Monday, September 29, 2008


This is a truly commendable activity of the department of psychology. Five of their students volunteered to "develop the social skills" of four of my children counselees (ages 7-9; three boys and a girl). We started with physical activities such as games (e.g. "stop/go") and then move to mental mathematics (e.g. solving simple arithmetics) and in the afternoon, we watched two clips of "Hiraya Manawari" (e.g. "Imbisibol" and another one). I was fortunate to join the "games" part so I was physically tired doing "habol" to the kids. Actually, one of the kids went home and we were alarmed (but later he showed up; he brought his gun pellet toy with him). Also, I joined them in watching the children's tapes. I was not able to join them in their group discussions because I have to go to Laguna. Hope I can join them till the end. But some aggressive acts made by the elder child made the rethink if they can finish the volunteer work with the children. These children were exposed to domestic violence and now suffering from 'violent' acts of the mother. I cannot possibly by now predict what would become of the children but the red flags are up that they too can become aggressive. As to how we could curtail those behaviors, I will update later on...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MindBody Medicine

I attended this morning a lecture on "MindBody Medicine" by Dr. David Spiegel of the Stanford University. Three things I learned, aside from an exercise of self-hypnosis which made me aware of an issue that is not within my awareness at present. First, he said that "chronic" illness is different from terminal illness. That patients must be active participants in their healing process. For instance, a cancer patient does not necessarily die from the cancer cells but from other illness such as depression and other complications. Second, one should be more watchful of a "recovering" depressed person because she or he has more energy to go back to that former state of depression. Third, that when you talk with them let them see the different perspectives of the problem (life perspective approach). Fourth, that one way to manage bipolars is to let them manage their thinking. That can be done by teaching them how to do self-hypnosis.

Dr. Spiegel noted that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis because it pertains to highly focused attention. What surprised me even more was the result when he gave us a simple self-hypnosis exercise called "screening technique". He asked us to look up the ceiling and while looking up slowly close one's eyes and then he asked us to imagine that we are floating either in space or in a favorite place we want to be. Then, at the right side of the screen, we will imagine the person or the event or the thing that makes us stress. Suddenly, I saw our present coordinator. I was also shocked that she was causing a stress in my life. Then, we were instructed that at the right scree we can imagine how to address the left side of the screen. The image even surprised me more, I was also a little bit anxious about it. I saw swirling clouds that means imminent "typhoon" so what I did was to place my hands on the white sand. Then, we were instructed to look up again the ceiling and go back to our present reality at the count of three. I do want to interpret on the images that I saw... I would rather conduct a ritual to bury it or bless it to make that negative energy into a positive one...hope I will succeed.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Yesterday we had a paper-cutting workshop and it was a success! despite the odds (those who initiated to have it did not attend the workshop)... I produced only two designs, one circular and another vertical. I was inspired to compose this workshop because a friend of mine, Bobby, designed my counseling room (see right side picture). I just told him I want a bamboo and a sun design. I did not know that the bamboo means "wisdom" or truth and of course the sun means "light" (perfect for my blog title). At the left end of the room, Bobby designed the 'yin-yang' and at the center is his rendition of the UP DGO logo. Wow! Any body who visits my room does not fail to appreciate it. Next time around when I have explored my skills in paper cutting I will show you my designs. I love to produce a lotus flower in a pond or perhaps "tweety the birdie" (may be it will take me a year to figure out how to cut it). One needs only two things to do paper-cuttings: a small and sharp scissor and plenty of colorful Japanese papers (P19 for 10 pieces). You too could try to explore your skill in paper cutting. And you know what? You can use it to decorate your lanterns, to wrap your candies, of course to create a festive atmosphere of your room and other things that will spice up your life...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Taichi forms

This is my third attempt at learning taichi. My past attempts proved to be futile because the teacher just let us imitate the moves or forms without breaking it down to small segments. Now, our teacher is more compassionate. She spends time breaking down a form into various sequences; thus, I learned the forms through persistent practice. Another realization was to see both the big and small picture of everything. Once one learns the details of a certain phenomenon, it is better to view it from a bigger lens or picture to be able to appreciate its meaning or context. But when I compared taichi with shibashi, I realized that the latter is easier to learn and I pray while doing it. Whereas while doing tai-chi I felt like "perfecting" every move at the expense of praying. I understand life more while doing shibashi, but with taichi, it was more like mastering the coordination of the limbs and memorizing every move. I hope that after "perfecting" the 24 moves, I can appreciate what taichi means to me, personally...

