets is not the greatest achievement any woman would want for herself in her lifetime.  But she goes ahead and does it in the hope of providing a better future for her children and family.  She sacrifices her own needs and wants and gives up what she has dreamed for herself.

Why do Filipinas choose to work abroad as maids?  The failure of the Philippine government to provide educational opportunities and jobs for its citizens has brought about an increased migration of Filipinas working as domestic helpers in foreign countries.  The country’s leaders actually encourage this exodus because these women have become a vital means of sustaining the country’s economy through their remittances.

It is appalling to note that none other than Philippine president Gloria Arroyo herself has touted the Filipina domestic helpers abroad as supermaids! As head of state and as a woman,   she should be championing women’s rights and initiating employment opportunities for them so that they never have to leave their homes to work overseas.  To proclaim them as supermaids shows a complete failure on her part to improve the conditions of her fellow Filipinas and an utter lack of compassion for the families missing their mothers, daughters, wives and sisters.

No one dreams of becoming a cleaning woman when they grow up.   Although there is nothing wrong with it, and it may be a decent job, it is not something anybody will aspire to given the choice.  Every person has their life’s purpose cut out for them.  Whatever that may be, it should be about reaching one’s highest potential.

Given the right support, education and development program, the very qualities which make the Filipina a preferred maid overseas can be put to better use serving her own country in a more dignified form of employment.

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The root cause of much of our unhappiness is that we keep doing things that we absolutely hate everyday because we never took the time to sit down and figure out the things that would make us happy.  And even if we did, we think it is impossible to marry work and play.

We are too afraid to make that leap.  We are too fearful of the unknown, and reasonably so.  I mean who is willing to take a pay cut or reduce one’s working hours in this economy?  Who wants to give up the small comforts we already have in exchange for what might be? We are fearful of the consequences because there are no guarantees.

So we get stuck in jobs we hate because we have bills to pay and children to feed and a host of other needs to be met.  And we do it day in and day out, year after year. And everyday we keep our dreams and hopes at a distance.  And then we wonder if this is all there is to life.

How much longer are you going to ignore that burning fire inside you?

There are no magic carpet rides to living your best life. Going after a dream entails sacrifices.  You may actually have to reduce your working hours so you can devote an extra day to working towards pursuing your dream.  And yes, it might lead to a reduction in your salary, but there are creative ways to deal with this.  Maybe you just have to skip that extra latte you usually indulge in everyday, or a sandwich dinner once a week is not so bad either.  One would be surprised at how much one can save just by changing one’s way of doing things.

Dreams do come true, but not overnight. This is not the lottery.  You commit to doing something about it everyday.  The book will not get written in one sitting.  You build it page by page, chapter by chapter.  The diploma is not going to fall on your lap, you have to work hard and study for that degree.  The cake will not turn out perfectly the first time you bake it.  You have to keep on trying again and again.

The mundane chores, the ordinary daily routines do not go away. They are necessary to provide structure and keep things running. The only difference this time is that you will look forward to that window in your day when you can do what you want to do, after you’ve accomplished the things that you needed to do.  And at certain times it is okay too to let it go, let everything fall apart around you.  Let the dishes on the kitchen counter pile up! Let the toys scatter on the floor! Hang up the phone.  All that can be dealt with later.

Why do you need to honor that voice inside you, that restlessness which won’t go away?

Following one’s heart does not guarantee a smooth journey. When you follow your heart and start doing what you really want to do, a lot of things do still go wrong.  Things do not always turn out the way you want to.  Plans and schedules change midstream.  But the important thing is that no matter how you mess up and fail a hundred times, your disappointment is cushioned by the fact that you are doing something which you consciously and willingly chose to.  Not something thrust by fate or circumstance upon you.  You are riding in that euphoria and that is what will keep you going.

You will know that you are on to something because it will keep you awake with excitement. It won’t let you sleep.  And you are eager to jump out of bed at the break of dawn to get on with it.  It gives you that extra skip in your step, and your enthusiasm never seems to wane when you are doing it.  Because your whole body and spirit seem to be in sync; seem to finally feel right, as if somebody pushed a  button and all the cells in your body just clicked into place.  You start feeling like a human being with a purpose instead of the miserable, tormented soul that you  once were.