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I watched a documentary film of an American Indian healer who uses mandala-making as a healing tool. He searched the Grand Canyon for different shades of colors of sands and stones and gather these to serve as his material for his mandala-healing. When he faces his "patients", he initially pray and then start making a mandala for the patient. Then, he interprets the mandala including the way the patient would heal himself or herself. After that, he deconstruct or dissipate that structure (mandala).

Yesterday night, I attended a session on how to make one's mandala. We were just instructed to write positive words on the circular template. I chose to use three colors: orange, green and blue and start with the word "respect". That word served as a trigger word. I realized that orange stands for respect for one's boundaries, one's self, one's sexuality; green stands for respect for the environment including all the creations above, below it, including also the respect for the womb environment; blue stands for respect for countries, for world peace, for efforts to develop one's countries...I was enjoying it because it feels to me like a prayer and a processing of my own issues and the issues of the women's movement and the whole world...(I came up with a very "cute" mandala according to one of the participants.) I realized, yes! it was really a healing process for me. I was elaborating on the self, the other particularly the women and the world at large. I viewed peace as peace that is deliberately created by the self towards radiating peace for the others, for the world, including those we cannot see with our eyes, the other dimensions; including the womb environment of women...we cannot dictate upon women what to do with their wombs...

as for me, i did not dissipate my first mandala, i intend to mount it in a beautiful frame because i wanted to realize my goals as a human being, as a woman and as a citizen and spiritual being: respect for myself, for others and for the whole world, including all creations, above and below, tangible and be it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Poetry-making and feminist spirituality

That life is similar to poetry-making or "autopoesis" is a metaphor I was so jubilant to hear yesterday. I attended a short lecture on "living in wholeness" where my collegue Luchie was the speaker. Yes! I was affirming her that really life is like making meanings through poetry: short, meaningful, full of metaphors and yet it carries you at a point of ecstasy after reading the whole verse. Emily Dickinson puts it in a more succinct form: "life is so startling that there's no room or minute left to think about it (something to that effect)". I was thinking in what way did Luchie incorporate feminism and spirituality in her talk. She never mentioned those concepts but these two concepts overwhelmed the whole presentation (in my own interpretation, of course). She was defining the "self" as a living organism capable of forming, dissipating and transforming itself. More than anything else, I was struck with the concept of a very strong agency or self but in the end this agency "chose" to dissipate and be one with the the others (social). Perhaps, that sounds contradictory to the eastern perspective and the western perspective would nod to it. Yes, Luchie's framework is a meeting between east and west. She however does not name it feminism and spirituality in its specifity. But from my own vantage point, I believe that making a strong agential self is what feminism is all about. The woman is capable of creating herself: know her own oppressed situation and rise from it. Maybe, that was something 'western', very individualist point of view but is it also liberating. What was 'eastern' about the framework was the concept of 'dissipating structures'. The Muslims believe in it when they say "believers must surrender to Allah". The Buddhists also believe in it when they say 'life is making a no-mind at all'. The Christians also harp about it when they say we must sacrifice for the sake of the common good. Ah, that is plain and simple spirituality: the merging into the uiversal mind/self or what is termed "turiya". Lastly, as a counselor I may say it is containing all these contradictions in life and dissipating what is not "constructive" for oneself then creating a consciousness that was not significant in creating the problem (so as Einstein suggested) in the first place which is a key to healing. That 'new consciousness' I believe is what I would like to claim as 'feminist spirituality'.