Because for the first time in a long time, your soul is singing, the fire in your belly is dancing and you have this unshakeable feeling that your best is yet to come… and you finally feel alive for the first time in a very long time.

The root cause of much of our unhappiness is that we keep doing things that we absolutely hate everyday because we never took the time to sit down and figure out the things that would make us happy.  And even if we did, we think it is impossible to marry work and play.

We are too afraid to make that leap.  We are too fearful of the unknown, and reasonably so.  I mean who is willing to take a pay cut or reduce one’s working hours in this economy?  Who wants to give up the small comforts we already have in exchange for what might be? We are fearful of the consequences because there are no guarantees.

So we get stuck in jobs we hate because we have bills to pay and children to feed and a host of other needs to be met.  And we do it day in and day out, year after year. And everyday we keep our dreams and hopes at a distance.  And then we wonder if this is all there is to life.

How much longer are you going to ignore that burning fire inside you?

There are no magic carpet rides to living your best life. Going after a dream entails sacrifices.  You may actually have to reduce your working hours so you can devote an extra day to working towards pursuing your dream.  And yes, it might lead to a reduction in your salary, but there are creative ways to deal with this.  Maybe you just have to skip that extra latte you usually indulge in everyday, or a sandwich dinner once a week is not so bad either.  One would be surprised at how much one can save just by changing one’s way of doing things.

Dreams do come true, but not overnight. This is not the lottery.  You commit to doing something about it everyday.  The book will not get written in one sitting.  You build it page by page, chapter by chapter.  The diploma is not going to fall on your lap, you have to work hard and study for that degree.  The cake will not turn out perfectly the first time you bake it.  You have to keep on trying again and again.

The mundane chores, the ordinary daily routines do not go away. They are necessary to provide structure and keep things running. The only difference this time is that you will look forward to that window in your day when you can do what you want to do, after you’ve accomplished the things that you needed to do.  And at certain times it is okay too to let it go, let everything fall apart around you.  Let the dishes on the kitchen counter pile up! Let the toys scatter on the floor! Hang up the phone.  All that can be dealt with later.

Why do you need to honor that voice inside you, that restlessness which won’t go away?

Following one’s heart does not guarantee a smooth journey. When you follow your heart and start doing what you really want to do, a lot of things do still go wrong.  Things do not always turn out the way you want to.  Plans and schedules change midstream.  But the important thing is that no matter how you mess up and fail a hundred times, your disappointment is cushioned by the fact that you are doing something which you consciously and willingly chose to.  Not something thrust by fate or circumstance upon you.  You are riding in that euphoria and that is what will keep you going.

You will know that you are on to something because it will keep you awake with excitement. It won’t let you sleep.  And you are eager to jump out of bed at the break of dawn to get on with it.  It gives you that extra skip in your step, and your enthusiasm never seems to wane when you are doing it.  Because your whole body and spirit seem to be in sync; seem to finally feel right, as if somebody pushed a  button and all the cells in your body just clicked into place.  You start feeling like a human being with a purpose instead of the miserable, tormented soul that you  once were.

Because for the first time in a long time, your soul is singing, the fire in your belly is dancing and you have this unshakeable feeling that your best is yet to come… and you finally feel alive for the first time in a very long time.

Blissful moments

I’m at a point in my life where I am rediscovering a part of me, which has lain dormant through all my crazy, wild partying days.

I’m beginning to love more the quiet afternoon walks I have on sunny days. I love going through the forests and coming out of the woods greeted by the sight of glistening lakes with thick, green grassy banks where I can lie down and just gaze at the blue skies above…  I love  picking red and black wild berries shooting out from the thick bushes along the way, and the simple freshness of its texture and taste in my mouth there and then just makes me giggle like a child discovering her own world for the first time and being truly happy with it at that very moment!

I enjoy sitting at the canal cafes while reading my book or having afternoon tea with my friends; waving at the people on their boats passing by.

And yes, I love waking up to the aroma of fresh coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice on early chilly mornings, hangover-free! I look forward to all the excitement it brings to my senses! And when I see the rays of the sun gently breaking through the clouds, I take in all the beauty and crispness of daybreak and think to myself what a lovely day this will be!

These moments… so simple and yet, oh what joy they bring me!